News Update: August 1999
Half way through the US tour, Tull are briefly back in the UK to enjoy much-needed rest for some, and non-stop promo for others!
The US dates began in Hampton Beach, at the Casino — a glorified club with tables arranged in the Germanic tradition for the beer drinking fraternity to get neck-ache from, given the sideways-on orientation to the stage. Boston, the following day, was a relatively normal semi-outdoor tented gig by the harbour, and the tour felt like it had now really begun.
Opening act, Vyktoria Pratt Keating, braved the first few days, not knowing what to expect, but the crowd were respectful and appreciative of the diminutive feminine songstress with her quirky, creative music and humorous between-numbers banter. Andrew Giddings joined her on stage for the last few concerts.
The new record, j-tull Dot Com, was released on schedule and the recognition of the new material, particularly “Spiral”, was almost immediate. Other new tracks played on the tour, so far, include “AWOL”, “Hunt By Numbers”, “Dot Com”, and “Wicked Windows”. The “new” old songs department has featured “The Witch’s Promise”, “Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square”, and a few more oldies have been tried out at soundcheck for inclusion in the next few weeks. “Hunting Girl” has proved popular with the Americans the Jig from “A Passion Play” gets them clapping along.
With several outdoor shows in the last three weeks, there has been concern at the recent hurricane and tropical storm events, but luckily, only a couple of the shows have been adversely affected by the weather, and those had covered seating for the audience. After the worst of the weather days, in Baltimore, we chose to cancel flights on a small aircraft to Syracuse and opted for the long drive instead, with some of the band members going on the crew bus overnight. Better safe than sorry. See elsewhere on this site for the Wilkes-Barre story.
Given the enormous amount of promotional interviews which I have undertaken in the last few weeks, there ought to be a good degree of awareness regarding the new record and tour dates, and the record companies on both sides of the Atlantic must be congratulated for applying themselves to the task. Even EMI has kicked in with re-released catalogue items in the last week or so, and have helped out greatly with promotion for the US dates.
The record is doing well in Europe, especially in Germany where it is number 15 in the charts, whatever they are. Lots of interest from Eastern Europe and Scandinavia, and tour dates are now being confirmed for April/May, 2000, to take in Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Warsaw, Pilsen, Ostrava, Bratislava and Ljubljana. South and Central America are being considered for later in the pre-summer period.
A new single featuring an unreleased studio track, “It All Trickles Down”, is scheduled for November in the UK and possibly elsewhere.
Concerts dates in Europe are shown elsewhere on this site and Kenny Wylie and I are busy with the finishing touches to those tour schedules which take in theatres in many capital and major cities throughout October, November and December. January brings a welcome week off before the promotion begins for the February release of the Ian Anderson solo album, “The Secret Language Of Birds”. The artwork for SLOB was approved today and the master tapes go off to the record companies next week. US tours with Tull featuring new IA solo songs as well will be confirmed for the period of February/March.
The second half of this current US tour begins in Denver at a brand new venue, and the usual acclimatisation period of an extra day before the show (to allow for the mile-high altitude and the time change) will hopefully produce a good start to the rest of these shows. We get to visit Spokane, Boise and Missoula after Denver, and we pray for unseasonal warm and sunny weather, since the shows are outdoors and it could get a little chilly in the evening. If the old flute is out of tune (silver, not the pink one), then it will be the cold weather blues: the poor player can only puff some warmth into the thing, and hope for the best.
Martin Barre has been poorly of late, having been rushed into hospital after the show in Detroit, with a recurrence, they thought, of a stomach condition which afflicted him a few years ago. Back this week in England for a minor operation and tests, he is feeling much better and hopes to be back on the staple diet of goat vindaloo before too long.
Hope to see many of you during the next months somewhere in our concert series. Give us a wave from the front row.
England, 18th September 1999.
August 21st Update
Well, the new album, j-tull.com, is now released (on the 24th August) and should be available at all fine record stores, as well as from Amazon.com and cdnow.com, amongst the internet retailers.
Since returning from the Italian concerts four weeks ago, the various band members have enjoyed a break at home with their families, or vacation in more reliably sunny climes.
A considerable amount of promotion has been undertaken for the new record as well as for upcoming concert tours, with my spending countless hours on the phone to several countries, including the USA where the shows begin next week, (25th August). See elsewhere on this site for a full list of concert dates through to Christmas. I also undertook a week of US radio and press promotion in New York and LA, where I had the opportunity to meet with the folks at Universal Records who are distributing the new Tull material.
The enthusiastic, smiling faces of the staff there will doubtless be matched by the reckless spending of you, the Tull fans, who anxiously await the opportunity to help Doane with the cost of his new extension. So far, the surgery has gone well but the hem on his boxer shorts has been let down a foot or so. (30 cms., or so, in Euro-speak.)
I spent a day earlier this week in the fair city of Manchester, England reaching out across the digital phone lines to regional radio throughout the UK, and yesterday, I braved the face to face journalists of Paris, France. I returned late last night to my delightful rural hideaway in Little Futtock on-the-Weald, Uzbekistan, to tumultuous applause and the remains of the previous night’s take-away goat curry.
Martin Barre has spent the last week on the West Country sands with his son Cameron, who sleeps shivering in a meagre tent while dad, more used to the silky pleasures of the regal bridal suite at the Palace Hotel, Montreux, Switzerland, vacations nearby in a sumptuous rented caravan, champagne addled and lobster replete.
The new tour programmes arrived today and are winging their way to the US along with T-shirts galore, nicks, nacks, and the rest of the Tull backline equipment and instruments. Doane P. called me late last night (does he know how much it costs to dial Uzbekistan?) to advise me of his purchase of a stage prop which he will use nightly to make you all laugh. No, it’s not a drum kit, but a fabulous and clever, extending…….but, that would give it all away.
I have no idea where Jon N. has been of late, but the only brief communication seemed to indicate that his Italian is improving at an almost daily rate. Ciao, Jonissimo.
Andy G. has torn out what remains of his hair (he’ll be down to the pubic stuff soon) to salvage this website in the face of server problems. This is a kind of back-handed compliment to you out there, since the increase in traffic to our site has gummed up the works on many an occasion. Temporarily removing the audio files was a drastic and unwelcome decision, but we should be back on the cyber-waves, hopefully, by the time you read this. If not, then you must be standing behind me looking over my shoulder, having crept, unnoticed, into my parlour. Are you aware that an Uzbekistan immigration stamp in your passport means that you cannot gain re-entry to the United States? At least, not without a current New York taxi-driver’s license.
Watch this space in a couple of weeks for news of upcoming J-Tull TV and Radio performances in the US and Europe.
EMI, who still handle our back catalogue are launching a new marketing campaign to promote the re-release of much of our past work, so those of you having difficulty in obtaining older Tull records should now have no problem in sourcing the product listed in the new tour programme. Well, that’s what they promise me, anyway. EMI have been recently resourceful in setting up general tour promotion to back up the efforts of the two new record companies, so we are grateful for their renewed interest in the band.
I am taking a fancy new digital camera with me on tour, together with the necessary interface to our on-road laptops, so there should be a distinct possibility of your seeing regularly updated pictorial examples of shadowy backstage rhythm section figures in seriously advanced undress, as well as documentary evidence of brave but foolhardy Viagra-procuring expeditions in the seedier parts of town. And talking of seedier parts: Amun, the figure on the album cover artwork, has had genitalia duly restored on the front of the tour programme, and can’t understand what all the willie-wobbler fuss was about.
See you down the road, somewhere.