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Wednesday
Feb042015

The Security Project tour begins -- Part One

Liverpool, UK

It is cold.

Let me be grim for a moment.

For the moment I can only imagine that this band – The Security Project – has taken on the burden of redeeming some kind of cosmic frozenness. We seem to always be touring in the depths of winter and in the most northerly regions. During our last two winter rehearsals periods (twice!) all the oil in the heating tank where we were staying ran out. Middle of the night New York temperatures plummeting in our rooms. We've encountered snow storms across the North East and Mid West of the US on nearly every tour we've done. Now here we are in Liverpool (the Wirral to be more specific) and it is foochking cold. Sure, your Minnesota numbers are lower than ours here. But you get to go inside and warmup. Or take a warm shower and shake it off. Here there is no shaking and no warm shower. Inside our rehearsal space it was close to 40 F. 40, you say? Not so bad. Yeah, sure, it isn't 20. But we are talking about playing our instruments for 7 hours in this stuff. Cold enough that yesterday my fingers just said “Fuck it. We can't give one shit about trying to play the right notes. Good luck to you.”

Where we are the staying the heater keeps popping off – this morning it is off for good. But be careful going into the laundry room to flip the circuit back on or you'll let the cat in. The cat who promises to snuggle up to you and then attacks, tearing your ankle open. (So we are told. I tend to not want to test these things.) Along with the heater goes the hot water. This morning I was very excited to upgrade to the real shower from the tiny tub I had been splashing in the last two days. But nope. Woke up freezing to upgrade to an ice cold shower.

Thankfully I am not in prison where our singer currently resides. The other night, the glass of water next to his cot froze.

- - -

Our first performance is tomorrow and Michael Cozzi (guitar), David Jameson (keyboards, Eigenharp), Jerry Marotta (drums) and myself have been pushing our way through the tunes. We have had two days rehearsal here in Liverpool. The rehearsal space, itself, is an amazing experience. Part Kafka, part Cirque de Soleil storage locker but mostly, according to Jerry's sensibilities, we are acting as bit parts in the film Trainspotting.

The entrance way fully disguises what lurks within:

[rehearsal photos]

 

 

 

 

 

We are tired but doing remarkably well considering we hit the ground running. The first day we got through eleven tunes. The second, all the rest and ran through everything again.

 

- - -

Letting “grim” take a lower berth for the moment, I'll share what is the most exciting thing in my life at the moment. Our Berhinger mixer/monitor system. David has heroically put this puppy into our lives. It is, basically, an 8-space rack that is our entire mixing board (controlled by an iPad) and our personal monitor system brain. What this lets us do is plug all our sound devices directly into it onstage and then run a stereo output right to the house power amps. We bypass the entire mixing board at any venue and our channels are all pre-wired and pre-setup for every show.

But the super exciting part, for me, is that we each have control of our own monitor system – the individual mix that each of us hears in order to play the show. In practice this means about 90-120 minutes of faffing about onstage each day is eliminated. No more shouting over each other to a monitor guy (who we've just met and hasn't a clue about our instrumentation and what is going on in the music, and maybe doesn't speak our language anyway) about how to adjust our mix so that we can play. Our last tour together confirmed for me the archaic, and even primeval (emphasis on eeevil) time and energy-drainer of this old way of doing sound checks.

While I am quite a tech geek, the degree to which this small device is supplying me with joy is shocking even to myself.

- - -

We don't know the exact details yet – and perhaps no one ever will – but with some combination of: Scouser Magnetism, lot's of booze, a loud fight, two cops slammed against a wall and a suspiciously dodgy lawyer, all played together to land our singer, Brian Cummins, into a Liverpool prison for 9 weeks. Brian took one for the team by not fighting the charges with the full legal process so that he would be guaranteed to be out of prison by the beginning of the tour. The other alternatives had him potentially locked into the legal system over the whole winter, meaning we would have to cancel all the shows.

But of course nothing is that simple.

Over the course of the last two months we have been appealing to the Gov'nor of the Prison to pretty-please let him be released on house arrest for the last two weeks of his sentence. He would wear a GPS ankle-bracelet and be allowed to work a number of hours each day. That way we could still rehearse and play the UK shows booked for the first week of this month. This is very common in cases like this and we were told it seemed very likely.

But of course nothing is that simple.

Amongst many obstacles were the conditions of the hours of when you can leave home to work with the ankle-bracelet. The time is normally fixed for 7am to 7pm. So we would also ask for an alteration to this. If we could get the time changed for 3pm to 3am then Brian would be able to get to each of the UK gigs. We would drive back each night to his house before the sirens go off and the swat team arrives.

But of course nothing is that simple.

In the course of the negotiations with the very amenable Prison Gov'nor, there was a small riot and everything went under total lockdown for a week. No communication for about 10 days.

Time is ticking. Do we cancel the British shows or not? Brian was scheduled to be released in full on Feb 6, the morning of our first non-UK show, the one in Amsterdam. He could potentially fly that morning to make the gig. (Mind you we haven't even seen, or played with him for 12 months. But we are all well-seasoned pros here.) Or do we hold out in hopes that the Gov'nor will grant our early-release wish and everything can go as originally planned? When do we buy our airplane tickets? Now and try to change them if something happens? Wait until later and the fares go up?

In the end (or I should say, as of this morning Feb 5), Brian never did get early-release. So we are rescheduling the UK shows for the end of the tour (Liverpool completed already, with others still in process), we bought our plane tickets 7 days in advance and we we been rehearsing without Brian.

The plan is that Brian will walk out of his Liverpool summer-in-the-winter camp at 8am tomorrow morning. Get on a plane at 1pm for Amsterdam. Take a train to the gig. Walk in the door to sound check and we are off and running.

But of course nothing is that simple.

His passport expired while he was in prison. One of the many, last minute details that we all stack up until our final departure for a tour, Brian was expecting to renew his passport like a normal, law-abiding, god-fearing humanoid creature. But no, the fates conspired again.

So. Now. Brian will walk out of his Northern England lock-down. His, and our new, uncle Derek will pick him up and take him to the passport office. He will get an new passport made on the spot. He will go to the airport and fly to Amsterdam. Train to the gig. Walk on stage to sound check. Or if there are any delays, he will walk onstage to the first note of the performance.

The back-story, hero of this part of the story is our manager Scott Weinberger. TV-producer and ex-cop. And generally all around legal-system wrangler. He worked the system and connected the dots, as we hadn't been able to communicate directly with Brian except through his uncle. And even then very sporadically. And even then Brian didn't really know what was going on.

On another side note. As you might imagine, our Brian doesn't want to talk about it. So don't ask.

Really. He's from Liverpool, remember?

- - -

We have a few new tunes this time around. And the old ones are actually sounding better than ever. Even at 40 degrees.

It's funny how much I love this music. It's just music right? Just a series of frequencies jostling about with each other. And yet, not. If there is any solid argument against pure materialism it is the presence of music.

And here lies my personal theme for this tour. Where do the notes end and the something else begins? Especially when playing someone else's compositions. When you are performing your own realized vision it is far easier to feel the personal investment and aspire to the deeper depths. But with something pre-composed by someone else (all interpretation and re-arranging aside), the notes have already been assigned and are there just waiting to be played. It is, often times, very clear what needs to be done. And with clarity of the form you can easily feel like all the bits are already in place. But then there is that something else to aspire to, to wish for, to negotiate with the muse about.

- - -

3pm

The band is in now the middle of 24 hour trip that cost us $600. From Liverpool via train down to South East England to meet our tour bus for a four hour drive to a two hour ferry to a six hour drive, plus all the waiting in between. We have just figured out that the trip could have cost $400 and been only 2 hours – a direct flight to Amsterdam from Liverpool. Please, Great Slipperman in the Sky, don't let this become the theme of the tour.

 

Oh, and the tour bus that was set aside for us got front-ended by a tiny Audi just an hour before our arrival. So, we have moved to a smaller bus. 

I'm anxious to get to the point of all of this: the stage.

 

 

 

 

 

Train travel excitements.

 

Spying on my neighbor.

 

next diary

 

 

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Reader Comments (2)

Thank you... for the insight, for the distraction. Seems unreal, but there it is.

February 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Speck

Trey!
I mean Mr. Gunn!

Here in my small club in the middle of Germany-Bavaria nonetheless-I - we -
have had to remind ourselves of the aphorism-
It is impossible to achieve the aim without suffering--
repeatedly over the last winter-
Keeping the vision on the table-
to provide a platform for newcomer bands /obscure concepts -original ideas-
I came here five years ago with vim vigor material and dough-
was able to finally get the permits to get the small venue open-
after three years-
since april 2013 We have hosted 106 new bands /acts.

It lives Trey

But it fooocking cold.
I had to go to the gas station to get 10 gallons of diesel for the heater because we had a gig with 4 new metal bands.

our tanks have been empty three or four times this year.

But
it lives!
and is growing!
Naturally - from the inside out!

I am sorry if I am boring with this-
I just recognised by your brutally honest expose of your heart on your icy sleeve that there is some connection.

I should have gone back to selling used cars or something and I would probably still be with my wife of thirty years .

But the drive (neccesity) is and always has been stronger.
(Susan Sontag on expression and the job of the artist)

When the guys are setting up their instruments -
and the first true punters start walking throught the door-
Then I really do not remember anymore that I still haven´t paid the light bill-
or did´t eat yet today.-

So surreal sometimes---

I noticed you so many years ago in uncle Bobby´s guitar craft.
I had an invitation back then to take part at the beginning of all that in Switzerland-
passed n-o- dough then :(
Am an expat californian in Ger-

Ever since then I gained massive quantities of respect for the determination that you have to remain true to yourself / your artwork -
as opposed to prostit.....g your talent.
Please don´t see this as placation.

Rather as an acknowledgement.
And as a true offer of respect.

The big pot stirrer in the sky rewards perserverence-
I am not some religi...s nut
but who else is the free agent to turn to sometimes when its foocking freezin-
and the cashbox has an echo-

The last two years were a tale of two cities-

Scraping like a monk in some Herman Hesse tractat.

But the bands kept coming through-
sometimes the greatest of acts with 4 in words four customers
and average bands with full house.

At the turn of the year-
my request for the right contacts and materiall-
just started coming through the door
bit by bit
person by person-

now the structure is taking a more appropriate / competent form.
Admin / Technichal One of the best light guys in the state- graet friend Some of the best sound guys etc. as pals....

and the people that want to play here for hot dogs gas and beer
have five digit likes on fb.

I will probably have to go to the gas station on monday again to get heating fuel-
cause I cant order a large amount-
yet

But I know I will be able to soon because I know one thing for sure Trey-
We are neither broke- nor failures-

rather we are just not wealthy and successsssssfullllll Yet.

At that which we feel compelled to be and not that what is prescribed by some fooookers that suffer fr Dunning Kruger syndrom.

Never lose sight of your dreams - Grandma always said.

Because Hell is dying realizing your life was a fake.

Sorry about a couple of things Trey-
Such a wall of text from someone you haven´t personally met.

Sorry that I didn´t seek out sooner to shake your hand and let you know how inspiring you are for me.

I will be completing my somewhat larger venue 250 - 300 tickets this year-
I would run the place with my crew for free if that is what it took to save / Take in /enough together to get you and Jerry and your crew to adorn my project and world with yours.btw I Have Sponsors- AAAAnd I would never send men like you on a fools errand.
I am sure we could sell enough tickets -given enough headstart on time-

Next I would like to apologize for writing such a peronal letter in a comment / public forum.

But you my distant pal- set the bar-
by opening your heart-
and telling it like it is.-
life of the art worksman.

You can get ahold of me through FB startclubuff.
we are betwenen three major autobahns-
between Nürnberg Stuttgart and Frankfurt.
I have a nice place wher you all could stay.
surely we could work out the dough part as well
I would just need to Know what that would take in numbers.

There is a lot of talent here-
with open ears
and wallets


And I KNOW there a lot of people here who would love to see and hear you guys
your artistical statement
And would love to be a part of your trailblazing effort!

Now-
Forget all this!

Regards,
Your
One guy, alone,
tapping on his old macbook
Faithfully claiming the future!

take care bud

Hope to hear from you!

p.s.
My moms a Texan!

Greet Jerry and his garden weasel
p.p.s
The singer from MY last band is doin 8 somewhere-
these guys-
I love em all!

see ya
The gig offer is serious.
thx
R

February 15, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRick Venlo

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