Monday, September 29, 2003

Sorry, I've been weak but I'm on the road to recovery now. I have had a horrible cold since our tour started last week.
Monday today and back in London for 24 hours recuperation... have a couple of days off before the M.A.S.S. tour resumes and really looking forward to doing our XFM session tomorrow.
We are still waiting for news as to whether we can support Muse in France ...we've worked so hard for it but it although everyone wants M.A.S.S. .. we have to bow down and wait for the UK music mafia and agents to try and persuade the band to have someone else. I am chuffed for the boys in Muse that their album has gone into the charts at Number One though. In the meantime, I try to make myself feel better by writing an email to Lisa from The Bellrays to see if we can play with them on their UK tour..

It's only been four days into our own headlining tour and we've already had every type of gig..the well organised one where we get offered coffee and a sandwich and the promoter apologises for not being able to pay us more - Paul you are an angel. The 'cancelled at the last moment gig' ... a 'proper' venue who couldn't be bothered to even put us on the website and then cancelled the day before - we NEVER cancel gigs. The University gig.. I am tempted to say bless 'em and it must take some courage to hand you a twenty pound note at the end of the evening and say "sorry there isn't more" but the collective result is that we can then only afford to stay at the local Youth Hostel and I have to sneak into a .. bloody dorm at 2.00am and find my bed amongst bunk beds full of back packers, sneezing and sniffling the the whole time - it wasn't nice for them and certainly not nice for me.
Hull Adelphi 270903Then Saturday was what makes it special, traveling from Wales to Hull in the sunshine, stopped off in a seaside town that has seen better times - not sure whether Rhyl quite makes the 'towns we must play' list. The gig was almost normal, well organised by a couple of local bands at least one of which shouldn't remain local for much longer.. if there was any justice of course.. and there isn't so I suggest they watch out for themselves and we'll do what we can to help as well. It was a long drive back to London.... I was still half hoping that we might get back to see The Rocks in the East End but we had already passed 5.00am when we entered the city walls... Sunday spent recuperating..

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Had a good weekend... spent Monday filming in Paris with some really lovely people for a song we had recorded for The Profkiev Project, an indendent film and the night before had managed to blag me and a couple of the boys into see Peaches in Brussels because we had played a festival there with M.A.S.S.

We had set off on Sunday for the ferry at some time I usually associate with Saturday night.. i.e 4.00am or something stupid. My band had a couple of things to do including a festival in Belgium and then a film shoot in Paris.. I wondered beforehand if it would be quite as exotic as it sounded.
As it happens the festival is part of a whole day where cars are banned from entering the city.. it took enough jabbering to convince the cops that we couldn't carry the boys amps and drums on our backs, the van got a pass and we blagged it in like a gig! We even had hotels for this one and got to play out of doors to a whole load of skate kids and ruffians .. I love 'em ... apart from my first onstage stalker that is, he was the first but I am sure not the last.. THAT BIG!!! SonnyI can't quite explain what it is like having a six foot six bully jumping up onto the stage infront of you with his nose to yours, throwing beer over you, smashing glass bottles on the stage and trying to make you look at his bits as he levers open his badly fitting jeans .. I smile sweety and take a peak... I can see why he is so pissed off.. I have to admit being a bit nervous but it just made me and the band even more determined to win them over.. the crowd sorted the asshole out and we left to cheers and would have done an encore if there had been time...
The good news was that we were finished by 9 o'clock.. good, because Peaches was also playing just up the road... we get there four songs from the end, I almost cry explaining that we are Peaches bestest friends in the world and they cough up four free tickets [a fib]... hurrah! Peaches rocks...and a projected hologram type duet with Iggy Pop was the business... then we um.. hit Brussels.. Brussels hit me and don't know how I found or made my way back to the hotel...
M.A.S.S. filming in ParisThe next day we drove to Paris for the filming in an old big squat that used to be the refrigeration warehouse apparently for French railways... why do they need fridges? Not my concern .... we do about 30 takes of the new song 'I know' I have adapted the lyrics to fit the Romeo And Juliet theme of this part of the film and I am so glad that the director David and his team were so pleased with the song. Our audience in the film are two little boys who were gorgeous and between takes there were water fights a plenty... as ever in France, I didn't want to go home. x

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Bit of a night last night with Mark from The Bluetones DJing.. I'll write more info when I get time.. up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.. off to a festival in Brussels tomorrow and then some filming in Paris on Monday... no doubt i'll be reporting when I get back x

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Well made it to Wednesday before getting too messed up. I have figured out that to maintain a rock an roll lifestyle on no money when you are not touring, you need a fair share of other people's album launches and the odd film premiere.
So that was last night's activity, quite a few of my various friends know Darren and last night was his album launch for his band Mankato. So off the gang headed to a gym on the Harrow road.. strange place for an album launch I thought but when I got there, what a fab idea, no expense spared and all drinks free. The band performed in the boxing ring; so on comes Darren in true Rocky style, after a pretty young thing is looking awkward dancing to the Rocky music in a bikini and boxing gloves.. with the boys pretending to not look so obviously interested as they were and the girls trying to work out if they were silicone or not.
Darren's performance was brilliant and natural... are you listening Fame Academy.. we are bringing rock and roll bands to the charts I promise.. I promised myself that I would remember the name of Darren's album which is 'Safe As Houses' .. there, never say I get to go to an album launch and forget why I am there.... after the gym about 80 of us go to the nearby pub who later claim that we have drunk them out of vodka... ended up back at some lovely peoples house and I remember singing in the kitchen with Darren to acoustic guitars in a very drunken state but another good night... I'm just pleased it's only a week until our proper tour starts.. too much of this socialising might cause me to get complacent..

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Walkin' the talk...
Yesterday was definitely a "if you want something doing, do it yourself day"
A head fell half asleep... decide to run it off and walk to my manager's place in Brixton, it's a good old walk, gets rid of a few cobwebs and is good to get rid of 'piss holes in the snow eyes' always an attractive feature I find.
Today I'm sort of playing secretary and courier but basically want to do anything I can, while the sun is still shining, to move things along for the band. As far as the secretary thing goes I got thrown out of my typing lessons for mucking about in class..I'm sure im not the only one who was disruptive but probably the loudest which doesnt help.
Anyway, enough School Disco talk; today's main task is getting copies of our video out to as many people as possible... we're pretty sure that as soon as people see this they are going to get into our band a lot more. I'm putting a package together for Zane Lowe and others and my plan is to hand deliver them, so I know that they get in the right hands. I head for the West End.... so much walking today, I feel like a gump and I manage to do every person I wanted. The last person I saw was James the producer of 'Blackball' the film that our single track is in.. I was a bit scared because we are using bits of his film but we I sat down and watched it in his office with one of his team and I think he loves it.. so relief there.

Go home to freshen up - a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do and then head back up to the West End to see my guitarist do his solo thing at the 12 Bar; sink far to many JDs and settle in to listen to the music master. This is the first time I've seen him do this thing acoustically and it sounds gorgeous with all the lads vocals and goes down brilliantly with the audience. Jonny's new solo songs are beautiful and I love the melodies, he left people shouting for more but had to say that he had run out of songs. I thought tonight might have been a quieter one but it got to one o'clock and then I appear to have ended up at another bar with my mate, attracting every nutter out until 4.30am.. 'quiet night' doesn't seem to be on the agenda anymore.

Friday, September 12, 2003

The lesson of "be patient"..
I am not very happy with the phrase "be patient"... I have the same problem as I do with "you can't have your cake and eat it".. my usual [rather obvious] response is usually.."why?"
I felt compelled to write an email to someone at the NME this week in response to an announcement by the editor Conor, where he says "The NME autumn tour is always a blast but this year we're bringing you an extra special line-up with two of the hardest-drinking, hardest-riffing, most exciting new bands around" .... Jet and The Hiss. Ha!
Now if you've read any other of my ramblings here you will know that I have seen Jet and The Hiss a few times and was chatting with Adrian from The Hiss recently whilst we watched Jet at HMV. Adrian is lovely but the gig at the Barfly earlier this year was was when we played before The Hiss and so rocked and blew them off the stage and outa the venue, that it was that gig the French journalists saw and launched our whole French adventure this summer! And I wrote in similar lines to Mr. NME that if any band is in contention for the label of "hardest-drinking, hardest riffing, most exciting new band around" I think M.A.S.S. can safely put in a claim!
The NME bit said that more bands would be added to this tour in the coming weeks.. I am realistic about this, I just asked for one but we could show them a thing or two and as Jet are from down under and The Hiss from Atlanta, I think someone i.e us, should be flying the UK flag.

I was bloody knackered yesterday after Wednesdays Paris adventure, got back into London in the afternoon but was set on going to see The Ludes and The Rocks at Metro.. also meet up with Bjorn from Norway, who will hopefully be putting out our record in Scandinavia and helping us get over there in November, he is with an American band on his label called Bamboo Kids, they seem like nice boys and I am sorry I missed their one and only London gig on Wednesday at The Water Rats.
Catch the first on band tonight; Metro Riot.. who are actually quite good... do you think when they play other venues they call themselves things like Barfly Riot and Water Rats Riot?
The Rocks @ The MetroAs well as The Ludes I want to be here tonight to support James and Sara form The Rocks.. I was out with them at that rather messy face party thing on Saturday.. and The Rocks get better every time I see them... it's just so refreshing to find people in bands who aren't two faced and are the same whenever you meet them.. I want M.A.S.S. to play with them soon.. we've got to tackle this music industry thing together.
Apologies to Sam, manager of The Ludes.. when I first mentioned him in me diary I said he was a woman... well, I had had a few JD and cokes and was obviously introduced to the wrong person anyway.. just to say apologies and that Sam is very much NOT a female...! The Ludes rock like and have got that Coral swagger, in fact, there's a lot of The Coral in there but they manage to turn it into their own... I think they will go far, they go down brilliantly with the audience. That's the only problem when I go to gigs like this; I want to be up there playing, to be honest at the moment I only feel that I am really happy when I am gigging and onstage - asked my mum, she is gettin more than her fair share of depressed phone calls at the moment... "be patient"? not sure that I can... I want some news of what's happening to our video.. will it be on MTV? I hear some weird substantiated rumour that you can in fact... already see it on TV screens at Top Shop??..
will we be touring in France with Muse?...still the M.A.S.S. UK tour starts on September 24th and were off to Belgium for a festival next weekend... so just have to look forward to that... bring me some good news...

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Getting the 'special guests' slot on other band's tours and my MUSE night in Paris
This is my big question today; I KNOW that my band is one of the best live bands in UK [and 'Get In The Van' beyond] at the moment; honestly, you only have to be at one of our gigs to realise that SOMETHING is happening, and it's great doing our own headlining live dates but we really need to get on a bigger tour now and convert a whole lot of new people to the M.A.S.S. cause. I have made it my mission recently to try and send bands that I like, like Queens Of The Stone Age / Datsuns / Janes Addiction Kings Of Leon etc packages.. the only problem is, trusting that the people surrounding them to pass the bloody things on.. I am not convinced of this. It also helps to have a booking agent... we are currently being offered the best gigs in France, Germany, Scandinavia and everywhere but can we get a booking agent to actually come and SEE us? No.. and their reason.. because we haven't got an official record deal.. and can't decide whether we want / need one... it's like the mafia.... it's all, as usual, about money....basically, there is a hidden agenda where smaller bands have to give the bigger bands money to tour... and if you haven't got a record deal.. they are scared that you won't be able to afford to go on tour.. these are weak people and they haven't bargained on M.A.S.S. - We were nearly the special guests on The Wannadies tour but they were asking for money and weren't convinced that we could cough up.. well, we'll never know will we...

muse ticket ..so today, we are going to up the ante on this whole thing and have another big M.A.S.S.ive rock and roll adventure.
Found myself getting up @ 4.00am and on Eurostar to Paris.. mission: the management are going to fill me in later on details of a meeting or two but our primary aim is to help the case for M.A.S.S. being special guests of MUSE on the French [and bits of Spain] leg of their European tour in November - I am a big fan of Muse and love the new single and in the first of a spooky series of coincidences I pick up an NME and there they are on the cover..
So here I am on Eurostar going to meet Matt and the boys and prove that we mean business by putting our case across personally. I am on a 'cut the crap' mission and taking things into my own hands. I am accompanied by one of my managers.. who highlights the lack of funds in the M.A.S.S. camp when one of his shoes falls apart.. we discuss whether he should get a Co Co the clown suit to go with the flappy shoes but opt for one of my mum's old tricks and put the offending item back together with super-glue.
We pop into les Inrockuptibles magazine, who have been so good to us and see JD one of the editors who is also going to the Muse show tonight. It's weird because the night before on Channel 4 they showed a concert by Muse @ a venue called Zenith in Paris.. about 15,000 people and massive light show.. they are huuuugee in France but tonight are playing infront of just 500 invited people at a relatively tiny venue called Le Trabendo.
muse in flightMuse hit the stage flying and create an absolutely amazing sound with just the three of them and give everything 100%. After only a couple of songs though, the stage goes dark and something has blown on the power side.. after a short interval, they resume and the gap only hightlights the sheer power of thier music and then... dark again.. another power failiure, this time for at least 20 minutes.. still gives me another chance to go to the bar. The French crowd are chanting "acousteek... acousteek"..

this time the band come on stage and hand out water and wine to the front of the crowd...the French love Muse and Muse love the French... Then the power is back and they resume from exactly the point where they last stopped, just before one of Matt's guitar solos... he's a great muscian but his voice is awsome.. and I can't help thinking that M.A.S.S would make the best band to go onstage before them.. my mind is really made up on this one.
The gig ends with a bit of serious gig trashing [not sure whether this is usual, or just the frustrations of the power going down] anyway.. in the melee poor drummer Dominic gets hit by a flying guitar and sustains a cut above his eye.. There is a lot of hanging around because of this... there aren't many people around the dressing room and I don't want to feel like a groupie... eventually I get to speak to Dominic and he is very philosophical about the whole thing, holding an icepack to his new stitches and waiting for a tetinus injection up his bottom - not sure I would be smiling so much. Matt Muse recognises me from the secret Thrills gig the other week where I first met him. I dropped the question as to whether he had received my package into the conversation and of course, he hadn't but we had a good chat and I gave him my email address to let me know if it wasn't delivered but let him know that boy, were we up for the tour.
It's funny because M.A.S.S have recieved virtually no help from anyone in the UK music business, yet people on the outside have been so good to us..sometimes it's frustrating when your own country ignores you.. but then I look at The Darkness and no matter what you think of them.. the NME hated them.. they were laughed at but they have really won peoples hearts [if not their minds] so there is still hope... otherwise we will go through with the plans to move to France.
I have a good feeling about tonight's mission, just because Matt and the boys have a down to earth honesty.. they might appreciate my dedication to all this... I just wish they could listen to the album because then they would be getting a bit of the buzz that I am at the moment. Wish us luck...

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

It's funny being away from London. I keep getting messages. Sounds like the video looks amazing and I can't wait to see it.
Have also been talking with the mangagers about the possibility of going to France on Wednesday for meetings and ... 'a mission' - mustn't forget to pack the phrase book then. Can't wait to see the video.
Also recieved a text about Pete from The Libertines, he's been sent to prison for breaking into band mate carl's flat. It makes my heart sink. Not least because The Libertines have been in and out of our M.A.S.S. lives over the past few months, we were played with them in Paris; the night when people thought that Pete might come back and Carl had to front the show and we all think he did an amazing job. Later we were all on the ferry on the way home and at 5.00am Carl was having a heart to heart with someone on his mobile, which after checking out posts on his website www.babyshambles.com, was obviously Pete. I went to Pete's Babyshambles gig a few weeks ago and it was just that... a shambles.. perhaps this has prevented something even worse happening. It's weird that we were out with Carl at the Faceparty thing on Saturday. It's going to be awful and difficult for Pete inside, not least because if he has got a habbit, which is pretty obvious, it's a horrible way to have to deal with it. Puts all the music stuff into perspective though and it's weird that 'Don't Look Back Into The Sun' has been part of the soundtrack to my summer.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Phew... you might be pleased to know that I survived and am now by the sea at my mum's.. the past few days are a bit of haze but it's good to be here.
The day after the 'Blackball' premiere ... on FRIDAY we traveled down to Brighton to do a gig.. a label night for Purr Records who put out the vinyl of our last single - the other bands were The Customers and The New Rhodes who we really like.
Also got a good bit of band news today.. looks like we have secured a slot as some kind of British band representatives at a festival type thing in Sweden in November... that makes more France, Amsterdam and Scandinavia, all to come.
There's nothing like a good loud energetic gig in a shoebox to clear away the mists of night-before alcohol. The Brighton crowd was up for a good night and so were M.A.S.S., a good gig and certainly woke us up and kept getting news from our other manager who was in the editing suite with video directors Gavin and Luke that it was looking really great... they have been god sends.... not least for working with our 'every expense spared' operation...

The whole week was non stop and SATURDAY night was certainly NO exception.. my word. ... began the evening in Stoke Newington of all places, watching a band called Tall For A Midget.. I kid you not... then it's off to the old London fish market at Billingsgate for a mega gig with Supergrass, Electric 6, 80's B Line Matchbox Disaster and Har Mar Superstar... and Too Many DJs... you could say I was a tad excited HOW MUCH MORE COULD YOU WANT IN ONE NIGHT.
We get there and there is a massive queue... with rumours that they have been selling guest list tickets and that the queue contains 7,000 people... but somehow we manage to dodge all that and I get given a whole bunch of coloured wrist bands that enable me to go here there and everywhere... my kind of party you know and much much more mingling... and hey presto... Carl from The Libertines is infront of me again with his lovely girlfriend... Being a huge fan of all the bands that are on, I am in my element. Had an amazing time and talked to everyone. Got eyed up(well I like to tell myself that) by james gooding, he's quite dishy but dont think im in kylies league Iwill have to do more arse exercises. The Electric 6 were absolutely amazing and on fire.. they have our M.A.S.S. energy... just a bit gutted that I needed to get another drink and missed 'Gay Bar' and their version of 'Radio Ga Ga'... Hey managers.... any more fish market gigs and I want to be playing... are you listening? - not sure how I made it up to my mum's on Sunday...

Friday, September 05, 2003

Today's an important day; my mum's birthday but she'll have to celebrate with her son because I still have LOTS to do this week and am planning to go and see her on Sunday - she's a star she understands and very excited to, that the film is out on her birhday.. good omen.
So... last night it happened... Justine did get to go to the ball and got to the premiere of 'Blackball' on Leicester Square. I am no longer a premiere virgin! I had to get a cab, as with the dress I had on it was bad enough having to walk through Leicester Square, let alone the tube... I just hoped nobody noticed the coathanger ariel on my vehicle as it pulled up behind a big shiny black limo!
I had a few wines, got a bit of Dutch courage and off we went down the green carpet to watch the film and mingle with the stars. Bumped into Jonny Vegas who gave my manager such a big hug.. and I couldn't help a bit of the green eye, thinking where's mine? Bumped into Carl from The Libertines and had a quick chat before finding our seat to watch the movie - I've seen the film so was just thinking about the party. 'Blackball' doesn't engage your brain but it's just a lot of fun and before I knew it, it was over, mingled a bit / drank a lot and I was just thinking .. I could get sooooo used to this..... at one point we were going to be playing at the party but now I'm rather glad we're not.... get ushered into the VIP room and then free champagne followed.. at some point I was dragged out and told it wasn't cool to be the last to leave.. why did I fall for that old one?

Thursday, September 04, 2003

mass on locationIt HAPPENED! Yesterday, we shot our first video; for 'Live A Little' and we all had a great day out at a little village bowling club in Eynesbury. We were up and on the road at 6.00am! because we had to be off the bowling green by the afternoon. The directors Luke and Gavin from Two Big Eyes along with the producer Jonny, had agreed to our management's usual 'every expense spared' policy and so there we were filming. [I'm going to try and attach a photo from the M.A.S.S. website]. I can't believe that by Monday the whole thing will be finished and edited including clips from 'Blackball' the movie
And tonight.. we shall go to the ball. The band won't be playing at the premiere of 'Blackball' tonight which is a bit dissapointing but my managers assure me that no one would have been listening anyway .. too busy knocking back the free champagne.. which is what I intend to do. We only have two invites to actually see the film but I've made sure that the rest of the band can go to the party.. so good fun should be had by all and I'm looking forward to meeting Jonny Vegas.
So from what looked like being a cloudy week, has turned into a goodun. Got a gig in Brighton tomorrow and then I am trying my damndest to get in to see Supergrass, Electric Six and 80's Matchbox .. in a fish market?? on Saturday... on and on... x

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