Bruce’s Away Days

Journal 76 (29th Sep 2019)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2019 #3 29 September 2019 Rushcutters Bay Sydney Could this be the first sighting of a Skids T shirt down under. That is all. {+};

Journal 75 (25th Sep 2019)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2019 #2 25 September 2019 Perth This teetotal malarkey is playing havoc with my bladder. Pissing like a racehorse That is all. {+};

Journal 74 (24th Sep 2019)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2019 #1 24 September 2019 Fremantle Great start to the tour, real party atmosphere, was shocked to see the ‘Beware, Michael Jackson crossing' signs out side venue though. That is all. {+};

Journal 73 (23rd Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #11 23 Mar 19. Hoofddorp Roses are red Tulips are too My clogs are so big This poem doesn’t rhyme That is all. {+};

Journal 72 (23rd Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #10 Germany & Holland 2019 Let me introduce you to the supporting artistes, Blackbird and Crow whose new album ‘Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam Talbot’ is on sale at the swag stand. As you can see the record contains explicit swear words and on the reverse side there is a warning that says ‘May contain nuts’ Tracklisting You can keep your hat on Baby it’s cold outside Take it in your hand Mrs Murphy Ring my bell Shave me Down under Me and you and a dug named Fido You shook me all night long That… {+};

Journal 71 (22nd Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #9 22 Mar 19. Berlin Freddy Mercury once said 'Get on your bike and ride' . Well that's exactly what I did this fine morning and now I feel EPIC. Actually, I don't, I need to lie down. That is all. {+};

Journal 70 (21st Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #8 21 Mar 19. Worpswede Not Alsatian again! That is all {+};

Journal 69 (20th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #7 20 Mar 19. Hengelo Going stir crazy in Das Bus. Wee Gemmill puts the boot in. That is all.. {+};

Journal 68 (19th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #6 19 Mar 19. Wurzburg - Fuel Stop Tour bus was mobbed by a rabid fan looking for autograph and selfie. She was convinced Simon was Rod Stewart. The Faces in the back got ignored as usual. That is all. {+};

Journal 67 (18th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #5 18 Mar 19. Munich Interior of our deluxe Mercedes tour bus. 5 a side pitch optional. That is all. {+};

Journal 66 (17th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #4 17 Mar 19. Karlsruhe Das Kleine Raster Her eyes seemed to follow us no matter where we stood in the room. On the other hand, what a pile of sh*t. That is all. {+};

Journal 65 (16th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #3 16 Mar 19. Freiburg We return to the famous Jazzhaus where we played 19 years ago on the Rolling Stones tour. Big thanks to the guys at BTM guitars for repairing the broken ‘KLM’ strat and for selling us a lovely triple play strat as a spare. Without their help the tour would have been in jeopardy instead of Germany. That is all. {+};

Journal 64 (15th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #2 15 Mar 19. Nuremberg Band dressing room What sort of depraved person books Big Country to play an S&M club? I have attended some interesting venues in my time, but this is torture 😵 Why anyone would want to sit in a fully working ejector seat is beyond me. There are some sick individuals out there boys and girls. That is all.😉 {+};

Journal 63 (14th Mar 2019)
EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2019 #1 14 Mar 19. Stuttgart “Have guitar, will travel” Actually, I don’t. Thanks to KLM who mistakenly left our luggage and stage clothes back in Schipol. Big thanks to former Nazareth Airlines Pilot, Captain Tommy Sinclair who organised replacement instruments. That is all {+};

Journal 62 (26th Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #18 Sitting bored out of my skull at Sydney Airport, I have decided to combine my love of art, Australians and subbuteo. I have lovingly created this masterpiece dedicated to the king of Stamford Bridge himself, Peter Osgood. Although he was never born in Australia, his nickname was 'Ossie' and that's good enough for me. That is all. {+};

Journal 61 (25th Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #17 Sydney 25/03/18 Long way home A wise man once told me a Zebra never changes his spots. Well from one wise guy to another, 'Gandalf, shut your puss.' The sight of Ian McKellen strapped to the back of a big bird and riding it relentlessly around the departure lounge is something I never would have imagined in a million years. Australia and New Zealand, you were amazing and we hope to see you all again in 18 months That is all. {+};

Journal 60 (24th Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #16 Pacific Ocean, Travel day 24/03/18 Ladies and gentlemen, our tour manager Paulie Tipping and the mighty Pacific Ocean. Paulie did all the driving, teching, out front sound and advance work. He also knows a thing or two about geography. I wasn't sure that we were standing next to the Pacific but he was quite specific that it was the Pacific. I told him that is was terrific that he was specific about the Pacific but he became horrific and punched me. Round of applause for Paulie, a great guy. That is all. {+};

Journal 59 (23rd Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #15 Aftershow Bond Party 23/03/18 Move over Danny Craig, there's a new Bond in town and that Bond is me. As far as I am concerned, you can shove all your gadgets up Q's arse. There is only one piece of equipment that is crucial to being the ultimate Bond and that is the safari suit. Connery didn't have one, Moore came close. Brosnan and Dalton don't even count and Lazenby can just shut his puss. That is all. {+};

Journal 58 (22nd Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #14 Napier 22/03/18 (Europcar forecourt Napier Airport) Van hire firm screwed up this morning. They rented the last people carrier out to a troupe of Boy Scouts. The only transport fit for purpose was this Toyota yellow submarine fun bus. I love it. That is all. {+};

Journal 57 (20th Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #13 Day off. 20/03/18. Sugar Loaf Reserve, Ports Hill, 1620 ft above sea level This mountaineering lark is a doddle. We climbed it in no time at all. No need for any safety equipment or oxygen either. Even Simon tackled the north face wearing nothing but a pair of sturdy flip flops and sensible shorts. We met Dennis the elusive 'Man Of The Mountain' who told us his amazing story about life on the hill and how he climbed it as a child and integrated himself with the wildlife. Frankly, I thought he was… {+};

Journal 56 (20th Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #12 Day Off, Christchurch 20/03/18 Well thanks guys for leaving me to park the gig ambulance on my own, you know how confused I get in my old age. Do I park in the space that generates good vibrations or abandon it in the disabled space again? That is all. {+};

Journal 55 (19th Mar 2018)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL 2018 #11 Christchurch, New Zealand 19/03/18 Well that's us just touched down in Christchurch. Mark has found a new place to dwell, Simon looks worried and Scott stands back in amazement as Jamie fingers a Belisha beacon. Looks like the aliens are coming. That is all. {+};

Journal 54 (18th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #10 Luna Park. St Kilda 18/03/18 Australia, thank you so much for your support and hospitality over the past two weeks. We have had an absolute ball (and I don't mean Skippy's scrotum). Great to meet up with locals as well as old friends from back home. We will return next year. Next we fly to New Zealand next for the last week of our adventure. That is all. {+};

Journal 53 (17th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #9 Melbourne 17/03/18 Melbourne you were fantastic tonight! Meet local legend Big Andy Inkster. Andy has in his hands the very rare Australian release of our first single 'Harvest Home' while Mark and I have Skippy's sawn off scrotum in ours. I can honestly say that this is the first time someone has actually bought me a body part. Not sure what I will keep in it though, maybe some plectrums or used bus tickets. Maybe some of you good people could come up with some suggestions. That is all. {+};

Journal 52 (16th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #8 Sydney (Day 2), 16/03/18 We've had a few support acts over the years and this is one of them. Ladies and gentlemen, please let me introduce you to Little Johnny Sputnik from local beat combo, 'Simply Shit.' Abandoned as a child, Johnny was brought up in the outback by woodtinks. He was so ugly when he fell out of his mother's pouch, the midwifes actually slapped her for dropping such an ugly baby into the world. Growing up he discovered loud guitar music and he learned to play guitar the hard way, he… {+};

Journal 51 (15th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #7 Sydney (Day 1), 15/03/18 Well, it's farewell to Brisbane and hello to Sydney which will be home for the next two days. The good news is Dr Quinn Medicine Woman is still on the air down here, but the bad news is that those bloody do gooders at Environmental Health Australia have shut down Watson Towers. The picture below was taken by local lad, Scott Whitley. If you look closely you will find Wally lurking in the shadows. If you find him don't reply, just poke yourself in the puss with a sharp… {+};

Journal 50 (14th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #6 Brisbane, 14/03/18 Well that’s the deposit put down on the new residence. Just as Michael Jackson had Neverland, we have Watson Towers, a place where Australian and Scottish people can mix freely without ridicule. We will be introducing highland style games where kangaroos slug it out with wee ned b*stards. Pop-up shops selling delicacies from the bush and freshly caught haggis from the borders and, my personal favourite, Australian rules snooker. All of the above usually end up in a fight, so it’s winner winner chicken dinner all round. Brisbane you rocked like… {+};

Journal 49 (13th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #5 Australia, Day off. Belated birthday party 13/03/18 Big thanks to everyone who celebrated my birthday tonight. Cheers to the band for providing the envelopes stuffed with cash, to the promoter for providing the dancing girls and last but not least, a big shout out to local hipsters Troy and Bunny (below) from support band, 'The Pet Shop Drongos'. That cake was to die for. That is all. {+};

Journal 48 (12th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #4 Australia, Travel Day 12/03/18 Remember, a Watson is not for life, it's only for Christmas. For a small fee you can hire these fit, young bushy tailed Watties to brighten up your Christmas party. They dance, sing and even speak in tune. So pet them, feed them then flush them. That is all. {+};

Journal 47 (10th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #3 Australia Day 3, Adelaide 10/03/18 Happy birthday to me! Well, that's me 102 years old and I still have an ass that can crack nuts. Just stick a leaf of lettuce and a walnut between my cheeks and hey, presto! The best Waldorf salad this side of the Poconos. As you can see, the guys have bought me a metal roadie since Rory isn't around. He is called Rodney and is worse than useless. String changes, forget it. Just look at those digits. Come back, Rory. We need you. That is all. {+};

Journal 46 (9th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #2 Australia Day 2, Fremantle 09/03/18 Fremantle, you were fantastic! What a great way to start our tour. Also, many thanks to all the people from back home who helped get the party started. As you can see I still haven't recovered from the long journey to the Southern Hemisphere. Maybe next time I will fly instead of getting the bus. Just ironing out a few problems on Jamie's guitar. That is all. {+};

Journal 45 (8th Mar 2018)
AUSTRALIA / NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL 2018 #1 Australia Day 1, Perth 08/03/18 Jamie arranges trip to the Perth Zoo where we encounter much of Australia's wildlife. The koalas, penguins and Sir Les were so cute, but I was disappointed that Skippy the bush dolphin was unavailable. Paulie, our tour manager, takes us for a drive to Fremantle where we paid our respects to Bon. Onwards to Rockingham for a liquid lunch then back to Perth where Paulie takes us for a traditional Australian meal. Kebabs all round. That is all. {+};

Journal 44 (19th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #10 19/06/2016 Day 10. Dubai Quick pint in Heineken bar before next flight. Hello Dubai. Goodbye Dubai. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 43 (18th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #9 18/06/2016 Day 9. Perth Thank you, Perth. You were loud, proud and downright noisey. What a way to end a tour. My ears are still ringing. Great to meet Dunfermline people so far from home. Well as you can see it's time for us to head off into the sky for a stop over in Dubai, then the final furlong into the UK. Australia and New Zealand, we love you and hope to come back. Look out Waterford. We're coming your way soon. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 42 (17th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #8 (Part 2) 17/06/2016 Day 8. Sydney (Part 2) Well we didn't see your bridge or opera house, but we did have a blast in the factory. Sydney, you rock and we salute you. Let's do it again next year. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 41 (17th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #8 (Part 1) 17/06/2016 Day 8. Sydney (Part 1) Ford Mustang GT. Nazareth and Focus on the 8 track machine. Tommy Saxondale eat your heart out. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 40 (16th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #7 16/06/2016 Day 7. Adelaide Great gig. Completely shattered. Brain and body shutting down. Here's a picture of my foot. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 39 (15th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #6 15/06/2016 Day 6. Melbourne Big treat for fans and the band as we were joined onstage by Colin Berwick who played keyboards on The Buffalo Skinners album. Hopefully, we'll do it again soon. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 38 (14th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #5B 14/06/2016 Day 5. Brisbane. Who's the daddy? Me, that's who. Move over Brzezicki, there's a new guy in town and that guy is ME. Stand back in amazement as I dazzle you with my syncopated rhythms. Prepare to be scared shitless as I furiously bash out paradiddles without even thinking about it. Yes, I have the best seat in town and that seat is strapped to the back of Buddy Rich. Brisbane, you rock. {+};

Journal 37 (14th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #5A We had a few fantastic days in Auckland, and would love to come back. Big thanks to Tim and Pedro for looking after us. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Jamie and Mark go nuts on the electronic broomsticks. Stay tuned for some moped stunt riding. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 36 (12th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #4 12/06/2016 Day 4. Auckland. Picture of me straddling the big gun when I went to Mount Victoria. Ooh er madam, that sounds a bit rude. New Zealand you were wonderful. Tomorrow Australia. That is all. {+};

Journal 35 (11th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #3 11/06/2016 Day 3. Auckland. As Tony Hatch once said: Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours. Well Tony, this is Karangahape Road, not bloody Ramsay Street. We would all love to live next door to Kylie and Jason but real life's not like that. For instance, take this dubious character who lives next door. He kept me up all night with his low end rumblings. God only knows what he was up to. Right. Where's my trombone. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 34 (10th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #2 10/06/2016 Day 2. Auckland. On the search for some bedtime literature. Jamie studies this informal medical journal, while I check out some hot new talent. Yes friends, jet lag is a wonderful feeling, isn't it? I don't know whether to go for a shite or a haircut. Anyway, looking forward to playing our first NZ show in a couple of hours. That is all. -Bruce {+};

Journal 33 (9th Jun 2016)
NEW ZEALAND / AUSTRALIA JOURNAL #1 09/06/2016 Well that's 25 hours of my life I won't be getting back 11.000 miles from my house in Dunfermline to New Zealand. No wonder NASA lied about going to the moon. Neil, Buzz and Ringo must have been bored out of their skulls on that gig. At least we could get up, move around a bit and not have to soil our own clothes. Those poor buggers had to sit for days in a confined space, eat dry food then piss themselves.. Come on NASA, let's work with gravity not against it. -Bruce {+};

Journal 32 (26th Jan 2014)
26/01/14 Dumfries A wonderful Burns Night had by the band and crew in the world famous Spiegeltent. It is one of the remaining three that travel throughout Europe. Once a mobile dance hall and allegedly a house of ill repute, tonight it showcased acrobats, comedy, burlesque and what turned out to be a rock and roll circus. Simon had his first taste of haggis and loved it. Mark, on the other hand, chickened out and had the chicken. That is all. {+};

Journal 31 (2nd Jan 2014)
02/01/14 Dunfermline Happy New Year! Many thanks to everyone who supported us on The Journey in 2013. As you can imagine there were many high points as well as some low points. The recording of The Journey was a pleasure. Maybe the stars were aligned or something as the chemistry was right at the time. The touring aspect was another kettle of fish. We spent 6 months on a bus touring the Western Hemisphere which is really a social experiment. Think 'Big Brother' on wheels. Not great when most of the band are in their mid 50's. 2014 will take… {+};

Journal 30 (22nd Nov 2013)
More Memories 22/11/13 Dunfermline Here is another picture from the attic. This is the day we got signed by Warner Bros in America. In this picture are Mo Austin, Ian Grant, Alan Edwards and Lenny Waronker. Mo was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 by Paul Simon, Neil Young, and Lorne Michaels. He is known among his colleagues as the most artist-friendly executive in the music business. He was hired as president of Reprise Records by Frank. At Reprise he was involved with such artists as Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr, The Kinks and, guess… {+};

Journal 29 (15th Nov 2013)
Memories 15/11/13 Dunfermline Stuart, Mark and Bruce with producer Rafe McKenna Came across a batch of old photos in the attic last night. This is from the Driving To Damascus sessions at Rockfield Wales. Tony was in isolation booth getting ready to do his bass on 'Dive Into Me' and that is why he is absent from picture. We had a fantastic time at Rockfield and Rafe was a great choice for producer, he certainly brought out the best in us. I hope to scan in more photos from the past and share them with you. Happy times indeed That… {+};

Journal 28 (13th Oct 2013)
Lerwick, Shetland 13/10/13 Shetland, Shetland, Shetland. So good they named it thrice. First time on the island for Big Country and boy did we have a ball. You Shetlanders know how to party. Best Saturday night I have had in ages. The Mareel Centre was bouncing and we had a great time back at the hotel with some fantastic Shetland hospitality. You guys have a wonderful venue up there and I hope it brings work and revenue into the community. That is why this tour is really important to Big Country. We are playing in a lot of venues that… {+};

Journal 27 (11th Oct 2013)
Sweet Home Alhambra 11/10/13 Dunfermline, Fife Lord I’m coming home to you, so sang the great Lynyrd Skynyrd, (pronounced and spelt Lynyrd Skynyrd, although if you do a spell check it reads Lanyard Spaniard) Anyway enough of my yakkin’, Have a swatch of these two beauties I found in the attic. What a gorgeous pair of SG’s. The wine red one has a bolt on neck, and the sunburst is a replica of my old 500 that I had in the early 80’s built by Smiggs of Kirkcaldy. The replica has a glue in neck unlike the 2000 which was… {+};

Journal 26 (8th Oct 2013)
Dunfermline, Fife. 08/10/13 Thurso, Thurso, Thurso! What do I know about Thurso, well it’s the day sandwiched between Wedno and Frido. But apart from that, it is the most northerly town in the UK, and we are looking forward to starting our next journey at the top. The tour is going to take us out of the cities and into the towns the length and breadth of the country. As a band we always take the scenic route and can’t wait to take our show to these far flung places. Now just wondering what axe to play with, this is… {+};

Journal 25 (3rd Sep 2013)
Dunfermline, Fife. 03/09/13 Oi! Dorothy, close your eyes and tap your desert boots together three times. Think to yourself, "There's no place like the toon. There's no place like the toon." Yes folks, here we are back in Dunfermline after living on a bus since June. What a social experiment that was. From the desert highway to the New York subway, 5 musicians, 3 road crew, 1 swag lady, 1 crazy driver plus 4 family. Thank God I got home with my sanity intact, well apart from falling asleep on the couch. Sandra tried to wake me and I told… {+};

Journal 24 (27th Aug 2013)
Pensacola, Florida 27/08/13 "Are we a bus?" shouts Ray upon pulling away from the truck stop. "Yes. We’re a bus." is the usual reply, and we hit the road again. So far we’ve already left Jamie behind at a truck stop in Bum Fart, Nebraska thinking he was in his bunk sleeping which was an 8 hour round trip to get him back. Will got off the bus in Pig's Testicle, Idaho to use the restroom and he was left behind. These mistakes are expensive and cost the band fuel, tolls, taxes and eat into the driver’s time. The simple… {+};

Journal 23 (22nd Aug 2013)
Akron, Ohio the next day. 22/08/13 Are we not men? We are Loco. I decided to spend an extra day in Akron. Well, I had to. I was playing a show. And what are you lot laughing at? No. it’s not a flower pot or even a hat. It’s a Devo energy dome and I love it. And before you lot start typing ‘Is it Bill or Ben’ just remember that these energy domes were responsible for some of the most original music to come out of America in the late 70’s. Devo, I salute you as well as the… {+};

Journal 22 (21st Aug 2013)
Akron, Ohio 21/08/13 News just in. Big Country to expand line up for next album and tour. Here we see the guys having a jam with The Rubber City Rollers. That’s Johnny ‘Two Lips Becker’ ripping it up on sousaphone while blowing his top at the back; ‘Lungs’ Lafferty makes that euphonium his own. Let’s not forget on backing vocals and triangle the amazing Rubber Jenny Brown. Sure plays a mean trombone. Mmmmmm that’s nice That is all {+};

Journal 21 (20th Aug 2013)
Date: Unknown. Location: In North America, possibly in a state. The Dean and I. Hum drum days and a hum drum ways. Hey kids. Let me tell you how I met your mom. So sung Kevin and Lawrence along with their 10 cubic centimetres of pure pop genius back in '73. Well, boys. Never mind that. While you lot were loading up your rubber bullets and smooching in the dark with the Dean’s daughter, I was out there in Alcholand hanging out with the man himself. That’s right, James Dean. (Check out my picture if you don’t believe me) Although… {+};

Journal 20 (16th Aug 2013)
16/08/13 (Part 2) Belmar, New Jersey Well, I never did manage to find "The Boss", but I did find his Fender Esquire on the corner of 10th Avenue and E Street in Belmar. Crikey! He must have hands like tractor shovels. Weighing in at a hefty 150 pounds, this axe is massive and at eight foot in length. Bruce must have arms like a mountain gorilla. Heaven knows how he can do a 4 hour show with this beast strapped around his shoulders. Maybe he is made from titanium. Maybe he’s a superhero, a superhero called Titanium Man that protects… {+};

Journal 19 (16th Aug 2013)
16/08/13 (Part 1) Asbury Park, New Jersey Weapon of Choice number 3 Well here we are back where we started all those months ago on the Jersey Shore. We are at the Wonderbar again which is now becoming my favourite east coast gig. The guitar in my hand is a beautiful DBZ Bolero Calavera which I rescued around a month ago in a sorry state. Mickey V has done wonders with her and she is now my latest squeeze. Behind me on the wall is the famous reproduction of the Tillie mural. Boy! What a smile. I feel so good… {+};

Journal 18 (11th Aug 2013)
Landen, Ohio 11/08/13 I’m a cowboy. On a steel horse I ride. I’m wanted dead or alive. So sang New Jersey boy, Jon Bon Jovi on his 1986 hit 'Wanted Dead or Alive'. Well Jon, as you can see below I am also a cowboy riding on a steel horse. Exhibit A is the wonderful cowboy hat which fits me like a hat, and as for the steel horse check out Exhibit B. A beautiful vintage Ford Ferguson 8N tractor. That’s right: The one with the 4 speed transmission and position control for the hydraulics. Boy! This baby sure is… {+};

Journal 17 (6th Aug 2013)
Strawberry Fields, Central Park West, Manhattan, New York. 06/08/13 We caught the train from Harrison and got off at the World Trade Center. I made this journey in 2006 with Derek and the ‘Four Good Men’. At that time it was out of bounds and flat, but now towering in the sky is the Freedom Tower. She looks magnificent. It is a strange feeling as basically you are visiting a construction site as well as a memorial. I feel like an intruder in this on-going work. The subway beckons and we disembark at Times Square, walk up past the ‘other’… {+};

Journal 16 (3rd Aug 2013)
Niagara Falls. Canada. 03/08/13 Gee, but it’s great to be back home. Home is where I want to be. I've been on the road so long my friend……. So sung Paul Simon on his legendary hit ‘Keep The Customer Satisfied’ Well Paul, at the risk of sounding like a right Garfunkel, I am not back home nor am I satisfied. One month to go before the end of the tour. Apollo 13 has been behaving herself and Ray our new astronaut is steering us safely all the way. Niagara, what can I say? You may have a couple of large… {+};

Journal 15 (28th Jul 2013)
Manchester, New Hampshire 28/07/13 Pull my finger. Yes, I know that’s an ancient gag that old people do with their grandchildren, but spare a thought for poor Will. He actually decapitated the top of his finger of on the tour bus door. To ease the pain he went to a tattoo convention and got the name of his elderly Aunt Betty inked onto his knuckles. Unfortunately, due to his Welsh accent and the tattooist being dyslexic you can see the result above. Needless to say, Betty did see the funny side and promised to give him a right good smacker… {+};

Journal 14 (25th Jul 2013)
Place: Don’t know Date: Don’t care It’s just over half way through the North American tour. Derek, Mike and Will are in their bunks and the children are in a hotel room. Mark has abandoned ship to stay with John in New Jersey. Let’s hope John doesn't shoot him accidentally as he tinkers with his car. All is quiet on the good bus Titanic apart from a distant snore and the sound of a lonely fart wafting through the Alaskan Highway. Watching 24 on TV but after 3 episodes I can’t make out what Kiefer Sutherland is saying. Maybe he… {+};

Journal 13 (24th Jul 2013)
Mickey V and Me Carlisle, Pennsylvania 24/07/13 Well, you don’t see that every day. Whilst buying tools from The Home Depot I witnessed an Amish guy buying a Black and Decker power drill. And I thought those guys did everything by hand. Maybe he was doing a homer or maybe he was just downright lazy. Anyway, I would like to introduce you to the amazing Mickey V, my guitar tech and breakfast buddy. Now as you can see Mickey is no Amish guy, in fact he’s never even bought a single product from Amway in his life. Here he is… {+};

Journal 12 (21st Jul 2013)
Four Winds Casino on the shore of Lake Michigan, New Buffalo. Star Date 21/07/13 The Romulans have taken over the………………………………hey wait a minute. I’m in the middle of a Vulcan nightmare. The casino is massive. The food is obscene and I have never seen so many one legged people in one room, what are they doing, selling of their legs to pay gambling debts. The show was held in the Hard Rock Café and it was very emotional seeing Stuart’s Moon guitar on the wall. It did initially remind me of happy times as it was made during the recording… {+};

Journal 11 (16th Jul 2013)
16/7/2013 Little Rock, Arkansas Well, I thought Austin was weird but how about this, land lubber? The good bus Titanic II limped heroically into the parking lot. Captain Jan and I were talking about mooring there the night before and the only connection we had with the town was the infamous pirate lover, ‘Connie from Little Rock’. Anyway, as I walked down the gangplank, I saw this elderly woman hobble towards me. This was no mermaid or siren I can tell you. Scared, I made a hasty retreat back to the ship but she got me in a pincer movement… {+};

Journal 10 (14th Jul 2013)
14/07/13 Dealey Plaza Dallas, Texas Texas. What a state to be in! Well boys and girls, we survived the 45 hour journey form Aspen to Houston in 104 degrees heat and arrived exactly 30 minutes before show time. The support band loaned us their drum set and there are now no fat people on the bus. Houston, you were fabulous. Austin, ditto. Dallas was a blast. The A/C people came down and did their repairs on the bus so at least we are not sweating like ladies of the night in a house of ill repute. Everything’s bigger and better… {+};

Journal 9 (12th Jul 2013)
12/07/13 Just outside Quanah, Texas Houston, we have a problem. Well, it’s 104 degrees aboard Apollo 18 today. We are on a long journey from Aspen, Colorado to Houston, Texas and the heat in this tin can is unbearable. To make matters worse, we nearly got hit by a bloody crop duster just outside of Childress. It was so close that Ray, our new driver, discovered that farts have lumps. Both toilet and AC units have blown. The heat and smell is unbearable and we now resemble the cast of ‘Ain’t Half Hot Mum’ with Derek excelling in the role… {+};

Journal 8 (5th Jul 2013)
05/07/13 On the Queen Elizabeth II Highway from Calgary to Edmonton Canada Just thought I would share this picture of my effect pedals for all the tech heads who have requested the lowdown. As I had to travel light I had to ditch my MXR Pitch Transposer and Line 6 delay rack unit/pedal board system and come up with something new. After trawling the local music shops the solution came from Guitar Guitar in the shape of a TC Nova multi effects unit. The Nova has all the delay and harmonizing settings I need and has enough storage space for… {+};

Journal 7 (1st Jul 2013)
01/07/13 What does a bear do in the woods? Myers Flat,Humboldt County (in the shade of the giant sequoias) Does a bear shit in the woods? Yes he bloody does, and how do I know? Well I just stood in one. A big pile of shit that I’ll never forget. I’ve been in Big Country for 30 odd years so I know a lot about shit. Christ! I should have been a plumber, Hell! I know more about shit than Davy Broon and he knows a shitload about shit. I’m sitting in a café in Red Crest, 34 miles south… {+};

Journal 6 (30th Jun 2013)
30/06/13 Weapons of Choice USA Part 1 Like I said in an earlier blog, my Fret King yellow guitar had the bridge damaged en route from UK to USA, basically the wrap around bridge had been hit and one of the retaining bolts came loose and got lost. This resulted in the bridge coming away from the body and rendering it unplayable. Tone Pros were kind enough to send me a new bridge free of charge but it wouldn’t arrive for a week. I used Mickey V’s (guitar tech) strat which only had one pickup up working for first few… {+};

Journal 5 (28th Jun 2013)
28/06/13 Plectrums and Poker Chips Well you may think that the boys in plaid have been taking it easy over the past few days but nothing can be further from the truth. Jamie, Derek and Bruce have been as busy doing an Ocean’s Eleven all through the state of Nevada. Lake Tahoe, Reno and Vegas were all taken to the cleaners by the ‘Devils in skirts’, and boy did they come up trumps. Both Bruce and Derek got heavily involved in a Mexican domino ring and ended up beating Johnny Gringo ‘The Domino Kid’ in a grudge match that very… {+};

Journal 4 (19th Jun 2013)
19/06/13 On tour bus driving through Mohawk Valley en route to Yuma. ‘En Route’, 2 groovy French words meaning ‘on or along the way’. Derek’s on the road again wearing different clothes again, so sung Manfred Mann and his amazing earth band back in the 70’s. Well here’s another song. ‘Don’t go down to Tuba city baby, they got 2 time zones and no beer’. Have I got the blues, you’re damn right. Ok Boys and girls we are coming to the end of week 2 and the journey continues, we have cut the umbilical cord from the bus and… {+};

Journal 3 (13th Jun 2013)
13/06/13 On tour bus driving through Kansas City Well, boys & girls that’s the first week of the US tour in the can, and what a week it’s been. We landed at Newark and were met by our good friend John as well as Mickey and Jan (our new crew). The bus is fully stocked and we’re ready to roll. We have no day to acclimatise and have two shows in one day. First show is in Philadelphia in the afternoon, the second is the Wunderbar in Asbury Park. The baggage handlers have been unkind to the guitarists. The bridge… {+};

Journal 2 (24th May 2013)
(somewhere in Germany.....) Woke up this morning and my dog was dead, someone had shot him right through the head. Thats a lie, I don't have a dog, and I live on a tour bus, Why the heck would I have a dog on a tour bus? Where would it sleep? Don't answer that, What a beautiful morning it is here in Mannheim. The sun is streaming through the windows and the musty smell of rotting stage clothes is wafting through the upstairs corridor. The febreeze is running out and we are getting desperate. Oh the horror! Welcome back to… {+};

Journal 1 (17th May 2013)
Date 17/05/13 Bochum Germany Roll up Roll up, the greatest show on earth is coming. Scream in terror as the Kaleidoscope Kid reduces The Eclipse to a quivering wreck with his magic axe. Watch in amazement as the Mighty Quill conjures up thunder then lays down the law. Be scared shitless as Dr Octoban rides the wall of death with The Flying Scotsman strapped to his back. Of course life on the road's not really like that, is it, but it did grab your attention. Well, that's us into the first leg of the European tour and what a tour… {+};