Tour Diary 1998 (pt.2) : In the Texan Heat
[Leaving Dallas and moving on ….]
We have it fairly small in the light of the police's activity, and it's a relief when the bus finally trundles out of town around 3am, but not before Billy takes us at 20mph along the extact route JFK took on that fateful day. We get to stop at the Book Depository, wander across the grassy knoll, and lap up a unique slice of American pie. It's actually quite a moving experience (as you'll see because I captured it all on video) and we go to bed quietly staisfied that there may well be life outside this routine.
And so, onto Houston. It's only a short drive to get there and I wake up to find us parked directly outside the venue, set in a seemingly pleasant part of suburban town. However, Billy assures us that it's not a place to be hangin' around in late at night as it all gets a bit weird & cut-throat. So far, things have been struggling to get into gear, and today marks the appearance of Matt Voss, UK A&R boss of the MCA wing. Thus, it's a crucial show for us as he's never seen us live despite being with the company for a year. He turns up around 4pm, when we're at our most industrious - computers and digital cameras are firing off and I'm busy with the routine of running new images into the live show for the night. I think this creates a decent enough impression, and we're all struck with the peculiar ability to string articulate sentences together, which is a combination that leaves him close to dumbstruck.
The venue's a good one: probably the smallest of the whole tour, but the stage is large and the Method crew are giving us some slack as they know it's an important show for us. The evening zips by, and the show is the first one where we pull everything together - it's still shaky in one or two areas, but in general the kidz get it, and therefore we get off on it. Matt is pretty blown away by the entire spectacle, and straight after the show is talking about freeing up finances to get us out of Camberwell and into our own purpose built studio. It's amazing how things can hinge on a 45-minute slice of action after all this time, but it really does work like that in this business, and he goes away to spread the word to the rest of MCA America, to whom he's giving a presentation tomorrow. Back in the venue Graham's got the bit between his teeth and everyone's on a relative high, so we attack the bar where a very obliging barmaid punishes us with half-pint Margueritas. It's also a good place to check out the Method show, which is blazing - the lights are fantastic and the kids obliging, if still an awkward mix of college and rave.
Jez & I take a wander with the camera, and then run into....Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), who must be a rock'n'roll god to anyone who's had even the most cursory interest in modern music over the past few years. The evening gardually disintegerates into gentle chaos and I find myself half cut, showering down in an absurdly opulent hotel room at 5am. Things are beginning to pick up - the pace of life has become customary and people are beginning to develop a keen team spirit. Even the three lampy's we now have in our bus aren't too much of a distraction - they work so fucking hard, all they do when they're on there is sleep. One on them has a mullet. Without a trace of irony.
So onto Austin and the shortest drive of the tour.....