Jim Malcolm's OBD Tour Diary USA Fall 2004
'A much awaited tour to some of our favourite places and a chance to meet up with old friends...especially looking forward to going to Hawaii which we have been boasting endlessly about!' oldblinddogs.co.uk takes a look at singer/guitarist Jim Malcolm's tour diary for the Old Blind Dogs Fall Tour in the USA/Canada.
Wednesday 8th September - Fly to Seattle
Well I was up at quarter past three but as we are going to be sitting on our dowps all day it's not a big problem. First flight is to the lads capitals of Europe, good old Hamsterjam. But we are there too briefly to organise a scouting party. The main flight is a butt bruising nine and a half hours. Shrek 2 helps to soften the blow, but the excruciating journey to the land of Far Far Away is too close to the bum bone. Five hours in I'm reduced to reading the fine print on the sick bag before settling down to embarrass myself doing the USA Today crossword. Others not to be mentioned (Jonny) fatally stretch the hospitality of the flight attendants by continually asking for more drink. Arrive at hotel in Seattle early afternoon and eat vast quantities of free popcorn at the bar. Barmaid clearly unprepared for the capacity of Scotsmen to devour anything gratis. Go to bed far far (away) too early and am wide awake at three in the morning. Unbeknownst to me, Nathan our trusty North Carolinan sound engineer has missed his flight by turning up at the wrong airport. E-mails had floundered apparently.
Thursday 9th September - Vancouver
Every one up unfeasibly early due to jet lag. Jonny and Frazer running on tread mills in the fitness suite at 7am. Not a regime that is very likely to continue. We go for brekky to the restaraunt at the top of our airport hotel. It revolves which is slightly disconcerting for those trying to gain a foothold in reality on the far side of a different continent. Off to Canada. We suffer a lengthy delay for officialdom at immigration which is thankfully smoothed by an officer whose roots are from the fur-coat-and-nae-knickers part of Glasgow known as Bearsden. The last time we entered Canada, a notoriously hard border, our passage was lubricated by the fact that the officer was coming to our gig with all his family. So he couldn't very well turn us back despite our paperwork being somewhat lacking. Gig is organised by Steve Edge, an old pal of the band and a jovial Manchester United fan. He has every right to be since the reds have just snatched brilliant spud faced nipper Wayne Rooney from Everton, Aaron's life long team, ochone. New tour merch arrives and for the first time ever the OBDs have got baseball caps. You know you need one. How will you be able to sleep knowing you don't have one yet. We are all really wiped by the time of the gig but manage to 'pull through with great aplomb' ala Janine in Spinal Tap. After the gig we go to a pub in the slightly Soho-ish part of town our hotel is in. It's an Irish bar and downstairs there is a great band doing British pop stuff from the eighties and nineties, stuff like 'Tainted Love' and Blur.
Friday 10th September - Olympia
Up and at em, still all waking too early but not quite three. Head south again, border crossing not so heavy. Only a little light baseball cap smuggling. Olympia has always been a great show run by diamond geezer Peter Moulton. He has also helped organise a gig for us in Hawaii on the big island where bands don't often go. He'll be out there when we are. The venue is perfect for us with comfortable theater seating and a good space for dancing at the front. Great gig.
Saturday 11th September - Wedding Near Shelton
Although the band originally started out playing at weddings around Aberdeen (Scotland) it's the first time in ten years that the band have been booked for a hitching. Dina and Dave are a lovely couple who are fans of the band and just thought, "Hell, let's have the Godamm Dogs at our wedding." I was asked to sing a song at the amazing ceremony, and the boys appeared later for a show after a seriously scrumptious meal. Dina is from a Latvian family and the wedding was held at the Latvian centre way out in the woods. The ceremony was scheduled to be outside, but there had been torrential rain the night before and a forecast of 100% LIKELYHOOD OF RAIN on the day. But the weather forcaster's word turned out to be as reliable as a politicians and not a single spot fell on the absolutely wonderful ceremony. And so it should be. THANK YE GOD!
Sunday 12th September - Port Townsend
Pete Townsend springs to mind but don't let me wander from my chronicleularising task. It's important that I don't swerve from the duteous task of delivering forth to you a true representation of our poor plight as we wind our extricabile way towards the deliciously silent Shires of Hawaii. A day off becons and I'm sandwiched between a desire to go fishing and a desire to see the sites of the spectacular Olympic Peninsula. The gig, in a new town for us, goes very well and we decamp to a nice bar apres. Kym from LA has come up on a 'relocation scouting mission'. It's great to see her. There is a wooden boat festival just finishing as we arrived with a whole bunch of beautiful old boats. Amongst then several vessels that had been used in pirate films, like Pirates of the Caribbean. Shiver me timbers.
Monday 13th September - Day off
Not a very nice day but we elect to drive into the Olympic Mountains National Park. It's a spectacular place but very wet. We decide to visit the hot springs which are a hike into the hills. It's raining all the way and seems a lot longer than the 2.2 miles signposted. We try to freak each other out with stories about bear attacks. Not much you can do when a four hundred pound grizzly decides to have a folk band snack. They run faster and climb better than anyone slower than Carl Lewis on steriods. Your only chance is to outrun the poor sod your with. Try to decide which one of us would lose in a bear escaping race. The hot springs turn out be be somewhat less spectacular than we expected. A gently steaming swimming pool sized marble lined jaccuzi it was not...what we found was a series of what could only be described as hot stinky puddles. Having hoofed through the rain to get there we felt obliged to have a dip. There's some mighty assumption that any hot water leaching out of the ground must ergo sum be good for you. I have my doubts, as we are probably bathing in a solution of dangerous metals and bear piss. The bears were no doubt laughing at us from behind the trees. And I think I heard Bigfoot let out a guffaw. We later learned that very soon beyond the hot stinky puddles is a more substantial pool that everyone uses except the unguided us - Doh! It's tile lined and everything (not). We go an Italian restaraunt in Port Angeles where we are supposed to get a free meal (folk bands delight). But we are way too early and the guy who is a friend of Olympia promoter Peter is not there. He appears after we have paid and left - Double Doh! Back at our B&B we were entertained by a surprising phenomenon organised by our host Martin, a jovial Cockney. Dark side of Oz. By sheer and utter coincidence if you start the seminal Pink Floyd Album at the third roar of the MGM lion it syncs with the film in an amazing number of ways. Quite spooky.
Tuesday 14th September - Seattle
We leave sleepy Port Townsend and head for Seattle the last stretch on a ferry that comes straight up to the down town wharf affording a spectacular view of the city. We are well early so decamp into the Connor Byrne bar where the boys used to play back in the golden shower days before I joined. It's raining which is by no means untypical for Seattle but is the first time I've seen a drop of rain in half a dozen visits here. Gig goes extremely well at the Tractor. Unfortunately, we are getting up and some ungodly hour to fly to Hawaii via Los Angeles, so apres is greatly curtailed. But the Olympian newly weds Dina and Dave are at the gig and present us with a sumptious chocolate thank-you cake. These folks have got style! It's jammies on and a lot of cramming of suitcases.
Wednesday 15th September - Travel to Honolulu
This long day begins by getting frisked yet again in an airport but ends floating in the warm Hawiian sea by our hotel which is less than a stones throw (a pip spit then) from the beach. Hawaii is a six hour flight west from The West Coast and seems amazingly serene sitting amidst this huge volume of water. It's the most geographically isolated place in the world. We fly in to Honolulu which is a suprisingly big city. We see Pearl Harbour, full of big grey navy vessels with guns sticking up everywhere. The sub-tropical heat hits us as we leave the plane. We are met by the promoter Mark Tarone, a very nice chap who looks as if he would know which end of a surf board to stick in the water. He's a big fan of celtic music which is great as our Hula medley sucks. Everybody is shattered and retires early though actually late if you include lagagge.
Thursday 16th September - Honolulu
Awake in the most unfamiliar of surroundings with the most familiar of yearning for industrial strenghth coffee. Already hot at breakfast time. As part of the Hawaia package I have to do a solo gig which I'm not very well prepared for mentally, but though it's a noisy bar I managed to hold it together. I always have voice problems the night after a long flight. The air conditioning dries out the old throat. Whilst I'm slaving over a hot microphone the others have been sushi-ing themselves and generally having a good time - the bar stewards.
Friday 17th September
Well you can't go to Egypt without seeing the pyramids or to Forfar without tasting a bridie and quite frankly you can't go to Oahu and not try to catch a wave on a surf board. For this is the Wimbledon or Yankee Stadium or San Siro of surfing. Or so I kept telling the rest of the boys who were studiuosly avoiding having a go. There developed a definite 'men and boys', 'sheep and goats', 'malts and blends' phenomenon as the rythmn sec did their have-a-go hero best and the merry melodians totally chickened out. Jonny had already shown himself as a big feerty but Rory was a fresh disappointment...
More of Jim's tour diary will appear in the near future.