Bluebottle heads north
After such an amazing response to my last ditch effort at writing what some believe being as "the biggest load of crap ever put down on a computer screen" (Tony Scumbag - The Sun Herald) I'm back, not only back but better. After a luncheon with some of the greats: Hinch, Jana Wendt, Laws, and that other guy with the funny eye brows, I've been taught (over a quick bite at 'Stuck upsies' a great new cafe in the city, which your only allowed in if you have a brown smelly nose) in the ways of writing, in the ways of telling a story so as the reader can actually understand my monologue, so as the reader can move swiftly along with me in the highs and of course the lows in the over-the-top journey that is Bluebottle on tour. The tears of Coffs harbour, the sweat of trying to find accommodation in Bris-Vegas, the forlorn tale of the little shepherd boy: Jamie, and the giant angry monster: Club Super Deluxe, and so on. So, dear reader sit back, relax, grab a cup of wine and remember that every word uttered is truth, "The truth from my eyes to yours" (isn't that the cheesiest thing you've ever heard?).
But before I wow my associates once again in telling a story seemingly so far fetched that some will turn away without a second look saying: "There's no way a man can possibly consume that much alcohol.... is there?" or "Bluebottle Kiss in front of HOW MANY PEOPLE did you say?" I'd like to show you some of the great reviews my last tour diary got:
I was also receiving thousands of e-mails a day pleading
me to stop. So here I go, I hope you enjoy reading as much
as I have writing the second chapter in the continuing tale
of the Bluebottle Conception, the Bluebottle polyembryony,
....... and so after much waiting, my agent Jonny Bravo (a Kent Brockman meets Denis Handlin type of guy) took me into his office one bright spring morning after my polo lessons and sat me down.
"Benjamin" he said with his trade-mark
nasal american voice. "Benjamin I just received a call
from a Richard Cornostar" he paused and glanced up
presuming I knew of this worthy tall poppy who stated to
be one of my ex band mates, but receiving no more than a
contemptuous gaze he went on. "impossible I screamed
down the phone back at him. Benjamin has no such 'mates'
left. Then I went on to explain to him the story of the
last BBK tour and the break up shortly after. With Jamie
turning into a hit man for IMC, a secret organization who
plan out and kill annoying pop stars such as Tina Arena,
Ginger Spice, and the hole cast and crew from Young Talent
Time. I also told him about Richo who unfortunately was
left behind in Adelaide, and after the great loss of his
van 'Bongo' turned to drugs and prostitution trying to deal
with this loss, and sadly passed away, 'death by a Portuguese
chicken shop' they say." Jonny stopped talking and
wiped his tear stained eyes with a red pleated handkerchief.
"Poor Richo" Jonny Stammered out
Cue 'top Gun' theme.
It was Richard all right, he had found Jamie in a seedy Newtown pub late the night before, it was a Bluebottle Kiss re-union. Richo was off the 'junk', Jamie gave up his search to assassinate Jonny Young the first in line to go from the Young Talent Time group, Joey Perony was next, and I gave up my polo tour of the Scotland Highlands with Prince William. We were ready again, we were a unit, we had shows booked up in the sun burnt north, we had the old carrot on the stick held out in front of us and off we went in search of fame, fortune, and the old sweet forgotten taste of rock'n'roll.
Well we had no band van any more so it was the trusty old Tarago hire van for us which proved more than adequate. The Tarago is the Stretched limo of bands such as us; the under dogs, the other team, the band that will play any where any time of the day for a buck. So we pulled the back seats out, left them on the side of the road and packed the van. Hopping in we were off faster than a speeding super hero. Now I must tell you that this little trip happened nine months ago so I'm painting this debauched tour wholly from memory, which means it will be painted in kiddies finger painting pastels rather than oils on canvas.
If I remember correctly we were meeting 'Little John' our mixer at our first destination due to the fact he lived in Las-Brissy (city of the after thought). What's our first destination? I hear you ask: Lismore Uni. Cant remember the trip up much but I'm sure it was full of much celebration and compilation tapes. Two up the front to keep the driver awake, 'jancking' to see who gets the back next ('jancking' = paper-scissors-rock), and one in the back seat, stretched out in total comfort working out in what song to do the rock jump, and practicing his speech on the political state of affairs in Australia to be delivered to the all-knowing Uni. crowd at Lismore.
Day One - Lismore Uni.
We arrived at sun set and had to find our way from the entrance to the Uni. bar. Every Uni. we've ever played we've had to stop a student and ask for directions or else get lost for hours in the intertwining roads and speed humps that twist and turn only to lead no where but the gym or the engineering department. So we find the bar and its a pretty usual sort of do: set up, sound check, un-set up, wait for the always late first on, sit, stare, drink and try to be merry. With the plethorically HUGE crowd taking up most of the twenty seats now, you could tell this was gonna be a biggy. We were all out back in the kitchen - dash - band room, drinking our red and getting ready for our first gig back, our archway, our loading dock, our porte-cochere back into the rich world of rock. Waiting for the silly, now forgotten, support band to finish. Jamie performing vocal warm ups' as he does before every gig, Richo doing his make up in front of the fridge using the steel door as a mirror. Little John polishing off his tenth beer and not stopping there mind you. All the while I'm hurriedly going through my 'on tour' wardrobe throwing ties around trying on my blue Saturn number, then quickly changing to a more subtle pink frilly suit with bright orange trimmings.
We were ready, we were on target, we were like the under fives rugby team in their first game back after the break. Before game oranges and mouth guards in and off we went somersaulting our way around the set. Jamie prowling the stage like a panda on heat, Richo bashing his unused drums, sucker punching the snare, sideswiping the toms, and pile driving the cymbals like that boxer guy who eats ears, as for me I was stage diving into no-one, pushing the unexisting security guards out of the way and peeing on the empty dance floor. We were a hit, we were back in the ring. Finishing up with a biggy the capacity crowd of ATLEAST twenty people stood with tears in their eyes and sweat pouring from their fore heads, the applause lasted for a good ten seconds. Where we stayed that night I cant put my finger on but no doubt it would have been in a plush studio apartment with spa and sauna! Next stop good old Coffs Harbour!
Day Two - The worst show in the history of man
The bright sunny morning brought on the realisation that
last nights gig was empty and loose. That also we had failed
in our attempt to win over any of the 'packed out' crowd
due to the fact that they were all our friends from up north
any way. There were no tears, no sweat, and I may or may
not have urinated on the dance floor. Any how off we went
the Coffs holding our heads high in mock triumph of the
Being the dapper young men we are we were let in
by the four hundred year old door man who was now dribbling
instead of greeting. At once we were all struck by this
awful voice of what seemed to be an old person, male or
female we weren't sure, coming out of the general p.a. system
that went all over the building. We all looked around stunned
for a moment, it was like no one even knew it was happening
and let me tell you this was a loud voice.
Any how to the The Plantation Htl. for a night of rock. Arriving there after driving most of the day away we were greeted by a sight never seen before in the Bluebottle camp. A huge, and I mean HUGE painted sign was hanging out side the hotel covering most of the front of the building. Just try and picture it: a massive TONIGHT in hot pink and underneath in a spew green colour read: BLUEBOTTLE KISS + GOIN' ORF + STEVES VIDEO SPOTTING. All this was written on a big black piece of material, hanging there for all to see, a flag of rock'n'roll, a flying monument to the years of 'slogging it out'. We all smiled to each other and cracked out the bubbly, tonight was gonna be BIG.
Now, I can only assume that 'Steve's video spotting' was a man named Steve (obviously) who lives locally and owns his own video camera. What Steve does after he 'spots' you with his trusty camera is unknown to me or to properly anyone else in Coffs for that matter!
I think Steveo just runs around all night videoing 'hot chicks' to take home and 'dream'. Any way Stevie never made an appearance that night. I'd say he hops in his panel van every Thursday to see if 'The Plantation' is pumping. If Steveo sees the chicks out comes the camera and hey presto suddenly your a star in Coffs Harbour. Good onya Steve! The support band I cant even lie about 'cause I really cant remember them at all. I think they were called 'Goin Orf' or something to that effect: Three guys with surfy hair dues stapin' on their axes and playn' full on throttle music dude! By this time in the evening I was getting kind of worried about the old attendance rate as you do. So I'm wondering around out side and there's no one in sight and I mean no one. The hotel was on the main road in Coffs and still not a soul, not even a car drove by. Now I'm thinking this night could be very depressing indeed. So it comes around to the 'Bluebottle time' and I'm sitting in an empty pub and this is a pretty big place. I can remember it like it was yesterday, there was the booker guy: Trevor or something like that, and there was three bar staff: Tommo, Sarah, and Cain and there was a drunk couple who didn't care where they were as long as the beer was on tap. I didn't catch their names. All in all six people gracing us in our first show in Coffs. There wasn't even enough beer on the band rider to get plastered so as to pretend the place was pumping. We still played though a 45 minute set if I remember correctly.
Forty five minutes of hell. Jamie started a song in the
wrong key a couple of times and asked the lovely couple
if they minded that he start the song again.
Day three - Bris-Vegas
Sleeping at the Plantation Hotel, we waited till morning to pack the van. Everyone was silent the whole trip up to Bris-Vegas that morning, there was no music and we drove at the speed limit, even Richos' great primary school sense of humour wasn't working properly, I would try to break the ice by asking him our old favourite: What's the seventh planet from the sun? joke, but nothing not even a giggle. Past the Big Pineapple, the Big Prawn, the Big Banana, the Big Guitar, then past the Big Grey Concrete Cemetery (the Gold Coast). On to Bris-Vegas we went past all the useless Big things of Australia. Arriving at our hotel we were all just beginning to put last night in the backs of our minds when we find out that our room which was booked weeks in advance had been cancelled without us even knowing! I didn't even know they could cancel hotel bookings without you knowing. So anyway the big fat man at the hotel tells us there's still people in our room from last night and he doesn't want to ask them to leave, amazed at the ridiculousness of this human being we left vowing never to return.
So of we went in the van to many a different hotel, motel, even to a seedy place in the Valley where I'm sure if we wanted to pay for not just a room, but a room and a girl, they'd be happy to let us stay.... But everywhere we went had a huge neon sign saying: No Vacancies or GO AWAY. Then the rain started, so out of desperation we went to a hostel in New Farm, this place was the pits. A single dirty room with two bunk beds and a scary wooden piece of furniture used for what? I do not know. So in we go to our nice new home in Bris-Vegas and begin the ceremony of getting ready for the big show. Make up, Hair spray, studded leather wrist bands and of course Jamie's Black P.V.C pants you always see him in. Off we go in to the night, the rain stopped, the crowded streets of The Valley making a nice change to the deserted roads of Coffs Harbour, but let us never talk of that night again, either. We played at The Chelsea, a cool place in The Valley with an up stairs balcony. We were in the process of loading in when we heard this almighty sound out side, consisting of what sounded like a helicopter and a huge crowd all screaming at the top of the lungs.
Rushing to see what all the commotion was all about
we found it WAS a helicopter landing in the small car park
of the hotel. The car park was packed mostly with girls
all screaming like those old Beatles videos you see. Suddenly
the side door opened up and smoke poured out of the inside.
It was of course the Crow boys making their grand entrance
into Bris-Vegas. First Fenton came out, and with nothing
more than a wave the gapping crowd went crazy. A massive
push towards the helicopter almost proved fatal for some
of the young drooling girls up the front, but luckily security
keep all things under control. Following Fenton was of course
Boris his body guard, then came Richard and Michael to loud
applause and much hum-drum, then the crowd stood dry mouthed
and teary eyed all waiting in anticipation, all preparing
them selves for the inevitable, and then it happened. Dr.
Jim Woff stepped on to the first step of the helicopter
walk way. Security tensed up knowing all to well the commotion
this one caused in L.A just last weekend.
The Crow boys strutted around back stage for a while
staring at us thinking that maybe we were lucky fans who
somehow escaped the lines of police and security and made
it in. But Jen their manager told them that we were the
support band so things eased up a little..... So the night
wore on and the first band played and finished, I poked
my head out waiting to see no one again at the gig but it
was actually pretty full when we were setting up so we were
all high in spirits and the alcohol was flowing in abundance.
We started with rock and then slid over to a slowly then into an epic then of course back to rock, it was like a rollercoaster of sound. After the past two nights this was a great show, with good ol' rock jumps, tremolo bar, and sweat, the heat up there was crazy. Big over the top rock endings, the kind I'm sure Toto used to do, with Jamie bending a note out of recognition, Richo roll'n around his kit and me running up and down the stage ready for the big finish to the song, then as everyone holds their breath I head for the stars, shooting upward, exploding in to the stratosphere and upon my landing the note stops and the crowd, if their not laughing at the silly ending, go crazy and spring forth with outrages yahooing with much clapping. We played the hits, and we played our long self indulgent songs as well. Then it was over we finished up with an epic, took it to another world and left it there. So off we went, packed our things up and waited for Crow to start.
They played excellently, every song was awesome, a soundscape. We're all watching intently and slowly as the show draws on to a conclusion we're all..... lets say were all a bit sozzled. Out the back room Jamie try's to rip my shirt off in an act of drunkard craziness and is apprehended by Fenton, so then its a Fenton Vs' Huchings wrestling match whilst Richo talks/slurs drums to Crows drummer, and I run around the room talking to anyone, loudly about the past two shows and how I like to lace my shoes up, you know, the really important stuff you talk about when you've had six too many. But as all glorious things must come to an end the Crow boys waved good bye and clamper back in their chopper and set off in to the night. That left Jamie, Richo, Myself, and of course Little John together again and into the Bris-Vegas night we went all screaming, burning up the night, calling out to The Valley to show us where to head. We were brought to a cool cat place called Rick's Cafe but were disappointed, its just a silly bar full of rock stars talking to their ego's. So off we fly again up the road and lo and behold Richo spots it SUPER DELUXE!!!!!
We sprinted up to the door and we're laughed at by the
So a very strange night to finish off a very ugly tour of empty rooms and exploding endings. The next morning we were all ill and not looking forward to the thirteen hour drive home. Jamie had destroyed our hostel room and we had to sneak out. He had acquired the little nick name 'CHUNKS' too and I don't mean chunks of love!
This was one of the last tours we did due to Chunks getting sick for months. So we all went back to Sydney in our stretched limo Tarago van. Our view of 'The rock'n'roll dream' a little jaded, but all-in-all still in tact. It takes allot to throw us off course. So Bluebottle headed north and was shunned. We were clipped over the ear and asked not to return. But ofcourse we'll be back, bigger and badder than ever like Jackson in his '87 Bad tour. So watch out Las-brissy 'cause when you least expect it the Bluies will come driven up your long hot cemented drive way, past your above ground pool, near the re-painted garden gnome village, along that silly road that has all those stupid theme parks on it, and in to the grand central metropolitan city. We wont care about your heat or those bad stubby shorts that are frequently seen in the mall. Or your funny football team that always wins, no not us, not the blueies. We'll press on heads high. Sure there are acouple of things that are never to be spoken of in the tour everyone just read, but you get that. We're in the process as I write this in writing a wacky JJJ song about dogs, drugs, and flatulence. It'll be a hit then you'll all come arun'n. So stay tuned for the next instalment in the NEVER ENDING mid-day drama that is Bluebottle on tour.....