It?s funny how days can begin like any other. You get up and you brush your teeth wash your face, get on with it. But then some days, the universe decides to have a laugh with you. Today was such a day.
So we were supposed to check out at 2pm. There was a radio station awaiting our arrival for a session and a bunch of interviews. Naturally I was 5 minutes late. I did my ?idiot check? of the room and then got the elevator down to reception to check out.
Reception was empty save for a few suits, a couple of staff and a bad mesh sculpture. I was waiting for my bill and turned around, bored and recognized this guy standing behind me. He was the owner of a gallery in Manchester, and had put on Anton's (Corbijn) show last year. Nora and me had driven up in torrential rain with broken windscreen wipers to see the show.
So I said ?Hey? and ?We?re playing tonight d?you want to come?? and he was a little reticent and I said ?Oh don?t feel obliged? and he was like ?Do you know who this is?? and pointed to the guy standing beside me. I looked and sort of recognized him. ?This is Graham Nash?
Now. Some history here. A year ago, I?d just come back from Real World (recording studios) and Gerry was staying at ours. Gerry is responsible for introducing me to Joni Mitchell and hence lighting my songwriting taper. He was down for the weekend, letting his teacher hair down.
Anyways he had brought this record down with him. It was a record by Graham Nash called Wild Tales, released in 1973. He said there was a song on it he wanted me to hear and popped the record on and blew my mind.
I must have listened to the song 20 times before I went to bed that night and then a million times since. I played it to every person that came to our house, made them sit and listen. It possessed me. It was called ?Another Sleep Song?. So?
?This is Graham Nash.?
I felt me knees buckle beneath me, and lay down on the reception, head in hands. I was nearly crying. He was dead embarrassed, blushing. He looked amazing. White hair, lovely smile.
He introduced me to his wife; Susan and I told them how for a year his song had possessed me. So he blushed, I gushed and we arranged that I?d come down to the gallery where he was having a show of his photographs.
Apart from the fact that I was obsessed with his song, Graham Nash is one of the corner stones of British and American rock and roll culture. He was the lead singer in The Hollies. ?He Ain?t Heavy He?s My Brother? and then went to the US and joined David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Neil Young in Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. He had an intense relationship with Joni Mitchell. She wrote the album ?Blue? about their breakup. This album got me writing songs.
After we did our radio interviews, I went to the gallery where he was hanging his photographs. We chatted for a while about photography and music and then he had to do an interview so I talked with his wife and she said that if I asked him he would be up for coming on stage and playing the song. OMG!!!
There was a piano downstairs and so we went there and he played the song on it and we sung it together. He said he hadn?t played the song in 25 years. He said he was up for doing it at the show and would I write out the lyrics for him. I did this and then went back to the venue.
We had covered this song twice, once in New York at the Beacon Theatre and again on a recent KCRW session in LA. We needed to hear it again though to refresh our memory of the arrangement. I called Nora.
The album was already on the turntable but the amp wasn?t working so I called Gerry and he played it down the phone and I recorded it on Mini Disc. After this we all sat and worked it out. Cool
So at 10.30 or thereabouts Graham Nash came on and we all gathered round him and Played ?Another Sleep Song?.
I sung the first verse and when he sung, the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and I nearly lost it. He sounded perfect. Sung it beautifully. My world was rocked.
So I will end here. I am sitting, still wondering if that actually just happened. We recorded the performance on multi track so it might see the light of day. And they filmed it too. Excellent. Thankyou to whoever was controlling the universe today. I will never forget this. Cheers.
I just remember this day that season now. I who arrived at the venue early on that day met a member of Travis for the first time and was able to talk:D Maybe a lot began on today!
So it have on a birthday of Keane's Tom an opening act on that day and he was said to "Be my birthday today!" by oneself many times:)
And show of Travis, I remember that what Graham Nash played with a special guest by encore was splendid and fantastic so that Fran writes it;D I also will never forget this day!!
Happy To Hang Around
Writing To Reach You
Love Will Come Through
The Beautiful Occupation
As You Are
All I Want To Do Is Rock
The Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Flowers In The Window (ACC)
Another Sleep Song (with Graham Nash)
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?