Apr 2013 - And then there were (a different) three, plus recording news.
This month we've been working hard on recordings for the second album, re-jigging the lineup again and rehearsing for some festivals this summer. Also some photos from a couple of trips I made to Rome and Bologna, and video of an Unquiet Nights "rarity" in rehearsal. So, starting with....
» B O L O G N A - J O H N G R A N T @ A N T O N I A N O
I've been getting into the two John Grant solo albums recently (he's touring the second one "Pale Green Ghosts" at the minute), so when I noticed our friends at DNA were looking after his Italian dates, I had to go. I don't think many artists score a perfect ten on the songwriting scale in their career, on a par with Declan O'Rourke's "Galileo" or "Sarah (Last Night in a Dream)", which are 10's on my scale. "Where Dreams Go To Die" though, by John Grant hit me as a 10 when I first heard it a year or two ago.
I knew a lot less about him at that time, and as it turns out he has a very unique set of life circumstances to draw from in his songwriting, which he seems to do with a blend of courage and humor allowing many of his other songs ("I Hate This Town") to sit highly on the scale.
» B O L O G N A - P I A Z Z A N E T T U N O
While we were there, we went to see "Il Sacrario dei Partigiani" in Piazza Nettuno. In WWII, Bologna was a stronghold of the Partigiani (Partisan) movement, during which time Bologna was occupied. The wall pictured right is a shrine to the 2000+ Partigiani who were killed in the liberation of Italy.
I liked Bologna, there are a lot of high level music venues (Il Covo, Estragon, Bentivoglio, Locomotiv), so hopefully it won't be long before we're back to play there.
» Circolo Massimo, Roma.
On Saturday I was in Rome again, and went for a walk to the Circolo Massimo, from which you'll remember scenes showing the Italians reacting when they won the 2006 World Cup. Also in 2007 there was a massive free concert to end the Genesis European tour, they reckon about 500,000 people were there. I re-watch the "When In Rome" dvd every year, there's some pretty interesting/funny behind the scenes footage. Anyway if you click the picture below you'll get a video of "No Son of Mine" from that night.
» A N D T H E N T H E R E ( A D I F F E R E N T ) T H R E E.
Been playing with a lot of different musicians here in Italy this month, looking for Unquiet Nights v2.0. Well, there have been more than two versions of UN already, but in terms of the lineup for album number 2.0, we are changed. Rodger decided to leave a few weeks ago to concentrate on his freelance business, so here's wishing him success with that. The hardest thing about running a band, from what I've experienced so far, is planning a schedule around people's individual work commitments & financial responsibilities. Deciding when to tour and which dates we can collectively do, and which we can't. I hate bands who get the chance to tour and make records professionally without being tied to a job, and they still find reason to complain. That's the killer, but UN was designed to survive all of that in the end, as great bands need to do.
I'm playing now with Francesco (left) who's got the useful trifecta of keys, bass & vocals, and Matteo (middle) on drums. I don't know if UN will always be a trio, but for the reasons above, it's the only realistic thing to do from the point of view of travelling and availability. There are some new photos up, which we'll need during the promotion of the second album, and we should be playing live later in the summer.
» R E H E A R S A L - "L E T T E R F R O M A B R O A D"
"Letter From Abroad" has never been played live apart from an acoustic version once at Belfast Nashville Songwriter's Festival last year. We tried it in one of the first rehearsals, with keys & electric guitar (more like the album version). The whole thing wasn't filmed (saving battery), but we got most of it.
» N E W P E D A L R I G
I got some of my stomp pedals from Ireland to complete this pedal board I've been working on. I normally use a Line 6 Pod (have one here in Italy and one in Ireland), but this should give me more options. I added the in-line tuner, compressor and looper to the delay, distortion and noise suppressor that I used to use for previous "guitar work". Luckily I've only got 6 bays, or else I'd be tempted to fill the rest with more expensive pedals.
» R E C O R D I N G U P D A T E
Okay, I've been writing about it for a while now, but it feels like I'll have something certain to report in the next blog. Something as certain as when the first single from the second album is going to be mastered, if it hasn't been already by that point. I'm going to work with a different mix engineer this time, not because Neal isn't amazing or didn't do a fantastic job on the first album, but the opportunity came up to work with a guy who produced or engineered all of the albums by one of my favorite American bands. More news next time.