chani: (Tom)
Tom McRae is playing in Dublin. This interview was published here on

"What’s on your rider? I always ask for the finest single malt whiskey as befits my status. But cooking sherry will do at a push.

How do you get to the gig – limo, taxi, walking? If the helicopter can’t land close, I’ll walk.

What’s the best gig you’ve been to? The best gig is probably more to do with my age and enthusiasm than anything else. When I was a teenager, The Waterboys at Norwich UEA made me want to be in a band. Radiohead at Brixton Academy made we want to give up, they were so good. Rickie Lee Jones in Copenhagen taught me grace and humour. The Bruce Springsteen solo on The Devils and Dust tour reminded me that live performance is worthless unless you’re prepared to take risks and ride the silence.

And the worst? There’s always something to take from a gig, even if it’s another band’s rider.

Who is the most famous person to show up at one of your gigs? Technically, David Bowie and John Cale, but I’m pretty sure they were there to see The Waterboys (I was opening for them in New York.) However, Scott Walker did choose me for his Meltdown Festival, and apparently watched from the shadows. For a moment I felt cool. The moment passed.

Most embarrassing on-stage moment? I once singled out a girl by saying “you, the pretty one”, and the girl next to her raised her hand and I said “no, not you, her”. I still have nightmares about it.

What’s your crowd-pleasing number? I like to think that in the absence of a genuine hit, each song is a least one person’s favourite. Even if that person is me. But probably The Boy with the Bubblegun.

Groupies. Would you? I had some groupies banging and yelling on my hotel door just the other day. Eventually I let them out.

How many roadies does it take to change your lightbulbs (ie, how big is your entourage)? 

In the glory days, we had a lighting director, tour manager, three technicians, front-of-house and monitor engineers, a merch person and two bus drivers. No wonder I still owe Sony a million pounds. Now, it’s me and my wife. She’s as strong as an ox with good teeth, so there’s nothing we can’t wrangle into position.

If you could be in any other band, which one? Any band that Frank Black is in, or Bob Mould or Neil Finn. But I’m still waiting for the call from AC/DC. That’s the job my whole career has been a warm-up for.

Who’s invited to your aftershow party? My idea of an aftershow party is to get back on the bus, put a West Wing on the TV, pour a whiskey and let the road unfurl. If you promise to be quiet, you can all come."

That's my Tom!
chani: (Tom)
I really like Tom's new album From The Lowlands. It's a shame I can't see him on tour this year.

One of my favourite tracks is titled "Fuck you, Prometheus". You can listen to it HERE

It was recorded in Tom's farm with the always delightful Brian Wright playing with Tom and also doing the backing vocals. You can hear noises around from the real life, like singing birds...and even "a fucking chainsaw down there"!

I like the gap between the cheery and rythmic tune, and the lyrics, especially towards the end as Tom seems to accept his fate:

"So I’ll walk out in the light of dawn and I’ll
Never speak of all the things I’ve done.
I will not look back or ever feel ashamed.

With head held high I will start again
You can be the fire and I’ll be the rain,
Oh, Prometheus, you and I were never really friends.

So, Prometheus, goodbye,
The gods will never know my name.
So, Prometheus, goodbye,
I’ll never set the world to flame,
I’ll never set the world to flame,
I’ll never set the world to flame."

chani: (Default)
First off a belated happy birthday to comova.

I haven't been on LJ much lately and it will be even quieter in the upcoming days for I found out on Firday that I was summoned to mark Baccalauréat papers for the September session (it's for students who were too ill in June to attend their final exam). I have to retrieve the papers on Tuesday afternoon in the suburb, and will hand them back on the 25th. So I'll have only 6 days to mark them...while going about my usual work in school. Marking Bac' papers beside teaching is a crazy thing...

I am not released from my teaching duty during that marking but I'll have to attend the jury on the 1st of October so I will miss classes then. And on the 4th there will be oral exams for those who nearly failed.

It's a pain in the ass, screwing up with my plans. Not only did I schedule tests for my students this week but I also intended to go back to the library on Tuesday afternoons and to do some thesis writing at home on Thursdays. But with this Bac' marking surprise I have to postpone the tests, and I can't work on my thesis until the whole thing is over.

When I saw the note on Friday I think my face turned green, honest. And later I had a difficult group to teach in the afternoon so I was pretty wrecked in the evening.

On the upside, I received Tom McRae's CD so now I can enjoy listening to his new album, From The Lowlands, on the stereo, which is always much better than listening on the computer or on the ipod. It's a lovely album; Tom's best since All Maps Welcome, although very melancholy and dark.

And I went to the movies and saw Killer Joe which was a lot of fun (in a dark and twisted way).

Also, I'm VERY pleased with John Edward Williams. I'm so glad that Daniel Mendelshon recommended Augustus on twitter and that [personal profile] herself_nyc  told me to read Stoner too. When I finished Augustus I wanted to start reading it again (yeah it's that good!), and earlier today I read the first chapter of Stoner in my bath – I have to say that kindle makes reading in the bath quite easy!– and was already under the spell.

That's about it. Tomorrow I have a big day of teaching ahead (from 9 am to 6.30 pm) and I'm not sure that I'll get to see Copper and Boardwalk Empire in the evening.

Think of me while I'm in Marking Hell!

chani: (Tom)
After a long hiatus, Tom wrote a blog entry to announce the release of the new album, From the Lowlands.

And I just had to share this bit, because it's so Tom, and because I love the analogy:

"Songwriting is a strange obsession for me. I return to forms and subject matter time and again, desperately trying to get them right before I can move on, trying to get them to do what I imagine they're capable of when I first write them. I want to simplify or reduce some songs to their most basic essence, so that they become a pure, direct form of communication. As an occasional whiskey (and whisky) drinker, that attraction to the distillation process is probably only to be expected. So this, then, is my single barrel, own label, aged for 42 years, McRae Special Reserve. Please enjoy responsibly."

Yes, I already pre-ordered the album...I'm nothing if not loyal!

But I didn't see Tom's tour with the String Quartet last year and I won't see him solo touring this year either. There are several dates in France but he won't sing in Paris and there's no way I can go to another town on a week day, even to Orléans which is the closest. Hopefully, he'll come back with the old band next year.

Speaking of the tour with the String Quartet, I found several lovely videos on youtube. The London show in Saint James Church must have been great. I wish I were there to hear him sing "My Vampire Heart" or "Human Remains" (my favourite which he NEVER sings during his Paris gigs, alas!) in a church. On the video below he sang "For The Restless" another favourite of mine:

chani: (Tom)
First weeks are always exhausting, I know it.

And yes I'm exhausted. I'm so glad I haven't got to teach on tomorrow morning! I'm going out with my girlfriends this evening, though.

I'm still reading Williams' Augustus and loving it. Beautiful prose and excellent re-creation of historical events and characters.

I realise that this year has been very Roman for me...I have to post more pictures from Rome. I'll try to do so on Sunday.

BTW here is a link to a website giving the list of Pompeian graffiti (translated into English). Some of them are hilarious or filled with some weird wisdom ("The one who buggers a fire burns his penis"), others show that little has changed over centuries...

As for Augustus, I had another little exchange with Daniel Mendelsohn on twitter – after I thanked him for recommending the book and told him how good the account of the battle of Actium by Agrippa was–, which was very nice. That's the magic of the Internet, talking with an author you love about a book you both like very much.

Also, my dear Tom is releasing a new album (the second part of Alphabet of Hurricanes, finally!) and has an official video clip:

chani: (Tom)
Sometimes I think I forget about loving Tom.  I don't listen to his music as much as I used to, I roll my eyes when seeing certain of his tweets.

I won't even see him during his European solo tour in Autumn since he doesn't come to sing in Paris (apparently his agent told him not to..WTF?).

But I will probably buy The Alphabet of Hurricanes Part II when it's released, even though I wasn't a big fan of Part I.

Just found that Tom made a EPK promo vid for AOH Part I and I like what his says about the feeling of loss and his take on sadness.  Ok, I guess I still love you, Tom McRae.

chani: (Tom)
Just noticed that two Tom Mcrae's songs that I love are now on youtube!

"Untitled" is one of the saddest and darkest songs Tom has ever written, but listening to it always makes me feel better.

I remember listening to Tom's albums when I was on that houseboat in the backwaters in Kerala. A magical afternoon, a beautiful scenery, a relaxing time and Tom's voice echoing on the water, the Indians on the banks merely bewildered as we were passing by...

My friend wanted to listen to the third album only and thought that "Untilted" was "too awful" for such a charming moment , but I thought it was perfect, so we listened to it too (I often get what I want!). And it was perfect.

I guess, I'm in nostalgia mode tonight.
chani: (Tom)
I'm posting this because it isn't every day that one can hear Tom Mcrae's voice on the BBC!

Yep the soundtrack is Tom's version of "Wonderful Chritsmastime". Apparently the whole song was at the end of the programme...Did any of my British friends watch it and recognize Tom's voice?

chani: (Tom)

ETA: And because it's almost Christmas and I'm in the mood for more Tom, here's a link to a youtube video I can't embed in here. Tom sang "Human remains" (the song I love and that he NEVER sings in Paris!) with the Matangi Quartet in November in Eindhoven . And here are links to other videos, same place, same day, singing "My Vampire Heart" and "I Won' Lie" and Language Of Fools, and  Draw Down The Stars (in which he recorded his voice and sang over it as he did in Paris). There is never enough Tom to see and listen to.
chani: (Locke)
The words are from Tom McRae's song, "One more Mile", but this isn't about Tom(I suppose that the icon gave it away!). Instead of one more mile we actually have a few months to wait now, until the last season of Lost.

The 84-minute finale felt too short but gave me enough food for thoughts. So here we go...

The Incident )
chani: (Tom)
No this isn't a post about Buffy but the answers to the Music Quiz I did yesterday since 5 songs have remained unguessed. Those 5 were difficult though. Answers are linked to youtube videos and I explain in bold the "Buffy" or "Dollhouse" connections.

1. "Moonlight Mile" by The Rolling Stones (from Sticky Fingers). One of their best songs ! 
2. "Sao Paulo Rain" by Tom McRae( from his debut album). A song Xander listens to after the wedding fiasco in season 6. The youtube vid is a Buffy/Angel one but I shall bear some Bangel just for Tom...;- )
3. The dance of the puppets /The rusted chains of prison moons..."In the Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson
5. "Always on My Mind" by Elvis Presley (of course!) . Ah Elvis' voice.....
6. "Life On Mars?" by David Bowie. Tom did a cover but I prefer David's version.  
7. "The Crystal Ship" by The Doors
8. "Pavlov's Bells" by Aimee Mann. She sang it in "Sleeper" during BTVS season 7.
9. "I Wanna Be Sedated" by The Ramones. Spike hums it in "Crush", season 5.
10. "All I Know" by Art Garfunkel. It's a lovely song and if you watch Nip/Tuck you must know the track for it was used in the wonderful ending scene of the season 2 finale . One of the greatest tv twists ever.
11. "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush . When I was a young teen I prefered "Babooshka" though and wanted her outfit from the video! I loved that song and played it all the time driving my family nuts. Ah the 80's !!!!
12. This is what you get/ this is what you get. It's "Karma Police" by Radiohead!
13. "Fantasy" by Earth, Wind & Fire
14. "Mad About You" by Sting
15. Waking to these sounds again / I wonder how I'll sleep "Over and Over" by Morcheeba (Big Calm)
16. Holding hands/Skipping like a stone/On our way/To see what we have done "Burn the Witch" by Queens of the Stone Age (Lullaby to Paralyze).
17. I'm coming up only to hold you under/ I'm coming up only to show you wrong "The Funeral" by Band of Horses.
18. "Children of the Revolution" by T-Rex(Marc Bolan singing). 
19. "Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who. Giles sings it at the Bronze in BTVS season 4, and  Willow swoons over his voice.
20. "I Go To Sleep" by Sia (written by the singer of The Kinks, but it's The Pretenders' cover is the most famous). Sia's cover can be heard at the end of the 4th episode of Dollhouse.

I know Sia since she keeps borrowing the marvellous Oli Krauss to play with her. Oli is the cello genius that has been touring with Tom McRae for years.

By the way Tom is 40 today. Happy Birthday dear Tom !!!!
chani: (Spike's back)
It began when I found out a leak from the ceiling in my W.C yesterday...

Now I'm waiting for the plumber...

Today was also anti-homophobic day celebrating the fact W.H.O stopped considering homosexuality as a mental disease in 1990. One of my students wore a tight and short rainbow t-shirt but it's only after the class that I made the connection ! lol

As for me, I wore the Tom McRae t-shirt I bought after his concert at The Olympia in October!

Don't think anyone at school made the connection. Tom's name isn't on the t-shirt, there are only lyrics from How The West Was Won, a blue and white text on a brown t-shirt (with a big blue "Light me a smoke" which is funny since I don't smoke), so only "the happy few" can understand what it is about. 

But as I was walking in the street on my way back from the post office, a black guy driving a truck passed by, looked at me and shouted "Yes that's neat!". 
Was he a Tom's fan who was in the know? 
A pro-smoking guy who thought my chest was delivering a message or something? 
Did he simply check me out? 
Does that t-shirt make my breasts look bigger????

Days like that...

chani: (Imbossy)
Yes today, after the class, I did go to see a Norwegian movie, UNO, just because the ad said the music was by Tom McRae!!!

And you know what? It was a freaking good film !

Of course the fact they chose the best song-writer/singer of the world for the soundtrack should have clued me in about the quality... :- )

The film was made in 2004 but released only today in Paris. Here's the French trailer with Tom's voice (it's "Ghost of the Shark", a song from his second album Just Like Blood) !

I shall review UNO tomorrow. 

Back to Marking Hell now.


Feb. 10th, 2006 12:39 pm
chani: (frenchani by kazzy_cee)

Tom's new site is improving, there will be a music section soon, and you can already listen to his last album on the main page (It can play every song of the album actually! The bar is at the top, on the right). It's Tom's way to welcome visitors.... If you haven't bought it yet (how could you?) go and enjoy, it's free ! And you, gentle readers of the Spike love clan, just try the 8th track, a song called My Vampire Heart...

Tom McRae

Also here an extract from the last entry of his diary. You can laugh at me, but I just love that British guy, his music, his poetry and in this case, his wit...When is he coming back in Paris again?

Tom's rambling )


Oct. 5th, 2005 12:17 am
chani: (Default)

Tom is the best! I just love that guy. I was very close to the stage but I didn't have my camera (stupid me...and they didn't even check out our bags, I could have brought it!) so no pictures from me. Tom starts with "Mermaid Blues" from his second album Just Like Blood...and he sang it a capella! He sang a capella in the mythic venue that is L'Olympia. That's Tom.

The concert was magic as usual. The supporting band was a Californian guy, Chris Stills, who sang pretty well but didn't have anything special. There was a song that was pretty cool and on which we danced though. And guess what the title was?

Fool For Love !

I'm going to bed now.


chani: (Default)

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