17th January 2015

From the Archive: Back on the Road Europe Tour 2005

Back on the Road Europe Tour 2005

 

Brian’s ‘Diary of a Drummer’ chronicling life on the road during the farewell tour of The Shadows in Europe in 2005.

 

shads_euro_tour

 

Itinary

1. April 13th, Kongresscenter, Ringsted, Denmark 2. April 14th, Konserthuset, Oslo, Norway 3. April 15th Solna Hall, Stockholm, Sweden 4. April 17th Kantinkulta Festival, Vuokatti, Finland 5. April 18th Icehall, Helskinki, Finland 6. April 20th Valbyhallen, Copenhagen, Denmark. 7. April 21st Alborghallen, Alborg, Denmark. 8. April 22nd Stadionhellen, Esbjerg, Denmark 9. April 23rd Tinghallen, Viborg, Denmark 2. April 24th Konserthuset, Oslo, Norway 10. April 25th Konserhuset, Stavanger, Norway 11. April 27th Lieseberghallen, Gothenberg, Sweden 12. April 28th Musikhuset, Arthus, Denmark 1. April 29th Kongresscenter, Ringsted, Denmark 13. April 30th Idraetshal, Odense, Denmark. 14. May 1st, Musikteatret, Vejle, Denmark 2. May 2nd Konserthuset, Oslo, Norway 6. May 3rd Falconer, Copenhagen, Denmark 15. May 5th Kapplakrikki, Reykjavik, Iceland. 17. May 7th, Forest Nationale, Brussels, Belgium 18. May 8th, Westfallenhalle, Dortmund, Germany. 19. May 9th Grand Rex, Paris, France. 20. May 10th, Heineken Musichall, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 20. May 11th, Heineken Musichall, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 20. May 12th, Heineken Musichall, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 21. May 14th, NIA Birmingham, UK. 21. May 15th, NIA, Birmingham, UK.

 

Monday 28th March 2005

The week of the 28th was spent preparing for the tour. I was still working on the new kit and Warren was programming some magnificent sounds for his new keyboard. Also that week, I was asked to be on the panel of judges for this year’s Ivor Novello Awards and Hank was due in from Perth at the weekend. Bruce came over on the Friday with Mark to go over the set list with Warren. We only have five days to rehearse next week so time was tight.

 

_little_b

Monday 4th April 2005

It was back to the Ritz rehearsal rooms in south London again and with last year’s memories of the tedious journey through town each day I decided to stay in a hotel close by. From day one it all ran smoothly and every one was up to speed in no time at all. The band sounded great and our initial concern about only having five days to rehearse soon disappeared. Having made the decision to stay in London meant we could work late and spend extra time fine tuning our own musical instruments and practicing the things that needed our own personal attention. In other words we all wanted to raise the bar and give it our best shot.

It also meant we had time to hang out together. When you get on well offstage, things are always good onstage. Friends came by to see us; it felt as if we where already on tour. Hank, Warren and myself were in the same hotel which was very close to Le CuecumBar and Brasserie in Battersea High Street. We spent some great evenings there. The place is dedicated to the music of Django Reinhardt and the atmosphere was very French and smoky. Guitarists would sit in and play with the band including Hank who was surprising every one with his skills in that style of gypsy jazz.

 

bruce_warren_bb_rehearsals  Bruce, Brian and Warren at rehearsals

JJ setting up the monitors    jj_desk

mark_rehearsals  new_drums

Mark at rehearsals & new drums

rehearsals_teabreak Teabreak at rehearsals

 

Ed Bicknell came round to look and play the new kit. It sounded better than I had expected. Our mutual friend Jenny Demetri sent me my favourite biscuits(Duchy Originals)and waved to me from her balcony as she lives opposite our hotel. Olivia was over for a few days promoting her new album, so we met up for coffee and a chat.

Shakin’ Stevens came in to hear the band as he was rehearsing next door and Peter Lyster-Todd came to the hotel for a drink and we talked about future projects.

We did our final run through on Saturday the 9th and that was it.

Our equipment was packed and went on the ferry for the long journey to Finland. The weekend was spent packing and planning the travel arrangements. 38 days on the road, almost back to back with the odd day off for travelling.

 

ed_bicknell_n_kit Brian with Ed Bicknell and new kit

 

jj_griff JJ and Griff working on changes after rehearsals

bb_onj

Coffee with Olivia Newton John at The Ivy after rehearsals

 

Tuesday 12th April

Met at London Heathrow at midday and began our final tour of Europe.

I packed as light as I could as there were a few occasions which entailed running at great speed from one terminal to another to make flight connections.

 

warren_bb_heathrow Warren and Brian at Heathrow

 

lionel_king_road                 arrriving_day1

Lionell, King of the Road & arrival day one

 

Wednesday 13 April: (1) Ringsted, Denmark

Opening night in Europe. We haven’t been here for 25 years! Will they remember us? It was a big venue. We rehearsed all afternoon as we never had time for a full production run-through with sound and lights in London.

Our European tour promoter was Erik Thomsen. The last time I saw him was on our last tour of Germany when his girlfriend Alice was escorted off of our bus at the border between East and West Berlin (Checkpoint Charlie) because she had the wrong papers. He left her with the border guards and told her we had to go – there was a concert that night! Anyway, Erik was there for us on opening night and, for that matter, every night of the tour. Promoters traditionally turn up on opening night and closing night. Not Erik. He believed in us and stuck his neck out for us on this, our final tour. He stayed with us on every date and became part of the team. The first up and the last to bed!

So, here we were on opening night. Hank, Bruce, Warren, Griff and I were ready to go. Apart from first night nerves, we knew it was Warren’s first time with the band. I knew he had worked with Hank for the last ten years and I knew what a great player he was, but he had never worked with the band he grew up with and never worked with Bruce before. We walked on to a standing ovation and before the first number had finished, we all knew it was probably the best the band had ever sounded in 45 years and the look that Bruce gave to Warren said it all and showed great respect for our new keyboard player.

openingnight ‘5 minutes gentlemen’ – opening night

happy_onstage  A band that’s happy offstage is happy onstage.

pov_kit View from my kit

 

Thursday 14th April: Oslo

An early flight. In fact most of them were early flights.

Another great venue and a beautiful city.

Only a few things to iron out at sound check. The crew were the best I have ever known. Most of them I knew from last year’s tour plus some new faces. Something I have never experienced before on the road was to have our own catering. Rachel and Christine served dinner at 06:00 pm each night, after the soundcheck and before the show. Handwritten menus every night. They would go to the local market in each city and prepare wonderful meals fit for kings. And if you managed to find that day’s Guardian at an airport, you might just get a second helping of bread and butter pudding which was to die for. And I’m an expert.

At first, the itinerary looked badly planned and we were to return to Oslo on four occasions and Copenhagen on five. No bad thing, they were great cities. Our tour book was known as the ‘Book Of Lies’ there were so many errors in it. What had happened was that a lot of the venues had sold out in hours and extra shows where scheduled to meet the demand for tickets, so we were to return to these places for all the best reasons. However, it meant fewer days off. No problem, we were in good form and in good spirits.

 

 

flight_to_finland Early flight to Norway

rachel_christine_bb

Brian with masterchefs Rachel & Christine in the makeshift kitchen

early_flight Another early flight

warren_poster Warren in front of one our venues

bb_connie_nielsen On practice pad backstage with Connie Nielsen

fruitmarket_theatre Looking around the market place getting some fresh air

 

I am going to move along to the general thoughts and highlights of the tour as I am late in delivering to you this year, so let’s go with some notes and photos.

Alborg was a beautiful city and I needed to visit an ear specialist for a small problem that drummers get from time to time owing to loud monitor levels. It was also the beginning of my running out of space and the first of the extra bags needed to be got. Too much to do without local knowledge so Pernille, Erik’s PA, called the theatre and asked a colleague to meet me and be my guide for the day. Her name was Ann-Stine and she was a great help as we only had a few hours before the concert. Had a light lunch, Bruce was walking to the soundcheck and took a picture of us before we went to the theatre.

Everything about Scandinavia that we encountered was so good. Airports that I had never heard of were like walking through the best of London’s shopping centres, efficient, clean and accommodating.

I need to make tea and coffee whenever I want, so I bought a small kettle and each day would find the local deli for provisions. You can wait 40 minutes for a coffee on room service and pay £20 for it. My buying of extra cases continued after visiting art galleries and bookshops. By the end of the tour, I had accumulated six!

 

cafe_edit With my guide Ann-Stine from the venue in Alborg

pros_guide DIY room service on a trouser press

here_we_go_again 7.30am – here we go again

bb_and_pernille With Pernille Erik’s PA

warren_bb_mark Another early morning coffee, Oslo airport

bigger_case I need a bigger case!

 

Back to one of my favourite cities in the world – Copenhagen. We had a great hotel and some time to look around. One of my all-time heroes came to see me: the great Ed Thigpen, who I had met in Paris in the early sixties with the Oscar Peterson Trio when they were on tour with Ella Fitzgerald, part of the Norman Granz ‘Jazz At The Philharmonic’ concerts.

Some weeks before the tour, Warren had produced a magnificent boxed set of four of my scores: ‘The Harpist’, ‘Great Natural Wonders Of The World’, ‘Moon Power’ and ‘Terminal Choice’. Also the soundtrack to ‘The American Way’. He had worked long and hard editing various cues and writing sleeve notes to make the final package something that I was very proud of. A masterful piece of production. Erik had been gracious enough to let me sell them at front of house. By 29th April, they finally arrived in Copenhagen, minus a few missing boxes. I was very excited and had some good feedback from people who had purchased them, apart from one, who couldn’t figure out why there wasn’t a drum solo in a film about a beautiful harpist.

Warren lost his case on one flight en route to a concert that turned out to be part of a festival with Nazareth and Bonnie Tyler. Two days still wearing the same clothes was not ideal as can be seen by the note he stuck on his hotel door. Five minutes before we went on, it was found and we went on stage. After the first piece there was silence. And the second and third! We where dying a death. I then noticed there were five bars selling drinks in the hall. Everyone had a pint in their right hand and you can’t clap with one hand!

bw_solo

warren_ed_bb With Warren & the great Ed Thigpen

ed_bb_laugh

festival_postert_shirt Festival poster & t-shirt

lostcase We seem to be missing a suitcase!

 

underwear_donations

The note pinned on Warren’s door after suitcase missing for 2 days

warren_onstage After the arrival of the missing suitcase!

front_tivoli

Tivoli Gardens, the first time I played here was in 1958 with Marty Wilde

kit_and_gretsch

Was Hank playing a Fender or Gretsch on ‘Apache’? The fans debate amused us and Lionell put a Gretsch on the stage for a bit of fun.

works_box_set ‘The Works’ box set CD

 

This was turning out to be one of the happiest tours I can remember. Even with such a tight schedule, early flights, and long coach journeys, we were having a good time. I got to visit art galleries and places of interest that I never seemed to have time to do in the past. I tried to make sure I had time to say hello to all the old friends and fans that had supported us for so many years.

We also did a lot of laughing at some of the situations we found ourselves in. In other words, even if things were not right we always looked on the funny side. Some of the Hotels were not exactly ideal for our various needs on the road. The most common fault was refurbishment work in progress; drills that you thought would come through your wall at any time; rooms with no baths, not good for drummers after a show; hotel restaurants that closed before we finished a gig; hotel restaurants that were closed for our early morning starts; hotels with no restaurants at all.

One morning Warren invited Mark and me for breakfast in his room where he had a kitchen. He had got supplies in the day before. He made us fabulous omelettes and with my filter coffee set up it was the perfect start to another long day.

One journey was a five hour coach trip. There was a toilet on board but the driver had lost the key to it. I tried picking the lock with no luck. We were on a motor way in heavy traffic. By the time we got to our destination we were naturally dying to get off. However the driver got lost and eventually after going round the city centre in circles for thirty minutes. Erik jumped off the bus and, running through the oncoming cars, hailed a cab to lead us in. The concert was next to a big football stadium and all the roads were closed for a big game that afternoon. The only way to get to the gig was to be led in by police motor cycle escort.

Erik was often getting lost at airports, taking us from one check in point to the next. With the sound of a cockeral echoing through the airport lounges (that was Erik’s phone ring tone), you couldn’t do anything but laugh. Yes, happy times.

warren_cooks Warren cooking breakfast

breakfast_served Breakfast is served

police_escort Police escort to the gig

dortmund_concert_hall

Bunny Warren, our sound engineer working on the front of house monitors making sure we deliver the best possible sound.

 

We were over half way through the tour and things were running smoothly. The band sounded good and everyone was playing at their very best.
My hands were in good shape and I was trying out a few new things in my solo ‘Little B’. It takes a few weeks on the road for any musician to get up to scratch with his playing. My solo is built up on a framework of patterns, rhythms and tempos. It has a logical form like any piece of music, or in simple terms, it’s like a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Within each section of the framework I can improvise, invent and play things that come into my head. It’s something that comes the second you think of it (sometimes!) You don’t practice it, you just do it. You practice your technique and it is that technique that enables you to execute what you want to play. Each tour I try and do something different and on this occasion I thought I’d have some fun with you and get you to join me in some rhythm patterns. I would change down to a slower groove and start with a two bar phrase and invite the crowd to copy it and clap it out. It was hit and miss to start with, until I eventually found the right formula. Its interesting how one city can follow you with ease and 300 miles down the road a deferent audience will not change to the next pattern. Some nights the dynamics from the audience were amazing, starting with the volume so quiet you could hear a pin drop to really loud and full on in your face. When we both got it right, it was as if me and the crowd were in a rhythm section together. I enjoyed doing it and think most of you out front enjoyed being part of it too.

 

you_can_do_this5

 

 

More flights and long coach trips. Five days in Denmark, visiting some beautiful towns. I love it here. Erik was still getting lost at various departure lounges. On Wednesday 4 May we had a day off for the flight to Iceland. We had been here many years before to do a week in a night club. Not, as I recall a particularly memorable week but this certainly made up for it.

I spent the afternoon walking around this colourful town. It was ice cold but the sky was a bright blue. It was good to have a day off and I just slowed down to the easy tempo of the place and inhaled the fresh clean air.

icecold_iceland Ice cold in Iceland

 

Met some fans who had flown for miles to see us and ended up at the Hard Rock Café with Bruce, Griff and Warren. A few drinks back at the hotel which boasts the largest collection of fine whiskies in the world. Also all the rooms had a great selection of original paintings.

A good night’s sleep with no early morning packing and travelling the next day.

hard_rock

A rare night off, dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe

 

Reykjavik: Day 2.

No packing and no travelling. Luxury! Another beautiful day with a bright blue sky. I took my camera and explored the old part of town with its colourful wooden houses, then found my way to a sea of crystal clear water with the ice-capped mountains in the distance. Breathtaking.

Met some fans that had come as far as Japan and slowly made my way to sound check, rested, relaxed and ready to play. We had seven shows to go and I was feeling good.

jap_fan This fan flew in from Tokyo

iceland_fans Some of the Rejkvajik crowd were a little eccentric!

 

During the show a splinter from one of my drum sticks embedded itself deep into a finger nail on my right hand. In the interval I pulled it out with a pair of old stage pliers. Wrong! I put some plaster on it and carried on for the next few days thinking it would soon clear up. It got worse and by the time we got to Paris it was really bad so I called for a doctor who I thought would give me some antibiotics. He said it was very serious and I must go to a hospital immediately to have an operation to get the poison out. So lunch in Monmartre was out. The cab smelt of sweat and Gauloises and the driver (who drove like a madman) got lost. We eventually arrived at the Victor Hugo Clinic which specialised in all hand injuries. After filling out endless forms a young anaesthetist came to the operating theatre where by this time I was dressed in plastic hat, shoes and underwear and laying flat on my back! “Zees will ‘urt” she said and it did! I suddenly thought I had made a huge error. Never get ill in a foreign language. It was four in the afternoon and – having to switch the mobile off – nobody knew where the drummer was. It was late and I had already missed the sound check. After what seemed like an eternity I was back in a cab on my way to the theatre with half an hour to show time.

My hand was numb and I was not in a great mood! Back stage was full of friends and I had a choice of going on or cancelling. Cancelling was not an option to me. How far can I go with the right hand without making it worse? The last thing the doctor said was to rest and keep it in a sling. Fat chance, this was Paris and my hand was still numb from the anaesthetic. Minutes before the Paris concert, I practiced the set, my solo parts and all the fills with my left hand. My thumb and forefinger tried to grip the stick for the ride cymbal at 45 degrees!

suziridiculous_hat

Backstage with Suzi Quatro one hour after operation and 25 minutes to showtime!

 

Apart from being very disappointed at the situation I found myself in and knowing the place was full of friends, the only thing to do was take it on the chin, smile, make playing left-handed a challenge … and get on with it. One of our back stage guests was Suzy Quatro. We knew each other through our association with the late great Mickey Most. She knew how I felt as she had once gone on stage with a broken arm. So, with cries of “go for it”, I walked on stage and played the show leading from the left!

sweat_solo

The Paris audience were great. But I was done! The anaesthetic started to wear off after I did some upward strokes on one of the crash cymbals. Warren looked at me and shook his head as if to say “Are you nuts?” He was right. A few friends came back to the hotel and said what a great show it was. Phil Jarvis and a few drummers would have been disappointed (as I was) with my performance, so a few glasses of champagne and an early flight the next morning.

 

Tuesday 10th May

After a restless night we took an early flight to Amsterdam and Ben and Thalia Marvin came for the last leg of the journey.

The boys took care of my many bags at arrivals and I got another cab straight to another hospital to ascertain the damage and to get the hand re-dressed. More endless paper work and passport checks (no bad thing these days). The doctor told me I had to rest it for a week with my arm pointing upright in a sling. Only four concerts to go. What a way to finish. I was, as you can imagine, very disappointed about it. One bloody splinter and a pair of dirty pliers.

Three days in Amsterdam, I played with the minimal amount of discomfort to the hand. Or, as far as I could go without just walking it. The solo was out and I just rested. At least we were staying in one place for three days. It was a very large venue and I was amazed that all three concerts were sold out. After the first night I had a few drinks with the gang in the Hotel bar and decided on an early night. I woke up with my hand hurting and my watch said three o’clock. I got up to make a coffee, thinking I’d had only had three hours kip, then I noticed there was light shining through into my room. It was three in the afternoon and I had slept for fifteen hours! I opened the curtains to the beautiful view of a dirty brick wall and a large air-conditioning unit. The only thing that cheered me up was a pigeon that was staring at me from a ledge. I was too tired to make a fuss and change to a room with a view.

So I just rested, read and made a few notes for these journals. Played the set each night and tried to build my hands up for the very last concert in Birmingham.

john_humphrey With photographer John Humphrey

 

We had a few interviews to do but I slept most of the time. Earlier in the year I had promised to do an interview with the Dutch Cliff Richard Fan Club Magazine. The photographer John Humphrey was to take the pictures and Angelique von Söhsten was to do the interview. I remember being very grumpy at the time but they, like Phil Jarvis and so many others over the years, have both been tremendous supporters of the band and like the other regular fans have become friends. A few more people to meet and after three days of rest I packed for the last time and got the last flight of the tour to Birmingham. Erik’s part as the European promoter was finished but he came with us for the last show at the NIA and still managed to get us to the wrong check-in desk.

ben_thalia_bb With Ben & Thalia

bruce_povhank_pov Hank & Bruce from my POV

anne_von_sohsten With Angelique von Sohsten

nose_pose Strike a pose with your nose Bruce

checkin_erik Where’s the check in Eric?!

erik_airport2 One more to go

 

Friday 13th May

Arrived in Birmingham to a beautiful sunny day and as our truck with all the lights, sound and equipment was on the ferry from the Hook of Holland we had a day off.

Birmingham had changed a great deal from the old touring days of the fifties and sixties. Every time I’m here I visit the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery which houses the finest collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings in the world. You can spend hours here and discover something new every year.

Last year part of our final UK tour included two nights at Symphony Hall which was a sell out and our final London gig sold out so fast that we had to extend it to another show at the Palladium. Even then it sold out in hours and so this year although we had said our final farewells to the UK we decided to do an encore at the large NIA centre as it was central for most people to get to. The hotel was very comfortable and within walking distance of the venue.

We booked JJs Indian restaurant, where on last year’s tour we had taken Tim Rice and his first band, ‘The Aardvarks’. So here we all were for our last supper with the whole crew, their families and friends. In fact, by now we were all family.

The day of the show was spent relaxing and wandering round part of the Gand Union Canal system of waterways. They have been restored magnificently and Bruce and I spent a quiet time reflecting on what a great tour it had been.

My son Jonathan flew in from Portugal with my wife Margaret. Two of my best friends Ed Bicknell and Steve Jenkins came up to see the old boys strut the boulevard for this, the last one. Phil and Susan Jarvis came backstage as did John Humphrey who has taken some great photos of the band over the years.

I spent some time trying to find out how far to take the solo and, still leading with the left for most of the time, worked out my sticking for the final evening.

“Half an hour gentlemen…” came the call from the master of making every thing run smoothly, the great Roger Searle. A few friends came back stage to wish us well for this very last one. It was good to see Jim Carne and his wife Carole. Jim you may remember was my driver and looked after me on last year’s tour and had become a good friend.

I was on auto pilot for most of the show. This was it then, a combination of emotions, enjoying playing with the boys for the last time, the end of a happy tour and the end of a large part of my life, in and out of The Shadows.

bb_bruce_nia Old friends

drum_collage1

Working out my sticking for the final night

philjarvis With Phil Jarvis

warren_family_nia Alice, Warren, Jane & Georgia take a stroll before the last show

last_show Two minutes before the very last show.

last_solo The last solo.

griff_bruce_hank Griff, Bruce & Hank

keyboard_player The keyboard player

 

After the last show.

Afterwards, backstage was a total anti-climax. It was empty. The crew were packing up for the last time. The toughest of wraps is always the last gig. There was nothing backstage in the way of drinks for guests and friends so we went back to the hotel and made it up as we went along. The hotel bar was made up of friends, family and half the audience! It was a little surreal after all we had been through.

Eric was still rocking and did his party piece, which was to do a hand-stand and drink a large glass of Jack Daniels without spilling a drop. He didn’t disappoint us.

With the hand starting to throb it was time slope off to my room and crash.

shads_in_europe The Shadows Final Tour Europe 2005

with_griff With Griff

with_jon_ben With Jonathan & Ben

jonathan_sarah  Jonathan & Sarah

bb_warren With Warren

erik_handstand

With perfect control, as the room held it’s breath, Erik the fearless Dane does the perfect hand-stand and without spilling a drop, downs a very large Jack Daniels in one. And with that, the party that had lasted nearly 45 years was over.

 

Monday 16th May.

On Monday morning I packed for the last time and we drove home. Margaret had driven my car up to Birmingham and Jonathan had also bought his car, thank goodness. Even then, with all my extra bags, we only just managed to squeeze it all in.

The week would have been a real anti-climax had it not been for one more musical treat that had been slowly taking shape in the wings over the last few weeks of the tour.

Peter Frampton had invited Hank and I to co-write and perform a track on an album project he was doing called ‘Frampton and Friends’. We met at Mark Knopflers Studio in west London and spent a happy and productive day recording. It was a good atmosphere and Peter immediately made us feel at ease. It’s always good to work with other people. They bring out new and different things in your playing. The first thing I noticed in the studio was a very familiar looking silver Premier drum kit in pristine condition. Many years ago Mark Knopfler had bid for one of my old kits that I had put up for a charity auction. The studio had polished it up as a surprise. I’m sure Phil Jarvis has probably got the original picture on his site and knows more about it than I do.

The second thing I noticed was the original desk from Abbey Road, Studio 2, with its oval faders and dials that we had recorded so many hits on. It transported me back to the 60s in a flash. Mark had acquired the desk from EMI and it too was in pristine condition.

Hugh Padgham was the producer of the track we were working on and he got me the best drum sound I can remember for years. He recorded on Ampex 2″ tape and then transferred it to digital. That’s what I mean about working with new people, not only do they bring something new out of you but you learn something new from them, in fact you never ever stop learning if you want to stay in this business. So after a delightful day making music and making new friends it was time to finally pack up the drums and go home.

That was it. The final tour was done. Erik Thomsen had said he would like to do a ‘One Foot In The Grave’ tour next year. Apart from my misadventure in Paris, I loved every minute of it. If I’d have had my way, I would have done farewell tours in Austalia, New Zealand, Japan and the Far East but I really do think that’s it. I recently spoke to Hank in Perth about the possibility of doing some more dates but he was not up for it. He’s probably right. Might as well finish on a high. I just wanted to keep playing. And I will. There’s always 2008/9 if the pink jacket still fits. Who knows!

kit_frampton

60s_desk

An old from the past, the desk from Studio 2, Abbey Road

hank_bb_frampton Hank, Brian and Peter happy with the playback

hank_peter_bb Hank, Brian and Peter working on track

peter Peter

bb_kit Hugh Padgham microphone set up

 

Post Script #1

The day after the Peter Frampton session, my two flight cases of drums were delivered to my home in Hertfordshire. Hours of unpacking, washing, cleaning, trying to put together all the paperwork, bills, receipts and fanmail that had accumulated over two months on the road and trying to adjust to the real world. By that, I mean the switch from 3000 people giving you a standing ovation to putting out the wheelie-bins on a Wednesday night!

The next day I went to a very well known hospital in London to have my hand looked at. I walked straight through the open doors of the hospital with a shoulder bag, passed through the reception area apparently invisible to all and into a lift that was carrying two patients on operating tables on their way to surgery and two builders in dirty overalls, carrying sand and cement in filthy buckets! It was suddenly apparent that all those forms, passports, security checks and paperwork in Paris and Amsterdam were done for a very good reason!

I flew to Portugal for a break and to do some work on an old farm house that Margaret had found. I helped to build a dry stone wall and cleared a lot of old dead trees with the intention of planting an orange grove.

Peter Frampton was playing in a stadium in Faro for the annual biker’s convention. There were about 2000 Easy Riders from all over the world on there gleaming Harley Davidsons. They looked immaculate in their colourful bandanas and black leathers.

We met at his hotel and were escorted to the venue and into the VIP area. Back on the road again! Peter and his band were sensational and I watched the show from the front next to the sound desk. After the set I found it difficult getting back stage as the security was very tight. I attracted the attention of what I thought was a policeman and showed my VIP pass. As he turned round to let me through I realized that he was a she and not exactly your average looking copper. Then I saw the look on the face’s of Peter’s band at my unexpected encounter. She was the next act on and they managed to get a photo of me with this rather tasty looking policewoman. Back to the hotel for a quick drink with the boys and then home to the farm house.

workforceorange_groveframpton The Frampton show

copperess Not your average copper!

frampton_band

Back at the hotel with the Frampton band

 

Post Script #2: Last entry

I spent the next few months commuting between the UK and Portugal. I was enjoying doing up the old farmhouse and planting orange trees, banana trees, all sorts of trees and just taking it easy and getting my hands in the dirt; very therapeutic after being on the road.

It wasn’t long before I needed to get back to work and start making some plans. I did some playing and writing for an album with Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield. When you’re on the road everything is planned upfront for you. All you’ve got to do is show up and play. When you work alone you need self-motivation or you’re in trouble. So, after two tours it was time to start.

Later in the year it was the school summer holidays and we had Warren and the girls stay with us in Portugal for the first time. Lazy days on the beach and long lunches at my favourite restaurant, Do Garrao, where these diaries started just over a year ago. We went to Cliff’s vineyard one evening and had a great meal with some old friends and just relaxed and told jokes. It was the time of the senior tennis tournament at Vale do Lobo. We try and go each year and, as Jonathan is a professional coach, we get the best seats. This year, however, he had had an accident and had broken three fingers on his right hand. It was very serious and he couldn’t teach for months. Not a good year for the Bennett boys and their fingers!

We all went to the finals and were invited to the players private party after the match. John McEnroe and Mats Wilander got out their guitars and invited me up to play. It was a great night and a good end to the holidays.

Later in the year Ed Bicknell and I spent some time at our favourite hangout, Ronnie Scott’s, to see some of our favourite bands: Yellow Jackets, the Georgie Fame Big Band and Steve Smith’s ‘Vital Information’. Steve is one of the truly great drummers and, apart from us being friends, he is always an inspiration to me. Because of him I wanted to keep playing. Steve was the one I first saw getting an audience involved in clapping out rhythm patterns.

Since the Shadows were no more, I’d better start something soon! I’m not sure what it’s going to be. I’m still working on it.

So that’s it. Sorry the diary was late but I hope you have enjoyed my scribbling.

I hope to see you all in 2007/8 with CR and if I get a band together, I’ll see you sooner, somewhere … BACK ON THE ROAD!

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At lunch and Cliff, Cilla, Alice & Georgia at the Vineyard.

cliff_bbmcenroe_guitar My new guitarist

 

Summer Holiday!

 

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Jonathan & Mats & Mac, Mats and Brian

TC_BB_SS Tom Coster, Steve Smith and Brian at Ronnie Scott’s

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Hope to see you back on the road.

Brian Bennett