Monday, 31 May 2010

EWITFR...N! End of the tour.

I always intend to write a tour diary every day when I'm on tour. In the same way I intended to make a postcard for every show.

I bit off a bit more than I could chew this time though. So here are the edited highlights. I still intend to finish all the paintings I started too

I’ve traveled through nearly all of America since the last time I wrote.

We played in St Paul with our friend Raven whose band were brilliant. Whenever we play in the twin cities I inevitably get into a conversation about both the Replacements and the Hold Steady . This time was no exception and I ended up speaking to a guy who was convinced that his home address is going to be mentioned on the next Hold Steady album as it is literally the only place in the Minneapolis/St Paul area that Craig Finn has not put in a song yet.

After Minneapolis we played. Madison, Chicago, Detroit and Toronto with our friends Team Band. They were brilliant you can hear them HERE

It was nice to be back in Chicago with a different band. Art Brut played in Chicago so much last year it was beginning to feel like we were a local band. Chicago is a very generous place. Whenever I play in Chicago I get given some amazing presents . This time I got given a Replacements DVD, a Scotland Yard Gospel Choir album and a tin of exotic Vimto.

Vimto is my favourite drink (besides booze). I’d never seen this sort though.

It was just a delicious as normal Vimto.

I treat Vimto like a live giving medicine. I had intended to save the Vimto till the end of the tour but I felt so bad from all the booze the day after Chicago that I drank it the second I woke up. In my mind Brandon who gave me the Vimto probably saved my life.

We also played a few shows with The Grates who were great you can hear them HERE.

We played Philadelphia with the Grates. In Philedlphia we stayed in the most terrifying hotel I’ve ever been too. For days people had been warning us about it. I still wasn’t prepared though. It was the Motel 6 by the stadium. The lobby was full of people who looked like Dog The Bounty Hunter. We parked our van in a spot where a van had clearly just been broken into. Using the theory that lightening wouldn’t strike twice. When I was loading the guitars into the hotel some people in the lift asked me what sort of guns they were I couldn’t tell if they were joking not. We got the sense that something pretty shady was going on on the 15th floor. The next day Ian and I kind of regretted Not going up for a nosey about. The Rolling Stones definitely would have.

In New York we had a cartoon of ourseleves appear in The New Yorker

and I had a reunion of sorts with all the bands I'd played with when Art Brut did our 5 nights sold out residency at The Mercury Lounge last summer. We played with Murder Mystery, Phil And The Osophers and Les Sans Culloutes again and I bumped into Jeffery Lewis (pretty much completing the set) in the street when I was looking for a nice cake.

Finally there is a cat that has the same name as me that I met on Twitter. When we played in DC its's owner handed me this Postcard it had made of itself.

It is going up on my bedroom wall as soon as I get home to the UK.

I cant really remember much else of what happened. It was a pretty intense tour.

I started off making postcards for every show now I'm back in LA I'm going to finish the process. If you were at a show where I wasn't selling a postcard because I'd run out of time/canvas. You can email me at and I'll sell you one. They are $50 dollars each. I'll pay postage as it's my fault I didn't have them in time.

Friday, 7 May 2010

EWITFR....N North Dakota, Montana, Glasgow

The day after waking up in Great Falls was nearly exactly the same day again. Another thirteen hour drive although this time to a hotel in Jamestown. It felt a bit like the film Groundhog Day. And just like the film Groundhog Day, we learnt a lesson by repeating our day again. This time we bought food earlier in the day that we could heat up at the hotel.

Absolutely nothing happened on our drive to Jamestown. But I did see an amazing travel programme just before I left the hotel. It was trying to convince Americans what a lovely holiday destination Glasgow is.

I love Glasgow, but the programme wasn’t really selling it to me. It began with the presenter explaining that there were no special monuments or historical places of interest to go to in Glasgow, and it did this by showing clips of all the interesting places and beautiful monuments of Edinburgh whilst the voice over said,

“There are none of these things in Glasgow. It is an industrial city”

Next, the presenter was in a large shopping center explaining how it was one of the biggest shopping centers in Europe and how people came from all over Europe just to go shopping there. Then she added the disclaimer:

“Not for Americans though, the exchange rate is terrible, everything is VERY expensive here.”

So after clarifying that there were no places of historic interest or beauty, and that the shops were incredibly expensive for Americans, the presenter got into a taxi and asked the taxi driver her to take her to a well-known Glaswegian landmark. He told her that there weren’t any. Next she asked him what was the biggest change to Glasgow he had seen in his lifetime. He said,

“Well, the biggest difference for me is that it’s cleaner now, when I was growing up everything was covered in a thick layer of black soot.”

So to recap: Glasgow has no famous monuments, places of historic interest or beauty, it is very expensive and the biggest improvement it has had in the last 40 years is that it is no longer covered in soot.

I think if I had been in charge of that programme I would have framed it a bit differently. The presenter was very happy with her free hotel room, but that was about it. I would have just shown thirty minutes of amazing music: Belle and Sebastian, The Yummy Fur, Bis, Franz Ferdinand, 1990s, Ureausi Yatsura, Sons and Daughters, We Are The Physics etc. The commentary between the songs would be my voice saying,

“There has never been a bad band from Glasgow, the people here are brilliant. Go to Glasgow and have lots of fun, especially now that it is not covered in soot.”

I think that would have worked better.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

EWITFR...N Seattle and Great Falls

The show after Kennewick was Seattle. Nothing unusual or funny happened. It was just a gig in a bar with some people who seemed to enjoy it. We played with a band called the Tea Cozies. I really liked them. We swapped records with them. Theirs sounds a little bit like Elastica. Have a listen.

The next day we began our massive drive from Seattle to Minneapolis. It takes nearly three days of solid driving. The first day we drove 670 miles, which took about 12 hours. The landscape is just mountains or wide open plains. That can do funny things to your head. We arrived in Great Falls, where we were staying, at about 11pm. The only place left open still serving food was a fast food place called Hardees. The food didn’t look particularly appetizing, but as it was all there was and we were ravenous we went for it. Hardees was supposed to shut at midnight, but as it was a Sunday, whoever was working there had decided to shut up about thirty minutes early. We could see the fucker in there sneaking around trying to hide from us as our stomachs grumbled.

I think the long drive had made us go mad as when we got back to the hotel. Dyan wrote a strongly worded email to the company and Ian and I tried to eat instant noodles that we had cooked in coffee cups in the hotel microwave. As I shoveled burning hot yet uncooked noodles into my mouth with a makeshift fork I’d fashioned out of a straw and some coffee stirrers (Ian went for using biros as chopsticks). I got angrier and angrier I had to be physically restrained from going back to the Hardees and throwing a brick through the window. It’s lucky Dyan wrote the email. If it had been me it would have ended up as a death threat and the police would probably have become involved. Actually my email would have just been a photo of me in my pants using a pen to eat noodles with ‘you have reduced me to this’ written underneath it.

I’d like to say it was the 13-hour van journey that had made me so mad and angry, but when I woke up the next day I was still livid. Luckily we didn’t have time for me to go and vent my frustration as we had another 13-hour drive ahead of us.

If there is a lesson to be learnt from this it's dont make me hungry, you wouldn't like me when I'm hungry.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

EWITFR...N Tour Diary. Portland and Kennewick

The first show after California was in Portland Oregon. We played with a band called And And And, who were pretty awesome and had perhaps one of the drunkest and most confused people I’ve ever seen playing with them.

The crowd was pretty small, apparently due to a basketball game that was happening at the same time. As I’m sure you all know, if you were to look at a Venn diagram of sports fans and fans of conceptual pop music/reply songs, there would be massive overlap in the middle. In fact, it just looks like a perfectly-drawn circle.

My postcard went to a man called I think Ryan.

We stayed with more members of Dyan’s family in Portland but barely had time to sample their hospitality, although there was just enough time to be in their bathroom when they were trying to get ready for work (sorry). We were in a rush as we had an important radio session to get to in Kennewick.

The radio session in Kennewick was one of the most fun/surreal radio sessions I’ve ever done. We had to play our songs acoustically to a small group of disinterested school children without any monitors or way of hearing what we were playing.

I don’t know if you’ve ever blindly played a song that is an historically accurate account of Nazi-occupied France to a group of school children who look like they really want to leave, but if you haven’t, I recommend you do. It is character building.

Our show in Kennewick that night was in a booze-free coffee shop. So not only was the audience sober, they were very sober. It was a quiet show again, much quieter than Portland. This was not because of a sporting event this time; it was just because they really didn’t like us.

Bill Hicks has a joke about an audience looking at him like a dog that’s just been shown a card trick. I’d like to say that about Kennewick but I don’t think that would be fair to them. Looking into the audience their faces more resembled people that had accidentally walked into an empty shop, been greeted by a friendly shopkeeper (me), and then realized there was nothing they wanted to buy. Their faces all had a polite look, but one that was hiding a frenzied plan for escape. That’s fair enough, I don’t think EWITFR…N is for everyone and I appreciate them for trying to enjoy it.

We sold one T-shirt to a man that almost looked ashamed to be buying it. I didn’t sell my postcard. I’m saving it to hopefully sell to some one who really enjoys us. I’ve written ‘wish you were here’ on it.

EWITFR...N Tour Diary.

Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now are driving around America in a tiny white van playing shows. I thought I would write about it.


The tour got off to a shaky start. Ian was supposed to be coming over a week early to learn all the guitar parts but was trapped in England by the unpronounceable volcano. We ended up training Nathaniel from The Blood Arm to play the parts in case Ian didn’t arrive in time. Ian arrived the night before the first show and learnt most, of the parts the next day. So, we played our first couple of shows as a four piece. You can see some clips of our Echo show HERE.

It didn’t feel much like a tour until we left California. I pretty much live in LA now, and San Diego isn’t much of a drive, so we stayed in our own beds after the first two shows. And in San Francisco, we stayed with Dyan’s parents ate Julia Child’s coq au vin and drank their delicious wine, so it felt more like Christmas than being on tour.

Even after the show in San Francisco, we stayed with our friend Keith Boadwee and drunk a mountain of booze, but his hospitality made it feel more like a slumber party than part of a tour.

I’ve been making postcards for every show. In California they went to Janella, Mauricio, and Lee and Randy.

We also got to play with two of my favourite bands: Ezra Furman and The Harpoons in LA and Carletta Sue Kay in San Francisco.


The tour really began when we stayed in our first Motel 6, with all its cost-cutting effectiveness (tiny towels, no shampoo and no ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign being the main three). The no ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is the cleverest cost-cutting, as it allows them to hound you out of the motel from about 8am to make room for the next load of tired and confused guests.

In the vending machine of the Motel 6, I saw a drink called Squirt. Squirt has to be the worst name for a soft drink ever. It sounds so unappetizing.

“Can I interest you in a glass of Squirt?”

“I have a jug full of Squirt in the fridge if you would like to try some?”

“I’m sorry I only have some warm Squirt to offer you, I hope this is ok?”

These are all questions I’d be disgusted to hear. I imagine Squirt to have quite a brackish taste. Ian tried some though, and told me it tastes a bit like Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist, which of course just makes Sierra Mist and Mountain Dew sound like euphemisms.