Hello all! Well, here I am again for another exciting installment of all things UNKLe…on the road. We have actually been kind of taking it easy since the KOKO show which I hope that a lot of you were able to see, at least I was taking it easy anyway…….And now…..we’re back and we just did a show in Manchester opening for Ian Brown and next we are off to Italy ( at 5 am on Saturday..oof!).
When I awoke the day of the show or rather when i was awakened, late, by James G. on the day of the show, all signs seemed to point it not turning out to be such a good day. First off, it was just pissing down rain. Second, Pabs couldn’t get a hold of us because even though he lives right around the corner from us, we live in a baement apt. and we both have shitty cell phone reception so we had to meet on the street, in the rain, and hopefully catch a cab to the train station to make our 9:19 train to London….
Wellllllll, as soon as we ran into Pablo, who looked wetter than he was because he was just laden with bags and gear (which he usually is) he starts yelling about how we are never going to find a cab because of the rain, and we will miss our train, and he can’t get in touch with Lisa, and she is supposed to be riding with us and so on and so on. Now up until that point I was trying to remain positive and optimistic which is hard for me because I am very much a glass is half empty kind of person ( I turned down a free hug from a stranger because i thought i was going to be robbed) but I am working on that and trying to sort of always have a full glass….
However, when we ran into Pablo while we were rushing to get to the train station I could slowly start to see the water drain from my glass and i started to suddenly feel tired and cold..you know, fading light and all that..but then a stoke of a luck!!..Right in the middle of Pabs’ rant about how we were going to have to a bus because we couldn’t get a cab, a cab pulls up and we’re off!!! But not before we have to swing by Lisa’s to pick her up, which is fine, but she also is getting no signal and Pablo doesn’t know where she lives, i mean he knows the street just not the actual address. so we spend about ten minutes slowly cruising up her street like a couple of hit men and then at the last second we are connected and she runs out and this time we are really off!!
Except we don’t make our train.
All is well though, there is another one in 20 minutes and we board it and everything is fine, I have got my book, and my little ham and cheese baguette and i am content and the glass is full and we shoot off to London. So its still raining when we get to London, which isn’t really something that bothers me because the stage is covered right? (see?….half full.) And even though we have to drive the tree or four hours down there in a splitter (ugh) its lovely to see everyone again.on a side note, I have to say I have never been apart of a group that is always happy to see each other no matter how much time has passed. We are all very much that way, it could be a week or a year and the reaction is the same…I don’t know why that is but its kind of brilliant…makes for hilarious tough times thats for sure.
While driving to Manchester, it started to clear up and became a really beautiful warm day!!! I think that definitely took the edge off of things a bit and even though I was sandwiched between Jeff, our tech, who masterfully handled the driving, and Jonny Dodkin, (or as we call him..the greatest)like a hostage, I still managed to sleep a lttle bit and read a little (The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Great Book.)It wasn’t until we actually arrived that i thought to myself “Shit, we haven’t been able to rehearse and I haven’t even played the drums since KOKO. I hope I remember my parts. (half empty)
Thus begun what I would call the re-education of Michael Lowry and it pretty much took up the entire afternoon. I just sat in our little hot plastic Porto-whatever you call it, with the green shell, fluorescent lights, and stark white mad-house walls on the couch and poured through the tunes and try to calm myself down and assure myself that actually I did know what I was doing and that desptite no rehearsal and subsequently no sound check (and did I mention the part about how I lost the lead to my in-ears and had to send someone to purchase me a new one….half empty), that I would do fine and the show would be fine.
I think that we also didn’t realize that right before us was the guy from New Order’s new band and the last bunch of songs in their set consisted of Famous New Order songs, that Huge Chemical Bros. song, and Joy Division hits, not the least of which was “Love Will Tear Us Apart” which they closed with…..in Manchester…in front of like 10,000 people. We all kind of sighed a collective “Fuck” after that, not a short little exhortation either more like a long slow drawn out “last breath” kind of thing. Alright I am being a little dramatic about that last part , but c’mon it was intimidating to say the least! The show must go on thought right?.
Well we got set-up, dotted all of ours ‘I’s and crossed all of our ‘t’s, well mostly, as well as we were going to be able to in the 10 minutes that we had to change over and line check, and that guy Craig from Red Dwarf introduced us, and I have no idea how that happened, I know that he came with our old friend Griff but apart from that i was out of the loop..you know…practicing and worrying and all that…and we started up ” The Answer” and within like 5 minutes this huge fight kind of erupted in the front row and all the security just start violently pulling people out of the audience. it was bizarre and a little scary, and because the first half of the set is all joined together we couldn’t stop and say anything..no Altamont moment for us, we just had to keep going. It actually turned out alright. I didn’t have any major fuck-ups, (although I started to come in too early on the first break of Ablivion) and the crowd seemed to be quite attentive………after that you think you can breathe a sigh of relief but we had to still drive three hours back to London in the splitter….
By the way Jeff our Tech was the absolute star that day, he loaded the gear in the morning, drove us all down there, did the gig, helped break everything back down, loaded it back up, drove our sorry drunk asses back to London, then dropped all of the gear off….here’s to you Jeff. Make Sure that you lovely people reading this, the next time you see Jeff, give him a hug or a hi-five or if its after a gig..buy him a beer because he is one of the ones that really help to make this whole thing happen and we couldn’t do it without him.
Well I guess that this is kind of it for this one. I will try to write the day of the gig in Italy but i ain’t making no promises since I will have been up since 5am and I don’t have kids and I am not Rocky so that’s early for me…see you later. mike