Monday, 12 June 2017

Missing planes trains and automobiles


Just how it came to pass that I missed my flight home from Tenerife is not entirely clear, well not to me anyway.

Tenerife is a volcanic island and part of the Canaries, named by the Romans due to the abundance of dogs on the island, and not canaries as is commonly assumed. Billys fact of the daaaayyyyyy. You know Latin, Canines = Canaries, obvious now isn’t it.

Now most of you should know by now that I am the most sensible of rock gods. Nice cuppa tea before hitting the stage, maybe a biscuit. Certainly no partying for Billy. Well, that isn’t entirely true anymore.Last night I slept on the floor being stepped over by fellow guests, tonight, in stark contrast is the brand new Hard Rock hotel. My room is of particular magnificence, with various gifts from the hotel generously scattered around the suite.

Somehow, I managed to break by tour bag last night, so off I trot in search of a new one, several beers later the purchase is made and there is time to enjoy the views from the Jacuzzi over the town whist enjoying a chilled glass of the complimentary champagne.

Tonight is the first event to be staged at this magnificent edifice, so we are first band to play here. Slightly later than usual start tonight as we are competing with the Champions League final, Juve v Real. Thankfully no extra time or penalties were needed so can get onstage on time. As soon as the game finishes the flood gates open and the people quickly arrive. Some even have come again after the previous nights show in the north of the island.

Ok a few minor sound problems, but finally managed to fix it, with not much help from Nobby who was spotted in the pool at sound check and in the bar during the show asking girls if they fancied a coffee in his room. 
His ols chat up line from days of yore.
But all goes well. Some of the audience to seem a trifle drunk, one bride-to-be shouting to me that it is her last night of freedom! and offered me to join her after the show for a private drink in her room, of course, I graciously declined. 
As she was very, very drunk.
Another gig another after-show party!! this time at Micky Dee’s bar, The Rock Lounge, the Motorhead and Scorpions drummer was not in attendance tonight, but a cool bar where I am unceremoniously thrust onstage with the local band for a rousing version of Immigrant Song. Beautiful setting above the beach with the moonlight shimmering off the silver sea.

This is the scene for the fates to conspire for me to miss my flight. For some unknown reason, Nobby had booked us out on an early flight, we were all hoping for some time to relax on this most beautiful of resorts, but no, our car is booked for 9.30 am.

I would like to tell you more of this exciting evening only I don’t recall much more. There are lots of pics with me and random people I do not know where they were taken. But apparently the blame mainly is on the shoulders of a Polish girl who came equipped with everything one could desire to keep the party going all night, and it did!

I did manage to get back to my bed this time, but unfortunately, didn’t do so well in getting out of it again as I slept through the alarm and missed the car and my flight home, so I am stuck here for at least another day, in paradise. Or maybe I’ll go to Barcelona for a few days? Oh well, I’ll just have to Gin and bear it! I’m off the pool. See ya.
                                          Me, myself and I

Update: luckily, the rather attractive Italian promoter named Bella I had meet at the show last night heard of my, erm…… plight? Is that the right word? My predicament maybe? Situation, that’ll do. She has saved the day, Bella is driving from the north of the island to rescue me. She has kindly arranged a room and a flight home tomorrow afternoon. A different airport, so after the plane, I’ll get the train, and collect my automobile.

As lucky happen-chance would have it, she is free tonight for dinner too!
So all's well that ends well, as they say.
I hear it is raining in the U.K. Maybe if I play my cards right I can miss this flight too.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Tenerife


Now, I was surprised to actually hear many a complaint about the content of my first book, not, as one would expect, due to its storyline, no, actually the complaints have not come from the people so cruelly depicted in the book, they loved being lampooned in its pages. The complaints came from those not mentioned in the book! One can only assume that people love to be lampooned at every opportunity. Gluttons for punishment.

This presented me with an idea for a business opportunity, anybody giving me £50 will get a mention in book two. So please be patient when a random name pops up unexpectedly in the most inappropriate of places.

Perhaps it would be a better idea to put all the sponsored stories in one chapter for easy listing. I look upon it as more of a crowdfunding exercise.

But back to the music. As always, the tour starts with a hefty few dates in Spain, covering all points of the compass, from the ancient city of Cordoba in the south, to Bilbao in the north. A journey east, and then onto Barcelona for a week, which we use as our base until we return to the UK.

We have a new JPJ, Les having hung up his syrup to retire to the south coast where he bought a boat and has discovered the delights of aquatic pursuits. He can be now regularly seen sailing up and down the Solent singing jaunty sea shanties, getting new tattoos and watching cartoons of Popeye the sailorman. Now is the time to cue all the references to Captain Pugwash. Seaman Stains being the most popular reference, quickly followed by Rodger the cabin boy, and Master Bates.

Enter Donny, of Irish extraction, and, being a young chap, is full of testosterone and very keen to sample the local wares, in all its glorious shape and form. Donny has settled in very quickly and has been out shopping in the trendy Camden area of London to purchase some clothes in 70’s style. This mainly comprises of a pair of the tightest jeans I have ever seen ‘The Mighty Tighties’ and some flowery girls blouses such as worn by members of Led Zeppelin in that era. Lonny soon discovers that this semi androgynous look is a big hit now as it was then.

The bastard.

At gig number one he had three girls giving him a massage backstage! He has settled in well, masterful on both bass guitar and keys where his No Quarter is a highlight of the evening.


From hence we set off for dates in the Baltic, Ljubljana, Zagreb and Belgrade, where we had a spanking good time.



So exciting times, as now I sit on Norwegian airlines on the way to Tenerife for two sold out shows, with our Spanish promoter Nobby Mills. The El Pollon tour continues.

it’s 11pm when we land, haven’t a clue where our hotel is tomorrow as Nobby hasn’t told me. But I do know both the shows are sold out and Nobby has arranged a party, he is delighted also that I am now liberated and is keen to relive his ‘Cock Squad’ days, when, in the days of his youth he claims to be hitting 3 girls every night, except Monday, as that was his day off. Nobby thinks of himself as a sex object, he asks for sex and girls object is closer to the mark.

There could be trouble ahead!

Well, there is good news and there is bad news. First the good news. We have the most beautiful of hotels. The oldest building in the village, weighing in at over 400 years old, made of ancient oak and featuring the original kitchen with huge stove and ceramic sinks.
My room has incredibly high oak ceiling and a huge wrought iron medieval style bed. It looks very comfortable. The bad news is I never got to find out how comfortable it was, as, after the party arranged by Nobby. Of which I recall nothing! But sadly, as I got to my room I realised my key was the bottom of my gig bag, and as I kneeled down to open it I fell asleep on the floor outside my room, I was awoken from my esteemed repose by the Pete the beat, up for his early morning walk and in hot pursuit of a fridge magnet. I had pulled the beautiful Persian rug over me for warmth in the night. Well. If the bed was anywhere near as comfy as the floor would have been a result.
As we travel now to the next show all the band are nursing horrible hangovers, distant memories of the night before come trickling back, the Jaeger bombs, whos bright idea was that? Apparently, I may have spent the night on the floor in the hallway with other guests stepping over. But it appears that I fared the best of the band, the others got into all kinds of scrapes. So, yet again. I am the most sensible and well-behaved member of the band. Those boys!!!!!!! I don’t know what Randy got up to but he is light as a feather after losing that heavy load.

Checking in at todays hotel, it would appear I have the executive suite with panoramic views of the ocean and my own jacuzzi.

It’s theeeeeeeeee good life. la la laaaaa la la laaaaaaa’

Monday, 1 May 2017

Jimmy Page - The Next Generation

It’s been a long time since I wrote a blog. So a lot of catching up to do. It’s been a hectic month with one thing and another.

I write this from my premium single room in Iceland, I have come out here to promote the band and my book. Which is selling like hot cakes and getting great reviews. Amazon has already sold out of stock twice and has restocked for a third time.

It is good to have Andy back on guitar, he has been away for a month so we had Chris Cawte on guitar for London and Holmfirth. A fantastic player he is too, a big thanks for standing in. It was just like the old days as we had Simon Jeffrey back on the drums for a re-union. A big thanks to Simon.
The Borderline was really where it all began for us, and when we first performed in front of Jimmy Page, (it’s all in the book wot I wrote) and got to meet the great man after the show. In Dorking last Friday we played in front of Jimmy Page again!!! Only this time it is the son of Jimmy Page, also called Jimmy. Jimmy Page, the next generation.

Little Jimmy was at the very front all show and stayed around to greet the band, he said that his Dad had come to see us years ago and thought we were fantastic, and now his son agrees too. Nice chap actually, and looks just like his father. He was impressed with Andy's guitar playing.


We had a great little trip in The Balkans with Damir, our fourth show in Slovenia, and another packed house. It was literally one of the loudest audiences we have ever played in front of, actually deafening roar at the end of the songs. Jack, our new John Paul Jones, couldn’t quite believe it and had to take a few steps closer to the edge of the stage to get a better look.


Jack played a blinder and his solo in No Quarter is fast becoming a highlight of the set.
And a day off to explore the Dragon Bridge and the castle, Ljubljana is a beautiful city, and we had plenty of offers from locals to show us the sights. Peter is keen to add to his expanding fridge magnet collection.

So, onto Croatia, we have played here once before at a festival along with Wishbone Ash. But not in Zagreb before. The Border was closed for some reason, and 6 hour delays at the border, thankfully our local driver knows of a smaller check point and we are through with no problem.
A fantastic show and well attended. After two encores no one wants to go home and we play Babe I’m Gonna Leave You to end the night. Lot’s of well wishes appeared backstage for photos and a pick from Andy, Jack has no picks left after just 2 shows. One guys said he had been waiting for us to come there for 5 years and it was well worth the wait.

The party somehow managed to carry on back to the hotel, Andy forgetting what room he was in, at one point he was sleeping in Pete’s room, then found his way into Jacks room. Finally came stumbling into my room at 4am and fell asleep on the floor. A spanking good time was had by all.
I think we all needed to let some steam off after a stressful month.

As we are not actually in Europe anymore smoking is allowed everywhere, amazing how we get used to not smoking, in Belgrade we are treated to local dishes at a traditional Serbian restaurant. At tonight show we have promoters and agent from all over the region, and well as everyone who is, or has ever been, in a band, as well as some local TV celebrities, including the bloke who does a mystic show on the telly and his beautiful assistant, chatting to her she is very interesting and well informed on local culture and art.

The show is slightly delays due to a protest march through the city. The lights go down, the roar goes up and Bam Bam……, we blast into Good Times Bad Times. The next two and a half hours are pure magic, what a great audience and a great show. After the show I had an in depth interview with a local journo, she was very tall, elegant too. Somehow again, there seemed to be a party back at our hotel! What is it with all these parties all of a sudden? Or maybe they have always gone on and I just wasn't invited!
I’m sure Jack is inviting everyone who was at the show back to our hotel. Anyway, as usual I am first in bed, it’s been a long day.

Anyway, here I am now in Iceland and the weather is awful, but things are looking up, there is a knock at my hotel room door, it is one of the flight attendants from the plane I came in on, she is still in uniform, though it doesn’t look exactly regulation, the skirt is a little shorter and the heels are higher, she is interested in my book apparently, well I better go then, see ya!!!!!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

What goes on tour don't stay on tour

It is available at last, my first book: Letz Zep backstage ‘What goes on tour don’t stay on tour’ I finally on sale.
And first reactions are good ‘All you wanted to know about the life of a touring band and more. Much more’ says Kris Gruber of Radio Dacorum.

The book was written on planes, trains and automobiles over the last 6 months and the odd hotel room.
The book tells the story of the bands journey from local pub gigs to some of the biggest stages in the world. From Madrid to Moscow, Lisbon to London and Barcelona to Brazil.
Tales of being ‘encouraged’ to perform at gun-point in Venezuela, had shot-guns pointed at us in Brazil. Facing a knife-wielding maniac in Morocco. Performing on amazing stages like the ancient Amphitheatre in Rhodes. The Paris Olympia Theatre and the Heineken Arena in Madrid.
What is it like to have Robert Plant turn up at one of our shows and performing in front of Jimmy Page.

From the early days of The Marquee Club and the St. Moritz Club, touring with Ozzy Osbourne and Roger Daltrey. Filled with lots of helpful advice on how to be a success in the notoriously cut-throat world of the music industry, and how to sustain that career.
Including all the amusing stories from back-stage of a hard working international touring rock band.
The book is available on presale right now:
and is flying off the shelves :D

And on general release from March 1. Or if you prefer, buy one at the shows. Then I can sign it for you!!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Hola Barcelona


Vitoria is a lovely place, historic town, wonderful atmosphere. I love just walking around the old town. Always a good gig here too, although tonight some idiot let off a pepper spray or something similar during No Quarter, I mean, who does something like that? Anyway, if the idea was to disrupt the show it didn’t work, we simply took a quick 20 minute break so the venue could open the doors and clear the air. The band went and stood outside with the crowd for photos and the like, until everybody came back into the venue again. We came back with a point to prove and performed one of the best sets of the tour so far, and a bit of a party after the show too!  Jack Paul Jones has now acquired the nickname here in Spain as El Nino Pollon.

So, onto Pamplona, another historic town, famous for the running of the bulls of course. But again, a lovely old town to walk around and sample a few local beers and tapas. After the show, we found a bar playing retro 50’s music and a few people dressing the part and jitterbugging all over the place. Got talking to a local geezer as he is the spitting image of Noddy Holder from Slade. An uncanny resemblance, he didn’t know who Noddy Holder is, but after a few rousing choruses of Merry Xmas Everybody from myself and Pete the Beat and it dawned on him of whom we refer.  However, we had to cut our interesting conversation short due to the fact that he kept farting and stinking the place out.

‘Did you just fart?’ Pete enquires of him. ‘Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ he confirms with a broad Buzz Lightyear type of smile and has both thumbs up to signify his pride and delight in a job well done.
And now onto Barcelona and a few days rest to recover fully from our gas attack, I mean the pepper spray in Vitoria not Noddy Holder farts in Pamplona of course.

Being a big show we have many family and friends coming into Barca today for the gig on Wednesday. Including a star appearance for Le Chameau himself, our long-suffering guitar tech of whom regular followers of this blog will remember well, mainly for ordering a nice bowl of Nada. Nick is also the hero of my book ‘What goes on tour don’t stay on tour’ due out on March 1st.

As tradition now has it. It seems we always play in Barcelona in or around the birthday of our promoter Robert ‘Nobby’ Mills. So tonight we will dine in the famous Los Caracoles restaurant close to Las Ramblas, the area of Barcelona famous for it’s shopping, bars and restaurants. A Mecca for tourists.
Nobby is famous for prowling Las Ramblas claiming to be a ‘big player’ in from The States, Texas Long-Horn they call him, and he is carrying a heavy load. Sadly for Nobby, he has been doing this for years and everyone is wise to him now, but this does nothing to deter Nobby from indulging in his favourite pastime, namely just harassing the girls of The Ramblas who are just going about their day trying to earn a dollar.

Well, it had to happen, the rain is come!


Friday, 10 February 2017

Sad Hill


Hello from Bilbao. We had a pleasant day off in Madrid, a fantastic show too, the biggest so far, before heading off to the Basque region again.

On our drive from Madrid to Bilbao we took a detour just south east of Burgos to visit Sad Hill Cemetery, Famous of course for the final scene of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Y’know, the three-way gun fight. Filmed on this very spot in 1966, and the last of the trilogy, following a Fist Full of Dollars and A Few Dollars More, if memory serves me right. directed by Sergio Leone.

We have our own El Feo with us, I’ll leave you to decide the Good and the Bad.

The place is right band in the middle of nowhere and not that easy to find, and strangely, not on a hill either, despite the name. But still looks pretty much the same as it did in the movie. Starring Clint Eastwood, Lee van Cleef and Eli Wallach. It’s apparent also what a good choice of location, isolated with different panoramic views make an amazing back drop.

We spent about 30 minutes wandering around, whistling the theme tune of course, I defy anyone not to, and recreating the gun fight.

Nice to be back in Bilbao, lovely city and a great audience., and last night saw the inclusion of Achilles Last Stand for the first time on this tour. Today. We drive just 50 minutes down the road to Vitoria, the site of a huge and decisive Napoleonic battle. And another victory for Wellington, defeating a full French Marshal.

The turning point was the capture and crossing of the old Roman bridge which caused the French to be outflanked and a relatively quick victory for the British.

And yes, we are also doing some gigs, we are two weeks into the tour and with only seven shows left to go, it has flown by.

More laters

Monday, 6 February 2017

Whisper tales of gore


It’s Monday, it’s Madrid and it’s the half way mark of the Spanish tour, and everyone has been well behaved with no tales of gore to report, well, none that the band will let me publish anyway.

Last time I wrote we had an epic race against time to make it to San Sebastian for the show.

Having booked flights from Sevilla to Bilbao, Vueling airlines cancelled the flight and dumped us in Madrid instead, claiming that Bilbao airport was closed due to high winds, hpwever we got an alternative flight, from Madrid to yes Bilbao, and no the airport wasn’t closed, nor were there any high winds. A lovely day in fact. So we made the show, although the airfare cost more than the nights fee, but y’know, the show must go on.

I reckon as the flight was late anyway, Vueling lost their slot in Bilbao and needed a plane in Madrid. So our flight was biffed off.

A stint of 4 shows on the bounce, San Sebastian was followed by Santander, then A Caruna and Vigo.

All good shows and well attended, we have a few new songs in the set to go along the theme, seeing a welcome return of Trampled Under Foot.
                                                             The late nights are taking it's toll

Then a long but pleasant drive south to Madrid. Nice spot of tiffin en-route of course.

We have a couple of days off here before the show, the boys wasting no time in getting out on the town. Jack Paul Jones asking where is the best place to go for to sample the night-life in Madrid. Of a Monday night? I don’t think there will be much action, but if there is, then those boys will find it.

Myself? I’m having a night in doing me laundry. Yeah!!!! Rock and Roll Babys!!!

But also, today is a red-letter day! My book is now proofed and off to the printers and is on schedule for release on March 1st. Called Letz Zep backstage. ‘What Goes on tour don’t stay on tour’ full of amusing stories from behind the scenes of the biggest and best tribute to Led Zeppelin in the world! What? like me doing me laundry in Madrid on a Monday night? Nope, a bit more colourful than that. with tales of gore aplenty!
I’ll keep you posted
Rock on