It’s been quiet…

… although surely you know by now, it’s quiet because it’s been so DAMN BUSY ROUND HERE.

There is a Canadian mini-tour coming up, a remnant of a much larger plan chopped up into digestible pieces. Tours such as this are under discussion for months and not a word can be said until the plane tickets are paid for. So we’ve know about it for a long time, kept quiet – and there are more things on their way.

In June we will visit Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton. Please come.

vancouver:
https://www.facebook.com/events/455113241487800/   

montreal:
https://www.facebook.com/events/714583268723516/

toronto:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1072122906225417/         

edmonton:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1316977605047734/

calgary:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1153706898088073/

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Another live date came very unexpectedly – Severed Heads have been added to a package of younger bands playing at the Sydney Opera House. It’s unexpected but a welcome boost, we just hope that we don’t have to have too much contact with Vivid, who have never been a good friend to us. Please come.

http://vividlive.sydneyoperahouse.com/home/repressed-records-15th/

You’ll notice that often the links lead back to Facebook and I apologise for this. I’ve made a firm decision to avoid Facebook as much as possible, but I can’t break the rules for everyone. As much as time permits I’ll be posting here and not on The Great Abyss.

Meanwhile there’s work on new videos for the shows, and on 360º sound and video pieces, both for the band and long term business aspirations. The 360º has to be hosted by Facebook I’m afraid, as they are a major player in the whole VR business. Changed my mind. Facebook is wasting my time with free but messed up technology.

Personally I’m back teaching at university a bit but not getting involved in the management side of things which is just too painful if you have strong hopes and ideas about education. And the house now has two occupants – the Man Cave has become a bit more lady like. So I hope you can forgive the pauses in communication!

Yes I know, the Euro Tour story is late. I know.

Europe Endless Part 2

Wednesday 19th.

The instructions were to meet somebody holding an Unsound sign on the platform of Krakow train station. No such sign appeared as I gently floated downstairs in the sea of commuters, exchanging my Euro for Zloty with half an idea of getting a cab to any place which had a horizontal surface of any description. At which point Alice, volunteer wrangler of wandering Australians, caught me, and guided me to my apartment over in the Old Jewish quarter. She told me many things and I nodded at the right places to appear awake.

This fine apartment had several horizontal surfaces which I began to inspect in great detail for an extended period of time. Now, next door to the hotel there began a night of celebration which I can best describe as if Laibach were performing an extended set of Vengaboy covers, mixed with a shock documentary about domestic violence and the truck that picks up all the empty bottles at the pub, except louder. Which I figure is your standard Polish night on the town. This managed to pierce my oblivion about every 4 hours, but defeated each time by sheer exhaustion.

Thursday 20th.

Eggs. This day was for the Artist talk, but time first to visit the Old Town.

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I was most impressed that Krakow has a Starbucks dating back to 14th century.

The Artist Talk was led by a fellow from The Quietus who seemed to treat the experience like an exam nightmare without pants. Then the fine moment where I was introduced and the audience had no idea who the fuck I was or why they should listen. Like most Australian artists I’m pretty expert in being obscure and winning people over with colonial charm, and by the end they had all laughed and seen the game in action so win.

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Alice wanted me to see some of the other acts. I wanted to make a closer examination of the horizontal surface. We compromised on a visit to the nearby Bunkier Cafe, which celebrates the Central European art of chain smoking cigarettes to the point where every surface is covered in soot. We had a long talk about female mystics and Australia and relationships and aging that went on as we walked back through the rain to the apartment, because what better way to follow smoke than with rain if you want to keep your singing voice?

No party that night. Oblivion enveloped.

Friday 21st.

Eggs. Time speeds up. A jackhammer started somewhere above the apartment. Stewart was in the air to Warsaw from New York via Dublin. He was on the train. Alice was somehow to get him from the train station to the hotel and to sound check in half an hour. The Friday traffic was foul and seemed to be as much on the pavements as the street. Somehow we arrived on time at Hotel Forum, built by the communist government just before the collapse of the USSR.

Down in the hall the PA was of a such size that every time Stewart played a bass note he got a foot massage. Apparently it sounded fine out front. To my ears it sounded like a jet aircraft taking off complete with smoke effects. Who were the people there? We will never know as time was already running out…

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Saturday 22nd.

Halfway through the set it became Saturday, and a mad rush to get back to the apartment, wash, pack and leave for Amsterdam at 4am. As we were in the air, bands were still performing at the Forum. But this is a tale for the next installment.

Australian and Alice

Lost Australian, and the ever patient Alice about 1AM at Forum.

Europe Endless Part 1.

Prologue.

Each time I confessed to a promoter that we’d last played their city a neat 30 years ago, you could see their eyes do a little dance, like – had I been sent away for murder? Did I go on a secret mars mission? What in god’s name puts a band back on stage 30 years later? Not a bug, but a feature of contemporary music – the complete collapse of new talent – perhaps faith in new talent, I am no judge. We were not nearly the only bunch of elderly crisscrossing Europe.

It must be said that our last extensive tour of Europe was a debacle. No fault of our own – the fates attacked on every level – sickness, equipment failure, thievery – the toll was awful and I recall trying to entertain 800 people in Zurich alone with TV set for visuals – would you book that twice? No, you would bury that as long as it took to forget.

Only BodyBeats in Antwerp risked the airfares on exclusive appearances, much to our mutual benefit in 2005 and 2011. This time it was Unsound in Krakow that wanted the exclusive, but a change of government funding in Poland meant that we had to find other income. Our recent collaboration with Dark Entries records provided a network of DJ entrepreneurs that were able to take the risk.

The shows grew organically, a bit haphazardly, with no one person in charge of it. From Krakow, we added Amsterdam. Glasgow was keen. Berlin also. Slowly a network of dates came together covering two weekends, with London suddenly wanting a third and Paris very late to the party. At no stage did we have a master plan or even a sense of profit versus loss. It was enough that a second chance had come and surely – surely it couldn’t be anywhere as awful as the first.

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En Route.

The first time a record label brought us to London they used the cheapest fare possible – a Garuda bus that bumped up and down for 36 hours at every plausible refueling point. These days you have a lot more choice and the metric is one of:

Potential of catastrophic death vs. Price vs. Misery.

  • Potential of catastrophic death: Garuda not an option, Aeroflot not really big on my wish list either. You want QANTAS, it doesn’t fall out of the air much. Nor does it fly into war zones like Malaysian.
  • Price: under a grand. Can be done but requires attention to the other metrics.
  • Misery: To get to Europe from Australia you need to hop somewhere near the equator. More hops, more pain. Too fast, miss the plane. Too slow… read below.

I can remember as a small child arriving at Dubai and not being hit by a missile, and found an Emirates/QANTAS flight through Dubai to Warsaw under a grand. That seemed a great idea with only one teeny weeny problem – the connecting flight left 7 hours later.

Seven Hours at Dubai Airport.

The flight from Sydney was in fact the venerable QANTAS QF1 flight to London that has operated as long as I’ve been alive. Probably since Captain Cook. Stuff of legends – so many Australians have hopped on QF1 hoping to make their fortune in the mother country. Not so many in 2016 as I had three seats to myself. Felt smug until I saw the lady next to me had five of them.

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Dubai is alleged to be the busiest international airport in the world, spanning three main centers linked by train, each with four terminals. After 14 hours I arrived at A, not knowing where I would depart. I walked in circles endlessly, a kind of Arabic Ballardian miasma. No place was better than any other – it could be here – it could a kilometer away.

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It turned out to be the gate next to the one by which I arrived. Or an identical gate reached by traversing the infinite bounded space of Dubai airport.

Warsaw.

The 7 hour flight to Warsaw was by Emirates proper, and the announcements made in Arabic. The staff were dressed in the mock Arabic costume you would expect, but spoke excellent Polish – as after all they were all Poles. (This weird costuming reached a pinnacle in Glasgow where a large Scottish lady of advanced years sat behind the counter dressed as if an extra in Aladdin, but I’m ahead of myself here).

At Warsaw a firm lady in military uniform asked me where I was going and seemed to find that amusing, stamp stamp.

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Built wide for ease of access by Soviet tanks.

The young man that guided me to the train station spoke impeccable English with an accent that would have suited a Gentleman’s Outfitter of 1800 and something. That is, it was all rather smashing and I do say old chap. Seems that if you learn English at a university level in Poland you end up with sounding like Lord Haw Haw. He wanted to show me Warsaw. I was extremely grateful but the further we got away from the train station the more visions I had of running frantically down the platform after the departing carriages.

A gift from Stalin. Better like it.

A gift from Stalin. Better like it.

But once prompted he delivered me back to the station on time and pointed at the right platform. ‘Make sure you don’t get on the train to Unpronounceable Destination’ he warned me. The train pulled in. It went to Unpronounceable Destination. But the station sign said Krakow. I asked the guard. He pointed to a carriage. I climbed in. The train departed. I was either going to wake up in Dubai airport or the train was going to end up in Krakow and by this stage, either seemed just as good as the other.

Aversion

Last year we played the USA and sold an album called Better Dead Than Head. I thought that a download package would work but people found it was too alien and we will very likely have a CD instead this year.

Still not allowed to record any new music, it will be a fabulous collection of other people’s hits called AVERSION.

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I have two requests please, one simple, one intricate.

Tell me what tracks you might like to be on the disc. I have already chosen quite a few, and the majority of them are mid 60’s to early 70’s psychedelia because that’s the most fun to re-arrange. I’m reasonably open to any ideas but please not something completely ‘hilarious’. Something that can make a good track.

Make some sequenced ‘tape loops’. Back in 1982 we made a version of Tomorrow Never Knows. In the Beatles original there are many tape loops, but we made a rule that all our tape loops would be electronic sequences, and that’s what we did. I am hoping to include sequences recorded by people all over the place in a new version. Only a few seconds long. Think you can do it?

Much obliged!

“If it has a mellotron, then it can do no wrong”.

End of Tour – Part 7

And now, at last, to the only gig we’d actually expected to play. The Cold Waves festival runs over two nights in Chicago and we were part of the Saturday line up which was designed to be a bit more ‘family friendly’. The very family friendly Front Line Assembly was up top, with PWEI being the other ‘grown up’ band. Severed Heads was at the head of the kids table with Cocksure playing right alongside and then there were youngsters who will no doubt one day be the grown ups (unlike us).

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Back home exactly the same thing but it’s called Foota.

But first to reach the Metro. That day the CUBS WERE PLAYING. The Cubs are a popular hitball team in Chicago. Hitball is a game which involves many people dressed in blue crowding all over the place blocking all traffic. It looked to me like they were winning but apparently they lost otherwise everything would be on fire.

Once we got there, seemed like just as many people milling about backstage. Bands bands bands. Greets from the Metro owner who had last greeted us 25 years ago holy shit. As much as I like to be all friendly to everyone, for me playing live is just too anxious making to handle that crowd, and I apologise to anyone that I gave a startled ‘are you a sadistic dentist?’ look. Most of the time I tried hiding in the SEVERED COCKS room.

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Although we had played live together before, finally got into chat with Chris J Connelly, seen here channelling his ‘drunken shit in a business suit on a Saturday night’ stage look. In LA it had been gold chains. We had thought that LA costume was entirely serious, more fool me twice.

But there were old people I needed to see. The last time I met Bill Leeb was in Vancouver, way back. We were both in our mid 20’s. He has grown enormously tall since and I have shrunk. Both he and cEvin Key prove that the ratio of height to width is a prime factor in success in Industrial Stardom, something which I will never know.

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The Industrial height rule. Fulber don’t care shit.

But they will never equal our ability to attract bears. It was like Jellystone Park, I tell you. Bears.

Festivals are nerve racking because you have to get on/get off mighty fast and if something is fucked up then you die (hello Antwerp!) They were setting up sound checks pretty efficiently, but I was getting freaked out about if it was going to work. It’s partly from not having played in big line ups that often over the last decade. The only fuss was (as always) about the main video which was being projected onto drum kits and I had to choose a smaller screen. I think it’s OK. Hell, most people watch videos on a mobile.

Once the table was set up and the signal was happening, it was all just fine.

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I should say here that the festival is a supporter of the Hope For The Day charity, which helps people at risk of suicide. Part of the tour show was of course Dead Eyes Opened, with Stacy dancing on screen, and I had added a short video title acknowledging that she was not coming back. The tour came to an end in a poignant moment.

Backstage and the same number of people were milling about but it had settled into a different crowd, more about the society than the performers. I guess I’m more comfortable about getting things up and happening than partying them down again and after processing another extensive round of bears, decided I’d do one last BBC Nature Show through the streets of Chicago. Stewart was happy with a bottle of scotch and a place next to the mixing desk, so I grabbed my shit and swung outside.

The game of hitball was still winding down. A few boys were half heartedly punching each other in the streets while the girls tried to pull them apart. The bars were pumping ooga chaka. Drunks were vomiting into smart phones. It could be any western city, everything and nothing, The Saturday Night. That’s the thing about tours; all those hotels, planes, back stages, the disassociation is complete, you’re just passing through, enacting a ritual, everybody you meet n greet has a role and a script. Walking through the streets, Frisco to Chicago, it’s almost like you want something to break the glass and haul you out of there. But really not.

Instead I spent Sunday in the hotel room. There was a lot to not think about.

Tour Drily – Part Six

Hello Tampa, or as it turns out, Ybor City, which is where cigars were first carved out of phosphate or some such thing. Something something, Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla.

We were met by a friendly man called Curse, who oscillates like a sine wave between Tampa and Austin, apparently a thing you do in the southern synthesiser music trade. He took us to rooms at a goddamn HILTON where I glimpsed THE LARGEST BED I HAVE EVER SEEN and only then told us we had to go straight to the fucking venue. How could I perform, thinking about that bed? Sleeping somewhere in that vast confection of padding?

Not so much a bed as a way of living.

Not so much a bed as a way of living. Yeah, I took photos of the hotel rooms. I like hotel rooms, OK? This one was a Hilton, and every light in the place was turned on as if to say, climate change is caused by Florida, buddy.

In Florida, we were too small, or perhaps it was too big, for us to play alone. We supported Pop Will Eat Itself, and there were advantages to this. Firstly, one may get off stage earlier and drink all PWEI’s rider. Secondly one may blame PWEI for anything bad that happens, while claiming virtue for everything good. And no encores, none at all. The main worry is when the main band has a drum kit and a hundred microphones to set up, your chance of a sound check becomes wistful, although we did get there in time.

Here was Michael Pilmer of T Shirt fame, and his henchmen, dressed in identical knife costumes, the camera tilted to show their evil. Did I mention we wore Holy Fuck Knives T shirts every night? We did. And we sold them too. Michael and Robert made these. We also got some special stickers to cover our apples.

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A bit of a barn, quite large, too large for us alone. The first band on, (I am sorry I have been very remiss about the first bands in each case but I am in the zone at that point, anyway,) the first band on was the first actual rock band we’d encountered the whole time. I mean they did r-o-c-k, did the moves, stood on the wedges, spooned, mutually masturbated, I mean if there is a library of rock gestures, they held all the library cards. I don’t think Stewart had seen such a thing before, and was awed. Me, I’ve seen ZZ Top. Once you’ve seen the best…

We played. At least one guy was crying. At least he was the one I could hear sobbing over the PA. The audience in Ybor City was a bit ‘intimate’ for the size of the place (which we could immediately blame on PWEI, see how this game works?) but they had a fine old time.

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Pilmer over on the right giving the finger. An enduring symbol of Southern Hospitality. Actually I think the gent over at the left with the beard should get in contact so I can send something worthy. Best audience member ever.

PWEI I think were too big for the stage. They do this pacing thing, back forward. They looked like when tigers get put into too small cages. For a moment you wonder if you shouldn’t be wedged behind a table. But that leads to keytars, and the thought stops there. Shudder.

At the end of it all, I grabbed my backpack and launched out into the turmoil of Friday Night in Ybor City. They were young, sexy, swarming and mostly Cuban. I marched through it all, some kind of alien grey, block after block, seeing it all unseen. Nearly every gig I managed to walk back to the hotel at some ungodly hour and somehow that was turning into the best thing about the whole tour. Like a BBC Nature programme.

At the hotel, that bed.

Tour Dory Part 5

Weird double coastline thing near New York. No idea.

Weird double coastline thing near New York. No idea. As you may have gathered I spent an awful amount of time looking out of airplane windows, moaning quietly.

Stewart’s back is held together with paper clips and knitting needles and these started to fall out around this time. If his top half fell off that might be disagreeable and remove some of the melody. For my part I was enjoying the extra octave that had appeared under my usual vocal range, but not the dull ache that was hanging around my voice box. Experience is that I have limited time before it collapses spectacularly, as it did when we were being recorded in Adelaide (damn it). And once long ago in Chicago. Bad.

Such that we sounded like a bickering old couple even more than usual, him telling me to keep quiet and me telling him to stay down. The good thing was his missus was already in NYC and had a physiotherapist booked if we could get into Brooklyn from JFK Airport in time. Cab unwilling but eventually got there, and rolling and pounding took place.

Brooklyn is not the Brooklyn I remember. It’s like somebody bought it all and made it into BrooklynLand – a sanitised version of what was there. I mean, I only ever seem to get a single day in NYC ever, I must win a prize for least amount of actual time spent over three visits. But in a way I am privileged to have seen it 30 years ago and kept that in my head all these years. It’s much better now, believe me.

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We walked with the promoter to Rough Trade, a combo record shop and venue. He was pissed off that the venue had to be changed at the last moment but I really liked the feel of the place. Not a cupboard, a goodly warehouse space near Bushwick Inlet park with a view over the bay to the city skyline and there was the Chrysler Building that I’d 3D modelled in the All Saints Day video. Sound check and then take out meatballs, which I gather was highly appropriate for Brooklyn. Stewart went off somewhere, while I did The Meet And Greet.

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Actually Stewart had noticed a problem with where the Severed Heads CDs had been placed…

… which he fixed up. Good job!

Now, that sounds pretty gruesome. People pay to meet you before the gig, and get some special seats and souvenirs. That means you can’t just hang with other people, which seems a bit la-dee-dah. I tried be the least wanker possible and make everybody feel welcome and I think I managed to do this as much as having eaten too many meatballs allowed. In a way it’s good to get that done and not have to worry about it. Of course various people wound up in the dressing room, but they had a good tale to trade for the beer. Kind of like when Batman is climbing up walls in the 60s TV show.

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Early on. Unconvinced. Show us what you’re made of. Walk on Coals.

New York was the biggest show as an individual band. You’d hope so, seeing as it’s the biggest city. I’m too connected with the west coast to feel welcome there yet, it was a good show but they were chin scratching the way people do in places where they get everything – what is this band that hasn’t bothered with NYC in decades?
I told them that Texas yelled louder and that sorted them.

I guess the only other anecdote was some guy making hand shadows on the projection, which Stewart caught but couldn’t tell me because he was busy actually playing keyboards, you know, that thing DJs can’t do. Once he got me I sent a cheery fuck off to the person who was doing it, which seemed to please the rest of them no end.

Two encores as had become usual. We really have to figure out this encore thing.

I walked home. There were a few stars. I made the mistake of walking past the after show drinks and was immediately set upon for photographs, in which I probably looked like Bagpuss covered in Emilies.

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Tour Dairy Part 4.

Here begins more serious plane rides. Not 12 hours like we get to & from Australia – we as a nation have built this into our psyche. It’s a war, we fight valiantly, we win. Rather these are flights that drain a little blood, ever so gently, so you don’t notice it straight away.

An hour is just up n down with a drink if you’re quick. Two hours gets you a bit of reflection as the landscape rolls slowly below. What is that place? Are they carving pumpkins? Do they have proms? Three hours or more brings on a weary dejection, and there were going to be a fair few more of these before the week was out.

At a guess we travelled across Idaho, Utah, probably Colorado (without getting anywhere near Time Universal and Coordinated dammit), and a large slab of Texas without there being much of anything to see until Austin came up the window. I mean it isn’t the Great Australian Fuck All, a large void of void where for example they filmed Pitch Black. It was farms, towns where Wal Mart was coming soon, a silo.

The promoter had been told to take good care of us and he did it in style, we got shown the sights and told the eats and pointed at the local store for anything. He told us the Texas State Capitol is Taller Than The One In DC. I was really grateful for the hospitality, but the plan was (a) not to drink any more beer Jesus fuck and (b) enter the deepest oblivion as soon as possible for as long as possible. There had been no sleep for days, it was time.

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Y’all are sleeping in TEXAS now.

12 hours of black under the Tallest Capitol goes here.

Next morning we set out to see Austin. Imagination never fits the reality, I imagined that we’d be stationed in the inner city pretty much everywhere, but only Chicago matched the idea. We were near the Austin cultural centre which petered out pretty quick into what I guess is the hotel district, and after a quick diversion where Siri insisted we walk thorugh a hotel lobby we found the centre of town. Which was the centre of town. Nice. Temperature going up folks, got to get back to the shelter. We talked about media, programming, what materials would be needed for another tour, where money could be found. Serious things for a band that was supposed to be shutting down..

The gig was a barn like bar, pool tables and Coke stained glass, although the promoter had brought a bunch of ‘industrial’ bands there over the years it still felt like a place where a rock band comes on and the crowd goes THANK GOD FOR SOME REAL DAMN MUSIC. I mean this is the place where Beers Steers and Queers came from, and I know because I met Phildo the very man who sang just that. He takes care of the aircon these days he said.

Most of my night was with spent ranting with this gentleman:

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not wearing this mind you

who had followed us over from the Los Angeles gig and brought some more friends. I got to hear about growing down here and moving over there and visiting Australia and the whole lifestyle that goes with wearing such a hat. I think we should collaborate on something, God know what.

We played. It was good. People hooted n hollered. I don’t think the place was in danger of filling, not on a Wednesday. I mean, fuck, Wednesday is Jazz night at the pub next door to where I live. But they had a loud good time.

I love a gig where you can walk home. 2AM or thereabouts. There were very few stars. Or maybe just too many coloured lights.

We were playing New York later that day,
and so the ride was only hours away.
The Taxi. The airport. The TSA.

Tour Dairy Part 3.

To get out of LA, just hail a cab. Make sure you have a Big Ben in the hand, as you’ll need all of it, even on Sunday, as you approach the airport the traffic slides into an expensive crawl. 50 bucks to see the airport entrance, another 50 bucks to get to the gate. Whatever. Oh, and $25 to check your bag? Jesus.

Some sort of moon crater filler with water, or Portland. Not sure.

Some sort of moon crater filled with water, or Portland. Not sure. This is a Seattle joke.

Seattle! I have a soft spot for a city with a fish ladder. Also that rainy Pacific Northwest gloom was most welcome after the drought down south. If one day a gun was pointed at my head with the command to live in the USA – probably Seattle. There’s just enough Commonwealth leaking over the border to temper the Yank. It’s a small town for us, but I think I like that. Sydney is going from 5 million upwards, and that’s not so great.

Picked up by Troy of Medical Records and taken back to his bunker lair on the hill. He has a Man Cave that shames my man cave, and a Man Couch which I manned each night – although early morning exercises in beer addled shit talk left not much of that.

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Excellent choice of decor.

This is Seattle, God bless, and instead of the Magic Cupboard we had Memorial Grunge Rock Venue with Vegan Bar Food. I tried the nachos figuring that it’s hard to fuck that up, but ended up with corn chip toothpaste, comparing badly to the un-meat burger that was waved triumphantly in my face. A cool night out on the balcony with many fine punters including Mr. Stephen (No Relation) Jones – some who had risked being shot to come over the Canadian border. Not dissimilar to LA’s magic garden but raised up above the street. Actually got deep enough into conversation to forget to get on stage in time.

A good gig, and I reckon a good turn out for a Sunday. First time we were there (admittedly back in the 20th Century) it seemed Seattle was glad that our equipment fell apart on what was our last gig, just so they could see Skinny Puppy sooner. This time they cared a bit. By this time we were actually pretty tight – good thing, as the PA crew immediately played a bootleg recording they’d just made of the show. ‘Private’ they claimed. Bah.

(Actually I think I’ve been too flippant over the last few entries – the response everywhere ranged from mildly pleased to the kind of cathartic release you get in snake handling churches. Some people were crying. I felt like Oprah. If I don’t mention it that often it’s because it’s alien to my understanding.)

It all wrapped up too late for meat (vegan food is the absence of meat) from a local burger joint but not too late to go back to the bunker for a round of Talk Drunken Shit, most of which I don’t quite recall.

DAY OFF THANK THE GODS. Up for a real breakfast made from real food and down to the Living Computer Museum where Stephen was good enough to give us a private tour. Many fine toys to see although my favourite was the PDP-12 which I modelled from photos to be in the HH game as the key to changing levels. Also I think Stephen’s favourite as he restored the analogue section to at least make sound and vision – the sound is suspiciously like the noisy bit in Dead Eyes Opened.

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We four followed this up with an American Sports Bar experience (which for some strange reason included a large party of women learning how to paint watercolours in one section of the restaurant) and then back to the bunker for more Drunken Shit Talk which was definitely about turntables and vinyl, I know it. And clothes washing. You may laugh, but clean clothing on tour is often all there is holding back madness.

The taxi. The airport. The TSA again. One officer started to interrogate me about where I had been and where was I going. I rattled off my story about staying in Seattle with friends (true!). The guy behind me basically told him to fuck off, which I now know is the correct local custom.

USA Linguaphone.
TSA Man: “Hello!”
Traveller: “Fuck Off”.

Tour Diary Part 2.

LA

Grand Theft Airplane

Los Angeles is not renowned for calm. To the outsider it’s an endless miasma of cops shooting at cars out of helicopters, and you get the impression that’s just the way they like it. But Glendale – unless I’m reading something way wrong – quiet & chill. Two facts: Whole lot of Armenian people in Glendale, hence signs:

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I’m probably already in trouble for this wrongly being Eastern Armenian, but I am just innocently pointing out the linguistic charm. Secondly – Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, of great literary fame, but sadly off our itinerary.

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Hark! Across the desert dunes, a shimmering oasis in the distance.

Another Motor Inn on a freeway, but this time a nice old Indian couple with zero attitude. The decor – Indian Takeaway meets Grandma’s house. Across the street a Taco Bell, and Stewart was curious, but does a friend let a friend eat Taco Bell? Before a gig? If I didn’t have to share the stage with his bowels maybe, but I suggested Jack In The Box as less dangerous – he still got the curly fries and one of those insanely large drink containers full of Dr. Pepper, that’s surely enough kulture for one day.

Actually no, we don't have shit like this Australia.

Actually no, we don’t have shit quite like this in Australia.

The venue was a close walk down the road, and at first glance about the size of a cupboard. Be all cool about Sold Out show, but not when a cupboard, that’s bleak. What I didn’t know at first was through the cupboard was Narnia, in the form of a big back yard with fairy lights, and in that back yard all kinds of good people that I hadn’t seen in 20 something years, including Aslan*. Much socialising and LA style plotting of future projects with local celebs.

(If you’re the young lady that came up and said Hi I’m ____ and I told you Hang On A Moment, I’m Having A Conversation then I apologise but I really was halfway through a sentence).

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Really the night was a lounge room party that we had agreed to play, and the people there seemed just as happy to catch up with each other as much as see us sweating and dying on the stage/microwave oven. Sad fact – seems like the only professional photos from the tour showed up in a LA newspaper, and show two microwaved people melting in a rather unattractive manner – no I’m not linking them TYVM.

It was wrapped up all too soon, everyone being a little older. I can’t remember whose brilliant idea it was to ask for IPA beer to take back, but when we were given an entire case, we swapped most of the bottles for ice and I got to waddle homeward down the freeway, past a big Armenian wedding party, with a cardboard box dripping a trail of cold water.

I am ashamed to say that by 4AM the two of us plus Jason from Cocksure still hadn’t managed to demolish the lot but there was some total bullshit conversation, so not a complete waste. I hope the Indian couple liked the remainder.

* inside joke I will never ever explain so don’t bother.