Sunday, July 15, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly

I can’t tell you how relieved I was to pack up and get out of Nashville!

I have nothing against the people; they were as patient with my Britt accent as anywhere else I have lived in the US. They really were mostly kind and helpful. A few friendships were made, some lasted some did not, you cannot please everybody.

But the weather! It was cold and wet when we were there and I kept hearing about how uncomfortable the humidity would be during the summer months. Steve had lived in the dry warmth of Hollywood, CA for 30 years. There are two things that make my man very grumpy, the first is being hungry and the second is being cold.

We did create some lovely music there; ‘What’s Going On’ was recorded there as was ‘Just One More Chance’ but that was against all odds as we had to try to record vocals and acoustic guitars in between the thumping of footsteps on the hardwood floors upstairs in the other apt.

Seven of the eighteen months we were there we were away on tour of course. So, all in all I now see it as a stop gap. Nashville was not for us, Steve was never going to break into the session scene there, between his non country, rock reputation and his poor eyesight meaning he could not read charts it was probably a lost cause. 
We found a new friend in Squeeky the tabby cat (she found us) but had to say goodbye and re home her when we took on the tour. She was missed greatly when we got home in December. 

But, the desert was calling and we found ourselves a house and an area in Phoenix that we love.

Last year’s tour has faded into the distance now, the good, the bad and the ugly of it all. 
Of course we have lots of reminders on YouTube plus this blog and we have no regrets.

I hope the 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' album and the live DVD's from last year continue to do well, reminding people of Steve's contribution.
I think it is a testament to the strength of our relationship that we got through that tour without breaking up or at the least strangling each other or anybody else come to that!

I had to put my business on hold all of last year but I have been very lucky to be able to pick it up from where I left off. I am back running Custom Pouch USA, supplying transmitter pouches to the UK again and there are projects here that require me to design and source products for the company I had worked with before the tour. When they need a unique promotional item, I come up with the design, find a place to get it made and Bobs your Uncle (do you have that expression in the US?) I come up with a finished product.

On that subject, I will take the opportunity to express my opinion on the other side of the coin regarding this huge issue of having things ‘Made in the USA’.
I so want to have all the items I am sourcing made in the US but I have encountered problems that might surprise you and they could answer why there are still such a lot of people seeking out China.
I have four items on the go, one is made of rubber and I have been able to get that done here in the US with a great deal of help from the manufacturer. But, it has been an upward struggle with the others.
I have called countless companies for quotes and samples and up until recently I have received either no response at all or promise’s of action then nothing.

I do not want to have to contact China but unfortunately there may be instances where I have no choice or the product will simply not get made.
Buck up America, China is chasing your tail with their efficiency and enthusiasm for getting things done.
You cannot afford to be complacent and unprofessional. Ok, soap box chat over.

Phoenix is wonderful, yes, you have to work around the extreme heat and I have a strict routine for when I leave the house, sun screen and parasol in hand.
We are going to the gym four days a week, it has been a bit of a shock for me as I have been particularly lazy and let myself gain about ten pounds (ok, it was more), we both intend to lose a bunch of weight and stay healthy. On our assessment at the gym I had to do something called ‘the plank’, this is where you lie flat on the floor then push yourself up by your elbows holding your body straight for as long as possible. Steve did 38 seconds and I managed a pathetic 7 seconds!!!Yes!  I need to work on this.

I am excited at the prospect of getting my children Holly and Mathew over in October, it will only be for about ten days but I think they will be itching to get back to their friends after that, we lead a pretty boring life compared to them!

We do have abundant peace and quiet here, oh the joy of that after last year.  Steve is happy in his new studio room, his hippy, spiritual Deacon Cave where the walls are covered with Indian bedspreads full of intricate patterns and earthy colors. He has settled into recording but I am sworn to secrecy on the tunes other than ‘What’s Going On’. He will not rest on his laurels (is that another Britt only phrase?) and is stretching beyond what he has done before, pushing his playing in directions that will surprise and hopefully please both old fans and new.  His unique style continues to mature like a fine wine, I can hear that, particularly after seven months on the road playing so many shows but that does not mean he is regurgitating licks from the past, I know how proud he is of his work over 40 years but he is always looking for new ways to make his guitars speak.

Ok, that’s the update from Huntersville, we are happy, healthy and still in love, what more needs to be said (:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March already!

Time is flying by here in Nashville, the man and I have been very busy creating music that we hope will put a smile on peoples faces.

Steve is working on his own album but as he likes to do a couple of different projects at once to keep things fresh we decided to do a cover song together with him doing a new arrangement in his own unique way.
I cannot tell you what this first track is yet, but I can tell you that the song was written in the 1930's,  we have finished it and the result is awesome. The initial reaction from the first few people to hear it has been very encouraging so much so that we now have a list of tunes that we think would work with the same production and may even make this a joint album project.

Of course we are lucky to be even here! We had a storm come through last week that scared the pants off me....nearly!
We watched the 'storm tracker' on TV during the morning and I realised that a huge pile of dark grey cloud that was randomly dropping the odd tornado was heading right for us. We were right in it's path!
It probably seems a bit over the top and rediculous but I gathered some important paperwork and various other beloved items in a briefcase then put that in the hallway which is the safest part of the building. Steve suggested we have the bedcover with us and to put on our coats as he was worried the windows might blow out, the tornado siren was wailing.
I could not help but imagine what it must have been like in a World War II blitz, this would have been a common occurence and it was not a good feeling at all.
As the storm went over the shopping area where we buy food and have our regular Starbucks I was thinking what if our precious recording gear got damaged? That is our lifeblood, although of course it probably would have been more pertinant to think about the whole building being picked up and put down a quarter of a mile away like some poor souls had to deal with in other towns.

We sat together on the edge of the coffee table staring at the TV screen ready to move to the hallway and put it on mute a few times as Steve said we would probably hear a tornado before we felt it. Then the hail started, the sky was literally throwing icy rocks at us, every now and then a few would hit the windows directly and we both expected them to break but they held fast.

Within a few minutes it was over but I spent the next 20 minutes thinking there was a surprise tornado about to rip through the apt. It took my heart rate a little while to get back to normal and I thought, what the hell are we doing here!!!!! I suddenly missed the warmth and calm of Phoenix.

Getting back to the music, we will keep you abreast of developments but the important thing at the moment is for us to make the best recordings we can, with the best performances and production possible. Anyone who has listened to Steve's production skills on 'Empty Spaces' will know that whatever comes out of Huntersville will be a joy to listen to.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Well, it has been an exciting year, too darned exciting if you ask me!
Around the world one and a half times, I almost forgot what it was like to wake up in the same bed each morning but I did get to see an aweful lot along the way.

I saw iconic sights like Red Square, I saw poverty in Istanbul, I saw AC fans lining up in the wind and rain to see their hero. I saw old theatres in Europe and the US that held dusty secrets and I had many a breakfast laughing my sox off with my man and the boss.

Now we are at home, we have kicked off the Rock and Roll boots, put our feet up and got back to watching Jeopardy and Lawrence Welk on TV (my UK friends will have no idea who that is, sorry).

We are back creating MUSIC!

I have already started to write new songs and Steve is busy recording a track for me to sing that will surprise a few people I'm sure. 
The response to his statement that he will not tour with Alice this year has been humbling and full of encouragement and understanding for his decision. At the same time we launched his new website, it is classy, easy to navigate and interesting and it will get even more interesting when he starts putting up entries for his new 'blind blog'.

He will no doubt have things to say that will raise eyebrows or bring a smile to readers faces. He also wants to put up some short audio clips from our travels and more in the future. They will be 'sound pictures' of some of the people, streets and amazing buildings we visited or will visit, for other sight impaired people to share.

It was Valentines Day today so here is the poem that Steve wrote for me in 2005, my old romantic!

I surely love you like the dew loves a rose
Love fills my heart like the snot in my nose
We are a team, like a horse and a cart
Our love will last like a long silent fart

Here is a link to his new website:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The times they are a changing

A word from me:

Steve does not make decisions like this lightly as those who know him well will be aware.
When he does something he always does it to the best of his ability; his soul, passion, honesty and spirituality is why he plays guitar like he does.
His integrity as a person and a player is well known in the music industry and amongst many other things including his humor, that is why I love him so much.  

He will never be a speed player but if you want your heart torn from it's place with emotion or set free to fly like an eagle then he will deliver. If you want a guitar tone that can make the hair stand up on the back of your neck and sound like chocolate dipped in a deep earthy red sauce, then he is the man.

When I listen to his solo on 'I Am Made Of You' and his work on things like 'Hymns For Guitar', I know where that comes from because I am lucky enough to be with that dedicated spirit every day.

There are things we will miss and things we will not miss but we are thankful and grateful for the journey and both looking forward to the rest of this year and whatever it has in store.  

Statement from Steve Hunter Feb 11th 2012

Hello all my peeps and fans. I have an announcement to make. I have spent many weeks mulling this over...losing sleep. For many reasons both personal and professional I have reluctantly decided not to join Alice Cooper onstage this year. None of the reasons has to do with my health which is very good at the moment. Nor do any have anything to do with my poor eyesight, because I was able to find wa...ys around my impairment to enable me to perform and play guitar onstage. Nor is Alice any part of the reasons I have made this decision. He is a brother to me and we share a real history. I think it’s time I move on. I have a solo album to finish among other things. I will miss all the beautiful people I met last year. I will miss glancing over to my right and seeing Alice belting out 18 again. I hope you all understand and aren’t disappointed in me. But I think I have to do this. I hope to see you all out there again one day soon. Thanks for understanding and God bless!