On the basis of evidence so far this season, it seems that Old Blighty and The Land Of The Free are pretty evenly matched this year in the game that you refer to as Soccer, and I as Football. As we rolled into an unfeasibly hot Memphis, Tennessee, despondency turned to despair as we watched England shuffle towards a 1-1 draw against the USA team. We devoured the last crumbs of our humble pie as the States scored a goal that our poor new goalie will not be allowed to forget for some time.
In an effort to raise our spirits, Kristian and I attempted to kick a ball around (we’re not sporting types) on a roughly ploughed lawn opposite Minglewood Hall, and lasted maybe ten minutes before we gave in to heat exhaustion. Football’s more difficult than it looks.
One thing America indisputably does do far better than the UK, however, is heat. Although now familiar with the routine of following blistering heat with Arctic air-conditioning, it still felt very odd to us to be experiencing ninety-degree warmth at two in the morning, as we did in Memphis the other day, but forgive me – I’m jumping ahead of myself…
After the Gomez tour, way back in March, Pete & I went home for a couple of weeks, Kris to Hawaii, Jamie to LA. Suitably refreshed, we reconvened in New York and spent a week doing radio shows and various bits and pieces, including joining the hilarious Bob Schneider and his lovely band once again for a support at the Bowery Ballroom, followed by a great show (and great sweet potato fries) at our old haunt, the World Café in Philadelphia. New York, Denver, and Vegas followed, with a show supporting Train in Seattle.
On to LA, San Diego, and finally Coachella festival in Indio, which was a long, fun-filled weekend. Other band highlights for me included Them Crooked Vultures (inspirational seeing Jon Paul Jones rocking out and having a great time), Faith No More (what a voice!), Thom Yorke (percussive and vital, with the brilliant Joey Waronker on drums), Muse (best sound of the festival – straight from the first song) and finally Imogen Heap (total highlight for me – chaotic and dotty, she had a packed tent enthralled by her colossal talent. I can’t wait to see her again).
After a whizz around San Diego, Tuscon and Phoenix, Arizona, and finally a great show in Portland, Oregon with Jackie Greene, we returned home again with just enough time to vacuum our dusty homes and to remind loved ones that they still love us (once they figured out who we were and why we were helping ourselves to the contents of the fridge).
Having paid all the bills for the utilities we haven’t used, we flew straight to Miami and stayed in a hotel that had featured in Miami Vice and Scarface. We enjoyed a leisurely few days that began and ended with swimming in various warm seas, including a great, dysfunctional family day out at the beautiful Beachwalker beach in South Carolina (apparently a top 10-rated US beach), before joining Michael Franti and Spearhead for their US tour.
We’ve always lucked out with everyone we’ve toured with so far, but we really couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome by Michael and his band and crew. Within the first couple of days, we were invited to join them in the wonderfully laid-back town of Raleigh, North Carolina, for one of their pre-show gigs they perform outside the venue for fans when the show is sold out, which saw Michael join us on impromptu drum duty for a rendition of Kandi.
Highlights for this tour include playing at Governors Island – a tiny island that’s a four-minute ferry ride from Battery Park. It was great playing an outdoor gig with the Manhattan skyline to our right. Pete insisted on the audience singing happy birthday to me, which was nice, even though I’ve always felt that the happy birthday song is a little too long for all concerned.
The day ended with the first of many barbeques this tour on our little Hobo-beque, followed by Pete and I sleeping under the stars in a car park in New Jersey due to the tourbus generator breaking down, rendering the bus as hospitable as a sauna. Bizarrely, it was one of the best nights sleep we’ve had so far.
Then Toronto, Canada; NYC; Boston; Essex Junction, Vermont: Hunter, NY (Levon Helm rocked); Detroit, Royal Oak, and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Memphis, Tennessee; and finishing the Franti leg of the tour yesterday in Kansas City.
Now, it’s a long-held tradition for the support band to suffer some pranks and japery played on them during the final gig of the tour, and Spearhead and crew didn’t disappoint. Mid-UFO we were stage-invaded by the guys sporting wrestler’s masks, with Franti dressed as a large, dreadlocked chicken. They’d fashioned a handsome One eskimO superhero cape that they pinned on Kristian, as he and Jamie were hoisted up onto the shoulders of what appeared to be members of Slipknot on a budget. Those who have difficulty visualizing this scene should view the link below.
The night ended with hearty farewells and an almighty storm that certainly helped break the awesome humidity. I dropped my phone outside the bus that night, and was astounded to find it in a puddle the next morning, still in perfect working order.
We’ve now returned to Saint Louis, Missouri for the second of our own run of gigs, and are very much looking forward to it. Please feel welcome to join us and supply your own wrestling masks. The dates are up on www.oneeskimo.com and www.facebook.com/oneeskimo
Collectively we have also enjoyed writing more on the road, discussing the next single (?), spending most of our money in Whole Foods, spending the remainder of our money on the buzz of winning new instruments on eBay, followed by the logistical headaches that ensue in figuring out where to get them sent, Pete introducing us to the culinary delight that is frozen bananas, and Jamie and Daniel apparently substituting sleep for The Wire.
As a farewell treat, I’d like to share with you this amazing clip of fantastic bass player and great friend of the band, Mr Jimmy Sims, for no other reason than that it’s possibly the most hilarious thing I’ve seen this year. I won’t ruin the surprise, but keep an eye on Jimmy’s magnificent entrance from the right of the screen in the first ten seconds, whilst playing for Mika. Enjoy!
See you out there!
Adam : )