There’s been an absence of tour diaries from me recently. I apologise. This is because I recently discovered the “serial” podcast and any time spent in the van when I usually write a diary entry has instead been spent engrossed in the case of Adnan Syed. For those who don’t know, “Serial” investigates the case of a murdered teenager in a Detroit suburb 16 years ago. The crime gets pinned on the girls ex-boyfriend (Adnan) but there are holes in the case and many believe that he was wrongly accused. It’s been a brilliant way to kill a long journey. Just as I finished the last episode, we arrived in Baltimore, where it all happened. Spider – or Spidros as we call him (Real name – Stewart) had also listened to it and, as we drove into Baltimore, discovered that there were tours of all the locations discussed in the story. Had we had a day off today, we would have jumped on it but, like travelling salesmen, we’re rarely in one place for any amount of time. Finding ways to distract yourself from the endless hours of travelling or hanging around at venues on tour can be a challenge. Before each tour, Paul and myself often discuss what our plans are. These have ranged from seven minute workouts in hotel and dressing rooms (this has happened) to enrolling in an open university course (this, unsurprisingly, hasn’t). One thing I’ve been doing on this tour is to get up in the morning and go for a run. I bought myself some sexy running shorts back in Indianapolis and can now be seen jogging through parks and around hotel parking lots looking like a cross between Jack Sparrow and Forrest Gump. One thing we have collectively been doing on this tour is to start writing Album 3. Our phones are full of ideas we’ve recorded over the last few months and we’ve begun to collate and sort through them. A while back, whilst in Syracuse, we spent our day off in the venue we’d played the night before, working on new material. It was a productive day and exciting to hear new songs taking shape. I’m not going to give too much away but by the end of the day we had smiles on our faces.
We’ve played some cracking shows recently. Boston was a highlight as was Washington D.C. and Ashbury Park, New Jersey. Last nights show in Baltimore was an interesting one. Obviously we want all our shows to be packed to the rafters and when they’re not, you might imagine that it could be disheartening. Last night the turn out wasn’t great. Admittedly, it was a pretty large room so it would have taken a lot to have filled it and it’s still relatively early days for us here in the States but whilst the crowd was small in number, they more than made up for it in passion and enthusiasm. It was a great gig. I was talking to a young lady after the show. It was her forth show of the tour and she explained that she’d been having a rough time recently but coming to our shows had given her a reason to smile and something to look forward to. This was the most touching and motivating thing I’d heard. Anyone attempting to do what we do for the money would be fucking mental. It’s very hard and very expensive to try to break a place like America. It takes steely determination and a fair amount of personal sacrifice to to do it with absolutely no guarantees it will pay off but when you hear from someone that your music has made a difference to them and made their otherwise difficult lives more bearable, it makes the investment seem more worthwhile. Thank you, you know who you are.
We’re now on our way to Canada where we’ll be for a week or so before crossing the border back into the U.S. Hopefully we’ll get to stop at Niagara Falls which eluded us earlier in the tour. Matt says he’s going to attempt to go over it in a barrel. I’d be impressed not so much by him surviving the attempt but by actually managing to fit all six and a half feet of himself into a barrel.
Till next time…