10th December - Sam
This might well be the last diary entry for 2005 because of what happens later this day.

Today is a good day - it's Saturday and we have a show in West Chester which is always great for us. We get to the venue reasonably early, hang out and play pool and grab a pizza. There's a good band on before us who are from LA and the singer from the band is actaully Dave Davies' (Kink's guitarist for you flids out there) son. It is my mission tonight to get Jamie absolutely mashed up because firstly, it's his birhday tomorrow, so come 12 O'Clock it will officially be his birthday and secondly I need to get him back for getting me so mashed up before my morning Radio interview a couple of weeks back (the moisturiser in the tooth paste wasn't enough really). Hal and I agree that this is a great idea. So when we hit the stage at 1AM we're already merry and half way through the set Hal anounces that it is actually Jamie's birthday tonight and it would be great if everyone could buy him a shot to celebrate. Well, we were expecting just a couple of people to get him a shot but it seems as though a lot of people in the bar are on our wave length and want to get him messed up as well. So Jamie is passed about 10 shots of Jager, 4 shots of Whiskey and a couple of Tequilas. Amazingly he downs them all in about a minute - pounds them like a rock n roll trooper! Even more amazingly he gets through the rest of the set with out missing a beat - true professional! After the set it's a different story though. He is out of his face. He insists that he needs to strip - so everyone in the bar gets to see his ass. He is stopped from getting on the bar and doing a full nude strip and he's shouting "but you all need to see my cock!", the bar man doesn't agree but is pissing him self. After a couple of hours of swaying, saying how much he loves everyone and lots of hugs and kisses it is time for Jamie to spew. Hal helps him to the toilet and he spews for England - damn good thing probably because he would have mos def got alcohol poisoning if not. At this point I'm happy that I have got him back. The rest of the night and the following days are a blur... mashed!


9th December
Today is the final day of my job on the tour. At 11:30am I wake up and take a quick shower. Then we are off to Times Square to meet Sherry Ring for lunch. Sherry is an old friend of the band, and now she is the VP for publicity at RCA. We park outside the RCA building and go through revolving doors into the lobby area. There is a man in the lobby wearing hand warmers and he is playing a grand piano. The piano is surrounded by Christmas decorations. The big black security guard tells us Sherry will be down in a moment and she is. She greets the band and I introduce myself. We all go next door for lunch. She is a very kind woman. After lunch we say farewell to Sherry and head for Boston. I am getting closer to home now. The scenery becomes distinctly New England which is involves subtleties that I cannot put into words. New Hampshire has gotten 10 inches of snow. This isn’t much by New England standards but it is enough to spook the British into driving 40mph down the I-91. They’ve already had one experience with black ice. As darkness falls the flashing amber lights of the snowplows can be seen dotting the landscape. The Diamond Nights have already cancelled. We arrive in Boston at 8pm. The gig is at a venue called The Paradise. It does not live up to its name. We sit around and run up an expensive bill and then there is nobody there so we cancel. We catch up and drink Newcastles. Chelsea is at the venue and brings two girlfriends from BU. At 10:30 we all pile into the van and go back to their dorm room. We park on the street and have a snowball fight. I peg Jamie in the chest. Inside we drink vodka and cranberry juice and watch the Howard Stern show. By 1am I am thoroughly pissed on vodka. The silverliner is that the liquor warms me up so that when we go back outside to the van I am numb to the cold. I say farewell to The Thieves, grab my things, and I head off into the night to search for a cab.

8th December
Wake up and hit the road. We arrive in New York City around 5:30pm but get stuck in rush hour traffic outside the Holland Tunnel. We have to reschedule with a few people but it all works out in the end. We go into Manhattan and visit Kristy, another friend of the band’s who lives on the east side. We chill at her apartment for awhile. The apartment is small but cozy and neat. She has a small poodle that attempts to jump on our laps and barks constantly. She informs us that the poodle will pee on you if it gets too excited. Around 8pm we head out to the bar to meet with one of the band’s publicist. Kristy dresses the poodle in a pink hooded coat and takes it out for a walk. The poodle looks very upset and embarrassed. We go down the street and to a bar where we sit down with the band’s new publicist. Around 11pm Kristy comes to the bar and we follow her to a local Mexican restaurant for a late dinner. It is bitterly cold outside, colder than Toronto even. Despite the chill, New York is a very fine city. I may live here someday. We get back to Kristy’s. Around 3am I fall asleep on the hard wood floor.

7th December
Wake up around 9 am. The earliest I’ve woken up all tour. The Thieves arrive around 3pm and pick me up. We’re headed for Virginia Beach. At around 8pm we get to The Peppermint. We’re the second act and The Diamond Nights are the headliners. We park the van across the street and later get ticketed for it.The Thieves play a decent show. I drink beers and chat with Morgan who is the lead singer for the Diamond Nights. He used to work as an architect but got tired of what he called “the mediocrity of it all” and so he started a band. He says he likes to get into fistfights sometimes. He’s a cool kid. He tells me stories about the boys from Hot Hot Heat that I will not reiterate here. Morgan reckons being part of a band is sort of like being in a gang. I go out of the VIP room and help my gang carry the equipment offstage. The Diamond Nights play a pretty loose show. Seth, the bassist, used to fly jets in the United States Navy. Some of his buddies are down from Norwalk, VA. They all have names like “Ace” and “TJ” which is amusing to me. We argue with a cop, pay a parking fine, and move the van. We load everything into the van and around 1am we hit the road for New York City. We have to meet up with the band’s publicist tomorrow. I drift in and out of sleep in the back seat.

6th December
I wake up and boy, are my sinuses stuffed ;-) I try to go back to sleep but the sunlight is cutting through the room right into my face. Most everyone else is still asleep. I take a shower and around 3pm we hit the road for Raleigh. As soon as we get out of the van we are greeted by the irate sound guy, “You’re late!” There is a short confrontation where the guy goes, “Now you’re pissing me off” and Hal tells him, “And vice-versa”. This guy has his panties in a bunch because apparently we were supposed to start the show at 8pm although the email we have tells us 8:45pm. The Thieves are not happy. Finally a few other dudes come and diffuse the situation and help us unload and setup. We get a different sound guy and everyone cools down. The new sound guy will give the band the best sound I’ve heard all tour. The bouncer looks at me with a confederate glare. The Thieves and I drink beers at the bar and chat with a couple girls from Lawrence, Kansas. The Thieves go on at 9pm sharp and play another great show. Jamie almost demolishes his drum set (to wreck the sound guy’s mics) but wisely chooses not to. We’re in North Carolina and they have a history of lynching people here. After the show the Kansas girls invite us to stay with them in Fayetteville but I’ve already arranged for us to stay at some girl called Kat's house. As I am packing up the merchandise this girl in a Dalmatian print dress comes up to me and introduces herself as Andrea. She is very pretty and the Brits flock to the area as sharks would to chum. Disregarding the fact that I told Kat we’d be there at 1am we have a change of plans by popular consensus and decide to follow Andrea to her studio. The detour turns out to be well worth it. The studio is three warehouse sized floors of art and clothing. Sam looks at racks of denim jeans while the rest of us marvel at rooms full of water color paintings, acrylic paintings, window panes painted with “astronaut dogs”, a bird cage made out of two lamp shades with fake doves inside, paintings of cats smoking cigarettes. Suddenly everyone is very hungry so we go to IHOP for a 2am breakfast. As soon as we walk into IHOP we are spotted by a table full of southern girls who giggle and then ask us what the name of our band is (southern girls are very perceptive). They are delighted to learn that we are named “The Thieves”. Andrea drinks sweat tea and tells us stories about her travels with gypsies, her orphaned Indian Grandmother, and her Mafioso father. If she is lying she does it very convincingly. Around 2:30am we hit the road for Chapel Hill. The Brits have decided to stay at Andrea’s in Carrboro and so they drop me off at Kat’s around 3 am.

5th December
Wake up around 11am and hit the road. We stop at Walmart to get the oil changed and grab some food at Subway. The Brits notice that everyone inside Walmart is overweight and I’m forced to agree. Many Americans are fat. We eat and then Hal goes to check on the van. Outside it looks as though it might snow at any moment. It is about 40 degrees and I am wearing a t-shirt. The Brits are wearing coats and scarves and they say they are freezing. Sam drives and there is a storm coming up from the southwest and pretty soon we’re driving through mild snow drifts. The weather makes everyone tired. Around 7pm we arrive in Charlotte. The gig is at a place called The Tremont. It is wet and chilly outside. The Thieves go on around 9:30pm and play one of their best shows. Diamond Nights follow although I think their best show was in Oklahoma. We meet some North Carolina girls and go to the bar with them afterwards. I drink a lot tonight. We go back to Mercedes’ apartment and I sit on the couch and talk to a girl who is half Italian and has a butch haircut. Someone is crazy enough to bring up politics and we argue about the Iraq War for a while. Around 4 am we go to bed.

4th December
I awake to the sound of Jamie yelling that something is wrong with his toothpaste. He has certainly tasted, and perhaps swallowed, some of the moisturizer Sam put inside. The rest of the day his mouth will taste like shit but it will not be dry. We don’t get out of Sydney’s until around 3pm. We head back to the Shanghai Cowgirl to grab a late breakfast. The English drink tea and I drink coffee. Troy finds us, pulls up a chair and begins to tell us a bunch of crazy stories. Our waitress today is a bird named Chrissy. She wears camo pants and a Bovine Sex Club t-shirt. The diner gets pretty empty this time of day and so the cook sits with us as well. He shows us his new tattoos which cost him $500 – as much as the paintings on the wall. The tattoos are also done by the same guy who did the acrylic paintings. A bombshell blonde walks past as Hal drools into his tea cup. She sits down a few booths down, next to a guy with thick glasses and blue hair tied into pigtails. Troy informs us that they are married. “Lucky bastard knows what he’s doing. If you get a bird like that, you put it down in ink,” Jamie explains. Troy tells us a story about an incident he had in a bar a few blocks away. He is sitting at a table out on the patio enjoying a 50 cent draft. His girlfriend is in the ladies room. Some random dude sits down beside Troy and begins to drink a beer. Troy informs him that the seat is taken. The man ignores Troy. Troy holds his cigarette butt close to the man’s arm. The man swats the cigarette out of Troy’s hand. Troy takes his pint glass and smashes it across the guys head, knocking the man to the table and wasting a perfectly good pint. The table then collapses and Troy begins to beat the guy while he lies on the broken table. At this point Troy’s girlfriend walks out of the ladies room, sees the guy on the floor, and kicks him in the balls. So Troy and his bird beat on the guy until the owner comes, throws the man out of the bar, apologizes to Troy and his girlfriend, sets them up a new table and buys them new pints. Around 6pm we head out of the diner and next door to pack up our stuff which Troy has kindly moved into the back room for us. The Darkness is doing an interview in the front. We finish packing and hit the road. It will be about a 15 hour drive to North Carolina. We drive into the night, across the border into upstate New York, down through Pennsylvania and into West Virginia. At 4 am we stop for the night at a roadside motel.

2nd December
Somehow we made it back to Laura’s. Sam has to wake up at 10am for his interview and he is still drunk. To get Jamie back for getting him piss drunk Sam has decided to put moisturizer in Jamie’s toothpaste. I get my passport via overnight mail. At around 4pm we head out for Toronto. We make it across the border without a hitch. This is good because Hal might have something stashed somewhere in the van that he lost. The sky is gray and the air is cold. We get to the “Bovine Sex Club” around 8pm. We do a quick sound check and grab a bite to eat at the diner next door. The diner is owned by the same people who run the Bovine and it is called “The Shanghai Cowgirl”. Every girl in here is gorgeous. In fact, all the girls I come across in this town are. I should move to Toronto. Our waitress is a beautiful Egyptian girl. One can’t help but notice that she’s spilling out of her low cut shirt. She looks at us expectantly. I’m supposed to be placing an order but I can’t concentrate. There is a lot of good stuff on the menu, it is hard to decide. Jill, the co-proprietor of the place comes by and chats with us. The Darkness is in town promoting their new album and the guys here know the band and are off out to meet them for dinner. Our waitress arrives with a cold pitcher of beer and our food. At 11pm we go to the club. It is already wall to wall with people. The Thieves play a terrific show. Much tighter than Toledo. Around midnight The Darkness show up at the Bovine. The owner opens up the back room for us and we drink Justin and Ed shot for shot. The Darkness are set to tour the US in May and there's talk of The Thieves opneing up for them. Hal and Justin then go onto argue about which amp is better: Mesa Boogie or Cornford. Hal sides with Cornford of course. They agree to a guitar amp show down in the near future. Around 5am we say our goodbye's to the Darkness, stumble out of the bar together and drive to Sydney’s (friend of Sam’s) place. I pass out on the couch in the hallway which is still plastic-wrapped. Toronto is truly a fun city I’ve decided. It has one of the highest concentrations of fit girls that I’ve ever seen. It would truly be paradise if it wasn’t so cold. That waitress was a fit bird. Tonight I dream of Egypt and the great pyramids. Outside the snow comes in drifts.

1st December
Sometime before dawn I wake up. It is unbearably hot. I crawl out of my sleeping bag. Through the patio window I can see a dusting of snow on the trees. I carefully navigate my way into the kitchen. Somewhere in the darkness the 'coon cat is running about. Suddenly the 'coon cat attacks my ankles and I nearly drop my glass. I quickly stumble back to the couch and crawl into my sleeping bag. A few hours later I wake up and see that the ground outside is covered in snow. Rebecca sees that I am awake and brings me a cup of coffee. She is very kind. The Brits are sitting around watching the History Channel and once they see I am awake they begin discussing why Britain is a greater nation than America. I remind them who won the Revolutionary War. They remind me that America needed the French to help us. They also claim that they got the last laugh in 1812 when they sailed up the Chesapeake and burned the White House. They are sneaky fuckers. I should put moisturizer in their tooth paste. We leave around 2pm for Detriot. We get into the van and Sam cannot find his wallet. He goes back into the apartment to search for it but with no success. It is a long and tiring drive to Detroit. It is a cityscape full of chemical plants and car factories. We play at a bar called The Belmont. The inside of this place is art-deco. The walls of the bar are covered with surrealist paintings of women’s breasts. There is a glowing neon pool table in the center of the bar lit from above by a pair of black lights. We are hungry and so we unload and go down the street to a diner for a bite to eat. It is very cold. Our waitress is a skinny little thing with dark circles beneath her eyes. As soon as the Brits begin to talk, however, her eyes light up and she gets all perky. She skips off to place our orders and returns with water. While we are waiting for our food, a girl called Laura ducks in through the entrance. Laura is a friend of the band. She has blond hair, a round face, and is very tall. We’ll be staying at her place tonight in Toledo. She lives in a loft and her ceilings are 18 feet high. The Belmont show is pretty good and we get a free recording of it. We go back to Laura’s loft in Toledo. She makes us all licorice flavored tea which tastes like shit. Tomorrow we will go to a club down the street in Toledo called The Underground. Apparently The Thieves have a reputation of getting really drunk here.

30th November
Wake up at 1pm. It is beautiful outside. I notice that there is another girl at the house that I’ve never seen before. Her name is Heather and she’s a friend of Mary’s. Sam is writing up posters to mail to England for the January tour there. We eat breakfast at Cracker Barrel (where else?) I am very hungry and I eat one of the biggest plates of food I’ve ever seen in my life. The boys pat me on the back to congratulate me and I almost hurl. Jamie finds a mechanical parrot in the gift shop of Cracker Barrel and teaches it new phrases like “Cracker Barrel Crack Whore” and “Bender” and “Cunty Bollocks”. We say goodbye to Mary and the girls and head for Indy. Around 6pm we get to Indy. It is actually 7pm because of the time change but we’ve still got time to kill before the gig starts. The Thieves know this girl named Rebecca so we go to her apartment and chill for awhile. Rebecca is very kind and feeds us all meatloaf and some wine. I’m too stuffed to eat anything. Rebecca is a cute blond, with soft features, and lives with her cat which has a tail like a 'coon cat. Her cat attacks anything that moves. Hal invents a new word tonight: “Fucking asshole wanker cunt...” At nine we head for the gig. Some pudgy black woman is loitering around the van asking for charity. She says she’s homeless and hungry. Hal tells her we’re in the same boat. “In fact, we’re several thousand miles from home so fuck off”. The woman asks, “How far is the drive from England?” Hal responds, “It’s about 4000 miles, we took the new trans-atlantic tunnel maybe you’ve heard of it?” She has not heard of it. She wants cash for food and a bus ticket. I go into the van and grab a couple cans of tuna fish and some bread. “Do you like tuna fish?” She says that she likes McDonalds. I tell her she can have the tuna fish or nothing at all. She takes the tuna fish but not the bread. She thanks me and leaves. I help carry in the rest of the amps, drums, cymbals.... Then I go inside and sit at the bar. I drink shitty beer and watch the Duke game. Then I play a round of pool with Rebecca. The Thieves come on around 11pm. I sell some merchandise and drink some more beer. After 6 pints, loading up the van after the show is a bit of a challenge but I get it done. The homeless woman is back and this time she has a new orange skull cap. She wanders into the bar for a moment but they throw her out. We go to Rebecca’s and eat leftovers and drink wine. I fall asleep on the couch.

29th November
Wake up refreshed. Mary makes us all coffee and her friend brings us breakfast from McDonalds. Hal gives the girls an album for their kindness. They put it in the stereo and we listen to it. The girls really like it but can’t believe that it is Hal who is singing because the voice is so different. Today is a good day. Last night’s show rocked, I got a massage, breakfast, and now we have a night off before Indianapolis. Hal and Sam go out for groceries. It is all veggies, soy products, bottled water, organic peanut butter, pasta, olive oil, spices. Good for Mary. We should follow her example but organic stuff is pricey and eating healthy is not a big concern for us at the moment. Mary is at a yoga seminar at the moment so I sit down and watch some TV and read a magazine article about the recording sessions of Nirvana. Around 9pm the brothers return and Sam cooks lasagna for us all. We eat and watch a couple movies. I go to bed around 3.

28th November
In the morning I wake up to find Jamie and the girls staring at me. Apparently I’ve been talking in my sleep which is a bit embarrassing. Sara and Marissa have left for school so the rest of us go to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. The British love Cracker Barrel. We are seated at the biggest table in the restaurant. I can feel people staring at us. When you travel with a British rock band it is difficult not to stand out in Midwestern towns. Most people here wear overalls and John Deer hats over their cropped hair. The band is a blur of shaggy blond shoulder length hair and wear women’s jeans, leather and denim jackets, scarves, and plaid hats. Our waitress asks us all sorts of questions, and not about food. We are trying to travel low key. The plan is that if anyone asks: we are construction workers. At the last Cracker Barrel the boys admitted they were in a band and pretty soon the whole restaurant was gathered around the table asking for details and autographs. All the Brits want to do right now is eat their biscuits and apple butter in peace. Our waitress doesn’t buy the construction worker claim. We are forced to admit that we are actually in the army - The Queen’s Brigade to be exact. She is a country girl but she still isn’t buying it. So we finally tell her that we are The Thieves and we’re on our last 2005 US Tour. She doesn’t look like she believes us. That is good.

We get into Champaign around dusk. It is cold and windy. The gig is at a place called The High Dive. We are pretty excited because this renovated theatre has our name up on the play bill above the entrance in lights. The inside of this venue is the largest I’ve seen so far. I hope a lot of people show up even though it is a Monday. The first band to play is a trio of girls called; “The Cock Blocks” and they are humorously bad. The next band isn’t worth noting. I meet a couple kids from Illinois that know The Thieves.The other kid, Kevin, is a short, ruddy-faced, 30-something year old who talks a lot. Reminds me of a Hollywood agent except he doesn’t have the right look and he’s wearing jeans and cowboy boots. We know his brother, Sean, this kid I met at this crazy Halloween house party in the Hollywood Hills on October 29th. I went to that party with my Canadian roommates and Sam. It was a costume party and we didn’t have costumes. There was a big scary black dude at the front door with a list. Sean is the kid who got us in. The highlight of that house party (the house was probably worth about $5 million) was watching this kid slide across a hardwood floor and slam into a sliding glass patio door shattering it instantly. Okay, I’m getting off topic a little. The Thieves play a great show with a lot of energy. There are not too many people at the venue because it is a Monday but the people who are there get a really good show. The guitar solos tear the place up. After loading the van we are all pretty hungry. I recommend Steak and Shake so we all head over there. We meet 3 girls inside Steak and Shake and invite them to sit at our table. They love the accents. Pretty soon we have a place to crash for the night. $60 in hotel fees saved. We go back to Mary’s house and play some games. Mary is a professional masseuse and is experimenting in Thai massage therapy. I tell her she can experiment on me and she does. I get a nice massage and drift off to sleep around 5:30 am.

27th November
Wake up in the middle of the night. I’m being assaulted by this repulsive odor. I try to breath through my mouth but can’t avoid the smell. There is a litter box at the foot of my bed. I am too lazy to open a window. I am too afraid to get up and open the door, lest I step into the litter box holding this cocktail of shit and urine. Drift off to sleep, wake up, drift off again. I finally crawl out of bed and I am surprised to find out it is 1pm. Nobody is in the house except me and the cats. I take a seat on the couch and the big white cat climbs onto my lap and starts purring and kneading my jeans. The little gray kitten comes near and the big white cat hisses angrily. I get up and leave the room and the little shit factories follow me into the next room. Corey, Kate, and the boys come back a few minutes later. They were taking a walk in the woods behind the house. The kitten is even more excited now than it was before and darts around like it is possessed. We head downtown to the record store to hang some posters. We head out to Saint Louis and arrive there around 6pm. This gig is at a restaurant called, “The Red Sea”. It serves Ethiopian cuisine, has a full bar upstairs, and a stage and sound room downstairs where The Thieves will be playing. As soon as we step out from the van we get bum rushed by this kid who introduces himself as “Dave”. Dave apparently has heard all sorts of stories about us - rumors is probably a better term. For instance, he heard that we played with Queens of the Stone Age. Hal quickly dispels that rumor. The sound man knows some people and hooks us up with free drinks upstairs. Not just well drinks and domestics but any drink we desire. Awesome. I sit upstairs with Sam and drink some local pale ale brew. The bartender is a cute bird with dark hair and brown eyes named Quesa (as in “Quesadilla” she tells me). Here comes Jamie, trying to work his magic. “You’ve got a lovely pair of earings” he tells her. She continues to clean a pint glass. So far it doesn’t seem like Jamie has it tonight. It’s alright he’s just getting warmed up. All the waitresses want to know where we’re from. “Oh, we love the accents.” Quesa tells me she is having trouble paying rent and recently dumped her longtime boyfriend so we tell her she should come on the road with us. The Thieves start their show about 10pm and I hang out in the sound room and make sure the levels are correct. “These guys are way to good to be playing in a place like this” the sound guy remarks. After the show Corey and Joey help us clean up. We go upstairs and each have a shot jager and redbull. Quesa tells me she wants us to go to this bar on the corner called Delmont’s. We decide to crash at these other girls’ apartment because we are sure we all have a place to sleep that way. We follow Corey and Joey to the apartment, a high rise beside the gateway arch. The girls make us macaroni and cheese to eat and give us beer to drink. This is what it’s all about. Jamie, finally getting warmed up, asks the girls if they’ve ever seen a foreskin. Unfortunately they haven’t. Melissa really wants to know what one looks like so Jamie takes her into the bathroom and shows her. She comes out with a big smile on her face and tells the other girls, “It’s like a turtleneck!” I’m sure Michelle would agree. On that note it is time to go to bed. Once the lights go off, Melissa and Marissa are sharing the Queen size bed together. They claim they need a volunteer to join them in the bed and naturally Jamie is under their bed sheets before you can say ‘foreskin’.

26th November
Wake up on the floor of the Day’s Inn. It is 11 am and we must hit the road soon if we are to make it to Missouri in time for the show. Sam, Hal, and Jamie have not played a gig in four days and they are itching to get back into action. The maid comes in while Sam and I are getting packed and Jamie is getting dressed. She is a little confused and doesn’t speak any English. Nobody speaks Spanish, so I try my best to explain the situation to her. My Spanish is so poor that I have to speak in Italian, although she seems to understand alright. I explain to her that we’ll be leaving in 20 minutes and to return. While I am explaining this to her, Morgan from the Diamond Nights, waltzes into the room barefoot in flannel shorts, a cutoff t-shirt, and a scarf. The maid nods her head and exits the room. Morgan apparently went to lunch dressed that way and all the locals in the joint were staring at him. Michelle and Jamie say their farewells then we all crowd into the van and hit the road. We get into Colombia, Missouri around 8pm. Meet up with this cool fella named Corey who is the bassist for a prog-rock group called Grand Canyon. He hooks us up with free beer and pizza at the local pizza joint called Shakespeare’s pizza. After eating dinner we go to the bar which is called The East End. It is a smokey little joint with an old style jukebox, pool table, and movie posters from the 1950s with titles like, “Invasion From Mars”. The bouncer at the door is nicknamed “Big Pants” - I’m told that if I call him “Fat Pants” he’ll sit on me. He must weigh close to 400 pounds. We park the van in the middle of the street and unload. There is free beer for us tonight which is great. First act to play is this kid who plays along on guitar to this techno-synth beat. At one point he raps which is the highlight of the show although he sounds like an Eminem knockoff. The Thieves begin a little after 11pm. I watch the merch stand. The show is a bit looser than normal. Afterwards we pack up the van and catch Grand Canyon’s show. They play very well. We get invited to a house party but we’re going back to Corey’s for beer. Some random guy tries to sell us a bottle of hydro-codeine that his grandma left him when she died recently. We get out of the bar and tail Corey to his house where we meet his wife Kate and their coon hounds. They are very sweet dogs. The female coon hound takes a liking to me and sits next to me on the couch sniffing my face. The boys find this amusing. “This is the best I could do tonight fellas”. Everyone passes up the bed in the guest room so I take it. Then I find out why everyone passed it up. The whole guest room smells like cat litter. I am too tired to care right now.

25th November
Wake up, eat some more turkey. Turkey, I learn, has a drug in it that can make some people sleepy. Sam is having a lot of trouble staying awake this morning. We are watching a football game on high volume and he is sleeping on the couch with a cup of coffee in his hand. I think he ate too much turkey. Hopefully he’ll be awake for the show tonight. We head off for Oklahoma City. The miles stretch on. We see nothing but empty corn fields, cow pastures, and the occasional water tower. We get to the show around 7 pm and there is a line outside the show about 100 yards long. It is full of teenyboppers mostly, here to see Hot Hot Heat. We park the van a block away and grab a beer at a nearby restaurant. After the beer we skip the line and walk into the club. I see Chelsea selling merchandise for the Red Walls. Hal hits it up with the other merch girl who is really hot. The Hot Hot Heat merch guy is doing a lot of business to hordes of fifteen year old girls. The Diamond Nights go first and do a great show. Their lead singer, Morgan, has a great onstage presence and a good voice. The Red Walls go on next and for me they are all style and no substance. They do their songs very well but there is no diversity and it is all too clinical for me. Hot Hot Heat comes on around 11:15 pm. They play a good show in my opinion – it also helps that I’ve heard most of their songs. After the show we head next door to a cowboy bar with some of the fellas from Diamond Nights and Hot Hot Heat. End up drunk back at a Days Inn about 3 or 4AM.

24th November
Head out around 9 a.m. The ride to Dallas is uneventful but once we arrive at Adams parent’s place the real fun begins. We meet the entire family including Adam’s mom, dad, older brother Chip and his wife, and his 92 year old grandmother. Adam’s family is very religious. Hal and Sam are worried that they’re going to have to say a blessing at the dinner table. If it comes to that Hal is going to say something like, “Thank you dear Lord for the food you’ve given us here today…and for all the food you didn’t give those Africans.” I speak with Adam’s grandmother. She is surprisingly alert for her age and tells me stories about her youth. During the 1950s she lived in Memphis with her husband and saw Elvis regularly around town before he got really famous. It is time for dinner and the food smells delicious. First though, we hace to stand in a circle, hold hands, and give thanks. I hope Hal does not make a comment about the Africans. The blessings go well. We stuff ourselves and then go into the TV room to watch some football. Les (Adam’s dad) makes acoustic guitars as a hobby so there are a lot of guitars lying around. Hal grabs one, tunes it down to G, and tears into a blues lick. Eventually Sam grabs a guitar as well and improvises a bass line. Around 8pm we go to the bar with Adam and his brother. The bar is dimly lit, smoky, and pretty much empty. It is called the Double Wide. We each pull up a stool and order some Guinness. Drinks are on the house tonight which makes the draft taste even better. Ryan is a wellspring of crazy stories. He tells us with childlike enthusiasm about his high school glory days when he used to skateboard and hot wire construction machinery. Many nights he and his friends would hot wire construction equipment parked on school grounds and take the bucket loaders for a joy ride. They would tear up chain link fences and the turf on the football field. This does not seem like a very Christian thing to do.. I order a Jack and Coke and talk to this kid next to me who surveys oil fields for major companies like Exxon and Mobil. I learn about a subject which doesn’t really interest me at all. I think being a roadie is a much more fulfilling career. There are a lot of perks. When you survey oil fields I assume you cannot drink on the job. I chew on the ice from my Jack and Coke and order another. It is about 10:30pm now and the place is starting to fill up. Ryan has left his stool and now Sam is chatting with a couple big-boned women. Pretty soon it is time to take off, go back to the house, and eat some leftovers. Leftovers are one of the best things about the Holidays I think. Back at the house we pile on the food. I clean my plate and head into the loft for a nice zzzzzzzz.

23rd November
Wake up, but not completely so I go into the kitchen for some coffee. Another lazy day in Texas. I go upstairs and get on the Invertor machine which is a lot of fun. You basically strap yourself into this machine and then it tilts you upside down and you just sort of hang out, no pun intended. So I was hanging out and reading a book for part of the afternoon. The only problem I have is that the blood rushes to my head and when I get off the machine I stumble around for a few minutes and feel a bit nauseous. In the evening we head into downtown for some beers at the Hard Rock Café and a light show. The show is a Pink Floyd cover band from Australia. I’m not a huge Pink Floyd fan to begin with and the cover band is a bit too “clinical” (as Sam put it) for my tastes. It seems like they are just going through the motions and there’s no real energy to the show. I imagine I’m back on the Invertor machine and dose off for most of the show. The highlight comes when they project images of George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Saddam Hussein on the screen during one of the songs. I’m not sure what message the show promoters are trying to get across but a lot of the people at the show stand up and applaud (at the Bush images as well as the Saddam images?). We duck out around 10 o’clock and head back to Chelsea’s to watch a movie, eat some pizza, and relax.

22nd November
This is not the hard life on the road I’d expected. Today I wake up around 1pm and Chelsea’s mom takes us out to a Tex Mex steak house. I get some fajitas and beer. Lounge around the house and make mixes for the road. Sometime before dusk Chelsea, Hal, Sam, and I head out to RICE University to do an on-air interview with KTRU, the local radio station that broadcasts to 4 million in the Houston area. Hal and Sam ace the interview as I take some photos. Hal tells the black ice story and afterwards the DJ lets us play some tracks and read public service announcements. Hal and Sam sign some posters for the DJ and then we head over to the Galleria to fix Hal’s computer again. This mall is huge, I’m sure we would easily get lost if it wasn’t for Chelsea. We chill out at the Mac store and surf the net. Hal gets his HD transferred to Sam’s external drive. The problem is with the video card and it will require some serious work. Afterwards we head on down to the record store to hang up some posters. Chelsea is going to try and get us all on the guest list for a show next week with Hot Hot Heat, Red Walls and Diamond Nights in Oklahoma City which should be a lot of fun. Tomorrow we are going to the Aussie Pink Floyd show in Houston.

21st November
Wake up around noon again. Chelsea’s mom treats us all to Denny’s for breakfast. Afterwards Hal and Chelsea head over to the Mac store to get Hal’s computer fixed. Sit around the house for most of the day surfing the internet. The Thieves’ website gets loads of hits today. For dinner we have fried chicken, potatoes, rice and beans, and rolls. There’s nothing like good old southern hospitality. Dinnertime conversation is interesting. We learn that Chelsea’s family used to have two rabbits in a pen outside. Tragically, their neighbor’s Daschund snuck into the yard one day and in cold blood killed them both. This had a traumatic effect on Chelsea’s family and there is going to be a court summons for the neighbor’s sometime in the near future. After dinner we watch a bunch of music videos by The Killers, Green Day, and The Red Walls. I drift to sleep watching a movie called “The Postman”.

20th November
I’m the last one to wake up around 12pm. We have some lasagna and garlic bread for breakfast. Afterwards we lounge around the living room and watch the Cowboys play the Lions. The Brits are bound to get an education in American football while touring the South. The game ends and we hit the road for Houston. We get into Dan’s Electro around 8pm. The bar staff are all really friendly and treat us to free beer and pizza. The Thieves are the main attraction tonight and we’re bum-rushed by throngs of aging hippies. Sam gives me a 2005 tour t-shirt to help me fit in with the band. Several people, including the bartender, mistake me as the drummer. If I could fake a good British accent I would play along but I can’t. Everyone at the bar is really friendly and even the bouncer helps us unload and set up the equipment. The Thieves start around 1 am. The show is good but because it is Sunday (Monday morning to be exact) they are playing to many empty seats. After the show we load up the equipment and collect our cut. We follow Chelsea back to her place and meet her mother, Charly. Charly has been expecting us and the kitchen counter is garnished with apple pie, turkey, macaroni & cheese, ice cream, coffee, milk, whipped cream, and countless other treats. There’s nothing like southern hospitality. We dig into the apple pie and around 4 in the a.m. we hit the hay.

19th November
Step off the plane, head over to the baggage claim to get my stuff, and hop on the first bus downtown. I arrive at the club around 7pm and it is pretty quiet. The Thieves are scheduled to go on around 10:30pm. No sign of Sam or Hal yet so I decide to wait outside. I must look like a hobo with my backpack on and sleeping bag slung across the left shoulder. There’s a hot dog stand in the parking lot and the sweet aroma of hot dogs mixes with the smell of beer and cigarette smoke. Sam and Hal come around the corner and Sam looks right at me for a few seconds before recognizing me. We go into the club and I meet Jamie and Michelle. After helping unload the van we go to get drink coupons. They provide two coupons per guest and their limited to domestics and well drinks which seems sort of lame. Sam is not pleased. The first band isn’t playing (Sensation Junkies) because Christopher Blu got busted in Lawrence, Kansas with over a pound of some sticky icky. The story goes that he was out catching a breath of fresh air and walking his dog when a cruiser pulled up alongside and offered him a ride back to his vehicle. He accepted the offer and upon arriving at his vehicle the cops took the liberty of searching the vehicle upon which they found the Christopher’s stash. Bail is set at $10,000 but the real tragedy is that the innocent canine has also been incarcerated in a Lawrence county kennel. While I ponder this scenario, Hal and Sam are called away for an interview. I play some pool with Michelle and then the first act is on. The first act is not my cup of tea so I go back into the bar and pop a few quarters into the jukebox. Soon it is 10:30 and time for The Thieves to come on. The show rocks and the new smoke machine lends a nice theatrical touch. Afterwards I help pack the van and then we go back inside to listen to the final band, Grady. Their front man can play a killer slide guitar and the show is very entertaining. The bar begins to clear out around 2 a.m. and we hang around for our cut which is slightly less than expected. Around 3 am we finally head out to have some Enchiladas Verde at Adam’s pad.


18th November - Hal
I think Sam and Jamie suffered on the Pizza last night cos Jamie was complaining of a tummy ache, and Sam was living out Jamie’s nightmare on the pot. Fortunately I’d risen first and taken a shower. Again, we missed check out time… so here’s a little clue for the innocent traveler: always pay in cash! Anything you put on a credit card can be charged further, like overstaying and damages. Paying cash, and cash being King, gives you the option of relatively not giving a shit as to what’s written on the piece of paper! So we’re pretty much always late out of our rooms, not by laziness (well, Jamie yes) but by principle! We head for OK City. Last time we played here was a blinder…. And if my memory serves me well, there was quite a good turn out of nubile young women in Oklahoma for our last show. This was another easy drive so we pull over by a Best Western Motel and make the most of their WiFi. Emails done, diaries loaded and venue’s contacted we make our final descent into OK City. We all shit ourselves when we see the club, VZD’s. It looks like a bloody wine bar for the senior citizens of Oklahoma! Me and Jamie are all up for eating some food drinking some of the rider and then bailing ship! But we’re told that after 10pm the club turns right around and becomes a rock venue… we start to settle down accept it as not so bad an idea to stick around. There’s a little trouble with the beer tab.. they’re saying half price and I’m saying never! First rule of rock is that the beer’s free! So I call the booking agent and he confirms “FREE BEER DAMMIT, it’s in the contract”! He then tells me that Chrispoher won’t be making the show tonight, in fact probably the rest of the tour, and he’s hinting that means for 2006 too! Turns out Chris got nicked with over a pound of weed on him in Kansas and is currently having a full cavity search committed upon his fare bottom. Bail is set at $10,000, they’ve impounded his car, and his new dog! And no-ones got 10K to help the dude out. Well, we raise a glass in the boys’ honour, hope his sexual orientation isn’t too important an issue for him, nor for his poor young new puppy dog either. So this is bad news and jokes aside, is a real concern. Another band is called to take his place, we eat and drink and the night gets delayed as singer/songwriters take to the stage one after the other. It’s good though. We hit the stage around midnight and I think we play a pretty fair show. We were a little despondent though as a lot of the crowd that had come out to see us play got turned away at the door for being one year shy of 21? This fucking pisses me right off: this country says it’s OK to hold a gun and blow someone’s head off at the age of 18, you can drive a car and kill a whole car load of other people at 15, but you can’t go and buy a beer and watch a rock show until your 21? So a good time and a frosty brew is not allowed, but killing and operating hard-core machinery is just fine? Am I the only one who’s forsaken logic in this department? This is why British rock leads the field: we start going to shows and having a little – or a lot – of booze between 14 and 16; shit I’d probably played over 300 shows by the time I was 16! Grrrr, makes me mad!! So, these cool kids all get sent away – if you’re reading this, respect to ya, and we’ll try our hardest to play a club you can get into next time – big time apologies. So we play, the crowd’s a cool bunch, we whack a few beers back after the show and then cut the miles for Austin, TX. We last about 15 minutes and then opt for a motel room. Poor ol’ Chris, he’s probably jawed through his teeth by now wondering why he carries so much weed on him, and the poor rock kids are probably despondently passing a joint between them commiserating over the missed show, but toasting people like Chris for bringing such fine weed out of California to their fine city…. And the kids who are 18 and getting their heads blown off on foreign soil probably wish they could trade places with either Chris or the rock kids. And oh shit, I just got political… I should go to bed and come up smiling tomorrow. Night y’all.. and peace – for real!

17th November - Jamie
I feel like a that big yellow bird from Sesame Street took a giant dump on my head, I’ve broken the first rule of being a musician and got up before noon… It’s 9.30AM ! I’m in a hotel room with two lovely ladies, who were kind enough to let me crash in there room…. They get me up to say hello to steel train who also played last night, they look how I feel, Shit ! anyway I get my shit together and head out to meet the boys who opted for a party. I have to hang out for an hour or so, I hit the record stores, in the first one I find a mc5 box set, I get it and move on. Walking down the main drag I find a music shop so go in, they have some really cool custom drums hand made by the owner of the shop, who I talk with for ages about drum shit. He gives me some free shit and I go meet up with Hal and Sam for a curry.

Say Lawrence Kansas to any other person they’ll think of KU but to The Thieves it say’s best curry in the states, and being British we should know… so our host says that he works at a curry house that’s really cool, so we’re like wicked, Vindaloooooo vindaloooo ! but when we get there it’s a pissing Thai place. Now don’t get me wrong I love Thai food, but it’s been bigged up as a great curry place, and we’re in Lawrence, we want Indian !! anyway so we order the Thai red curry and when it arrives we dig in but Jesus is it hot, it kick my arse…. You’d need guts of steel to be able to digest the said curry. So we say our goodbyes and head out to Oklahoma, we drive a couple of hours and get a motel. We get in and get some pizza, I think it goes straight to Sams guts because goes in the bathroom and we hear the loudest fart, we just crack up. We get an early night, we’re all out by 3.

16th November - Sam
After a couple days rest we’re back on the road again. The show tonight is in Lawrence, Kansas and the drive through Kansas is the most boring thing ever. The road just goes on and on with no change of scenery what so ever, just field after field after field. When we finally get to Lawrence we get a beer at the club we’re playing at then go and check out another band called Steel Train. Pretty safe stuff but tight and good harmonies. We eventually get on stage about 12 O’Clock and do a rockin’ show followed by a few shots and a party back at a guys house called Bill. I must have been drunk because I ended up in a conversation about politics and theology.

15th November - Hal
I awoke to luxury this morning. I was the last one to wake up but found myself in the basement of a very well kept and comfort-driven home. I had a day off, internet, proper tea, a shower that jetted rather than dribbled and a nice cat to keep me company. After I’d showered and settled into tea and email mode, Sam came down asking if I fancied an Indian for lunch (and oh boy, do I love all that is Indian!!). So our fare host, Shannon, arrives home from work ready to dine. She presents us with a bag of hats and gloves to choose from as a means of enhancing our survival, should we take a more serious crash in the snow on our next outing. So armed with warm hands and heads, we head out for the local Curry House. At lunch – which was amazing: buffet curry (so plenty of choice) and Tiger beer - Shannon tells us that she’s taken the day off work. Now, we’re all knackered, particularly me as I’d driven 10 hours straight over the Rocky Mountains yesterday, so was this a blessing, or a curse? Shannon says that we could have a few beers, go and watch a few movies on their ‘comfort-driven entertainment system’ and then go out for dinner. We protest on the basis of being absolutely skint, but Shannon persuades us of the plans’ merit! So we agree, and rather than being sensible and cutting the miles through Kansas, we find our selves watching ‘Starsky and Hutch’, followed by ‘Punch Drunk Love’. We then depart for dinner; my day just got even better: Curry for lunch and now I’m about to demolish a load of fondue! Fondue has to be the most sociable style of dinner ever invented, apart from Guinness;-) We went the whole hog: cheese fondue to start, followed by a fondue of heated oil, which cooked whatever took your fancy, and then a fine chocolate fondue for desert…. I mean, does it get any better? We return home, merry, and get stuck into ‘Anchorman’. That’s one curry, 3 movies and 3 fondues - and a cuppa tea – all in one day. I get to sleep in the fine basement again and simply look forward to another cuppa in the morning before the arduous task of getting to Lawrence, KS begins. Night y’all.

14th November - Jamie
We start out nice and early as we hear there’s a storm coming in over the rocky’s, we really don’t need to get court in the mountains. We don’t get far before the snow starts and it’s dodgy, the roads are covered in snow and ice, we take it nice and steady. I can’t believe the amount of cars bombing it past us. Just as I am thinking this we see a car skid and flip on it’s side. We stop, Hal and myself run to check to see if there ok, while Sam called the Police. The guy is still in his seat and calm, he’s in shock. We make sure he’s ok and by this time there’s loads of cars and so we think it’s ok to head on… Jesus it’s so cold when I get back in to the van my beard is ice - it felt nasty.

We take off even slower now, thinking shit man if that happened to us we’d be goners, what with all the gear in the back. So when we hit ice ourselves on the very next bridge, we’re sure we’re dead. We hit black ice and just spin 360 degrees, and onto the ditch on the side of the freeway, we’re sure we’re going over and we're all saying hold on, we’re going over… We’re ok we just came to a stop facing the wrong way on the side of the road. We sit there for a minute just thinking about what just happened. We get on to the road and it does the same thing spins again, as we’re trying again we wait for the on coming traffic to pass and I just said what if someone else does the same while we’re here they’ll hit us. Then a 18 wheeler comes over the bridge and hits the ice IT’S COMING RIGHT AT US, WE’RE DEAD… just at the last minute the trucker gets control and drives on - it must have been 3 foot away from us…

We head on through the snow thinking we’re not going to make it, I think it is the most scary drive of all our lives. We get to a service station and meet another band who say it gets better about an hour on, so considering we’ve been on the road now for 8 hours in the snow, we thought fuck it we’re going to get through it. About an hour and a half on we get to Cheyenne and the snow clears, so we motor down to Denver, and make it in to town at about 10. We’re the only band that made it through so they decide to pull the show but say to stay and have drinks on the house so we get shit faced (well deserved I think). We meet a couple who came down to see the show and they offer to put us up, this is just what we need now, a warm home… Nice !!!

13th November - Sam
I got woken up this morning by two giggly girls having a really loud conversation. So I had to get out of bed and find out what all this racket was about. What had happened was that one of the house mates in the place we stayed at last night had gone home with a guy in the middle of nowhere. When she woke up at 6 in the morning she was still shit faced and thought it would be a good idea to go through his pockets, find his car keys and steal his car to get back home. So she thieved his car and on the way home crashed it into a ditch and had to find a farmer to get it out. When we left that morning she still hadn’t got hold of the guy to tell him that she had his car. Absolute drunken NUTTER!!! Later that day we did our show in Salt Lake City and it was pretty dull apart from a couple of games of pool with a cool guy called John, oh and a wicked pizza.

12th November- Hal
Boise, Idaho. One of my favourate towns, where we’re one of their favourate bands. I love this town. There’s nothing in Idaho - except Boise. So you drive for 8 hours through nothing but wilderness until you hit the mythical oasis that is Boise. And the people of this fare city like to have a good time, at least the ones I’ve met do. So I always look forward to this show. We rolled into town around 7pm and started the ceremony of unloading the gear. The Neurolux has a good stage and a good rig, so I wheeled out 4 cabs and two amps – much to Sam’s dismay, but Jamie’s joy (which does surprise me cos Sam’s usually more energetic and Jamie’s without doubt always lazy?). People arrive early in Boise, and they start the function of boozing early on their weekends. Soundcheck done, pizza ordered - and arrived - we get a pitcher of Stella (Beer) and get stuck in. About 2 hours and 4 pitchers later, I realize that Mr. Blue has not turned up? We get reasonably worried that the dude may have taken a tumble on the road as he drives alone. I leave messages but get no response…. It’s now 11pm and well past Chrisopher’s bedtime. So we’ve no choice but to embark upon the stage. We’ve already shifted a ton of merchandise and the house is looking good. It’s so much easier to play a good show when you see people singing back at you and lad’s slapping each other on the back after you play a hand of bitching guitar licks: yes, tonight was good, really good, and that’s perhaps why I love Boise so much! We come off to vast rounds of drinks and beers provided by the good patrons on the Neurolux. The Merch is selling and the conversations are rolling. And then Mr. Blue arrives! He managed to get himself arrested by Idaho’s finest. They pulled him for a bust headlight….just as he’d taken a big hit from his mobile bong! Eye’s glazed and van smoking.. he gets taken in. He gets off on bail with the false promise of returning to court… So I guess it looks like Mr. Blue won’t be playing Boise, Idaho again anytime soon! But the ceremony continues and Chris’ escape is celebrated. I bump into Michael Dees who’s championed the band since our first tour in the Idaho press, we have a few drinks and then, somehow, I find the van’s been packed and I’m sitting in a Jacuzzi with two naked ladies and a beer that I can barely hold! Yes, I love Boise. The only bummer is that Jamie was sitting in the tub too!

11th November - Jamie
We wake up at about 11am. It’s cold out, so after a nice cuppa, we head out to find a pawnshop for Sam who wants to sell an old ring. On the way we have a conversation about how hard it is for English people to say pawn, and not have it sound like PORN, we could get into trouble with that one… anyway we arrive and Sam gets 40 nicker for his ring!!! We all thought he’d get like $5 at best, what a result. After a stop for coffee we go to a record store and see that Diamond nights are doing an in store in about 15 mins across town, so we motor over there to catch it, as we are going to be playing with them soon, we thought it would be cool to meet them… But when we get all the way over there we dive though the doors shouting ‘ave we missed the band???!!! And they say well do you mean the band that was here yesterday. …mmmm, nice one boys!

After dinner at the Jupiter Café, we head on out off town towards Boise.

10th November - Sam
The drive from Portland to Seattle is pretty easy and uneventful. When we get to the club we fill up on some of the best burgers known to humanity and chill. The band on before us are from LA and they're sound geezas so we end up having a few beers with them. Then it's show time and we have a really good jam out show. After the show we proceed to get drunk with an all girl band also from LA who are game for a laugh and end up on the stage doing the worst covers I've ever heard - they were damn drunk. Then we head back to a mate of Christopher Blu's (the guy we're touring with) and we're all given some really powerful sleeping pills which make us pass out until about 5 when 'Blu' comes into our room and wakes us up by smacking the Piano in our room and shouting "we need to get high dudes, I've got a studio session in 5 hours and I can't be sober for it!".

9th November - Hal
London woke me up around midday. I never answer the phone in the morning but the ring was an apt alarm call. It was about 1pm and I was looking up at Jamie’s fat arse hanging out over the sofa right above my head! Had a shower and lots of coffee. Called London back and we agreed to meet for a drink at Dante’s due to the fact that the bar man had offered us a free session of pizza and beer. So by 3pm we were lined up at the bar, and dribbling! On the way into the club we bumped into this tramp, who we’d met on our way home last night. It was funny: he was in the exact same place as the night before and I only remembered this by seeing him there. He however, remembered all of our names, the band, where we were from and what we were doing. Quite amazing, I don’t remember getting that close! Whilst waiting for London we felt charity surging in our bones due to the charity we were receiving at the bar, so I gave Jamie a good nugget of weed, and he took it out to our friendly tramp. We demolished the pizza, sunk a few beers and then headed out for the SG/band photo shoot in Portland. We walked outside to find our friendly tramp absolutely knocked out asleep with his tongue hanging out and upper body held up by a big dumpster; he must have hit that nugget in one hit, it was comedy central, he’d transformed from a complete rabid, mad dog into an anesthetized puppy! London was great, she just snapped away candidly, which meant never once did we feel like a bunch of poncy pozers prancing like tits around Portland. She just fired away and occasionally threw suggestions at us. The light failed and we headed back to Dante’s. I started on the Scotch, the lads hit the Vodka, as did my sweet London. What I love about this girl is that she has such a passion for her – well - passion! She pleaded with us to take more photos, and I love people with conviction so it took no arm-twisting. We spent the next couple of hours in the basement, in a shower, a toilet and the back-room, just drinking, chatting and taking pics. Good times. As always, it was time to go. Me and the lads headed out for dinner with our fine host Ed, who could hardly stand-up by this stage, and London headed to wherever it was that she had to get to – we set to meet for brunch tomorrow so as to exchange music for photo’s etc. Ed’s conversation was limited to the occasional shout of “Yeash” and “Noah – hic-up” with regard to what he wanted to eat and do. We had a fine Italian, which was grand but wasted on us drunk fools! We were due to continue that night at a local bar, but fatigue and an utter lack of cash hit us all, so we headed back to Ed’s for a wee smoke and a big chill. I’m writing this now and I think we’re about to watch The Muppets Movie…. I better have another hit!

8th November - Hal
We woke up in a right shit-hole of a motel this morning. It’s weird how you never notice it when you’re tired, but always wake up so aware of it. The cleaning lady is banging on the door shouting ‘house-cleaning’: “yeah we know, now fuck off!” But that’s the alarm call, so we look around to see who has the tenacity to stay in bed longest and face the prospect of missing the shower. Guess what, Jamie wins again! So all showered and clean – apart from Jamie – we head out for breakfast. We’ve been searching for our favoured, ‘Cracker Barrel’ -$2.99 a piece!!!! - but so far we’ve had had to settle for Denny’s instead. Portland was an easy drive so we got into town nice and early. Today was going to be a good day! I knocked on the door to see if we could get in early for a quick drink and some food… and what a vision betook me! Right above me was a naked girl lying provocatively in front of another sexy lady armed with a camera, and to my right was one more – extremely - sexy girl standing by a fire pit with just an Albino Boa snake draped over her sensual terrain. We’d just walked into a Suicide Girls photo shoot! We pulled up a bar stool, waylaid our load-in, ordered a round and sat back to watch. It was a great afternoon and we got talking to all the girls and the snake handler, who had snakes dangling from our shoulders in no time. The photographer was one hell of sexy lady too; turns out she’s one of the original SG girls, and I’m not surprised by the way she just held and moved herself. Time came to load-in, meaning that the girls went downstairs to get dressed. During soundcheck the lovely photographer came up and said she had another shoot to go to, so was going to miss the show. But, she wanted to take photo’s of us and complete an interview for the SG website. I gave her our # and a CD and we agreed to meet tomorrow.. so should be another good day;-) We were playing Dante’s tonight and it’s a great club; they take good care of their bands and fill you with liquor and food. We were on late tonight, so by the time it came round for us to play, I was shitfaced. I spent a good portion of my time downstairs with the rider and Chrisopher. Jamie came down after a while and I noticed the poor boy was looking a little bewildered. Turns out Chrisophers’ lady had been pumping Jamie full of weed – he was a complete stoned mess, but funny! We hit the stage and to be honest is was a bit of a daze but I do recall thinking that I better do well cos I’d been arguing with the bird from the support band who insisted on performing as straight as bunny rabbit on Christmas day in church. I told her that she shouldn’t act like she’s crazy, if in reality she’s a bunny rabbit, she firmly disagreed – she called it a performance?.. yeah, whatever!… so I had to make sure I didn’t trip up over the front of the stage and end up in a dribbling mess by the front row….which has happened! We did good, at least I never fell and Jamie, whilst holding on for dear life to the set list, didn’t drop a beat (he definitely played a little lighter though;-). Chrispoher was absolutely demolished by the time he took the stage for the midnight slot. We watched him and witnessed Jim Morrison, incarnate, with an acoustic guitar. And now we’re back at Ed’s house attempting to make tea? Night y’all… and boy oh boy, am I excited about tomorrow, London’s her name!!

7th November - Hal
Jamie was sprawled out on the back seat, Sam was in the passenger seat and I was somehow crumpled on top of the guitar cabs. I had the early shift as Sam and Jamie had driven most of the night. So I dutifully took to the drivers’ seat and head off again for Tacoma. The lads had cut some good miles and we were on good time. The drive was pretty uneventful until the miserable rain started to turn to more interesting snow. I was really enjoying myself as we headed into Lake Shasta. But then the snow got heavier and the traffic got slower and then the illuminated signs started to flash ‘Snow Chains Required’. So we pulled over and ventured into Wall Mart for the required chains… talk about holding you by the short and curlys: $50 for some chains?!!! I ask the lady at the checkout where a good diner was and she came up trumps! We sat down to one of the friendliest and, considering the increasing snowfall, coziest diners I’ve ever eaten in. It was called the Black Bear Diner – if you’re near Lake Shasta, you should find it. We ate more than we could manage, blew our heads off with coffee, got all the essential info from the locals, stocked up on Petrol and started out into the unknown. We got about 10 minutes up the mountain until the police were forcing people to chain up. Jesus that’s a cold job, my hands were turning black with bloody frostbite. But all this grief was for a pretty short trip. We headed up to the top of the hill and back down into the rain in about 20 minutes. And then it was more rain all the way to Tacoma. I was excited about playing Tacoma, but there’s really nothing there – it was an extremely short-lived emotion. We arrived late due to the Shasta incident and immediately confirmed our food order with the barmaid. We had a few beers whilst waiting for the pizza and considered eating it, drinking up and then running. But a fellow band from LA called The 88 hit the stage and they were actually rather good. So we stayed long enough and got caught in the trap. We played, had a quick drink and then made our way to the closest motel we could find. And that’s where we are now. Good night… and good luck.

6th November - Hal
The Last time we played Frisco saw me driving around for an hour trying to find parking for the van and trailer – bloody nightmare! So this tour has seen us pack 4 guitar cabs, a bass rig, drum kit, amps, guitars, merchandise, ourselves and our bags into just one van – talk about playing Tetris! But Tetris is a valid game for this biz… and I found myself with an easy life: nice driving and lovely parking. We got to the club early, had a kip in the van, unloaded the gear – parked it – sound checked and then headed out for a curry with my good mate Dan. Dan’s a friend of mine from back in Oxford where we cut our teenage years together and he now takes care of our website from San Francisco. It was a good curry, but Dan’s a bigger lad now and can eat like bear! We kind of felt obliged to keep up so by the time we left the restaurant we were like a gang of snakes who’d eaten a family of deer… and all we wanted to do was sleep! We walked into the club to find the worst band in the world on stage – just think of the most horrible Jazz, Funk and Reggae thrown into the same pot – I’d have rather gone to see Billy Ray Cirus play! And then the dudes just played and played and played and played until the club could take it no more. We were asleep – for real – by the time they finished. The soundman woke us up and we went into a pretty empty room….who could blame ‘em, a Sunday night at 1am in the morning, after having your very soul turned to potato puree by the band before? Only the very, very dedicated few could endure that! So we played fast, had some drinks and got the fuck out of Frisco. We’re headed north now and it’s one hell of a drive to Tacoma! Peace Out – but not in a gay Jazz Funk way…

5th November - Hal
I’ve stumbled across this town twice by mistake – once was taking my Mum up to San Francisco when we found the Madonna Inn (highly recommended – look it up and go there), but the first time was when I was 20. I came to California armed with a box of my CD’s and the desire to find fame and fortune. This couldn’t last long as my money ran out far faster than my ambition did. So, I bought myself a fake social security # and got a job in construction. This seems like the end of a fairy tale, but quite the opposite: For a young lad like me I was earning more money than I knew what to do with and I was banking it all in my pocket Once my pockets could take no more, I hired a car and headed out on a road trip to spend it…. And San Luis is one of the towns I stumbled across. But what’s so bizarre is that the bar we played tonight is the exact same bar I found myself stumbling out of all those years ago! I remember it cos the toilets were so shit and the stage was so small. This is not exactly a rock club, more of a drinking-well where the focus is on the bar.. and that’s all. However, we lucked out tonight… if you can’t beat ‘em, you join ‘em, right? So we waited until the last minute when all the punters are all on the same level, and then we cranked the amps up to 11 and watched their hair get blown back. We played deep, down and drunken dirty rock tonight.. and I think these people loved it! The barman was very quick to challenge us to a few drinking games as our reward… what he didn’t realize, and something I learnt that night, was that Chrisopher Blue was an expert at sinking pints! He shamed the manager, we earnt a little extra money and all – except the manager – left happy! Right onto San Francisco

4th November - Hal
There’s only one thing a day off means, and that’s to catch up on all the boring things like paying the gas bill, finding a van to hire and locating mandolin strings at 2am in the morning;-) And once I’d completed these tasks I set myself down for a night of video, pizza and beer.. but oh no… this was to be the final lecture from my new lodger on why I shouldn’t drink coffee, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. “Yep”, I may as well go to sleep and just stay there? What gets me is hypocrisy though: people who stuff themselves full of ice cream, cookies and cheese lecturing me on the damages of the aforementioned? To wind her up I explain to her that health is for fat people, or men with small willies – she can’t see the logic in this… and I can’t anymore either, so it leaves me with just enough time for one more beer and fag (that’s cigarette in English – we’re not actually going outside “to suck on a fag”;-) before bed. I do this for myself and then hit bed, realizing that “perhaps she has a point”? … nah!

3rd November - Hal
I woke up with all three of us crashed in the same room this morning: we’re so damn broke right now that we’ve had to sublet the house out and squeeze ourselves into one room. We’re heading out away from LA on Saturday so it’s no big deal. We sorted all the lose ends out from last nights gig and picked up a load of new T-shirts (which look amazing: we’ve made tour shirts that list all the dates, towns and venue’s we’ve played – or are playing – in 2005, with a picture of the new albums artwork on the front). Tonight’s show was at King Kings in Hollywood. We got there around 7pm for soundcheck… and what a place! I was sick of playing LA until tonight’s show: this is a great club with a very sexy barmaid, no LA pretentions, a great stage, nice room and wicked sound system. The great thing about sexy barstaff is that they love to ply the bands with booze; I mean, where the stage is our domain, the bar is theirs.. so they strut their stuff! We had a great show tonight, played like demons, had a good crowd.. and it all felt really good. However, I’m writing this diary on the morrow, not Dec 3rd, totally on account of the barmaid getting me totally mashed up last night – looks like I’m not quite road ready just yet!

2nd November - Hal
I love touring. You hear bands and hobo’s say it all the time, but I really, really, really do love it! I’m a self confessed - and reality proven – Road-Rat! Tonight we’re kicking off our last tour of the year.. and this’ll give us over 150 dates in America alone. And whilst tonight’s show was a pretty low-key event, it was a great night for knocking the cobwebs off and getting back into shape. After not playing a show for about a month we just stepped right up - and right back on - from the word go! San Diego was a blessing though because it was the business side of the game that we’d fallen short on – damn we even forgot copies of the new album to sell – so guess what we’re doing tomorrow. Anyway, it feels good to be back and we’re in road rat mode again. We’ve got a great touring buddy in Chrisopher Blue who’s on the road with us for at least 14 of the dates. It’s LA tomorrow – hope to see you out there!