Tawe Delta Blues Club, and afterthoughts
Last night was the final gig, at the Tawe Delta Blues Club in Swansea. The night before, I went to an open jam at Celtic Pride and met some great people. Groovejuice was there too, and we had a good jam (I got to play bass!) doing different stuff from what we've done on the tour.
When we got to Tawe Delta, we were told that tickets had already sold out (!) I don't know if this was actually the case, but it was pretty full and Louise and Terry, the promoters, were happy. Terry is Terry Williams, who played drums with Dire Straits and Meatloaf. They were wonderful people who went out of their way to make us feel at home.
The gig went great, with lots of support from the audience and very good CD sales. Next time, we GOTTA have tee shirts! We only did one encore, because we finished at about 11:30 and had a long drive ahead of us. Joanna and I went back to London (about 200 miles), and Cat drove with Groovejuice back to Morecambe and Carlisle, respectively (about 300 miles).
Quick footnote - yesterday afternoon Joanna, Cat and I went to Mumbles (the town where Catherine Zeta-Jones comes from, right near Swansea.) There was the ruins of a castle there, called Oystermouth Castle, but the big iron gates in the entryway were closed and padlocked. And, there were two people sitting inside in the courtyard. We walked around the outside of the castle, and I mentioned to Joanna "I wonder who those people know, seeing as how they're inside the castle and we can't get in..." We walked by the front again, and this lady said "Excuse me, but we seem to be locked in." I laughed, and she said "I'm not kidding. We paid to get in a couple of hours ago, and now someone has locked the gate - we can't get out! Can you call someone?"
I called the town council, and they promised to send someone in 15 minutes. Then I found a traffic cop (who was about to give their car a ticket) and explained the situation to him - he got a good laugh out of it. I went back and told them help was on the way, and the cop promised to check up on them.
I wonder if they're still there?
This whole tour wouldn't have been possible if not for the efforts of Joanna and Cat. Joanna worked very hard to find an agent in the UK who would take me on, and sent out tons of press kits. Cat Anderson decided to take a chance, and it was a big one. He didn't know what I sounded like live, and he didn't know if I would work well with Groovejuice (in fact, he had only heard them once on the high recommendation of Andy from the Brickyard). He called in a bunch of favors to get me gigs in prestigious venues, not the least of which was the main stage at Colne, where all the superstars of blues have played. He is a very brave and unusual man, and it was an honor to work with him.
Groovejuice went well beyond the call of duty in driving, sometimes for hours each way, and never complained. Frankly, the pay stunk and I know they lost money on the gas by not charging me enough, but hopefully this has paid off for them by getting them more gigs and some national recognition. They were professional and a pleasure to work with, and I look forward to working with them again on the next tour.
Finally, Storm Warning (the Eel Pie Club in London) are an excellent band. Derek, the bassist, didn't even DO the gig (Mike Porter did) and yet he took care of everything, even bringing his own amp for Mike and setting up all the details. Roger and Ian (drums and keys) are exceptional players, and really won the crowd over.
Thanks to all the people who came and saw us, and were so kind and supportive, and to Jonathan and Claire Walker for putting up with us in London and giving us the run of their beautiful home (thanks, cuz!) It was great to see my family again after almost 25 years, and being back in Great Britain has been wonderful.
But I'm still not going to eat Black Pudding, ever.