Saturday, March 01, 2008

A lot to catch up on!

Oh mon deux! We haven't updated the blog for ages! What's happened? Loads of great stuff, so much we didn't have time. Well that's our excuse anyway and we're sticking to it...

Where have we been? Gosh, don't know where to start.

We were just in the US again. Washington DC and then LA. So I'll start there...

DC was great as usual. The burgeoning swing scene is kept rolling mainly by Tom and Debra and their team;
We played at the beautiful Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo park in Maryland - one of the biggest original art deco ballrooms. Then we were at the Carlisle club, a new venture for gottaswing. Its a very nice supper club where you can dine and dance and even dress up for the occasion and it was sold out with standing room only.

Then we hit LA. The night we flew in we didn't have a gig so we took advantage of this rather unique opportunity and actually went to another gig to watch someone else perform for a change. We headed on down to Safari Sam's on Sunset Boulevard for a three band Western Swing extravaganza. Marty Smith and his Moonyhams, the Lucky Stars (featuring our mate Jeremy Wakefield - genius of the steel guitar - who is on our new album "Recipe for Rhythm") and the Hot Club of Cow Town. I have wanted to see them since we got their album a few years back. The Lucky Stars are great - one of the most original sounding bands I have heard and nearly all their own material too. Hot Club are just high energy (which of course we like) virtuoso hillbilly, western swing meets Django Reinheart and Stephen Grappelli. A fantastic and unique blend.

For our first actual gig in California this time we played at a new venue for us in Thousand Oaks. There were some great dancers, many from Moorpark College, and when we hit 'em with Sing, Sing, Sing they hit the floor for a great jam up. Then we played at Rusty's in Playa Del Ray by the beach and had the obligatory Fat Burger - which by the way is in our contract. Fat Burger are the best burgers, they're cooked to order and fresh and have the best music on their juke box! They have also been "converting vegetarians since 1952", apparently. Then it was back to Pasadena for the PBDA (Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association) which was extremely well attended with the parking lot (that's the car park for us British chaps) taking the excess as people alternated dancing and getting some air and refreshment.

Our favourite thing about the trip is that Toni Elizabeth Prima (who is also on the new album), brought her mum, the legendary Keely Smith, to see us - twice! And Keely is so nice. We got on really well and she came to visit us and hang out at the studio while we were recording. For those who don't know, Keely Smith and Louis Prima you had better check out youtube...and remember King Louis in the Jungle Book.

Keely is still singing and sounds great. She was in LA performing on the Grammy Awards. It was the 50th anniversary of the Grammies and she and Louis won one of the first Grammies in '58 for "That Old Black Magic" so she was on the show singing the winning song with Kid Rock and presenting one of the awards.

While in Hollywood we were in the Mad Hatter studio again recording three new songs for the next album. I know the latest one hasn't been released yet but one has to think into the future you know. (By the way "Recipe for Rhythm" is done and will be out soon - its amazing how long it takes to get an album into the market after you've finished it...exasperating eh?)

Anyway the album we have started working is gonna be fun. Its a little different and inspired by 1930s and '40s pulp fiction. You know, like the sort of style that inspired films like Indiana Jones and the Mummy - good action and adventure; loads of sci fi, pirates and cowboys etc...

Yes, there is a pirate song and our first "country" song, "Branded Outlaw". If anyone out there has any ideas of good old adventure fiction stories please let us know - or old pulp styled films or series etc. Also let us know if you like re-enacting (dressing up) as pirates, cowboys, WWII pilots etc for when we do a music video.

It was another great trip to the States and good to see all our friends - we'll miss you, and the weather, until we se you again in May. Till we meet for another great American milk shake, Cheers!

Oh and Hayley says "hello" (explanation; as I am sitting in Costa Coffee {which to any Americans is like Starbucks but with coffee} in Stevenage after a Say No to Drugs gig, Hayley, young and talented singer, double bassist and dancer, has been reading my ramblings and added to it, as you can see here - copy and paste it because one day she will probably be very well known and you can have one of her first pieces of writing..).