Winners of 'Best Group' in the 2012 Spiral Awards. Here ahab will be sending us blogs from their curent UK tour, giving us the chance to climb into their twisted brains and poke about.
Dave and Cal met in 2005 in a dirty old bar in London, where a great deal of fine relationships have begun past and present. They worked as a duo until 2009 when they met Luke and Seebs. Luke, Seebs and Dave worked together in another project with Dave's sister Jessie Lee Burn to begin with when Ahab were offered gigs in Nashville Tennessee and Dave and cal asked Seebs and Luke to join them as a full band where they spent 2 wks together as a 4 piece. Bonding over booze, music and loose woman.
What has been your favourite ahab gig?
Our favourite and most important gig so far was our appearance at Cropredy 2010. Instrumental in securing a loyal fan base, but we were also introduced to Bob Harris and our manager Gareth Williams. A certain John Leckie was also in attendance which later led to us doing the KMVT project with him.
And the worst?
None, they've all been either good or great. We've developed as a band through our live performances so they've all been important in some way. If we have a gig where the sounds crap then we learn as a band to work with crap sound. If there's a low attendance then we work just as hard to win over whoever is there. If we're not doing our best at gigs then there's no point in doing it.
How does ahab make band decisions? Democratically or who shouts the loudest?
Everything we do is democratic. It's fundamental to how we operate. There's four songwriters and four singers so it needs to be that way. No single member is greater than the sum of its parts. It's like a military operation. We work great as a team and everyone plays an important role besides just playing instruments and singing.
What inspired you to take up your instrument?
Seebs - Slash from GNR. Ironically, I'm now mainly playing bass, but I started as a lead guitarist.
Cal - chicks like guitars
Luke - Marilyn Manson
Steve Brooks - Moby Dick (drum solo)
Dave - I dig Michael Jackson
What is your favourite festival?
Couldn't say one in particular, Cropredy obviously is special for us, but also Tonder in Denmark.
Is there an album (or albums) that inspired you to make music?
Appetite for Destruction
Led Zeppelin II
What is the most recent album you have bought?
We tend not to buy albums these days. We're all on Spotify. But recent inspiration:
Dawes - any of the two
Deer tick - black dirt sessions
Low anthem - smart flesh
Justin Townes Earle - Harlem river blues
Father Jon Misty - fear fun
What is your favourite drink?
Jack Daniels shots
Scolt Head/the Lion - it's a tie
Which public figure would you give a medal to?
And which one would you happily blow up with a bazooka?
Simon Cowell - good riddance
It is with great pleasure that I get to kick off the ahab tour blog which Spiral Earth have so kindly let us bring to you throughout the month of October.
We have each agreed to pen a little piece of wisdom/garbage/profanity every day we're on the road which will hopefully give you an insight into the wonderful world of today's touring bands.
I think I'll start by introducing you to the team behind ahab without whom singing our songs to the nation would not be possible.
Age -10 years
LS02 EWJ (Gary) - has been the backbone of our band’s activity since the summer of 2009. As an ex-television crewing vehicle, the fellas and I decided he was the ideal candidate to handle the harsh and, quite frankly, hugely disrespectful treatment a modern day band throws at it's tour vehicle.
Fire, booze, mud, mountains of Junk food, farm animals etc. are among the few harrowing ordeals the poor bugger has had to endure over the past 3 years.
Currently in the garage having his steering wheel welded back on, Gary is "Nervous and Excited" about his last tour before retirement and has asked me to ask you to send him positive vibes through the cosmos or he'll "Burst into flames on the M5"
Trust me, he will, so please send out those vibes!
Position- Road Manager/ Lighting
Eats - Bovril/ Rattlesnake venom
Python came to us through the City of Westminster ‘Adopt an American Vietnam Vet scheme’ started back in 2009 by the late great Lord Picklesworth. Picklesworth died a week later in a Kangaroo fighting accident and the scheme was shelved. Luckily we got in just before his unfortunate demise.
We picked up Python from an illegal cockfight in rural Cambridgeshire and he's been our right hand man ever since.
If you are present at one of the shows, nip round the back shortly after the doors close and witness him fighting bouncers for money (shirtless) while the band sip calmly on Piña Coladas and rest up for the next show.
The rest of our staff is basically us - the band - wearing trainers instead of flashy boots. It's difficult lifting a bass rig wearing 4inch heel crocodile skin cowboy boots so we have a job lot of Hi -Tech Silver Shadows to hand for the grunt work.
Right. I think that's enough On The Road tale telling for now. I look forward to revealing more in good time but ‘till then I've nothing more to say than "buckle-up" and for the love of God don't ever let any of your children near an instrument.
See you on the road
From Tour manager - Jack Python
Let me get this straight from the word go - I do NOT like these guys. Period. I am only on the goddamn tour because I've been tagged by immigration. If I stray too far from the van I get a shock. And I prefer the shocks to the gigs.
And about these gigs - what do I do?
Well, I collect the money - by force when necessary (always necessary) - Dave says I do lights. Ask him what lights? I ain't seen any freakin' lights. I do SOUND Dave. Badly. And I hate that too.
Last weekend I reckoned I'd celebrate the fact that the guys had somehow sold out the show by getting drunk, staying in the van and letting a goddam dog called Roxy mix the gig. See the picture - No one freakin' noticed!!
Listen to me and listen good. This tour is nearly over and hopefully I'll have creamed enough money off the top to get back to the good old US of A.
Your weather's lousy, your beer's warm and flat and your beaches are covered in rocks.
For the love of God, just get me off of this cockamamie island.
I instead chose to trim up by engaging in the sweat drenched, high octane activity of antique dealing.
Jack Python (road manager for ahab) has always been a collector of fancy antiques and unfortunately had forgotten to remove his collection from the lock up which I was being thrown out of.
The band were set to meet at 1 in the pm to set on the road so I was looking forward to a lay in followed by a few episodes of Banana Man.
Ice cream at the ready I was about to set the vhs spinning when I was interrupted by a phone call
'Hello" an angry voice yelled. "Who's this " I replied
" Bone crusher John" said Bone crusher john (the lovely man who owns my lock up) " That weirdo mate of yours with the cow boy hat (Python) hasn't removed his bits, and if they're not out in the next half an hour i'll knock your teeth aaaaaaaaaaaahhhttt!!!!!" (cockney for knock out your teeth)
I didn't want to have my teeth knocked out so I drove round to Crushers pronto
After him taunting me verbally and being bitten by his Alsatian I managed to unload Pythons Antiques without loosing my teeth.
I now had the problem of emptying the van of antiques before 1 in the pm when I would have to meet the fellas. I drove round for an hour and not a single antique dealer in hackney would give me the time of day - which I can only put down to Pythons questionable taste . I was forced in the end to go back to Bone Crusher and beg him to let me have my lock up back.
"No way!, he said "I've got a lovely bird"(cockney for woman)' daaaaaan the road" (cockney for "down the road") "who's gonna use it for flaaaaaaaaaaaaas" ( cockney for flowers)
"However!" he continued, "i've got a mate who's into this stuff so I'll take it off your hands on a commission basis"
"Great" I replied, at that point I had only an hour to spare so his offer of help really was music to my ears, Crusher however had a condition
I ran the deal around in my head and concluded it was a pretty good one despite the short term agony that a kick in the balls would bring. The furniture commission could bring in at least £500 and the extra storage space would be an ideal place to house the remaining 4057 copies of my 1997 solo album "Musings"
"Give it to me crusher!" I yelled
"You've got it" Crusher replied and went back into the lock up to fetch his vintage, steel toe cap doctor martin boots.
What happened next was a little traumatic but after I'd recovered from literally taking one (in the balls ) for the team, I arrived at our allocated band meeting spot at 1 pm, albeit with vomit pouring from my nose and mouth, barely able to breath or walk.
Everyone was there except Luke, I really hoped my morning efforts had not been in vain.
We continued to wait and the minutes were beginning to seem like hours, then at 13:13 luke arrived
"Sorry I'm late" he said, "just been loading some furniture I bought into my house, got a really good deal off this guy down the road"
My ears pricked up - surely this would be too much of a coincidence
"What did he look like" I asked luke
"He was a skin head with an Alsatian and massive steel toe cap boots " Luke replied
Luke went on to tell me that he'd only struck up a conversation with the gentlemen in question because he was outside in his yard smashing up copies of my 1997 album "Musings" with an axe
"He asked me to give you this"
Luke handed me a cheque for 26 pence
The cheque was signed B.C. John
I guess the morals of this story write themselves really but if you need some bullet point here they are…..
I thought seeing as it's a sunday and i'm breakfasting at a roadside cafe I'd share a little story with you that illustrates why i in contrast so love life on the road.
When we got to our digs after last nights show it was pretty far into the witching hour and all the quiet, pleasant pubs with fine juke boxes and pool tables were long shut.
I asked the bell boy where he thought I should go and after sizing me up he replied
"Well you could go to Club Spartan Warlord but I wouldn't if I were you"
Fortunately for the Bell Boy he is not me because within minutes of getting the establishments coordinates I was in a cab en route to the good times!
When I got to "Club Spartan Warlord" I could see why the bell boy had advised with caution
At first I was shocked by the fighting sailors and scantily clad Women slipping in puddles of their own vomit but they were merely an hors d'oeuvre to the "All you can eat" Buffet of madness that was about to ensue.
I walked to the entrance where two Orc sized bouncers patted me down for weapons, and charged me the 47 pence entrance fee
Within minutes of entering the "Spartan Warlord" I was 8 jelly shots down and had befriended a touring rugby team who went by the name of "The Chichester Destroyers!"
Their ring leader was a well built gentlemen called Frank Harbuckle who informed me that happy as he was to have me join the "Chichester Destroyers" for an evening of merriment there would be certain initiation procedures.
Curious as to what these initiation procedures were I of course agreed without hesitation to take part
Next thing Iknew I was outside, oiled up wearing nothing but a nappy preparing to fight their team mascot which just so happened to be a fully grown live Ostrich.
"Release BIRDZILLA!" cried Harbuckle
Birdzilla leapt out of his darkened cage held back only by the chain that lay in the hands of his keeper
Other than on the Really wild Show I've never actually seen an ostrich. In my head they've always been rather gentle creatures who lay nice, big speckly eggs.
In reality they are fearsome beasts with razor sharp claws who stand over 7 ft tall and can run faster than a Lion!
We were about to get underway when Birdzilla's keeper called "time out"
"What's the matter?" yelled Harbuckle
I took a look at Birdzilla's keeper who was dressed in a hooded cape. He went over to Harbuckle and whispered in his ear, Harbuckle responded by giving him a authoritative nod then they both looked over in my direction.
The keeper handed Birdzilla's chain over to Harbuckle and began to walk towards me, as he got closer my stomach began to turn as the face inside the cape started to look more and more familiar…
"Python!" (road manager and lights for ahab, frequently goes missing, see blogs 1 and 2) I whispered hesitantly
"What on earth are you doing here and where the hell have you been, I've had to do all the lighting and driving myself!"
"Just shut up!" he replied in his deep Texan drawl
" We have a bit of a predicament here. The man who put you up to this (Harbuckle) has got a lot of money riding on you going down in the first or second round, Ihowever have put all the band's tour money, van and publishing royalties on you to last it out till the third so your gonna have to dig deep on this one"!
Enraged by the fact that Python our estranged driver and lighting technician had gambled the bands whole livelihood on me fighting an Ostrich actually saw me do quite well in the first round. To be fair if there had been a judge scoring points i definitely would have lost but by the start of round two i had only lost 6 teeth and broken 4 ribs so it wasn't all bad!
The rules were that I had to be completely knocked out or submit defeat so round two was a biggie for me.
It started with Birdzilla treading quite hard on my foot, pecking out all my armpit hair and winging me in nuts, semi conscious I soldiered on!
The merciless Ostrich continued to beat me senseless throughout round two, it was real one way traffic, I did however manage to pluck out one of his feathers which served to only frustrate him further and make the beating that much more furious
I could see that there were ten seconds to go and my legs were giving way. As hard as I'd tried it was over for me so I made the decision to hit the tarmac.
As I fell however the ostrich decided to bite me on the tongue thus stopping me from hitting the ground and loosing the battle! For ten long second I hung with my full body weight being held up by my tongue which was trapped in the bill of an ostrich.
It was the most painful experience I've ever encountered and the ostrich ended up having to be removed from my tongue by the fire brigade!
Despite this harrowing endeavour the band money, van and royalties remained with the band as Ihad technically managed to last till the third round…
Phew for that!
As I now sit waiting for my coffee to arrive bruised and speechless I wonder what the morals are to this story and realise that only a moron would need them written out in list form.
Just incase like me you are a moron, here they are…..
I think that's all….
The full five-piece ahab line-up features Callum Adamson on 12-string guitar and vocals, Luke Price on mandolin and vocals, Dave Burn on guitar and vocals, Seebs Llewellyn on bass and vocals, and Steve Brookes on drums.
To coincide with the tour the band are releasing a live fourteen track CD. Recorded earlier this year, ‘Live in London’ captures the spirit of the live band. The album includes five previously unreleased tracks and will be available at the gigs throughout the tour.
Dave Burn typing the blog... or is he playing online poker?
ahab Autumn 2012 tour dates:
29-Sep Dorchester Arts Centre
30-Sep Exeter Cavern
01-Oct Southampton Talking Heads
02-Oct Portsmouth Cellars
03-Oct Brighton Prince Albert
04-Oct Aldershot West End Centre
05-Oct Bristol Thekla
06-Oct Newbury Arlington Arts
07-Oct Nottingham Glee Club
10-Oct Bangor Blue Sky Café
11-Oct Bury The Met
12-Oct Pocklington Arts Centre
13-Oct Sunderland Independent
14-Oct Edinburgh Electric Circus
15-Oct Inverness Hootananny
17-Oct Leeds Brudenell Social Club
18-Oct Liverpool Leaf
19-Oct Chester Telfords Warehouse
20-Oct Oxford Jericho Tavern
21-Oct Sheffield O2 Academy2
22-Oct Birmingham O2 Academy3
28-Oct London Lexington