We’re now well into our second week of rehearsals with the full band and it all seems to be going very well indeed. If anything, smoother than ever before although I probably shouldn’t speak for the new boys. Tim and Mike have been immersing themselves in the wonderful world of MK, learning the new songs and parts with John McCusker by their side showing them what he played and then sitting back ruefully and judging their performances with score cards. There aren’t really any scorecards but you get the picture.. It’s a lot of stuff to learn as all of us can testify as at some point we’ve all been there.

Richard Bennett – be sure to follow Richard’s ‘notes from the road‘, the perfect companion to this tour diary with thoughts, anecdotes and the odd restaurant review thrown in along the way.

Danny’s Sonor drumkit always looks pretty impressive, here it sports the new GL chip-head.

This following images may require explanation. This period of rehearsal is as valuable to the crew boys as it is to us ‘bandies’ as the equipment must be in tip-top working order before we embark on any tour.  The flight cases must be checked or ordered, wiring looms must be remade, gear that looks like it may not last must be replaced or rebuilt etc. etc. Colin Barton, who is looking after the keyboards on this tour is in the process of building me a VCA (voltage controlled amplifier) volume pedal system. This is because I use a lot of volume pedals during the show and on previous tours have never found a pedal that will last more than a few shows without developing some sort of annoying ‘crackle’ during operation. This seemingly simple concept is in reality a major bugbear as nearly all commercial stereo pedals, although well built, have at their core very cheap potentiometers (volume knobs) Replacing them is tricky and doesn’t solve the problem. Colin came up with the idea of using VCA’s and is building the system from scratch himself. I will be reporting on his progress in due course. Here he is pictured scraping the backing off the printed circuit board he has just etched. I always knew there was a use for those intensely annoying plastic forks that when used for their intended purpose have a tendancy to flick food all over your shirt rather than guiding it directly to your mouth. (I will add more photo’s as the system is built here later)

here is the (almost) functioning prototype..

The last few meters of the line into London Bridge station is right outside the rehearsal room window. Yep, Spring is definitely in the air. (NOTE pre – Shard)

Robbo is back in charge of Danny’s drums. Here he programs the MPC1000 which generates DC’s clicks and tempo references.

Glenn Saggers and Dave Dixon

the sun sets on another day nearer the start of the tour