the sound guy gets more and more tightly wound up (apparently he enjoys a fairly serious habit of the Peruvian Nose Candy type, which doesn't help him stay calm I'm friggin' sure). The Sweeney sound check - no muss no fuss, but when Campag Velocette finally arrive they arse about with their bloody backdrop for ages, which has the sound guy busting a blood vessel - he's shouting at them "Come on! Let's be a bit fuckin' professional I've got a wife and kids and a dog to support y' know!" He went right off on one, shoutin' and swearin' "Come on! This isn't a fuckin' rehearsal! The rehearsal studio's round the corner!".
So we finally get up to soundcheck - ten bloody minutes! and we only just have time to stick the backdrops up before we're on...
The monitor mix is bloody dreadful and I'm deeply concerned that we're sucking badly but we go for it, full on anyway. Me and Stuart are jumpin' about and "throwing some shapes" and the Rat has his weird NATO / Voodoo mask & insect-eye shades on. I'm playing as hard as I can with all the frustration coming out in a great big rush of heat and sound. The audience is only about 15 - 20 people in a venue big enough for 600, but I know 8 or 9 of 'em have come just to see us, so we give a real balls-out effort. The half hour set doesn't give us chance to put any of the new stuff out, so we hit 'em with all our strongest songs like sticky Green, Vagrant, Zippo, Flesh & Blood and Pollution.
When we're done I'm fuming 'cos it seems to me we were on for such a short time and the monitor mix was awful. But George the Drums Bloke who was along to help out / crew / drum tech. (as opposed to George(ina) the Drums Girl, who's our drummer) says we sounded great front-of-house nad as tight as we've ever been. This cheers me up A1, as does a brief "chat" with one particular girl I know who's come to see us play. Stu and George take the van and gear back to the house and I set myself down for a couple of Murphy's and watch the other bands. The Rat is wasted by now and dancing about and having a laugh.
I start to chill out nicely.
Then things stiff up again... the Rat is "escorted out" by the bouncers, for "hassling" people who have apparently complained to the management who've ordered his exile. Arse! the Rat was just dancing about, totally good natured like. OK he was a bit pissed up, but not out of order. I mean this is a club right? Serves brew, plays music? So it's going to contain pissed up people dancing, right? Or is it Salagluft 28??? eh? What a COLD fuckin' place. Some good guys working here, but killjoy policies and bugger all promotion of their gigs... We'll give it a body swerve in future and put on our own gigs in hired venues - which we've done before and coined it in. I leave the Rat in good company and crash out about 2am.
Tour Day 2, 24/9/97 - FAME! not.
The Rat is not back... Probably crashed round a mate's house... I get stuck into a full, full day fixing up the van and the trailer, picking up new gear etc. etc. and a date at luchtime...
No gig tonight. The Rat reappears about 5.30pm just as I get in, and then he's off out on the booze with Jack (drummer in Oizone and a mechanic mate of ours). Stuart and George out too, I'm left working, mailshots and that, especially to SELECT magazine (AND YES! WE DID GET IN THE DECEMBER ISSUE!) who call up for a 'phone interview and want some pictures. Another long day and 3 gigs in a row from tomorrow.
Tour Day 3, 25/9/97 - DANCES WITH DUCKS
The Rat gets in about 8.30 in the morning, crashing about a bit and telling us how he's been "sleeping with all the swans" down at Rivermead. The way the Rat tells it, it was a real David Attenborough cum Gorilla's in the Mist experience, with the Rat mimicking the swans to put them at their ease and then later the swans stretching and flapping their wings right over his head. Only the great steaming piles of swan shit undermined the spirituality of this deeply moving experience.
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