Got to Auckland and Jon and Deborah are busy with media; distribution and other activities. Luckily were able to attend the Auckland Museum which was fascinating. Sunday night had the great chance to jam with local muso's at the Flo Bar, including NZ's number one session singer. She was off-the-hook (great pitch!!). Thanks to Edgar San Gabrial for inviting us.
Getting ready to kick-off and leave the ground. This Friday Jon and I start our media blitz tour in New Zealand. Meeting up with the band next week to start the shows. Stay tuned for stories.
Day Twelve – Time to go to Takaka and Mussel Inn – one of our favorite places. We all got up in the hostel and packed up. Sharon and Allen took photos of everyone off the deck and they have all become members of our ever-growing family. Sonny wants to come visit Steve in the US. Allen awed us by playing his bagpipes in the back garden in a farewell celebration and Sharon shared her meditation CD as a gift. We all definitely cried together when saying good-bye. Off we went over the Takaka Hill and stopped for fruit ice cream at the Toad Hall in Motueka. At Mussel Inn, we were again amazed at the beauty and grandeur of Golden Bay and the log home of Andrew and Jane. Take note all you club owners !! - these wonderful Kiwis share their hand-hewn log home with the entertainment they bring in. Had dinner together for the last time as a band on tour and it was delicious. Jon and I remembered so much from last year. Andrew and Jane are wonderful people and we had the great opportunity the next morning to actually spend some time talking with them and getting to know them more. GREAT crowd – great night – the best thing about playing the Mussel Inn is the guys dance as much as the girls ! Note to guys – dance with your girls! We played even longer and had to improvise some Meters style jams keeping everyone on the dance floor. We also did an encore here the same way we did at Baby G’s. Day 13 and 14 – Had a nice morning with Andrew and Jane of the Mussel Inn. Discussed many things and shared more with these most wonderful people. They are salt of the earth. We drove about and dropped the percussion at AJ’s commune in Marahau. I wanted to stay for sure. What a gorgeous place. We were going to go swimming in the ocean but decided we better get back to drop off the drums and amps. Said our good-buys to Andrew and K&A Audio and got to the airport – dropping the car at the last minute as usual. Flew to Auckland and checked into the hotel. Since our flight wasn’t until 7.00 pm the next day, we thought we’d make it back to Waiheke Island. Instead we slept and went swimming at the hotel, etc. Finally, got on the plane and returned to the states. We’ll be back in February we hope. Until then, keep listening to our music and remember This and That . . .
Day Nine – We have another long day of riding ahead of us – luckily had the nice day of rest and rainforest glaciers. Took off down the West Coast and again – the most amazing sites – with oceans and pine forests interspersed with ferns. The ocean surf was spectacular. We stopped at Paikaiti blow holes and took pictures. Unfortunately, it was low tide so there were only little blowholes. Down into Greymouth and the sad sad news that the second explosion had occurred and all miners were lost. We went through numerous coal towns and it was sad. Finally ended up at Westport and had espressos at the little place which was also a photography studio. We then turned east and started up on the way to Nelson and our last set of gigs and the boys. Landing in Murchison in the beautiful valley and arriving at the Murchison Lodge with Merve and Shirley. We went for a walk down to the river and through fields with bulls and cows and climbed over fences. It was very rural and wonderful. Day Ten – Started the day with the FreshFM radio interview with Jon on the morning show. The This and That tour is on the airwaves – WOOHOO. Last day on the ride. Oh so sad. Going into Nelson was reminiscent of our trip last year and we kept reliving memories. Into Nelson – meeting at the hostel, setting up Vic’s; seeing the boys; viewing the beach. Got to Trafalgar Square in Nelson. It was to the venue and remeeting Andrew (Smiley) and Pete from the airport and old friends. We all stayed at the Nelson Beach Hostel with Allen and Sharon Campbell – two of the best hosts ever. What a great couple and their son Sonny also. Pete, our wonderful new friend and bass player, told us about their Maori tattoos. They represent the family lineage, where you grew up and other important family information. They are all unique and put on the men when they turn 21 as a rite of passage. He is also going to have one put on in the traditional manner with bone as the needle. When we got to Nelson – we discovered a large write-up in the Nelson Mail for the new CD and pumping the gigs. We were really stoked to see Jon get his due and the large headline for Vortex Tribe. Yes – international press . . . We had a wonderful gig – sold CD’s; had people on the dance floor; standing room only. They provided dinner and we had a great sound. So much fun, Everyone played themselves into the ground – The Engine with Steve and Ced were again off the charts and Pete stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. Jon was the star and had a huge following of guitar guys watching his every lick. Day Eleven – Went and got Blain from the airport. We all hung a bit in Nelson town and had lunch, etc. We then took Pete to the airport for his return to Wellington and opening support for Katchafire. We were so sad and actually cried – what an amazing thing music is when shared – Pete is now a member of our family and he has invited us to share his in Tanauki when we return. It was now time to rehearse with Blain – again amazed at how well these gentlemen learned their parts and were prepared. It made everything so much easier. Blain is ‘sweet as’ and also an incredibly funky bass player. To the club – Baby G’s with Jessica and Urna. Jessica is from San Francisco and the club was fantastic. It had the best reviews. Smiley came and set up the sound. A garden patio in the back was right behind The Engine so it ended up that all the drummers in Nelson were watching them from behind and all the guitarists/bassists were in the front ! We even had a flutist in the mix who was a new player. Hope I motivated him. Great show and great night. The crowd was totally sweet as and the band played for 2.5 hours straight with no break. Blain did a great job in keeping up with the team and played excellent solos. Many many repeat customers from the gig the night before.
Day Six and a Half through Day Eleven and Half: Picked up the BMW K1200LT in Nelson – Woohoo !! Wow what a motorcycle. This is going to be amazing. I had to get instructions on how to get on the back behind Jon. We left Ced and Steve on Waiheke Island. We found out later they made major connections and we’re invited to some large festivals later in the season. Got on the bike, put the rain gear on and good thing too. As we went into the night with the pouring rain – and Jon driving this BMW faster and harder than any German engineer ever planned. We went through a lot of rain and made it to Kaikoura and our hotel later in the evening – far later than planned – oh yes, it’s Jon and I. This is after we were told to expect good weather by everyone Day Seven – Okay we left at 1.30 in the afternoon rather than 9 so of course for the long ride – it’s a bit of a problem. Started the day with Bryan and Jon at the hotel talking forever – ha ha it seems the men at these inns are quite the talkers. Told us to take the Hanmer Springs road and so we did. After we had major coffee and breakfast or brunch in our case in Kaikoura. Wow, it was an amazing ride – beautiful mountains, pristine rivers, windy roads, snow capped peaks, and fresh wonderful scents. I’m filming from the back of the bike on the video and taking camera shots. We stopped in the resort town of Hamner Springs and had the most unhealthy lunch – super cholesteral and carbs. Oh well. Jon’s finding out exactly how far he can lean the bike into turns and where the skid guards are located with every curve he maneuvers. Got to Greymouth and it was late and we were tired. Very sad place – they had just lost the 29 coal miners. The West Coast of New Zealand is almost unpopulated so a town to lose this many men was a terrible thing. Many reporters and it was a sad time. We thought we would stay there but no vacancy – decided to go to next town – Hokitaki. What a great town but again no vacancy so we opted to take the full trip to Franz Josef Glaciers. WOWOOOWWWWW ! What to say – we rode in under the most gorgeous full moon; past lakes and fern trees and it was incredible. The light from the moon glistened everywhere and it was otherworldly but wait until daylight . . . Day Eight – Went to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. This is hard to explain the true beauty and knowing we are so far south. These are ancient ice glaciers with an actual primodial rainforest. Apparently, there are three rainforest glaciers – and these are two of them – with the other being in Patagonia. The ferns, which Jon loves, palm trees with the glacier behind – the air is bright and incredibly clean. The Maori legend for Franz Josef is that a princess loved to climb in the mountains and rain forests. She talked her lover into joining her and he slipped and fell to his death. Her tears are what created the glaciers. I wish I could describe better what we experienced – it was primal and spiritual and just amazing. We were to have a glacial hot spring swim but were too tired
Day Four and a Half; Five and Half of Six ! The gigs are going absolutely unbelievably well. Mangawhai Tavern was an excellent room and the sound was superb. Pete did a great job on bass and the entire band was fantastic. Well Day Five started with our band of music geeks spending the entire morning working out compound polyrhythms. So with metronomes going, practice pads and even the staff paper – we worked out numerous polyrhythms and they were funky. Off to the ferry and Auckland to get to Waiheke Island – gorgeous white sands and turquoise waters, ferns and dense forests. Got to the venue and the stage had been built for us that morning – full color ads, newspaper interview – it was a great promotion. Graham Hooper was the best host and promoter had us in the Hauranka Lodge with it’s stone swimming pool. Too bad we’re actually working The Rocks venue offered us food and it was a Japanese restaurant – some of the best food any of us have had. Delicious vegetarian offerings. Well it started raining and we thought oh no one will come out – but yes they did ! Wow, what a night. Jon Mulvey was the absolute star – singing, playing his backside off and in some cases with his calisthenics that might have been true-what guitar playing. Jon is so in his element in fronting a band ! The crowd went wild. Pete jumped in the groove in the funkiest Maori fashion – but the highlights were Ced and Steve doing the craziest stuff behind us on the double drum riser. I guess those compound polyrhyhtms were working ! Even the flute player pulled one off and the women loved the flute. My stage presence has certainly taken a leap in the last while – although possibly the trades on Look of Love with Jon might have been a bit more than provocative ! But the people loved it and didn’t stop dancing. The night’s performance was almost epic ! We’ve already been asked back for March and talking about big festivals and venues from both nights. Day Six.One Quarter. Having a lot of trouble getting internet access so don’t know when we’ll be posting. Jon, Pete and I got on the early ferry. Unfortunately, the driver didn’t ask which ferry and we got to the wrong one – of course being musicians we got there at 3 minutes to 9 for the 9.00 departure and had to buy new tickets! But no worries. Through the airport and off to Nelson where Jon and I are going on a major 5 day motorcycle ride through the Southern Alps – down to the West Coast glaciers and up the West Coast rain forests – our next blogs will be about our trip – until we meet up with the boys and Pete again in Nelson for more playing. Cedric and Steve are still in Waiheke Island – hopefully having a wonderful day. Tomorrow they get to return all the backline, drive on the left side of the road, maneuver Auckland and get themselves to Nelson where they’ll hang until we meet up with them in 3 days. More later…..
Day 3 - The real This and That Tour started today - or should I say the work. Good things as usual though. Went to check in to our average hotel and Dianne, the great innkeeper of Mangawhai, offered us her guest house which had 7 bedrooms, and tons of amenities. Super great and the musicians or muso’s as the Kiwis call us, love it. Went into Auckland and picked up the gear and the guys. Met up with Nate at Atwater Music and he outfitted us in great style for percussion and drums and even an amp for Jon. We’ll be doing a number of Ibanez sponsored clinics next time we’re out. Went to the Rock Factory for the rest of the backline gear – or sorry bassist – we can’t fit the rig in the van! Pete Riley, super bassist from Wellington told us, no worries. But Mark and Michelle of the Rock Factory let us remove not one but two seats from our rented cargo van and of course we took it all apart to fit the gear in. Pretty late getting Steve and Cedric from the airport but no worries, they hadn’t been waiting long since Steve had been pulled into customs and not let out until seriously interrogated for an hour or at least questioned about his just issued passport. We’re all together now, geared up, PA’d out and ready to start the music. More tomorrow . . . Day 4 – Sent CD’s out to the newspapers and radios to prepare for Jon’s interviews. Jon has his first This and That promotional interview. He will be featured in the Nelson Mail newspaper. Have to get pictures out too. Great job for Jon!! Rehearsing now with the band. Getting ready for the first gig tonight. Will let everyone know how it went !
Jon and Deborah flew into Auckland on the most turbulent flight either had ever experienced. But in all things, the benefits ended up outweighing the negative and they ended up in the coolest old style apartment in the old city center of Auckland. Went and did tourist stuff - yes Jon Mulvey posed for tourist pictures at the Prince Albert Park! Went to the shops, walked around and generally had a nice light few days. Driving up to Mangawhai - we stopped at Surf's Beach off Mangawhai Heads and it was absolutely spectacular. Getting ready for the other band members and getting the backline.
Breakfast With Spanky - Vortex Tribe RDU 98.5 FM
So deciding to do Blue’s Brothers type fun, VORTEX TRIBE left Auckland in a hurry. Due to some very incompetent promotion from our promotions’ manager, the gig was cancelled at the last minute. Uh-oh the opening act was not a happy set of Maori campers. We were told by the venue to leave – House of Shem was on the way. Being good little mice – we scurried and ended up in Tauranga and the start of our fun tourist day. Went to Taupo and saw the geothermals. Amazing – gurggling mudpools, algea filled boiling water, beautiful and crazy caves. It was great. We then ended up at the Taupo Hot Springs where we bathed in thermal hot pools and bar-b-qued. Darling little marsupial joined us. If we get around to it, I will eventually be posting pictures. Next day, we drove from Taupo through the volcanoes and into Wellington where we boarded the ferry. It was an amazing and beautiful drive and we enjoyed it. We were to play on the ferry but it was the smaller one so we will be playing next week on the boat. Once we got off the ferry, we went to Nelson (about 2 hours) and it was scary and weavy on the way. The next morning was another drive day and we drove to Christchurch. It was a very long drive but extremely beautiful. The ocean water off the coast was amazing turquoise. Got to Christchurch and our hotel. It was off the city center and we were all very tired from the long drive. Next day we picked up Samantha from the airport and had some excitement which would be best not to repeat. While waiting for Samantha and I, Jon was detained by security and he had no ID. We were all unsure what to do and finally went to the clinic at the Jazz School. No Jon – but Isaac, Wes and Amir did a great job with the Jazz School clinic. Finally, Jon arrived at Al’s Bar and it was fine. We got along great with Al, who has an incredible venue and even with some issues around a certain missing band member, we did two INCREDIBLE shows. We’ve been asked back for recording and to do TV shows, and many other exciting events. I will say, that Jon and mine’s radio interview that Friday morning was a bit tough going though was we were extemely tired. So the rest of the band went touring Christchurch and we slept from exhaustion. Next day, very early, we all piled in again and drove up to Marahau. We went through the middle of the South Island. Unfortunately didn’t have quite enough time to do the full West Coast and Middle Earth drive. Next trip down. Marahau, on the Tasman Bay and at the entrance to the Abel Tasman National Park, is beyond beautiful. It is what romantic postcards are made of. We stayed at the Old Mac Farm in cabins, with ducks and roosters, and llamas. What a great show we had that night. AJ, Jane, Yirika – all were incredible human beings. What a fun show. Dancing all night long. Next day we did a nice leisurely drive to Golden Bay and the Mussel Inn after a nice breakfast at the Park Café. What an AMAZING venue with Jane and Andrew. Beautiful log cabin inn, great food, and a great dance floor.