Monday, 23 March 2009

Rodeo

And I thought SXSW was strange...

Being the perenial tourists we are it would've been completely inappropriate to travel as far as Texas and not go to a rodeo, and the racist taxi drivers, cowboy hats and oversized food were appreciated bonuses. I've never previously seen smoked turkey legs the size of children and ounces, as a unit of measurement for liquids, is something which I've always found daunting.

A thouroughly enjoyable experience, obvious highlights include gambling on pig racing, watching a Western shoot- out, the high flying motorbikes and the freak show, boasting a two nosed cow, a 6 legged horse and many more treats. I would advise that any vegetarians or anybody with strong animal rights beliefs should never attend a rodeo. Then again, you should probably never visit Texas at all.

Our evening was spent in the hotel room. Three guys playing drinking games over bottles of Thunderbird wine, listening to some big tunes and regretting the earlier cuisine. I awoke this morning, hungover, fully clothed on top of my bed, a self-inflicted biro'd "sexy danger" tattoo on my arm, playing cards covering almost every inch of our small floor and the faint whiff of nasty smells still lingering in the bathroom. Doughnuts for breakfast and it was off to pick up our pimped up hire car, tinted windows, chocolate wafers and BSM CDs in tow. Houston's the first destination and now that the work (believe it or not, through the relentless booze, live shows and sunburn, SXSW also involved a LOT of work) is out of the way, it's time to turn our attention to the big old open roads of middle America.

I should briefly introduce the touring party, as their names will no doubt be cropping up a lot over the next week. First up is Ivano, who many of you will already know through his label management role for some of our bands, as well as his PR work at I Spy PR. He's half-Italian and half-Columbian so has been earmarked as our racial fodder should we run into angry rednecks. Next up there's Simon. He's the A&R guy from Hassle Records (Rolo Tomassi, Alexisonfire, Brand New etc) and is currently behind the wheel. Apparently the first time he drove abroad he pulled onto the motorway into incoming traffic causing a lorry to swerve into a ditch. Earlier on he pointed at a red light and asked what it meant. Also in the car right now is Ellie, an old friend of Simon's who works for Fiction Records (White Lies, Snow Patrol). I don't really know what she does for the label and it seems a pointless question to wake and ask her. Ellie lost her passport back in Austin and needed a lift to Houston where she can pick up a temporary one and get home. Our 'ladz on tour' massive will be complete in about an hours time when we arrive at the George Bush airport to collect Ben who has flown over to join us for this little adventure. Ben and I are the only non-drivers, so expect to see lots of in-car updates (albeit posted late, wi-fi signal pending) from us here and at nme.com, which is where Ben resides when he's not living it up in Texas.

So to recap, that's a label owner, an A&R guy, a press agent and a journalist driving some 1000 miles across America, taking in the sights, sounds and, if last night is anything to go by, smells. Lets see if this lovely country is ready to embrace this merry bunch of UK music industry travellers shall we?

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