Merry Christmas everybody! I owe you guys a sincere apology, because although I have received several e-mails from Dutch fans with more information about tomorrow night's Venice concert Netherlands television broadcast, I haven't had time to post them until this very late 11th hour. What can I say, it's a busy time of year.
As usual, I can't
confirm any of this, but it's worth passing along anyway. Roald
Koger writes to tell us that "Dutch viewers WILL be able
to watch the show nationwide, IF they have a membership to their
cable company's digital TV package. The basic package features
every regional TV station in the Netherlands, including Gelderland.
I think this also applies for members of Tele2 Digital and
KPN Digital, the main providers of TV over IP in the Netherlands.
Above that, all regional Dutch stations are freely viewable
for Satellite viewers." Eline Bijkerk reports that
"you can watch the show on their site if you missed the program.
It will be under the tab "Uitzending gemist".
Might be useful for those of us who have other things to
do during christmas then watch TV, and of course for those who
don't live in Gelderland." And Ingeborg Waanders provides
us with direct links:
Streaming TV Gelderland: http://www.garnierstreamingmedia.com/asx/tvgelderland.asp
Streaming radio Gelderland: http://www.garnierstreamingmedia.com/asx/radiogelderland.asp
Once again, PLEASE do not post this broadcast on YouTube or any other file sharing site, as there are plans for an official DVD release for Christmas 2008. Thanks!
Finally, for those
of you who have never heard this before (it lives on the "Radio
Shows" audio clips section of Venice Central, which is territory
I'm guessing the casual fan rarely visits), here's Venice singing
their "We're Still Here" / "Silent Night"
combo. I recorded this for a Dutch radio station several
years ago, crouched on the floor with one microphone held to Michael's
guitar and the other raised into the air for the four Lennons
to sing into. I think it came out sounding pretty well,
all things considered. Regardless, if any of you fans out
there harbor a sick fantasy of being alone in a room with Venice,
contorting yourself painfully on all fours while they sing to
you, I gotta tell ya it ain't all it's cracked up to be... Anyway, click
December 11, 2007
Many more e-mails coming in, all confirming that Venice's one hour portion of the show will air by itself as a one hour television special on December 25th at 5:20pm. But only in Gelderland, not nationally. Please be aware that Venice has negotiated the rights to this show, so that they can hopefully release it on DVD next year. So please do not post the broadcast on YouTube. Thanks!
In local news,
the Daily Routine has been confirmed as the opening act at Venice's
Malibu show this Saturday.
December 10, 2007
I've received several e-mails now pointing out that the Gelderland show will air on television in two parts, on the 24th and the 25th. What I heard from management last week was that Venice's portion will air on the 25th. Of course, that could change. I guess your safest bet would be to watch the show on both nights. What other plans could you possibly have on the night of December 24th?
December 6, 2007
Venice fan Petra Boomsma, who can read Dutch slightly better than I can, informs me that Venice's Gelderland performance will air on television on Tuesday, December 25, at 5.20PM Dutch time, and will be broadcast on radio on Monday, December 24, at 8.00PM Dutch time. Thanks, Petra!
December 4, 2007
When Venice is in Holland next week, they're going to tape an appearance on "Gelderland Kerstconcert 2007." I've been told that the concert will air on both Dutch radio and television on December 25th, but I'm having trouble getting any kind of definite information here on the other side of the world. So I highly recommend to all of our Netherland friends that you please keep an eye on the Dutch language section of Venice Talk, because I have a strong feeling that the fan community is going to prove to be a much better source of information on this one than me.
November 13, 2007
If any of you Californians or cruise-goers are still on the fence about attending this Thurday night's Rusty's show, here are a few little tidbits for you:
First off, Mark Harris will play bass for all four acts. Well, okay, for John Vester's set, he'll only play on one song, but it still counts! So I think we may as well rename the event "An Evening with Mark Harris and Friends." After all, learning that much material takes a lot of work. In fact, let's say we all yell our heads off every time his name is mentioned, alright?
7:30pm The Daily Routine. I can't say enough about these guys. I've become a huge fan. I know we like to throw out the hook around here that lead singer Charlie Vaughn is Kipp Lennon's son, and that Michael Lennon plays drums, but the fact is, they're much more than that. Their songs are great, and the band has really gotten tight. And I gotta say, Matt Puccio is a really talented lead guitarist. Every time I've seen these guys perform for Venice fans, the audience starts out thinking, "Okay, this will be a fun little novelty," but by the end of the set, everybody's rushing to the merch booth asking if there's any music they can buy. They really are that good. Oh, and incidentally, right now, catching them live is the only way to hear them, because there isn't any music to buy... Yet. (To be continued........)
8:30pm John Vester. This is a pretty special set, because it's John's album release party. His brand new CD, "All the Way Out West," will be available for the first time at this show. And when we say it's hot off the presses, this is no exaggeration. For a while there, it was really coming down to the wire as to whether the CDs could be pressed in time or whether they wouldn't become available until the following day. Strings were pulled, and now John will be picking up the freshly pressed CDs on his way to the show, and delivering them directly to the merch booth. So attendees will be the very first people on the planet with the opportunity to pick this album up. (And by the way, everyone who's heard advanced copies has been raving, saying it's his best album yet.) Meanwhile, in his set, John will debut live versions of many of these new songs, Mark Lennon will sing backup, Michael Lennon will play, and Kipp and Pat will join them for one song at the end.
9:30pm Mark Lennon. A rare solo set. If you haven't had a chance to pick up Mark's new solo album, "Dance or Cry," it'll be on sale at the merch booth. And I must say, this album doesn't just make you dance. And it doesn't just make you cry. Some of the songs will make you dance so hard that your joints ache, your bones weaken, and the pain is so intense that you'll find yourself crying. Then other songs will make you cry so hard that your muscles involuntarily spasm, jerking your limbs unpredictably until you dimly notice through your sorrow-induced stupor that, "What the heck? I'm dancing!" Now you know. Meanwhile, Mark has never performed any of these new songs in America, so this is sort of an album release party for him as well. Mark will be backed by the aforementioned Mark Harris on bass, as well as a drummer and keyboardist who have learned how to play these songs just for this show. So be sure and spread the love.
10:30pm Venice. Maybe you've heard of them? Okay, I know we said it would only be 6 or 7 songs. I lied. It'll be a few more than that. I've just seen the planned set list, and I'm getting chills just thinking about it. I won't spoil the surprises, but I will say this: Those of you who know me know that I'm a huge fan of Venice's rock and roll side, and this is a dream set list. No ballads here, this is gonna tear the roof off. (Figuratively speaking, 'cause I don't think we're insured for that.) Several rarities too. Trust me, if you prefer it when the electric guitars come out, you're going to kick yourself if you miss this.
The room only
holds 300, so get there early. Once we sell out, the doors
will close and you're out of luck. (Advanced tickets can
still be purchased by phoning 310-393-7437.)
October 4, 2007
A few cool announcements for you today. First off, we hinted at this before, but I can now confirm that Venice will indeed provide the grand finale at the November 15th cruise kick-off show at Rusty's Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier. (The rest of this show is described below in the September 14 news entry.) Venice will cap off the evening with a short set of 6 or 7 rocking songs, played electric (as opposed to the two shows on the cruise which will both be acoustic). This will likely be your only chance to see Venice rock the house between now and Christmas. You don't have to be booked on the cruise to attend this concert -- everyone is invited! Tickets are only $15, and once again can be purchased in advance by phoning (310) 393-7437.
Speaking of Christmas, we've just announced two of Venice's holiday shows over on the tour dates page, at SOhO in Santa Barbara and at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. There will be a third show somewhere in LA, but details are still being worked out, so watch this webpage for an announcement.
Lastly, if you
like the band America, try to catch them when they play at the
Canyon Club in Agoura Hills on October 26. Venice will provide
a short acoustic set as America's opening act.
September 14, 2007
We're excited to announce a special show for everyone attending Venice's concert cruise, and all the rest of you are invited too. It'll take place the night before departure -- Thursday, November 15th, 2007 -- at Rusty's Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier, starting at 7:30pm. The first act of the evening will be The Daily Routine, featuring Kipp Lennon's son Charlie Vaughn on lead vocals and guitar, Michael Lennon on drums, and the world famous Mark Harris on bass. Next, John Vester will take the stage, backed by a full band, and maybe a few familiar background singers on a couple of songs. (This will be an album release party of sorts, because John's latest CD is scheduled to be released that week, and should be on sale at the show.) Then the headliner for the evening, Mark Lennon, will perform songs from his two solo albums. Of course, there might be some big surprises planned as well. Who knows what might happen... Regardless, it's going to be a great night of music, so spread the word and let's pack the place! Tickets are only $15, and can be purchased at the door or by phoning (310) 393-7437.
September 7, 2007
Tickets for Kipp and Michael Lennon's house concert are now on sale over at Venice Store. Click here!
September 5, 2007
Got a very cool announcement for you Californians today. On Sunday, September 30th, Kipp and Michael Lennon will perform as a twosome for the first time in their careers, at an intimate house concert, in Russ and Julie Paris's Living Room, in Oak Park, CA. Only 100 tickets will be sold, and once they're gone, they're gone. It's going to be a very special night, and one you won't want to miss. Watch this space, because ticket information will be posted soon.
August 2, 2007
For those of you who can get to SoHO in Santa Barbara this Sunday night, this is going to be one Venice gig not to miss. It's turned into an intimate acoustic show, with just the four Lennons and Mark Harris on bass. If you've ever seen Venice at McCabe's or at Acoustic Music San Diego, then you already know that when Venice goes acoustic, magic happens. The set is full of rarely played songs, the band banters hilariously between tunes, and the vibe is totally different. So even if you've already seen them at one of their recent dates, catch this one anyway because it won't be remotely the same show. In addition, it's the band's last performance together until at least October. Check the tour dates page for details, and be sure and order your tickets in advance or risk being turned away at the door.
Speaking of tour dates page, click on this picture for information on Mark Lennon's Black & White Netherlands solo tour 2007:
July 24, 2007
Don't miss the Daily Routine on their whirlwind south coast tour!!! Well, okay, it's only two shows, but that's still a tour, right? Venice's lead guitarist Michael Lennon will play drums, Venice's Mark Harris will play bass, and on lead vocals and rhythm guitar will be the band's songwriter and Kipp Lennon's oldest son, Charlie Vaughn. Matt Puccio rounds out the foursome on lead guitar. You can see them next Wednesday, August 1, at 8pm, at the Derby. 4500 Los Feliz Blvd., in Los Angeles. Then the big tour will wrap up with their grand finale the following night, Thursday, August 2, at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, as they provide an opening act set for some other band that I've heard is pretty good. Catch 'em if you can!
June 21, 2007
Don't forget about Venice's free show this Sunday at 6pm at the hanging of the new Venice trestle on Windward Ave. in Venice Beach. It should be a fun day-long celebration for the whole family. Come early and you can also catch Mark Lennon's solo set with his newly formed jazz band. Here are some pictures of the new sign in action:
can be found on the tour
June 12, 2007
A note from Michael:
Over a year ago, we did a special benefit concert at the old, empty Pioneer Bakery in Venice. The proceeds went to building a new "VENICE" lighted trestle sign that will span the buildings and hang over Windward Avenue in Venice Beach. This sign will replicate the original sign that used to hang there, back in the beginning days of the city of Venice. You can see a picture of the original sign on the cover of our "Born and Raised" CD.
Well, now the light trestle is finished and they are having a day of celebration on Sunday, June 24, when they will officially hang and light the sign. It's also the 100th anniversary of the Venice Chamber of Commerce. The "Venice Fest" will run from 12 noon until 9pm on Windward Ave., between Pacific Ave. and the Speedway. (Boardwalk.)
There will be music and craft booths, bouncies, petting zoo, face painting, etc., throughout the day. Then at 6pm, VENICE, the band, will headline the festival, and will play for 90 minutes, right up until the official lighting of the trestle sign at dusk. Mayor Antonio Villairegosa and council member Bill Rosendahl will also be there for the lighting ceremony.
As you might guess, this will be a landmark day for the city of Venice, but also for the band and the Lennon Family that came here back in 1917.
The festival is FREE!
Please visit Venice Central's tour dates page for more information.
Also, you can check out the event's webpage, here.
Hope to see you there....bring your video and still cameras to capture this historic day.
See you soon,
June 10, 2007
Much to our surprise, we've just discovered that Venice's 1990 self-titled debut CD will be available on iTunes starting this week. They're taking pre-orders now and they list a release date of this Tuesday. This is exciting, since the album has been out of print for almost ten years now. I can't tell you how many e-mails we've received over the years from people asking where they can find it. My stock answer has been to point them to Ebay. But this is even better!
Pre-orders are $9.99. We have no idea what the price will be after Tuesday. As I say, the record label is doing this, not us.
Click here, and iTunes will open up right to the
May 27, 2007
The guys just got home from their two-week club tour of Holland. And thanks to the invention of camcorder functions in cell phones, we're starting to see a lot of videos of the tour being posted on YouTube. Here are a few:
May 11, 2007
Cool stuff from Michael Lennon:
Some exciting news!
Today, May 11, 2007, Venice will add to its catalogue of music.
First, we are happy to announce the arrival of "GARAGE DEMOS 3 - Other Stuff."
After our good friend and webmaster Matt Levitz digitally archived our boxes of DAT tapes, he brought to our attention that there was enough cool stuff to make another "Garage Demos." Once we had finished some editing, EQ'ing and remastering, we came up with 15 new Venice gems for your listening enjoyment.
We will take pre-orders for "Garage Demos 3" at the Venice Store, but please note that due to our upcoming tour in Holland, no CD's will be shipped from the US until June 4.
We will be bringing a limited supply with us to sell at the upcoming Holland tour, May 17-25.
We've only printed 1000 copies of this new CD for our first run, so order now to assure you get one.
To hear audio samples, go here.
To place your pre-order, go here.
We think you'll like it!
Some more good news! The new Venice album "Amsterdam" has been re-sequenced and made into a high fidelity LP. That's right, Turtle Records is releasing a 12" 180gr Black virgin vinyl Hi-fidelity LP of "Amsterdam" with a beautiful matte finish color sleeve. This is a definite collectors item. We decided to make the vinyl album a more mellow version of the new release. You know, come home from work, kick off your shoes, drop the needle on the record and sit back and enjoy. Here's the running order.
The "Amsterdam" vinyl LP is due to be released in Holland on May 16, 2007. We hope to bring a limited supply home with us after the May 17-25 Dutch tour. Keep an eye on the Venice Store and Venicecentral.com's news page for more info.
See you soon!
May 8, 2007
Venice's song "The Water" is featured heavily in a behind-the-scenes DVD piece entitled "Making Waves," which comes included with the hardcover coffee table book, "Surf's Up: The Art and Making of a True Story." The book goes on sale next week, May 15th. And in case any of you are interested, I edited and co-produced this piece myself.
For those of you
who might have stumbled across this news page because you were
searching the internet to find out where "The Water"
came from, you can pick up the full version of the song on Venice's
"Garage Demos Part 2 - Fast Stuff" CD, available exclusively
at our own Venice
Click here for an audio clip.
April 27, 2007
If you'd like to watch Venice's performance today, while they're the special guests at the Motel Westcoast concert at the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, you can do that here. I believe the cybercast will take place between 11am and 3pm Pacific Standard Time. (Between 7pm and 11pm in Holland.)
April 16, 2007
Artists for the Arts Foundation brings you a special evening with singers/songwriters Jackson Browne and David Crosby, along with international recording artists Venice and multi-Grammy award winning arranger/composer David Campbell.
SPECIAL AUCTION: This concert will feature two guitars for auction, one signed by Jackson Browne and one signed by David Crosby! Also, a full DW Drum Set will be auctioned and signed by all the musicians!
June 2, 2007
Barnum Hall Theater
Tickets on sale SATURDAY APRIL 21st @ 10:00AM
March 23, 2007
In the last couple of days, we've added a bunch of show listings to our tour dates page. The major ones to be aware of are the Bospop Festival in Holland on July 7; Springfield, IL on July 13; and Venice Cruise 2007, November 16-19.
For the uninitiated,
the Venice Cruise is a 4 day (3 night) vacation with the full
band, traveling from Los Angeles to Ensenada, Mexico. Venice
will perform two full concerts on the ship, with a different set
list each night. There will be special band events TBD (meet-and-greets,
Q&As, that sort of thing). There are always plenty of
opportunities to rub shoulders with band members, during mealtimes
or just hanging around the boat. This is Venice's 5th fan
getaway, and it's always a great time. Especially
if you've never seen Venice play live, there really is no better
opportunity to travel to see them, because in one fell swoop you
get two exclusive concerts plus a fun trip to Mexico on a luxury
liner! Tickets go on sale this Monday morning at fanclubcruises.com. Click on "Current
Cruises" and by Monday Venice will be listed. Hope
to see everybody there!
March 4, 2007
So hey, if anybody's
e-mailed me in the last two weeks, please send it again. The
webpage server and my e-mail server are one and the same, so anything
you might have sent me during that time is lost forever in cyberspace.
February 28, 2007
A somber note from Michael:
We ask that you keep Peter Valenzuela, our stage manager and my personal guitar technician, in your thoughts and prayers.
His mother passed away in her sleep this morning, Feb. 28, two weeks after having a quintuple bypass heart surgery 2 weeks ago.
As some of you may know, Peter has worked for Venice for more than 20 years. We consider him family.
A few of you have been lucky enough to get to know Peter......he is a big guy with an even bigger heart.
Peter's father is also ill at this time so Peter and his brother and sister have some tough days ahead.
Services for Peter's Mom are tentatively planned for this Saturday, March 3rd at St. Mark's Church in Venice at 10:30am. If any of you live in the area and would like to attend, please do so.
Otherwise, if you would like to write him a little note, please send it to "firstname.lastname@example.org" with the subject "For Peter" and we'll make sure he gets it.
Life is short so live it accordingly!
February 22, 2007
Hey look! Over there! It's Michael Lennon!!
Hello to all of our friends out there! Wanted give you a quick update:
We've recently confirmed a return trip to Holland for a short club tour during May. Management has been working hard to include showcases in Sweden, Denmark and even a return to Germany before the Dutch tour. We're crossing our fingers for these new territories. Click here for the latest Tour Dates.
The new Venice Store has been a huge success thus far, although it's been tough keeping the hot items in stock. The newest CD release "Amsterdam" is sold out right now, but a new shipment is coming in any day. Sorry if you're waiting.
We've made Venice Store history by finally allowing global online orders, and we're adding new items all the time. We just added limited supplies of the Japan import CD, "A Band Called VENICE," and also we've just added the "2 Meters Sessions" DVD (in PAL format) which has some great intimate live recordings shot at the infamous Hideaway Hill, where we recorded "Born and Raised" and where we've also written a majority of our songs. Click here to go to Venice Store.
Here in America, we're working on plans for an American release of "Amsterdam." We're speaking with labels, radio promotion, etc. Also coming up, we're doing a show in Branson, Missouri on June 30th, and most likely a show in Springfield, IL on July 13th. Those are being finalized now. All you Americans that live far away can come visit us at one of these shows. Again, watch our Tour Dates for more on those.
I just had a meeting last week about putting together the Guitar Tab book, or Venice songbook. I promise this will happen, but there's much work to do in order to pull this off. Please hold on....it's coming.
Last but not least, I want to thank all of the fans who have been voluntarily busting their butts, helping us spread the word on MySpace.
Anyway, wanted to share some Venice news with all of you. More news soon!
Michael - Venice
Just want to add a quick technical note, regarding the "Two Metre Sessies" DVD. Please be aware that Pal releases will not play on American televisions unless you own a DVD player that converts the format. Unless you know specifically that your player will do this, assume that it won't. However, the DVD will play on your computer. There's no region encoding on the disc preventing that.
Speaking of Michael,
if you'd like to watch Venice's guitarist tear it up on drums,
there's a video from last Saturday's Charlie Vaughn show over
February 18, 2007
For those of you who have been following the drama, the Pine Mountain Logs show at the Canyon Club on March 31st had been cancelled for a few days, but it's officially back on again. So bring all your friends, 'cause it's gonna be a party!
A quick note from
Venice's bassist / marathon runner Mark Harris, "The LA Marathon
is in 2 weeks. Cheerers/supporters are welcome. I'd
appreciate Recharge sports drink (Whole Foods has the best price)
and Gu vanilla gels (available at most running stores) handed
to me during the race. Also, I'll be playing this Tuesday
night, and most Tuesday nights starting at 10:30pm, at The Brig
-- 1515 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice. It's a funky, jazzy,
hip hop improvisational jam, and we're starting to draw good crowds
there. The instrumentation: Bass (me!), drums, keys,
horns, a DJ and sometimes guitar. A fun hang!"
February 14, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! Just want to let you guys know that Venice Store has gone global, and can now accept and ship orders anywhere in the world.
As a special note
to all LA fans, check out Charlie Vaughn's set this Saturday night,
February 17th, at 8pm at 14 Below. 1348 14th Street, in
Santa Monica. 21 and over only. Charlie will be performing
a 30 minute set backed by a full band, including Mark Harris on
bass, and another musician near and dear to our hearts, who happens
to share my initials, like you've never seen him before. And
no, I'm not talking about Martin Landau, although that would have
been pretty cool too. Curious? You'll just have to
head down to see what I'm talking about, or else read about it
on Venice Talk Sunday morning and kick yourself for missing it.
Hope to see everybody there!
February 8, 2007
Venice Store has officially re-opened. The new design was put together by none other than Michael Lennon himself! Venice's newest CD "Amsterdam" is on sale, and this is currently the only place in America where you can buy it. Come check it out! And please spread the word!!
February 2, 2007
The 1993 film "Inside Monkey Zetterland" will finally be released on DVD this Tuesday, February 6th. Venice collectors might want to pick this up because it uses the band's song "Charm You" as its recurring musical theme.
January 23, 2007
Venice is the featured artist of the week over on Podshow Radio. Huge thanks to Ed Ovett from Ed's Mixed Bag for putting this together! I highly urge everyone to check the show out, and leave some positive feedback for 'em while you're at it (by clicking on "Digg It").
January 21, 2007
My earlier news item was accidentally deleted, so here it is again. Be sure and catch Charlie Vaughn perform a 30-minute set with Venice's Kipp Lennon next Sunday, January 28, 2007, at the Pig N' Whistle. 6714 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Cover is $8. The pair will play some of Charlie's songs, some Venice songs, and a few covers. Should be great!
January 11, 2007
Venice's newest CD "Amsterdam" is still not available in America, but the band is selling copies through an Ebay store. You can pick that up over here.
January 1, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kipp Lennon...
Greetings and salutations to all of our friends out there in the internet world!
It's January 1st, and after the long tour and the Christmas shows here in California, and all the shopping and giving and recieving of the Holiday season, Michael and I are finally getting a chance to just relax with our families. We're in Vista, California, up at the Hideaway Hill house where we usually come to write and demo new songs. But this trip is all about just hanging out with the wives and kids and celebrating the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. Luckily for us, we're having some classic Vista weather...cloudless, sunny skies, chilly nights and mornings, but warm, summery days for swimming and relaxing etc. The perfect end of a year that's been very busy and rewarding.
2006 started with us writing, rehearsing and arranging all the songs for the new album that would eventually be called "Amsterdam." We had a great time making demos of all the new stuff, and having Nick Bult fly out to LA from Holland to join us.
Next it was two weeks in May, recording the album in a church in Amsterdam. Such an amazing experience, working all together with not only the great musicians, but the audio team that recorded us, and the label that supported it all. One big team working together. Overall, we're really happy with the results, and "Amsterdam" is an album we can always play proudly and look back on as a great experience. There were times when we really felt like one of those bands we used to read about growing up. Artists from the 60's or 70's that got to travel somewhere and record a cool album.
The summer was full of doing the usual Summer things at home, mixed with gearing up for the big record release, which meant artwork for the album and planning shows for the big tour in the fall. The release party at the Paradiso in Amsterdam was a blast. It had been way too long since we'd done a big show in Holland, and we could feel the audience wanting a great show as much as we did. So cool to do a bunch of the new songs with the full band that had recorded the album in May. There is really no place like the Paradiso. The energy and support we felt from the crowd was exactly what we'd hoped it would be and more. A perfect way to get ready for a big tour.
Suddenly it was fall, and there we were on a KLM plane, leaving LA to go to the Netherlands for 9 weeks of touring and promotion. It's always a bit daunting to leave home for such a long time, and for Michael and I it can be especially tough, of course, to be leaving the wives and kids for so long. But the other side of the coin is that we feel so fortunate to be starting a brand new theater tour with a new album to promote.
We started off with some pre-tour rehearsals with the band. We had a new drummer joining us for the first time, Martijn Bosman. In Holland he is the drummer of a very succesful Dutch band called Kane. Kind of a Bon Jovi meets U2. He turned out to be not only a powerful, great drummer that brought a lot to our show, but a good guy that could hang with all the backstage jokes and songs in the van. (We've been saying for years that we should record all of the songs we sing offstage -- a huge repertoire of funny with the majority of the songs being written by the genius, Mark Harris. He's even written some Dutch ones. I think if we ever did get around to recording it all, it would be the first Venice album with a parental warning sticker on it. I feel honored to have had one written about me, although I can't say the title in polite company. Good song, though.)
The tour began, and it was suddenly a whirlwind of shows and old friends and new songs. There is nothing like the feeling of having a bunch of new songs and watching an audience slowly learning the words over the course of the tour. It's the ultimate compliment and validation. One of the things that keeps us inspired. So much work and fun and time. 35 theater shows in 9 weeks, plus some extra shows as well. One acoustic show at our hotel lobby on Mark Harris' birthday. Another at Ilse DeLange's fan club show. Along the way we changed the setlist around a lot, depending on the reaction we got from the songs, or how the band felt about playing the tunes. Really felt good to dust off some old ones like "Very Real" and "Never Coming Back." And it was nice to see new ones become instant favorites with the crowds. "Weight Has Been Lifted," "Rewind," "We're OK," "One More Song." Plus, there is nothing more rewarding than when we do "The Family Tree" and the audience sings the whole last chorus together.
There were too many shows to remember them all specifically, but a few things come to mind. Some towns we'd never been to before and some old favorites. The beautiful new theater in Rotterdam, the amazing crowds, sing-along/party shows we always have in Groningen and Enschede, the funny, crazy energetic show in Den Haag (where some American woman walked up to Pat and tried to talk with him while he was standing in his spotlight at the edge of the stage playing the beginning of "One Quiet Day." Pat couldn'r really hear her because he was wearing his ear monitors, but she just kept yapping and waving her arms until finally Michael yelled, "Hey!! We're doing a show here!!!" Later, during that same song, Mark Harris had his whole bass rig, the amp and speaker, fall off of his riser and sever the power line to the whole stage!! Martijn played the drums while we got the audience to clap and sing along until our mighty crew patched things up enough to continue).
And the continuing adventures of doing a "Meet & Greet," night after night, after every show. Many times people ask if we get tired of that part, but the truth is, it's one of the most rewarding things about touring. Sure, the crazy schedule can be exhausting sometimes, and I won't pretend we don't feel occasionally like it would be nice to head back to the hotel right after the show, but going out to the lobby and hearing the Thank You's and stories first hand, meeting the people of all ages that are into what we do, it's an amazing part of what we get to do and we wouldn't trade it for anything.
So many things go into the making of our tours... We have a crew of hardworking guys that show up to each town in the big rig hours before we do and get the job done night after night with no applause (except from us occasionally). A road manager, Joost, who drove us (two to four hours of driving every night), babysat us and put up with all our jokes. For a few shows we had a substitute keyboardist named Jasper Westerhof who learned our whole set very quickly so he could fill in for Nick whenever Nick had a show with Marco Borsato (kind of the Springsteen meets Garth Brooks of the Netherlands). Jasper handled the job perfectly and was a great hang, even when we would add a new song to the setlist at the last minute. Marius and Carolla Suiker using up most of their allotted holiday time to travel with us and set up and sell the merchandise year after year. Management and label folks setting up TV appearances and radio shows. And, of course, a band of talented guys that all want to do a better show than the last one, and laugh about everything. What more could we ask for? (Okay, well, we could ask for a hit album and worldwide fame and fortune, but we could still get there from here. And here ain't bad.)
So, all of this and much more, yet still somehow it all went by surprisingly fast. It seemed to go from our 5th show to our 35th in the blink of an eye. So many laughs and memories. To all the 30,000 plus people who came to see us and keep the Venice travelling party going, we say thank you.
So, it was goodbye to our friends and fans in Holland for now, and home for reunions with loved ones and Christmas shows in southern California. We always look forward to these shows a lot, and these ones were particularly special for me because my 26-year-old son, Charlie (who I gave up for adoption when I was 20 and only just met two years ago... check out the October 22, 2006 news entry for details of that whole saga) opened for us with a short acoustic set. (He's a great singer songwriter and has been his whole life...Gee, where did he get that?) Michael's and my kids even sang one song with him...a real Holiday spirit kind of gig, as you can imagine.
So now it's the end of a great year, and we feel fortunate and happy and hopeful for the new year. Special thanks go out to our internet crew headed by Matt Levitz and Amber Guerra, for working so hard all year keeping the "internet Venetians" well informed and even entertained. And also a big thanks to our wives and kids here at home, for hanging in there for us and keeping the home fires burning.
Lots of projects to look forward to in the coming year, including, hopefully, a US release of the "Amsterdam" album and maybe even some US touring. Writing for a future album. Plus, of course, lots of shows, and possibly some special releases along the way as well.
So, dear friends, a heartfelt thanks to all of you for hanging in there with us and supporting what we do through yet another year. We appreciate you more than you can ever know.
Here's to helping the Earth much more!
Kipp Lennon (on behalf of Michael, Mark and Pat Lennon)