The Electrics: Diary of a Scottish Madman (from the archive – Oct. 02)
Just in case you out there in reader land thought life in a rock’n’reel band was a glamorous jet set life of groupies, drugs and fast cars, think again. The Electrics’ Jimmy D. the tells us about the bands recent US tour that managed to include playing at a society wedding and a born again Christian rock festival (with a gig in Paddy Reillys to complete the tour)
The U.S.A trip had its ups and downs, but I’m glad we did it. We flew to Heathrow, where we should have met up with Tim, the fiddler. His bus was delayed by 2 hrs to the airport though, and they wouldn’t let him get on the plane, although they had JUST closed it a minute before. Thanks Virgin Atlantic!
So we had to go without him, he got to NYC next day. A good start ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
As soon as we landed, (Thurs night-11pm) they had lost my bags. JUST mine,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Guitar leads / fx /clothes /toiletries etc. Everything. It didn’t arrive for three days by which time I had to buy new clothes and stuff. The airport had said that I was entitled to $60 per day that it was missing,, but have since told me that its ONE payment, not per day, which cant be right. We called and called, but no answer. We didn’t get a chance to chase it up until we were leaving again, by which time I was given the brush off’/run around by the Virgin staff. It’s a disgrace. After a couple of hours spent going from one side of the airport to the other, they told me that even if I was entitled to more money, ,that it was too short notice to get it that day and that I would have to sort it out with Virgin UK! Dirty bastards eh? So we got to our hotel the first night, which was booked by the groom (WEEKS before) to be told that they don’t have the rooms we booked with one double and one single bed, but they can give us an extra bed, for MORE money.
We had no choice. We had the next day off to explore NYC, so Sammy his wife and me were out on the streets of Manhattan at 8am. Magic! Its some place, and it is like walking around a film set at times. We also went to the Ground Zero site too, which was very eerie. Saturday was the big event,,,!
The wedding in Manhattan was incredible. I’m guessing that the families have a FEW dollars. It was outside in a park/square type thing, with the big restaurant right beside it. It was the full thing with the shirt n tie waiters carrying the trays around, free cocktails etc. THEN the sit down meal and reception downstairs, with the posey food that nobody actually likes, but costs a packet. Sunday should have been a giggin day, but turned out not to be. So we traveled up to Harrisburg P.A. Home of the HUGE Hershey Chocolate Company.
We won’t be doing things the same way next time mind. We will set stuff up ourselves,and just go and do it. No messing about waiting for gigs to be confirmed, then cancelled at a days notice etc. Two were lost, one was a festival that couldn’t get insurance for the outdoor event, dunno about the other. Which meant we had two more nights in hotels to pay for, with no money comin in. The guy in Pennsylvania was fantastic though,,,,
He told us to come up there the day before, and HE paid for an extra night in a hotel for us. What a guy. Then took us to his house to spend the day in his pool, and have some food. Magic. Wish I could swim though,,,,,!
We went and did a wee spot on a local radio station, WJTL–P.A and the poor guy didn’t know what had hit him. Good fun though.
The gig that night SHOULD have been a total disaster. The p.a. was broke all night, Sammy’s fx broke, then mine, then the fiddlers! I was playin through a 60 watt Keyboard amp, with no overdrive obviously. Then that broke. Then worked again, then one channel died, then the other! I ended up havin a guy hold the lead in while I played. Mad! It still went down a storm though, thankfully. We took about 30 t-shirts with us, and sold them all at the first gig! DOH! Could have sold LOADS more too.
Tuesday meant goin BACK to NYC to gig in a tiny Irish bar. That was great fun. Though it was empty. Maybe 30 or 40, though it only holds 74 full! First band on were called Warsaw and The Poland Brothers. Punk/Ska/Funk/Celtic stuff. Mental. They have done 300 gigs a year, for the past 8 years. The gig was broadcast live by webcast, through the Celtictv.com site too!
We made $80 on the door. The plan was to drive for an hour or 2 out of town, et a cheap hotel and crash out. Didn’t happen. EVERY one we stopped at, VERY one, put up the price when we asked them. Some of them were really cheeky too. So we kept drivin, and drivin,,,,,,,By the time it was 5.30 am, we were still lookin to get a place, sleep till 3 or so, then head on. But no. Couldnae get ANYWHERE.
It got more expensive he further we went. We ended up goin in for breakfast, and headin right on up to near Boston to stay with a friend of Sammy’s. What a long day that turned into. Davie was not surprisingly knackered, with playin, then drivin all night. The 96 degree heat wasnt helpin eiher.
Got to the guys house, they ALL slept. I couldn’t. Stayed up, went into Boston, bought CD’s, had dinner. I was now TOO tired to sleep. We had no gigs for 2 days now, cos of mess ups. We all bought bike jackets in a big mad cheap place. Except the fiddler, cos he is English, and therefore a fudd! Lightweight leather, excellent. About £22 I think. Bargain. It will go nicely with the 2 I have already. DOH! Boston is a very cool city, with some crackin CD shops. I saw the famous Cheers bar, and Harvard Uni etc, but I was too brainy to be allowed in!
We headed off next day to do the big festival, at LOON MOUNTAIN! Aye, I pissed myself when I saw the name. Took us ALL day to get there, and we arrived 45 mins before we were due on. We booked into a big log cabin, with a pool etc, which was magic. It would have cost about the same for 3 rooms, for us, and Sams friends. The Friday gig went down a storm, but only about 100 folk there, in this cafe place. The Saturday gig was fantastic, in a big tent to about 3/400. Sammy appeared side-stage before it, furious. He didn’t want to do the gig, because he had just been told that the festival takes 25% of the merch sales, AFTER you pay them$125 to sell stuff in the first place. They basically screwed us, and everyone there.
Food prices were terrible, $5 for a grilled chicken sandwich, $2.50 for a bottle of water? Shocking, especially for a supposed Christian event. Disgraceful,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
He eventually decided to do it, cos the place was full by now. But he told everyone there not to buy ANY stuff from the festival, but to get our CD’s online. We still sold about 25 or so, but had to give the man $98 from that. I took Scotland wristbands to sell, and a few blue shirts with the lion on them, but we threw them to the crowd, rather than give them any more money. It was a disgrace. The gig was brilliant though, cos we were so pissed off. At the end, I leaned over to lift Sams bass out of the way, and tweaked my back. AGONY! The worst I’ve done it for years. Could hardly move. And JUST as I did it a woman comes over and asks me to get a picture with a crowd of them. I’m standing, in agony with a bunch of wee lassies around me, tryin to smile. She THEN pulls out one real camera, and SIX wee disposables. AAARGGHH!! I’m standin like a cripple, and the flashes are doin my eyes in.
We packed away and headed to the lodge,,10 mins away. I could feel somethin else not right on the way. I got a full on migraine too, brought on by the 7 flashes in a row I think. What a horrible night that was for me.
I couldn’t even see to find my medication or anythin. I spent the night lyin on the floor, with a migraine ice patch on my head, an eye mask to block the light, and the clothes I wore at the gig. I wasn’t even able to get washed.
I woke at 7, with my back REALLY hurt, and the dull leftover head pain. Had an hour in the bath which helped a wee bit, but I didn’t think I would make the 1pm show at the festival. Turns out I did, and it was maybe the best show of all. Best sound, etc. And that was that,,,,,,,
It was a LONG trip back with my sore back though. Although I did get a better seat than the rest of them, cos the old woman at the check-in liked me, ,cos she had been to Glasgow once and liked the people. Hehehehe, more legroom for Jimmy D!!! I got told off on the plane for using the “1st Class” toilet. There was ONE guy in 1st class! I replied by telling the snobby stewardess that the others were occupied, and that I HAD to go. And asked her if she would rather have me shit myself on the plane. She didn’t reply! Hehehehe! Funny that.
And just to cap it all off nicely, we got back to find that ALL our bags were missing. Got them next day. Bastards,,,,,,,,Still, mustn’t grumble eh? Er,, is that enough info?