May 30thLots of Frenz orders arrive from Debbie re: Split Enz limited edition LUTON cds. So most of the day is boxing and mailing them, managed to get them all mailed same day. Half of the final batch have already gone, which is great, I'm always stoked when people buy this 2 cd set, music going out to the world- besides it's a really enjoyable double cd release.
I mail Mad Dog a birthday card, the big 50 for her in a weeks time, I'm sure she is wearing a lampshade and celebrating in America as is her way.
Our club charity project has nearly hit the half way mark. It takes time but it's a worthwhile project and I guess the good ones do take awhile. Especially when many people can just afford to pay their bills, great that so many have gotten behind this one.
May 31stEd Vedders "Ukulele Songs" is released today, well almost everywhere, Australia seems to be a bit behind with it's release. I hope it does well for him, I'm just waiting on the live dvd "Water on the road" to arrive, it should of came out at the same time. I guess the title of the album will put a few hard core Pearl Jam fans off buying it.
"Xmen First Class" movie has received some really positive reviews here, it should do well for the franchise, really good trailers etc can't wait to see it. I'm waiting so i can watch it on the flight to Hawaii.
and speaking of super heroes, I was chatting to someone the other day and we were saying how the latest Porn DVD novelty is Porn superheroes, like Batman XXX , The Justice League-Pornstar Heroes, Wonder Woman etc. In fact Porn Parody is everywhere, Porn versions of The Flintstones (Pebbles and Bam Bam like you have never seen them) and even The Simpsons. Trying not to think about that one. What a marvelous insane world we live in.
June 1stWe were eating some breakfast food and both Palin and Trump suddenly appeared on our tv screen together- good grief what a couple of arse holes! I've never thrown up on a tv before but seeing these 2 fine specimens of horror brought me close to a technicolour yawn! Why would anyone be so stupid to even support either of these fruit loops? (rolls eyes in total disbelief). I love America I really do but when I see these scary fuckers on TV I just worry about that countries future. We always have such fun in America and love our American mates (even the ones that vote republican *GRIN* but even they think Palin is a freak).
Today I just went 'stuff it' and booked an airfare to Byron for the first Pajama Club show. So few shows for Australia so no budget for me to work on the gig, so I bit the bullet and am jumping on flights for an adventure. It's only 2 days so thats cool- but it probably means leaving the mountain at 4.00 in the morning to catch the first flight to Ballina. It's the first show of a new Finn project so got to be there, and enjoy the moment. You don't hesitate over such things, if I did I'd be surrendering to old age, so I intend to say 'yes' more often! I bet the plane has propellors! Byron Bay here I come..... there had better be some sun, sand and surf.
June 2nd I did my washing today- how exciting is that!!!! There was some sun so i figure if I have to use the dry I might as well be using it via solar energy and not coal fired power.
June 3rdI hear that it's a clean slate as far as the crew for Pajama Club go, John Walsh not on the dates, or Dee etc..all new people, we've had a good batting average with crew, most have been really good, so hopefully our luck will hold with these newbees.
June 4thIt's s sunny morning, while I sit at Viewpoint working on some of the Crowdies book. The action with Pajama Club chews into our day, emails . bookings and god knows what else. I'm still waiting to hear from NZ about our interview while Neil and Sharon are in Melbourne. I'm hoping it will happen, but the time window is so small for them to be in town.
Rosemaree drops in late afternoon with friend David. So thats a good thing. I catch Rosemaree taking David on the "Ailsa Craig Art Tour"- she has been listening to yours truly give "the tour" and gets most of it right, it's just funny.... I do need to finish this one large piece of art for the final space in the long hall way.... doesn't seem to be much spare time lately...
June 5thMark spoils me with Ed Vedders "Water on the road" Blu ray, filmed awhile back on his solo tour. It's really great, and a young man called Liam Finn is called out to play a song with Ed. Even though he's not my kid I did feel a small wave of proudness wash over me- good to see. Liam's next solo album is out in Australia June 17th.
I book some accommodation at Byron, as long as it's clean, safe, quiet and near the venue it will do. Cathy from the hotel calls me back and locks it all in. She assures me it will be quiet....
June 6thI check with Warners to make sure they have enough stock of Split Enz TIME AND TIDE cd for us. The Enz music sales have slowed so thought I'd get a few Time and Tides signed by that line up and offer them to the fan base. It's always a buzz when we have some signed items- so I know these will go to good homes and they are all remastered by Ed. At least the sales statements will improve a bit, all helps.
I email the Finns to let them know that I am indeed heading up to Byron, Mark tells me the weather for that part of the world is rain... well that sucks.
June 7thI see The Very Very Best Of Crowded House is hanging around on the charts, it's week #19 and it sits at #18 on the ARIA Australian artist chart. I figure by Christmas it will hit Gold status here. It takes a lot longer these days, sales worldwide for bands are down.
I have to say I do like Lady Ga Ga's "Born this way" clip and it's already such a gay anthem. Triple Platinum in Australia which is incredible.
June 8thWe wing it down to Mountain Gate and the girls at my barber shop give me a trim and a bit of colour. Not too short as it's cold, hair is better then a hat!
I get home on time to work on our UK pre-sales and end up coming back and working through past midnight. Ticketmaster messed up one show and it was all running so perfect, our UK agency corrected the fault so it was minimal stress. Lots of happy people scoring Pajama Club tickets, I'm glad they are back at Borderline in July- it's always had a nice vibe going right back to those early Crowded House shows. Pajama Club should do ok as a project, obviously not massive sales compared to Crowded House but it is a project, it's not meant to be some massive beast. It will have legs, maybe little legs, and will travel- I think music fans will enjoy the show, I just hope they avid playing any Crowded House songs- be brave and keep it fresh.
June 9thI was thinking today about that first Mullanes gig at Byron Bay... May 21st 1985, at lot has happened in those 26 years - kind of cool that the Pajama tour starts at Byron as well. It's The Northern this time, that grand old pub on the corner of Byrons main street, but it has this really good room and usually sounds pretty good.
June 10thI pack my bag for the Byron escape. It's only for 2 days so I take my qantas bag and the video bag. I don't think I'll be doing any filming but handy just in case Neil and Sharon want to do this interview.
I go to bed at the usual midnight time but can't sleep, brain always ticks over before a first show.....I make sure I have packed the lucky red bowling shirt that I always wear to the first show on tour.
June 11thMelbourne to Byron Bay
So it's 5.00 in the morning, as expected no sleep. The alarm goes off and I'm already up. I move like I am a member of the Borg collective. Loo- Shower, shave, clothes, tea, toast, juice, etc... and ready to go by 5.30. Say goodbye to Mark and Banshee and I'm off into the darkness. It really is pitch black. The roads are empty till I get closer to the airport so make it in good time.,
Qantas no longer fly to Byron so I use their smaller side airline Jetstar and thankfully it's a direct flight. I grab some food from the freaky flyer, same old routine. No celebs today, usually there is some star in the club eating all the free food. Jetstar flight leaves on time, they give me the only row with an empty seat next to me. The third seat occupied by an oldish guy, used to be a sheep shearer - had some fun aussie stories- so an ok flight. I took my copy of Cave In The Snow to read for the third time, perfect for flights. 2 hours later I'm at Ballina airport and climbing into my Avis hire car. Hertz no longer give Qantas flight points , I'm guessing Avis still do. I pull out my GPS and head off to Byron. The only cd I have is the Pajama Club release so give that a play to refresh my memory of the songs. It's a nice drive to Byron, cool scenery.
I've just booked a room at the cheap Budget hotel down the road from the gig. Some of our new crew are staying there to. Cathy gives me a room on the end so only one lot of people on one side. It's clean and has a regular double bed and BUNK beds!!! I go for a walk to the main street and then to the beach. I chat to a surfy guy and borrow his boogie board for a swim-oddly enough the water isn't too freezing. I call into the venue and spot a solitary figure onstage tuning his guitar, bushy hair- is that Neil. I head in and suddenly realize it isn't (opps). Must be one of the new crew boys. Find out soundcheck isn't till 5.00, so I go find a bite to eat for lunch.
It starts to rain that fine misty rain, so I return from a beach walk to the room and watch some tv. I wait till 5.30 and walk down to The Northern. Good to see everyone, introduced to Alana and Sean. Great to see the Finns, and our mate Natalie is here to. We both comment how cool it is with Sharon up on stage. I spot some Tshirts, there is merch. I need to make some calls so after soundcheck go back to the hotel, also need to pick up my camera, I also need to have a shower I smell of the sea.
I watch the show from the sound desk, the room is filling up , a healthy crowd. For me both Go Kart and Daylight are the stand out live songs and love Gary Numans Are Friends Electric. Daylight especially gets' a really positive reaction, people asking me about that song after the show. Only one person asks for a Crowded House song , the rest are happy to enjoy these new creations. The crowd holds , no one leaves and the Pajama Club get their first official encore. The band walk back onstage beaming.
I check on the merch out front as I worry that it will get stolen. Alana zooms from stage to merch, I find it brilliant, I just chuckle. She's so into it, I love it. Some club members come up and say Hi, about a dozen all up, such nice people and they enjoyed the gig. I think they were a bit stoked to be able to come to the first one on the world tour.
I wander backstage with Miss Alana , take a few group photos up against the graffiti'd wall of the band room. They are all so happy with the show- such a nice feel. I'm stoked for them. We say our goodbyes and I head back to my room, it's about 1.30, I crave some sleep.
I climb into my bed and just falling asleep when the people next door arrive, they do such and decide to party till 5.30! What arseholes and no one is answering reception. I just put up with it, not angry just a bit worn, the vibe from the great gig carries me through a long night. The American tourist is the worst her voice is like a cheese grater and I'm wondering if she is sitting directly opposite my part of the wall!
June 12thByron Bay- Sydney -Melbourne- it's a road trip!
I have a late check out but need some food so I put the bags in the car and walk to BOS for breakfast. A fine rain is falling. The food was a bit average but the energy drink really nice. Better Be Home Soon is playing in the background, I have a chuckle.... you can't escape that band.
I grab the car and drive up to the Byron lighthouse. On the way I call into the parking area and watch the surf and surfers, it is still raining, so I change in the car, leave my shirt off and head to the beach. That way I have few wet clothes in my bag. The view from the light house is pretty cool, way too many tourists though. So I depart Byron Bay at 1.30 and start my drive to Ballina airport. It's only 35 minutes away. I drop off the car and wander through the misty rain, sit and have a coffee and read and watch the news. The volcanic ash from Chile is still a problem. All flights from Tasmania, Auckland are cancelled. I hope Melbourne doesn't become a nightmare. I read and listen to my iPod. Just want to be on the plane. I'm given a row with an empty seat, yey, the flight is full except for my one spare seat, so that is great. I curl up in my jacket and power nap.
We land Sydney, I walk my bag to Qantas to get my flight. The airport has a strange electric vibe , people seem agitated. I find out why. All flights to Melbourne are grounded because of the volcanic ash. It's about 8.30 at night. I go to the Qantas desk, about 100 people before me. Thankfully the bands pull still has some clout and I get to speak to a Qantas person straight away, it's not good news, I could be in Sydney for 2 days! I just want to get home. Even the hotels Qantas have are nearly full. I am a desperate man so I head to the hire car counters. I spot the lady who regularly does our bookings and I score the last hire car at the airport. About 380 are grabbed, and loads of people are driving the 900 kms to Melbourne. I have my GPS, I also call Mark on the mobile. He thinks I'm insane and is concerned, I'm alone and this is coming up to my third night with no sleep. I promise I will call into roadside areas and power nap or even a hotel if I'm in a bad exhausted way. My shiny silver car departs Sydney and I'm heading down the Hume highway. The only cd I have with me is the Pajama Club- talk about saturation- I play it through 3 times, I am so desperate for noise to keep me awake I listen to talk back radio- I know I need to call in for some food and drink when I find myself answering back the talk radio phone ins.
I buy water, ice coffee, a huge pack of headache tablets as I have a bitching headache, some jelly babies ad some weird chocolate things. I'll grab a burger later. I know I won't find healthy food, but i still refuse to buy evil Red Bull or V energy drink, I like my kidneys to be intact when I get home.
I call into about 8 roadside rest areas on the way. Some are lit up toilets and grassy green knolls, others are pitch black and dark toilet blocks where you think country rapists are waiting for such suckers like me. At one such dark place the whole concrete drive in area was covered in blood. I mean covered. A truck must of hit a kangaroo , there was s much blood and it was running so fresh but no sign of a Kanga corpse.... I decide to quickly KEEP GOING... the dripping blood kept me going for another 40 kms till the next lit stop. I tried buying a blanket but no service stations sell them. It's 1 degree outside, I heat the car and power nap teeth chattering sometimes.
I buy petrol and a copy of 'Born in the 70s' a 2 cd set of songs from the Seventies- I sing along LOUD... hitting some mammoth high notes. The road has moments of blackness and no other cars for 30 minutes, it is "the void" and the only movement are animals determined to be run over that bolt in front of my car. I am relieved I didn't cause any road kill- a beautiful fox made a dash- such a lush tale. She watched me from the roadside as I drove past just as Sweets "Fox on the run" came on.... how cool is that! Made me laugh.
I cross the border, fatigue does kick in, I stay focused and continue the naps. I stop checking in with Mark at midnight so he could get some sleep. I buy Macdonalds just to be with human company, even talking to the girl at the register recharges me. The burger oddly enough tastes great, I know I've lost it when I have such thoughts. I never stray off the road, and I get some respect for long haul truck drivers who carry our goods through the night all on their lonesome. I am so sensible, considering it's probably a dumb thing to do. I don't see a sign telling me I am entering Victoria, but suddenly Victorian towns spring up on roadsides. All those years of mailing out band information I can almost sprout their postcodes.
June 13thMelbourne-Victoria The final 150 kms and I'm feeling sleepy. I actually did fall asleep in the back seat. I'm not sure for how long, maybe 15 minutes. I large truck shakes the car as it pulls into the sleep zone and that wakes me. I use the well lit toilet and realize my urine must be freezing as mist rises from the toilet. It's zero outside. My jeans are ice cold. I am glad to be in the car and on the way again. Australia is such a big country on drives like this you appreciate her size.
It's sunrise and I can see the shape of the city. I am driving in from an angle as I have to go to Melbourne airport and drop off the hire car and pick up the 4WD from the valet. I called them and they will have someone there with my car- flights are still grounded. I am stoked when I see the airport, my neck aches a bit and I put 2 gallons of eyedrops into the blue orbs of mine .... I grab the 4WD and head home.
The fog stretches from the airport to the base of Mount Dandenong, I have never seen a fog bank so long. As I hit the mountain a giant ray of sunlight breaks through and it is beautiful. My mind is wiped of all of the darkness from driving what now is 1000 kms. I pull into Ailsa Craig and I feel downright chirpy. Hi honey I'm home. Marky is tired, he worried about me all night, hell I worried about me! The weird thing is I actually look great. Like I'm been away at a health spa! What a freak I am.
Our mate Trudi drives up from the city, so I see her an hour later. She can't believe I am even awake. She gives me a belated birthday presents, some postage stamps and a Bunnings card. I am so stoked getting stamps, just what I always need. It's the old Queens birthday - no not Miss Candee the other English Queen so it's a holiday here. We three head to The Deli to have lunch, for me it could be breakfast or dinner it still is a bit blurry. We go in Trudi's car, after 1000 kms she probably doesn't trust me. She stays for a few hours- always fun to see our good friend.
I decide to try and sneak so have a cuddle in bed. There is some furious banging on our door, so I struggle to see who is preventing me from sleep. God is trying to make me set a record for lack of ZZZZZZ's!
Some oldish guy is at the door... he is frantic he has managed to get bogged in our drive way. In the words of Mark "You are fucking kidding me"! I was a bit pissed but in the end he looked so frazzled I decided kindness was a better option. So I throw on some clothes walk down and yes he is well and truly bogged. Why are human beings stupid? I get some mud boards from my car but this guy has nose dived the front deep into the ground and it is a low lying car. Why one would pick a steep dirt drive way instead of a concrete one across the road is bizarre..... so we try for an hour but it is useless. I can't use my 4WD as it would crush this car to pieces, even a nudge.
His english is limited so I end up getting my mobile and calling the RACV for him. I assure him it's ok, and he keeps saying sorry. He tells me about himself, at one point I'm wondering if he is real or if I'm asleep at a roadside area and still have to get home. The RACV person arrives and that is a strange story for some other time- truly DON'T ASK.... one should feel flattered but all I want is to feel a soft mattress and close my eyes..... we drag the guys car out onto the road.... it works.... now I want a nap....what a long few days. Sleep most certainly doesn't come too soon.....
June 14thSpend most of the day playing catch up in the office, work has piled up and emails. Plus we are still getting envelopes ready for mail outs. I'm waiting on confirmation for the Interview with Neil and Sharon which is tomorrow. They are doing so few, mainly because of the small time window that they are in Melbourne. I know the Rolling Stone Magazine interview is now locked in, which is good as I quite like the articles that appear in Rolling Stone.
I get an email from the NZ office and apparently we will do the interview at 3.00 at the Venue- seems like an odd time but who am I to argue.
June 15thWe drive to Prahran, Mark trying to get some special dvd boxes for the library but the business has moved and not left a forwarding address. You'd think they'd change it on their website. We make it t the Corner Hotel with 15 minutes to spare. The staff let us use the whole upstairs food area for the interview, it doesn't open till 4.30 so we start on set up. 3.00 arrives ad we find out that Neil has some flu virus and the interview is now back to 5.00, soundcheck at 6.00. So we dismantle the set up and move it back to the insanely noisy band room. 5.00 arrives and Neil and Sharon arrive , they tried us at home but obviously we had left- no biggie I'm happy to have any sort of interview. The crew are working out the sound on stage, at one point drums invade the interview..... but we get it done. Mark is funny he stops the interview and makes Sharon fold her jacket collar down so she can't hide behind it- el mysterious woman! Neil is coughing a lot, I am amazed how he always steps up to the plate and sings so damn well even when he is sick!
We head off after sound-check, back to Prahran, we have a meeting and need some food too so some mexican for us. I indulge in a very strong Margarita! (Hic). We head back to the venue and get inside before the punters. Neil ok's Mark to film from the secondary stage so we grab that spot. It's through the camera mike so I am guard for the night to try and stop people making a noise. I also security stamp some of the crew and Finn family, I stupidly forgot to give us a pass stamp! (DOH). So many people we know, Marge and David are on the side part of the stage, wave at Miss July....Laura and Kevin and hundreds of others. Rosemaree and Tania turn up and sit on the stage area. I'd honestly say we knew half the crowd. The club members are out in force, so supportive. I see Harry and go for a chat and he is surrounded by lovely female clubbers. I tell them how they've all become beautiful women - even Harry! A few snaps are taken, why do people photograph me after 3 days of no sleep?
It's a decent crowd especially for a mid week show, not packed so you can't walk, just right. The crew are pumping Neil with garlic, honey, lemon, ginger mix it could be the thing keeping him going. He tries to give it away as a 'stage prize' ..... the set has changed a bit just songs shuffled about. Good sound not too loud. It ends up being another fine night for the Pajama Club. I help Alana at the merch table at the end of the show- say goodnight to a few of the regulars. We pack up and I head towards our band room to say goodbye to the Finns and band. Security wont let me in without my hand pass- despite me walking past this guy at least 6 times earlier. He's only doing his job but he is a bit of a dick. I'll go in the back door ...as I walk off one of the PR people grabs me and says it's crap and takes us in. Which was nice of her. Security man looks a bit red faced.
The band room is full, The Corners band room is so small it's always full even when it's empty. The lovely Geoff Lloyd, famous Crowdies crew (you know Hessie is on the phone to him at the start of the Mean To Me clip) member spoils us with some $200 Kylie Minogue tickets each. So generous. The show is meant to be amazing as far as the sets go- this is very cool. One of the Finn loving EMI guys wander in, nice bloke so chat for awhile- my voice has dissolved from too much chat. Time to say goodnight so I do, as I'm going the boss reaches into his pocket and hands over the remastered Pajama Club promo cd. Some subtle changes.... excellent. Head out the back door and about 30 Frenz are waiting so have some fun chat, nice bunch I do love em. Home by 12.30.
June 16thAt breakfast I spot a Liam article in the newspaper. I love his quote "Hopefully the one thing us Finns can rely on is it being quite genuine. Whatever we do it has to be honest".
We leave around 6.30 to Rod Laver Arena for Kylie's final Melbourne show - it's her third night. I decide to wear my patent leather black shiny bondage pants. After all this time they still fit- don't you love that?! We grab some chicken burgers on the way, funny lining up at the chicken place in patent leather. Play some Kylie in the car, it's been years since we have. Arrive at our secret car parking place and heaps of parking spots. It saves us $25 on parking so that is brilliant. Walk across the park, both of us busting for a piss (too much information) it's drinks and a cold night-bad combination!!! Arrive at Rod Laver during the change over and get special wrist bands that let us onto the floor area. We end up 10 feet from the stage. The stage set is insane, it's massive and the best video screens I have ever seen. No wonder it cost $25 million. Dancers, rope works, Kylie arriving from a giant clam shell-think Botticelli's "The birth of Venus". She has costume changes, flies across the top of Rod Laver on a black angel, adds some early songs to the set, we get wet from the spray from the splash zone area-yes there is water involved- I feel like we are living in Atlantis at one stage..... ALL of Melbourne's gay community are at the show- I have a twink next to me that insists on whistling- after awhile it is annoying. There are drag queens in the splash zone, with hundred metre hairstyles- pity if you are standing behind one.... there are boys dressed as centurions and girls as Aphrodite (and some boys as Aphrodite too). Kylie is 10 feet away and asks who dressed up tonight. She then says anyone in a red tulle dress- of course I had to say "YES".. . she looks me in the eye and laughs. She so knows I am not wearing a frock tonight!!! OK I've fallen for the routine. It's probably the best I've heard her sing, I'm sure technology helps a bit but she does well- she entertains. A big thank you to Geoff, a sweet man and a great gift. Kylie is easy to slag off but she obviously brings a lot of joy to many - I still hope for the day when it's just her, her voice some ripped jeans and an intimate sing along. Now that would be a cool tour... saying that this insane gigantis of a production really is a must see. Home again by 12.30.
June 17thLiam Finns new album FOMO is out today. I spent most of my day giving it an extra helping hand. Cold Feet is on RAGE, so we make sure everyone knows. I hope this baby charts for him and from some store sales it does seem to be having some sales. I also spend hours transcribing the Neil and Sharon interview for the next glossy newsletter. It reads well.
I hear from Clay and he sends me a pile of Tim material for the mail out so all the pieces are indeed coming together. So three Finn related albums over the next few moths- Liam's, Tim's and Neil and Sharon's..... they are taking over! All that new music, what fun.
I hear Tex Perkins and the Dark Horses new cd is pretty good too-will have to grab that one.
June 18thI head to Viewpoint and work on newsletter rough layout, so I know what pieces I still need to hassle for. Coffee is great today, I have two. I arrive home and finish up the Neil and Sharon interview. So that's one down. We both are working in the office this whole weekend-so a long one. I play the Lethal Weapons cd that wonderful Wendy got for me, such flashback punk moments, really enjoy it. Thanks Wendy.
We call our friend Alison, it's her birthday tomorrow, she's probably escaping it so we wanted to wish her all the best. Nice to have a chat, at one stage she shrieks so loud it turns on the universal remote control in our room.
June 19thIt's a Wintery blast outside I sleep in, well after I put Banshee the cat outside. I hear from Sharon, Finns depart for USA soon, it's all 11th hour (long story). I continue on this F/16 update, it covers 3 weeks this one. Just thought we'd do that. So much has been happening that it seemed to make sense to release an extended diary, and thank you Deb.
So that is it from me, stay happy and try and do at least one good deed a day, it balances out all the bad shit that exists.