Throughout British rock’n’roll history, the USA has been an elusive, tantalising territory. Rather like an enormous, vertically rock-faced mountain with a finger-lickin’ banquet hot and ready at the top, but with a steaming inferno populated by ravenous fire-resistant crocodiles lying in wait at the bottom, it has both lured and repelled practically every half-successful UK act since The Beatles first cheesily waved from the tarmac at JFK in 1964.
It has proved to be one of British rock’s enduring enigmas, even to the most seasoned and knowledgeable of industry pundits: which acts will sell out there? And which won’t? Frequently everyone’s got it wrong, with surefire domestic winners (Blur, The Jam, Manic Street Preachers) going down like a sack of lead shit out there, while bands who wouldn’t get arrested back home (Bush, A Flock of Seagulls, Spacehog, Catherine Wheel) have been treated like conquering heroes Stateside and, in more than a few cases, swiped a couple of the USA’s foremost pop music hotties as matrimonial bounty.
The country’s vast size has frequently resulted in battleplan miscalculations of Napoleonic proportions, with Britbands returning home dejected, skint, wounded, alcoholic and generally in dire need of beans on toast, chocolate digestives and a comforting gig at the Dublin Castle.
So it is with some trepidation that Fink are hurtling out to North America next week for yet another bite of the, if you will, apple pie. Oh, we’ve been before. Several times, actually: sometimes with successful results (we’ve played sold-out shows in LA and NYC, and have even given South by Southwest a run for its money), and sometimes it’s been a little less than ideal (memories of a barely-attended gig at Chicago’s Empty Bottle, together with a bemused and disillusioned Young Knives, do not reside in the box marked ‘treasured’). But this time, we’re bloody well GOING FOR IT.
A hectic 13-date road trip: up one side, across the top and down the other, taking in all the big-hitters (Chicago, Philly, Seattle and of course LA and NYC), some of the smaller, cooler medium-sizers (Minneapolis, Boston, DC and San Diego) along with three dates in Canada (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) – we’ll play some rocking shows, drive some enormous drives, meet some hilarious characters, stay in some amusing hotels, eat some ridiculous food, drink some ridiculous drinks and, with any luck, keep our Dutch sound engineer on the right side of the law. It all kicks off this Thursday, September 27, at the DC9 Club in Washington, and I’ll be documenting every step of the trip in as much detail as I can batter out on my intrepid 2006 vintage gaffertape-splattered Apple laptop (‘oooh, it looked so new and white when I bought it…’). The highs. The lows. The breakfasts. The border guards. Sign up for notifications on Twitter (@finkmusic or @timwthornton) and you’ll be as good as right there in the tour bus with us…