Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Final thoughts

I'm taking a break from the blog over the holidays. Being Jack
Stafford is a full-time job and the blogging can be a bit of a chore.

I'll start again with the first show in Switzerland on 7th January.

I'm at the airport waiting for my flight back to England and the folks
for a week, luckily the flight hasn't been cancelled. After that in in
Vopenhagem for New Year.

2009 has been a real landmark year for me. After 10 years in Holland,
numerous projects, countless adventures, innumerable undertakings...
You get the idea, I've finally set myself free from all my trappings
and commitments and become a full-time travelling musician.

No record company put their money behind me, no booker decided to work
for ne, no one else put their faith in me or gave me a boost. I
realised if I was waiting around for someone else I'd be waiting a
long time.

I hope that's a little beacon of encouragement for anyone else
bemoaning their situation or lack of luck. The roads are already there.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

De Nieuwe Anita, Amsterdam

A great end to the year. It was really packed in the Anita and a nice
attentive crowd.

I'm coming down with a slight cold now. 5 months on the road and this
is the first time. The stresses and strains of your hometown are far
greater than any on the road. It reminds me what a relief it is to be

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Thermos, Amsterdam NL

Trudged through the snow to play in Thermos, a former gay sauna. It was a very nice underground party. Really steaming. Too much fun to take photos. I got invited to play again on Sunday for the art-festival's closing party so come check it out. Kerkstraat 58-60 from 6pm. I just keep getting more shows. I never played this much in Amsterdam when I lived here.

Pageturner Festival - Pakhuis Wilhelmina, Amsterdam NL

Playing in my underwear to spice it up, but Bas stole the show.

It's a nice monthly festival. One song each. Lots of good artists.

Delicatessen, Amsterdam NL

To overcome the problem of playing a brand new song, I had the audience sing-a-long.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Art Amsterdam & Vredebruke The Hague

Dinner on the last train back to Amsterdam.

Had two shows tonight. Man I'm ready for a rest soon. I'm so bored of
the songs I have. Only four more shows to go this year then two weeks

They went well tonight though. I can blast them out. The art gallery
opening was quite rowdy but a few tuned in. The second in The Hague
was a lot quieter. I played after a stoner rock duo.

Cafe Camelot, Nijmegen NL

Christmas is creeping in with the frost on the ground and the
decorations growing like mold. After all the Halloween crap, then the
thanksgiving rituals, Christmas is just another carnival to endure.
The crowd were rowdy and inattentive last night. If I was dressed as
an elf with tinsel round my tackle I may have been able to distract
them momentarily from their deep and fascinating discussions, but I
couldn't be arsed.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

OT301, Amsterdam NL

An intimate un-miked show in an art gallery last night. Like a house concert but with less furniture. The crowd was quite stoic but said they enjoyed it. I sold a few CDs. Crashed at Reinhard's house with
his father Scott. I'll be house-sitting while they're in the states from tomorrow. My own place.

Monday, 14 December 2009

De Cantine, Amsterdam NL

It was my annual show in De Cantine last night. A lovely little cafe out by the docks. It was get up, get on a train for 4 hours, get a tram, play the show, crash. It was an afternoon show so that's not bad. I stayed with Marc and Tiffany. I'm trying to spread myself around my friends here. It's a good way to catch up with them, as it's a pretty hectic schedule.

I'm getting more shows and playing most every night in Amsterdam. Two new shows.

TONIGHT... OT301, Overtoom 301, art gallery event.

WEDNESDAY... Art happening... Lev Kaupas, Eerste Weteringsplantsoen 6 (6-8pm)

THURSDAY... Art gallery opening Delicatessen Sumatrastraat 32, presentation of responses to the work of Nick Helderman, a.o. by Gerhardt Heusinkveld, Jack Stafford, Rebecca Wilson and Bernadette Booij. 20:00-21:30. (I have to write a song for it which I haven't done yet) Then afterwards Pageturner at Pakhuis Wilhelmina, Jack Stafford, Joshua Baumgarten, Kismet, Hunter opens at 20:30, show starts at 21:30, (Veemkade 576)

FRIDAY... Great party @ former Gay Sauna Thermos at Kerkstraat 58-60 for a once in a lifetime party CENTERFOLD with loads of acts, a.o. Boris de Jong, We Be Naked (yeah yeah in a sauna), Lester and many more. It's part of an exhibition by Carmen and Ellen. The party starts at 21:00 / entrance is 5 euro (+3 euro lidmaatschap, which covers the costs of the exhibition and it's also for the cloakroom. Bargain).

TUESDAY (22nd)... Den Nieuw Anita, 8.30pm 100th and final show of the year.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Shamrock, Liege, BE

I had a great show last night in Liege thanks to a great crowd. I played for Two hours and the bar was packed. Sold a lot of CDs and made lots of friends. They even applauded each time I came back to get
better directions to the apartment they'd arranged. I finally found it, unfortunately. A stoner's sty covered with butts and beer cans. And a hyper young dog that hadn't been outside all day. If I wasn't a hardened couch surfer I would have walked out. As it was, I curled up in the corner and blocked it out. Oh the glamour of life on the road.

Friday, 11 December 2009

La Taverne du Théâtre, La Louviere, BE: The Stutters II

I fell back in love with the Stutters again last night. Their third gig since reforming after they imploded when their Danish drummer, the late Andreas Langhorn (he's not dead just unreliable) moved back to build a goat and coffee plantation.

They wowed the rockers of Southern Belgium and with their new drummer Darko from Slovakia, and almost all new songs. These boys will go far. 

We had a great night on a tidal wave of beer, but if every night was like that I wouldn't be able to play many shows a year.

To those that just rocked I salute you.

Darko didn't remember buying beers in the hotel after the show but I have the proof. I managed to get a separate room before the mayhem ensued. Unfortunately that was the room next door to them. They finally quietened down when the manager threatened to call the police. Rock and roll.

Cafe Briljant, Haarlem NL

Another day another show, not too bad, nothing new to add.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Last Philadelphia track

Here's the last of the songs we managed to get finished in Philadelphia last week:

Dreams of plenty

It's funny how the four songs relate to each other. It's a waltz, same as ADD, but it has similar instruments and is closer in feel and subject to the Debt Train. (While Every Moment Matters doesn't relate to any of the others.) I wish I had more time to write some songs in this direction for a recession album but it's hard moving around every day. I'll just have to save them for when the next depression comes along.

I also wish we'd had more studio time, because this one in particular could do with some more instruments to fill it and break lose in both the breaks. I'd love to hear Mariachi trumpets. Chris could have got them out of the keyboards, because we couldn't afford more session guys. The accordion isn't real, it's from the keyboards, he's very talented. And mad.

Once I have the final mix I'll be emailing the songs out every six weeks to the mailing list, so please sign-up above if you want to receive them.

Bilabong, Nijmegen NL

I need a new camera.

Not many people at last night's show. It was nice none-the-less. No
amusing anecdotes I'm afraid.

The jetlag is working out well. Late to bed late to rise fits in right
with touring.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Gert the hitchhiker

The person that responded to my couchsurfing quote actually works in
the Bilabong, tonight's venue. He's given me his room, filled with the
signs from his hitchhiking adventures.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

De Rode Pimpernel, Den Bosch NL

My own hotel room. At last. After all those couches it us a sight for
sore backs. It may only be a two star with no onsuite, but it's the
Hilton to me.

The show went very well. My first in a week and a half and the grind
is paying off. I made a good impression. One person offered to get me
gigs in Finland in July and another works in a bar in Vancouver where
I can play in early June. A good day's work.

Hanging out in Den Bosch's cafes tomorrow (booking of course) and then
half an hour by train to Nijmegen. Nice and easy.


Just did an interview for Amsterdam's Parool newspaper, which will be in Friday's issue. My friend Marc Driessen, who produced my first two albums, now works as a photographer for the paper and he did the photos. Funny how things move around. He used to make me sound good now he makes me look good. I love that guy.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Back to work

Landed in Amsterdam this morning and sorted things out here today. The
shop has great stuff in but was looking messy so I've sorted it out
this afternoon. A good way to fight off the jetlag.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

The end of the beginning of the end

Sixth day in the studio. Last day in the states. Four songs (almost)
done. I wish we had more time but it just hasn't worked out.

It's been a tumultous week. Chris broke up with his girlfriend. Kevin
left his last night (I was staying the night). Heavy stuff. And the
future of the studio is in doubt. And all the stuff that comes along
with that. There's a song it somewhere.

Anyway, I've made some friends for life. And songs that will last
longer than that.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Loop pedal

After all the frustration of playing to a click track AND to make my
show more interesting, I have purchased a loop pedal, upon which I
will loop percussive thumps.

Studio pains

Day five. Last day. All will not be done. It's pretty exasperating.
Having to redo things chewed up all the time. I put four new ones down
just guitar and vocals but if we can't add to them that will have been
a waste of time. I always forget how slowly things happen in the
studio working like this way. Track by track, piece by piece.

The dream is going to Nashville and working with phenomenal session
bands who can play the song in one take. But I ain't got the dough.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Cello II

This is actually double bass but who cares. He's doing a great job.

What a day

Now we're redoing ADD from scratch. It's a real pain. We just realised
that my guitar was used as the base instead of the click, and my
guitar wasn't on the click. It's a ton of work and everyones mistake.

The view

This monstrosity is next door to the studio and gives off an ungodly
smell. South Phili is pretty rough

Italian review

Getting some publicity in Italy ahead of the tour there in January. No idea what it says but it looks pretty.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Bluelight studios, Mt Holly, NJ

Two hours on the bus to get to the studios. I played live for 45
minutes and they videoed it and recorded it. It was harder without an
audience. I need the video to book help book house concerts. Two hours
back by bus now to my Phili couch. A long day.

Cello pains

The cello player didn't cut it. A bit of a stoner. We wasted an hour
on him. It's pretty cut throat in the studio and extreme. You're
either under the microscope or sitting on your hands. I put two new
tracks down and had to leave early to go to another session.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

To the click

Another long day in the studio. Kevin the producer was riding us hard today to get on the click. To play in time. He's scrapped the Debt Train and we're building it up again from cratch more in time. I put down two new tracks. Quite slow and we've got a cello player coming in tomorrow to play on them. I'm beat. Studio days are long and draining. Crashing at Kevin and Pamela's tonight. Just had a lovely homecooked meal.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Back in Phili

[Insert random studio photo here]

Flew back to Phili yesterday. Couchsurfed with Sean again. Another long day in the studio today. This time just polishing Every Moment Matters. It sounded fine to my easily satisfied ears but we moved and we adjusted and we wiggled and we added and now I feel like the track came alive today. Kevin and Chris are a great team. I hadn't even offered it for download before because I didn't feel it was anything and had given up on it but now it has become a hit.

Here is the result