"My Les Paul . . . wouldn't leave home without it"

"My Les Paul . . . wouldn't leave home without it"

"It's the one amp I've stuck with for many years now"

"It's the one amp I've stuck with for many years now"

"My Custom 22" . . . I've had it a long time, it's a gem"

"My Custom 22" . . . I've had it a long time, it's a gem"

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UNDER MY SKIN - UPDATE 

My new album "Under My Skin" is now mixed and goes for mastering tomorrow. I'm excited and can't wait to get my hands on the actual physical CD.

Lurssen Mastering in California have won several Grammys. They are have mastered the likes of Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa and the Foo Fighters, so my project is in good hands!
In terms of release dates, we shall hold off until end of February or early March. What I can disclose is that all major outlets, such as Amazon will take stock. Digital platforms such as iTunes ans Spotify will also be furnished.

I'm also going to try and convince the record company to offer a free download track, I think that could be quite cool.

Anyways, I'm on my way to Lithuania now . . . . . with coat scarf and gloves and a thick pair of undies! . . . . Brrr!

 

HOME AND DRY . . . . . WELL NOT QUITE! 

I'm finally home and I've enjoyed a weekend off!

Our Australian Tour went from strength to strength and one gig after another became something to talk about.
For my money we somehow saved the best till last? . . . . The gig in Bunbury really was something else, there's always something nice about a sellout gig, the level of expectation seems somewhat higher, and the roar after the first song really was quite loud and I knew then we were in for some night.

I stayed on an extra day after most of the guys left for their trip back to the UK. I had a few beers with Terry showing him a few areas of Perth he had not seen before in the lovely Australian sunshine.

Not often do I look out of the window on a plane, but as we left the runway on my way home, I couldn't help but look down at the ground below with a sentimental feeling. Australians had made our tour not only a success, but the Aussies made us really feel appreciated, and let's be honest you are only as good as your last tour, so I'm a happy man.
I know full well that plans will soon start for another tour of OZ and yes, we will I'm sure, try to play those cities that we missed this time round.

I arrived into the UK on a dark and dreary damp morning, but surprisingly quite fresh. I looked at the grey sky and for a few seconds reminded myself that, Australians like what we do and we like Australia . . . . so I guess, in the words of the LA Mayor . . . "We'll be back"



 

BEER FOR BREAKFAST 

I'm writing this blog on this bright and early morning from my hotel room in Perth WA.
Perth is my favourite city in Australia, but I like Western Australia in general, I love the heat! . . . . It also seems to me, to be just a little bit more relaxed.

So where did we leave off? . . . . Yes Adelaide; for me Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide was one of the best shows on the tour, the sold out gig was pretty wild for a mid-week show but the folks in SA, didn't let us down! . . . . We also had the longest queue's from the autograph hunters, which stretched out the main entrance of the venue.

We left Adelaide, for our gig at the Regal in Perth WA. Yours truly didn't realise it was a gig day and I was setting myself up for a day off in Perth (I must read the schedule) Anyways another bouncing gig in Perth, sold out and rammed to the rafters! . . . . . . Much change in Subiaco where the regal theatre stands, and the theatre too had had a little makeover to seats etc, which is a great improvement.

The day after the Perth gig, was morning travel to Albany . . . . . Heavy rain, lots of storm clouds and guess what? . . . . . I don't do small planes. The regional flight we were taking was on a 20 seater Saab . . . . . The weather didn't look good and at 11 O'clock in the morning I ventured to the bar . . . . yes you read correctly. I ordered a Carlton Dry Lager, followed by another and another and eventually another. I even had a beer on the plane.
Well? . . . . Was it a bumpy flight? . . . . . . How the f**k would I know I was half legless!!!!!
Now for anyone who knows me, 3 beers would be my total for almost the whole tour, but needless to say I sobered up nicely and and by mid afternoon after a small nap I was ready to go and back in the land of the sober!
The day after I drove back to  Perth with the support act guy, Michael, leaving early morning  . . . . 450 Kilometres later, we pulled up to a sunny hot Perth and I went straight to the hotel pool . . . Happy Days!

Today is Friday; We have our last show of this 2016 Australian Tour in Bunbury, I usually meet an old school friend here, so that will be nice. Very few tickets left as it stands, so another sell out look's like it's on the cards.

So . . . . . I best get up for some breakfast . . . . . and no I won't be having alcohol, I'm sticking to coffee today . . . . but once the gig's over tonight? . . . That's a different matter . . . . Beware Perth!

 

TURNING JAPANESE . . . NAH 

Brrrrr . . . . .  Cold here in Adelaide folks!
When we landed in South Australia yesterday we were greeted by a cold wind and with long delays to flights yesterday, it kind of felt like a long day.

When this Australian Tour was booked, there was negotiations going on to play New Zealand. In the end it never materialised, but we would have been heading over there next week, had that plan come together?  So I just want to say that my thoughts are with New Zealander's at this time of Earthquakes and turmoil in their lives, Smokie wish you the best of luck and hope things get back to normal soon . . . . One day we will pay a visit, I promise!

So; Since my last blog we have seen the Trump claim the White House . . . . . Not a fan, but hey! . . . . This is called democracy and we have to respect it, let's hope he can get the Great US of A back on track . . . . It's a country I love, so fingers crossed!

So what's been happening you ask? . . . . We played in Tasmania, Hobart and Launceston, two great gigs and I personally enjoyed my time walking the streets of Hobart taking in the sights and sounds that I sometimes take for granted whilst on tour.
Lots of sun in Hobart so I was firmly in front of the Lobster Lookalike Competition, feels great to look healthy though!
I ventured into the Maritime Museum in Hobart, which is run by charitable donations and Hobart has a huge boating history especially revolving round the Hobart to Sydney yacht Race . . . . There's a yacht in Hobart harbour built in 1942 that won the race twice, a feat never achieved since, being restored once again by charitable donations.

We played the Derwent Centre in Hobart. What a great venue, and a great crowd, who left their seats a little to quickly for security staff to catch them, in the end Security gave up and let Hobart lot get on with it!

On Saturday the 12th, Myself Mike and Terry drove up to Launceston, basically from the south of Tasmania back up north . . . . uneventful other than, an emergency wee stop for Terry who had to go round the side of the car after yours truly had missed the real toilets (I should have drove off and let all the tourists see an international rock star taking a piss on the main highway) . . . . just the sort of thing I love to do!
Launceston greeted us with grey cloud and rained most of the day . . . . I was seriously tempted to book a sunbed course . . . . Can you imagine going home without a suntan? . . . neither can I. Launceston was a great crowd though, Thank You Tazzy!

Delayed flight from Launceston on Sunday due to a technical issue on the plane and then storms into Melbourne meant the travel day was starting to drag . . . . I was sat next to a young stewardess who worked for Tigerair on the Melbourne to Adelaide leg and the Virgin Cabin manager came up to me and said "I hope your going to behave yourself"  What did she mean? . . . . I must have a mischievous look about me? the meaning of the adjective  mischievous is  "causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way" . . . . Ahh well in that case . . . . that's probably me then!

Last night I went out with the crew lads, had my maximum three pints and some Japanese food that I was not exactly overwhelmed with. I'm writing this blog from the 13th floor of the Hilton in Adelaide . . . .  Time to get out of bed, Time to have some food (Not Japanese) and maybe do a repack of my suitcase for the trip out to WA tomorrow.

LOTR . . . . . "Life On The Road" . . . . great if you avoid that Japanese shit!


 

NOBBY'S NUTS . . . . They're all the rage! 

I don’t like to say that one place or an audience is better than another, but sometimes you just have to do so. 
Mackay entertainment for me has been the show of the tour so far. The crowd, were simply brilliant and the venue itself is really one of the best sounding places in Australia. I left the gig via the back door quite elated and that’s a wonderful feeling any musician can have. 
  
Having had a good night sleep and a wholesome healthy “Brekky” we made our way for Mackay Airport, for our flight back to Brisbane. Whilst at the departure gates, a very appreciative women came and introduced herself as the mother of a young boy who was in the gig the night before. We all noticed him and she informed us that he had Autism, but just how much he’d enjoyed himself at his first ever concert. She told us that he can’t stop talking about his night seeing Smokie and that it has made a real difference to his life . . . . . How wonderful it is for us as a band to hear such comments! 
  
After our arrival in Brisbane, we transferred to our resort hotel in Caloundra. 
Caloundra is small town very similar to a UK seaside town, although very quiet it has to be said.   The Crew had decided that we should have a BBQ on our night off, so yours truly rose to the occasion . . . as I always do . . . . and I whipped up a menu of, Chicken, Beef and Kangaroo with a side salad of mixed leaves and melon, followed by a mixed cheese board . . . . washed down by 48 cans of XXXX Gold, 7 bottles of red wine and a chilled bottle of white Wolfblass . . . . . When we went shopping, I asked the crew lads who was going to drink all that booze . . . “US” they replied . . . . and you know what? . . . They did. 
  
Our second day off in Caloundra consisted of reading round the pool and recovering from our Mid-Tour Barbie. 
(Someone also informed me, that while I read and am oblivious to what going on around me? . . . .and  I scratch my nuts!) 
  
Our next show on the 8th was further north up in Maryborough. We decided to change our hotel, because we had an early flight to Darwin the next day, so we felt it better that we stay nearer to Brisbane Airport. 
With just five hours sleep, we made our way to Darwin, where we played to a packed house again. 
The Northern territory is home to many Aboriginal folks and they too attended our concerts in large numbers! 
  
Today we traveled from Darwin to Hobart, Tasmania. A long flight via Melbourne and we’ve just checked in to our hotel, some tired, some ready for a trip to the bar . . . . . I shall let you guess who that might be? 
  
Meanwhile  . . . . . I’m off to bed! (After I’ve scratched my nuts of course)

WE'RE IN MACKAY . . . . IT'S HOT! 

What a great start to our Australian Tour! 
  
Our first gig on this tour took place at the prestigious QPAC in Brisbane, needles to say it was rammed to the rafters and it was great to see some familiar faces. 
There was a small amount of downtime in Brisbane and we made a great decision to rent apartments for the first few days, so everyone could do exactly as they wished and do as they wanted with their time off. 
  
Our next stop was to drive to Toowoomba for our first sold out show in the magnificent Empire Theatre. We normally have a driver and a large bus on all our tours, but in Australia, we rent the most luxurious people carrier and I drive with Mike on navigation duties! . . . . . Martin, Steve and Terry, relax and complain about how low I have the air conditioning. However, we feel safe and it allows us to maximize our few hours off in the daytime and if needed we have a vehicle to do as we wish. We can also stop for food and drinks wherever WE like and that’s often entertaining, especially when we stop somewhere a bit rubbish and everyone blames yours truly! 
  
On Friday we flew to Rockhampton, an area that was severely hit in the floods three years ago, but great to see those folks back on their feet once again. 
Myself and Terry hit the pool for a couple of hours and caught some rays! 
Yet another sold out show, and the Pilbeam Theatre is a great sounding place and I must say really nice to perform there. 
  
Today we had a long drive north to Mackay in searing heat, so we had the aircon on full whack.  I kept saying to Mike, we’ll stop at the next place and then the next place, in the end we ended up at a roadhouse in the middle of nowhere, I bought sunglasses, Mike and Terry got coffee and then Terry had to relieve himself behind a tree, brave man round these parts let me tell you! 
  
After we checked in to the hotel, I went for a walk round Mackay and came across a Crocodile free lagoon . . . I was in swimming and after drying off in 32 degrees, I was back on my walk . . . . I’m enjoying this! 
  
Having done our sound-check at the Mackay Convention Centre Myself, Terry and Steve ate Chinese noodles sitting outside in the warm evening dusk, Terry ordering too much food as usual. 
Should be a great gig tonight! . . . . I’ll be back in a couple of days, so check back here for all our goings on “Down Under”


  
 

1st DAY IN OZ 

Long Long flight . . . . still, part of the job guess, but it was uneventful and boring. I've arrived a day earlier than everyone else, so caught up on some sleep and I'm glad to say body-clock is fine.
I've been out and got myself an Aussie telephone number and had my lashings of morning coffee. Weather nice and warm as you'd expect in Brisbane, so lots of walking, good job I know this city pretty well.  The rest of the band arrive in a few hours, so I won't be "Billy-no-mates" tonight!

Day off tomorrow and then we kick of the tour at the QPAC on Wednesday, which I shall look forward to. Keep posted for more fun and frolics from Down Under!

MY "DOWN UNDER BLOG" 

Great to have a run of shows like we have just had . . . . I love to get my teeth into a bit of hard touring!
Gigs in Ireland were especially good and i think recent TV appearances certainly help the profile of Smokie increase. I would also add, sold out shows in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Cookstown were welcomed and efforts of those TV shows felt worthwhile.

Anyone who got to any shows in Ireland would have noticed my use of my Dad's black Les Paul. I only use it when I feel I can keep it safe . . . It always goes back home with me, a very special instrument that means a lot to me.

At this moment in time, I'm packing for our tour of Australia. I'm looking forward to this trip as I always do. OZ, is without doubt, a special country and I love the diversity of the place. It's going to be a tough old travel with lots of flights, but that's part of the course and we just get on with it! Perth has become my favourite city . . . .  I look forward to many walks at the side of the Swan River!

Whilst on tour I shall have my "Down Under" Blog going on when I get the chance to write something so keep tuned and join me on a trip Down Under!

 

"THE CRAIC WAS MIGHTY" 

I genuinely love gigging . . . . I love traveling . . . . TV shows . . .  I can take em or leave em! . . .  However . . . .

It's a long time since that I enjoyed a weekend of gigs in Ireland so much, and when I say I enjoyed it, I really mean I quite loved it . . . . "It was mighty"

There is no doubt about it, Ireland treats Smokie as one of it's own, they have truly adopted us!  The gig in Galway last Thursday was a great night and in true Irish style "The Craic Was Mighty" . . . as they say in the Emerald Isle. Rammed to the rafters they sang and sang and sang.
We performed a three song encore adding Whiskey In The Jar and old Irish favourite. Anyways that set us up for and underwhelming TV Show in Dublin on the Friday???  Nope, quite the opposite . . . .

The Late Late Show on RTE is the longest running TV show in the world. Ryan Tubbrety the presenter mentioned about how Ireland have adopted Smokie and teased the audience with tour dates that were already sold out!    This TV show really was great and I have to say very enjoyable, can't wait to go back!  Twitter and Facebook shared our moment in numbers and never has so many swear words been shown on TV with the now obligatory "Fuck" in the chorus of Living Next Door To Alice"
Saturday's Cork gig at the Opera House had been sold out for weeks, so we knew what to expect, but yet again we needed a three song encore, Great venue, great crowd, great night. . . . . not long and we'll be back in Ireland with a show in Dublin at Vicker Street and two gigs in Northern Ireland in Cookstown and the Waterfront Hall in Belfast. We also have another confirmed TV show The Nolan Show at the end of October.

Éire a fheiceann tú go luath

UK TOUR DATES WITH SMOKIE 

I'm really pleased that Smokie have announced some UK tour dates, the first in many years!
One thing I love about a doing a UK tour is not having to fly.  I enjoy driving and there's no doubt at all, that the UK offers some stunning scenery especially Scotland.
I often bring out of retirement guitars I haven't used in a long time and often I give a new amp a run out.

Meeting fans in the UK is always enjoyable and many stay after a gig to share their feelings and enjoyment of the night, We often see fans taking time out from work to see several UK shows . . . . That's nice!

I genuinely hope the UK fan-base will support this tour (I'm sure they will) because these tours take a lot of putting together and finding theaters available when needed is not always easy.
. . . . .  Now; I best book some hotels!