|21 Apr 1994
First gig of the tour goes smoothly. The only disappointment, which applied to most of the tour was the drop in attendance. Every date Jim turns up there are bad vibes as there are moans about the record company to air.
Steve and I have brought along our bikes to get some fresh air and exercise in the day before soundchecks.22 Apr
A glass of champagne for Steve’s birthday. Feel shit the rest of the day, sweating away some of my fever during the show.
We’re booked to play a campus while students are on holiday! The downgraded venue is cramped. Carl doesn’t bother changing costume this gig.
Day off, with the tour coach parked in Oxford, a chance for some cycling, to finish the accumulated rider and see ‘Backbeat’.
Birmingham Irish Centre
Suffering from food poisoning again, tough when the chemical loo is off-limits.
Three interviews with Scandinavian DJs. I’m told ‘CUD’ means ‘prick’ in Norwegian. It’s ‘cunt’ in Dutch. No wonder we never get booked!
After the gig is a first chance to get to know My Life Story. Steve and I chat to singer Jake. The crew have him pegged as a prima-donna, with his stage poses and waving of the mike stand though and look forward to some practical jokes.
Leicester De Montfort Hall
We’re still drinking in the early hours when we pull up in Leicester, singing along with Adam Ant’s Greatest Hits. Carl and I head out onto the dewey grass at De Montfort Hall, Carl barefoot and bare chested until merchandise seller Graham Bailey throws water at us.
As a result of us partying, the bus driver confiscates the CD player. Early-to-bed Steve is particularly annoyed with us.
As we move north, the better the shows and the better the attendance. The dressing room is packed with friends and guests.28 Apr
Leeds Town and Country Club. A great packed gig. Homecoming shows are laden with expectation and rarely go as planned, but this one did.30 Apr
Carl misses his train and we made him pay. But it was Steve who goes A.W.O.L. for the soundcheck. A lot seems to go wrong. We have to prepare for and record some live tracks for the next single B-sides. My monitor fails. Mike criticises his playing but, listening back, he’s fine.
Get drunk in the club downstairs and turn the bus into a pigsty. Mike has to find me wandering around a service station in the night. Carl reckons I have a Jeckyl/Hyde persona when drink is involved.
It’s quiet in Hull on a Sunday. Carl misses the soundcheck, driver John takes his place, My Life Story arrive as doors open. It feels like a day off, practical joking, kicking footballs about but the gig is a success with a big walk-up and enthusiastic crowd.
A lively gig. A couple of M.L.S. are dancing on shoulders in the audience.
Al Clay shows up, impressed with our live versions of ‘Showbiz’ tracks.
Day off in Great Western Hotel. Caterer, Georgina, as got us on the guest list for a Roachford gig. The band are amiable. Mike chats to their guitarist, Howie, all night.
We heard the remix of ‘Slipaway’ today. My bass has been replaced by a session musician, the drumming altered with cliché hip-hop beats added and soulless backing vocals added. Dave and Graham say it will be the final nail in the coffin for us. A&M are trying again ton change us into a band we are clearly not. We end up debating the pros and cons of the mix into the early hours.
Exeter University Lemon Grove
Bad day starting with sick road crew, getting lost and punctured on bike rides. For both CUD and M.L.S it is our worst show. Security force back the front rows. Coats are piled on stage and pints spilled. Some guy asks me after the first song when we are finishing as he has to book a taxi! I’m pissed off. When Carl almost pushes me into the crowd I push back and he tumbles into the drumkit.
Bristol University Anson Rooms
The road crew unleash hell with the first of a series of practical jokes on M.L.S., covering the stage with rice krispies and gaffer-taping Jake’s mike stand to the floor so when he swooshes on stage for his ritualistic raising of the stand, he fails and looks foolish. After failing to wrest it free he storms off the stage leaving the rest of the band to finish a song instrumentally, leaving the stage to the sound of Dez’s fart sample. Thus they never got to see Dez and Gor fulfil their plan of polishing their cymbals during the song, ‘Sparkle’ and setting off fireworks. (We use the explosions in our own set instead.)
Jake flicks Vs at mike, the support band argue, some found it funny. CUD play a set a little earlier than scheduled. M.L.S. don’t get paid.
No one’s seen Jake yet but the rest of M.L.S. have showed up. I keep out of their dressing room. Beaker, their tour manager offers empty threats if we jeopardise their London show. Our road crew were understanding enough not to play pranks for the important media gig.
We play brilliantly tonight. M.L.S. all stand behind Dave’s mixing desk, arms folded.
Last show of the tour, always a sad thing. (Little did we know this would be the last time we ended a tour as headliners.) The gig goes confidently, though Carl knocks me out of tune. A&M don’t pay for an aftershow bar so we hang around for an hour by the backstage door. M.L.S. don’t hang around. £150 left behind the bar isn’t used up.
Meet Jim. Mike is in a foul mood but A&M deserve some of his vented spleen. After seeing us live, and as part of Jim’s plan, ‘One Giant Love’ is now the preferred single over the unrecognisable ‘Slipaway’ remix.
Get a fan letter from a 13-year-old fan complaining we don’t play enough off ‘When in Rome’ on tour. He would have been eight when it was released!
We all get £500 merchandising bonuses, for holidays, to wash away the post-tour blues.
A&M are interested in repackaging the back catalogue, having got hold of our Imaginary tapes. They want to us to rerecord ‘Strange Kind of Love’ as a promo single for as compilation.
The CUD band minus Steve go to see Blur at the T&C. Graham Bailey manages to borrow some backstage passes and we hang out and get drunk acting as Leeds’ worst ambassadors.
Jim brings his usual brand of depression to a meeting. He feels like giving A&M an ultimatum. Are they going to sign us for another year, or what?