Spiderman & T-rex

March 11th – The Crown , Scissett, Yorkshire

I woke up on the 11th of March, early doors to get my clothes and equipment packed for the little Yorkshire tour ahead. We were only away for two We Steal Flyers gigs so I didn’t need much for the trip. Mel (Derek’s wife) was picking me up around 11.30am to drive back up to her house and then we could leave from there. One of the gigs was in Scissett, Yorkshire and the other in Birstall, Yorkshire and are both repeat venues.

Mel grabbed me and my gear from Bedlington after a pit-stop to the yummy ‘Seahorse Chip shop’ and we headed back to her house and Derek and I had our lovely chip buttys before heading off on our drive. The chippy is an awesome way to set you up for the day!

We got the car packed up with the PA system and guitars and then we set off on our sunny drive from Broomhill, down the A1 to Yorkshire, with the ‘Hollywood Vampires’ album keeping us company for most of the journey.

DSC01615

Derek watching TV after his furniture move about!

We turned up to our hotel for the night after two and a half hours drive, The Fairway in Barnsley which we have stayed in many times before on our musical travels around the country. A great little hotel with a nice bar and food downstairs and Derek’s favourite little mini beds in the family rooms. Hahah. We pulled up outside and parked right outside the doors of the reception and there was a huge man mountain of a guy walking in holding his clothes in one hand and on the back of his neck a huge tattoo of some darts with the name Kong above it. Derek loves his darts on Sky and with a quick google we found he was a professional Darts player with a bit of a crazy history thanks to the Wikipedia World telling on him. We tried to catch up with him for a photo opportunity but he was offski to his room and nowhere to be found anywhere.So we headed up to our room and Derek shoved his bed into the corner near the window so I couldn’t tickle his feet while he was sleeping.

After we had a hotel room yucky coffee I headed downstairs to feed my greed while Derek chilled in his room with a peanut butter sandwich. Before we left Mel had been talking about a Fajitas party she was having while we were away and I think I had been secretly fantasizing about them ever since she said the words. So…… ‘Spicy Cajun Chicken Fajitas’ in the bar was my choice and they was lurverly…. and spicy!

DSC01623

Setting up the Pa for the gig!

The Crown in Scissett was twenty minutes drive from the hotel and we have played here many times before. It’s always a regular gig on our tours and always a fun gig with lots of friends and fans turning out for us what ever day of the week it is. I like the gig as the first half of the show everyone is quite quiet and we get to play more chilled and original songs and then when we play the second half of the show after the break they are all up for a good sing song and have some fun with the set. We had a star tambourine player this time who decided to join us on stage for a song and sat between Derek and I banging away looking at the floor. I think he may have been a little intoxicated. We finished up the second set and after seven encores later the land lady was still asking for us to play more but you have to stop somewhere and sometimes the show needs to stop in a certain place to leave the bar when its right. The gig was great fun as always though and we headed back to our hotel room with some lovely cheese and pickle sarnies, courtesy of the bar,  for an early morning snack before sleep time.

March 12th – The Black Bull, Birstall , Yorkshire

I woke up pretty early in the hotel and had a quick spoach around in the online world before rising completely. I needed a proper coffee so I headed downstairs for a quick chat with the Curly one and ordered myself a full English breakfast and coffee, I couldn’t help myself once I walked into the restaurant and smelt the yummy coffee and bacon aromas floating around my nostrils. Derek got packed up and joined me for a coffee a little while after and we sat and chilled in the bar for a couple of hours as we were officially homeless without a hotel room from midday.

DSC01632

After chilling and chatting we headed to Barnsley to see if we could find any second hand shops around the town with goodies in. Its part of our little tour routine now when we are away to go wandering around towns and villages and find some decent second hand CD’s for the car or great books lying around in the charity shops without a home.

We managed to find lots of outdoor market stalls going on in the town centre and stumbled on an awesome comic stall with lots of great books, comics and DVDs. Derek got some great Spiderman comics as a little present for his little daughter Rebecca as she loves her comics and I managed to find an awesome score ‘The Black Crowes – Shake your money maker’ CD for the car journey to the gig. A great little wander around buying other bits and pieces and then we headed back to the car and drove thirty minutes to Birstall to the Black Bull which was the next gig.

DSC01636

The awesome Comic book stall at Barnsley Market

We were there by 4:30pm so it was a long time before our gig at 9:00pm. We got the equipment in and I had a cheeky half of Doombar then we headed upstairs to the old courtroom above the pub where they hold a few different music nights. It still has the old judge boxes in and we thought we would quickly make a little video whilst we had the place to ourselves. Here it is!

We had a little back room area near where we played in the bar and when we came out to start at 9:00pm, all the tables and chairs in front of us were full of familiar faces and the lights were turned out. I loved the first set and the quietness while we performed but then we came out for the second set and plugged in and there was no guitar coming through the PA system and after a few channel changes, some crazy noises and lead changes it wasn’t going to happen. Its a nightmare sometimes when things go wrong and you can’t find a solution or a fault anywhere. After I tried everything I could think of we asked the crowd if they would mind us doing the second set unplugged and told them what was happening. They were all fine with it and we left the vocal mics on pushed back a little, gathering some of the acoustic sound for the PA. It worked out great as the crowd were well behaved and there to see us live. It was a totally different gig to our usual second set but the challenge is always accepted and everyone loved it! We nailed it and had a great time with everyone and its always another experience of playing unplugged incase anything happens in the future!.

DSC01647

An hour after the gig finished and people were still hanging around!

At the end of the show, we were nearly packed up and a lovely lady asked us to play a complete unplugged song for the bar before we left and she would stick a contribution in our little merchandise funds before we headed off. We played ‘My Girl’ unplugged and the bar was completely silent for us and it was a great little few minutes in the Black Bull.

We hit the road around midnight with ‘Tenacious D’ in the CD player for most of the journey home and landed at Derek’s house around 2:30am where Curly was waiting to pick me up and take me back to Bedlington for sleepy time after our little mini tour of two days!

I hope your still enjoying the reading and stories of my journeys through out the year! Thanks for all the continued support and taking a little time from your busy lives to delve into mine a little. See you somewhere soon!

Jason – Amazing Adventures Always

..the lady’s of the night!

Day 8 – Lucerne, Switzerland

We were over half way of the We Steal Flyers swiss tour! We had two days off to relax and get ourselves ready for the next four gigs. We made it back safely the day after Grindelwald in Patrick Shumakers rocket ship, and somehow lived to tell the tale. The two days flew by pretty quickly and after eating chicken, lots of YouTube songs, Noblesse coffe and some more writing, before I knew it, it was time to meet Mark at Shamrocks Irish Bar in Lucerne to get set up for our Wednesday gig.

DSC01184

Time off with half a chicken and some Rivella!

Shamrocks was 5 minutes walk from our hotel in central Lucerne and we met Mark there to load in the equipment at 4.30pm. We quickly stuffed our gear and guitars into our little corner of the Irish Bar and I grabbed a little early beer and Derek had a lovely fresh glass of Orange Juice as he does!

Its unusual to be playing the Irish Bar on a Wednesday for us and usually its on a Saturday or Sunday at the end of the tour and it can get a bit wild for sure. I started setting up and I had half a PA system to set-up for the room then linking into another in-house system as well. Leads and cables everywhere and no electric points anywhere near us to be seen. I changed three mic cables on my pedal as they weren’t working whilst trying to disco step around our little corner. I doubt my buddy back in the UK Mr. Rob Saddler doesn’t have these problems. He has just won an award for “FOH Engineer of the year” and has been on tour with James Bay for quite a while now. Its great to see a lovely local lad and buddy doing so well at something they love.

DSC01195

Great plateful at Shamrocks Irish Bar in Lucerne

We managed to get set up and sound checked by 5.30pm and I ordered myself a lovely plate of nachos, chilli and cheese, with guacamole and salsa! OOOOOOOshhhh!!! It was a hell of a portion and went down lovely with my beer on the side! Derek headed back to the hotel while I hung around in the bar feeding my greed and chin-wagging and he returned 20 mins before gig time at 8pm ready for our show.

We had some lovely buddy’s turn up to listen again which I hadn’t seen since the October tour and Legend Bill came in with a Cahjon drum for Mike Marshall. He said he would join us for a few songs later on in the sets. Unfortunately Bill was feeling a little under the weather and could only stay for a short time. It was also Mike Marshall’s 50th birthday at midnight so he was in celebrating mode and was passing birthday cake around the bar.

DSC01197

Birthday cake time for Mike

We played through our three sets and it was a pretty relaxed gig in the bar for most of it. Mike got up and played four songs with us on the cahjon and we finished off on a spur of the moment take on “Show me the wayyyyyyyyyy to go homeeeeeeeeeee” with a bit of a sing along. We finished up and had a bit crack with everyone in the bar and I sang Mike ‘Happy Birthday’ unplugged while he sat on his drum with a beer looking a little drunk. Hahha. Derek spotted a picture on the wall of an old bearded fella and said it was me, so we took our photo with it too. haha

DSC01217

After the show I decided to head out with Mike and a few others as he was going for that world famous ‘one last drink’ and the Irish bar had stopped serving by this time and was ready to close. We attempted to get in three other bars but they were all closing and the staff at Downtown suggested going next door. We headed into the bar which was open till late but they didn’t only sell alcohol. You could still have a normal drink in there while the ‘lady’s of the night’ did they’re thing though! We had a couple of beers and tried not to stare too much at what was going on. Hahah.I always find myself somewhere I shouldn’t be on tour for some reason .Haha. I got back to the hotel and Derek was still up who had took my backpack of stuff to his room for me. I managed to grab it and had a bit crack and giggle about the night in the corridor of the hotel before heading off to peeps.

The next gig coming up is The Sprue & Wiesen in Immensee, Zug. See you there.

Jason. Amazing Adventures Always

www.facebook.com/westealfyers

….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

.. put a toilet roll in your fridge!

5.2.2016 – Do you keep a toilet roll in the fridge? Just Incase?

Time to wake up! As you probably guessed I am not an early riser! I think its probably the same with most full time musicians as gig times usually are late at night. Usually a 9pm start and then finishing anywhere from 11pm till o’Clock in the morning. Then we have to travel home or to a hotel if your out on tour via some fast food place or an Asda for a sandwich like last night! Sometimes heading to bed around 3-4am and still having to try and wind yourself down. This has a bit of an effect on your body clock as you can imagine and its pretty normal for me to have lie in and be completely alive through the night whether I have a gig or not.

Today was different though… because there was a free breakfast included in the hotel stay at the Ibis Styles Hotel so my brain must of took over and woke me up at 8am and told me it was breakfast time and to get downstairs. Derek was still sleeping so I slipped on my clothes and headed down excited for my lovely “Continental” breakky!!

For some reason in England most of the time “Continental” breakfast means a packet of cereal and some coffee. The Ibis Styles hotel was no different. Getting there about 8.30am and thinking there would be plenty breakfast left as it was open till 10am was a mistake. The plate with the meat on had 2 bits of some kinda strange looking limp stuff left and an hour later it still hadn’t been filled up even though it seemed the staff were walking around looking at your plate as you ate.

DSC00527

Where’s my bacon??

So I was forced into the healthy choice of Grapefruit bits and some low fat cherry yogurt chucked over the top of it and 5 cups of coffee. It wasn’t the end of the world of course but some places should really put some effort into what they do and our little country would be a much nicer place to travel around! I was still full of beans and happy though and enjoyed the peace and quiet while I gobbled up my bowl of weirdness. I stuck a sneaky apple and yogurt in my pocket for Derek too for his breakfast when I got back to the room.

Before I knew it, 12pm had arrived and it was time to head out the room and move on to the next hotel check in. We had about an hour and a half drive to Bradford and as we neared the hotel we spotted a huge Fish ‘n’ Chip shop at the side of the road. Chippy s are another awesome part of touring England and Derek and I love trying them out on our adventures. We we’re greeted by lovely smiles and a hard choice between ‘Chip Shop Curry’ or ‘Irish Curry’ with our fish ‘n’ chips. I even got to have a little taste as I had no idea what Irish Curry was. We chose the Irish variety (Fluff would be proud) and had an awesome feast of nomnoms.

DSC00537

Fish ‘n’ Chips and a pot of Irish Curry with the Deggle

We checked into the new hotel which was also an Ibis in Bradford and unfortunately our room wasn’t themed like our little Jockey room at the previous Ibis Styles hotel the night before. Just a weird smell of bleach, TCP and chlorine to welcome us today!

After listening to some music on the laptop we chilled a little then headed to Pudsey, Leeds for our gig at The East which was an Indian Restaurant with a terrace bar above it. This tour was a little different from usual tours as usually we would travel with a full PA system but we were trying out some venues which already had systems in so we could travel light. We don’t usually like using in house systems as you never know what to expect but I The Tank Bar (yesterdays show) had a great little system for a small bar even though it was half the size of what we were used to. Today venue however the speakers looked like they had halved in size again and it was a small Yamaha Travel system which unfortunately was a little hard to work with. We soldiered on as we always do though and you make the most out of what you have and the gig turned into a much better show than anticipated. We met some great people who owned another venue and were good friends of the band The Levellers and wanted us to go along and play there as part of one of our tours. We even managed to get Mike up and he sang a Levellers song whilst I jammed along with him. Derek is great at taking something from each show and is always on the look out, this is what we needed to finish the night off, some great news from great people who love live music.

DSC00550

After the show it was time for a well deserved curry from down stairs to take to our hotel. We got back with our carry out and dished it up whilst we watched James Bond – Diamonds are forever on our little TV. We both ordered vindaloo,rice and nan breads and I have to say, I struggled with it! This was THE hottest curry I’ve ever had in my life. I love vindaloo and Derek does too and it is also one of our touring loves getting to try out different curry around the country.

This was unreal though, and I even felt like Derek was struggling a little and he is the curry king of Northumberland!

We made it through most of it and Derek managed the lot of his. I have no idea how.. my nose was running like a tap and I blew it with some toilet paper and must have touched the paper with some of it on my fingers. The next thing I knew the inside of my nostril felt like It was on fire. I have to say it was much better than the time at Storming The Castle festival when I ate a lot of Jalapeños with my fingers and then went to the toilet. You can imagine the shock and the rest of that story…..

DSC00552

The hottest Vindaloo EVER from ‘The East’ in Pudsey, Leeds

I dropped off to sleep and that was the day done! I hope your enjoying the ramblings and don’t forget to let me know any thoughts you have about our travels. Thank you for taking a little time from your life to read my little ramblings.

Jason.. Amazing Adventures Always

2016 is here! So is Harry the Bigfoot!

mulled wine

Mulled wine with a shot of Rum @ Edinburgh Christmas Market

It’s 2016! Whilst the last year was amazing, it’s time for a new one and lots more Amazing Adventures Always!

If you read my last post you will already know I was playing a show with We Steal Flyers and staying in Thurstonland in Yorkshire for my New Year. We had a great fun gig at the Rose & Crown and always do! This is one of our regular bars to play in Huddersfield when on tour and it’s a different gig everytime we perform there. Richard the owner is one of those awesome, genuine and generous blokes and also one of the most hardest working men I’ve met. The gig was a great laugh we only had one person fall over the monitor into us (not bad for a New Years Eve gig…I won’t mention any names *cough “Cheryl” *cough). We managed to finish our show at 11.45pm and stuck good old Jools Holland on the TV with a microphone shoved in front of the speakers, and we joined in the crazy countdown with the whole bar. Then, of course, began the smooching and cuddling of everyone that was anywhere near you.. hahaha ..  what better way to start off the New Year!

new years eve

Performing at The Rose & Crown on New Years Eve

New Years Day was here before I knew it…  Waking up in a hotel room in a strange bed is nothing new for me as I travel a lot with my musical adventures and I love that part of what I do. I love the difference of the rooms and turning up to somewhere new, making friends with the employees and then disappearing off onto the next place. However not all the places we have stayed have been great but it’s always easy to find some amusement in the bad ones when I’m sharing a room with Derek. As long as they are warm and clean it will be fine for a night to get some shut eye and gather your thoughts and life force.

Heres a few little 2016 first facts that happened on new years day!

  • First Song I listened too in 2016 ‘Don Henley – Heart of the Matter’ : This was the first song I stuck in the CD player of the faithful little Suzuki Swift as I got ready to drive up from Yorkshire heading back up to the North-East with Maria relaxing in the passenger seat. I have a little thing about shoving an album on and starting it from my favourite track on the album in the car. Music is a massively important part of my journeys as I drive around, whether it be to the shops or to the other end of the country. At some point before getting to the car there will have always been some planning in my noodle about what I’m going to listen to on my way.
  • First Movie I watched in 2016 was ‘Harry & The Hendersons’ : Yeshhhh!!! What an awesome movie to wake upto for a new year! Opening my little peepers up in a hotel room with the smallest TV ever sitting at the bottom of my bed and turning it on to find Bigfoot Harry eating the plants in the Hendersons kitchen was a dream. I remember watching it a lot as a kid and especially at Christmas. As a kid nipping down to the Oval Newsagents in Bedlington and getting a ‘Radio Times Christmas Special TV Guide’ heading upto christmas was always an awesome part of the run up to Santy visiting and going through the pages with my mam checking to see what films were gonna be on every day! Since I moved into my house here 5 years ago I’ve never had a TV aerial connected (my own choice) so hotel rooms are pretty much the only time I get to see some normal TV.
  • First thing I drank in 2016 ‘ A pot of lurverly Yorkshire Tea from Sids Cafe in Holmfirth’ : In the morning of New Years Day, once we managed to get up and get showered, we met up with Shaun & Cheryl who came down and stayed over for the show. We all headed down to Holmfirth where the famous British TV series was filmed “The last of the Summer Wine” as it was only 10-mins drive from the bar. We headed to Sid’s Cafe which was one of the main scenes in the TV series and had a lovely pot of Yorkshire Tea.The staff were all awesome and friendly and it’s still decorated the same as it was in the series. I even managed to get Mamma Shagpile a Sids Cafe tea towel as a little pressie and souvenir. Here’s a photo of us having a giggle in the Cafe and enjoying the lovely Tea!
holmfirth

Sid’s Cafe in Holmfirth, Yorkshire

The next adventure was spending time with my little half pints and then heading off to Edinburgh for a few days and checking out the amazing Christmas market, but I’ll leave that for the next post. I hope you all had a brilliant New Year and lots of Amazing Adventures! Thanks for reading!

Jason