We’re now up to the fourth missive from members of Ruts DC who are on the road with The Damned. Catch up on Part One, Part Two and Part Three, unless you’ve already read them in which case carry on with Part Four below.
Leicester O2 Academy
Yesterday was a day off so no blog. Segs left the bus to see some friends, Leigh got a hotel room and Molara and I went to London. Back today though, taking the St Pancras to Leicester train.
St Pancras station has a gorgeous structure. Recently modernised they have done a great job of combining national rail, shopping and the Euro Tunnel; it gives an impression of opulence with its champagne bar on the platform and bronze statues. I like the John Betjeman statue and the station’s upper level has the best station clock I’ve seen (see pic right).
Get to Academy around 3.30 pm. It’s a modern building in the university run by the Academy Group (or AMG) who in turn are owned by Live Nation. It feels really soulless and corporate and proves to be exactly that. They are paying our fee but neglect to put us on any advertising. Or give us any food, or towels, or even water. There are 3 Academy shows on this tour and they are the worst selling gigs of the tour. In Leicester I didn’t even see the promoter all night. In fact, I was informed of the show times via twitter.
I find back line in hall and set up drums in preparation for soundcheck.
The Damned finish soundcheck early today so we get on pronto and run through Society again (we will sneak it in to a couple of these shows) and we have a go at “Police and Thieves” as, sadly, Junior Murvin passed yesterday.
Soundcheck done, so Nick and I go for a quick look round campus for a bite to eat but can only find a burger van. Hot dog and chips, not half bad!
The gig goes ok. We played “Love In Vain” tonight and segue into “Police and Thieves”. The room sounds good, it goes down nicely with the folks and the harmonies work a treat. We finish with “In A Rut” and receive a big noise from a smallish crowd.
Leicester O2 Academy
After a change of shirt, Nick, Segs and I decide to go to a local hostelry by the name of “The Donkey”. Nick tells me he has done a gig there with Alabama 3. It’s a 10 minute walk away. They have live music on tonight. 4 bands! The 3rd of which are about to play. We order Guinness and single malts and retire to the back of the bar. The band are playing. The drummer overplays, I can’t hear the bass or the vocals, but it sounds like misery. Segs goes to get a round in and the lady owner by the bar says they are on the house. This happens again about 10 minutes later. We chat to a few locals, 4 of whom would have come to see the gig at the Academy if they had known it was on! They buy us shots of Werther’s original flavoured vodka. We drink them down as the last band come on. They’re called “The Dirty G’s”, a fine trio comprising of guitarist / vocalist, a bassist who’s a dead ringer for a young Weird Al Yankovitz and a drummer who looks like a young Jessie Hector from the Hammersmith Gorillas. They play great; the drummer plays simply and nails it, the bass player is locked into the riffs and is rock solid, the songs are really good, the singer rips the guitar to shreds.
Pretty soon we are joined in the pub by Leigh, who brings his mate Mac and Phil from the band “BUG”, and his wife Annette. We buy more Werther’s vodka shots, doubles this time! Well, the evening has turned out rather well, despite the Academy shenanigans, but it’s 1 am and they wanna close. We leave the pub and head back to the bus whereupon we retire to the back lounge. We are all feeling pretty good, the acoustic is out and it’s song time. Segs plays “Changes”, “Rock Island Line”, and “Ruby (don’t take your love to town)”. John (the Damned’s guitar tech) plays “Stray Cay Strut”, “Wuthering Heights” (yes really) and … wait for it … “The Phantom Of The Opera”. He’s left handed and plays it upside down! Around 3 am I go to bunk happy and sleepy. Tomorrow is Chesterfield … over to you Segs…
There is a story about Leicester with the Damned that has to be told. This is actually in the words of the great Paul Fox…
“I can remember (yes, I really can!) being on tour with The Damned. We were always playing tricks on each other, on stage and in the dressing rooms. We were playing Hull University, the penultimate night of the tour. The band decided to stop off at a farm, explain that we were a punk band and say that we needed some manure for our act. Amazingly the farmer gave us two black bin liners full!
And it was far from crap that night! When The Damned were on stage playing the song ‘Burglar’, their final encore, we decided to walk on stage with these two bags of manure and empty them all over the stage. Everyone was going mad including the road crew who wanted to string us up as all the equipment was smothered. I jumped into the audience to make a quick getaway but was promptly attacked by them. Luckily for me Dave Vanian pulled me out to safety. Rat Scabies got his own back by perforating all of our drum skins the following night…”