Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tour Diaries! Vol. 1 Finds Tucson Songster Marianne Dissard Galavanting Across Europe, With Old Pueblo Star-Shiners Brittany Katter, Annie Dolan and (Special Guest) Connor Gallaher in Tow

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 11:12 AM

The Tucson Weekly blog is today launching an ongoing Tour Diaries series that will see Tucson artists keeping daily, er semi-daily, track of their on-the-road shenanigans, the dirt, the grime, the glory, the hangovers, the warts, maybe even the schtupping. We'll be asking all artists to tell it like it is. For the inaugural Tour Diaries, we present Marianne Dissard ... this first installment features the first three days of the tour.


Day 1—Monday, May 22: A blur already and we haven't yet started. This morning, as I made breakfast —as close to huevos rancheros as I can manage here, baguette for corn tortillas, I thought of a good first story for the tour blog I'd write that evening. As I doubled-down on black coffee, checking live updates for flight arrivals at Charles de Gaulle from my laptop, I swear I had the whole thing figured out. 
click to enlarge The bleary-eyed Tucsonans.
  • The bleary-eyed Tucsonans.

Twelve hours later, it's all lost. I'm drained. Blame it on a full afternoon of rehearsals. Now I pop a melatonin and before crashing, conjure up this one story of today. Here it is. When guitarist Annie Dolan, bassist Brittany Katter and pedal steel player Connor Gallaher got off the plane this morning in Paris, I wasn't waiting for them - take a taxi, I had instructed. But someone was there, pacing the crowded hall. Someone from Tucson, a musician flying home from his own European tour as my band was flying in for our own. Howe Gelb himself, the man, had been waiting for them in the CDG arrival hall. He greeted the bleary-eyed Tucsonans with a handwritten sign that read 'punk'. Yes, welcome to Paris, punks. Let's start that tour. 
click to enlarge Howe Gelb at  Charles de Gaulle.
  • Howe Gelb at Charles de Gaulle.

Day 2—Tuesday, May 23: We're leaving Paris in the afternoon, direction Germany and our overnight Airbnb pit stop in some tiny village near Frankfurt. The Guardian, when I check it online, has an article here on the dark side of touring - Insomnia, anxiety, break-ups ... but the headline news screams Manchester. 
click to enlarge Street hassle.
  • Street hassle.

Ariana Grande, whose show the bomb blasted, tweets to her fans: 'broken'. Yes, broken. Two days after the Paris attacks in 2015, I left to tour. Today, as a little over a year ago, taking to the road and playing is the only fix I have to the breaking. I ask Connor if he would learn a new cover song, "Amsterdam," for our show's encore. Of course, he says, always the trooper, juggling a stir-fry and a bottle opener. Singing that song in the kitchen repairs me some.

Day 3—Wednesday, May 23: Our first show. I'm anxious. This lineup is fresh. How many shows have we got under our belts the four of us together? Two. Last tour, in October, Vicki Brown was with me, Annie and Brittany. Six months later, Connor Gallaher has replaced her. 'Replace' is not the right word. The balance is completely new, to be found anew. I don't want to over-rehearse us, don't want to second-guess myself. This is a fine, fine foursome. 
click to enlarge Photoshop by Connor Gallaher of his face onto that of Vicki on the venue's program.
  • Photoshop by Connor Gallaher of his face onto that of Vicki on the venue's program.

I know it, I've cast it and want to be surprised by us, by myself. And tonight on stage in Chemnitz, I am. Everyone rises to the occasion in a venue I've already played every couple of years for the past seven years—once with Sergio Mendoza, Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan, then the Tucson Tour and Andrew Collberg, and with my French guitarist Yan Péchin. The show ends. We're thrilled. We've clicked. Didn't click with our nice AirBnB from last night, though, the one in the tiny, tidy village on the outskirt of Frankfurt. Their review of us...? "Hi Marianne, I gave you a good (public) rating - just because you have so many good reviews. it is unpleasant when you leave the roof window shutters open, soap and other trifles disappear and the apartment looks as if no one have cleaned there for months … It would be nice if you would not book us again".

Stay tuned ...

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