From the foothills of the Pennines to the Mediterranean coast and back again. This is Total Victory’s French odyssey as told by the band.
Narrator = Dan (singer)
ML = Matt Leonard (bass)
ME = Matt Evans (guitar)
James = James (drums)
MM = Martin (guitar)
CONTEXT / PREAMBLE
Fans of rough and tumble rock diaries in the vein of Henry Rollins’ benchmark Get In The Van, Steve Albini’s in-character last slog around Europe with Big Black or Jon Wurster’s trips around the US for Superchunk’s website might find themselves a bit disappointed with the general alacrity contained within this write-up. However, when A Little Bit Louder asked the band to do this, ME leapt at the opportunity to make me do some work in light of having no gear to carry or vans to drive. So, here it is, the largely unexpurgated diary of Total Victory’s first European tour, complete with pictures, links and diversions. Recommended commute reading.
22/10/13 – MANCHESTER
It is four days until the van pulls out of Bolton. As a group, Total Victory have never spent longer than two days in each others’ company, let alone left the country on a tour expected to last 7 days and some 2500 miles. Previous performances in Blackpool and Leicester have been logistical nightmares. Cities we haven’t played: London (220 miles), Glasgow (204 miles), Birmingham (98 miles), Leeds (48 miles), Liverpool (35 miles). Cities we will have played: Marseille (987 miles).
For a couple of years we have had promoters in France saying to us “why not come over?” to which we have always batted away as mere kindness. However, when Fred and Don and the countless others screamed in our faces “LOOK WE HAVE DONE ALL OF THE WORK FOR YOU, NOW GET A VAN AND COME AND PLAY” in better English than us then there was little else to do but lift the couch and look for spare change.
The individuals of TV have history with our friends across the Channel. ML spent sometime looking at collapsed buildings in Annecy and got the idea how to master our second LP from this experience. I went to Nimes in 2008 to partake in a festival of walking and pizza consumption. MM once stowed away at Rosslare aboard a trawler bound for Le Havre and hitched to Paris to see Tom Waits frighten bats out of a belfry. James was briefly understudy to the role of Bustopher Jones in the Paris transfer of Cats.
However, ME has the saddest story of all: Once on a Eurocamp site a French youth stole my flip-flops. Two days later we were driving back to the site and he was stood in the middle of the road (in my flip-flops) urinating. I have never forgiven that nation for its disgraceful behaviour.
It’s not all misery memoir for ME though, as he dreamily recalls: I also rode a horse in France but that’s another story. Actually that’s the entire story.
24/10/13 – MANCHESTER
I am reading the story about the Guided By Voices drummer who wanted to sell his drumkit, as used on Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, for $55000, thus invoking the wrath of singer Bob Pollard. Let me just put this out there: if James wants to sell his kit and advertises it with the legend ‘as played on The Pyramid of Privilege and National Service‘ then feel free. What a petty feud. Pollard attempts all sorts of burns in his email (which was published on Facebook by somebody) such as “you’re an amateur, you play too fast (which is the sign of an amateur).” I’d always thought it was not getting paid, Bob.
We convene tomorrow ahead of the tour. My underpants are drying on the radiator.