December, 2004
So much has happened in my life and professionally in the last few months since the show in Monaco. Because of the buzz around the Monaco gig, France 3, the Television Channel, wanted to do a piece on me and my life here, which I eventually did a week or so ago. Some filming was done in the South of France and another bit was done at Alberto's studio in Genoa. It will be broadcast this Sunday, the 12th of December, the same day as John and I will be appearing in a live show to raise funds for the New Kingston Theatre in South West London.
I enjoyed almost every moment of the latest U.K. tour, and can honestly say it was the best I have ever done with the band. We had a lot of fun together, and our music was received better than I remember before. We even had a begrudgingly good review in the Times.
Some of you may remember that I got sick, almost as soon as I arrived back in Britain from the Mediterranean, at the beginning of the tour, and I experienced every singerÕs worst nightmare - two hours of singing at the Royal Albert Hall with a cold that felt like flu.
A week into the tour, when I was starting to feel a bit chirpier, what happened? - some of the other guys went down with it. Well, that's a bus tour for you! Graeme and Gordon stayed amazingly, and rather annoyingly, healthy though. At the end of the U.K. tour we all went on to Amsterdam to play one of the nicest gigs imaginable, at a big building outside of town, built for all kinds of music, but especially rock bands, by the promoters Mojo. It is such a beautiful sounding venue, with every facility, and it would be a brilliant place to record a live album. It was a great way to end that leg of the tour. So many of the once-beautiful theatres that we play, in towns in the U.K, have had no care and attention paid to them for years (maybe because rock and roll musicians are considered by some theatre managements, as second class performers), and sometimes it's hard to invite friends backstage or to find a clean place to change. For anyone coming by car, the city centre gigs are almost impossible to park near nowadays. But, the shows were good and the promoters were more than pleased. We also have the best crew and the best fans anywhere in the world.
On the 27th October I was proud to have been given the 'Gold Badge Of Merit' award by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters at a reception and lunch at the fabulous Savoy Hotel in London. It was a wonderful occasion, and the fact that, as with ASCAP Awards in the U.S., they are given by fellow writers, makes them very special. It's always strange at these events though, to hear someone, often a friend that's in the business, zipping through the story of your life in less than four minutes!
A couple of weeks ago we were part of a most amazing gala evening on live T.V. in Bremen, Northern Germany. We were in spectacular company - The Cure, Zucherro, Paul Young, Manfred Mann, Holly Johnson, Foreigner, Joe Cocker, Uriah Heep, Chris de Burgh, Scott Mackenzie, Greg Lake, Ian Anderson (just imagine Norda and Ian in the same room talking flute serial numbers and you get the picture), Eric Burdon (who I chatted with about his version of Nights, recorded with War), Jack Bruce, Percy Sledge, Robin Gibb, Def Leppard and many others. Every moment of the four days we were there was fulfilling and all the musicians and artists got along brilliantly backstage (dressing rooms all the same size), meeting up and chatting in the special canteen/reception/interview area. A good friend of mine and the band, Thomas Gottschalk, the most famous presenter in Germany and a real music buff, hosted it. The theme of the show was '50 Years of Rock and Roll, the Love Songs'.
A few days later I was back in London for another TV show about love songs. The top twenty love songs this time, and yes, Nights is in the top ten. It's to be shown on T.V. in the U.K. next Valentines Day. The following day I was one of the performers at my SODS (Society of Distinguished Songwriters, of which I am lucky to be one), Night at the Landmark Hotel on the Marylebone Road, London. A good time was had by all, although IÕve forgotten the last hour or so (after I'd done my songs).
Next week I'm working in Milan with a friend on a project of his. Some of you may know we are doing a few gigs in the U.S. next Jan/Feb. and I can't wait. I go on the road for a rest nowadays.
I recently wrote to Randy Faulkner, the executive producer of 'Moody Bluegrass', to tell him how much I love the C.D. It is so honest and refreshing. I'm just glad they didn't invite me to the sessions; I would only have stuck my oar in. The best thing about it is that they did it their way. Harley AllenÕs' voice is so beautiful. My favourite is' Wildest Dreams'. Randy and his team have given me a wonderful gift, in that they have allowed me to see these songs in a different light, and to maybe hear them, as others do, for the first time. Music is love.
There are another couple of things to mention. One is the 'Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 'DVD with an interview by David Spiro about the songs, plus performance, and including some film from the 'Bennet studios' in New Jersey which is now available on the web site shop. The other is the DVD of the reception in Nice, plus fan interviews and chatting etc. at Monaco around the gig at the Sporting. It has been put together by a good friend of mine, Mark Dezzani. If you were in Monaco, please notify the site administrator at the web site (, and he will take your information down and hopefully we'll be able to get something together for those that attended.
Happy Christmas, happy holidays, and let's look forward to a bright New Year.
with lots of love
'Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longham'
By Ernest Dowson
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate.
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.