Please enjoy my music whilst reading this blog.
Over the years that I have been playing, I often ask myself which is the best moment. This, of course, is a tough decision, but certainly the events of the last few weeks have to be right up there. It all started last year when I went out to Edmonton for a few shows with my good friend Pete Turland
Pete has been a friend since an early age and during last year’s trip we recorded an album of mostly ‘Rockabilly favourites’ we both love. It was finally time to release this album and play some shows to promote it. What better place to do this than Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.
On the 19th July we woke up nice and early to catch the 9.40am flight to Edmonton. I was a little nervous this year because I had decided to use Air Transat rather than Air Canada. Thankfully, it was a great choice, they even offered us a special deal if we would consider giving our seats up and fly the following day. Very tempting, but I had a nice cold beer waiting for me, so I declined the offer.
After a very pleasant flight, we arrived safe and sound. Pete picked us up from the airport and we headed to his house where we would be staying for the entire duration of this trip. It was great to catch up with his wife Danielle and the young children. We weren’t due to play until the Wednesday, so we had plenty of time to enjoy each other’s company. After spending the last few months in rainy UK, it made a pleasant change to be able to sit out in the sunshine and enjoy the warm weather.
Wednesday soon came round and it was time to organise equipment for the evening gig. Last year I played a Sonor kit, which was the house kit at the venue. But not this year…I had been told before leaving the UK not to worry because I was borrowing a kit from one of the local players. It actually turned out to be a kit from the bass player’s wife who had just started playing. Not quite the Yamaha kit I’m used to at home, but it did a surprisingly good job.
The night went far too quickly and I enjoyed every moment. It was quite special when a guy came up to me and asked for a CD. “I heard it on the radio today and I love it” he said. Not something I’m used to when I’m playing at home. Radio stations in Alberta always support local bands by playing their music, something UK stations can learn from. It was a brilliant night and I was very pleased with my playing.
Thursday was studio day. If you have just read my blog from last year you will know I started an album with a fantastic country artist called Carla Rugg. Originally I thought I would be playing on just a few tracks, but she was happy for me to play on the whole album and wait for me to return to Edmonton to finish it off. I was totally made up with this and can’t wait for the album to be released. Of course, I shall keep you posted.
Friday was the big day: ‘The Pete Turland Band’ opening for Lee Rocker from The Stray Cats… I can’t tell you what this meant, considering I have been a Stray Cats fan since the 1980s. We were due to sound check at 4 PM, but unfortunately that was not to be the case. Lee Rocker was on a later flight than expected, so sound check was delayed until at least six. This was a little frustrating because the doors opened at 7 PM and we also needed time to sound check ourselves. There was no need to worry because the sound engineers knew their way around the equipment and soon had us sounding great.
It was then time for us to perform. Although I was very nervous, the adrenaline definitely helped to keep me focussed. The first track started with a drum intro;this groove must have gone through my mind a million times; concentrating mostly on getting the right tempo. After the introduction from the casino manager, I walked to my drums and blasted out the first few bars of a track called “You’ve Gotta Leave”. Any nerves that I had, quickly disappeared once I heard the massive drum sound coming through the front of house PA. One song led to another, and before I knew it, it was time to finish. I couldn’t believe how quickly the time passed me by, but I’d done it, and done it well. The rest of the evening was spent catching up with friends and signing CD’s. It was truly the night of my life. Lee Rocker was absolutely excellent; it was great to hear all the old Stray Cats’ numbers again. Lee Rocker’s band is made up of some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet in the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Especially Buzz Campbell, who insisted we should hangout and have a few beers. Sounded like a good idea to me.
I woke up on Saturday morning still buzzing from the previous night, but it wasn’t over yet. I still had one more show to play in Downtown Edmonton. The venue was called ‘Sideliners pub and pantry’. It was a small venue, full of great people, who were just out to party the night away. What was exciting about this place was the fact that we were to play for three sets. It was my last night in Edmonton, so why not? Being that we were going to play for such a long time, I knew that I could call almost every song that Pete knew. This made the whole night so much fun. I was on a roll, confident in my playing and the drums sounded great. Carla Rugg even made an appearance later in the evening. This meant she could get up on stage and perform some of the songs that we had recorded earlier that week. What a great end to my Edmonton trip.
Like all good things it had to come to an end. It had been a wonderful experience playing in Edmonton. Before we knew it Monday morning had come around. It was time to head to the airport for our flight back to London. Thank you Edmonton once again, it has been a very special time, I can’t wait to come back next year. I’d like to thank Chris who played stand-up bass so brilliantly, his wife for lending me her drum kit and also to Danielle and the kids for putting up with us in their home. But the biggest thank you has to go to Pete Turland for the long friendship, the constant support of my music career and for being the nicest guy that I know. It has been a pleasure to play with you sir!
See you next year!