Part 6 of our exclusive Ruts DC tour diary incorporates the best show of the tour so far and a bottle of Werthers vodka. Photo right: “Ruts DC tear it up in Wolverhampton”. Find Part 1 of this series here.
The madness continues, beneath the dreaming spires. Segs Jennings regains consciousness…
Ah… Woke up in my bunk, on the tourbus. I guess we’re in Cambridge!
First thing usually is, “Wheres my phone?” Second is, “Whose is that arm?” It’s always mine, but this morning it’s slightly numb. Oh god, have I had a…? But no, fingers are moving. I’ve just been sleeping on it. That means two good arms to… search for my phone!
And so… another day begins and in my own private way I guess I give thanks. Life is good right now. I’m really enjoying doing these Ruts DC gigs and by most accounts, so are the people who have been attending. All good.
I meet Ruffy in the rather narrow corridor and we say simultaneously “Morning… breakfast?” This usually means a two hour meeting. We’re running the whole shebang with some kind help from our closest and more trusted compadres… Press 1 for Ruts DC management, 2 for Sosumi Recordings, 3 for Merchandise etc. We’re really liking the D.I.Y. aspect though. Complete Control as the song says. It’s tiring though, as we head off to another 90 minute interview and onwards to soundcheck.
The gig is a good one. Personally, I really enjoy it (again). The band are sounding great, Molara is on form. We segue Love In Vain with Police And Theives by Junior Murvin who sadly died a few days ago. This was such a huge tune for us back in the day. I still like the Clash version too though.
I go to catch some of the Damned and ask a friendly watcher if they’ve played Love Song yet. He replies, “Yes, just about at the same time as I found out that Nelson Mandela had died.” What??I rush back to the bar to pass on the news to my close friends who have come to see us. We discuss and all agree that, although a very sad loss to this world, if anyone deserves to rest in peace… it’s Mr Mandela.
Free at last, Free at last.
Forward ever, backward never.
Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
Hello readers. It’s morning, off the bus and into the hall. The dressing room is warm, and Mark the promoter is bringing in kettle, towels and the rest and there is WiFi… result. Apparently the tickets are going well and it’s a bit of a Damned stronghold.
I love the Midlands. I realise it’s a lot of different areas divided seemingly by football affiliations, but as an outsider, I generally find the folks here a friendly bunch.
A lot of great bands and musicians hail from the general area including Black Sabbath, Steel Pulse, John Bonham and Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin, Slade, Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne, Kevin Roland, Christine McVie, Pete Williams, Edward Elgar and more recently The Twang.
I have some some good friends from the Birmingham / Black Country area, a couple if who are coming to the show tonight, namely Mick Laffoley and Pete Williams who I have had the pleasure of working with in Dexy’s.
During the day I go walkabout and I find Yates (for breakfast), “Costa” for the coffee fix and on Darlington Road “Oldies Unlimited”, a shop with a huge collection of vinyl. I go in and find a few things, but decide to return at a later date due to bus travel and space limitation. A couple of doors down is “Commando” selling essentially army surplus clothing and paraphernalia. They have some great stuff, good quality “Alpha” jackets, goatskin lined Russian officers’ overcoats, U.S. Navy issue Pea Coats. I have a lot of them already but reckon I can probably smuggle another one home! I try on a pea coat. It’s a good fit and at 69 quid it’s quite a bargain!
I chat with the lads in the store. It transpires they had the Cult play there recently and vocalist Ian Astbury, (who is quite an expert on militaria), was “putting them straight” about certain military items. (I remember back in the day a young Mr Astbury used to follow us Ruts on tour and we gave him hotel floor sleeping space on a couple of occasions.) I ask if he’d bought anything- “A beanie hat for £1.99” they replied.
My wallet didn’t get off as lightly and I leave store with Pea Coat, a pair of extremely moody aviator shades, some clip-on shades, 3 t-shirts, a black Russia Cossack fur hat and a complimentary hip flask (thanks guys).
Back in the dressing room I talk to Molara about the blog and ask if she’d like to contribute and had any thing to say. “Bollocks”, she says cheerfully and when I reminisce about a meal Segs and I treated ourselves to at “Jamie Oliver’s Italian” in Cambridge the previous day her comment was, “What a pair of ponces!” Oh well, as the saying goes: “You can take the girl out of Manchester, but you can’t take Manchester out of the girl.”
After soundcheck Segs, Nick and I decide we need food and drink. We find both in peanuts and Black Country Ales at the Lych Gate Tavern; a charming pub tucked away from the main drag. It’s a tiny bar rammed with drinkers and 5 staff behind the tiny bar. I get served in seconds. (BFG- Bradley’s Finest Golden by Black Country Ales, 4.2%). The bar lady lets me know there’s an upstairs room we find three stools at the bar. The BFG is a wonderful thing!
My buddy Mick calls. He’s driving in from Kings Heath to Birmingham, 10 minutes later he arrives looking sharp, kind of a rockin’ peaky blinder. He has brought a bag of goodies with him for the tour bus – several bottles of wine, a box of liquorice allsorts and a Terry’s chocolate orange. What a bloke! Just time for another BFG and we head to the gig for tonight’s onslaught.
We are onstage at 7:50, but at 7:40 when I take a look into the hall, there were not many in yet. When we hit the stage ten minutes later it’s rammed! Tonight’s gig is just the bomb!
Sometimes you know within a few bars that it’s gonna be a bit special, the adrenalin is pumping and the crowd are with you all the way. It’s quite a powerful thing when it’s like this. I’m not sure exactly how it works, but the vibe between the band and the audience is two way traffic for sure. It’s like it’s our job to play the tunes as best we can and convey the music and lyrics and even the chat in between as honestly as possible, the energy comes off stage and when the crowd are with you the energy comes back in a kind of loop. It’s hard to describe, but if you have ever felt it I’m sure you know what I’m talking about! So thank you good people in Wolverhampton. Tonight it was amazing!
Phil from “BUG” and Annette are here, (regular readers may remember them from the “Day 6” Leicester blog concerning Werther’s Original vodka shots). He and his wife have kindly made us a bottle or Werther’s Vodka (see pic).
I pour a large one and watch The Damned. I’m still buzzing though, so I go to find my buddies Mick and Pete. I find Mick by the merch stand with a chap I recently met called Mark Purcell. He is an extremely talented tailor, a rare thing these days. He is making me a pair of strides (trousers) at the moment with some tweed fabric I picked up on a trip Harris in the Scottish Highlands a few years ago. My first fitting is in January so I’m saving my pennies for them. He made a terrific suit for my pal Pete Williams, a founder and current member of Dexy’s, who I now meet in the bar. Pete is an extremely cool bloke. He looks great and is a fine singer and musician.
It’s great to meet up with your friends from outside of the tour, it helps keep your feet on the ground! So big up to Mick L Tim J and Pete W.
At the end of the Damned’s show I go to the merch stall to meet, greet and sign a few bits. See some friendly faces old and new. It’s not long though before the bouncers are herding folks out in to the street. I’m saying thanks (for the Werther’s vodka) and goodbye to Phil and Annette and we get rudely shouted at by some fool of a bouncer. I’m severely pissed off, but Phil talks the goon down. Well done mate! Security is a part of any gig but the best security use their brains rather than brawn!
Phew what a night, back to the bus and drive overnight to Scotland!
Over to Segs…
Crikey… now it’s getting scary. The last 2 gigs have been amazing!!
Wolverhampton was just packed early for our show. The word seems to be getting around that Ruts DC are an essential part of the show and I want to thank those who have attended so far.
We love it in The Black Country / Midlands area. The people care about people, and although I’m blessed by knowing some of the finer inhabitants of the south, it’s always inspiring to travel North. And for those of you who have never ventured up past the Watford Gap… it’s a must !
Sadly, most members of our beloved Government in London Town actually dont give a f..k about “The North”, let alone try to understand its needs. However, the people (that I meet at least ) are so used to this state of play that they just get on with it… and still manage to be friendly to us Southerners (although Ruffy was actually born in York).
Before the show, he, me and our genius soundman, Nik Diezel, go to a little local pub by the church (billed the oldest place in Wolverhampton). Packed with friendliness, we select our ales and within 5 minutes it turns out that a lot of the customers are there to see the show. More importantly, they’re coming to see us! Happy days .
Back at the gig Leigh presents us with the bottle of Werthers vodka… made and donated by our good friends (thanks again guys.) It certainly makes the show go with a bang, as we incorporate the aforementioned bottle into the more slapstick side of the onstage antics…
For me, it’s the best show yet. Totally reflecting the fact that the crowd is the best yet.
I suppose nothing can be TOO good????
The previous edition of this series can be found here.
All words by members of Ruts DC. This feature was sourced by Phillip Thompson. More writing by Phil on Louder Than War can be found here and you can follow Phil on Twitter and check out his band Bug at their website.