I’m writing this with my battered laptop on my lap (and the ever present cup of strong, shitty, HOT instant coffee) in yet another front room belonging to someone else.
I sat down the other day while I waited in the drizzle for the train from somewhere weird in Sussex to London, and started to work out how many trains/busses/cycle rides I’ve taken in the last year since I set out busking up the East Coast in the states…
It turned out to be a bit to hard to remember. Looking back my memory is kind of a bit too fucked, but my diary and the persistent ache in my back and patches on my gig bag tell me that the longest I’ve spent in one place since this time last year is a whopping 7 nights . . and that was technically while on holiday, helping out a friend at a studio in Bulgaria (Furnace – will be recording there soon – check it).
But I’m not complaining. Couldn’t. I fucking love this! Megabus stubs and empty bottles; scribbled set-lists; snatches of new songs on answerphones and coffee, coffee, coffee. Would be nice to get a week or two to sit around and relax, maybe write some of this up, though. For instance…
It’s been a hectic ole year. From busking on the L train in NYC to recording the Oxfam 12″ in London, Bike Touring across the UK to hitching a ride in Georgia – and some wonderful amazing shows and audiences! Big thanks to everyone at Sotones, Hamptons / Long Live Rock & Roll, Ejector Seat, Believe Digital, CSV and Oxfam for all their help..
Also, really special buttlicky love to everyone who helped out or promoted us on the Bike Tour. You were all amazing and couldn’t have done it. Especially the BBC and Campaign Against Arms Trade – we were meant to be helping them, but they were so organised it was a massive kick up the arse for us!
Oxfam 12″ – ‘What’s Wrong With Broken Glass’
Oh yeah – about the Oxfam EP. Thanks again to everyone who helped. Got some great reviews, have been selling well and generally ace. Please have a listen and buy it if you like – it all supports Oxfam and god knows however hard the credit crunch is stiffing us in the UK, the rest of the world is even more shafted.
You can buy MP3s online here, or get the 12″ vinyl! We’ll send you MP3s if you want those too with every vinyl purchase, just ask. The vinyl looks and sounds fucking lush (they’re individually numbered, you know), and you can get it in southampton and reading Oxfam Music stores, or from Rough Trade East (they’ve nearly sold out though). You can also mail-order through Rough Trade.
~ ~ ~
So what next? most of the 100+ performances this year have been me, solo, with my smashed acoustic. It’s been nice doing things that way – you get a lot more freedom when you’ve only got yourself to rely on – but it definitely limits what you can do and where you can play. It does. And the lows are as dark as the highs are bright.
Over the summer we experimented with some full-band arrangements; a whole range of sounds, some folky, some electronic, some Feist-y, some straight-up rock stuff. What I found was that I like them all, and that there’s plenty of room in the songs I’m writing at the moment for all of this stuff.
So I think we’ll probably just keep doing that for a bit. Maybe a single or two early next year, see how we go? You never can tell. I’ve been listening to a lot of Feist, St. Vincent, PJH and Cat Power (all girls strangely; I think they make much smarter music) this year. It would be nice to weave some of their, like, eclecticism and subtlety into stuff I’ve listened to for ages like YYY, Tom Waits, At The Drive In, Pavement and of course THE CLASH who will never ever stop being my favourite band ever.
Live shows for the next few months are gonna be a bit of a pick and mix then, as I’ll be trying out a few different arrangements of stuff and try and blag various people into playing with me.
I like the idea of having a power trio at the centre (which tonight means Jimmy Shivers, me and Dave Wade-Brown) with maybe a couple of multi-instrumentalist types most of the time, and pulling in friends like The Moulettes, Pete Lyons or Moneytree for big gigs and special stuff. Stay tuned, we’ll see…
All the best, thank-you so very very much for all your kind support (& keep teling your friends!). Hope to see you at a show sometime and crash on your floor,
Joe x x
ps: thanks again to the East Street Band, at various times:
.. and admin/press/artwork stuff from:
Sally Campbell (CAAT)
Rob Milner (Oxfam)
Jim, you get two credits, see? Happy?! x