The Security Project tour begins -- Part One
Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at 12:52PM
Trey Gunn in Security Project

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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