Starting from May this year, everything suddenly got extremely hectic and highly emotionally charged. My dear old Mum passed away after an unpleasant but mercifully short bout of illness at the ripe old age of not quite 101 years old!! She got her first telegram from Her Majesty the Queen last year when she celebrated her 100th birthday and was looking forward to getting her second one but alas, it was not to be.
So she had a good innings as people say, but I firmly believe she is now in a better place and not in pain anymore, so I take comfort from those thoughts. It’s quite weird how, as you grow older, you start feeling your mortality a little more with each passing year, but I’ve always been a 25 year old that just happens to have a 65 year year old body! I wonder if there’s any mileage in selling my body to medical research for the betterment of guitar players? ... oh well, that’s that potential money making scheme out of the window!
June saw me getting my head around some new songs for the forthcoming promised 2008 album and so far there seems to be some bright stuff in the pipe line, so I’m quite pleased with the work in progress. Along with a few other ex and current members of Jethro Tull, I did a fairly lengthy DVD interview for a company called Impact Films and I’m led to believe it will escape sometime in 2008, so that should be fun to see what they’ve done to it when it’s all edited up!
My lovely and long suffering wife and best mate Kate and me celebrated 30 years of married mayhem on the 8th of the month and had a thoroughly smashing couple of days by the sea, with loads of drinky poos and nosh etc. I think we had some etc, but my memory is hazy on that one!!
22nd of June saw me doing my solo show at The Leighton Buzzard Theatre to a full house, and a grand time was had by all. It’s getting to be a lot of fun doing these solo shows in some of the smaller provincial theatres, and I’m now using a Roland DR 880 Drum and Bass machine that I have programmed up to give me that extra bit of depth to the music. The good news of course is that on these gigs, the drummer and bass player do exactly what I tell them to - and if they don’t like it I can simply switch them off! It’s also a plus not to have to pay them after the gig!! Sorry Graham and John, I still love you guys really!
July 13 - 14th saw me and dear old Clive Bunker teaming up yet again to do an open air festival in Fidenza with our Italian friend and bass player extraordinaire, Andrea Garavelli. We go out as The Mick Abrahams & Clive Bunker Trio and it must be said that we do gel well together, and the Italians are always a great crowd to work for. Hospitable and kind and generous to a fault! We love you Italy: keep asking us back - it’s a pleasure.
The atmosphere at Fidenza was fabulous, very friendly and never any trouble even though there was stacks of booze flowing. I think we Brits can learn a lot from some of our continental friends, as they get just as raucous as us lot but they seem just to control their behaviour a little better. Maybe it’s because they’re more family oriented with some of the bigger festivals and there is a general attitude with everyone sitting down to eat and drink and have a great social event. It’s always noisy, slightly, confused and excitable, but wonderful and warm and friendly!
I was led to believe that this festival was originally organised by the Communist Party many years ago, and this was born out by a very large and colourful beer tent quite near the stage area with loads of pictures of communist heroes and notaries (such as Fidel Castro, Marx, Che Guevarra etc) and very bright lighting. The sad part about it was that - although there was a well stocked bar, plenty of waiters and lots of chairs and tables - there were just three couples sat huddled together looking extremely lonely and lost while the rest of the stalls, food and beer and wine areas were full of happy cheerful people! So much for communism, eh?!
The gig itself was a great event and the band was on great form, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. Thanks Fidenza, see you all again soon.
The end of July saw The Mick Abrahams & Clive Bunker Trio playing at a private party deep in the heart of the Tuscan hills near Montepulciano for a charming couple who had their joint 50th birthday celebration. A great night was had by all until the early hours of the morning.
August is traditionally my family holiday month and this year we visited a few old haunts and some new ones too. My missus and me were wed in Scarborough all those years ago, so we still have a great fondness for the place and nearly always spend a week there. A week away from the mayhem of the music world and, for my wife, a few weeks away from teaching, which she has now been doing for over 25 years! We had a few visits to make on the way down to Cornwall, where we spent another week relaxing, excercising, eating and drinking and etc-ing!!
Back to the grindstone in September, a few more sessions and writing new material yet again, and this time a firm resolution to actually finish the long awaited book of mine. I’ve been threatening to complete this for a long time now and have come to a decision that I will spend at least an hour every day to write some stuff, even if it’s only a few paragraphs! Little by little, we’ll get there: I’m convinced.
All this year I have been going to a local gym and working out and swimming and just generally trying to get fitter and, of course, lose a few pounds in the process. It seems to have started to work and it’s definitely a step in the right direction for me, as for one thing, I quit smoking around three years ago and as a consequence piled the weight on! As I won this competition recently, as you can see from the news page, I need to be in top condition to have the job done safely.
Back to gigging, the MA Band with Graham Walker and John (Guinness) Gordon did the Huntingdon Hall in Worcester toward the end of the month, and that was a great gig too. I do like to see people going home with a smile on their faces. It’s a real treat and always makes our jobs that more worthwhile!
My old mate and former band member of Blodwyn Pig, Jack Lancaster, was in England at the end of the month and we got together and generally got smashed and tried desperately to put the world to rights - and a good time was had by all, as far as I can remember! I hope he got back to Hollywood ok!
October was a very busy month for me generally, and it was a pleasure to do a spot with The Will Snap Band at The Stables Theatre in Milton Keynes. It’s a charity organization for disabled and mentally handicapped people, or people who have had severe brain injuries and the like, and the Will Snap warehouse is situated here in Milton Keynes: the guys do great work, so it’s a privilege to be able to try and help out by doing a spot of music for them.
A solo gig with my DR 880 at The Forresters in Stony Stratford was fun and then, just after that, another MA Band gig at The Limelight Theatre in Aylesbury was a fantastic night and a complete sell out. Sadly the promoter had to turn some folks away as there was just not enough room to get in. Sorry if you missed us folks, but I promise we’ll be back soon.
Took a couple of days off and stayed in London’s busy Covent Garden and did a bit of the old tourist trip, which was great fun. We’d never been on the London Eye before and it was a blast. By the by, I bumped into one of my favourite actors, Martin Clunes, who just happened to be in the car above us and as he walked past I couldn’t resist saying hallo (I don’t know him, I’m just a fan!) and thanking him for all the great entertainment he has given me. I’ve never gone up to anyone in the street like this , especially when they are obviously just relaxing and enjoying their own day out with their family as I know how it could be annoying. Anyway, I didn’t bother him by hanging around and he was most gracious and polite. So good on yer Martin, you seem to be a real nice chap and if you want a free DVD of the band, just ask !!
November started well with me jumping up and having a thoroughly good play with my pals, Nine Below Zero: have a look at their website and ask Mark how his blue suede shoes are doing! He’s promised to put it in his regular blog so look out for it!
Lastly, before I put this month’s blog to bed, we just played The Plough in Walthamstow, which was a good gig but not that well attended unfortunately. I think the advertising executive should consider a bit more than putting a few posters up in the pub and just advertising it on the website. I always seem to get letters from folk asking when we are playing at such and such a place and it peeves me to have to tell them that we’ve just done it!! I rest my case, because all the gigs we’ve ever done that have been advertised well have always been full!!
I’ll shut up for now and, as I am just off to Ancona and Loreto on the Adriatic coast of Italy to play a couple of festivals, I will need to rest up for a couple of days just to get my strength up for all that hospitality that’s coming my way!!
Ta Ta For Now, folks. God Bless as Always. Mick Abrahams.