Well, my contribution comes from Pennsylvania, where we have been playing with Alanis....but all this I'm sure you know. My letter has been a little tardy, because my computer decided to make a break for freedom in a hotel lobby in Harrisburg, and ended up crashing onto the marble floor. This has severely curtailed my surfing, just as I'd descovered the joys of newsgroups and other techno trivia.
Thanks to these dates with Alanis, we now have a brace of well played new songs to take into the studio next month. My only preoccupation
on this tour has been keeping Alanis' drummer, Taylor, away from my brother. Taylor has an over-developed penchant for "progressive rock", and Jonny really doesn't need any encouragement in that department, he's already got more keyboards on stage than you could shake a shitty stick at.
Highlights this tour have been seeing the Throwing Muses in a club in Boston, watching one of Thom's favourite films, "My Cousin Vinny", and finishing the book "Snow Falling on Cedars". The new songs by Deus, on Island, are fantastic, epic and twisted, and some of the best new stuff I've heard since Sparklehorse last year.
Thank you to all those who entered the competition to name our studio. After some unseemly shouting and fisticuffs, we've decided upon a winner, still, it was easier than decideing what songs to put on the set-list every night...maybe we should have a competition for that... Laura Winwood from Wiltshire wins a bag of stuff for 'Canned Applause'. A further prize goes to Maria Kevin of Finland for sheer volume of mail.
....Four more shows to do supporting Alanis Morissette. We're playing in venues called 'Sheds" - half covered/half seated amphitheatres with high sloping grass banks behind the seats. Most have corporate boxes owned by Dominoes/MacDonald's/Nabisco; even the venues' names are now being sold off: the famous Meadowlands Arena is now the 'Continental Airlines Arena'. Last night we played the 'Nissan Pavillion'. Next comes band sponsorship I suppose - 'Pepsi's Radiohead'. Most of me wishes we'd done our own (tiny) shows, but at least the audience, awash with popcorn and families, had no expectations - and we've felt freer to write and rehearse songs in front of them (and to leave out older songs). New set highlights: 'Paranoid Android', and 'Climbing Up The Walls'. Finally, essential tour listening: 'The Abbey Grange' with Clive Merrison and Michael Williams as Watson. And Soft Machine: the scary second album.
love Jonny xxx
We've played a number of festivals this summer, of which T in The Park and Galway have been obvious highlights, so thank you to those who came along and cheered us in our hour of need. At these festivals I've seen and grooved to Massive Attack, got the fear watching The Prodigy, hung out with the Afghan Whigs, laughed along with Pulp, and played air guitar along with Neil Young and Crazy Horse; but after each of these festivals I have been left with the same outstanding feeling - "ROCK 'N ROLL REQUIRES A ROOF". Now maybe I sound like a party-pooper and have got it totally wrong, but I don't think that you see the best of any band at these shows. That may well be the point, that the bands performing are simply a sideshow to the whole festival experience and I guess that's why Glastonbury is such a great festival, because bands are only a small part of what goes down. However, it cannot be denied that there have been way too many festivals in the UK this summer. Anyhow, can we cut a deal? If you stay away and don't pay for tickets, we won't play.... No? Alright then, see you in a field near you next year. It's time to go and record a new album now....
Listening to ... 'Odelay' by Beck; 'What's in the Box' by the Boo Radleys; 'New Adventures in Hi Fi' by REM. Just read... "A prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving
TOOTRG: David Beckham for that goal
American chocolate tastes like the aftermath of a serious illness. I only mention this because, as I write, we're in Hershey, the chocolate capital of the USA.
We're approaching the end of our brief and far from strenuous tour with Alanis Morissette. These will probably be our last dates before we release the next album and they bring to a close a summer of fine moments. Headlining at "T in the Park" proved to be a real landmark; also, playing and being at The Galway Arts Festival reaffirmed for me all the reasons why I joined a band in the first place. Thankyou to everyone who came to see us.
As you read this, we will probably be holed up in an unhealthy atmosphere somewhere, committing heinous crimes to the recording process. This year has been a rather protacted period of preparation for the new record, but I think it's been worth it. The more we play the new material, the more I love it. Now all we have to do is dupe it onto tape. We can do it - we're professionals, don't you know.
Love Philip xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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