The Dante's Kitchen 2005 US tour diary.
This was to be the fifth and biggest US tour in support of our current album out in the States on Underground inc. …and It would be our first full tour of North America since the Hand that Feeds tour of late 2000.
Martin Atkins had hooked us up with our new booking agent Seamless Talent…this was originally planned as a package tour in the autumn of 2004 with Sheep on Drugs…who eventually couldn't make it… so it was re-arranged for early 2005…with some extra dates being added by the label and myself…
The tour would be the first with new singer Laurie Reade, from Minneapolis based band High Blue Star…We'd been successfully rehearsing cross-atlantic via mp3 files for the last couple of months…I was going to fly out from England to the US with my regular keyboards man Simon Stansfield. The line up would be completed by the other half of High Blue Star. Brian Greene who would do live sound and a lot of the driving….
We arranged with Ui to get a range of tour merchandise manufactured…shirts, bags, posters….
and had our old label Projekt mail us a box of back catalogue...
We were set….
Jan 1st /2nd
I spent New year with my children…Naomi and Jordan … we always have a lot of fun... i am going to miss them
oh… I decide to pick up a cold from my son before the trip……!
Jan 3 rd.
Packing. a million things to do. Fall asleep by candlelight with my girlfriend Janine. Good night love.
Jan 4 th.
Taxi to Coventry bus station. 10am bus to Heathrow. Heavy airport security… radioactive swabs!... Fly to Chicago…finger prints and photos on entry…connect for flight to frozen Minneapolis . Meet Laurie and Brian for the first time…back to their place…an ex punk house…guns in the basement..and studio in the attic…Laurie impressed me with her fine cooking...
Jan 5 th.
Jetlag. as usual. Simon and i walk the Minneapolis skyway in a daze. Start buying things we need for the road. Cables, connections, power transformers. Food. We pass the 3.2 mexican gay bar…(don't ask…!) Open the merchandise from Projekt …fine…and undergroundinc…..this is really bad.…we don't need this… We scrap the awful “workshirts” immediately…We salvage what we can. The dj bags are cool. The baby doll shirts are fine… I email Ui and ask what's going on…that evening we have our one and only “in-person” rehearsal…despite me feeling pretty ill…it goes really well…we buy the first budweisers of many to celebrate!…
Jan 6 th.
More things to buy... Duct tape and cables…incense. Have our first mexican meal (of many). Print out all the tour documents. Contracts, mailing lists, directions…
Late night Brian prepares the tour bus. “Nebuchednezzar”. A converted airport shuttle bus equipped with couches, beds, a cooker and a global positioning satellite tracking system!…(and no stickers...well not at first..) it will be our home for the next 5 weeks…
The show tonight is postponed as we have added a Minneapolis show at the end of the tour instead…good as my voice is shot…late night we take the long road to Detroit…we break to sleep in a rest area in the snow…
Jan 7 th. “I could murder a beer….and it's entire family!…”
Up and heading for IPM radio, Detroit . Running late after Chicago traffic holds us up. (Laurie is forced to piss on the bus…and it's only day one!!…)
arrive late to meet Mac and his wonderful friends… High Blue star do a live radio set…ours is plagued by power failures so finally is aborted…we do interviews instead and sell merchandise…meet Emileigh from Chiasm…sleep in the studio…
Jan 8 th. “Morning jobseekers!...”
Wake up at IPM!… do an interview online for Polish magazine “OFF”….After more discussionss with Ui we agree to get some more shirts done…. to be delivered on route...
The first show. Mephistos, Detroit . Deep snow. A weird sex club. PA run by some strange guys on benefits…Hardly anyone there for music!…but a good first set from us and HBS. Simon get a spanking. There are two ladies dancing for me in the cage… but they didn't sort the food….back to Mac's place for the night again …”
Jan 9 th .
We are given vegan cakes by Mac's friend. Thank you. They were appreciated!… leave for Cleveland . Pirates' Cove. a venue that has seen better days. Nobody home. One of those bad Sunday night shows…Shame as a nice set. Meet up with old friend Carl Howard and his analog present…an MS20 for me for the tour…meet pregnant DJ Batty and her new husband J. …it's been a long long time…we stay at their place…i fall asleep early...
Jan 10 th .
Eat with Batty at the kind of “Greek” place. Her treat. Drive down to Columbus , OH .
Skully's. a great place. quality pa. A little quiet crowd. Meet Kristy from Nilaihah again… and stay with Bethany the vet …(why were there so many vets in vietnam ?…) from the opening band “Faded sympathy”… thanks for that.
Jan11th. “A full English breakfast”…”
A long drive through Ohio farmland…avoid a pile up on the snowy highway. decide to reset the GPS system to stick to main roads…! Arrive at Ten Bells…a diner by day…and still a few rednecks in the bar…
We meet the Devil Dolls!…they give us a bag of presents..! thanks. Really nice.
“Tentacle” open the night… our show is preceded by fireating. Our mini disk stops due to the ultra low frequencies from the pa… swap over players and restart… a good show despite me losing my voice….slowly recovering from the cold… the night finishes with an s&m performance…and Laurie is offered a whipping…!
Drive through the night again. Brian triggers an alarm in a closed gas station rest room!…we make a quick exit. drive further and park up in truck stop.
Wake up in a white mist. An alien landscape of snow, fog and diesel fumes…
We could be anywhere. Take the long drive to Pittsburgh . The weather has turned very warm. Weird. Park up by a local hooker and find Garfield artworks. An art gallery . meet Manny. A long time fan. a small show but very very cool. We eat decent home cooked food for a change.(this makes a big difference on the road!...) We finish early.
Off in the van overnight through the pennsylvania mountains…..
Jan 13 th . “Taking one for the team…”
a long long drive through the fog…turned back at a recreation area checkpoint for driving a “commercial” vehicle. Thanks. so we have to make a long detour.
Arrive a little late at the Webster theatre, Hartford , CT. I've played here before. …a weird scene… local kids playing heavy metal one at a time in front of their few mates… we can't set up and sound check…no dressing room…. Local promoter is called Ben Wu. He refuses to give us food… (as contracted)…after a 12 hour drive you arrive in a strange town and try to find vegan food that should be there for you anyway?…. He then says he's sent half the fee upfront to our booking agent but can't prove it…(we discover later that he lied of course...) We wait in the bus… no-one is there…there are no ads or posters… We don't trust him so ask for the other half of the fee before we play (as contracted…) He refuses. We have to leave. We won't accept this from anyone. Apologies to the few fans that heard about it from our website and attended.
Drive then park up in a nearby rest area….we fall asleep listening to Leonard Cohen. A long day.
Jan14th. “ Lot lizards…”
Breakfast at ihop. Not good. Drive through pouring rain to Sam Rosenthal's in Brooklyn .
The bus windscreen cracks….aaaargh. We meet Lisa and their son Sasha!…pick up our latest delivery of shirts from Ui…better this time!...I hang out with Sam, go for an Indian meal. The others take a trip to Manhattan.
Simon wakes early and heads to the Empire State building.
I do that Zillo interview that our euro label Big Blue sent me while on tour…. The first draft is lost on the computer….aaaaargh. do it again.
We play the Albion at Downtime…(previously the Batcave…)…our third and best show there. Dodgy sound. Meet photographer David Velez again. Very good merch sales. (this matters a lot on tour too...!) Their sound engineer CUTS down our back drops…! Thanks but no thanks mate.
Jan 16 th . “Bashing the bear…”
Manhattan . off into Chinatown . Laurie goes shopping. back to the bus and we leave for the South. somehwere on the way we pick up a nail in a bus tyre. Fill it with “fixaflat” for now… drive on and park up on the roadside somewhere in Virginia .
Drive south. Laurie starts her totally unsuccessful mission to find some southern restaurant chicken chain...i find ornamental wizards and dragons for sale at some bizarre backwoods gas station...Arrive at Steve's… Raleigh. NC. ….he lives in fantastic log cabin in the woods… Blair witch meets Evil dead. You know. we eat gourmet pizza!… play Legend's gay club. Lovely place. A good show. Expected to meet up with old friend Brian from Silber records but he fell asleep!... Meet chris from the US airborne artillery. He tells us he played “Two Gods” every night as he went to sleep while serving in Iraq …… I like that.
Jan 18 th .
Me and Bryan go and get the tyre sorted…a new one for $300. ouch. We drive to Columbia , SC. New Brookland Tavern. Some folks up from Myrtle Beach where we played last time… not many people here have met an Englishman. Some never left the state…and English is such a sexy accent…..:)
we'rer hearing so many people that we meet that want to leave the US now and move to Canada …
This is not good. is it?
Drive down to Atlanta via Athens , Georgia . Meet Laurie's dad and step mum for burritos and beer… meet grandma too. Get to Masquerade…a .fantastic club…old mill building…(but it's going to be knocked down soon…corporate america .. corporate anywhere…) meet Nancy and Dave from Delinquent…Psyvamp and his ladies…a small but enthusiastic crowd that had travelled far. Sim passes out after starting his birthday celebration early!…(found being throwing up in the “restroom”…)
Lose Laurie's microphone. Shit.
Drive to Alabama ..
Jan 20 th. “We dare to defend our rights!…”
Sim is 27. A long drive to New Orleans . Watch Bush being inaugarated at a gas station…(not Bush…WE were at the gas station..)
Get a call from the promoter as we near New Orleans that there is no pa!…. and could we help pay for one….hmmm… check out the club and decide to pass on this one… spend the birthday evening in the french quarter voodou shopping…nice.. pick up some beads (for Buddha back home…it's a long story... ) drive out through the N.O. graveyards and park up in swampland…
Jan 21 st. . "Don't mess with Texas..!."
Power cut. Brian can't get in the rest rooms!…. drive off quickly up the hurricane evacuation route (and we had no idea of what would happen later in the year…. Eat and piss in the dark at the Waffle house…(covered, smothered, diced and sliced…) arrive in Texas . We won't be messing with it this time. Find a motel in a DRY county ( Mesquite )…why does this happen to us?… and why do we need a car just to cross the road? We Eat Taco Bueno and watch Pulp Fiction…(and drink water…i love it )
Jan 22 nd. ”Simon held everything together…”
Drive aimlessly around Dallas looking for a Target. We settle for a Walmart (Laurie's favourite :) and a dollar store. Buy hunting shit. Belts and ponchos. Leave the guns for now. (well forever...) …and the live lobsters? …drive into Deep Ellum. a great area. Meet the promoter Per at club Indigo. fantastic show. Chant opens… sell more merchandise than we ever have before..! many encores. Drive out towards Waco …
Jan 23 rd
Cold. Drive on to Houston . Stop at another Waffle house where the waitress is so fat she has to take our order sitting down. This is really Texas ! Meet Naika from Havok at the swingers club! Meet Nic again. nice but weird. Me and sim get a back massage. We forget to eat. Stay with Roy (again..thanks…and sorry to hear about the snake bite!)....we're all starting to get tired...
Jan 24 th .
Off to San Antonio . Sanctuary. a weird old place…strange set up as the opening band arrives so late they have to go on after us!…it was for the best…nice people and very enthusiastic. And we did get paid despite our booking agent's concerns!!
Stayed with Gino and Valery of Bizarre Muzik machine…
Jan 25 th. “Hey! do you go to church?…”
Mexican breakfast to die for. On Gino. Spend the afternoon at the Alamo and the river walk…much needed break and spot of tourism…we drive west towards New Mexico…call Ui and order more shirts…pass by the “american owned by a US combat vet motel…” sounds really nice !
Jan 26 th. “I got my chips on route 66..”
Wake up in a desert. Park by the prison van at the gas stop. Drive past border checkpoints…we can sees Mexico as we drive through El Paso …on to New Mexico ..stop at a diner in “Truth or consequences”… i buy a new bootlace tie…and wood burning incense…we pass the Amish folk…and arrive in Albuquerque . Launch Pad on route 66.. Good show. Went to the goth afterparty next door at the cowboy saloon. Drink tequila shots. Drive to the “Adobe” rest area near Fort Craig .
Jan 27 th. “We have our shoes hanging from a telegraph line…”
Wake up to Navajo indians. On to Arizona . We pass a weird shanty dwelling with mules…Pass Chilli peppers….Buy oil. Stop at reservation store for peace pipes and trinkets…pass Tombstone …(no time though…) arrive in Tuczon at Solar Culture. Really cool art gallery venue. Eat home cooked food…much needed. Too many Taco Bells, Waffle houses and Subways here in this country… internet access backstage. What a great idea. Railroad line outside the back of the club. Loud. Meet Dante the man. Enthusiastic show. Drive to Brians friends in a converted trailer out in the desert. nice people. Meet Dante the dog.
Jan 28 th.
Spend a day in the desert. I love this place. Cacti and gofer holes. Eat stromboli from the local desert store.... (didn't fancy the gizzards..) I hear from Janine that my dads had a heart attack. worried i phone home. He's ok now...
Drive to California . End up in a rest area by the county jail. (do not pick up hitch hikers…)
Jan 29 th.
A long drive through the Mojave desert . Thinking of life and loves. Pass the Joshua tree and get to Hollywood early. Meet Mark lane on Hollywood blvd - last time I saw him was 20 years ago on a tour of Holland !...we hang out in bars!...later we play at the legendary Bar Sinister… meet Ned again (Stromkern to you…) meet Shok…meet Jeff (Last dance..) Wrex and patrice (Regenerator..) Michelle,...a lot of people. A great show… some hassles with tipping the waitress from hell.. then we get a “tip” from the promoters !!! … bouncers give us grief..we give it back…drive north (very quickly…!)
Jan 30 th.
San Francisco . Dna Lounge. Great club with internet access.but a small crowd. Weird. It is Sunday perhaps?.. A great response…as always. Meet lady J. Eat late at the Baghdad café while a gay black guy gets beaten up outside…hmmm…not a nice thing...stay with Ashley (ex attrition and now long time californian) and Susan in Lower Haight ..
Jan 31 st.
We get woken up early to a $100 parking ticket… aaaargh…. (do not park anywhere in san francisco...!)
Ash kindly offers to pay half of it...! We drive through the mountains to Reno. Gambling hell. We have a look round. lots of guns here. Meet Onyx at Peppers. A small bar and a friendly local goth crowd. We have to build our own pa…well Brian does…thanks mate…another enthusiastic crowd. I lose 50c at the casino…my gambling days are over.
We stay at hotel Cal Neva. (And not the mustang ranch this time ….! )
Feb 1 st.
Back into california …we miss the snow. this tour we have been so lucky on the weather...We pass cowboys rounding up cattle…pass buffalo…past redwoods…pass bigfoot?…Meet Bat and Sunshine again. Play the 535 in Eureka . We are all getting tired. i lose it for a little while but make things up pretty quickly...Drive off and sleep in the redwood forests…
Feb 2 nd . “$10 a day…”
Naomi's birthday. My daughter is 10 years old. sorry to be away.
We drive up on the beautiful pacific coast road. I call Naomi. Pass elks.. we pass totem poles…pass gully's and rapids…the scenic mountain route…but it sets us back…pass ”blue star” gas trucks!…arrive at Sabalas in Portland a little late…but they were cool…pick up the latest merch delivery from the promoter Derek.
Really great people and club. Meet Jett Black and Sonya again…see the 3D sidebar!… a great night. Stay with Paul and all his toys…
Feb 3 rd.
Down to the Ozone UK record store to see Derek and sell him tour shirts for the store!… eat and then leave for Seattle . . Meet with the promoter Mike from Musicwerks at The Vogue. Back to that mexican place we first visited when we were over for Convergence 6. (memories...)Meet Mike, Eric, Cathy, Vekquin…a good show…High Blue star open again… begin our longest drive off through the night to Salt Lake City In shifts. Brian and Sim take the graveyard. Missing car wrecks and coyotes in the Rocky mountains (or so they say! )…
Feb 4 th.
Me and Laurie take over the day shift…(I'm riding shotgun…I don't drive…) tired. Tired. Antifreeze pipe bursts. Bags get wet. Wake Brian up for repairs…. Arrive at the Urban Lounge in SLC exactly as per contract! 6pm… no-one there…we can't sound check until 10pm!!!! (as there's a restaurant next door).. Me and sim go looking for food and beer in the SAME venue. No luck in this town.
Not a friendly club staff…”there's some band from out of town on tonight….”… yeah. Out of country perhaps. 2 drinks per band member all night...until i kick up a fuss... Violet Run open. Some long time fans make it fun. hello Alicia. Smoke machine packs up…
Drive off in the night to echo canyon…
sleeping with the ghosts of pioneers…
Feb 5 th.
Janine's birthday.I call and miss her. Leave a message. We're still leaking anti freeze…and we lost the petrol cap over night. “3 wheels on my wagon…”. arrrrrrrgh. We arrive at Denver. they were worried we weren't going to make it. Café Netherworld. Great club. handed many beers as we check our emails… Earline and Matt take us out to eat Tempura.A good show. Lots of fans. Guy on parole has to leave for his 10pm curfew!… Earline gets drunk. We finally leave…
Feb 6 th “….and a lot of them get it!…”
Run into snow storms and freezing rain in Kansas. don't think we will make Kansas City... see teenage kids driving a police car?!…we arrive late at the club. El Torreon. It's seen better days. No bar..We get a buy out. Drink illegally in the bus. Line check and play. More hardcore fans…we find out there's an aftershow party. We're too wastedfor that by now.
Feb 7 th.
Drive to St Louis . Meet Lauries mum…. Get to old friend Lord Ben's place and meet a crucified elmo once more. Eat Thai and hang out for a CD release party at Requiem in an old church… a much needed rest of sorts…! a day off can make a difference...
Feb 8 th.
Off to Chicago . Still no word from the booking agent on the deal for this show at the Bottom Lounge…!!! We talk with the promoter and agree a fair door deal….meet Luke, our old friend from the Invisible days..and Chris from Undergroundinc…they pay for dinner at the Indian buffet…meet Scary Lady Sarah again…a good show…snow storms approaching so we leave overnight for Minneapolis …I i begin to feel ill again…
Feb 9 th.
Minneapolis and “home..” after 5 weeks it feels like it. I have a stomach virus…i thought it was food poisoning until Laurie and Brian get it a few days later… i am really ill…in bed all day…being sick. Sleep in van and crawl out for the show at Triplerock…a great club.… we meet the apox folk but I can't talk to anyone….aaargh again…
Feb 10 th.
Up. Still ill. Go for a last coffee with laurie and Brian. Make plans. Pack. Drive to the airport. Flight's on time. An overnight flight to Chicago and then London Heathrow.….
Feb 11 th
Flightlink. England hasn't changed. Coventry either. A final taxi home. Now let's try to sleep….
Until the next time…
The tour was a real success. The best we have ever done. After four years it was going to be a challenge to rebuild our fan base in the US and despite some problem shows… we had our best ever response to our live performances…did a lot of press on the tour and since we got home…the merchandising did very well which meant the tour covered it's costs…and that's no mean feat in this day and age.
Our collaboration with High Blue Star worked really well indeed and since the tour we brought them over to play the UK …We will be working together again soon…
Everyone involved worked really hard to make this work...i have to thank Brian for service above and beyond....
Thanks to everyone who was a part of this wonderful experience.
Martin Bowes. Coventry, England. 2005.
mp3. Dreamcatcher live from the Dna lounge an Francisco. Jan 30th 2005.
live review. Bar Sinister. Hollywood. Jan 29th. 2005