Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chinese New Year with Neds Atomic Dustbin

I saw on the tele this morning that preparations are under way for our Chinese community to celebrate their New Year. It brought to mind a tour I did around this time of year back in the early 1990's. It was a short run with a British band by the name of Neds Atomic Dustbin.
Neds Atomic DustbinNeds Atomic Dustbin

They were quite a whacky bunch of dudes who seemed to take themselves far too seriously but overall they were alright. They are probably the only band I've ever seen with two bass players. That's right folks...two!

This was what was known as a "Yo-Yo" tour. It went Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne & back to Sydney. For those outside Australia this means doing a gig, travelling North for about 1000k's then going south for about 1800k's then going back north for about 800k's. Tops! Luckily time didn't permit us to do the Brisbane gig & so they flew up we drove to Melbourne. Our lighting rigger had some stuff to take care of so he decided to fly down and meet us in Melbourne. My brother and I arrived in Melbourne at about 4am after an uneventful drive down. The plan was to arrive early, get a decent sleep, do the gig, then have another decent sleep before casually driving back to Sydney for the last gig. Sometimes things don't go to plan but eh?

Upon arrival at the hotel we found the lighting rigger asleep in the foyer with his baggage. Not a good sign. We woke him and he told us that the tour manager hadn't paid the deposits for the room and they weren't going to let us in until someone paid up. Shit! We scrounged around between us and managed to come up with just enough cash for the guy to let us in with nothing to spare but $5, literally. He then gives us a message from the tour manager that one of the band has decided to drink his own weight in alcohol and has been taken to hospital. The gig has been pushed back to the following day so we can have a day off. Great! Here we are in a strange town with absolutely no money and we have a day and a half to kill. This wasn't going well at all.

By the time we hit our room it was about 6am so we did what you always do after driving for 10 hours and getting stuffed around, we hit the mini bar. Hard! We completely cleaned the thing out. By this time it was about 9am and we decided sleep would be a good idea. Not 3 minutes after my head hit the pillow I heard this strange noise start up from the street below. It grew in intensity until becoming very loud and seemed to be getting closer. The three of us looked at each other in amazment and went to the window to find an incredible scene below. It was the start of the Chinese New Year Parade. and it was right outside our window. They had drums and gongs and cymbals and dragons and fireworks and bloody everything. All going at once. It was just bedlam. Welcome to Melbourne folks!
Chinese New Year

I reckon I was just about ready to start throwing stuff out the window at that point. Instead we just gave up and went back to bed. I think I even went back to sleep at one point. We eventually caught up with the tour manager, the inimitable Howard Freeman, later that day to get some cash off him so we could eat.

Howard Freeman
The amazing Howard Freeman or HoWEIRD as he was known. Image from CX Magazine.

The gig went off okay the next day but we now had to pack up and drive straight back to Sydney after the gig. Overnighters were the pits. You'd think not much more could go wrong on such a short run wouldn't you? Not so. About halfway into our 10 hour drive, the truck decided to overheat every time we went over about 70kph. That made for a bloody slow trip folks. We arrived late but still with enough time to set up & do the gig. Just!

Man I was glad to shut the back of the truck and wave goodbye to that tour.

Cross posted at Gibbos War Stories

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shit Big Fella!!!!
I remember that bloody band!
Big Al.