So after Matt E left we had to sort some things out to play these shows. James, who has drummed on all our records and nearly all of our shows except the last tour, played guitar. Andy, who drummed on the last tour, remained on drums.
|live at Freakshow 2017, photo by Yetiz Back|
And our good friend Thom flew in from China and played extra guitar. After a lot of hard work and a couple of warm-up shows (PRESTON HAS COME OFF THE "PLEASE FUCK OFF" LIST, A RARE ACHIEVEMENT) across two months we went from being a creaking pissed-up ghost of a band to being, once again, a reasonably adept guitar group. Listen to Thom's mini-album from a couple of years ago. It is really special.
HOME AGAIN, NATURALLY
In the middle of the drive from Gigors-et-Lozeron to Paris, at approximately 5pm local, somewhere on the Autoroute de Soleil, in the third lengthy traffic jam of the day, with the temperature at around 30 degrees celsius, in a van with no air conditioning, having had 30 minutes sleep the night before, with seven other men all around sweating profusely, my mind started to scream WHY ARE WE DOING THIS THIS IS UNREASONABLE BEHAVIOUR THIS CANNOT GO ON MUCH LONGER.
Fortunately this was only a temporary deterioration in the mental condition in what transpired to be a fun weekend of shows.
Teriaki Festival in Le Mans asked us to fill in for Cold Pumas one day before we left. We like a challenge so we threw all of our carefully made plans up in the air and headed there and we're really glad we did so. Such a nice mixture of being incredibly chilled and also extremely organised.
|pic from Teriaki Festival by Simon Grouas|
Then we headed across the country to Gigors-et-Lozeron, getting lost once or twice, to eventually stumble upon the slice of heaven that is the valley where Freakshow Festival takes place. It is, admittedly, a heaven that admits a lot of moths, but we were happy to shared with our winged friends because the whole thing was incredible. Super line-up of bands I'd heard of and loved (Oranssi Pazuzu, Big Lad) and bands I hadn't heard of and loved (EVERYONE ELSE). If you're in a band and these guys ask you to play, play it. We all loved playing and we are a bunch of old and grumpy bastards. And if you're a fan of music or just good things, then go there next year. I'm going to try and get down for 2018 as a punter.
|moths backstage at Freakshow|
After this we were so tired that some people had to have their entire tent dismantled around them as they slept to get them to move. We had the worst van journey in 11 years to Paris (see above). But when we got there everything was bon and Supersonic was good to us and Harassment and Plomb were a ton of fun.
|photo by Blake Crompton|
Thanks to all that put us on or came out to see us or helped us in some way.
i. We're doing a split 7" with our new friends Harassment. We will record our song in the next few weeks and the whole thing will come out in Q1/Q2 of 2018.
ii. We're looking to release our debut album The Pyramid of Privilege on vinyl. Might need to remix it slightly to bring it up to standard. Again: 2018.
iii. There was a song that didn't make it onto English Martyrs because it didn't fit with those songs that will be finished and released in some form.
iv. The first press of English Martyrs is sold out. So I guess a repress of that. Our three vinyl releases have been picked up by L'Autre Distribution so they're a bit more widely available than when we last wrote.
v. no more shows for a while.
I don't think we're splitting up. I suspect that the line-up might become a little more flexible rather the solid quintet we ran as for the best part of ten years. Thom and Andy have been really great in the short time they've spent with us and James remains as versatile as they come. No point in being dogmatic, is there?
However, as sure as eggs are eggs, the band is taking a break from performing live for the next 15-18 months. We will lose our jobs and partners if we carry on like this. It would take something ridiculously special to make us change our minds. Over to you.
Martin also plays in Horse Opera.