Lets start from the start…
Hello friends, hello loved ones, hello new people, hello old.
it’s been a while.
Hello friends, hello loved ones, hello new people, hello old.
it’s been a while.
I posted an empty promise to try and catch up, that fell flat on its face.
apologies for that.
I don’t expect I’ll manage to catch up fully on one post, but I’ll start from roughly where we left off…
I think you left us towards the end of our UK tour in late May/June…
So, just after that, the album was finally released…
We did a couple of instores, in Glasgow and London, a day after the tour ended… these pretty much drained any ounce of energy that was left in everyone, and by the time we all got home on the night of Monday 4th June, at around 4am, everyone was ready to sleep.
And sleep we all did.
Early the next afternoon, everyone slowly started to wake up, and turn on their phones.
When I turned mine on, the first thing that struck me was the amount of voicemails I had… 9 I think. Now, it’s no strange thing for my blackberry to explode when I turn it on, as 100 overnight emails all try to jump into the handset at once, but coupled with a shitload of texts and voicemails, something strange was going on.
My first call, was to the lovely Elkie at 14th Floor/Warner, who had been the first person to send me a message, saying, quite simply, "call me when you’re up…"
I’d all but forgotten, that the fact the album was released, meant that we’d have the all-important midweek chart position after the first-day sales…
Two weeks later we were in a private jet, crossing the channel, en route to Paris.
Well, I’m not kidding, but it wasn’t quite that simple… or that glamorous.
The album sat at number 1 for a couple of days, before charting at Number 2.
Unbelievable. I don’t think anyone ever expected we’d see that.. certainly not anytime soon… but there it was. Biffy at number 2 in the UK album charts.
That was the point where things started to get incredibly strange.
After the bizarre week that was the album release, we got back to the business of some heavy duty touring.
We flew to Paris the following Monday, to do a showcase for our French record label and promoter types, and, thankfully, a fair number of Biffy fans who came down.
After arriving at the hotel to discover we had actually been double-booked, a bit of quick-thinking and adapting went down, that saw the band and I do 4 people in 1 room, whilst Dave (our sound engineer), Churd (our guitar tech) and Jamie (our lighting engineer) slept a couple of hours on the bus, before the hotel managed to secure them rooms.
As an aside, its a grim business when you turn up to France’s largest airport, to discover every single fucking hotel is fully booked, and none of those bookings are in your name, or that of any of the other 6 people travelling with you… Resolved quickly though. Nice one, CDG.
So the next day, we flew out to New York, to spend a couple of days showing the Big Apple (or le Grande Pomme) what its all about.
After a little hiccup at the airport, involving lighting engineer Jamie going in on his passport, not a Visa, all was resolved, and we were onboard, bound for JFK.
When we arrived, I managed to surprise myself, by managing to piss off quite literally the first American we encountered, a fairly over zealous skycap, who insisted on piling the guitars and pedalboards onto his trolley, and walking them over to the minibus that had arrived to pick us up…
It would seem that I drastically underestimated the value of such a service, and when he asked me to give him what I thought was fair, the $10 I offered seemed to offend more than anything else…
slightly redfaced (but only $10 lighter, I might add…!) I climbed aboard the minibus, and off we went.
That evening involved a diner, too much food, walking past Angelina and Brad, the 24 hour Apple Store, and the fact that Fran Drescher doesn’t look half bad in real life
The next evening, the amps were cranked to 11, as the band played a show at New York’s brand new Highline Ballroom.
Paul McCartney had played the night previous, we were excitedly told by venue staff. Our unimpressed faces registered quickly.
Earlier that day, the band and I had met up with Dee and Warren, the band’s UK and US management representatives respectively, and gone to meet the lovely people of RoadRunner Records, who will be releasing the band’s records in the States.
Lovely, enthusiastic, genuine people, straight off the bat. Even the offices seemed put together by people who care about music first. It was incredibly warming to be able to see firsthand the people and machine that will be helping further the band in the states.
After the show, some of the label, and the lovely Siouxz and Alexandra of our PR company, took us out on the piss to a couple of New York clubs… the first one, was a horrendous cavernous place, rammed with incredibly attractive New Yorkers, and various b-list celebrities, that we all got excited about for a few minutes, before we realised we couldn’t actually hear each other, so we swiftly decamped to Angels and Kings.
We’re told that the bar is owned by Pete Wentz, who isn’t the singer in Fall Out Boy. Nice work Pete, place looks great. You need more bathrooms though.
We flew back to London the next day, slightly hungover, and slightly anxious, due to the sheer length of time it took to get checked in.
British Airways, whilst still flying the flag for British Aviation, whilst still kicking the shit out or RyanAir, EasyJet, and all the other carriers purporting to be airlines, they still take their time processing passengers.
Actually, I may digress for a second to discuss companies such as RyanDespair and SleazyJet.
We’ve been flying a lot (and not just private planes, I should add) and as such, have flown more than our fair shair of budget airlines.
I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a fucking waste of resources, as RyanAir.
Easyjet is bad, but RyanAir is a fucking organisational apocalypse.
As the band are based and live in and around Ayrshire, we often fly from Prestwick airport. RyanAir live and breathe Prestwick Airport, and as the tour manager, I often get to deal firsthand with this company, and the pleasant geniuses they employ.
And by pleasant geniuses, I obviously mean ill-mannered ignorant cretins, with the social skills of an exhaust pipe.
I’ve often wondered whether certain companies employ people of a certain IQ, with less being more, so to speak…
I’m pretty positive this is the case with RyanAir ground staff.
A bit of common sense in Prestwick Airport might just rattle the system so much that bits of plaster start to fall from the ceiling, such is the level of sheer fucking idiocy and inconsistency in this place.
Anyone who’s ever tried to fly something over 20kg will know about excess baggage (though its actually 15kg with RyanAir, because, as you’ll see, the real money lies in fleecing people as they check in…).
The heavier your cases, the more you pay.
Now, we fly 11 items of backline, among them guitars, amplifier heads, cymbals etc… these guys are heavy, and certainly add up… They don’t, however, change weights.
Yet every time, RyanAir manages to charge us something different, varying from £22.30, up to a record £890.
Now, I’d like to think that I’d give any argument a good go, but the one thing I seem to forgot reading in the RyanAir fineprint, was that under no circumstance may we question a decision made by a RyanAir idiot. The gentleman that explained this to me at Prestwick, did so by telling me that RyanAir was a budget airline, so we couldn’t expect a standard of customer service, and that we didn’t need to fly RyanAir. As such, excess baggae was aubject to the discretion of the check-in employee, but must always be charged. Listen to your own words, dickhead.
After the thoughts of death-by-stratocaster had subsided, I regretted not reminding him that whilst I’d love nothing more than to campaign against people using his shitty excuse for a company, far less use them, unfortunately nobody else flies from Glasgow to Paris directly.
And while I have little faith in his joke of an enterprise, I have even less in connecting flights, and our backline making the connections in the hands of the baggage handlers (which is another tale entirely), and that even a company like RyanAir, who don’t know how to spell the names of two of the airports they fly to on their poster, would struggle to misplace equipment whilst in the air…
So pretty much every time we fly, I lose a year of my life, due to the frustration of dealing with these nuggets.
Another time, it was a girl with the face of a potato, and a mood equally as pleasant, who checked us in, and refused to let me check the band and crew in, instead, taking us up individually, double checking passports, and taking quite literally 7 times as long.
This all seems fairly inconsequential in writing and reading it back, but I’m getting angry even thinking about these companies.
I’d like to take this opportunity to rally any Biffy fans who feel like it, to take down this poor excuse for an airline.
And to court controversy for the briefest of moments, its perhaps possible that the guy who drove the jeep into Glasgow Airport, just got confused, and actually meant to go 45 minutes down the road to Prestwick, and drive the blazing vehicle, gloriously into the RyanAir check-in desk.
Lawyers Note – these don’t advocate terrorism, or exploding motor vehicles. In fact, I’d rather that hero John Smeaton just kicked each RyanAir employee square in the nuts.
i’ve wasted 10 minutes on that rant, so I must dash… but I’ll continue the story next time…
a story featuring Wembley with Muse, Barcelona with the Rolling Stones, and yes, the private plane…