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 the badlands of New Jersey with his mighty weapon. Maybe I have been on the road too long.
Bruce I love ya and New Jersey rocks.
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 I think I will go and search for Springsteen.
That is all.
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 a smooth ride. I simply unhook it from the bus and trundle off down to Walmart for the day’s supplies. I do get some strange looks from the locals. But hey! I’m a guy that gets things done.
Keep on trucking.
That is all.
Strawberry Fields, Central Park West, Manhattan, New York.
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’ Carnegie Hall and onwards to Central Park. I take Jamie and Sarah to the Dakota building and stand at the entrance. It feels strange, almost like when I stood on the grassy knoll weeks ago.
We head over the Hudson to Hoboken for a bite to eat then end up at base camp in Secaucus. The good bus ‘Endurance’ is gleaming under the moonlight. She has been cleaned from head to toe. Ray has had the linen changed and she smells like a thousand red roses. Sod it! Break out the Yuengling. I am staying at my good friend John’s’. There’s a Rocky movie on.
That is all
Niagara Falls. Canada.
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 waterfalls but as for the rest of you, well Blackpool on a wet Tuesday springs to mind.
I went for an Indian meal alfresco (Canadian for eating in the rain). I asked the waiter for a vindaloo and he looked at me like I was Helen Reddy. ‘Too hot’ he warned me. I replied that being Scottish, it was our national dish and that all our food is founded on a bet anyway. He kept checking on me every 5 minutes to make sure I wasn’t overheating.
Not sure where the children are tonight, probably looking at the illuminations. Jamie is so desperate to get home that he tried to throw a sickie by saying he was coming down with a touch of legionnaire’s disease from the maid of the mist journey at the waterfall.
As you can see Derek is now beginning to feel the strain. Canada I love you.
That is all.
Manchester, New Hampshire
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 on the lips when he gets home.
That is all.
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 needs to take lessons from Christian Bale.
Missing home, missing my wife, my son and cat. Missing the strawberries and onions that I planted months ago. Missing the guys from the dockyard too. Bet that hunk of steel looks ship shape and seaworthy now. Man, I am either homesick or I got a goddamn case of the blues.
Here is a picture of my accommodation. Cougars keep out.
That is all.
Mickey V and Me
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 with me and my road worn Fret King Éclat after working hard on it all afternoon. He modifies all my guitars on this tour. First of all he took the P90 out of the neck cavity. I re-rimmed the holes in the pickup cover (by hand, no power tools) to accommodate the Strat pickup which came out of the red guitar. I then sealed it in with RTV silicone. The license plate came from a cereal box and the pressure gauge switch cover was prized from and old fire engine in a junk yard back in the Redwoods. Thanks to Mark for scavenging.
Mickey’s adventures in Happy Hour Land will be coming to a blog near you soon.
That is all.
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 of The Seer album back in 85/86. But seeing the guitar close up, it looked like an empty shell. It was a bit beaten up and weather checked. The nut was broken. The strings and machine heads were old and rusted and the frets were so badly worn I don’t think you would be able to coax a note out of it. Shame really as it was a fantastic guitar back in the day. It now resides high up on the wall next to Paul McCartney’s guitar.
That is all.
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 and tortured me for group information. I told her we were just a bunch of lost mariners stranded far from home but she sussed that we were a tour bus. She then introduced herself as Connie, the groupie from Little Rock. Shaken, I immediately piped myself back aboard and called Captain Jan. He came out and said hello, shook her hand and asked how she was. It had been around 20 years since their last encounter and after enquiring about her wellbeing she enquired, “Did I blow you?” To which Captain Jan replied “he couldn’t remember”.
As I have no photographic evidence of this encounter, here is a picture taken by a hobo on LSD of me playing Roy Orbison’s guitar outside RCA Victor studios in Music Row, Nashville.
Rock ‘n’ Roll is afloat (just)
That is all.