Monday, September 30, 2013

The boot is on the other foot

A record is always better than a CD isn't it?
So there we were, setting our gear up and getting ready to soundcheck, when a cardboard box with RUTS D.C. written on it in felt tip pen arrived. Was anyone expecting anything? No. We'd better have a look inside it then... ooh, it's a stack of Ruts bootleg albums and an accompanying letter to Segs and Dave that among other things suggests some rather creative accountancy... you can see one of the records and the letter in the above photograph - the album comes in four different vinyl colours (black, white, red and green - pretty punky huh?) and if you'd like one then they're available on the Ruts D.C. merchandise stall while stocks last. And once they're gone, they're gone, unless The Human Punk sends us some more... I must make sure that I get one for myself!

In the meantime we've just played three shows up in Scotland - Friday we were at Ivory Blacks in Glasgow, Saturday at The Windsor Hotel in Kirkcaldy and Sunday at The Moorings Bar in Aberdeen. It's been a great few days - the venues were excellent, the audiences were enthusiastic (to say the least!) and the band (with Seamus returning on keyboards alongside Molara, Dave, Segs and myself) all played well. You can't ask for much more than that can you? But since our driver Marc had to get home quickly today we had to make our way to Glasgow Airport after the Aberdeen show (we got there around 4am) then make our way back today - as I sit here typing this I'm almost beyond tired, which is why this posting is so short. I may write a longer piece on the last few days later in the week - if I can remember what happened... in the meantime it's back to basics for your humble narrator this week, as The Upper Cut visit one of their favourite haunts this Friday evening, when we'll be at The Dolphin in Uxbridge from 9pm. It feels as though we haven't played together in ages, so it'll be great to see the lads again. And there's a very exciting just-confirmed-a-few-minutes-ago Ruts D.C. support gig in London on the horizon - but more about that next time.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ruts D.C. in Germany, September 2013

What follows was written at the date and time indicated...

Wednesday 18th September, 2.25pm

Welcome to room 304 of the Armony Hotel in Berlin. My - indeed our - journey has been relatively straightforward (for once!) I got a 6.30am cab to Heathrow Airport Terminal 1, met the rest of the Ruts D.C. touring party (Dave on drums, Segs on bass, Molara on vocals and Nick our soundman, keyboard wizard Seamus being busy elsewhere) in zone J where we checked in, put our bags and guitars where our bags and guitars were supposed to go and made our way through security to the departure lounge (I got stopped and had to empty my bag out - nothing too embarrassing in it thank Gawd!) where we had some breakfast before making our way to the aircraft. We took off a few minutes late and from my point of view the flight went by in no time thanks to a combination of catching up on sleep and reading the excellently nerdy 'Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who From Lifehouse To Quadrophenia' book. 
Mutti, Segs and Dave
attempt to ignore the film crew
as they arrive at
The Armony Hotel.
At Tegal Airport we were reunited with our luggage (my Les Paul is still in one piece - hurrah!) then met up with Mutti, our tour manager for our 4-gigs-in-4-days visit to Germany. Amusingly he's being filmed for a documentary being made about him - which means we were being filmed too. Excellent! He takes us the scenic route to our hotel, meaning that we get to see The Brandenberg Gate, Holocaust MemorialCheckpoint Charlie and more while he supplies a very interesting and informative commentary.
Our hotel looks good, the venue SO36 is not too far away, everyone is in high spirits - this is going to be a good few days. 

Time for a drink!

Thursday 19th September, 12.50pm

We've not long left our hotel, travelling through some different parts of the city that we didn't see yesterday including some of the former East Berlin which I spent a bit of time in when The Price played there back in 1990. All good stuff - now we head for Hamburg.
Our first Seamus-less show went well (although I for one definitely missed his always-excellent playing) with 250+ people in attendance including Adrian and Gunta from England, New Rose Punk Rock Radio DJ Nolti (who plays The Price regularly on his show - top man!) and Max who tells me he saw me playing with T.V. Smith at The Rebellion Festival back in 2011. Mutti's assistant Katya manned the merchandise stall which gave me chance to, well, feel as though I had nothing to do as I'm normally behind the table myself. Still I was able to join Adrian and Gunta for a drink in The Franken Bar opposite the venue, and to catch a few songs by The Tips who are supporting us on all 4 shows. We played a good show although as I say the keyboards were definitely missed, especially on the reggae-based numbers; none of this seemed to bother the audience, who were well into it from the word go. Talking to people afterwards - and let me say now that when they apologised for having bad English it was infinitely better than my German will ever be - it was clear that many folk had waited a very long time for this gig to happen,  and that quite a few people were going to be at more than one or the tour dates which was great to hear.
Earlier in the evening while Dave and Segs had been busy with a radio interview (which you can hear here) I'd been walking from our hotel to the venue when I came across the Disorder Rebel Store. With a name like that I of course had to go in, and was just feeling tempted to buy a suitably rebellious t-shirt when the man behind the counter said a cheery hello. We got talking, and he asked me what I was doing in town. When I told him that I was playing at SO36 he said 'Ah, Ruts D.C.!' excitedly and produced a CD-R with the band's named scrawled on it in felt tip pen. When I joked that he should have bought a 'real' copy he laughed, shrugged and said 'I'm an anarchist!'

There's no answer to that is there?

Friday 20th September, 1.45pm

If like me you're a Beatles fan - ok, a Beatles obsessive... oh alright, a Beatles bore - then
Just ask for 'Mr Claus' -
everything he says is true!
visiting Hamburg for the first time can only bring to mind The Fab Four's legendary stints in the city. As we arrived at The Hotel Pacific Mutti told us that 'it's the one where all the groups stayed back in the '60s' and then went on to say that the old chap in the Rotthoff music shop next door has worked there for over 50 years and has lots of stories to tell...

My new friend 'Mr. Claus' (pronounced 'Klaus') smiled knowingly. I'd just asked him if The Beatles used to come into his shop. Yes, many times, also Bill Haley, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Screaming Lord Sutch, Cream, The Spencer Davis Group - this list was endless. I asked him if Jimi Hendrix had ever paid him a visit - he hadn't but he did see him play at The Star Club. He recounted how Tony Sheridan had been a great friend, and how sad his death earlier this year had been - 'he told me many things, but never that he was ill'. He'd met him around the time that The Beat Brothers had been his backing band - I wonder whatever happened to them?
The venue is down on the waterside; to get there we drive along The Reeperbahn, and once again Mutti's running commentary is absolutely excellent. At The Hafelklang soundcheck goes well and there is food and drink a-plenty. We walk a few doors down to The Haifisch Bar for a drink (obviously!) before returning to find The Tips sounding good and the club filling up nicely. By the time we take to the stage there is a tangible atmosphere of expectation - we start as we mean to go on and play a powerful show to an increasingly animated audience. At one point a large bearded (and for want of a better term, 'confused') man asks to use a microphone - I was expecting a profound political statement but instead he says that he bought a Ruts t-shirt and now he's dropped it and if anyone finds it could they let him have it back. They do, and they do. 'It's like a branch of Alcoholics Anonymous' says Segs ruefully. Our show ends to what might best be described as pandemonium, and after encoring we retire to the dressing room where we realise that they're still cheering and don't sound as though they're going to stop. After a brief 'do we / don't we?' conversation we return to jam on 'Can't Take It Easy'. Thank you and goodnight.
Segs outside Rockhats -
right hook not pictured.
Back on The Reeperbahn the scariest thing that I see being bought is Dave's sausage (oo-er missus etc) although I must admit that I didn't look for too long. I thought about going for a drink with Mutti and Segs (who had refused to leave the van until he was taken to a bar!) but decided against it - when I saw him in the morning Segs told me that I 'missed the fight'... apparently they'd gone to The Jolly Roger, stronghold of the F.C. St. Pauli fans like Mutti where someone had asked him what team he followed. When he told them that he'd been born near Arsenal's ground they swung a punch at him. Not good frankly. Still we have just visited the 'Rockhats' shop, where Nick nearly bought a top hat (it would have looked great behind the mixing desk!) and Segs tried on a sou'wester, much to everyone's amusement. That's more like it. 

Saturday 21st September, 8.30am

...and we're already on the road. It's an epic journey from Bremen to Munich so it's an
The Tips rockin' The Lagerhaus.
early start. I've got an annoyingly runny nose although I don't feel as though I've got a cold, and I feel tired but not tired enough to get back to sleep just yet. It's a lovely sunny morning and although the mood in the van is subdued it's also very positive - and well it might be as it was another good show last night, maybe not quite as incendiary as the previous night in Hamburg but not far off it. The Lagerhaus (what a great name! - although disappointingly it means 'store house') is a excellent venue with a fine sound system and excellent stage, which always makes a band's job easier. There's a feeling of being at a particular standard which we mustn't fall below - that's a good feeling to have.

Some more thoughts on the Jolly Roger incident - the theory now is that Segs's attacker heard him tell the barmaid that his name was 'sex' and took offence. Well, it's a thought. In the meantime the man himself has just announced that he's lost two pairs of socks (that happens doesn't it?) and, rather more peculiarly, the lace from his right shoe. That takes a bit of doing don't you think?
So, today is a road day. I'm hungry as I haven't had any breakfast, but nor has anybody else. I'm sure we'll stop for something soon.


Well I managed to get a bit of sleep and also to read a bit more of my book - but that was around 7 hours on the road. Mutti drove the whole way - how he's still on his feet and working is beyond all of us. And I'm moaning about having a runny nose! Annoyingly it's still going strong - I've taken a hay fever tablet so maybe that'll help.
After a somewhat light-hearted soundcheck we were bought down to Earth by the news that only 17 advance tickets have been sold. Perhaps playing a gig when it's the first night of The Oktoberfest just down the road isn't a good idea? Still we're sounding good, and as The Tips are getting ready for their soundcheck myself and Segs meet our new friend Chris who wants to interview us for the German version of 'Guitarist' magazine. Now I must admit that I'm both amazed and amused by this; a guitar magazine wants to talk to me? Hilarious! At some point of our epic journey we had a less-than-serious 'what shall we say to him?' conversation - we came up with the concept of RHD or 'Right Hand Dynamics' as a soundbite if we needed one... in the event it was a very easy and enjoyable thing to do, right down to the 'what strings do you use?' moments (being a complete nerd I of course knew mine, but Segs had to get the packet from his bass case to find out what gauge his were!) and I must say that I could have sat there talking about guitars for a lot longer than I did. Mind you, I usually can. And yes, Segs not only talked about Right Hand Dynamics, but talked about them in a rather more serious manner than either of us were expecting.

Time for some food!

Sunday 22nd September, 11.30am

Well now we're at Stuttgart Airport getting ready to go home. What a great few days this has been. Mind you it didn't feel quite so great last night when we realised that we might be facing a audience of less than 20. After eating I got changed (more for something to do than anything else, if you know what I mean) I walked down into the hall to see how Katya was doing setting up the merchandise stall. There were already more than 17 people in the hall. Good. Things can only get better. 
By the time The Tips start their show at half past eight there are 50 or so in the audience; halfway through their set there are at least double that and people are still arriving. Hurrah!
Ruts D.C. showtime is 10 o'clock, and what a show it is. The audience is noisy, boisterous even, a few at the front engage Molara and Segs in conversation (well they shout cheerily at them in a manner that suggests that they may have spent some time at The Oktoberfest earlier!) and there is dancing and merriment from the word go. As the show progresses it's clear that it's going to be one to remember, and our set ends to chaotic scenes. When we return for an encore we even manage to get Mutti on stage with us, he looks embarrassed when Segs tells the audience how great he's been to us for the last few days - but it's true, he and Katya have both been brilliant. 'Dope For Guns' and 'In A Rut' nearly cause a riot, and we return for a breathless 'H-Eyes' to finish a terrific show.
After some suitably mad times on the merch after the show we pack our gear away and then load the van before setting out for Stuttgart where we're staying in anticipation of our flight home. Having already driven hundreds of miles during the day Mutti is still behind the wheel - the man's a marvel.
Sitting here now, thinking back over the last few days spent in Germany I have to say that it's been a wonderful thing to be part of. As stated above Mutti and Katya have worked tirelessly to make sure that things ran smoothly, and run smoothly they most certainly did. Indeed the only downside that I can think of (apart from Segs nearly getting into a scrap!) is that I've still got a runny nose. Maybe I have got a bit of a cold, although I still don't feel as though I have. Oh well.
Four lads who
shook the World.
With jaunts such as this there is often a moment that somehow stands out, that stays with you longer than others - you know the sort of thing. For me it occurred in the dressing room at the Berlin SO36 gig... Ruts D.C. played at the venue in 1981, and The Ruts had played in Berlin a year-and-a-bit earlier as part of a series of European dates. A fan had put together a display that included a blown-up photocopy of the 1981 concert ticket and four individual photos of the band taken at the earlier show, and had bought it up to the dressing room. And there they were looking out at us all, four young men ready to take on the World. Two of them were in the dressing room, the other two sadly were not. As I looked at the pictures I wondered how Segs and Dave felt - really felt - about them. Would it upset them, or would it cheer them that someone had thought so much of the band that they'd gone to so much trouble to produce such a splendid display?
A couple of minutes before the show I got my answer. We were just about to head for the stage when Dave produced some plastic cups. He poured a generous measure of Vodka into each of them and then handed one each to Mutti, Segs, Molara and myself. He looked at the photos, smiled and then raised his drink in the air. 

'To absent friends...' and then added 'and to new friends too'.

Enough said I think?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Clash city rockers

'Wild punk rockers smash up theatre'
- now that's a headline!
Now here's a sight that's absolutely guaranteed to have sad men like me blubbing like a girly in seconds - yes it's three electric guitars, but not any old three electric guitars. Oh no. On the left a 1959 Les Paul Junior owned by Mick Jones, in the middle Joe Strummer's iconic 'Ignore Alien Orders' Telecaster (click here for the story of the instrument) and on the right Paul Simonon's Fender bass, all of which are currently to be found in The Clash pop-up shop at 75 Berwick Street. The exhibition marks the release on the 'Sound System' box set which contains pretty much everything that the band released during it's lifetime as well as outtakes, unreleased songs and video material; also on display are record covers, handwritten setlists, the famous 'London Calling' smashed bass (I would have taken a picture but I couldn't get near it!) and lots more besides. It's only there until next Sunday and it's well worth a visit. Mind you, I would say that wouldn't I? And I wonder what happened to Topper Headon's drumkit? 

Well it's Sunday evening and I'm already home from gigging - this has been happening a fair bit lately but I'm still not used to it! But it was a cracking gig this, er, afternoon at The Horns in Watford where I was depping in The Good Old Boys. With Hud away elsewhere Chris Hunt stepped in on drums - I played a few shows with him many years ago with Dave Finnegan's Commitments, and although I've send him play occasionally since then I'd all but forgotten what an incredibly powerful drummer he is. Teaming him with bass hero Nick Simper made for an absolutely extraordinary rhythm section, and with band stalwarts Alan Barratt on vocals and Pete Parks on guitar on top form throughout it was a thoroughly enjoyable show to be part of. It's good when that happens - and it was a good show on Saturday night too when Big Al Reed and the Blistering Buicks made a return visit to The Admiral Nelson in Twickenham. My good friend Pete has been depping for the band while I've been away with Ruts D.C. - he joined us for a few numbers at this show and sounded as though he'd really got hold of the material, as indeed did the rest of the band which is going from strength to strength. There are plenty of gigs coming in too - I wonder how many I'll play and how many I'll be asking Pete to do?
The answer to that question depends largely on what happens next with Ruts D.C. - and on the evidence of Friday's show at Sub89 in Reading that could well turn out to be a fascinating question. First things first though - what an absolutely superb venue Sub 89 is, with a good sized stage, great sound system and very helpful staff. Everything ran smoothly from the word go, the band played a hour-and-a-bit long set to an increasingly appreciative audience, and talking to people afterwards everyone seemed to think that we'd given a great show. And without wishing to sound too big headed - we had! You know when you play a good one, and this was definitely a good one  - our driver Marc hadn't seen us for a few months and told me that he was amazed at how the band had progressed in the interim period. We're off to Germany for 4 shows this week then up to Scotland next weekend before we start looking forward to the Damned tour in November and December, and with things already being planned for next year the future for the band is looking very interesting indeed. Well, let's hope so anyway.

In the meantime I'm off to bed - it's bloomin' tiring this gigging lark you know, even when you are home early...

Stop press! On Monday the always-worth-a-read Retro Man blog published a review of our Reading show which you can find here - and as I say, the rest of the blog is well worth checking out too.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Preston... and on... and on...

'Why? Because Krakatoa's
not erupting?!?'
Have you seen that scene in Fawlty Towers where the deaf woman complains about the view from her hotel room? (Just in case you don't, here it is - a classic!) She'd have had a birthday if she'd stayed in the room that I shared with Seamus on Saturday night. Mind you it's a bit unfair putting this photo here - if I'd have turned around I could have taken a picture of the ornamental water feature that sat slightly awkwardly between our two beds...

So far, so sarcastic - but how had I got there?

I met the van at 9am on Friday at Driving Me Crazy in Brentford. As I got there my new friend Dawn was just reversing the vehicle into place - when I commented on her New Model Army shirt she revealed that she works for them and then offered to put me on the guest list for their show at The Forum in November. Result!
If I now tell you that we arrived at 53 Degrees in Preston just before 6.30pm after a journey that should have taken around 4 hours you will have some idea of how our day went. Why does this country completely fall apart when it rains? That said although the journey was long it wasn't by any means totally unenjoyable, as Seamus told some hilarious stories about his time playing with Paul Weller (it's best that they're not repeated here, believe me!) matched by Dave coming out with a seemingly endless succession of bad jokes among the many amusing diversions. It was all more fun than it looks written down here, honest!
Backstage passes for the gigs,
and the 'short but sweet'
Newcastle setlist.
When we finally arrived at the venue we were met by the very helpful stage crew who helped us carry our equipment in. Bass and guitar amplifiers were provided by first-on-the-bill band Bug who feature Louder Than War scribe Phil Thompson on guitar and vocals; The Notsensibles are also on the bill and given that we were due to arrive at 3 o'clock there is shall we say a certain amount of urgency to get us soundchecked, but as always Nick our soundman pulled things together in no time. There's just time to get our merchandise table set up and to say hello to Richie from Biteback before Bug take to the stage at 8 o'clock - the room is filling up and they go down well with all concerned. I thought that they sounded great but Phil's a mate so perhaps I shouldn't say that?!? The Notsensibles single 'I Am the Bishop' was produced by Paul Fox (yes, I do have a copy!) and both Segs and Dave are big fans of the song - the band sounded more-or-less how I remember them from back in the day i.e. not too serious and therefore good fun. We all felt that our show took a while to get going, probably due to the journey taking more of a toll on us that we perhaps realised at the time - that said we may have just been a bit overcritical, as everybody I spoke to afterwards seemed to love it. The customer is always right...
With everything packed away it was back to The Holiday Inn where thankfully the bar was still open. Phil from Bug joined us with his wife, brother and mum (they'd all been at the gig, I don't think that he has them with him all the time!) and drinks were drunk, stories were told and the day ended on a much more optimistic note than I for one felt as though it might when we were on the endless M6. Good! 

Saturday started in a leisurely manner, with breakfast finishing at 11am and the band leaving for Newcastle at midday. Our journey goes well and we're checking in at The Ramada Encore in no time where the food is good and the mood is relaxed. We're playing at the North West Calling festival at The O2 Academy where we're sharing a dressing room with The U.K. Subs who are on after us with Sham 69 topping the bill. I meet Subs guitar man Jet in the afore-mentioned room, and since we've both got our instruments handy a spot of guitar nerdery takes place, much to the horror of other band members and onlookers. Great stuff!
The doorway that
leads to adventure -
 or in this case,
an in depth discussion of
electric guitar intonation
and fret wire gauge.
I went for a walk out into the venue to catch a song or two from Steve Ignorant and Paranoid Visions and to meet up with my mate Ross who lives locally, he used to roadie for Jimi Hendrix tribute band Little Wing back in the '90s when I saw them a few times, not least because they had Upper Cut bassman Terry Peaker in their ranks. He always said that he was a big Ruts fan so it was great to be able to invite him along as I hadn't seen him since Terry's 60th birthday bash back in December 2011. No time for a chat now though as we're on in 15 minutes, and even though amplifiers are provided (that's why we didn't take ours along the night before) there's a mad rush to get everything set up in time - we just about manage it and play a blazing 40 minute set to the increasing approval of the increasingly animated audience. We start our last song 'Babylon's Burning' and the place goes wild - but the song goes wrong and Segs stops us during the first verse, confusion reigns but the crowd carries on singing, we restart it and finish to tumultuous applause. A great gig - I wish we could have played for longer but sometimes 'short and sweet' is the way to go, and this was perhaps one of those times. 
With our gear all packed away it's off out front to watch a couple of songs from The U.K. Subs (who sounded great - apparently their soundman just left our settings up on the mixing desk!) before joining our driver Mark behind the merch desk which slightly oddly is up on the second floor. You can't see the stage from there but business is brisk,with plenty of positive comments from many-a punter. Tony who saw us in Stockton back in March shows us his new Ruts D.C. tattoo and local record dealer Pod presents Segs and myself with compilation DVDs of old Ruts footage as Sham 69 blast though their set in the background - it's been a great evening. The rest of the band take the van back to the hotel while Segs and myself pack the merchandise away then take a taxi through the Newcastle streets which are full of people - as we stop to let an endless stream of them cross the road the driver asks us if there's anything we need. The evening then takes a slightly surreal turn when offers us some Viagra - which we decline in case you were wondering - then when we get to the hotel there's a St. Pauli-themed hen party at the bar. I'll leave you to do your own punchline...

The next day's journey back to London goes well if somewhat blearily - I get home and fall asleep for a couple of hours before getting on Skype and participating in episode 128 of the Music Scene Investigation podcast. Watching it now I'm not entirely sure that I was awake during the broadcast either - have a look here and see what you think. And I should perhaps have had an early night on Monday after a day in the shop but instead journeyed up to London where despite guitar amplifier problems during their first couple of songs The Duel were in fine form at their Madame Jojo's Monday night residency. 

And there's more on the horizon from Ruts D.C. this weekend as we're playing at Sub89 in Reading this Friday 13th September. Unlucky for some? Hopefully not for us...

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

September song

This month begins with the news that GLM - the band formed by ex-Lurkers Pete Stride, Nigel Moore and Pete 'Manic Esso' Haynes - have released a new single (well you can download it for free from their website, I think that's how things work these days?) For what my opinion is worth 'The Future Is Calling' is probably their best work to date, sounding more like The Lurkers of old rather than their recent 'Chemical Landslide' album. And if that wasn't enough the band has a new Facebook page which you can find here - it looks as though things are going well for Ickenham's finest... 

After last weekend's gig frenzy things have backed off a bit this week, with 'three-gigs-in-three-days-with-three-different-bands'; actually they haven't really backed off that much have they? Good!

Big Al Reed And The Blistering Buicks played at The Dolphin in Uxbridge on Friday evening; the show got off to a late start due to the Chelsea match being on the television but the band certainly got straight into the swing of things and gave an energetic performance in front of a small but enthusiastic audience. I'm going to miss some gigs with the band over the next few weeks as I'm off gigging with Ruts D.C. (more about that in a minute) so my good friend Pete Kerr will be depping for me - he joined us for a few songs at this show and it sounded to me as though he'll make a very good job of things. A good gig all round.

Saturday saw Balcony Shirts designer and t-shirt printer Dave get married to Kate in The Four Seasons Room at Uxbridge Register Office. I was trying to remember when I last went to a wedding at this venue - I'm pretty sure that I haven't been to one there this century (!) and I'm absolutely sure that I hadn't been to one like this before, with Dave in his punk rock finery, both bride and groom sporting splendid haircuts courtesy of Horsepower Hairdressing and Dave's brother Mick wearing what might best be described as a 'tuxedo onesie' (it looked something like this and had to be seen to be believed!) among the many highlights. Their reception was held the same evening at The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes, an extraordinary venue on the site of the EMI record factory. Musical entertainment came from myself and my old mate Matt - between us we came up with a varied selection of material performed on two acoustic guitars and with Matt in fine voice throughout. The unusual nature of proceedings was underlined by the fact that there was coffee, curry and cupcakes but no alcoholic drinks - I'm sure I haven't been to a  reception like that before either!

It was back to Colnbrook on Sunday afternoon for an Upper Cut gig at Ye Olde George Inn. We've played some good shows here over the last few months but this was probably the best so far, with our three sets seeing much dancing and jollity from the assembled throng (no shortage of of alcoholic drinks here!) and a chap in the audience offering us money to play another set. When our drummer Roger declined saying that he had to be elsewhere I couldn't resist asking him if he really had to get away or if he just didn't fancy playing any more - he replied that he did have to leave but that he'd also put so much into the show that he felt that he physically couldn't play any more. I knew how he felt - and believe me, that's a great way to feel at the end of a show.

And to finish the weekend off I went to the jam night at The Three Wishes in Edgware last night. Myself and the afore-mentioned Pete and Big Al played 'My Babe' and 'Born To Run' to the general approval of all concerned, and I was very pleased to be invited to play 'It Hurts Me Too' and 'Natural Born Bugie' with Danny the bass player and some very young and talented chaps and chapesses. All good stuff, and indeed good fun.

This coming weekend sees Ruts D.C. play shows in Preston and Newcastle - there are gigs for the band over the next four weekends, and full details are on the band's website. And if that wasn't enough I'm making an appearance on Music Scene Investigation this Sunday evening - provided of course that I get back from Newcastle in time...