(above) Carl in chains.
15 Oct 1991
Tour proper starts badly. No one is at Parkside Rehearsal Studios for us to get access to our gear. Keri, the new tour manager, leaves her planning folder behind, then one of our roadies, Darren finds his hotel room isn’t booked.
Still, the gig at Newcastle Riverside was blinding, in the sweltering heat of a sold-out venue. 175 T-shirts and 60 posters sold.
More tour fuck-ups. Keri’s job’s on the line. Our StarDes van isn’t big enough to accommodate our gear.
The gigs are making up for some poor behind-the-scenes planning. Manchester International 2 was a great gig. The band are on an up.
We make a decision tonight not to use Nigel Gilroy as producer for our album. It doesn’t go down well with A&M.
University of Essex, Colchester
Head of A&R, David Rose arrives, on the warpath, with Nigel Gilroy following an hour later. The audience were quiet tonight and we’re feeling subdued after hours spent in a lecture theatre-cum-dressing room and a poor dinner. Our rider is stolen while we’re on stage. Then we get our earful from Rose. We’re relieved not to have Nigel Gilroy as producer, but we have to find a replacement.
The tedium of long drives up and down motorways is relieved by Tetris on the GameBoy (still the size of a brick and in black and white in ‘91!)
The gig was great fun, the favourite so far. We performed the encore in animal masks.
Van broke down on way to Nottingham Trent Polytechnic. We had to wait for the AA. The Potter clan turn up to watch the show.
The curse of CUD strikes again! The whole street is knocked out by a power cut at soundcheck time. It’s a major relief that it comes back on in time for this, our biggest headline so far. We play a great set to the packed house, with even A&M Europe impressed. With help from The Mission’s rhythm section, we celebrate by beating the Mock Turtles in a War of the Roses drinking competition at the Columbia Hotel afterwards.
Woke up too late to see Noddy Holder having breakfast but was up in time to meet Nigel Gilroy, who we’d been avoiding. He was unsurprisingly upset to be ousted from the L.P. sessions.
After this meeting, we arrived late for a Radio Bristol interview. Due to van and organisation problems, we’ve missed three scheduled interviews so far. We get another bollocking, this time from press agent, Bernadette. (Oh, the life of a major-label band – it’s like being back at school!)
Whatever, the shows make up for the petty politics. Tonight’s gig at the Bristol Bierkeller was another stormer.
A small but rammed venue.
We’re selling T-shirts to an average of one out of every three or four fans, which will help balance the books, seeing as the band aren’t getting any extra for the tour.
Return to base – Leeds Polytechnic.
The gig is chaotic. the support band, Midway Still surprise us by playing ‘Easy’ in their set. We get them back with a stage bomb. We’ve planted glitter and confetti bombs for our own set. When set off, the cover the usual stage invaders. It’s a celebration. One-legged roadie, Darren stage dives then gets back up to add gaffa-tape moustaches to me and Mike while we’re playing. The stage is slippery with sweat and wine that Carl’s kicked over. The good humour infects the sell-out crowd. We’re all in a party mood. The rider quickly disappears, then the band and crew hop it to a shitty club called Riffs. (Methinks that if Mike owned a club he might name it thus.) Keri is dangled over over the balcony by drum-tech Ant and sound engineer, the Cref.
The band decide to chase Jon (Mekons/Three Johns) Langford for the producer’s chair. We enjoyed the experience of working with him before and feel he has a better understanding of us and what our music should sound like. Langford’s currently touring the States and will need some tracking down.31 Oct
Turns out Langford can’t work with us till December. Apparently the Mekons had an amicable split with A&M’s US wing.13-15 Nov
Demo the as yet unnamed new album at Woodhouse Studios over three 13-hour days. By the end we’re exhausted yet elated by the quality of the songs.
Charity album ‘Knowing Where It All Leeds’ (above) released including th cream of Leeds’ acts – Mekons, Wedding Present, Pale Saints. CUD submit an alternative recording and mix of Leggy Mambo’s ‘Love Mandarin’.
Start recording B-sides at studios in Castleford with Dave Creffield. Get a new Musicman Stingray bass. Finally the bass is audible below the kick drum!