Email 14th June 2008

Fish 2008 - Return of the Sugar Mice

Dear FishHeads, Freaks, fans and the Company,

We pulled into Milwaukee this morning to arrive outside the Shank Hall and discover that there is a demonstration outside the abortion clinic next door to the venue and directly outside the bus where we are watching the Russia v Greece Euro 2008 match with token Greek Steve Vantsis (his granddad's side) on the edge of his seat.
Yesterday's day off was in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was hot and the entourage assembled round the hotel pool and copped some rays. We only get day rooms to shower and hang around in until Lee catches up on his hours and we set off into the gloom shortly after midnight. Nothing much else to do apart from eat at a restaurant up the highway which involved a 30 minute walk which always draws strange enquiring glances from passing motorists who don't quite understand why people are walking somewhere!
The romantic notion of parking up outside desolate hotels in the wilderness and enveloping yourself in nature was replaced by soulless parking lots in sterile building complexes with rare fast food joints that sell tacos or burgers that never resemble the photographs on the adverts above the serving areas. It's cheap and fills a space.
By mid afternoon a kid's baseball team had taken over the pool and we were forced into a corner round the fermenting Jacuzzi. It could have been worse. We could have had tornados on the horizon.
We have been missing all the bad weather so far and even Gavin is going slightly off white under his ginger locks!

Boulder had been another good gig. The set was slightly cut short as Steve is in a lot of pain with blisters on his fingers from playing. He had to shift to a pick that night. In San Fran he left the stage with blood splattered all over his bass. He has 4 blisters on top of each other on one finger and yesterday he entertained us as the "human water pistol" filling one of the major bubbles with water from the hot tub and squirting us from his finger top! Oh the joys of the road! :-D

Numbers were disappointing in Boulder with only around 200 or so fans in. I was told today by the Shank Hall staff that everyone is hurting and that they have headline acts that normally sell out pulling only 30 people these days. There is no doubt that America is feeling the pain just now but we are holding our own and still on track. We have done about 300 in advance for tonight so it should be jumping.

As was pointed out we used the "old" Lisa Simpson intro in LA. The original CD given to us in '98 had gone missing but I was given another copy pre show. One of the fans, Dave Hussey, is a friend of Yeardley Smith who "does" Lisa's voice and as she is also a fan of our music she offered to record an intro for the show. It was great to get hold of it again! We have been using the Lisa intro together with La Gazza Ladra to introduce the shows.

The Boulder audience were definitely more "progressive" in their tastes and it was hard to get things rocking in an acoustically dead room. Energy levels were a bit down as we were performing a mile above sea level and oxygen was scarce. I really felt it when I woke up on the bus in the morning. Don't get me wrong it wasn't a bad show and I think we were tighter than on previous nights. It was just hard to get inspired and we ran out with an 8.5/10 compared to a 9.5 in San Fran and an 8.8 in LA.

Chris is back with us tonight, although I don't think he will be in a great mood. He was pulled by immigration in Chicago and spent 3 hours in an interview cell. Missing his connection to Milwaukee, the injury was accentuated when his luggage went missing and at the moment they are still tracing it.
Steve's fingers are better for the day off healing in the sun and everyone else in the company is on song and happy campers.

Looking forward to the show tonight and the upcoming run of three consecutive gigs.

lots of love
Onkel Fish xx

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