Summer 1996 Tour Diary
FRIDAY, May 24-2 a.m… The show was amazing. Arthur was completely on and David “Daddio” Green was EN FUEGO. There were a lot of people there (375?) and everyone seemed to enjoy it in a very enthusiastic way. Afterward, fans came backstage to get autographs and Arthur was very accommodating. Normally, he’s very private after a show but at this one, he was very open and youthful. This one fan, Micke (pronounced like Michael), said he bought tickets for his 2 friends, Louise and Angie, without them knowing it… he just said, “Arthur Lee is playing, I have tickets so you have to go!” They were very cool. There was another Band playing upstairs from the club so Chapple and I moseyed on up there to check them out. They were really good, sort of a weird jazz thing with only Drums and Sax. Micke invited us to a club 3 doors down but only Chapple and I wound up going. It was midnight and it was still daylight. We stood around and had a few beers. They were kind enough to treat us to Beers. We stayed for 30 min. then left. The club was lame but at least those people were nice. That’s the thing about Arthur Lee fans; they’re good people. Chapple and I walked back to the Hotel just as the sun was setting (12:40 a.m.).
FRIDAY, THAT AFTERNOON, 2:30 p.m… Checked out of our plush Rock Star Pad! Wrote some postcards and had a beer. We took a cab to the train station (about 57 Swedish Kroners or $7.50) and boarded the 1:30 train to Malmo, a city in southern Sweden. This train is really nice inside, the latest in European travel. This train is called the X2000. I ordered a Chicken Salad Sandwich and a beer. According to Gene, this ride is 5 1/2 hours long. When we arrive in Malmo, we go straight to sound check.
SAME DAY, 3:13 p.m. (on the train)… Just talked to Gene. His seat is right in front of mine. Arthur’s sitting over by Fairweather and the other blokes have a section to themselves a few rows ahead. Gene is reading an issue of THE CASTLE, which is an excellent LOVE fanzine run out of London by a fellow named David Housden. Hopefully, he’ll be at the London shows. He’ll be on the guest list for sure. Next to me is a young Swedish girl in her late teens. She’s reading a fashion magazine called VECKO RERGN, which has stuff in it about Models and hairstyles and such. Young European girls are very into fashion wear.
SAME DAY, 5:03 p.m… Just had a Swedish Beer (don’t remember the name) and it was very tasty. There’s so much alcohol in these European beers but we’re not getting hungover (not really). Rusty just asked Gene to get him a Beer, and Gene obliged; but when he brought it to him, Rusty didn’t say thank you (probably because he was wearing headphones?), and then when Gene went over to say something, Rusty asked for another beer! Gene said, “Hey Rusty, you didn’t say thank you when I brought you the beer.” Rusty looked up at Gene and acknowledged that his beer can was empty and motioned for another. Gene looked at me and laughed his ass off! As if on cue, Rusty said, “Sorry Massa! Thank ya fo tha ice cole beer, yessuh!” Needless to say, I died laughing.
THAT NIGHT, 10:00 p.m… Arrived in Malmo at 6:30 p.m. We were met by our driver, Patrick. He works for the KB CLUB, where we’re playing tonight’s show. The name on the marquee says ARTHUR LEE and LOVE. This pissed off Arthur because he wanted every show to say LOVE with ARTHUR LEE. We checked at 7:00 p.m. and it sounded good. Backstage was totally hooked up with our very own bar! After sound check, the club treated us to a great meal, which consisted of smothered veal, french fries, and shrimp cocktail. Arthur had the fish dinner (he loves fish and prefers it to foul or red meat) and red wine. The rest of us sampled the John Smith’s Best Bitter Ale because Mike Harrison raves about it in England. It wasn’t that great. I think we got the worst Bitter by mistake. After dinner, we went to our Hotel, the HOTEL RADISSON. The place is the B.O.M.B.! Our rooms are huge. Patrick brought our stuff here while we checked and ate. He’s a real nice chap. I’m rooming with Rusty again. I gotta shower now. Show time is in 1 hour.
SATURDAY, May 25, NOON… Right now I’m sitting on a British Airlines airplane sandwiched between Rusty and Daddio, 20,000 feet in the air. Poor Dave Chapple. He’s sitting next to Arthur, which is where I’m sure he doesn’t want to be. Earlier, while we were traveling from Malmo to Copenhagen (to catch our flight to London), Daddio, Rusty, and Chapple got off the train to hang out on the Ferry. When the Ferry docked, they had about 1 minute to get back on before the train departed! Rusty and Daddio made it but Chapple was still in the bathroom. We got really worried because we had to get off the train and get on the bus and the bus was about to take off FOR REAL! Chapple did finally make it and told Arthur that it was the other two guys’ fault. Arthur was still pissed and gave Chap shit for it. So now he’s sitting next to him on this plane and I’m wondering what they’re talking about. Of course, Arthur fired him! When we were in Spain last year, Arthur fired me 15 times! This ride is a bumpy one and Rusty has a really bad headache. He said his head feels like someone stuck a rod in his forehead.
Last night’s show at the KB Club was great. I’d say there were between 300 and 400 people there. We really rocked, although I think it might’ve been a tad bit sloppy, but who cares? The people dug it and, at the end of the day, if they’re happy… After the show, we partied backstage like Jodeci. We had our own bar and it was in full effect. Around 1 a.m. some of the fans came back to the hotel and Fairweather busted out his harmonica. This guy named Leo played guitar and a bunch of people started singing. The KB turned into a disco at 1:30 so D.F. and I took a cab back to the club. We hung out for like an hour or so, then came back to the Hotel and everyone was still having fun. I like the Hotel Radisson a lot. Everyone left around 5 a.m. except Leo and his girlfriend, who spent the night on the couch in the office area. Rusty slept in Daddio and Chapple’s room. Daddio used the overhead fan to dry his laundry. Wake up call came at 7:30 a.m. and normally that’s alright except I didn’t get to sleep until 5 a.m. We had breakfast downstairs in the lounge area. The driver came at about 8:20 a.m. and took us to the Airport. Arthur and Chapple seem to be having a deep conversation (while I’m writing this) about pimps and the fear of flying or something to that effect. We should be in London in 2 hours, God willing.
THAT AFTERNOON, 1:30 p.m… We’re about 1/2 hour from Heathrow Airport. The stewardess brought us some yucky chicken meal but I suppose it’s better than the beef, right? Everyone thought it was just awful. When we land, we have to convert our dollars to pounds, and it’s a real pain in the ass because we always lose money from country to country. In Denmark, it’s 5.345 Kroners to the U.S. dollar but in Sweden, the Kroner was worth less at 6.712. Norway was in between @ 6.316. Arthur just ordered a beer.
THAT AFTERNOON 2 p.m. (London time)… The flight was short but the taxi was long (15 min.)! Got held up at customs for some reason. Fairweather walked through without being hassled but when our motley crew arrived at the gate, we were delayed. They looked at Arthur’s passport for a few minutes and then asked us some questions. I asked Gene what was going on and he gave a terse, “shut up and be quiet.” He later apologized but I wasn’t offended. Gene explained that it’s better to be quiet and let them do what they want than to give them a reason to hold us up because everything has to run on schedule on tour. The English are definitely paranoid.
THAT NIGHT 7 p.m… Met up with Mike “Ringo” Harrison and Richard “No fizzy Keg Shite” Meehan, the two coolest Brits within 300 miles of Heathrow. They plan to finish the final 4 dates (2 London shows, Amsterdam and Rotterdam) helping Arthur as part of the Crew. So, they’ll be selling t-shirts and CDs and having a good time in general. Mike is from York, which is about 3 hours north of London, and Richard lives here, about a mile from Heathrow. When the tour finishes, we (the band, minus Arthur) are going on holiday (vacation) in London for a few days and we’ll be staying in Richard’s Flat. After that, we’re spending a few weeks in York at Ringo’s house. At the moment, I’m in the lobby of our hotel, the PLAZA on HYDE PARK. On the way in I saw the fellows from ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT. They’re a good band out of San Diego, which is about 2 hours south of Los Angeles. They’re on Interscope Records now but they used to be on Sympathy for the Record Industry. This place is cool. I like England.
Our sound check went well. Tonight we’re playing at THE GARAGE, this really hip club here in London. It looks like it can hold 500-600 blokes. Arthur is very respected in England. After that, we went out for Chinese food and the waiter got everything wrong. Walked back to The Garage and there was such a long line outside so we had to enter the club from the alley! Backstage was hooked up (as usual) with beer and other goodies. Everyone helped themselves to tuna butties (sandwiches). I opted for a beer.
LATER THAT NIGHT, at the Hotel, 11:45 p.m… Chapple, Ringo, and I are sharing a room (#808) and Rusty and Daddio are sharing a room (#717). Richard is staying at his own Flat. The cool thing is, Arthur’s on the 4th floor (#427) so he won’t know if we throw a party! Almost forgot, Chapple, locked himself out of the room 2 min. after he got the key from the Hostess. Her name’s Jayne and she was quite understanding. Personally, I would’ve thrown him out on his bum!
The show was awesome! Arthur was in rare form. Unfortunately, David Housden (from THE CASTLE) wasn’t at the show. Afterward, we got to hang out with John and Sean of the HIGH LLAMAS. They were really great people, especially Sean O’Hagen. We chatted for 20 min. or so and he told us he really dug the new BABY LEMONADE album. He’d been on tour forever and had just gotten home when he received the B.L. package. He played it that day. He told me he thought it was brilliant and he told Rusty he thought we had something special, a gift. Naturally, we were well “chuffed.”
SUNDAY, May 26, 1:30 p.m… Chapple, Ringo, and I woke up at about 10:30 a.m. this morning. It’s the first good night’s sleep I’ve had in quite some while. Arthur was supposed to be interviewed by Julian Cope for some music magazine in the lobby but Cope copped out and didn’t show up. We’re about to go to Camden Market to shop. Cheers…
SAME DAY, 2:55 p.m… Right now we’re (Chapple, Daddio, Rusty, Ringo, and I) on a London Subway train (they call it the TUBE) to Camden. Before we got to the station, we stopped off at a Pub that was around the corner from our hotel called, “The Swan.” Ringo and I went there earlier and I had a Ham Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. The meal was o.k. but the woman who served me insisted on a mega-heap of butter. I think the Brits like butter. Actually, I’m certain of it. We had JOHN SMITH’S bitter Ale and it was truly righteous! Not the same Keg Shite we had in Malmo, Sweden. Real John Smith is amazing. But anyway, being in the Tube Station reminded us of that JAM song, “Down in the Tube Station at Midnight.” We’ll be at Camden in a few to meet Richard. Later on, Gene, Arthur, and D.F. will meet us at some Pub not far from Piccadilly Circus. So far, England has been Pints, Butter, and Chinese food.
SAME DAY, 5:00 p.m… On our way back from Camden, riding the Tube. Gene, Fairweather, and Arthur showed up at the Pub in Camden. Richard bought everyone a round of pints. Gene and Arthur decided to go back to the Hotel. It was really good to see Arthur hang out, and we all wanted him to stay, but he doesn’t like to hang out like that. Gene is so together. Nothing gets to him. He really looks out for Arthur.
Tonight we play at the POWERHAUS. I think it’s owned by the same person who owns the GARAGE. Richard was a real sweetheart and also bought everyone Tube Tickets (minus Fairweather, who got separated from us and had to take a taxi back to the Hotel). I think the tickets cost £1.40 x 6 ($12.60).
SAME DAY, 5:35 p.m… Right now I’m sitting in a taxi on my way to sound check at the Powerhaus. Unfortunately, Richard can’t make tonight’s show but he’ll meet up with us in Amsterdam tomorrow. There wasn’t enough room for Ringo so he took the Tube.
THAT NIGHT, 9:00 p.m… Just finished eating Chinese food with the rest of the guys. The food was delicious but the exorbitant price ($300 for 9 people) was unacceptable and Gene really let them know how ripped off we felt. That money cut into our meal budget so it was gonna be McDonald’s for the next few days.
The sound check went well (once again) and hopefully, tonight’s show will be as good as last night’s show. When we walked out of sound check, LOVE fans were waiting outside and Arthur signed some autographs. One woman, named Ingrid, was from Spain and she was studying in London and couldn’t believe Arthur was actually here! She was the first in line, a true fan.
LATE THAT NIGHT (after the show), 11:57 p.m… Tonight’s show was by far the most exciting show of the tour! There were probably 400 to 500 people there and they were totally into it. It’s also the only show where Arthur did, “You set the Scene.” It was really something special. Arthur introduced STEPHANIE KNOWS WHO as “A Song about a woman named Stephanie…she’s dead, but this song is alive…1-2-3..”
We had to really convince Arthur to do YOU SET THE SCENE. He didn’t want to do it. When I asked him why, he said, “Man, I wrote that so long ago. It’s not relevant.” Of course, David F. and Gene convinced him otherwise; he was very happy with the show and very excited and it didn’t take much to convince him. The crowd screamed his name and it was 15 minutes before we went back onstage. Everyone was still there. It was wonderful. Afterward, we hung out with some fans (while Arthur signed records n’ stuff), some of them traveling as far away as Israel.
LATE, LATE NIGHT (Monday Morning), 2: 21 a.m… Arthur’s up in his room and the rest of us are down here in the Lobby having drinks with ROCKET FROM THE CRYPT. These guys are very nice and they are a success here in England. They came to tonight’s show and said they really had a great time. I sat at the lobby piano and started playing GOD ONLY KNOWS and an 18-year-old Swedish girl started to sing in one of those “Nico” voices! It was really cool. Two German tourists asked me if I was playing a Simon and Garfunkel song!!!