Saturday, December 20, 2003

This could well be your rock and rollin' Justine signing off for the year.
I contemplated staying in London for The Libertines final bash on Tuesday but nothing they could do could top their gig last week at the forum and with M.A.S.S. rockin the Empire in Shepherd's Bush on Wednesday reakon it's time for a breather.
Not before I've sent one last email to Conor the editor of the NME though. At this week's gigs I've been handed flyers about the NME's gigs at the start of next year.. my usual beef... WHERE ARE THE GIRLS? Well actually, they have one night, The Distillers with Peaches as guests [got to let you have this one - i was looking for Peaches website and found this one PEACHES shocking :-)]... so ok.. where are the UK girls? Well I am offering, I know M.A.S.S. could open that show and rock the walls... especially as we love Peaches and she picked out our single on XFM.. so if you don't ask you don't get and I don't see why I shouldn't ask Mr.NME for a slot for my band for Christmas.. that's all.
So that done, all there is to do is buy a copy of The Darkness single to try and help a Lowestoft band get to number one and stop Pop Idol spreading their rubbish and then it's off to the sanctuary of mum for a bit of sanity for Christmas. The madness can start again next year. But this year has been truly amazing and just want to say thanks to any of you out there that has supported M.A.S.S. and all the bands I have seen and played with.
It's been very much a Libertines year for me one way and another. It started with their gig @ The Astoria when they became headliners because Vines pulled out and the oh so poor Detroit Cobras were added .. even then I thought that we would do so much better. Then all the stuff with Pete... turning up at house gigs.. the Libs gigs without Pete, including us amazingly getting the chance to play with them in Paris and Carl being a hero and carrying off the day... Babyshambles gigs.. the Duke Of Clarence gig the other week, when I thought flu was going to drag me down and then that final amazing show at the forum... the only Libs show I didn't get to but wanted to was Pete's coming out party in Chatham.. but that was the night that we were playing our best London gig of the year with M.A.S.S. at Death Disco.. one of my M.A.S.S. highlights, of which there were many... The Libs are definitely going to be the band of next year... along with M.A.S.S. of course. My other gig of the year this year has to be seeing Primal Scream @ Kill All Hippies.. standing a few feet away from Bobby G. and dancing like mad.. and wondering how I blagged my way into that one....
Of the bands that M.A.S.S. actually played with it was The Bellrays that blew me away.. Lisa is the queen.. and The Fiery Furnaces were much much better live than their album.. I want to play with both of those bands again next year. Of the bands that I have seen, I think the ones that will do well next year, for various reasons but mostly because of the brilliant vibe are SPECIAL NEEDS, THE ROCKS, RAZORLIGHT and especially The NEW RHODES who will be massive next year if there is any justice in the music business - I am just not sure there is. I am also loving the forthcoming single by THE DELAYS 'Long Time Comin' which is out next year and have got them on my 'bands to check out' list for next year.
With M.A.S.S. we are taking a good look at things and may even relocate to France for a period.. a place where we can live and rehearse and give something back to the European audiences that have been so good to us this year... the only thing that has really got me down (and sorry if i've gone on and bored you with it) is the bloody UK music business.. well things have got to change.. but I intend to keep writing here and making sure I am well involved in living the rock and roll life.. 2004 bring it on..."scream if you want to go faster" jus xxx

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Last night played our last M.A.S.S. gig of the year and was able to roll out on stage @ Shepherds Bush Empire in London which is one to tick off my wish list. Felt really at home in the soundcheck which was amazing and the venue a lovely big theatre, not an ounce of fear, just excitement and sat down and visualised the audience there and couldn't wait until 8.15
In fact before we knew it we were standing in the wings, so excited and anxious.. not too sure what to expect.. we had had a last minute invitation to be special guests for Shed 7 on their last London gig ever on their Farewell Tour... these were going to be hardcore Sheds fans.. but you know me... I like a challenge, it's like trying to make friends and coming to terms with the fact that if there are 1,000 of you out there, somes is going to love you to bits and somes is going to absolutely hate ya... that's just the way it is... it's easy to get paranoid.. even though there's two voices having a war in your head...confidence has to take hold and grab everyone by the balls... one by one till they scream... I'm meaning that metaphorically girls..It can get quite surreal at times... with all these people in the audience and the band at my side, you'd think you wouldn't feel alone but at first when you step out on stage... the audience is a an unknown entity and you have no idea what is going through each and every person's mind. And slowly... as the songs start rolling... you find the warmth and can start to relax and enjoy it and realise that everyone is there to have a really good time, otherwise they or you would not be there... Justine Mass in crowd @ sheps bush empirethat's why I always want to jump off stage and get amongst you..find out what you're thinking.. see the whites of your eyes..
And last night at the end of the gig it's been great and hopefully M.A.S.S. won over some hearts and minds. Personally, I am just thinking, M.A.S.S. are just made for these big stages and there's no going back now, we're here to stay and what a journey it will be next year... we couldn't have finished on a bigger buzz.. and my prayers were answered....
After the show, we were invited down the road to the Hilton where Shed 7 were staying. I would like to thank Alain, our lovely French translator for sending us a celebratory Christmas gift of a bottle of red wine and apologise for the boys not getting much of a look in on it... we went and celebrated our guitarist Andy's birthday as it turned midnight.. again made loads of new friends and found out what loveley guys the Shed 7 boys are... they are putting the band to rest while they are on a high.. and what better way than a packed, appreciative Shepherds Bush Empire... the king is dead... long live the queen... ;-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Woke up this morning after seeing The Libertines last night.. what can i say .. I wanna give up... they were absoulutly amazing... Pete is a star and Carl too.. but that boy has something about him that is very exciting and you cant help smilling when you watch him, he certainly draws you in to his world on stage.
:-0 Chas And Dave were on first which just made my night.. took me back to christmas's when I was a kid my dad knowing every word and to my disbelief they look like they have'nt aged how did that happen then? They performed all the oldies , Rabbit, and the I dont care one.. Ain't no pleasing you or something ... just warmed up the crwd perfectly. Then Pete joined them, braces suited and booted, sang one of there songs in a artful dodger feel which was fab and quite cute. I doubt if Pete been called cute but he just looked in his element .
So then the time came the lads entered the stage and from kick off the excitement and energy just flowed through the audience and went mad. I can honestly say ive never felt so pasionate about a gig in my life, pure genius. Just brilliant songs fun amazing musicians everything about the gig from start to finish was a journey of happiness just to watch people who enjoyed every moment didnt give a fuck and you never knew what going to happen next.. at one point a guitar of petes flew into the audience all the stage crew lights on trying to find where the bloody thing went. Apples thrown on stage and pete standing there eating it on an intro of a song someone behind me saying to his mate how cool is that. See the guy has it anything he does mostly men there may I add just admire him and want to be him. I get the feeling its the whole Oasis thing again thats the vibe I got not there anything like them but the really strong front man and fantastic song to back the whole parade. Their mate Rabbi came on, sang a song, I think he's irish ..well he sang an irish song. See so you never knew what was going to happen next.
The highlight was for me 'Dont Look Back Into The Sun' the place errupted in mayhem...what can I say I just get goose bumps thinking about it they are going to be the biggest band next year and so they should be because what I saw last night is what Id like to see at every gig I go to and should be but alas you know and I know this aint the case. So they are either out there and not getting a look in... or we've seriously have to sieve through the crap... cause this is what we want to hear and true ROCK AND ROLL... I won't get a better Christmas present... and I want M.A.S.S. to be that good next year or heads will roll... x :-)

Monday, December 15, 2003

Well, here's another entry in my erratic diary.
Haven't written for a while because the end of last week we went to Switzerland with M.A.S.S. A new M.A.S.S. adventure.
We set out on Thursday
with lovely early start - what more could you want than to see the sun rising @ 5 o'clock in the morning. Hop in the car and off to the airport, yes, you got that right.. airport.. we're going up in the world and it doesn't feel right.. I've got withdrawal symptoms, i'm used to getting in the van and driving for hours and hours, surely this isn't right. Anyway keep my mouth shut and enjoy this treatment I could get used to I can see me now in my private jet. Anyway head out of the clouds one step at a time so we flew, got picked up at the airport by the the guy who had arranged our first gig and got taken to our place of sleep.. six beds in this apartment place. See girls look what I have to put up with four smelly men who snore the place down.. its like The Waltons or pehaps not. the men in that programe are quite a good looking bunch ;-).
Even though we are just the support band, the organiser Danny is fantastic to us and fills us in on Switzerland a bit and the boys get their smoking stuff .. and that makes them happy. So all the usual stuff.. sound check not so usual get fed not once but twice surely this is against music law and that and getting paid to things that just aint right. I start to feel uneasy if any of these things happen. We were on at 10 ish the people were really up for it and thats mad cause they were a ska and regge audience so we were chuffed that they encored us, shouting dancing, it was brilliant first night in switzerland and we won them over. Main band tonight were BIG MAMA who come from Paris our adopted home town, it was nice to have a chat, exchange emails we need to make friends with which is soon to be our home I guess it will be as we are really moving towards focusing our lives and attention on France and Europe.. we love the people in England but have just about had enough of the music business here..in that sense we are like The Darkness.. they would rather M.A.S.S. didn't exist. After the show managed to get a bottle of gin Ive changed my drink now I get bored.. just like I do with my men .. you need to change after a while. I think some girls might agree with me? a change is good as a rest they say. So more for me and I happily finished the bottle as many other people dont like the taste or it makes them unhappy ... with me it wakes me up and I get very happy as I proved in the hotel .. bundling everyone .. jumping on the beds and managed to break my bed. its alright though the mattress covered it, god im such a tom boy.. I must learn one day to be a lady.

Friday was our second night in Switzerland... Danny, the promoter of the first gig, a real kind and lovely man drove some of us to the next town BERNE, while a couple of the boys took the train, which was apparently lovely. The venue was an old massive gas cylinder turned into a venue.. we spent the usual hours sitting round waiting for the other bands who would be kind enough to lend us their equipment... it arrived and the boys got talking about amplifiers and equipment and how lovely this other band's shiny bright lights were... I sit and write this. We sit down with all the other bands and behind the scenes people to a lovely home cooked meal of curry and rice and even get ice cream as a desert.. you can't blame us for wanting to decamp to Europe for a while.
The gig itself is great though not as many people as the night before... this trip has been our Swiss audition but once we hit the stage they stood in front and start dancing .To me this is great to see it just makes the gig so much more enjoyable you cant believe.Just to see people enjoying it rather than no response . We got an encore so 2 out of 2 is cool. The promoter seemed to like us and then came out with the idea that we might get a 20 date tour of Switzerland?? Er... can we have a competition to see who can name the most towns we might visit in Switzerland... I see us playing a lot of gigs on hillside villages to the sound of music and goats with bells round their necks..

Got back on Saturday and last night went to the XFM Winter Warmer event at The Astoria with Andy from the band and my friend Erika in tow. Great line up including Cooper Temple Clause, Martina Topley Bird, Scissor Sisters and others... the Scissor Sisters were the band we did a favour for in France.. sorry, i got off into a dream again fuelled by a few quickly downed red wines.. yet again fantacising about us being up there and not the Scissor Sisters.... I know I would have done a better warm up job and would certainly have lept over the Astoria rails and into the audience.. it will happen one day.. promise.. to be honest everything after 7 o'clock was a blur... apart from David Mcalmont's voice which is like a christmas angel. I met Didz from the coopers for the first time.. very very nice may I add.. suddenly I sobbered up.. one of my manager's was there and knows him so I got introduced.I Think I fell in love but sods law I think he has a girlfriend ... damm thats just not fair. Well if you read this Didz and you get or deliver the boot.. you know where to look me up and thanks for the chewing gum. So enough of flirting talk what am I like back to the show Mcalmont and Butler were amazing and the cooper temple clause of course were greeeeeeeeeat grrrrrrrrr yummy men so all in all had a brilliant night finished it off with going home in my hired chauffered bus and a first class feast kfc class dont you think.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Well after the amazing ups and downs of last week [I still can't believe we've actually signed a deal - and if you're reading Mr. UK record man, it's OK we are still free for here, so don't put your cheque book away just yet :-)] it was back to life on the M6 for M.A.S.S. and for me the chalk and cheese of playing in England, I am sorry, I'm going through a phase of getting a bit down when I come home and surely that's not right?
On Thursday Liverpool @ a 'proper / proffessional' venue and on Saturday Lancaster, a gig organised by some M.A.S.S. fans at their University. R U guessin already which was the better night for us?
I just can't help thinking that most of the 'proper' promoters, don't give a shit. Anyway.. I approach our gig at The Barfly in Liverpool hoping that the promoter makes me eat my words, he doesn't and what's more offers nothing else to eat either.. so it's liquid dinner.. again. It's going to be another one of those nights, there aren't many people in but all respect to the band before us Orinocco Shores? who give it 100% and have flashes of absolute brilliance.. unusually for a support band they get a well deserved encore...something for us to follow. To add to tonight's weirdness a large part of the not so large audience is made up of the cast of Hollyoaks on account of the fact that a freind of our manager is in it and that is where we are staying tonight. The boys think it could be the most attractive audience that we have ever played to.. We were given plenty of time to look because just as we were about to take the stage all the main electric went off and there was a 30 minute delay before we could get onstage, at one point we were ready to give up. For whatever the reason, tonight's gig is like we are playing our first gig.. perhaps the boys minds weren't on their job, perhaps I was tired.. on the third song they even all had different ideas about what actual song we were supposed to be playing.. anyway, much confusion, a right balls up but eventually we managed to salvage some pride. I would particularly like to thank the couple that came back to the dressing room after, it made me think that it was just a bit worthwhile.
So we stayed at Hollyoaks villas and even had a bed each.. luxury.. I'm not just stating the obvious saying that John is a star; he made us so welcome and we were grateful it just makes such a difference to have some sleep before a gig on a bed instead of a floor. Had a great night on Friday though.

The fact that our Lancaster gig was postponed a day meant that we could hit Liverpool for our night off on Friday. There was an occasion as well, one of the best small Liverpool venues, The Picket, is being threatened with closure because someone wants to build a new car park and tonight was a benefit to fight the closure. Loads of bands played, The Bandits headlined and John Power from Cast did an acoustic set and to be quite honest I wish we'd of played here instead of the barfly walking in the place its a perfect venue for live music so it must not be closed. Anyway, with a round of drinks for all of us coming in at under a tenner [and yes, there was a JD and coke in their somewhere] it was great to enjoy a night away with the lads, just so long as we could make up with a better gig the night after.

On Saturday, we had an easy drive up to Lancaster, the other end of the gig spectrum.. some fans putting on a gig at their college because they love M.A.S.S. It's the first gig they've organised but in many respects are better than so called 'proper' promoters. Got to thank the student Ready Steady Cook team; Tom and Greg, treating us to watching them create a fantastic risotto and for the bottle of JD - Well lads thats all you need to become a great promoter in my eyes. RRRR yes the gig all that talk about JD takes me off my train of thought, the room was quite full but they are sitting down .We dont do sitting down at a M.A.S.S. gig i'm sorry its like im just about to read the numbers of a bingo game feel like im auditioning for Phoenix Nights "two fat ladies 88" come on kids sip up ya co co and kick some arse. Eventually after lots of persuation they got up one by one thank god for that. Its hard as well floor shows you cant get high enough to getto the back so of course have to find a table or chair.Everyones enjoyed thereselves thank god .So that was our last gig in england for a while I think well unless we get an offer we cant refuse. Maybe someone will suprise us .. M.A.S.S live in hope .

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Got loads to tell about a fantastic trip to Scandinavia, Stockholm, Norway and then a ridiculous long drive to finally put pen to paper and sign our first record deal which means that our album will be released, in France, in March.... for a moment there, we enjoy the highlife... if I can fill you in on this I will, don't worry...

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