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Posted on Friday, October 10th, 2008

So, a couple of weeks have passed since I was at a country club in Monticello, NY to perform at a rock festival, ATP, where I was invited to play by My Bloody Valentine. The memory has faded a little as I’ve not really stopped since then and not had a chance to write anything but I had an enjoyable day, even though it was entirely the wrong place for me to play. I got to see Mogwai and MBV without paying to get in, which is always a nice thing. However there was, as always, a price to pay and that was me suffering what I’d call the ‘being naked on stage with my trousers around my ankles’ syndrome, which I’m subjected to from time to time, coincidently each time I ever step on a stage. I had asked to use the video projection system that MBV had brought to show my animation, ‘Galerie’ but for some unknown reason, probably something to do with road crew and ‘pecking order’, I was denied its use and had to use the little house system. The video guy told me I couldn’t use my media player thingy as he didn’t think it was compatible with his system and tried to play it from a DVD. Well, as you can well imagine, it didn’t go exactly to plan and I ended up standing on stage with my dick out looking altogether rather foolish while he connected my media player thingy, encouraged by the audience as he worked his way through all the onscreen menus until he found ‘Galerie’ which went on to play flawlessly. I’m not bitching really, as to be fair, he was trying to do his thing, but, well it was me up there on stage for 5 minutes, standing there all dorky and unable to start my show. After that, well, I started to play, it was really waaaaayyyyy too loud so I turned around to ask the monitor man to turn the monitors up so I could hear something and, um, there was nobody there, nobody there for my entire performance actually. Apparently he had gone for dinner. Nice.

As I write so often on this web log. What Ever….

me, bemused, waiting for my film to start

me, bemused, waiting for my film to start

This was a long way from my previous performance, a few days before in Nantes at the Scopitone Festival, a festival all about music, artwork, live production and digital art which was hosted by a more dedicated and enthusiastic team. It really reminded me of why I try to avoid rock clubs at all cost. Sure, if I were to perform with a band and play some noisy stuff, rock clubs may be fun, but standing there, trying to present something downtempo and introspective while the PA system is cranked up full and people are standing about looking like they want to sit down is just wrong. Someone told me it was like trying to watch quiet music but it was ‘one louder’. I have to say that I like doing that show quietly but I have absolutely no control over the sound system so if it’s someone with a rock mentality doing the sound it’ll be earsplittingly loud and may lose a lot of the subtlety intended. OK, that sounded like a disclaimer but I do have to put myself into the hands of others who may well have a different sensibility or agenda to me. All that said though, the ATP festival was interesting to attend even if it was just for the drive through the Catskills to get there. I saw my largest ever roadkill, a rather large and very dead deer, in the fast lane of Highway 17, which I had to hastily switch lanes to avoid and I got to stay in a hotel which had something called the Sammy Davis room which smelled like it hadn’t been used since Sammy played there, while, presumably but not certainly, still alive. Oh, and just for the record I did lose my luggage on this trip and I’ve not been paid for the show yet but I get really fed up typing the same story every time I leave home. You’ve read it before and will, doubtlessly, read it again until the day comes when I can afford a tour manager.

Oh, and while on the subject of being in the US I now have the distinction of having my car towed away in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York not to mention Paris and London. What this says about me I’m not exactly sure but suffice to say it’s probably not such a good idea to lend me your car anytime soon. The last incident was about two weeks ago in Queens, New York on my way to JFK to take a flight to Seattle. OK, so I overstayed my welcome in my parking spot and got busted. My fault. Guilty. To my credit, however, I did catch the flight but with my wallet $300 lighter, which needless to say, meant it was almost floating.

24 Responses to “Expensively…”

  1. Hagitu

    Glad I found this again…thought you’d died as last blog on the other site was sometime ago….anyway….like the idea of a show with Yourself, MBV and Mogwei….we don’t get shows like that in the uk….not often anyway….as regards to traffic police….f*****s! stopped on the M1 after insurance lapsed for 2 weeks….took my car and left me at the services just north of Luton….fair enough, driving without insurance, albeit inocently, is not good….but they towed it 40 miles in the oposite direction to my home….Traffic police said to the towing company guy….’another nice little earner for ya mate’….thought I was out of earshot….I really don’t like these people!….anyway I’m sure you don’ty want to hear all that so what I meant to say was congrats on the Q Awards….and….if you get the opportunity to play the Latidude Festival next year, I think it would be a perfect venue….missed Oxford last time….

  2. Peter

    Greetings…I would like you to know, despite the minor glitches and set-backs you may have had during your short visit to Monticello, New York- YOU and all of your efforts are greatly appreciated…You truly were the star during that weekend, as you will continue to be in any endeavor…So in short, although you may think you haven’t made a difference, think again…Keep well…
    Blessings to you…
    P.S. Ironically, I think we both past that same gargantuan deer on 17!

  3. back wash

    … i would have to say, sounds bitter…why didn’t you dish out like most others who are determined to put on a good show and bring some crew??
    how much did they pay you?

  4. Marianna

    Sorry for offtopic, but news about your gig in moscow shocked me.
    i look forward. cure for autumn. is perfect except price.woooh

  5. cp

    i kn ow we passed the same deer! i took a pic of it, as i was struck by the sheer size of it!

    robin, thanks for playing the ATP fest – i hope they have paid you by now – you were, as peter sais above, the highlight of the weekend of many highlights.

    if you ever need any assistance with tour planning (pro bono) or AV and lighting systems (almost pro bono ;)) here in the states, email me. i can certainly help you out.


  6. Marlene Celis

    I must admit it’s upsetting to read you just played in New York a few weeks ago and I wasn’t there. I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing you perform live and would love to have the opportunity one day. However after reading your blogs regarding the problems you’ve encountered playing in the U.S. I guess I wouldn’t blame you if you never played here again but hopefully you’ll come back soon and this time play Chicago. I think The Auditorium Theater would suit your performance beautifully. It was designed by Louis Sullivan and has a very lovely quality to the space. If you could convince Harold Budd to join you on stage then it would make for a very memorable night.

    BTW, thanks for all the great music you’ve put out over the years. I’ve purchased everything you’ve released and you never dissapoint. You are truly a unique talent and I enjoy your work tremendously!

  7. Gareth

    I really enjoyed your set at ATP, thought you handled the techie problems well! Looking forward to hearing more of your music.

    All the best.

  8. Edouard

    I was in Nantes on 17, what a luck; I was “sous le charme de cette douce et belle performance”. Thanks for all.

  9. Les Modules Etranges


    The same as Edouard, we were in the audience and really enjoy ourselves for the show that was strongly remanent of the “Mysterious Skin” original movie soundtrack.
    We were a bit disappointed about the fact that there was not so much people as we expected of being there.
    Maybe it’s because of your music means a lot to us, for being the orginal soundrack of our own lives.
    We didn’t came and talk to you before the show because we would be strongly embarrased to say something stupid (as I’m doing now) it was to much emotion.
    A strong emotion was passing thru the music too, and we didn’t feel like there was problems technically speaking, or maybe we are accustomed with the work of local sound engineers.
    So, this is silence… hope to see you playing live elsewere soon. Thank you for all this great music.

  10. Ed


    I hope that you read this:

    Your set at ATP was magnificent. It really pulled me in spiritually and mentally. And though I definitely appreciate the more subtle nature of your current work, I thought the volume was fine. As for the the dude having to be coached through the menus in the beginning: as a performer in a past life, I can relate to your thinking that it was longer than it seemed…but trust me, to us in the audience it was just for a few moments. Besides, when it started, a kind of built up suspense was in the air which made your opening chords sound that much more refreshing. The art was so able to relay the mood of the music that I couldn’t stop reliving it again and again in my mind long after the set stopped. So effective was the visual work that I forgot about the nervous tinkering to start it until just now when you referenced it. I am sure most others left with the same impression.

    Thanks for an unbelievable set. It was just what I needed a dose of that weekend.

    Finally, what a strange place the Raleigh was. We stayed there too just adjacent to the Sammy Davis wing and it was quite depressing-the smells, the peeling paint, the terrible beds, the shrubbery grown into the window screens: an old building that was once at the heart of a more innocent music scene from decades ago now eroding away into modern times. A client of mine today who used to sing with Sinatra was shocked to hear that those old asbestos-laden complexes are still somehow standing.

    It was great seeing you that afternoon. I hope that I see you again someday.


  11. Optical Sound

    French Version available here


    Thanks !

  12. micah

    -did you perform in seattle? if you did i heard nothing of it. At any rate there is alot of love for CT here. I was fortunate to catch y’all on the Milk & Kisses tour. Amazing!!

  13. James

    Hi Robin,

    What a great blog! Your writing is very entertaining. I hope you can come to Australia one day.


  14. Julosx

    Happy Birthday and happy new year, Robin !

  15. Cedric Caspesyan


    So this blog hasn’t been updated in ages,
    but…Happy Birthday Robin !!! May
    all your wishes for 2009 come true!!!

    From an old fan whose birthday is
    same day as yours,


    Cedric Caspesyan

  16. Gary Christian

    Yesterday sunday, 4th january was your birthday. Greetings for your birthday!!!

    I hope you spent a good sunday.

    I’m a colleague writing from Perú.

    In the same time i am a new fan (I started it hearing C.T. music since March 2008 and in October 2008 start to hear your soloist works).

    Good Luck
    Gary Christian

  17. Steve Doctor

    Hi Robin, I just thought I would say hello…

  18. ddd

    Hi Robin,

    Sorry for going completely off topic and I’m sure someone in the past has suggested this already but …….

    as an influential musician someone who inspires others to play music, would you consider developing your own signature effect/modelling pedal or processor?

    A beginner without access to much quality or vintage gear simply cannot get anywhere near your famous tone, or those crazy modulation sounds.

    There seems to be forever a flood of over-priced signature stuff out there but rarely from truly innovative artists.

    If there is such a pedal I’d get not one, but at least five ha ha ha!!!!!


  19. Rachel Tanzer

    Hello Robin!
    So great to read about your travels and experiences… Are you ever in Los Angeles?
    Rachel Tanzer

  20. kimber g


    You know that you have arrived when your work has been turned into MUZAK – you know the stuff they play when you’re on hold on the telephone or walking the aisles in the grocery store. I heard Bluebeard while traversing the supermarket recently and HAD to try and find you. Luckily you are a chatty bloke and the geniuses at google made it easy for me. it has been quite some time since we’ve been in touch – i hate to say how many years in fact. we met in cincinnati, Ohio USA ages ago and the beauty of the web allows an easy way to get back in touch. I have enjoyed following your career over these many years – always innovating. i hope that you have a moment to send a note back via email.


    Kim(berly) Gibson

  21. Sergey

    Waiting for your new works!
    And thank you once more for concert in Moscow!

  22. Butch Cassidski

    Come to Australia already.

  23. Colonel Sanders

    re: flight of the painted lady
    I am trying to right the great american religious text. i hear you are a true believer. i am tryin’ to find out if you were prayin’ much prior to that co’chella per-for-mans gettin’ cancelled. please tell soon, inquirin’ minds wanna know.

    (i kinda would. i won’t tell if you won’t. if i don’t hear from ya’, be good, robin guthrie.)

  24. Stephen in Minneapolis,MN

    Some sound people can be so utterly pathetic. I’ve dealt with these people, and I really have to fight myself from getting openly fed up with them. It’s because their usually jealous of musicians, as a result of their inability ( for whatever reason ) to be musicians themselves. But somehow they are able or talented enough to figure out how to be sound techs. But for them, they think they are under appreciated by musicians(ugh), so they take it out in revenge by offering horrid service. I gave up years ago. Just had a little residue vent to get out.

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