Monday 13 May 2013


We stopped for the night in Fargo on our way to Winnipeg. Apparently you can have your photo taken with the actual wood chipper used in the film Fargo - it's just down the road and you can buy one of those silly looking hats with ear flaps to wear while you're being photographed. Or maybe you can rent one for the occasion, I don't know, but I don't think we'll be needing the hats because it's very hot outside even though there's a howling gale blowing, which is disturbing but perfect - when it comes to round here neither of us has driven north of Minneapolis before. We're a long way from anywhere we might consider normal and the weather is adding to the otherness of it all.
Before we head off up the trail towards the Canadien border we're going to venture into downtown Fargo. Amy has already been out - she discovered a Target and a Starbucks. It's disappointing to come all this way and they've got exactly the same everything as you might find in Watford or Washington DC. I was hoping to trade a couple of blankets for a Bowie knife and the various supplies we'll need as we head out further into the wilderness. The wind is still howling around the Travel Lodge & Suites here and I'm doing my best to be faintly terrified.
We had a great show at Schuba's in Chicago the other night. The situation was possibly more weird than anything Fargo and its environs can throw at us because we were sharing a dressing room with the two young acts who were doing the late show, and both of them were accompanied by a full compliment of parents. The one group, Skating Polly, who are all set to become the greatest thing to come out of Oklahoma City consist of two half sisters, one seventeen, the other only thirteen. They had a young balding guy with them who fussed around their equipment and repeatedly told us how awesome we were. I thought he was the drummer but he turned out to be the dad and tour manager. The other act was Emily Wells - she tours solo with half a drum kit, a violin, a lot of electronics and a very sweet boxer/mongrel dog for company. Tonight she had her parents with her.They were helping with her merchandise. They appeared to be a lot were younger than either of us. Amy's daughter Hazel came to see us and she said she felt old. The dressing room was cluttered with thirteen year old's homework and the youngsters tirelessly twittered right up until showtime - only a few tickets left for our show tonite at Schuba's with Emily Wells - it's going to be awesome. Let's make it a sell-out! Something like that anyway. I felt like a sleazy old git by comparison and I'm sure I said the F word in front of the thirteen year old.
Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers came to see us play. He raved about us on Facebook afterwards -
Just home from the most entertaining evening I've had in...forever. If you get the chance to catch Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby on this current short tour, don't think twice. Go! I thought Ray Davies, Neil Young, The Beatles (in a good way). Best night out in years. I was thrilled to bits.

On Saturday night we played in an old factory building in Manitowoc (that's us in the photo above). I still can't pronounce Manitowoc with any confidence. We had a great time with the promoter, David Smith, and his family. He introduced me to the work of Phillip R Goodwin. I'd seen his illustrations before but without knowing who he was.
I hope we see some bears on this trip...

Thursday 9 May 2013

Blood on the bar room floor. Well, almost...

We shared the night at The Lovin' Cup in Rochester last night with a beer tasting shindig and it wasn't a good co-bill. It was obvious that the Lovin' Cup management's first priority was to keep a crowd of  ignorant, beer-swilling morons in the place for as long as possible in order to maximise beer sales, at the expense of our concert. After the beer tasting they should have turned the house but they didn't. The woman who was hosting the boring and thoroughly pointless event suggested over a microphone that the beer tasters might like to stick around to check out the music and if they liked it they could make a donation if they felt so inclined.

Wow! Thanks a lot!

It's like saying - if you haven't got a ticket that's OK, just stick around, drink up and fuck up the concert for the people who have bought tickets with your incessant and moronic chatter. One ticket holder who remonstrated with a gaggle of  loud beer people got on the wrong side of the manager and was actually thrown out. We saw the commotion from the stage and assumed it was the people who were disrupting our show who were being made to leave. If I'd known what was really happening I would have been inclined to stop the show which wouldn't have been fair on the ticket holders, but they were already getting a raw deal. At times it was almost impossible to play, what with the noise and the fact that we hadn't had a soundcheck due to the beer event.and the late arrival of the soundman.

I don't ever want to play at The Lovin' Cup in Rochester again though I don't somehow think we'll be asked - they didn't like me telling their patrons to either shut the fuck up or fuck off. The manager sort of made that clear in a passive aggressive, jokey kind of way when he told us to pack up our equipment and get out.

I hope Rochester isn't an indication of how this tour is going to go. We've already had a minor catastrophe - as we were checking in to a hotel in Toledo, Ohio, this evening on our way to Chicago, Amy's electric guitar fell off a luggage cart and the head broke off. It's the second time it's happened. We're retiring the guitar and buying a cheap Danelectro. We're sort of wishing we could retire ourselves at this point but perhaps tomorrow night's show at Schuba's in Chicago will convince us otherwise. I hope so.

The people who had actually come to hear us play last night were wonderful - they stuck with us til the end and gave us a standing ovation which I think we deserved if only for not abandoning the show. Highlights for me included bouncing a marker pen off the soundman's head to get his attention, Amy's fabulously manic piano playing in the middle of Teflon Wok, and sweetly smiling at a table of office girls (who had already taken offence) as I said 'It's alright, I don't like you either'. I think I called someone a cunt too but I can't be sure. It does you good to misbehave once in a while.

I'll try to stay within the bounds of niceness at Schuba's but I'm not promising anything.