Thursday, 7 November 2019

First Strike 'Just Another Night'

Was it really 30 years ago when UK rock band First Strike hit the UK music scene in a blaze of glory?

Many of you may know I started of playing bass guitar and singing backing vocal. Having a strong voice that could hit the high notes with power and clarity was an absolute boon on stage 
I had formed my own band which did pretty good actually, only our 3rd gig was at the famous Marquee Club in Wardour Street and soon we were offered the opening slot for Ozzy Osbourne on his ‘No Rest for the Wicked’ tour. With Zak Wilde, Geezer Butler and the late, great Randy Castillo.

Ozzy was great, he invited me into his dressing room on the opening night of the tour to welcome the band, he was sitting there stark naked! He didn’t stand up to greet me thank God!! But always listened to our sound check when he could. Zakk and Randy were cool, really nice guys and full of helpful advice, Zak was always looking to slip away after a show to grab a beer. I had no choice, he would grab me by my collar and just tell me ‘You are coming for a beer man!’  and that was it we were on a bender all night. Sharon had banned any form of alcohol backstage, any crew of band members with booze would be thrown off the tour!
So we would head out on the town after the shows. Geezer kept much to himself and had his own entourage he would hang with, I didn’t speak with him much after the opening night.

One night, at Nottingham Rock City, we finished a blinding set, Ozzy’s set was delayed and finally cancelled due to ill health. It all kicked off big time, the crown went wild and trashed the place, I had stayed behind to see Ozzy’ show and was barricaded backstage as the mob tried to break in, it was like the Alamo. The crew barricaded the hallways from all angles and fought of the angry mob with any piece of equipment they could. finally the cavalry arrived in the form of riot Police, but even they had trouble subduing the angry mob. 

It was actually Ozzy who suggested I put down the bass guitar and take up lead vocal after hearing me sing at sound check one day. Maybe he just thought I was a crap bass player, but I prefer to think he spotted the vocal talent that lay within.

Anyway, after the Ozzy tour I was looking for a new challenge, considering I didn’t actually like any of my previous band members! I had become good friends with Mick White, who had just left NWOBHM band Samson after they supported iron Maiden on their ‘Somewhere in Time’ Tour.
Mick had a great voice and real ear formelody and harmonies. his songwriting  was moving away from the Samson style and he too was looking for something fresh to get his teeth into.

So First Strike was formed with the Geordie duo of Dee Dowling on guitar/vocal and the extravagant drummer Dave ‘Stan’ Anderson. Later we were joined by the guitar talents of Dave Senczak.

The band was tight and the songs good. We hit the ground running with our first Marquee show supporting Dare, when the roof came off! I remember ending the first set of songs and the roar of the crowd was phenomenal, we all stood on stage looking at each other, frozen in time.
There was no looking back, more Marquee shows,we were the ‘go to’ opening band for the likes of Saraya and Slaughter, Nationwide tours with Uriah Heep and Giant.
With Radio 1 airplay and our video for ‘Girls of the World’ and ‘Nasty’ being aired on ITV. Great reviews in Classic Rock and Kerrang! Magazine.

Jerry Ewing of Classic Rock magazine stating: ‘First Strike: First class material, first class band’
Dave Ling in Raw reports: ‘First Strike have the ability to take on the big boys’

With major record companies now knocking at the door and the world at their feet, the future looked bright for the band. So, what happened? Why are they not the household name they were destined to be? The answer is simply…. Nevermind.

Nirvana realised their album entitled Nevermind, with the worldwide hit ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’ and the whole music scene changed overnight, the Seattle grunge sound now dominated and band like First Strike where no longer being signed.

First Strike were gone, but not forgotten, 30 years later Steelheart Records have hunted the band down to sign the rights to this previously unreleased album.
Sounding as fresh today as when they were recorded, full of confidence, ability and charm. Sit back, turn the volume up and listen to what might have been.
As part of the 'Lost UK Jewels Collection', the remastered ‘First Strike - Just Another Night’ features twelve tracks recorded in 1989-1991, Which contains a 16-page colour booklet.

So here it is, the ‘lost’ album. You can hear for the very first time. Yet there achievements in that short time is something to be proud of, and so is the album.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Stairway to Heaven.

Well, June 1st saw us perform the last show of the opening leg of our 2019. After 46 shows to over 60,000 people, in 9 countries, including two new territories. Sadly The Borderline is closing down after many years of being one of London’s top music venues, hosting gigs performed by the world’s most famous musicians. Blondie’s Debbie Harry performed several shows in the venue later than year. The 1990s saw the alternative Brit-Pop boom as Blur made an appearance as well as a legendary performance by late, great Jeff Buckley.

It is of course the venue in which Letz Zep played there first ever show, in front of members of Iron Maiden, Janick Gers speaking of the band that night said:

"If you want to get the 'Led out' and Page and Plant are otherwise engaged, then the only real option you've got is Letz Zep! Billy Plant and the boyz will take you through a roller coaster ride of all the classics you are unlikely to ever hear again if Robert and Jimmy don't start talking to each other soon, but that's another story. If you can't get the real brew, then this is the closest to the real thing that you are ever likely to see and hear, the playing is impeccable and the Band rocks just like the real thing. Brilliant!"

                                   Janick Gers - Iron Maiden

Many glitterazzi filled the packed house that night, including past and present England Cricket players and the odd Premier League footballer. Half the London music scene turned up from Kerrang! Also Classic Rock Magazine, and a damn fine show we pit on even if I say so myself. Hard Roxxx magazine remarked:  ‘Simply more Robert than Robert’’ is the tag line from that publication.  As well as legendary producer Chris Thomas, who worked with the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, Roxy Music, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Pulp and the Pretenders. He has also produced the breakthrough albums for the Sex Pistols and INXS.

Of course the next time we performed at The Borderline was in front of none other than Jimmy Page Himself. Jimmy was kind enough to invite us to his private table after the show and commented:

‘’That was ambitious, but you pulled it off, I've been hearing a lot of good things about your band, we have a lot of mutual friends so stay in touch'' Jimmy continued ''You have captured the spirit of Led Zeppelin concerts, you really are very, very good''.

Jimmy was then kind enough to personally invite Letz Zep to perform at the prestigious official launch party for the Led Zeppelin 'Mothership' release, and also the launch party for the remastered 'The Song Remains The Same' DVD.

Letz Zep were invited to the 02 reunion show and also to the premiere for the DVD 'Celebration Day' with Led Zeppelin in Hammersmith, London. Where we spoke had the opportunity tospeak with the members of Led Zeppelin, and congratualted them on their new release. JPJ was kind enough to take his photo with me. 
As was fellow guest living legend ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris who said 'You do a great job keeping the music live, it's amazing'.

                                    Whispering Bob Harris

But that was then and this is now, as with last year the end of tour gig falls on the same night as the Champions League Final, and also like last year, Liverpool are playing in the biggest club game in club football. This time Liverpool got the victory needed to secure the 6th win of this major trophy. Well done Liverpool! There was some concern that the game featuring a London team may harm attendance, but it was a packed house for our farewell to the famous venue.

Letz Zep started 2019 with 21 shows in 29 days as part of the Rock Legends Tour. Put on by the most handsome of chaps Monsieur Richard Walter, always nice to see him and his charming wife Janine, when they met us up in the beautiful French Capitol of Paris.

Taking in major venues in France, Belgium and Switzerland. Including two Sold Out nights at the prestigious Paris Olympia Theatre, an unprecedented achievement for a tribute show. The bill couldn’t be better, like a time machine, starting in the 60’s with the fantastic Doors Alive, tribute to Jim Morrison and The Doors.
Onto the 70’s and Led Zeppelin, by us of course, and finally into the 80’s with Gary Mullen and the Works performing One Night of Queen.
Every man, woman and child were keenly in their seats for when The Doors Alive began their exceptional performance, and not a single soul left until the very last note rang out from One Night of Queen. A fantastic tour. If you get a chance go see these amazing bands do not hesitate! Great guys and great shows!
THe whole production has an entourage of 40 people, including catering, backline, PA, Lights, Tour manager, Stage manager and techs.

We do return to the prestigious Paris Olympia on October 23 with Randy Hansen's tribute to Jimi Hendrix!

After France we have just one day off before our 2 week tour of Spain begins. Where we will be reunited with our regualr driver El Gremlino. Onto Germany then before Holland, UK, Malta and Sweden, The band giving great performances every night, and rightfully  receiving great reviews:

'’It is literally the stairway to heaven...a perfect performance’' reports Regina Buddeke of Maz-Online, Germany.

We have a couple of festivals over the summer in Luxembourg and Germany before the second leg of the tour kicks off in September at Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks and The Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells. 

Full details here:

Well!!  it is here at last…. the second book in the Backstage series. Entitled ‘Stairway to Heaven’ it tells the story of the bands continued rise in the past 2 years, having established ourselves as the number one tribute to Led Zeppelin by Ticketmaster, we now drive our ship to new lands. Each chapter title is that of a Zeppelin song and the strapline a lyric from the same song which relates to the topic of the chapter. Touching on all things Led Zeppelin, including Pages obsession on the occult and Aleister Crowley, the man known as The Beast! As always the names may have changed to protect the guilty but as always, The Song…… Remains…… The Same!

Available on paperback and kindle at amazon and also from New World Music, thanks to Silvia Perett at Volcanika for the artwork.

We have some very exciting news to be announced very soon, watch this space people!!!!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Celebration Day: John Bonham - A Celebration concert

We are hugely honoured and proud to be invited to headline a concert to celebrate the life and legacy of the late, great John Henry Bonham in his hometown of Redditch, today, Sept 22, in the year marking what would have been his 70th birthday.

We check into our hotel and refresh ourselves with our favourite
tipple before heading off to the venue.
Peter having already visited the birthplace of Bonham at 84 Birchfield Road, before attending St Michael Churchyard in Rushock, Worcestershire, to visit the final resting place of his idol. 

The venue is a huge Marquee just off the square where the magnificent statue to Bonzo stands.

We are greeted by the charming Ros, the organiser and her husband Dave who is kind enough to take us to visit the site of the vast bronze statue situated at Mercian Square in Redditch. The statue looks great in photo but even better when witness there in front of us. Truly impressive. We are fortunate enough to meet with the creator of the artwork in Mark Richards, we chatted over a beer about his work and future plans.
With scultor Mark Richards

We also had a chance to talk with people who have made the
pilgrimage from the far-flung corners of the world to be present today. There is a backstage area with hospitality where the bands can relax before the show. We chatted to Debbie Bonham, Johns sister, who will be singing later despite just recovering from a throat infection only last week.

Debbie reminded me that when we first met many years ago she commented on a resemblance to Planty and her recommendation that I should front a Zeppelin tribute band, prophetic words.

Nice to see Dave Lewis, an old friend who has given Letz Zep his
support over the years, the author of several books on Led Zeppelin and the editor of the website and magazine Tight But Loose, many consider him the voice of Led Zeppelin an the unofficial biographer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       Peter Tulloch with Debbie Bonham

Me old mate Steve Way, also a huge Zep fan, but nice to meet    Bev Bevan, someone I have not had the pleasure of  meeting before. 

As we chatted Debbie was called to the stage for her 90 minute set. As soon as Deborah Bonham starts to sing we all know she has something special. She performed songs by artists like Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, and her own inspiration Maggie Bell.
Her set includes songs from Paul Rodgers but the highlight of the set is undoubtably the set closer; ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ with Johns wife Pat and daughter Zoe joining her onstage. Debbie is a fantastic singer and deserves recognition as such.

Letz Zep took to the stage a little later than planned, as the venue
was packed with people eager to hear the music of Led Zeppelin we opened by tearing straight into ‘Immigrant Song’ followed by ‘Black Dog’, a couple of tough opening songs, followed by ‘The Song Remains the Same’ and ‘The Rain Song’ which are really well received.

We leave the stage, and under a projection of John Bonham himself as Peter performs ‘Moby Dick’, Bonzos’ showcase number, to the delight of the audience. It the time left we play an emotional ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and finish the set with a rousing version of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ before taking a bow and exiting the stage to a video message from Jason Bonham who is on tour in the States.

38 years ago the world lost the greatest of drummers, the peerless John Bonham. Unsurpassed, his influence is a potent today as it ever was. Even after all these years, Bonham still ranks as the best drummer of all time

Tonight was a fantastic occasion, a place in history, nothing like this concert has happened before or will ever again. For Letz Zep to headline this event, and share the stage with Debbie Bonham, is the greatest of honours. A big thank you to all involved, and for those who supported and attended this special event.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

John Bonham - A Celebration

Letz Zep are hugely honoured and proud to be invited to headline a concert to celebrate the life and legacy of the great John Bonham in his hometown of Redditch on Sept 22. In the year marking his 70th birthday.
Tickets are strictly limited to 1000 and all proceeds go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

                  Tickets from

Tireless work by the John Bonham Memorial has brought this about to coincide with the unveiling of a statue in Bonhams home town of Redditch earlier this year.

A vast bronze statue of the late Led Zeppelin drummer has been unveiled in his home town. Created by sculptor Mark Richards and situated at Mercian Square in Redditch. Weighing approx. 2.5 tonnes and depicting Bonzo in action behind the drum kit. The statue features his symbol of three interlocking rings along with the date of his birth and death.

The stones surrounding the sculpture are influenced by the artwork for the 'Houses of the Holy' album and the piece also features zeppelin airships.

The sculpture is also emblazoned with the words:

 ‘The most outstanding and original drummer of his time, John Bonham’s popularity and influence continue to resonate with the world of music and beyond.”

It will be a fantastic occasion, a place in history, nothing like this concert has happened before or will ever again. For Letz Zep to headline this event is the greatest of honours.
We are particularly pleased for Peter, a huge Zeppelin and Bonham fan, who bases his style on that of Bonzo. 
For Peter to be performing at a concert celebrating his life and legacy is of his hero is:

‘One of the top five greatest moments of my life’ says Peter.

A series of high-profile events are planned for 2018 to mark the 50th anniversary of Led Zeppelin.

Already this year Led Zeppelin have released unheard versions of ‘Rock and Roll’ and ‘Friends’ on 7” vinyl for Record Store Day. Also, last March the band released a remastered edition of their 2003 live album ‘How The West Was Won’.

Reportedly there will be a brand-new Led Zeppelin live album released at some point this year. In an exclusive interview with Planet Rock magazine Jimmy Page said:

“I can't give the game away, but there's a recording that’s another multi-track that we'll release, it's so different to all the other things that are out there’’.

The band’s first ever official illustrated book entitled ‘Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin’ will be published by Reel Art Press on 2nd October 2018. 50 years to the month since the band changed their name from The New Yardbirds to Led Zeppelin.

With more events likely to be announced soon.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Queen of Rock

The Queen of Rock turned and smiled at me, ‘Hello’ she said sweetly.

We are soon to depart on our budget airline, yes I know, the glamour. But at least our destination is glamourous, a paradise island set in the wine dark Mediterranean Sea.

The seat next to me had been empty ‘til just a few moments before we are due to take off. I had been lazily gazing through the in flight magazine and didn’t see the Queen of Rock board the plane and take her seat next to me.

Slim, petite and clad in black, with Mediterranean good looks and sartorial elegance, she holds out her hand and introduces herself. ‘Charmed’ I respond.
I note the full sleeve tattoo as she offers me her hand in friendship. Her dark hair cascades over her shoulders as she leans forwards towards me.

We have mutual friends it transpires. She is an accomplished musician, from a little town in Italy called Rome, and also appearing on the same festival as Letz Zep this weekend.

I offer her a Gin and Tonic, well it is the least I can do and the 4 hour flight seemed to…..well……to use a term of phrase, to fly by. The Queen of Rock is the most engaging of company.

We are welcomed on our arrival, it is late afternoon and the heat reminds us that we have arrived at our Mediterranean setting. As beads of sweat start to trickle down the brow, the Queen of Rock takes her leave and we part.

That evening there is a welcome party for the artists and the VIP guests and the setting couldn’t be more beautiful. A tropical bar upon a golden beach, as the sun sets and the moon rises the reflection dances upon the silver sea. The band strikes up.

The various artist, all here for the celebration of music, all introduce themselves, nice people some I had met before, some are new. As I approach the bar the Queen of Rock is sitting serenely and unaccompanied.
‘Can I buy you a drink?’ she offers. I of course decline, being a gentleman and all that, some would say old-fashioned perhaps. However, a gin and tonic quickly appears. The first of many.

It’s 4am when I stir from my esteemed repose. The early morning sunlight gently illuminating the room in a golden haze bringing promise of another beautiful day.
I feel drowsy and slightly hungover. I notice I am fully dressed and totally alone, only, the room is unfamiliar. How did I get here? And more importantly, who’s room is it?
I scan the corners of the room for clues, all is quiet, all is calm. Although the bass guitar in the corner of the room offers a clue to the inhabitant.

My thought go back to the night before, what was the last thing I remember? oh yes the Queen of Rock buying me a Gin and Tonic, then a tequila, or whatever it may have been, I’m not entirely sure but I do now recall our shots being quaffed from the cleavage of a young blond lady with generous breasts.

Several of these later and the Queen of Rock is a little unsteady on her feet, I take it upon myself as a true gentleman to escort the lady back to her apartment, thankfully not too far from the beach on which we revelled the previous evening. But where is she? She is absolutely nowhere to be seen.

I rise from the comfort of the opulent bed in search for my missing drinking partner. The apartment is large and airy but she is nowhere to be seen, I don’t recall the journey back to her accommodation, but she must have entered with me, otherwise I couldn’t have accessed the room! Or even know where it is for that matter!
But where is she? I further check the room for signs of life, of revelry, of anything, but the apartment is empty and pristine. A puzzling mystery, a bit like the Marie Celeste, only we aren’t at sea, or in a boat! Ok nothing like the Marie Celeste then.

The only room I haven’t checked is the bathroom but something is stopping the door from opening, an unknown object blocking it from the inside.
I push harder, there is a thud but eventually I push hard enough to open the door and there laying curled up comatose on the cold marble floor lay the Queen of Rock looking most indecorous.

With the utmost gallantry I lift up the poor girl and help her to bed. Unfortunately she has taken a firm grip on the shower curtain and the whole thing comes crashing down, she continues to hold on and drag it across the apartment floor and into the bedroom, ignoring my instructions to let go of the shower curtain she continues to drag the curtain and the rail halfway across the bedroom floor.

But I am still weary, and she never really had regained consciousness as we both slipped back into the arms of Morpheus and slept soundly, despite the heat we are both fully dressed. I did manage to kick my shoes off however.

‘What the hell happened last night? The voice of the Queen of Rock rudely waking me from a rather pleasant dream. It is now nearly noon the sun riding high as we had slept long into the day.

Glancing around the room it did look liker a bomb had hit it, or a wild party, neither were true of course. The room looks wrecked, the remains of the shower unit strewn over the bedroom floor. The Queen of Rock examines the extent of the damage in the bathroom as I attempt to get another 15 minutes or so of shut-eye. My rest is disturbed by the figure of the demure bass player standing full square in front of me, she points at her face. As if awaiting an explanation of some sort? I am a bit mystified.
‘Yes?’ I respond, wondering what the matter could be.

‘I have a black eye’ she continues, ‘what happened last night?’

‘I have no idea’ I explained, as I examine the swelling and bruising which blemishes her right eye. 

Then a dark distant memory came flickering back. The bathroom door wouldn’t open, something was stopping it from opening, it couldn’t have been her face could it? No surely not, it couldn’t have been, no, I wasn’t really slamming the door into her face was I?
Of course I wasn’t, I convince myself.

Well. Valour? Discretion is the better part of it or so they say.

'I have no idea how you got that black eye’ as I shrug my shoulders in innocence.

‘Humph’, she sighs as she reaches for her phone, 25 missed calls and 23 unread messages the led display informs us.

‘Oh shit’, she declares, ‘I’m meant to be rehearsing, I can’t do anything before breakfast so let’s go eat’.

The Queen of Rock dons the biggest pair of sunglasses I have ever seen do disguise the blackening around her eye and we leave in search of a decent lunch.

There is thankfully a cool breeze, as we stroll up the gentle incline towards the local tavernas when a voice calls out breaking the silence.

 ‘I have been trying to call you’.

It is the voice of the singer in her band bellowing across the parched dry lawn which separates the apartments from the street.
He  continues......

‘we have to rehearse the……….….; he never finishes that sentence………………….’ Oh………hello Billy………..’
He says in abject shock.

All time stops, as we all stand motionless, faces appear at windows and from doorways, a scene frozen in time, some brushing their teeth, other with half a bacon sarnie unceremoniously stuffed in their gob, we all stand there motionless. No one speaks, no one moves. Even the birds cease their singing. Like a Mexican stand-off, or the final scene from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I turn the Queen of Rock, and she looks up at me through her dark glasses.

‘Busted’ I say to her and we continue on our search for a decent breakfast and a black coffee.

Rehearsals will have to wait.

Friday, 20 April 2018

The night is long and full of terrors

The night is quiet, nothing stirred. I had finished watching a crap late night movie with a small glass of Pino before turning in the for the night and now I lay in bed drifting off into the land of nod.

As I slip softly into the arms of Morpheus next to me I can hear the gentle soft breathing of the Lovely L, as she too falls into  a gentle sleep by my side.

My mind starts to tick ever so slightly, as I don’t remember hearing L come in tonight, actually, I now start to recall, I wasn’t even expecting her, but what  a pleasant surprise it is to have her next to me sleeping. 

I smile.

I start to stir a little more as I remember that L isn’t even in the country at the moment, She is abroad. So how can she be here? Yet the soft sound of her gently and dreamily breathing can clearly be heard right next to me.

Delighted with the thought of her surprising me like this I am now fully alert as I turn a sit up. To greet her with a soft kiss upon her brow.

I turn, but there is nobody with me, I am totally alone.

No doubt I was dreaming, I must be imagining that she here with me. Thinking so hard of her soft eyes that I must have imagined I heard her breath.

I smile at myself the return to by dreamy thoughts and finally to sleep again.

But there it is again! This eerie breathing! actually in my bed, but I now know that I am alone. It is the witching hour and now I am awake and the soft rhythmic breath of somebody in a deep sleep is in my bed is both clear and close. So close. So spooky!

Goosebumps send a shiver down my spine and my blood runs cold in my veins, as I feel the icy claw of fear clutch at my beating heart.

It is said the mind can play tricks on us, as I imagine all kinds of horrors the night time brings, dreadful night, the child of hell, and this spirit is laying invisible next to me in my comfortable bed.

I do not move, I cannot move gripped in fear but I can open my eyes to look around the darkened room, lit only in the shadows by the silver moonlight which opaquely dances in the night. I see no other person, nobody, I know the pillow next to me is empty but the sound of breathing so close to me is undeniable and real and getting louder.

I summon up all of my courage and in one fell swoop I sit up and put on the light, reaching for the first world war bayonet I keep next to the bedside cabinet, I turn to face the opposite side of the bed, armed and ready to meet with whatever terror the night may hold, what demonic succubus may be waiting for me in the mad shadows.

The pillow is still empty! There is simply nobody there. I am alone.

As I scan the now illuminated room to try make sense of this eerie phenomenon, the inexplicable breathing in my lonely bed my eyes are drawn a little lower than into the middle of the bed, where I find spread out to his full length, with legs akimbo is my Maine-Coon cat, snoring away in his comfort and bliss! Oblivious to the terror he has wrought.

He goes by the name of EL Pollon he does and the little bugger shook me right up he did.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Zeppelin over Europe

After the UK leg of the tour Europe now beckons at last, over the Easter period we have a 5 show stint, three shows in Germany and one in Switzerland and a return to La Belle France. all arranged by our wonderful German management company. We thank you.

We have brought  few new songs into the set, which is now dangerously approaching two and half hours for a this return to some of our favourite venues and some new ones too.

We arrived at our hotel in Germany just in time to catch the second half of the Champions League Semi Final, and then the highlights of both exciting games.
I afforded myself a small beer at the hotel bar followed by a shot of Jack with Pete 'The Beat' 

The venue Z7 in Switzerland is just fantastic, and our biggest crowd there to date. Once again the in house catering excelled itself once more and kept us very well wined and dined.
We brought enough of our new range of tee shirts to last the tour, however, so popular is the new design proving we actually sold it all out on the first date and have hardly any left for the rest of the shows.

Quite a bit of driving on this leg of the tour, after Switzerland we drove through Austria and Lichtenstein, around Lake Constance and through the town of Friedrichshafen. Where Ferdinand von Zeppelin established his dirigible and the Zeppelin was created quite apt I thought. 
From hence onto our show in the beautiful medieval town of Memmingen in Baveria. The old town has many courtyards, castles, palaces and fortifications is one of the best preserved in all of southern Germany. Simply Stunning.

Peter and myself went out in  search of fridge magnets for his ever-growing collection, and refreshed ourselves with a local beer, well… when in Rome and all that. Known as the town of human rights, this refers to the Twelve Articles, considered to be the first written set of human rights in Europe, which were penned in Memmingen in 1525. With the biggest historical re-enactment in Europe. It commemorates the invasion of Wallenstein and his troops in 1630. We met one of the re-enactors during our restorative beer in the towns old Square. He kindly kept us engaged informing us all about the local history.

Anyway I digress, the show went very well, the eager crowd demanding a full 4 encores. The next day another 4 hour drive to Dresden, our first visit to the venue and the great city. A Sell Out crowd to boot!

We are welcomed to the venue by and old friend and promoter who is the man behind this show, he has a few requests for the set tonight that he would like to hear. As there is no curfew so we can let rip a little. The Rain Song once again brings the house down. We will be flying home for a couple of days before flying out to Paris for a Sold Out theatre show.

Leaving from Londons City Airport for the short hop to the City of Lights.
Thankfully, free booze on the flight, now there is a novelty nowadays, and a reunion with Le Chameau, The Camel, our famous guitar tech.
Chameau is famous in France and has his own fan club with large cheers from the crowd whenever he enters the stage, and rightly so.

Chameau reminded me of the time we were in Geneva, where he bought his lovely lady wife a beautiful turquoise ring as a gift, however, he managed, by deciding to spend his day off in London rather than with his devoted wife, to incur the wrath of his good woman and was not entirely welcomed home with a loving embrace.
The day after our return I had a phone call from Mrs Chameau, I of course, in order to gain some grace with the charming wife of Chameau, enquired as to the reception she gave to the lovely gift from Geneva, ‘Oh’, she replied excitedly ‘he hasn’t given it to me yet’.
The voice of Chameau could be clearly heard in the background shouting from the other room ‘That’s ‘cos you told me to stick it up my arse’.

How I larfed, anyway. also a reunion with Michel, Mr. Rock n Roll
himself, and also a dear friend. We are fortunate to have him as our tour manager and tonight, he will also be utilising his sound engineering skills. There is not a man of more rock n roll on Gods green Earth than Michel, the man they call Le Machette. The Machete.

As we arrived the night before the show give me tme before soundcheck to grab a taxi into the centre of town for lunch in the George V hotel with our lovely latest member of the SKA Music Ltd entourage.
There is a public transport strike in Paris today so stage time is held back to allow for latecomers to get into the magnificent Theatre De L’Allegria.

The sell-out crowd were well up for it from the start and got right behind the band, and the house packed despite the strike. The show is going well and all the songs received with vigour, until Moby Dick, highlighting the skills of our drummer Peter Tulloch. Which was rudely interrupted by the fire alarm going off inexplicably. Bit harsh on the ears, but then I ‘spose it needs to be.

One of the French crew cam flying down the stairs 5 steps per stride!. It took about 10 minutes for the alarm to be turned off and the further 5 minutes for the power to be restored to the stage.

We finished the show to some suprise pyromania from our wonderful French crew, even more of a surprise as we hadn't yet finished the set and still had a good few minutes to go and then still had the encores to play yet! 
Large strips of silver strips still falling from the ceiling as I belt out the opening refrain to 'Immigrant Song', whilst coughing up the tinsel which continues to fall onto the stage,

                                          Standing Ovation

A great evening, thank you to all who came, the band are in a celebratory mood so just time for a few after show drinks before retiring for the night. As we depart the hotel at 9am for our flight home to London. 
Well, meant  to be 9am but our cab driver was a bit of an idiot and parked blocking all the traffic despite there being several loading bays, so we set off to blaring horns and dirty looks from other road users who seemed to think their inconvenience was all my fault. 

Only a short drive to Orly and the quick flight back to Dear Ol' Blighty, and a well-deserved fortnight off.