THE PREVIOUS distance record for The Fraudsters was 186 miles to Ingram in Northumberland..... we absolutely SMASHED that with this wedding in Maidstone – 247 miles and one inch from the Fraudcave to The Turkey Mills wedding venue. Because we'd been bummed by The Hippies and failed to get a luxorious tourbus, this would be the most uncomfortable as well as the longest journey ever – for three of our band at least. For X and for Obi-Wan they were invited to the wedding, being mates of the happy couple. Not so Bunky, Metz and Dave who had to suffer every one of those 15,649,921 inches in a rather uncomfortable Transit hire van. Before setting off, Driver Bunky asked Metz to check the tyres for him. The reply came back "Yep. There's four of 'em"
THIS TIME LAST YEAR we had "Four Weddings and Hopefully No Funerals" 2012's Summer Blockbuster Sequel is…… "Eight Weddings and One Funeral" Clever eh? The summer months are popular for people getting hitched, so June, July and August saw The Fraudsters rocking up at various venues around Lancashire & Cheshire to play various mate's mates' milkman's weddings…..
It's been wedding after wedding after wedding this summer – so much so they all merged into one and we can't remember much about any of them except they were all top top parties and at least one of them involved us packing up and leaving as it was getting daylight the following morning……Anyway. Autumn is here, the weddings have stopped, and people are having 40th birthday parties again (Christmas passion 1971). And so Sandbach Cricket Club was our destination for Zoe's party. When we arrived to set up (well, when TWO OF US arrived to set up…..) there was all manner of cricket related tomfoolery going on – white clad cricketers smoking cigars, drinking brandy and dragging their captain out onto the pitch, debagging him and pouring a bucket of ice into his cricket box…… And here's me thinking it was only rugby players who got up to that sort of thing. "Oh no" said our rhythm guitarist Squire who plays cricket of the over-50's variety…. sorry 50-overs variety: "At my cricket club we're always getting naked and rubbing ice cubes on each others' bodies…..
And so onto the Jubilee Weekend. The Fraudsters were booked to play the Hope Street Hotel in Liverpool’s trendy Hope Street district. Ozzy Osborne is doing that many gigs standing in for Squire at the moment, so we decided to initiate him fully into the “gang”. No this does not entail a debagging, or drinking blood, or being tarred & feathered…. it’s worse than that… IT WAS HIS TURN TO DRIVE THE VAN!! So at 4pm Ozb turned up at Fraud HQ with a right rustbucket of an MoT failure and we loaded up the gear and hit the M62 to Scouseland. I am perhaps being unfair slagging off the van – it did have an anti-spill matt on the table….. which Xan used to mop up a spillage….
26th May 2012 and it’s an away day for The Fraudsters, travelling to the beautiful Beamish Valley in Northumbria to play the Ingram Village Festival, a fundraising gig for some friends of Burkey’s who moved up there a year or so ago (we played their dusty housewarming party, remember?) Once again we were Squire-less so “Gun For Hire” Osborn joined us, as did Critchy who’s efforts as Soundman at the last gig earned him some repeat business. We picked up The Critch from outside his normal job of work where he had failed to complete all his invoicing so was probably gonna get sacked on Monday… but Rock & Roll always comes first.
THIS WEEK it’s MrX’s turn to arrange the transport and he rocked up at Fraud HQ in the worst tourbus we’ve ever had. Fail No.1. Inside the rusty blue boneshaking MoT failure was LORD LUKAN just along for the ride. The journey was quite eventful – X nearly demolished the petrol station’s Texaco sign (Fail No.2) and was clearly thousands of miles away as he answered our various questions with the most bizarre responses: Q) Can we stop at a cash till please? A) It’s alright, everyone’s wearing jeans Q) Are we getting any food? A) No, bring a phone charger Q) Did you see the scores? Wigan beat Newcastle 4-0! A) Yeah I’m in a blue tourbus just outside Kansas
Alongside the weddings, we’ve been having a spate of 40th birthday parties these last 18 months. As Martin Coogan observed during the recording sessions: “You’re the band for 40-year-old Stone Roses fans!” Now, don’t get me wrong because it NEVER gets boring playing 40th birthday parties for Stone Roses (or any bands) fans (or weddings) but once in a while someone comes up with something novel and different for us to tackle, like this one: A birthday party for TWO 40-year-olds!!!!
AFTER an interesting journey round the M60 playing a game of "guess how much it would cost to build THAT building" we arrived in the place known as "Stalyvegas" for what would be yet another Fraudsters First….. a gig in a Chinese restaurant. We had absolutely no idea what to expect for this one. We imagined ourselves playing while squeezed between tables containing trays of noodles, rice and meat dishes. We needn't have worried. When we arrived at "Phoenix City" it had a large upstairs function room with a decent sized stage with proper sound and lighting systems. One of the best private party set ups we've had for a while. If there was one complaint to be had, it was about the in-house smoke machine – it gave out the weakest cloud of smoke you've ever seen inside a venue since the smoking ban was introduced.
GLENN runs an excellent little live venue at The Brooklands Tap. It’s a suburban pub half way between Sale town centre and that annoying bollard in the pavement half way down Brooklands Rd – you know, the one that stops you mounting the pavement to squeeze past the cars turning right at the Belmore Hotel, so you have to wait ages while they wait for all the oncoming traffic before they can turn right and get out of your way so you can go straight on. Grrrrr…… Anyway, we’d been trying to get on at The Tap for many a moon, and it just so happened that on one Tuesday they had a cancellation for the forthcoming Friday. So, Glenn hotfoots it across the junction to The Brook pub where our mate DB is the landlord and he asks him “What’s that band I’ve heard on in here sometimes? You know, the one who’s singer you can hear doing your karaoke on a Sunday?” “Aaah, that’ll be The Fraudsters and here is the phone number of their drummer Burkey” replied Mr. DB.
THE FRAUDSTERS rounded off 2011 with three “Mad Friday” gigs in December. We’ve already covered the Pinsent Masons staff party which we did for our mate Howie Zowie Gillo Brillo, so what of the other two? Well, 9th December saw us playing amongst the neo-classical Greek columns of Manchester Art Gallery (I will probably now get loads of Twitter abuse from Architectural aficionados telling me they are not Neo-classical, they are Doric… except I ain’t on Twitter, so send the abuse to Burkey – @fraudsterboosh) The function was for a mate of a mate’s mate who works for a jewellery company. It was very posh with everyone dolled up in their best party frocks, and a proper “Events Co-ordinator” (Kate) organizing the show to ensure it all went smoothly.