A Rock n Roll Diary

The critically acclaimed warts and all account of British band, A Shortage of Heads’ American tour in 1974. For 5 months lead guitarist and singer Curtis Trimble kept a diary in which he recorded all the highs and lows of being in a Rock and Roll band on the road.

This is the story of The Heads on tour!

 Thursday December 12th  1974

Oh Christ, I hate this godamned tour. Note to self: be more assertive next time (if there is a next time) over transport, tour dates and venues and, like, maybe insist on a fuckin’ tour bus with a heater that WORKS. I mean we don’t see the Rolling Stones or Led Zep scraping the ice off their windows after a gig, do we?

And what about the bloody itinerary? What a bunch of shit holes!  how were they chosen? Darts and a map I reckon.  Probably at the hand of our manager, Tony de’Ath, who is primarily a business man and  therefore knows fuck all about music. He is also our Tour Manager. At the moment we are randomly hop-scotching  our way across the States in a shagged out tour bus and  getting mightily pissed off about it. The result: gigs too far away from each other to travel comfortably in one day.

Note to self:  Ask Tony if he is drawing two salaries, since the departure of our original tour manager, with the first month’s tour takings.

Our US fanbase is centred around the industrial heartlands of Minneapolis, Indiana and Detroit for Chrissakes , We don’t wanna play to half-full  arenas  in Vermillion South Dakota,  Enid Oklahoma or butt-fuck  Idaho.

And You know what? I fuckin’ swear I’m gonna kill Alan. Note to self: If he makes another crack at telling me that he wants more of his songs on the next album. I’ll say: fine . WRITE SOME FUCKING DECENT SONGS THEN!

And Cally! Merciful Jesus, everything they say about drummers is true Man. Have I known a few slobs in my time. Cally beats them all hands down. Do you know one of  the things he does? When he is desperate for a fag in the morning, he goes round all the ash trays on the bus, retreiving the tobacco left in all the dog ends. He then splits the foil from its backing paper, and makes a roll up! Gross!

As for Scrubber, his party trick is really beyond the pale. He ‘caps’ farts. In  otherwords … no, I can’t. Suffice to say that the recipient gets an unpleasant surprise and a gift that keeps on  giving.

But there is good news! I am still off the drugs this time. I’m much more Tooting Bec than tooting Coke these days  (Note to self:  There’s a song in there somewhere) Yes, since my septum fell out in the shower and went down the plughole back in Albuquerque, I’ve been a bit more circumspect in my dealings with the old chemicals. Out goes Coke, Crack, Amphetamines, Whacky Baccy. I’m working on the booze and the Mandies. I only really use them to get me to sleep. God knows you need something  on this loony ride.

Oh pissflaps! That’s all we need. It’s starting to snow. What are the chances of making it though to the end of the tour and having Christmas back in the UK with Kate and the cats? 

It’s not looking good.

Come and have go if you think you’re hard enough!

Warning. May not be suitable for people of a nervous disposition. This post is issued with an 18 certificate. Features football violence and lots of bloody swearing.

Manchester United did their promotion hopes no harm at all after running out clear victors over a lacklustre Blackpool side at Bloomfield Road this afternoon; Forsyth, Macari, and Mc Calliog all getting onto the scoresheet. The event was marred by some crowd trouble ouside the ground when groups of United fans ran amok along the seafront and Pleasure Beach. Police said they made three arrrests. Blackpool nil Manchester United three.

21 OCTOBER 1974

A Monday morning on the furthest muddy reaches of the school grounds. Marked by a saggy chain link fence. Most of the pupils keep to the path as they walk towards the school gates. A small group of lads, however use the sag in the fence to climb through. They gather by a mature sycamore tree and some bushes, which gives them cover from the main gates. Their breath condenses in the chilly autumn air.

‘Come on, spark up’. Says one. He is wearing a feather-style haircut, parallels, black zip up platform shoes. His school blazer is done up with the middle button . Its badge bears the legend ‘Caritas’. His tie is tied in a ludicrous huge flapping knot.

Yeah C’mon we ‘aven’t got much time. Says another, wearing a cheap black crombie coat over his blazer. Brogues and red socks on his feet.

They all get out their fags, Feather cut takes out a zippo lighter and each in turn light their cigarettes. ‘Ahhhhhh….’ They let out a collective gasp of relief.

‘Did you see it then?’

‘What? ‘

‘Sat’day night’

‘What? I went out Sat’day night,’

‘It were fuckin’ hilarious’

‘What were?’

‘Finny. Din’t you see ‘im?’

‘Ont’ telly?’

‘No, what happened?’

‘Well, he went to Blackpool wi’ United and you know there was bit of a tear up with the cops? Well Finny was right at the front. So I’m watchin telly Sat’day night waiting for Match of the Day and on’t News, you know how they have a picture about each news story? Y’know? Behind Reginald fuckin’ Bosanquet. They only had a massive picture of Finny … leading the fuckin’ troops.I nearly fuckin’ pissed meself’.

‘Ey here he is now’. Finny skips over the fence. Hair like an explosion in a Ginger Nut factory. They all pretend to bow and scrape before him

‘We’re not worthy’ they cry.

‘All right stop all the bollocks you set of cunts. Who’s got a spare fag ? ‘

He takes a cigarrete and Feather cut lights it for him.

‘So, have you had any offers?’ Feather asks Finny.

‘What offers? What the fuck are you on about?’

‘Offers, You know, Hollywood? TV and that. I’d have thought that the producers of Starsky and Hutch would have on the phone after your appearance on Sat’day night TV’. They all burst out laughing. Finny attempts a half hearted kick, but Feather is too fast.

‘What did your Old Man say about it?’

‘He never saw it did he, he was in the pub. Fucking good photo though. Mind you the cops gave us a right kicking. I were black and blue Sunday morning’

Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough.

Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough … Look at the flares!

‘Oh shite, look out it’s Harris!’ A teacher strides purposefully across the playing field, he has spotted them: too late, they try and dock their fags and pocket them.

‘You boys! Stay where you are.’ Mr. Harris affectionately known as ‘Bummer Harris’ is Head of PE and likes to throw his weight around a lot. ‘I thought it might be you lot. Have you any idea what it looks like from the staff car park? It’s as if the tree was on fire, clouds of smoke billowing out of it. Let’s have them’ He looks at Finny.

‘Finnerty, give’

‘I haven’t got any Sir, honest’

Harris pats Finny down – as roughly as possible

‘How about you Kinsella?’ Reluctantly the boy puts his hand into his blazer pocket and takes out his packet of ten.

‘Sovreign? Quick Burns?’ Harris says, turning his not insubstantial nose up at them.

‘Owyahh!’ shouts Feather, his half smoked cigarette is smouldering in his trouser pocket and has just worked its way through the lining.

‘You Goon!’ Yells Harris as Feather tries to get the offending article out of his trousers. (If you see what I mean) Harris adresses them all ‘ Mr. Baldwin’s’s office, line up outside, NOW!’

‘Not you Finnerty’. He grabs the boy’s shirt collar and backs him against the tree. Speaking close to the his face So that Finny is able to smell the stale tobacco on the teacher’s breath.

‘So, I saw you made the news on Saturday night’

‘Well, didn’t you lad?’

‘Yes Sir’.

‘Go on. Mr. Baldwin’s office with the rest of those idiots AND think yourself lucky that Mr. Baldwin was at a Parents and Teachers’ Association Treasure Hunt on Saturday night. And unless you want me to tell him how you’ve dragged the school’s reputation through the mud, you’d better keep your nose clean. Do I make myself clear?’

‘Yes Sir’

‘Now go’

As he trudged to the Headmaster’s Office Finny couldn’t help but wonder about what he was sensing from Harris. Something other than all the play acting about the fags.

It couldn’t be jealousy

Could it?

© Andy Daly 2015