Sfarzo Strings Endorsed Artist

Back in March I headed down to the North East Guitar Show in Houghton Le Spring with the little bro’ Stevie to dream and drool over all the guitar and techy stuff that was on offer. Its a canny little day of just checking out all the new equipment that is coming out and of course to see some great second hand, vintage guitars on offer and usually some great guitar players performing live too.

We zoomed down in the car in the sunshine and arrived late morning and had a wander around the show. I also had a few bits ‘n’ pieces for sale on the FretMarks music stall which I wanted to get rid of and kept tripping over around my music filled home which Mark kindly offered to try and sell for me.

mark guitar show

FretMarks Music from Bedlington and the new Tanglewood Models

We had a good look around and dropped in to Marks stall to see how the day was going. The next stall to Marks had a smily chap selling lots of strings and was the Sfarzo UK distributor and after a bit of time chatting with him about gigs, live music and the strings he was promoting and selling, then we got to discussing about artist endorsments. Lee was a jolly chap, full of smiles and was very enthusiastic about the Sfarzo & Nicola brand strings and offered me a couple of different packets to take away and try for free from the Sfarzo family brand!

sfarzo lee and shaggy

Lee from Cheshire Guitars the UK distributor for Sfarzo Strings

After watching a little of the live music and drinking polystyrene cupped coffee we headed back North. Lee had posted a photo of me with the strings over on the Sfarzo Twitter page and a couple of days later I tried out some of the strings on my Tanglewood TSM1 Master Design. The D’addario strings on there were ready for a change after 4 gigs and the new Sfarzo strings gave it a new lease of life ready for the gigs ahead and lots of testing, playing and having fun!

shaggy sfarzo

After speaking back and forward with Lee he kindly agreed to add me as an Endorsed artist and was looking forward to hearing my thoughts on the strings. I got some photographs over to him with the TSM1 and they will be going live on the UK and US Sfarzo websites soon in the artist sections. I also have a nice delivery coming in from the US with lots of strings to keep me going through the many We Steal Flyers and Growing Robots gigs ahead. Playing around 200 live gigs per year means I go through quite an amount of strings as you can imagine.

So far the strings have been fantastic and they have been lasting and sounding a lot better for a lot longer than my D’addario strings I was using before. They have a nice warmth about them and still keep that brightness I need when playing for more gigs before having to change them! Which is a huge…hugeee…. bonus to me!

So.. yeah! Im a happy chappy! I am now officially an Endorsed Artist with Sfarzo Strings and of course Tanglewood Guitar Company and so far it seems like a great family of people across the globe to be in contact with and make plans with. If your a musician and would like to give them a try yourself why not pop into my local music store FretMarks Music in Bedlington who will be stocking them from this week also. You can usually find me in there tinkering around on guitars in the corner a few times a week too so say hello if ya see me.

Enjoy your week and be great!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

Advertisements

Applecarts & Tanglewoods

BOOOOOO!!!!! Its been a little while since I got to the blog so I have quite a few updates on what’s been happening to catch up on but I’ll try and keep it short and sweet!

First of all, I am sure most of you know by now that the new ‘We Steal Flyers‘ album ‘Applecart’ finally arrived and has been released to the world. You can now purchase it online and at most of the good online retailers like iTunes, Amazon & Cdbaby. The physical copies are also now available at ‘We Steal Flyers’ gigs and for home delivery from the ‘We Steal Flyers’ Shop.

Its been available now for just over a month and the support has been completely overwhelming! Not only did we have lots of orders online through our shop but they have been flying out at our gigs and the feedback from everyone has been so great! Lots of happy people out there with new songs from the us to listen to! A massive thanks to all of you for your continued support and patience! Now lets crack on and get the next album sorted!!

wsf banner page album
The next exciting news is after doing a few live videos in Dennis Todd Music shop in Bedlington for guitar manufacturers Tanglewood, I am now an official Tanglewood artist/endorsee. We kept in touch after the videos were shot and released and it all came together. They are a brilliant UK based company who make some stunning guitars and I am now the owner of a beautiful all mahogany TW47E which was presented to me in my local Dennis Todd Music Shop by Mark Whiteman. I’m proud as punch!

shagpile banner tanglewood

The new addition! Tanglewood TW47E

I was also performing a wedding gig in Ashington last week with Growing Robots with the new guitar for its second outing and the great Darren who is our bass player managed to grab some shots as I was setting up for the show. These were used on the Tanglewood website! You can check out some of Darrens amazing landscape photography of Northumberland and further afield at his homepage ‘Darren Turner Photography’

It’s been a busy old time here in the Shagnut Studio too with a few different projects for artists but I am also well into working on my new solo album too. Its already featuring a few great people you might know of through my pages and the songs all feel exciting and fresh to me. The album is heading towards more melodic and bluesy finger-style guitar and playing around with different tunings to keep it all exciting and I’m absolutely loving the challenges and the learning curves that have come along with it all. I still have lots of more good news in the pipeline but I will have to leave this for the next update!

Life has been good, creative, full of fun, love, laughter and busy times!! What else do I need??

Now back to work I go… hahaha! After a cuppa and some Marmite on toast of course!

Jason … #amazingadventuresalways

www.facebook.com/shagpilemusic

..last show & goodbyes!

Day 11 – Last gig of the Tour, Shamrocks

The last gig of the We Steal Flyers winter tour was back at Shamrocks Irish Bar in Lucerne. A five minute walk around the corner from the great Hotel Schweizerhof we were staying in. Derek and I didn’t really make it up in time and missed out on an amazing feast for breakfast at the Hotel Schweizerhof. I woke up at 10am ish and Derek messaged me not long after. Unfortunately the breakfast finished at 10am so without a time machine and a flux capacitor we weren’t going to make it. Sad times!

We had to meet Mark at 1pm at Shamrocks to load in and get set-up as there was a few rugby games on through out the day and the bar was going to be jam packed. We landed and got the gear and and marked our territory in the corner of the pub with speakers, mic stands and chairs, hoping that no one would cross the sacred musicians line.

DSC01369

Shamrocks Irish Bar , Lucerne

As I said, sadly we missed out on the breakfast, so we ordered some food to keep us alive at the Irish bar. Derek had a mahoosive plate full of chilli, chips and chicken nuggets on the side and I went for a full Irish breakfast. We then headed back to the rooms to jump in our muckle massive baths again (not together) and then relax until gig time. I pretty much played guitar all afternoon, working on a new original song and playing around with a few covers too. I also managed to give my new little blogging camera a try again and recorded some footage while I was playing around with Tom Petty s ‘Free Fallin’. I used to play this alongside Mike Slaughter at the Open Mic and add some harmony’s with him and lately my little daughter Macey has been singing it a lot with me too. So here is a little video of me playing around with it unplugged in the Keb’ Mo’ room of the Hotel Schweizerhof.

We left for the gig around 9:00pm and had a little wander along the front of the lake outside the hotel and took some photos. The swans were floating around in the darkness with the Railway Station all lit up behind them in the distance on the other side of the lake. I could of stayed out there a lot longer but we had to get to Shamrocks for the last gig of the tour.

DSC01381

The Railway Station and KKL Music venue, Lucerne Lake

When we turned up the place was already full and we managed to squeeze over into our corner near the bar. Shamrocks is a pretty small bar and when its full it can be quite wild. Most of our friends and fans through-out the tour had turned back out for our last show and we had a brilliant night. A good way to end the tour with lots of people enjoying the music together and me enjoying my lovely Guinness without even having to move to order one. Hahahah

DSC01399

The view from our musical corner before we started the gig!

We finished up at 12:50am with our last song and I headed out for a few more sneaky beers in Lucerne before heading home to my hotel room. I had my alarm set and I wasn’t missing breakfast this time around.

Day 12 – Time to head for home!

We madeeeeeeeeeeee it!! Derek and I both got up and managed to get down stairs in time for breakfast and it was definitely worth waiting for. The Hotel Schweizerhof pretty much had everything you could think of , laid out for breakfast. It was all amazing too! We both had a bellyful of all sorts and then headed back to our rooms to pack up and get ready to meet Mark and Stefi downstairs to say our Goodbyes. We had a quick coffee and before we knew it, we were heading to the airport in Stefis car. She was driving this time after my little speeding incident although I think she was a little rough from the night before and I probably would have been a safer bet. Hahha.

We got stuck in traffic from an accident on the motorway ahead of us on the way and weren’t sure we were going to make our flight for a little while but Stefi managed to get us there safely and in good time to check in our bags. We said our little goodbyes again to Switzerland and Stefi and took a quick photo before we headed back to the UK. The mission was well and truly accomplished again. We nailed another tour and made a whole new We Steal Flyers story to leave behind with the help of great people in a great country. Thank you for reading Amazing Adventures Always, taking part in our winter tour through Switzerland and of course for supporting us in what we love to do!

DSC01421

Our final photo with Stefi in the airport before we set off for the UK

Jason, Amazing Adventures Always

www.westealflyers.co.uk

…The Blaydon races

Day 10 – Schweizerhoff, Lucerne

It was time to get out of my little cosy Pickwicks , Lucerne hotel room and head off to another hotel which was about 10mins walk. I headed to the Hotel Schweizerhoff which is right on the main drag of Lucerne. Its a 5 star beautiful hotel and the Schweizerhof is backed by five generations of family tradition and has been standing in the centre of Lucerne for over 170 years. Each of their amazing new award-winning rooms tells a story featuring some of the musical guests which have performed or stayed there and We Steal Flyers were performing and staying for the last two nights of the tour here.

DSC01391

Hotel Schweizerhoff in Lucerne

Its always exciting when we arrive at the hotel and I’m always excited to see what my room theme is too. This time I arrived in the Keb’ Mo’ room. On the glass writing desk there is a book which has all the descriptions of each artist and then there is a small glass case lit up with some items the artist left behind! Keb’ Mo’s cool spirally hat, some photos of himself and a signed piece of paper saying he enjoyed his stay. He also signed the bathroom wall. Hahahha….

The first thing I did when I got to my room was throw my stuff in, got out my laptop and put on some of Keb’ Mo’ on spotify while I slipped into the huge bath tub to relax with some lurrverly blues guitar and vocals. The muckle bath-tub is definitely one of my favourite ‘looking forward to moments’ of the Switzerland tours and I was in there for a good couple of hours pretending to be a dolphin and drinking coffee.

DSC01301

The Keb’ Mo’ Room

The gig tonight was in the hotel bar area. We have played here many times before on previous tours and its always nice to be looked after before, during and after the show. The room has a big kind of ballroom feel too it with a big grand piano standing in the corner and we have lots of room to move about and shake our little legs about.

We headed down for a brilliant feast in the restaurant with Mark before gig time and I still have no idea what I was eating. We had some kind of soup for starter, then some kind of meat that seemed to be wrapped in omelette and weird floury, potato little things with herbs and some amazing apple pie for pudding. We pretty much had the place to ourselves and the date went well! Aha.

Mark was doing his Whisky tasting alongside the show and we were doing three sets tonight. There was lots of our buddy’s and fans turned up again for the gig and we had a bunch of English people sitting right in front of us who at one point was shouting out “singggg the Blaydon Races” and before we knew it Mr. Bill Wier was up and took over the sing along for us while we fumbled our way through it. Bill was right up for it and the lads out front loved the little on the spot rendition.

DSC01352

Bill joining us for his rendition of The Blaydon Races

The rest of the gig was finished off and I sneaked another quick whisky in! As you doooo! A few of us headed out for a couple of cheeky beers after the gig and ended up in down-town. A great little rock venue hidden around the cobbled streets of the old town. After that it was back to my lovely 5 star bed to sleep like a log and get up for an amazing full on breakfast from the restaurant in the morning and one more gig to go.

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

www.westealflyers.co.uk

…a snowy swan lake!

Day 9 – Lucerne to Immensee and back

I woke up to day nine of the tour and opened my little red hotel room curtains to the view of Lucerne lake being scattered in heavy snow. The lake looks stunning no matter what time or what is happening outside with the weather and this tour it has went from a dark gloomy lake to sparkling in the sunshine, heavy rain bouncing off the water and now snow. It was perfect. The swans outside were acting like they had never seen snow before and they we’re doing crazy fast circles round and round as the snow landed on them by the bridge. It was like watching children playing and they looked like they were having lots of fun together in their tight little groups of paddling buddys.

We were travelling to Immensee in Zug for tonight’s gig at the Sprue & Weisen Bar. Mark was driving us and Steffi had been messaging already saying she was cooking chilli for us at the bar and had been a little generous with a bottle of red wine. Not to the chilli but to herself as she cooked us up our meal. We have played at this venue on quite a few other tours and this place had connections with Steffi’s family. Its a great, moody, low lit bar and its also a smoking bar. I’ve been off the cigarettes for 15 months now but when I see people smoking , I still miss it! I doubt that will ever go away though when I spend such a lot of my time in bars, clubs and venues.

DSC01250

There is always time for a quick selfie before the gig!

We loaded in and set up the PA system and had a quick sound check, then it was time for our food. Steffi sat us down in the bar and came out with her amazing feast for us all. A great big pan of yummy chilli and fresh roasted potatoes to fill us up. She did an amazing job on the food and we pretty much demolished all of it. Lots of her friends and family had turned up to the bar and Christoph the owner of the place. We got caught up with everyone and met some newbies and before we knew it, it was time to get started even though I think we all felt like we needed a lie down after all the great food.

The first set flew by and was nice and chilled , in the break Steffi asked if she could get up and play a song before we started again and if I would join her. Christoph joined us too and Steffi got through her first time on a microphone playing and singing a song to an audience. We had a great laugh and Steffi could hardly get up off the chair at the end of her song. I’m not sure if that was the nerves or the red wine from the cooking or a mix of both. Hahaha.

DSC01261

Steffi, Christoph singing Wagon Wheel @ Spreu & Weisen

We finished off the second set and after the gig we said our goodbyes and headed back to Lucerne. Mark and I headed to Shamrocks for a couple of cheeky Guinness where we met a lovely Swiss guy who was so full of beans. He had a big guitar badge on his jacket and we got talking about a few things at the bar while his wife and friends sat behind us chatting away.

He asked us if we would head to Wonderbar with them for a drink. Mark had to head back but I’m not one to pass up on a beer and a bit banter so I headed to Tschuppis Wonderbar with three complete strangers to the other side of town. The music is always great in Wonderbar and there was a rock DJ on in the corner playing all sorts of great stuff. We had a few beers, giggles and danced around the bar with beer mats stuck everywhere. When it was time to head back we said our goodbyes and I headed back to the hotel ready for some shut eye! On day 10 we have to move hotels to the wonderful Schweizerhof for our last two days. Two more gigs to go!

DSC01290

My new buddy & partner in crime for the night!

Jason , Amazing Adventures Always

www.facebook.com/westealflyers

..cliff hanging Schumacker

Day 5 – Lucerne to Grindelwald in 50 seconds, Switzerland

It was time to head up to one of our regular Switzerland gigs. Espresso Bar up in the Grindelwald, a village in Switzerland’s Bernese Alps, popular for its Jungfrau region skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Climbers also use it as a home base for ascents up the iconic and stunning Eiger mountain. We have stayed up at Grindelwald in the Switzerland in winter and summer in past tours and both times of the year the views and surroundings are an amazing thing to behold.

DSC01107

Our stop off on the way up the mountain pass

This time we had Formula 1 driver and Mr. Rock n Roll himself Patrick Archer from San Francisco taking us up in the tour bus as Mark was at home watching ‘Transylvania 2’ with the family. Somehow the Mercedes Van turned into some kind of magical rocket ship when Patrick is in the driver seat. Travelling over the mountain passes can be scary enough but when your zooming around corners and have someone else in control its a little bit of an uneasy feeling to say the least. We managed to stop off for a few quick photos from a look out point on the way up one of the passes and then before we knew it, we were off in warp speed mode again with Patrick’s ‘Beatles – Number ones’ CD playing away in the background of the race.

It doesn’t matter how many times I have been up to Grindelwald, it’s like my noodle has always forgotten how astounding it is as you drive up and you see the views of the Eiger and mountains surrounding this beautiful little place in Switzerland.

DSC01141

Grindelwald main street with a view of the Eiger

We turned up to Espresso Bar and loaded in what we needed for the gig. We all grabbed a coffee then Patrick Schumacher dissapeared off into the distance and was coming back to pick us up the next day. We quickly set up our gear and sound checked nice and early. The PA system is an in-house system again and you just link into they’re system with your mixer then we pretty much cant move a millimetre with no space to move once we start playing which restricts your playing and being able to interact easily. It’s not so bad when you know what to expect though as we have played here lots of times before. The Espresso Bar gig was originally going to be a week later but there was a mix up of dates somewhere and we were flying back on that original date so they managed to swap our dates around. This also meant that the hotel rooms weren’t available and we ended up in two single staff rooms. I thought mine was tiny but when I saw Derek sitting on his bed behind the door it reminded me of Bilbo Baggins sitting in a hobbit hole. Hahahahha.

DSC01133

Dereks Hobbit Hole in Grindelwald

Tonight was three full sets, starting at 10pm and as usual there was plenty of friends and fans from past gigs that turned up to see us play, even with the late date change. It’s always a bit of a loud and wild crowd in Espresso and they’re always up for a good sing-along when we start to get to that point of the sets. Jens was working behind the bar tonight and kept the Apenseller coming through out the gig to keep me alive and kicking.

‘No Secret’ from our first We Steal Flyers album is one the crowds favourite songs here in Grindelwald and everyone sings along with us. The highlight of the show had to be the last song. Jens asked us to play “One of Us” by Joan Osbourne to finish off and I asked him to come and sing it with Derek. This meant I pretty much had to stand in the middle of the bar, playing guitar, so that Jens could replace my spot on the microphone. It went from Derek singing and then both of them together, then Jens seemed to be singing some in German or Swiss-German and then to Derek singing and Jens beat-boxing! Hahahhahaha. It was hilarious and the whole bar was singing along with them.

We got packed up and Jens asked us if we could sing an unplugged versions of Hallelujah while there was just a few people in the bar. Derek flipped up the lyrics on his phone and I fumbled through some chords and the next thing was Jens is crying at the bar. Its his favourite song of all and he ended up a little emotional by it all, so … he had another drink and then got some pizzas out for us all on the bar to nom-nom up before we headed off to bed in our tinchy Hobbit holes.

We then headed back to Lucerne in the morning and have two days off to catch up and rejuvenate our body’s and voices ready for the next four gigs. I will continue with the diary after our time off and hopefully you are all still enjoying the stories of our tour. See you after the break.

Jason. Amazing Adventures Always

Here is the next half of the tour dates.

24th Shamrock Pub Luzern,
25th Spreu & Weizen Immensee

26th Schweizerhof Luzern
27th Shamrock Pub Luzern

28th BACK TO UK!

….chandelier swingers!

Day 4 – Pickwicks Bar – Baden, Switzerland

I woke up on day four of the tour to my usual routine of this trip. I checked my phone for anything of importance,  messages or new ladsbible videos, made a cup of coffee and opened up the curtains and shutters of room 101 to the view of Lucerne lake. It looked very different this morning however. There was millions of little circles forming all over the surface from the heavy rain pour that was happening. The promenade outside where people are usually sitting drinking coffee and beers was completely empty and there was no one around, just the swans and ducks bobbing up and down on the lake with the odd character all wrapped up, wandering across the wooden bridge.

There was no point in heading out anywhere in the crazy weather outside, but it was still a nice view to watch rom inside. Even as a kid I’ve always enjoyed being indoors when the weather is bad and you can see outdoors or hear the wind howling away. I used to love sleeping over at my grandmas when she lived onto the back of Dr. Pit Park in Bedlington. The back bedroom window looked over the park and you could see it all light up when we had lightning storms, then sitting looking out the window and counting between the thunder and lightning so we could try and work out how close it was to us.

DSC00895

Mark having a laugh with the Sat-Nav

I got caught up on the tour diary and before I knew it, it was time to meet Mark at 3.30pm to head to Baden for tonight’s show. Derek and I headed off with backpacks once again to the meet up point in the rain where we found Steffi. The four of us were heading to Pickwicks in Baden tonight. It was dark when we arrived there and Steffi saved the day being Navigator as Marks Sat-Nav was having none of it. I’m sure sometimes they just have bad days and think “that’s it!! I’m gonna take you everywhere but where you want to be today” but luckily we had Super Steffi-Nav and she got us into Baden and found our way to the back of Pickwicks ready to load in for the gig.

After we got set up and said our hello to some of our buddy’s we aint seen since October it was time for a little drink and some food! I had myself an awesome ‘Pickwicks Special bacon Salad’ but no… I aint trying to get rid of the churb! I can’t really eat much before a gig and sometimes I feel like not eating anything at all as it really can effect how I sing,  play and perform when I’m full to the beans! Hahah. The salad was awesome though and it was covered in yummy balsamic vinegar!

DSC00955

Unrotunately these were Steffis and Marks Platefulls!

Tonight’s gig was two , one hour sets and Derek was still struggling with his ear since the flight. He battled on though through the sets like a champ as always. We really do go through lots of illness through out our gigs and shows. Pretty much everything can cause some kind of troubles when you are singing 3 or 4 times a week and a simple cold or sore throat can really make a gig a lot more hard work for us. That said, it has to be pretty bad for us to not play a show and of course we still enjoy it. It is just one of the challenges of a being a full time musician. The first set flew over and we always have a great crowd of nice people when we land at Pickwicks, Baden twice per year. Just before the end of the set we got a lovely Australian guy Ryan up to help us sing out the last song of the first set and got everyone singing along to finish up for our break.

DSC00995

Before we went back on Ryan asked if he could play a song with me before the start of the next set. He had a great big warm voice on him, and was looking to head down a musical solo career. We jumped into Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons which I’d never played before but I love the challenge of having to jump in, watch and listen to everything and add something to songs I’ve never performed live before. He went down brilliantly with everyone in the bar and I hope he really does give his music a go, it’s nice to see nice people do well with something they love.

Derek and I jumped straight in and raced through an hour long second set with a couple of encores for all the happy music loving folk that were wanting to hear more. The gig went down great and Steffi even ended up swinging off the chandeliers after a few beers because she loved it that much!

DSC01042

Super Steffi-Nav hanging around after the gig!

After the gig I had another sneaky whisky and Mark did an awesome job of making the equipment dissapear into the van. We hit the road back to Lucerne with an awesome Burger King treat on the way back to make up for my salad earlier. We sat around a table talking about comics, marvel, DC comics and aqua-man for a good half an hour while Steffi just sat there drunk and yawning, confused at three grown men talking about cartoons, comics and movies.

We headed back to the hotel across our little wooden bridge once again and it was time to hit the snoozy pit for a kip. Tomorrow’s gig is up in Grindelwald, home of the 13,020 ft Eiger Mountain.

Thanks for reading! Jason

Amazing Adventures Always

Follow more of the tour at www.facebook.com/westealflyers

…Irish Muckle Elephant Food

Day 3 – Lucerne to St. Gallen and back again!

Today is the real start of the tour! Our first gig for the ‘We Steal Flyers, Winter Tour 2016’ is in Gallus Pub in St. Gallen, Switzerland This is a new venue for us and also a new area of Switzerland for us too. A nice exciting way to start the tour off!

Waking up and grabbing a coffee was the first thing on my mind! Then I had a little work to do online and get my diary up to date or you wouldn’t have any of these to read. We are in and out of Wi-Fi and travelling a lot so the days will be a few days behind mostly but at least you can still keep up with what is happening on the road and in our adventures around Switzerland.

After my work was done, I managed to squeeze a shower in whilst I listened to Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats blarring out my laptop as I got myself ready and packed my little ruck sack with bits n pieces for the show.

Derek and I left the hotel around 3pm with our guitars and matching Karrimor backpacks and headed to the back of ‘Legends Bar’ on the other side of town, which is where I performed live in Switzerland for the first time in a window sill of the bar, when I came over in March 2010. Our good friend Bill used to own the bar back then but unfotunatley not anymore.

We met up with Mark, our frog squashing tour manager and jumped in his Mercedes BritBeat machine ready to head over to St. Gallen. We headed off on the road after an old guy in the biggest black car in the world shook his leather fisted gloves at Derek for trying to get in the side door of the van from the road side. We shot off through the many traffic lights and crossings of Lucerne and found our way to the motorway when Mark pulled out his ACDC album for the road trip! Yeshh!! We made a quick pit stop for some weird crisps, blue fanta and other weird nom noms for the rest of the trip to St. Gallen. The drive took around 1 hour and 45mins and then about 20mins driving around the bar in circles trying to find how to get to it.

DSC00907

We Steal Flyers – from UK – Irish Music?

We nipped inside after Mark came out laughing and told us to go see the size of the place and how much gear we would need.We also ntoiced the outside advertisement on the wall you can see above. The bar was a little bigger than my kitchen at home! An Irish themed, square bar in an old upstairs building on a main street full of great little nicknack’s on the walls and ceiling. There was an in house Pa System that we could link into and we just needed our mixer, mics and micstands. The whole building was on bit of a slant and I nearly fell over twice bending over plugging leads and my pedal in and then losing my balance. It wasn’t a lot, but enough to make everything feel very strange. It almost felt like the place was moving when you looked around.

Once we sound checked we headed across the road to a Thai Restaurant called Big Elephant. We are always fed well over here and looked after. The meal was amazing and I actually felt a little full up to sing. We had a little time to relax and have a Guinness and a few of Marks whiskies in the bar before we started the show though. Mark was doing a whisky tasting in the opposite corner of the bar while we played music. The Whisky & Song works really well together in some of the bars and hotels in Switzerland.It also means I get to try out a few sneaky whiskys while we play. Win Win!!

DSC00921

‘Whisky & Song’ with The Whisky Experience

We had a great fun first gig with one of the staff taking off into his own version of La Bamba in the 3rd set after I simply strummed a C chord between songs. Everyone joined in and had a huge sing along in the smallest pub of ever! It was also great to see people singing along to ‘Apple-cart’ too which is one of our new songs to come on the new album which isn’t even out yet. We performed a live take of Apple-cart when we were in the Shagnut Studio recording the album and you can see it below. We have some great news of the new album coming soon too so keep your ears and eyes peeled.

DSC00938

Gallus Pub in St.Gallen, Switzerland

After we packed our little bits and pieces up we jumped back in the BritBeat Machine and headed back to Lucerne for around 1.30am, headed back to the hotel over our little night time bridge and I got a little caught up with some more work online until my eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. Luckily there was no weird little witches running around in my room and I got myself a good little sleep. The next gig for us two Flyers is in Baden, Switzerland. A great little English style bar with a nice stage area with plenty of room to shake our legs. Speak to you after the show! 😉

www.facebook.com/westealflyers

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

..who you calling a hippie?

Day 2 – Lucerne, Switzerland

After a long day travelling yesterday and landing in Lucerne, I think Derek and I were both ready for a good kip! We are both still not 100 percent after my little hospital visit in the UK and Derek has had a some trouble with his ears since the flight. I woke up around 11am and sorted myself out, unwound the window shutters and opened the window to the view of the lake. We arrived at night so we didn’t really get to see much at all apart from the motorway, the inside of pickwicks bar, Guinness, coffee and our hotel rooms. I was in the infamous ‘room 101’ and Derek was at the the other end of the hotel room in 105. After opening the windows to a cloudy gloomy morning in Lucerne it is still such a great sight and the blast of the cool fresh air was a nice little wake up call for me.

After a quick sort out and a shower I met up with Derek for a walk to the shop for some room supplies. I grabbed some bread, ham (which I later found out was garlic sausage as I didn’t understand the label) some yummy, spready cheese and some flavoured water. Rock ‘n’ roll huh?

DSC00773

Wandering to the shops for supplies along Lucerne Lake

Walking around the shop there was an older lady who couldn’t help staring at Mr. Derek and pulling twisty, funny faces as we wandered about. We turned up at the check out and she slipped in behind Derek as if she just appeared from thin air. As we were putting our items in a ‘free’ (none of this 5p nonsense in the UK) carrier bag she said to Derek “Are you a Scottish hippy?” hahahhahahaa .. Derek gave her a sticker and she said “I cant see that” hahah. I think out of all the things we both have been called whilst we have been on tour, that was by far the funniest! We headed off back to the room via a Canadian guy trying to sell us magazines in German and some swiss people setting the road on fire.

I had a cup of coffee and then got my guitar out and restrung it ready for tomorrows start of the tour.

If there is anyone interested in what strings I use , they are mainly Custom light gauge on my working guitars. I use Martin brand most of the time and sometimes switching to a set of Elixirs now and then when Mr. Mike Slaughter gifts me a pack. He’s good like that!

Anyhow I managed to get it all sorted and ready for the tour ahead and decided to play it in whilst I had the chance. I’ve been working on a new song in Open D tuning and thought I’d have a play around with it and let it progress a little. The verses are starting to get to where I want them and there is a little part which needs lyrics but it was all coming together nicely so I thought I’d grab a little video in the hotel room of part of the song. This way you can have a sneaky little listen at something new and also, I won’t forget what I was doing!

Once I had my fill of music I went for a little wander around Lucerne with my new little dinky travel camera. I managed to get some nice shots of the lake and the bridges around Lucerne just as the light was starting to dissapear. I bought a Sony a5000 as I wanted something better than a phone with a few more manual settings and so far I’ve managed to get some nice photos with it. Here is a little photo of the lake and bridge in Lucerne, right outside my hotel window which I took on my solo stroll.

DSC00804luzern

Lake Lucerne with our Hotel Pickwick on the left, shot on my new Sony camera

After a quick look through the photos and a quick change I headed back out into Lucerne. One of my favourite bars here is Bruch Brothers and was one of the first places I played on an early tour. It has a real great ‘muso’ feel about it with a nice stage and PA system and the owner is a great guy. When there is no live music on the playlist on the sound system is always brings back great memories of songs through out my life from rock,blues and grunge times gone by. Tonight a good friend Patrick Archer from San Francisco was running a Jam night with his band in Bruch Brothers so I was heading down to have a listen and see how he was getting on with his band.

Legend Bill was heading down too and met me for a few little sneaky small beers. Patrick was setting up and when they got going the band was brilliant. There was some great song choices and originals and Patrick was joined by a female sax player, bass player and Mr. Paiste who was part of the  Paiste Cymbals family was behind him on the kit and was a great drummer to watch playing live. I managed to get up and play a few songs with the band and picked two little bluesy songs. The band jumped in with me and it was such a great feeling having a great band around you listening to what’s going on and being able to just jam through anything I did. Such a great little night at Bruch Brothers as usual and after they finished off I wandered back to the hotel in the nipping cold ready for my little cozy bed to warm me up.

patricks band illustration

Patrick Archer Band @ Bruch Brothers, Lucerne

After that, I had a bit of a strange night. I managed to have a little chat online before I headed off to sleep and then wound my window shutters down in complete darkness. I dropped off to sleep and woke up around 3.45am with what sounded like someone screaming in my ear. It was a strange thing as if someone was in the room and screeching at me, and I couldn’t find any light switches! The mind is a strange thing sometimes and often catches me out for some reason or another. I ended up sitting for an hour trying to work out what had just happened and if I was just still suffering some kind of feverish silliness that sent my noodle off on one! Hahah… anyhow I must have slipped back off to sleep with the light on feeling very strange, but woke up in a fine fettle for day 3 of the tour and finally our first gig, but that’s for day three of the diary!

I hope you are enjoying the daily blogging. I’d love to hear any stories or your thoughts on the crazy witch screech… or your own weird happenings in the middle of the night.. or you can of course just take the mickey!! Hahahah!!!

Thanks for reading Amazing Adventures Always!

Day 3 ere we goooooo!! Jason….

…Have guitar, will travel

DSC00751

Have guitar, will travel!

Day 1 of the Swiss Winter Tour 2016

Today the Switzerland ‘We Steal Flyers Winter 2016 Tour has arrived and before I knew it, its the end of the day and I am parked up in my hotel room over looking Lake Lucerne and its just turned midnight. Here is a little run through of how things panned out today!

I woke up around 10am and was feeling a little spaced out and little rough as it was my big brother Andy’s Birthday yesterday. Curly and I popped down with a present and card around 5pm. Andy was in his little workshop out back and came in to make us some cups of coffee before we headed off. Somehow the coffee magically turned into a glass of red wine for Curly and some of Andy’s home made Sloe Gin for me. We had a good bit crack in the Vares Kitchen and I finished off one of his bottles of Sloe Gin and moved onto the next one. After Andy had tried out his desktop drum kit and had some giggles with a head massager from Momma Vare I headed home and took the last of the sloe gin with me.

DSC00735

Happy Birthday to the Big Bro’ in the Vare Kitchen!

Anyhow after a bit catch up with a friend at the house and couch time with the Curly and more of gin I woke up in the morning still feeling a bit potent after Andy’s secret weapon sloe gin. I still had a few things to sort out and Mel was heading to get me to head off to Manchester Airport around 12.30pm.

Mel, Derek and the kids tipped up and I was pretty much sorted thanks to the awesome help of the Curly machine who packed up my case and got pretty much everything ready to go for me, while I stumbled around looking hazily for guitar cables, strings and chargers.

We headed south in the car with me driving, Derek in the passenger seat and Mel and the kids having a party in the back seats. It took just over 3 hours to get down to Manchester airport with the constant roadworks that seem to be on every main road in the UK for the last 4 or 5 years. We had one little wee stop at Wetherby services and had time for a quick Greggs beef & veg pastie then headed straight off again.

We made it to Manchester airport just twenty minutes before the bag drop closed and dashed through the customs to arrive at Gate 9 as it was closing, jumped on the end of the queue and before we new it we were up in the air and heading off to Basel, Switzerland. I got the window seat and deg sat in the middle talking to his new buddy and giving her a We Steal Flyers sticker from his bottomless pocket of sticky circle pictures of me and him sharing a bathroom. Hahaha!

We were planning on jumping on a train to Lucerne but the amazing Swiss Steffi turned up in her little Clio to pick us up and take us to the Hotel Pickwick. As usual I jumped in the drivers seat and headed off on the wrong side of the road. Its a strange thing driving on the wrong side of the road and the roads are pretty strict in Switzerland and before I knew it we were heading along a motorway in a 120kmh stretch and a speed camera lit up the road behind me. I think it may have sneakily changed to a 100kmh and confuddled other side driving Shaggy didn’t see it. Oooops!! either that or it was just some fireworks for the Flyers arriving in Switzerland.

We had a quick stop off on the motorway at a co-op which for some reason had a Sex toy shop in the entrance? So the first place we stopped off on tour in Switzerland was the MEGA SEX STORE! Hahahha… After Steffi checked out all the ‘toys’ and Derek and me grabbed a few goodies to nibble on we hit the road again to Lucerne trying not to set off any more speed cameras.

I’m not sure how many tours exactly we have done in Switzerland but its always a nostalgic feeling driving in as you come over the bridge over Lucerne Lake and you remember some of the times had in this beautiful part of the world.

“Have guitar, will travel” was an album by Bo Diddley and when I first started getting into the acoustic guitar as a young laddie, I remember it popping up in different places and my musical buddy Paul Bainbridge used to be always singing and playing Billy Bragg songs. He would teach me his songs and he gave me a book with his music in with ‘Have guitar, will travel’ on a silhouette drawing of Billy Bragg. Its always stuck with me and I even have a old Tattoo with the words on a scroll on my left arm as I sit here in Lucerne in a hotel writing this Blog with the Lake Lucerne in front of me and my guitar sitting by me in its case.

DSC00756

Blog time at the Hotel Pickwick over looking the Lake Lucerne

We met up with Mark our tour manager here in Switzerland and Mr. Bill Weir and the five of us had a catch up and I sank a few Guinness as we sat in the corner of the Hotel Pickwick bar on the lake of Lucerne. Then it was up to our rooms to get some well needed sleep after I made a little start on the blog.

Before I knew it I’m waking up by an amazing lake in Switzerland and ready for another step into more Amazing Adventures Always. We are here with a great tour ahead of us!!

Here is our tour dates for the adventure ahead!

  • 19th Gallus Pub, St. Gallen, Switzerland
  • 20th Pickwick Pub, Baden, Switzerland
  • 21st Expresso Bar Grindelwald, Switzerland
  • 24th Shamrock Pub, Luzern, Switzerland
  • 25th Spreu & Weizen, Immensee, Switzerland
  • 26th Schweizerhof Hotel, Luzern, Switzerland
  • 27th Shamrock Pub, Luzern, Switzerland

You can keep up to date with the tour with photos and updates along the way on our Facebook page. If you can and it’s your thing please share away anything you can regarding the tour and our dates. It all helps with making our shows awesome!

I’m off to do some adventuring and I hope you have an awesome day ahead of you!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always