Sorry for the lack of tour diary updates. Somehow I expected that Internet access would be readily available at the small cheap hotels we’ve been straying at, that I’d waltz in after sipping cocktails with record label execs and Ed would have written 2 pages of amusing and insightful commentary on the highs and lows of touring England. Oh how wrong I was. Actually the bit about sipping cocktails with label execs was spot on, but the Internet access has been shite.
So, we’re in the back of the van driving to Brighton, it's hot and sunny and everyone's in good spirits. One of the labels that is courting the lads just phoned offering to take the lads to the Gibson showroom to try out some guitars, to lunch, then to some high street shop that is making them some clothes.
Last night they played one of the NME gigs (The Garage, London – with Boy Kill Boy and Towers of London) to a very receptive 200 or so punters, then we shifted over the road to play the much smaller and hipper Art Rocker club night at the Buffalo Bar.
This gig was attended by so many A&R staff that a bomb would have decimated three quarters of London's industry talent spotters. Word has got out that The Checks are hot and every man and his dog is turning up to see what the fuss is all about. Which was a relief, because coming over here we kind of felt like the All Blacks going to play England; loved if you do well and slated if you don’t.
Luckily, the show went extremely well, with punters discovering the joys of The Checks for their first time ever, lots of smiling faces and nodding heads. We even had one invigorated punter who hugged Ed and wouldn’t let him go. God bless the NME for inviting us over!
So we came to get a record deal and we’re not quite there yet. We’ve had endless meetings with publishers, lawyers and labels and I’ve eaten a lot of meals in nice restaurants. Of course, as my dad says, there’s no such thing as a free lunch - I’m getting the belly to prove it.
The numerous meetings can get confusing - I’ve walked up to labels reception and said, "Hi, I’m Phil Moore from The Checks' management and I’m here to see ..." and then completely forgotten the names of person who has contacted me in the first place.
Whatever happens, there's a feeling that even if we come home empty handed we’ve already achieved a satisfactory level of success.
The highlight for me was our day and night in Leeds. As any NME reader will know , Leeds is the centre of a thriving live scene fronted by the Kaiser Chiefs and the Cribs. Standing in The Cockpit watching the Cribs and then meeting Ricky Kaiser Chief straight after, I couldn’t help but feel I was in a certain place and time in musical history.
The lads were selling t-shirts and meeting some new fans, Alan and I were enjoying a beer at the bar, and the struggles of the start of the tour seemed a million miles away (oh yeah, Ed got sick and we had to cancel the first few dates. Not much fun after fronting up the huge amount of money it costs to tour a band in England).
So, a gig tonight with Brighton's finest, The Rakes, then a headline gig tomorrow night at the Camden Barfly, then we fly home on May 30. We’d really like to do some touristy things in London this weekend, and are looking forward to coming home to be with our friends and family – oh, and a good cup of coffee!
ED'S TOUR DIARY
I am sitting in the tour bus, on our way back to London. Last night we played a show in Leeds at a bar called The Cock Pit. Which was funny, because it was one of the most receptive and interested crowds we have had so far. Before now, we have played two shows; one in London, at an old strip club called Madame Jo Jo’s, and one in Hull.
At these shows we have had a really great soundman named Mark. He has done work with some of the best. Helping us get the warmth and tenacity we aim for. He is also doubling as our tour manager, driving us up and down the country in the big blue Benz. Both the gigs have been with this new group called the Cribs.
The Cribs are just one of many interesting new British groups on this tour. They really know how to make those pub anthems where everybody sings along. Tomorrow night we are playing with the Towers of London at the Garage in London. The Nine Black Alps had to pull out of the tour due to illness. The lead singer got the mumps.
We nearly suffered a similar fate. After our first show, I was diagnosed with tonsillitis and completely lost my voice. As a result, we cancelled some shows and I had some intense healing days where I was roped to a bed and flooded with countless bottles of water. An attempt to heal. In the end it worked and my voice is stronger than ever. We all feel good, except for Jake who is becoming increasingly worried about his jaw extending and turning red as the salmon season comes around. Everybody will find out that he is worse than rob.
Ed Knowles is the singer in The Checks, and Phil Moore is the manager and father of the drummer, Jacob, who is really not like a salmon