I first met David Evans when he was driving myself and the band Senser to play the Pilton Fete in 1992. I was press officer for Senser and they had an interview organised with Peter Paphides. Anyway, Dave and I got chatting on the long journey back (along with watching the ‘swallies’ fly) and it turned out that we had both been on European tours organised by Thomas Zimmerman, weeks apart. Mine was in September 1984, when my band Go! Service supported The Television Personalities and Dave’s was in October / November of the same year when his band, Biff Bang Pow! were one of the groups on the Creation Records Package Tour.
You can tell Dave’s tour was later as the VW van has more graffiti on! It had started to get the spray paint treatment a few days into the tour I was on and in these pictures of Dave’s, you can see it is much worse….
Anyway, huge thanks to Dave for writing about the tour and letting me share these fabulous photos – here’s the man himself –
Fractured memories of the 1984 Creation Package Tour
The story of…
The Jesus & Mary Chain
Biff Bang Pow!
Consisting of nineteen to twenty people… ish:
William Read, Jim Reid, Douglas Hart, Bobby Gillespie (TJAMC)
Alan McGee, Dick Green, Dave Evans, Ken Popple (BBP!)
Jim Shepherd, Adam Sanderson, Martin Keena, Tom Reid, Dave Musker (JM)
Joe Foster (soundman), Luke Hayes (roadie), Big Mick (keeper of the beer), Bruce Dessau (journalist)
German crew -Thomas Zimmerman, Key Krutek, two more relief drivers
Yvonne McGee, Lynn ?, someone else? (Temporary visitors)
Packed into two vans:
A VW Combi & a Ford Transit substituted by another VW Combi when the Transit broke down
For eight gigs in nine long days:
26th October 1984 Loft, Berlin, Germany
27th October 1984 Forum, Enger, Germany
28th October 1984 Okie Dokie, Neuss, Germany
29th October 1984 Rest day
30th October 1984 Kir, Hamburg, Germany
31st October 1984 Künstlerhaus, Nuremberg, Germany
1st November 1984 Downstairs, Bamberg, Germany
2nd November 1984 AJZ Gaskessel, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland
3rd November 1984 MJC Claudel, Reims, France
I don’t remember how we got to the ferry. I can’t even remember which ferry. I think it may have been Harwich to Hoek van Holland, but I suppose we must have got the train. We traveled light with only clothes and instruments. I do remember it being quite choppy with the horizon disappearing first above the window and then below. I also had a bad cold which didn’t help.
We were met, wherever we landed, by Thomas and Key in Combi number one and the Transit and set off for Berlin. The reason I think it was Hoek van Holland is that I recall looking out of the window and seeing several signpost to Uit. I took me a little while to figure out this was Dutch for from, out or in this case, exit from the motorway. I don’t know how many of us had been abroad before. Probably not many back in 1984. I had been to Sweden, but there were no Uit signs there.
After a mammoth drive to Berlin we checked into a tall hotel overlooking the Berlin Wall. There was also a platform nearby where you could get a closer look and the next morning a large flea market appeared in front of the hotel. At the Loft, we were introduced to the promoter Monika, who it turned out was quite a character on the Berlin scene. The band running order on package tour was supposed to be shared equally, but it quickly became apparent that it the was the Mary Chain who everyone wanted to see, especially as their debut single Upside Down came out while were on tour. Incidentally, part of that song was “inspired” by the Scooby Doo theme tune?
The next gig was in Enger. Almost exactly half the way back to Hoek van Holland. But hey, that’s touring all over. I look back at Enger and think “what a shocking pun”, and hum the TV Personalities song to try and appease the comedy gods. A least the next gig in Neuss was close by. And then… a day off at Thomas’s in and around Altena, near Wuppertal I think. I say in and around as we were all split up and housed by friends as we couldn’t all fit in one house. There was almost twenty of us after all. Me and William were billeted at a friends house and woke the next morning to find the friend gone but his parents offering us a hearty, but meaty breakfast.
I had done a little German at school, but the teacher used to spend most of the lesson encouraging us not to smoke rather than teach. Hence my mastery of the language was very poor… and I didn’t even smoke. Our hosts command of English was also non existent, so I put aside my vegetarianism for a while and ate the speck in the omelette. It was quite hard to find vegetarian food in Germany at this time. I’d looked up the German word, but whenever I tried it out, no-one had the slightest idea of what I was trying to convey.
On our day off, back at Thomas’s, I remember Jim and his girlfriend Lynn repairing his jacket, so hang on, that’s another person. In fact two more as Alan’s wife Yvonne turned up with Lynn for a couple of days. We also managed to visit a music shop where I have a rare picture of me as I’m usually the other end of the lens. Anyway, back to the tour and Hamburg next where we check in to ‘hotel’ at one end of the Reeperbahn, “the world’s naughtiest street”, which ahem… charged by the hour! We exchanged two of the rooms they gave us immediately as they’d obviously been used, let’s say quite recently. I am reminded by Jim that I poured some plum brandy on the window sill and set fire to it to test it’s alcoholic content. I have no memory of this, nor any other pyromaniac tendencies. Sadly Dave Musker left us the following morning catching a a ferry home, his organ having given up the ghost. Bruce Dessau had also gone home at some point having sampled enough of the glamorous life on the road.
The next day was another long drive to Nuremberg in the south of the country. The Transit had already been showing signs of trouble and Key & Thomas had had the bonnet up a couple days before to look at the engine. One of the side windows had also been broken and taped up as well which, in the cold October air wasn’t ideal. I think this journey did for it as the the next day in Bamburg, we swapped the sad Transit for another VW Combi driven by two 60s garage music fans whose party piece was to swap places while driving along the autobahn. It is easier for left-handed vehicles but even so! Anyway, none of us minded as we were all pretty fatigued. Fatigued and a little fractious. Tempers were on edge at times what with the close proximity, so much travelling, lack of cash and the feeling amongst some that we were being taken advantage of.
Another long one to Biel in Switzerland where we played in a converted gasometer. Some of our party weren’t too keen on the dorm we stayed in that night and barricaded the door, but we survived to journey on to Reims the next day where our good friend JC Brouchard would be waiting anxiously for us. Anxious because we were a little late turning up. It was case of piling out of the van and onto the stage.
The only thing to left now was to get home. Easier said than done though. VW Combi 2 spluttered to a halt about half an hour from Calais. VW Combi 1 delivered it’s passengers and came back to rescue the others but we had to leave our heroic volunteer drivers behind on the French motorway. I do hope they got home. So after roughly 2,400 miles another ferry and another memory erasing train journey, we’re home. Now that was an experience. So much so, I decided to do it for another 13 years.