Monthly Archives: December 2008

making tragedy happen in the uk v 1.10

Ah, the day of our London show has arrived.  I could barely sleep leading into it.  I got to the venue on the early side, just to soak it all in.  It was family day at the venue as well.  Not only were Jane and Lil T there, but Ginger’s mom came with his other 2 monkeys… Jake and Jasmine.  I really don’t how this guy has managed to have 3 cute, well behaved kids.  And Gav too.  Fuck.  Maybe if I was English I wouldnt be so afraid of the little monsters.  But I’m not.  So I am.  The ones we produce at home are like mini- Al Qauedas.  Nose-picking, pierce-wailing, landspeed-record-breaking, shit-rocket terrorists.

Meeting little Jake was quite a treat.  I mean this is the kid, who at 5, wrote what is obviously the best unrecorded song in the history or rock n roll.  THUNDER BIKE!  And its pretty cool that I get to tell people the J-A-K-E tattoo on Gingers knuckles was inspired by me.  So I gotta make sure this kid’s visibility stays low or my cover is blown!  At one point Jake reached up and grabbed the little gun-metal-plated .45 I wear around my neck and pretended to shoot me in the throat with it.  And we had a great conversation about pro wrestling.  He’s definitely Ginger’s boy!  Jasmine was cool too.  Even though she wouldnt give me any candy.  A heart breaker in training.
Since today was the last day of tour with the Wildhearts, I knew I had to break out the glitter big time.  I had been saving up a nice big jar of lavendar glitter that I had bought in Manchester, and also brought a big juicy bottle of Silver, and small bottle of dusty pink.  Yup, I was armed, locked, and loaded.  When I walked in the Wildhearts dressing room and busted out the glitter, Scott and Ritch’s faces showed the fear.  They knew they were in for a big night.  I popped the bottles own on the table and let the sweating start.

Upstairs in the sober room, I met Sasha, CJs girlfriend.  Super hot and smart too.  She was a speechwriter for the Premiere of Scotland for a few years, but now she does some sort of hippie dippie commie  shit about kids and green spaces and blah blah blah.  Aside from that, she’s pretty cool.  Except for he fact tat she’s deathly afraid of glitter.  So of course she was target  numero uno.  I got her good as soon as I saw her, but had to stay away from CJ for the time being, as he was wearing some one of a kind pussy jacket that cost him 600 pounds.  Im assuming Sasha paid for it, since other than being in the Wildhearts, CJ is a shiftless hippie who pretends to practice guitar all day, but more likely spends his afternoons jerking off to the “models” on the Wii Fitness game.  Sasha got glitter bomb #1 with the standard silver and spent the next 10 minutes trying to pick it all out of her clothes in the bathroom mirror.  Remarkably, she did a decent job of it.  Since I wasnt able to Glitter CJ while he was wearing his nifty fancy-lad jacket, I scored some coffee grounds and dumped those down the backside of his trousers.  Fuck the glitter bombs, CJ got a ca-ca-ca-ca-caffeine bomb! (for those keeping score at home, that was a great fucking Wildhearts song title reference)
I needed to re-load with bigger ammo and get Sasha with a higher intensity Glitter Bomb so I ran down to the booze room to get the big bottle of Silver… but couldn’t find it.  Shit, I needed it.  Fuck.  So I dug into my bag and got the pink dust glitter.  That would do.  Back upstairs she got covered in a nice layer of that, and it was a little tougher for her to get out, which made me smile.  I also managed to get a decent bomb in on Jake and Jasmine, with their permission of course.  Once CJ’s jacket was off, he didnt either bother trying to get away from it.  Same went for Scott and Ritch.  By this point it was just another part of getting ready for stage.  But I know they know how good it looks onstage, and Ill be stunned if they’re not glittering each other up for their next tour.  Even Ginger was happy to be a full fledged member of  the glitterati for this show.

Soon it was time for Tragedy to hit. Hello LONDON.  I pounded 2 red bulls just before we went on.  I wanted to make sure I was amped and actionable….. full tilt baby.  This was by far the biggest stage we played on the tour, so there was gonna be a lot of ground to cover.  This was gonna be fun.  The moment Phil said “London City”, and I hit the stage, I felt electric.  We’ve played some great shows, but looking out at a huge theater well over 100 years old, with thousands of people looking back at you is a feeling that is hard to describe but I can only imagine would be very easy to get used to.  Even if they aren’t too impressed, you’re there to make sure that doesn’t last long.

By the time the first song was over, the first few rows were feeling the Tragedy.  Up in the front row center of the balcony I could see King Ginger holding court with his subjects Jane and Jake and Jasmine.  This guy has a serious addiction to the Js.  Even Lil T’s mil’ name is James.  Jake was pounding the devil horns non stop and every time I pointed up his way I could see his excitement level rise like Jack the Ripper’s kill count.

With each song the depth or our virus was spreading.  Our driver Paul told us from the first night, the he could see the effect we were having on the crowds. He called it the Tragedy virus.  He said that during the first song or two he could see the virus starting to spread, and people’s defenses up, trying to resist infection.  And that through the set every night he could see the infection spread and spread throughout the crowd until everyone had been infected.  With the way the Forum in London was multi-tiered, for the first time I could see what he was talking about.  Stares turned to smiles, and smiles turned to pumping fists and fits of applause after songs were over.  London had been converted; decimated even.  I was warned about British audiences before this tour started.  I learned that if they didnt like you, you’d here the boos and the heckling. And that if they really didnt like you, you’d quickly have to learn how to duck flying bottle and phlegm bombs.  I learned that if they just stood there and looked at you, then they kinda liked you.  And that if they clapped then they really liked you.  Well almost every night the UK loved us.

As if we weren’t already sure that they were loving us in London, we had a special plan for the end of the show.  At the end of the Tragedy set Ginger and CJ were gonna hit the stage and play dueling solos.  We knew that would fire the crowd up!  In discussing it with CJ beforehand, he asked how it was gonna work.  I said “You’ll just walk out and Phil will hand you his guitar, and you put it on and start shredding.”

He got a look of worry on his face and said “Oh, no no.  I can’t play your guitars.”  Huh?
“You wear them way too high.  Ill look like a fucking fag.”

“Seriously?” I said.

Even Sasha chimed in “Yeah, you guys do wear them a bit high.”

Fuck.  How was I gonna break this news to Phil.  The Wildhearts – or at least CJ – said we looked like a bunch of pussies – surely he’d be crushed.  So I just went right at it. I went to the dressing room and let him know.  But he wasnt crushed.  He said since he had been tuning Ginger’s guitar for him on this tour (Phil seemingly has a supernatural guitar tuning ability – he’s so good that Ginger actually hired him to tech after the first night of tour) and wearing Ginger’s guitar that he felt like maybe he needed to let the strap loose a little bit on his own guitar.

CJ and Phil and I walked down to the stage and Phil tried on CJs guitar and then tried on his own.  CJ even helpfully pointed out that the way his was slung made it look, much more naturally, like an extension of his penis.  Yup, big difference.  So Phil and I both let the straps out on our guitars.  Sold.

Back to stage. Before we could wow the crowd by letting them know Ginger and CJ not only LIKED us, but enjoyed playing with us, we had to knock them over the head with the most rock em sock em version of Stayin Alive ever played.    As with most nights when Phil let the crowd know that we were gonna take “The next few hours to play some little known deep cuts” there was some nervous laughter.  Then we he said “Like this one.  It is entitled “Stayin Alive”   A “look of relief” virus spread quickly through the hall, and headbanging and fist pumping ensued!!

We were rocking the fuck out of “Stayin Alive” and I was looking out at the majestic Forum, full of people, fully infected, when it hit me.  Like a ton of bricks.  Shiny, silver bricks.  I had been glitter bombed from behind.  But this was no ordinary glitter bomb.  This was the atomic glitter bomb.  That huge bottle of glitter I misplaced had been STOLEN by Scott Sorry and he and Ritch had ambushed me onstage midsong.  It must have been quite the sight to behold.  There was a huge mess of glitter at my feet and every move I made resulted in a silver glitter burst.  I must have looked like the kid form the Peanuts cartoon.  It was actually getting dangerous with all the glitter on the floor, slippery as fuck!  Looking down my arms and hands were covered, there was glitter all over my guitar. After a week of being the perp, I was the victim.  And it was sweet.  Rock n Roll.  Sweet Sweet Rock N Roll.
One song left on this Wildhearts tour.  How fitting its Tragedy.  And how fitting that CJ AND Ginger both came out to rip dueling solos at the end.  CJ looked so good with a low slung V.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he used one on the next Wildhearts tour.

When I got offstage and got to a mirror I was SHOCKED.  The sweat made the glitter stick to me like plaster.  The whole left side of my head and face was CAKED!  I looked like a human disco ball; the Tim Man from a gay disco remake of the Wizard of Oz.  It was ALL OVER.  They say no good deed goes unpunished.  And I wasnt about to let Ritch and CJ get away with that.  As soon as the Wildhearts crew had all their gear set and ready to go, I snuck out behind Ritch’s kit and layed the glitter on it.  And by on it, I mean ALL OVER it.  Every cymbal, the hi hat, the snare, and both toms.  The only thing I left untouched was his throne, but in retrospect I should have given him a glitterbum!  When he came out to start the show I was standing in the shadows just off to the side of his kit, as soon as he started playing and the lights kicked in, there was a huge pink glitter cloud hovering over the kit for a couple minutes. and Ritch had a huge smile on his face.  Americans 5 – Brits 2
I went up in the Balcony and watched the first half of the show with Lil Jake, John and Mike from Electric Six, and momma.  The Wildhearts were giving one hell of a show to London City.  Big, Huge, MASSIVE!!!!   But at the halfway point, I had to go backstage and tend to some urgent business.  Scott Sorry needed to learn what happens when you fuck with the glitter Jesus.   Earlier in the night he was telling a friend of his that I had been glittering him up so good the whole tour that now all the clothes in his suitcase had glitter on them.  That gave me a great idea, even before he bombed me onstage.  I figured I’d spread glitter all through his suitcase and give him a real surprise!  Then I though better of it.  Too much!!  But after he Pearl Harbored me onstage, I just had to do it. And do it I did.  While the Wildhearts were rockin I opened up his suitcase and went to town.  Between every layer of clothes, inside the shoes, underwear.  No garment was left untouched!  But I wasn’t done.  Oh no.  I had a huge bottle of purple glitter in reserve just for a time like this.  Towards the end of the Wildhearts set, I made my way to the wings of the stage, and waited for the perfect opportunity.  And then I pounced.  Onstage with the Wildhearts Scott is like a human pinball crossed with a mexican jumping bean, but I waited til he took his metal stance and I knew he wouldnt be moving for at least three seconds and unleashed the purple fury. Oh man, it was better than I could have imagined.  The plaster effect worked on him as well, and he was leaving a trail of glitter all around him as he resumed his running around the stage.  At the end of the song, while Ginger was having a deep philosophical conversation with the crowd, Scott was scooping up excess glitter from the stage and tossing it out onto the crowd, who was super psyched to be dosed by their hero.  win win win.  Americans 6- Brits 2.

making tragedy happen in the uk v 1.9

There was an aftershow party in at the bar in the venue in Wolverhampton.  A lot of us stayed out late.  Some later than others (wink wink Victoria – you go girl!)  But we were all there at bus call at 10:30 am for the trek to Stonehenge.  What rock n roll trip to the UK would be complete without a visit to stonehenge.  Certainly not Tragedy’s.  It was about a 3 1/2 hour drive from our hotel to Stonehenge.  And when we finally pulled up over the hill and saw Stonehenge in the distance, there was a collective “huh?”  Surely that couldnt be it.  The road runs RIGHT NEXT TO IT.  Surely you have to take a mule down a steep trail lined with druids who keep the path lit with torches, no?  The answer was a resounding NO!  We arrived and pulled into the carpark, which was on the opposite side of the road as Stonehenge.  Know what that means?  Yup, you got it, yuo’ve got to walk from the carpark, across the major road, to get to the Stonehenge site.  Why they built the road RIGHT NEXT to this million year old monument is beyond me.  There was nothing but shy sheep waiting to get fucked by Scotsmen for as far as the eye could see, yet some civil engineer decided that the road needed to abut the monument.  It was probably the same guy who thought it might be a good idea to paint big bull-eyes on the tops of all the major English Landmarks and power stations in the late 1930s.  And we’re surprised that they serve their beer warm.  I think its one of the least of their worries, still to this day.

As soon as the bus pulled into the carpark, we executed operation “Change Em Up” Which consisted of 3 grown men getting into decidedly conspicuous costumes in full view of the throngs of tourists who were flocking to this prehistoric, mysterious site.  Judging by the looks of the people at Stonehenge, I think those who had seen Spinal Tap were in the slim minority.  As soon as we were all changed, we marched straight to the gate and purchased 10 tickets.  Paul even got us a group rate!!  We had to be quick cuz it was freezing cold.  And not freezing as in, oh my god Im cold, but freezing as in, the water that had settled onto the ground had turned to ICE.  Yeah, FREEZING.  Below centigrade.  Thats not good for a bunch of dudes in Shiny, Sequined, Polyester, Fucktard Outfits.  We basically did a get-in-and-get-out mission.  We got in there and clicked away. Stills, videos, us singing, us walking, us rocking, we got as much as we could in as short a time as possible, and hightailed it back to the car, like our feet was a freezing and our pee was turning to slush.
Another nice and nifty 4 hour ride into London made us wonder if the trip to stonehenge was really worth it.  And of course the answer is fuck yes!  What else were we gonna do with that day off?  And once we see the footage in our wonderful video, we’ll know for sure that it was worth the time we spent.
When we finally arrived in London, we went ot the Euston Station Travelodge.  As far as Travelodges go, this one was nice and new.  Unfortunately, by the time I was sure my momma was coming, it was sold out, so momma and I got a taxi to our hotel in Bayswater.  We were at the Shaftesbury Royal Hyde Park.  Just 6 days old when we checked in, it had both that new hotel smell as well as the luxury of being staffed by “new hotel staff” who acted like they had just moved to London.  Softball type questions such as “How far is it from here to Paddington Station (one of the main train stations in London)?” totally twisted their faces into rubber-band balls of perplexion.  Well at least the rooms were clean, there was both food and amenities within a very short walk, and momma was happy.
After sitting around the hotel for an hour, I decided I wanted to go out. But where?  How should I know?  I hadnt been to London in 9 years, and even then it was only for a night.  Hmmmm.  I wandered outside and hopped into a cab and told him “I wanna go where the people go.  Take me somewhere there will be girls walking around and some signs of life.”  He told me Camden Town was where I wanted to go, and who was I to argue.  I said sure, and he took me on a little tour of Camden and pointed out different pubs and restaurants and music venues.  He finally let me out in front of the Barfly, convinced that what I wanted to do was go see live music, since I was in a band and all.  I didnt tell him that the last place I wanted to be was a small club with 5 local bands playing.  Thats like going to fucking work.  But I thanked him and got out of the cab.  I even gave him a tip since he gave me a guided tour of the neighborhood.  As soon as he drove away I saw the Roundhouse across the street.  Yeah the Roundhouse.  Where Jimi Hendrix played in the 60s.  And where my friends Mindless Self Indulgence played recently.  There were a few people milling about in the lobby, so I walked across the street to see what was going on,  figuring that unless is was a steaming pile of horseshit (no not Haggis, the meal favored by Scots) like Bon Iver, that I’d pay the cover and go inside just to see the venue.
I walked up to the dude at the ticket desk and said “What have you got going on tonight?”
“You gotta be kidding me!!!  Are you serious????” I almost screamed.
“Yeah, mate.”
“Okay, Ill take one ticket please,” I said as is atrted rifling through my pockets, not able to get my money out fast enough.
“You’re too late.”
“Whattaymean Im too late.  Is it over??”
“No, but the box office is closed.”
“Well then it sounds like Im just in time, can I go inside.”
“Sorry Mate, you can’t go inside without a ticket.”
“Okay then, sell me a ticket”
“I cant do that.  The box office is closed.  The people who were selling tickets are gone.”
“Then Ill just slide you a ten pound note and you can let me walk in.”
“Cant do that either.”
“Um well, then can you just let me in???  I mean, I’m willing to buy a ticket, the event is going on, but you wont sell me one!”  I started doing an actual scan of my body.  Do I have anything mexican wrestling related on me?  A mask in my pocket?  On a keychain?  Suddenly Zahn’s tattoo of a Luchador seemed like a really fucking good idea.  I just started bouncing up and down like a kid who had to take a pee.  ”Dude, you gotta be ale to do soooommmmmeeeething.  Im only here for a few nights, I wandered over here aimlessly to find out theres Mexican wrestling and now you wont even let me pay to get in??  Thats like dangling dope infront a shaking junkie and telling him he cant have a spoon, a lighter, tin foil, a straw or a needle.  Its nooooooot faaaaaaiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrr”
“Sorry mate, you’re too late,”  He’s fuckin stonewalling me.
“Can I speak with your supervisor please?”  Yup, Im pulling the fuckin Walmart trick.
He pointed me over to a group of 3 dudes wearing headsets who looked entirely too pleased with themselves. Fuuuuuuuuuuuccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkk.  I walked up and started telling them the story, and broke into the pee pee dance again.  Bouncing up and down saying “Im just here for 3 days, my band is playing in town, I came here because a lot of my friends’ bands have played here I just wanted to see the venue and now I find out you have mexican wrestling which is the only thing I love more than girls and rock n roll and girls and this guy over here is telling me I cant even buuuuuuuuuy a ticket mister please wont you taker pity on me i just wanna see the lucahdores pllllleeeeeeeeaaaaaassssssssssssseeeeeeeeee!!!!”
That had to work. Right?  Right??  Of course it did.  I was barely done with my shameless pleas when head walkie talkie dude pulled a ticket out of his pocked and handed it to me.  And it had my favorite price on it – 0.00 pounds.  Passion, conviction, and persistence win again.
American 4 – Brits 2
I lept the staircase to the main level with one single bound and almost sprinted into the auditorium.  As soon as I got inside it was  as if I had stepped onto a movie set where they were about to film a Lucha Libre scene.  There were sparkly drapes hanging all around, three giant video screens and a ring right in the center of the floor.  And to top it off the Roundhouse was one of the most stunning first looks at a venue I’d ever seen.  It was round, duh, and the rafters seemed to stretch on for a mile into the sky where there was a wild pattern of wooded beams criss crossing each other and rising to a point way up in the sky that I imagined had just poked into the moon like a discarded toothpick finds the stray cube of cheese at the end of hors d’ouvre hour.
And then it hit me.  Shit.  I forgot to eat. My stomach was rumbling something fierce. I had planned on eating in Camden but as soon as I heard it was Mexican Wrestling night all my focus went toward getting inside, and now that I was, my tummy returned me to reality and was letting me know in no uncertain terms that I need to eat.  I took a little lap around the main floor and found a Taco stand.  Selling some pretty authentic tacos.  Three soft tacos for 5 pounds.   Like a Jorge Thoroughgood song.  One chicken, one pork n’ one beef.    Mmmmmmmm.  There was a party in my tummy, so yummy so yummy!
As I was in line for the Tacos, they called intermission, so after eating I wandered around the Roundhouse and admired the architecture from all angles, and then found a great photo display in the lobby detailing its painstaking restoration a few years back.  Man, NYC is sorely lacking in cool, vibe-y spots for bands to play.
I headed up tho the balcony for the start of the 2nd round of matches.  The first match was a one on one match for the WWA championship.  Between Blue Demon Jr and Douchey McDoucherson.  When the ring announcer was setting up the intros, he mentioned that the lineage of that particular belt can be traced back to Sting and Ric Flair.  As soon as he said Ric Flair, the auditorium erupted in a chorus of “Whooooooooooooooooos”  Wait a minute… Only real wrestling fans know that you have to let out a “whoo” at the slightest mention of the Nature Boy.  And these people did not look like real wrestling fans.  Most of the men had all their teeth for starters, which is rare enough in the UK, much less at a WRESTLING match in London.  Secondly, there were women there.  And not just women who had been dragged by their boyfriends, but packs of women.  Im talking bachelorette sized packs of women, but none of them were wearing Tiaras or sucking on penis shaped lollipops.  These were just women who decided to come see wrestling.
But maybe it was a fluke.  Maybe these people are only here because its Mexican Wrestling, and its in town and it’s a novelty, like the fat chicks with tattoos who pretend to put on Roller Derby events.  And maybe Ric Flair had some reality show in Britain that I didnt know about, but somehow these people all knew the Naitch, the Limosine Ridin, Jet Flyin, Kiss Stealing, Son Of a Gun.  And as soon as the match started it became perfectly clear that these poeple knew their wrestling too.  Everyone cheered at the right times, when the Luchadores pulled of a particularly difficult move, or a had a great exchange on the mat.  And when Blue Demon dove out over the top rope onto Douchey and an “ECW” chant broke out, my face was bathed in tears of joy.
The highlight, like in most wrestling matches was the main event, featuring Lucha Legend El Santo Del Hijo.  But not just because he was wrestling.  Though it was a thrill to see him in a 6 man tag match, it was nothing compared to the two flamboyantly gay Luchadores.  Yes, there were 2 flamobyanlty gay lucadores.  One was a carribean queen all dolled up with a wild feather headdress looking like a cross between a rockettes and one of Liberace’s backing dancers.  The other was dressed in a unitard that was made of half a union jack and half a Mexican fag.
After the matches were over it was straight back to the hotel. There was no way I was gonna top that!  London Loves me.

making tragedy happen in the uk v 1.8

Wolverhampton City. The Midlands.  A Wildhearts stronghold.  After a nifty three hour drive through the rain and fog we arrived in Wolverhampton.  Everyone was sick by the time we got to Wolverhampton.  And cranky.  Ah, the 7 day itch.  We pulled up to the venue and unloaded our bags and headed straight to the chemist.  The big “drugstore” is called Boots.  Yeah, Boots.  Why not?  Makes as much sense as Duane Reade.  After loading up on cold medecine, flu medecine, vitamins, honey drops, throat lozenges, and a pack of smokes to balance it all out, it was back to the venue, where we heard they had laundry facilites.  Surely some clean clothes would lift everybody’s spirits.  Or it would have, had the laundry room not been in the bolier room off the venue’s loading dock and had it not resembled the toilet scene from Trainspotting where Ewan Mcgregor loses his dope.  Still I would have been tempted to load my clothes into the deathtrap of a washer were it not for the piles of rust colored soiled towels laying around, on and INSIDE the washing machine.  Americans 2- Brits 3.  They got us good on that one.

So it was down to the cold, dank, basement dressing rooms to kill some time before sound check.  When A started soundchecking at 4pm, I thought we might have a fighting chance of getting our first proper check of the tour.  And when A finished their check at 5pm I knew we had a more than a fighting chance.  And not only did we get a full check, but Andy, the Wildhearts drum tech, had taken pity on us and left plenty of room between Ritchie’s riser and the front of the stage, giving both A and Tragedy plenty of stage room to work with.  A’s singer Jason and I joked around that we’d be able to do pirouettes with all the room we had.  Only I wasnt joking.  And Im pretty sure he knew that.  To make sure he knew I wasnt fucking around, during the show I actually busted out some ballerina moves during You should Be Dancing when I saw him watching from the wings.
About two hours before showtime, we got the delightful treat of meeting Gav’s 10 year old daughter Liv.  I’ve gotten to know Gav pretty well over the past year and change, spent plenty of time together including a total of 2-3 weeks of him sleeping at my house in NYC.  So In October when we were in lovely New Jesery at the Crowne Plaza off Ext 8 for the Iron Sheik Celebrity Wrestler Roast, it was quite a shock when he calmly told me he needed to make a phone call to wish his daughter a happy 10th birthday. DAUGHTER??  10 YEARS OLD??  This guy was just in NYC in April celberating his 30th birthday.  And he doesn’t look a day over 20 as it is. That means 11 years ago, when he probably looked NINE, he found a chick to let him put it in her.  No wonder she got pregnant.  Who wuld think a 9 year old boy would be shooting swimmers.
Meeting Liv was quite a treat.  There’s something that lives in the water in Wildheartsville that makes them unable to produce the normal sort of snot shooting monster spawn that most children are.  The most notable thing about Liv when I saw her, was my she looks a lot like Gav, only CUTE.  How bizarre.  Within minutes of meeting her I asked if she liked Glitter and she chuckled and nodded.  SO I hit her up with a nice dusting of Silver.  Then I asked if she thought her dad would like Glitter.  Gav had been staunchly anti-glitter the whole tour and got pretty upset when I managed to get him with a little bit in Oxford, but once his daughter called for it, there was nothing he could do, and he got a right straight sparkle shower.  Ah the joy I took in that one.
Knowing it was the 2nd to last day of the tour, the glitter bombing continued at a furious pace.  Ritch, the Wildhearts drummer, was having something of a homecoming show, and most of his family and friends managed to get glittered, except for the guy who looked like the villain from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  I wasnt going anywhere near that nutter.
Finally, it was time to take the stage, and I used up all the glitter I had left in my bag on myself.  This was a big room, and I wanted to make sure Id be sparkling even for the people in the back row!  We took the stage, decimated the fucking house, and then prepared for another massive thrashing from the Wildhearts.  They didnt disappoint, of course, and I used my fancy AA pass to get down into the pit and take some photos.  Damn Im like a genius n shit.
After the show we made our way to the merch booth to sign autographs for our adoring masses.  But in a weird twist of fate, we sold 90% of our stuff as soon as we were done playing, and once the Wildhearts show was over, we just stood behind the table and watched the crowd mostly filter past us, and a bunch stopped to get Wildhearts Merch.  Its a super ego boost when we’re in full costume and someone says “Ay, mate, lemme see that Wildhearts shirt in a large, yeah?”  These people must either be drunk or stupid to think that Ginger employs an 8 piece supremely-well-outfitted-disco-glam-metal-merchandise team.  Or…. um…. BOTH!  Yeah, Im going with both.
When the Wildhearts put out their covers album, Ginger was delighting in telling people, both in the liner notes and in interviews how “Battleship Chains” by the Georgia Satellites was such a genius song, because it only had 2 chords.  TWO!  ”Even the Ramones needed three” I heard him tell numerous people.  Well, lemme tell you, I am now a certified genius.  I wrote a song while I watched all the Wildhearts fans in Wolverhampton file out of the gig.  It only has TWO CHORDS.
The D chords stand for Dude and the C chords for Chicks.  Thought I may not be the genius I thought I was.  I think I need to add an F chord.  Not to spice it up musically, but just to get a little more descriptive.  The F of course, stands for FAT.

making tragedy happen in the uk v 1.7

If its Sunday we must be in Manchester.  Home of the Smiths, Joy Division and New Order.  Oh my god, it must have been the suicide capital of the UK during that time.  Or maybe people took solace in the fact that it also spawned Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses and the Fall and Inspiral Carpets.  Oh no, wait , those bands were fucking crap as well.  At least the Chemical Brothers formed in Manchester.  As awesome as they are, when the best music to come out of a city is made by 2 guys with computers, how does it get such a reputation for being a big rock n roll town?  I guess the Madchester Sound had a heavy influence on Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica”  OK, Im not being a total Debbie Downer on the town.  Even though when I woke up on Sunday, almost nothing in the entire city was open.  God fearing fuckers.

Rolled up to the Academy, which is actually located in the student union building of Manchester University.  Saw Jane and Jane’s Dad Jack and my momma in the parking lot.  And Lil T.  Oh sweet Lil T.  Took a quick look around inside and dropped our bags off in the dressing room and then headed out for Lunch.  Me and Momma and Jane and Jack and Lil T got tossed out of two pubs straight away.  The first one because it “Wasn’t open.”  Even though they were playing “Welcome to the Jungle” on the jukebox, there were 6 people sitting at the bar drinking, and all the lights were on. Yeah, my mistake.  So we walked a few blocks to the next “open” pub.  We sat down looked over the menus, finally decided what we all wanted and then Jane went to the bar to order.  It was then they told her that they didnt allow babies inside.  Makes perfect sense once again.  Why tell us that when we first walk in.  Nah, let ius get all settled and comfy first.  Imagine Lil T getting us tossed out of pubs.  Like father, like son, I guess.
Okay, next stop, across the street.  Some cafe type joint that looked like the British equivalent of an American Diner. Not the  cool, trolley or 50s style “diners” you might be envisioning.  But a more bland version of the type of diner you’d see on Seinfeld or any other wildly uproarious sitcom about 4 something-somethings and their wacky adventures in life, love, and their love lives.
Had some predictably bland chicken with some forgettably bland side.  Then tried some of my mom’s “jacket potato”  Which was you guessed it, bland.  But she got hers with Tuna Fish.  Which had a lot of mayo in it.  you know what putting a lot of mayo in tuna fish does?  Brings all the taste out!  Nah, just shitting ya.  It was bland.  But you know what was bland but GOOD?  Jack’s dinner.  Toast with cheese.  Exactly as it sounds, but yummy nonetheless.
Ginger came and joined us for the end of lunch and an eruption of photos ensued.  I witnessed two firsts right then and there. Id never seen a father SO EXCITED to give his baby a bottle.  And Ive never seen a baby who loved having his picture taken so much.  This kid is 5 months old but knows what a camera is, and his eyes light up every time you point one at him.  Before you go thinking he’s tooooo cuuuuuute…. remember he’s a baby.  So he’s a shit machine by nature.  Peee-eewwwww.  Nah, just kidding: his shit didn’t stink.  It just smelled bland.
Headed back to the venue so Gin-Gin could sound check.  I went for a run around the campus.  Which consisted of running circles through one quad and a parking lot.  This served 2 purposes… since it was a Sunday and there was nobody around  (I mean like ghost town, like the students disappeared to Ibiza for the weekend) I was afraid if I ran too far away then Id get lost and be screaming Hello Manchester for hours until bounding onto the stage in my running gear as soon as our set started.  And two, I was told it was a rough town full of things called punters.  Though I didn’t understand the term, since punters back home are usually the biggest pussies on the football team.  But fuck it, I hadnt been stabbed yet, and I didnt wanna start in Manchester.  If the food was that bland, I didn’t want to take a chance on their antibiotics.
Manchester was a first in a few regards, show-wise; it was the first venue that we got to hang our massive banner in.  13 feet wide by 9 feet tall.  Massive yeah.  It was sweet.  Proper rigging meant they just lowered a pole and we tied our banner to it and they fly it up again.  It was awesome til we saw it hung in front of the Wildhearts banner.  I guess you need a banner the size of Buckingham Palace if you’re the Wildhearts.  The ceiling was about 30 feet high and you could still only see half of their banner.  The drummer actually obscured some of the logo.  Damn these fools must play some big ass rooms.  Or maybe they sketched their banner out to be 60? high, but mis-wrote it as 60?.  Some say bigger is better, but even though theirs dwarved ours, you could still see our entire banner.  So Im gonna chalk that one up to us.  We’ll make an enormo banner when we play the enormo dome.  Or the Download fest.
The other first was that there was no bar inside the room where the bands played.  Just a big huge fucking room.  3 walls and a stage.  Our super-mega-wicked-awesome driver Paul told us that when he played that room as a first of 3, they just opened with a wall of feedback for 3 minutes to make sure everyone in the bar next door and down below the venue heard that band was going on and made it up to the music room.  This wasn’t really a viable option for us since we open with Night Fever, which starts with Pete doing the intro from offtstage with his wireless, the band walking out onto stage and a slow build.  ”Oh well, fuck it” we thought.  ”We’ll do what we do and they’ll see it or they wont.”  When I bounded onstage at the end of the build, I was tickled pink (or was that just my hair getting in my face) to see that there were at least 100 people in the massive room, including the requisite 8 or 10 wild hearted fans who got to the barricade 6 seconds after doors opened every night.  When we finished the song and looked up I was astounded.  There were 6-700 people in the room .  And a lot of them were clapping and smiling.  In fact, I didnt hear a single boo.  Though a few solo dudes, who I likely would have booed had they been onstage, were just staring at us, unsure yet if it was gonna be “okay” to like us.  I made a mental note to grind my crotch in their general direction during You Should Be Dancing.
By the time the set was over there were well over 1,000 people in the room and they were having a blast.  I think it helped that my mom created a one person tidal wave of support in the third row, on Pete’s side.  I kept seeing a sea of arms waving out of the corner of my eye and would look down to see it was just my mom.  I hadnt seen her move so much so fast since she chased me through the house trying to get her Benson and Hedges back from me when I was just a wee lad.  Whatever she was doing, which I think she would call dancing, it worked.  We killed it in Manchester.  We all headed straight out to the merch booth after the show and the autograph hounds came a seeking. We sold and signed and signed and sold.  Both after our set and at the end of the night.  I signed so many autographs my damn hand was getting tired.  It was like the day I discovered (internet) porn.
Predictably… the Wildhearts fucking ate Manchester up.  But we held our own and set our tour merch sales record.  Id like to think it was because we were so fucking awesome.  But Im pretty sure it had a lot to do with the low rock bar the rest of the “Manchester Scene” had set over the past 30 years.

making tragedy happen in the uk v 1.6

A night off.  On a Saturday.  The Wildhearts were off to play some biker fest called Hard Rock Hell were they were co-headlining with Black Label Society.  It must have ben put on by some pinko commie faction of Bikers, as they didnt invite Tragedy, but once we found out that Manchester United had a home match that day, it was fine with us.  After much scrambling and hoop jumping by our fearless roadie Tommy Rockstar, we had secured 6 tickets for the match through the Man U Fan Ticket Exchange program – otherwise known as an in house scalping network run by, and profited by, the team itself.  Genius!

As soon as the bus dropped us off near the stadium, we turned the corner and there was a line a mile deep to get into a pub.  We walked right around the line and heard ALL SORTS of songs being sung by drunken brits.  Or maybe they were just Scottish.
After wandering around the grounds for a bit, and stopping in to the MEGA CROWDED MAN U MEGA STORE, we headed inside to get away from the cold. The stadium was all drab gray concrete and a bit foreboding;  much like the English weather.  And the food options inside weren’t much better.  Meat pie, cheese and onion pie, burger, hot dog, coke, fanta, diet coke, Boddington’s and Budweiser.  Budweiser?!?!?!? I guess it really is a european beer now.
The one marked difference between a British Football Stadium and an American sports stadium is that you can bet on the games.  INSIDE THE STADIUM.  Yup, they’ve got betting booths set up all throughout the stadium, with preprinted odds sheets for you to fill out your bets on.  No shit.  Tommy and Chris and I all placed bets for Man U to beat Sunderland.  I bet the final score would be 3-1.  Chris Bet 3-0, and Tommy bet 3-2.  We all had different odds.  No wonder the whole crowd goes nutty at these games!  If the game doesn’t go their way, they wont be able to pay the dentist!  Oh, wait, bad analogy.  They wont be able to DRINK THAT WEEK!
We went up into the stadium, and to my pleasant surprise, the seats were all covered.  Every single one of them.  The stadium, Old Trafton, has this crazy death star roof that slants down from all sides of the stadium and leaves a hole just over the field.  Right, so the players can get all wet, running around on slippery grass putting their one hundred thousand pound a week fragile legs and ankles in danger, AND the wet grass can slow down the play even FURTHER.  Nice one, mate.  I think the same guy that designed the stadium designed the British military’s defense system in WWII.
The pre-game music was amazing.  Nickelback.  Do They Know It’s Christmas.  Kylie Minogue.  And making total perfect sense, Man U has adopted John Denver’s “Country Roads” as their theme song.  And changed the lyrics.
United Road, take me home
To the place, I belong;
To Old Trafford, to see United;
Take me home, United road
I guess they’d look like even BIGGER fags if they co-opted an Elton John or Freddy Mercury song.
The game itself was a bit of a letdown.  Letdown from what, you might ask?  And you’d be right.  How can you be “let down” by the lack of action in a soccer match.  The whole game was invented because cricket was too complicated to play while drinking.  Why else would you invent a GAME of SKILL where you can’t use your HANDS??
After a very uneventful first half which ended in a deadlocked zero-zero tie, we all met up back in the “dining concourse” Another lukewarm tasteless meat patty anyone?  I popped over to the betting stand to find out they had ALL NEW odds sheets printed out that allowed you to bet, yet again, on the outcome of the 2nd HALF OF THE GAME.  Holy shit.  all these catholics and protestants, yet sin everywhere you look!  Tommy and I both bet that Man U would win 1-0 with 3-2 odds and Chris got 11-1 odds on his 10 pound bet that the game wouldnt get any more exciting and would remain dreadfully deadlocked at 0-0.
With 10 minutes left in the 2nd half, there hadnt been any more action, unless you count guys falling down and crying until play stopped and the trainer came over to massage their egos, which were seemingly located in their calves, as action.  Then Man U actually started to attack.  It was like they just tapped the keg labelled “offense” by the bench, and actually started TRYING to score a goal.  But it was to no avail.  At the one minute mark it was still tied zero zero and Chris was having visions of all that non existent British vegetarian food he was gonna buy with his 110 pounds.  Man was he excited.  Then the unthinkable happened.  At the 9 second mark, just as the announcer came on the PA to inform us that the referee had declared 4 extra minutes of “injury time” Man U bounced a shot off the goal post, and some dude with a Russian name dressed in a red jersey tapped the rebound in… and the place EXPLODED!  Wow, emotion.  Yet another precious commodity in the UK.  But just as quickly as it came, it dissipated.  A quick kickoff and a few boring minutes later, the game was over and the crowd filed out of the stadium.  We waited to let as many people out before us as possible.  We lingered for every possible moment until security made it abundantly clear that we were no longer welcome inside, and we made our way to the exits.  I envisioned parades of rowdy brits running up and down the streets punching opposing fans, fellow fans, and anybody who looked like their schoolmarms.  But when we got outside, nothing.  It was just a bunch of people heading towards their cars.  Even the pubs were ominously quiet.  Is this how they celebrated?  Was all the hooliganism I’d read about saved for when their teams lost?  OR is just nothing a big deal for these people?  Well, Ill never know the answer, cuz Ill never go to another football match in the UK.  Or anywhere for that matter.  Unless Ive been guessing wrong all these years and there is a God, and he sends me to hell.  Which would surely be full of british football matches.

making tragedy happen in the uk v 1.5

Oxford.  College Town.  Felt like any Collegetown USA but with much better looking buildings, and much worse looking chicks.  The venue was smack dab in the middle of “High Street”  – across from Planet Thai and a skateboard shoppe.  Man do College towns vary AT ALL?  Down the street was a Tesco where I imagine the professors dread going and running into their students.  The most notable part of the day was that our drerssing room was situated so that anyone going from the floor of the venue to the Wildhearts dressing room, the dressing room for the band playing in the smaller room upstairs, the venue managers office, or the production office, had to walk through our dresssing room.  And between our dressing room and the venue floor was the EMT / Triage station.  Awesome.

Our set was pretty uneventful.  There was this weird overhang in the room, and people all stayed behind that while we played, for the most part.  Except for the 10 people who run right up to the barricade the minute the doors open. But they weren’t so into us.  Every now and then you just get a crowd that isn’t gonna get you.  No matter what you do.  We played hard and gave all the energy we had, but it didnt seem to matter.  Though sometimes crowd reaction can be deceptive, especially in the UK.  Cuz we did really well on merch, and Ginger and Gav both said they thought the crowd loved us.  None of us did though.  Oh well.  You cant win them all.
When A started playing, I had to get out of there.  The dressing room situation was a pain in the ass, and the venue floor didnt prove to be much better, mainly because it was crowded, but more so because it was crowded with hot sweaty dudes.  Everyone in the band went to get dinner, but I wasnt really hungry so I decided to go and take a loot at the Oxford University campus.  And I was super glad that  I did.  The University was GORGEOUS and past the Universtiy was whole other side of the town that didnt have a “college town” vibe , but felt like a classic British city center.  Lots of shops, cobblestone streets, xmas decorations etc.  and for some reason there was a large contingent of people dressed in costume, and at least 30 men dressed in neon day glow tutus.  And not altogether, in groups of 2 or 3.  Might have been some sort of fraternity hazing ritual.  Weird,  After walking for a while, I started to get cold so I thought I could jog a little bit to warm up.  30 minutes and 3 miles of zig zagging through the campus later, my sweaty ass made it back to the venue in time to catch the last half of the Wildhearts set.  Sick as always.
After the gig, I went out in the alley to smoke and saw that Tom, the Wildhearts sound engineer – who also mixes Guns n Roses when Axl bothers to get out of bed – was smoking a cigar in a storage shed in the alley on the side of the venue.  I popped in and chatted with him and scott Sorry for a minute when I saw the bins.  Stashed in the bins were all the letters for the big marquee out front.  Of course I liberated a few.  T-R-A-G-E-D-Y.