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Monday, January 26, 2004

Let off a bit of steam on Friday when M.A.S.S. played a gig at a party / art gallery / cinema? as the launch of an exhibition.. played with the fantastic Monkey Island supporting... and a great way to start the weekend.

Saturday night I went out all equipped with a bottle of red wine to see Special Needs do their single launch gig at Blow Up. They are a lovely bunch and entertaining, so many bands I see lack anything visually interesting.. if you just want to listen to a band's music you can do that in your bedroom, can't ya.. when you go and see a band you want to be entertained, well I bloody do I'm afraid.. I see to many half hearted wasters.. that's not what 2004 is going to be about.. not for us anyway... sorry, went off on a tangent there...get back to where I was, on the train to civilisation.. half cut..getting ready for a good night out and meeting my bass player Paul and his lovely lass .. so have a little gang of good drinking partners. Caught a few songs of the support band who sounded good.. a few more drinks and was well in the mood to see Special Needs.. they were fab and hadn't quite noticed before what a good looking bunch of lads they are too. I'm really pleased that we will be doing our March gig with them at a very special venue in London, I can't wait, it's going to be mad.
One of the other highlights from the night was meeting Jonny from The Dogs, what a lovely fella, they are doing really well too and are a great band.. I advise everyone to go and see them at The Barfly tonight [Monday 24 jan]. We stood and put the world to rights, we thought up the idea of this special website for all bands who are having a hard time being heard and think there should be like a chat room as and see if we can all help each other.. just basically supporting each other cause that's what it should all be about.. But you know what its like when you are pissed you can take on the world and why not putting things into action is all what it takes and leave the rest to the universe. So I staggered to get the night bus talking to others on the way like you do .Why is it to that when we all have a drink in us we are the friendliest people we talk to all and his dog .Fantastic .So once again a great night and well worth the hangover.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Finally got to The White Stripes last night and very excited of course. Got there early and caught the first band on Blanche.. who I had only heard of before because it was their gig where Jack and Jason had their altercation.
Alexandra Palace is the bollocks, M.A.S.S. would so raise the roof at this place.. ok, so we wouldn't fill the toilets there at the moment but who knows what might be round the corner.. and if Ally Pally was on the list .. would be fantastic.. listen to me in my dreamworld.. Blanche was very green grass quite low key.. good looking great musicians.. typical US band in fact and the singer has a dry sense of humour and made the crowd laugh a few times.. (no don't worry I'm not practising my comedy for my gigs).. I think I'll try and dig out their album before I make up my mind about them.
Then The White Stripes take the stage, the crowd went mad and I was so pleased to be in the midst of it all and the sound was massive, if we had opened for them last year like we were supposed to M.A.S.S. would be the perfect warm up.. perhaps one day. They opened with Black Math and finished the encores with Seven Nation Army which was fantastic my favourite was Hardest Button To Button, they sounded great and Jack was amazing, literally playing with three fingers as the other is in a cast still. Managed to find my way to the aftershow drink thing and ended up talking to their soundman about us playing with them at some point - well if you don't ask you don't get... the sound crew were all great but didn't get introduced to Jack or Meg.. but there's always next time.. I did manage to blag myself in to the next show at Brixton.. so who knows. In the meantime I'm getting down to writing some more songs of my own and get the band in rehearsing..

Monday, January 19, 2004

OK, so I've been a bit slow on the diary updates and getting rockin and rolling this year but getting into gear now. Franz Ferdinand are in the real CHARTS at No.3 I am so pleased for them and it sets the target and hopefully open doors for us all.. good lads and well deserve it
Let's start from last Friday. We had a very intense meeting with our management with M.A.S.S., everyone knows we have to up the ante this year but even I know that that's even more frustrating when things are out of your control.. a few home truths were shouted around Pizza Express (!? class) mostly focusing on everyone's frustrations about our home bloody country, this is focused a lot on 'agents' the people who have the monopoly and control 99% of the gigs here.. Sometimes I just know that we are the best live rock and roll band in the country and then we can't get a look in... I cant tell you how much it frustrates me and sometimes instead of going 'come on fuck em' I go the other way and think why bother and go into hibernation and deal with things in my own head and then 9 times out of 10 come back stronger and kicking harder. Thats after a few drinks of course ;-)!! And why not this buissness sometimes drives you to drink.
Anyway, if sometimes me spewing out these words sounds like whinging, then that will stop and the band's and my big issue at the moment is 'the move to France'. Yep, that's where we have our record deal so the heated debates are all about whether we should just up M.A.S.S. HQ and park it in France for a while and that is a bigger jump for some than others.. As long as the rock and roll energy is there I don't mind where we go.. I just don't want to be bored but this will be another M.A.S.S. experience and we've been full of them so why stop now. Just getting my head around the whole change.. but if I'm not sure now, perhaps I'll be fine after a few bowls of moules and boutielles de vin rouge..

Phew, it was a relief to finish the meeting and get off to a gig where Eastern Lane are playing with The Zutons at the Islington Academy or Marquee or whatever they call it.. last time I was here I saw The Darkness supporting The Libertines would you believe? Really annoyed that all our discussions means that we missed Eastern Lane and I'm gutted because they are a new band I really liked when they supported us recently. This was a real 'faces' gig with Noel Gallagher, Ian Broudie the Coral's producer and loads of other people who I probably should have known... To be honest I am still .. yes still.. buzzing from seeing The Libertines just before christmas... now I like The Zutons new single 'pressure drop' and i enjoyed the gig but didn't challenge me the way I want to be now.. there are precious few bands that can do this for me at the moment...but all in all I had a good night..as always mixing with the stars felt quite at home heehee!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The day after Groningen we headed for Cologne. Our manager, quite mysteriously decided to stay in Groningen to see a night of Dutch bands, so Stuart our drummer has to drive the van.. a five hour drive seemed like 24 but we got there in the end and as usual the hospitality was amazing, we are fed and given plenty [and more] to drink and everyone is having a good time.. some in my band even more than others...I will say no more..
Thorsten our promoter who owns the Stereo Wonderland bar where we played before, and his lovely gang of reprobates were determined that we should have a great time and we did... we do .. they persuaded me that drinking large quantities of Jaegermeister? would be beneficial to my cold.. yeah right...these Germans can be very persuasive when it comes to drink. So in the late morning as I arose feeling a tad weak we were then given a tour of Koln, the guys who looked after us just were stars.. so thanks Mark, Thorsten Stephanie and the rest..
The show that night came around very quickly and we all needed to get ourselves together and kick arse which we did think it took the last bit of energy out of everyone we had had a very mad night before but this should not make a difference to our peformance and if it does well they’ll just have to learn that partying hard and playing hard are equal parts of the job… but I think we give most bands a run for their money in that department…The audience loved the show and we ended up talking to loads of new and lovely friends, they were great.
Once again, thank you Europe for your open arms, it seems that everytime we give everything .. you give it back equally and more besides.. for me at the start of this year, that’s what it’s all about, exchanging ideas and everybody getting lost in shit hot music and exchanging good positive energy.. we didn't stay on Sunday... we left Koln at 1.00am and headed for the ferry... what a weekend to start the year... now somewhere on the floor of the van are my new year's resolutions x

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Woke up on the day of our show feeling pretty shit... NOTHING to do with the coffee shop! Calling me irrisponsible? NO, just full of cough and cold which is a bummer because it affects my voice and I know tonight's is an important show.. so taking everything I can to feel better and ODing on Dutch cough medicine I think.
Apparently Eurosonic is important because there are bookers there from every European music festival but I was most excited about the fact that a person who helps books Glastonbury has sent a message saying that he will be there... that's the one festival I really want to play this year.
We had an hour to kill before we went onstage so popped around the corner to see The Stands from Liverpool.. who seem like nice boys playing nice songs..I would have liked to stay for I Am Kloot but we have a job to do .. The band on before us were from France AS Dragon.. only saw half a song but definitely want to check them out again.. sets the scene nice for M.A.S.S. though.
The place is packed the show kicks off and im just on a mission this is gonna be the best show ever to start the new year off.I looked out and the place was rammed packed, I recognised Ebbot singer with The Soundtrack Of Our Lives at the side of the stage, it was fantastic I just was in mass mode and just seemed to click with the audience they were receptive and were going mad at the front just amazing bloody loved every minute .Those who have seen us know I like jumping off speakers and anything that I can really .Well this I did and broke my heel off me best boot fell into miller rapped the lead of my mike round the guitar fell into the drum kit what a blody state but worth it all this and trying to look glam is a feat in its self we got great aplause for every song and an encore at the end. It was amazing loved every minute.
Afterwards a wonderful moment when Peter the mainman at Vera pushes 50! euros into my hand to 'help towards new boots' - amazing..only downer ... that the man from Glastonbury hadn't made it.. he said that the venue had closed the doors as it was too packed, I think that he'll hear how good it was though... After the gig winding down and drag a bit more energy to return the favour and see the last chords of Ebbot singing with Soundtrack Of Our Lives at the city Theatre up the road.. he had the whole audience sitting on the floor which was hilarious.
Still buzzing after the gig.. we followed our Norwegian bass player Paul in search of a Norwegian DJ but instead ended up drinking in a cheesy night club.. fantastic as Paul would say.

Friday, January 09, 2004

I'm back.. Start off the year with a bang as we headed off to Holland for the Eurosonic festival in Groningen, right at the top of Holland, with the likes of Mr. John Peel in attendance and bands from every country in Europe, what more could you want?
I headed out to Groningen as the advance party with my guitarist Andy on Thursday, this is the same town and we'll be playing in the same club VERA, that we had that mad 24 hour round trip drive to play as guests of The Datsuns.. Our first 'task' this time was to hook up with loveley John Peel and his producer Louise as we were doing an interview going out live on his show back in England but when we got off the plane I was hungry.. Andy suggested a coffee shop [not Starbucks] and we stopped off for a quick coffee and.. cake. Very strange, im sure someone put something in my coffee or ... cake... We went to Vera the club and I started to feel weird vibes... people waving and looking at me.. I mean come on, you and I know that I'm Justine from M.A.S.S. but didn't think I was so well known here. Peely's producer Louise came out of nowhere and says "we're ready for you now" and shear panic pulsed through my veins... not a feeling I'm used to you'll understand. me and andy with Peel in Groningen
Did I talk through the interview? I don't remember.. I just remember John making a mistake at the beginning and saying "so how have you found Maastricht?" ..heeeelp.. I don't know where I am. Check out the picture [spot the tell-tale signs] We came out of the interview and thankfully Miller said it had gone well.... this is HOlland after all.. it's only after that that I could relax and we went off to see Franz Ferdinand, we seem to be making a habit of playing together in Holland, they have certainly got that cool sharp image thing sorted and they get better everytime I see them. We caught a couple of other bands but to be honest things were very blurry.. remind me to avoid 'coffee' shops in future... even if you just go for the cake.

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