As a child, I remember a board game called Touring Scotland. It’s a racing, dice game. Each player has a metal car and starts off at Berwick-on-Tweed. He is dealt cards with the names of the towns he has to visit before going back home. A bad hand would include a town which needed a ferry to get to and that meant having to throw a six. The game is out of print but can be bought second hand.
This early training has stood me in good stead because I am in the process of organising a Chico Chica tour. We will have an album out later this year and, as is the convention, the release will be followed by a series of dates – starting on 21stAugust, culminating in the Bull’s Head on 15thNovember. This last date would part of the London Jazz Festival.
I have earmarked fifty-two potential dates and this will be my target. We will be returning to venues that know us well but there will be a few new ones.
When organising tours it’s important to make a decision on where the band will be at a particular time and stick with it. This may mean turning down offers from places which are too far – in this sense it’s a bit like Aboriginal songlines. Something can be good, but only if it’s at a particular location and point in time.
So the plan is, (notice I said ‘plan’, not ‘hope’ – a plan is more likely to happen. A hope is just that – it could be forlorn). There will be six legs to the tour. I’m trying to include a head, thorax and abdomen but I’m unsure how to do this. And yes, it will have wings. Chico Chica will be creating a buzz in these areas:
21st– 25thAugust: Wales
1st– 7thSeptember: West and South England
Every Wed-Sun between 11thSeptember – 13thOctober: London and Home Counties
19th – 27th October: other regions (North East, East Anglia, Kent, West country again.
Every Wed-Sun between 30thOctober and 15thNovember: London and Home Counties.
The album will be called Café d’amour though this has yet to be formally agreed. All the songs are in French and it seems only natural one leg of the tour should include France. The will is there but alas, I couldn’t get the figures to add up. Chico Chica has yet to sing a song in the land whose music has inspired us so much. It will have to wait for another year. To tour at a loss is easy – a bit like writing free verse. Chico Chica is a professional band. Making a profit concentrates the mind and improves the music. We live in London and there are thirty million people living with a two hour drive so we’re sure to find our fabled 1,000 true fans within this radius.
Setting up all these dates is something most musicians would run a mile from. But, in a weird way, it appeals to my nerdy side. To minimise travel costs, there has to be a geographic logic and for this reason, I am forever referring to maps.
When the dates are organised, and I look at the long itinerary, I feel a certain pride of accomplishment as well as excitement about the fun ahead.
Once the dates are in place, aspects such as logistics, accommodation and travel arrangements are handled by others. This is because, in my anxiety to minimise costs, I ‘m quite happy to slum it and this may cause friction even among the easy going members of Chico Chica. Also, I don’t drive.
So if you know any promoters in those areas, and who may relish the opportunity to be part of this memorable and exciting adventure, do put them in touch with me.