Good Souls; the Starsailor archive for fans.

Starsailor's Page ~ Volume 4

Diary entries and photographs, from their travels in 2008.

The diary entries below were written initially on the band's official message board during their assorted travels, studio exploits and band adventures. The full collection will be mirrored here for posterity.

A busy summer schedule ahead ~ By James Walsh, Thursday 7th February 2008

  Hello All,

Rich took this photo at The Doghouse.  Please click for a larger view.  It's been a very busy time for us recently. We finally waved goodbye to The Doghouse Studio. We have had a great time living and working there so we were a little sad to leave. Next on the agenda is mixing the album so we are moving into a studio in Chiswick called Sofa Lounge.

I have also been spending a lot of time in Liverpool recently playing first at a Capital Of Culture Party at the Pan Am Club a couple of weeks ago and then at Jamie Carragher's Birthday Party at the weekend. It was a thrill to be able to play in front of Scouse Royalty such as Sue Johnston, Sinbad from Brookie and Phil Redmond at the Capital Of Culture Party.

Of course being a life long red I jumped at the chance to play at Carra's bash! The songs are really taking shape now, my own personal favourites are 'All The Plans We Made' and 'Boy In Waiting'. We should have some new material for you very soon.

It is great to be able to play at the Isle Of Wight again. We have some fantastic memories from the festival not least the time we played just below Paul Weller when the festival was in its infancy. Hyde Park should be good too. There won't be the distraction of the football this year as England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 (every cloud and all that!).

Special thanks to Barriemore Barlow who has been looking after us at the studio (his stories from his Tull days and his regular jokes have kept us entertained) and the chef Jim Hall whose cooking has been superb. We are putting the finishing touches to a busy summer schedule so hopefully we will be coming to a town near you (wherever you are in the world).

See You Soon,

James  

Finally finished recording our 4th album ~ By James Walsh, Thursday 20th March 2008

  Hello All,

Well it's been a long time in the making but we have finally finished recording our 4th album (hope I haven't spoken too soon!). It's certainly been an adventure! We have been to 4 studios (Real World, The Doghouse, Sofa Sound and Eastcote) and a whole cast of characters have been involved getting to this point.

Undoubtedly the two people who have put the most effort in the studio (apart from the band) are Producer Steve Osborne and Engineer Dan Austin (Who is also working with Doves at the same time! No wonder he looks knackered!). Our A&R man Chris Briggs has been in frequently, regaling us with tales of his life in rock n roll (Chris has been working at EMI for years. What he doesn't know about The Waterboys, Robbie Williams, Jethro Tull and Tottenham Hotspur is not worth knowing!)

We have 16 songs recorded with 12 possible contenders for the album. Regular visitors to the site will be familiar with the titles 'Tell Me Its Not Over', 'Boy In Waiting' and 'All The Plans We Made'. There is also 'The Thames', 'Hurts Too Much', 'You Never Get What You Deserve', 'Listen Up', 'Under A Neon Sky', 'Safe At Home', 'Change My Mind' and 'Stars and Stripes'.

There has been an emphasis on strong melodies and simple arrangements for this album and the guitar playing of Richard Warren has definitely enhanced the sound. I'm not one for slagging off the last album and saying this one is 100 times better because the last album definitely had its merits. However we have spent a lot longer writing and recording this one and the result is the perfect companion to 'Love Is Here.'

On a totally different note I recently devoured 2 series of 'Life On Mars' during a recent bout of illness and was absolutely blown away. I saw Supergrass at The Roundhouse (you forget how good they are) and I have been reading George Orwell 'Down And Out In Paris And London'. Oh and the workmen finally finished the kitchen!

See You Soon,

James  

Those sambucas weren't such a good idea after all! ~ By James Walsh
Wednesday 30th April 2008

  Hello All,

It's been a very busy end to the week for me with a performance at Hard Rock Café on Thursday and The Indy Awards on Friday.

It was great to be asked on the last minute to do a mini-set (3 songs) opening for The Charlatans at the Hard Rock in London. I was there in the afternoon with Tim Burgess to open 'The Vault' which is the room where they keep the most valuable items. My favourite piece of all was definitely John Lennon's US Army jacket, complete with a pair of his sunglasses.

The party later on lasted long into the night and the sambucas I'd had a few hours before didn't seem like such a good idea when I woke up with the mother of all hangovers!

The Charlatans were on fantastic form and they all seemed in fine health. Sometimes 'corporate' dos can be a bit of a nightmare. Usually everyone is there for the free booze and talks through the performance. I'm happy to say this was not the case. The crowd were very responsive during my set and The Charlatans ended the night in spectacular fashion. A good time was had by all.

Friday night I was at The Forum to play a few songs at the INDY Music Awards. The INDY Awards recognise new and unsigned talent giving young bands a great opportunity for publicity and a chance to perform at the prestigious venue. Venues across the country vote for the best unsigned band they have had on. I was pleased to present 'Little Fish' with the award for 'Best Rock Act'. I'm sure you will be hearing a lot about them in the coming months.

On the subject of new bands I was very impressed with Beggars who played at the Soho Arts Club the other night. Their sound is kind of Libertines/Merseybeat and they are great musicians.

I was in town to see another group, those of you on the site will be familiar with, called Scars on 45. They were playing at the 100 club with a South African group called 'The Parlotones'. It was a bit hectic trying to fit both gigs in but I managed to see a bit of all the bands.

See You Soon,

James

p.s. If I read another text about John Arne Riise heading in the wrong direction I will scream!

What a weekend! ~ By James Walsh, Tuesday 3rd June 2008

  Hello All,

What a weekend! It all started off on Friday with a performance at 'This Feeling' a club night in London that has previously hosted acoustic performances from The Enemy and Kasabian and DJ slots from Oasis and Noel Fielding (Mighty Boosh).

They have been running the night since late 2007 and Friday night was the biggest crowd so far for the acoustic performance (support came from Jersey Budd, Eamonn McNamee and Strawhouses all of whom have MySpace sites worth checking out, as linked).

Then on Saturday it was off to the top of the BT tower to judge a battle of the bands competition. The first prize was a coveted place on the bill at the Isle Of Wight festival. After much deliberating me and the rest of the judging panel decided first prize should go to the Scottish band 'We See Lights'. The runners up were 'The Velcros' and 'The Tempus'. Be sure to check out their MySpace sites, as linked.

James playing an acoustic and Q&A session at the Oxford Union.  Then on Sunday I was invited to perform and do a Q&A at the Oxford Union. It was a great honour to be invited to join the illustrious list of people who have been invited to speak. The list of previous speakers is extremely diverse from the political activist Malcolm X to strange haired comedian/lothario Russell Brand. The person before me was the US secretary of homeland security!

It was a beautiful venue for a gig (the main debating chamber, see right and click for a larger view) and it was great to perform at a place so steeped in history. As someone who left college with no A-levels it was the closest I was ever going to get to going to Oxford. It's just a pity they couldn't have given me an honorary degree!

Thanks for your patience, we hope to have some brand new music for you very soon. In the mean time I hope you like the MySpace covers.

James  

The message board was well represented and made use of the free bar! ~ By James Walsh
Tuesday 24th June 2008

  Hello All,

Another exhausting week in Starsailor world! We were very pleased to be asked to support The Police in Zurich and were even more impressed when the first person we saw as we left the stage was the mighty Sting! He told us he loved the show and was pleased to have us on the tour.

We hardly had time to draw breath and we were at a race track in Le Mans watching the cars go round and round. We all really enjoyed playing a set at the Le Mans 24 Hour Race and we seemed to go down well with the crowd. I'm not the biggest motor racing fan but I was still impressed with some of the vehicles on show.

Then it was overnight to the Isle Of Wight. What can I say? It was fantastic. We played some brilliant gigs when 'Love Is Here' came out but there was something even more satisfying about the Isle Of Wight. 8 years on and we are still here playing to audiences like that. Thanks a lot for coming down if you were there, you really played your part in making it one of the best days we have had in years.

I really enjoyed watching James, The Kooks and of course The Police who played after us. I was also impressed that (according to rumours circulating around the site) the 'Starsailor Sours' were the best selling cocktails in the Hard Rock bar at the festival!

After a short break it was up to Manchester to support The Police at the MEN Arena. Both gigs were brilliant but Wednesday night was a particular highlight for me. I ended up singing along to 'Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic' with Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher and family.

We stayed in Manchester on Thursday night for our gig at The Hard Rock Cafe. Thanks a lot to Arno Carstens for providing the support on the evening.

The message board was well represented and I think they made use of the free bar! Thanks for coming down everyone. There were a couple of famous faces dotted about the place including Corrie's Steven Arnold (Ashley), Michelle Keegan (David Platt's girlfriend) and the Lancashire County Cricket Team. Everyone had a good time and I am really suffering today (that last g and t seems like such a good idea at the time!)

Hope you're enjoying the Euros and the weather.

We can't wait for Hyde Park.

See You Soon

James  

Breakfast In Blackburn and Beers In Belgium ~ by James Walsh
Tuesday 15th July 2008

  Hello All,

Here I am again with another update on what we have been up to recently. Last Friday me and Les were up in Blackburn for an event in a marquee that Blackburn College had organised. It was basically a 'champagne breakfast' and awards ceremony to celebrate the end of term and the college's recent success.

Stuart Maconie was the compere (his book 'Cider For Roadies' is brilliant and his show with Mark Radcliffe on Radio 2 is worth a listen) and I was the musical 'turn'. Despite the unusual circumstances (onstage at 11.30am in a tent in a park in Blackburn after the croissants had been handed out!) I had a lovely time.

I was pleased with the warm reception I received so I am looking forward to doing a 'proper' gig in Blackburn one day. I remember seeing The Bluetones at St Georges Hall many moons ago.

The following day it was off to Belgium for a festival near Brugges called 'Cactus Festival'. We were extremely honoured to have been asked to headline the festival. Earlier on in the day the crowd were treated to sets by the brilliant Tinarewen (I think that's how you spell it!) and the LOUD Dinosaur JNR. After all these afternoon/early evening festival appearances it was great to take to the stage in the hours of darkness.

We played the longest set we have played in a long time (clocking in at about 1 hour and 25 mins!) and the crowd were great. After the show we could not leave without sampling the local cherry beers. Thanks to everyone at the festival for your hospitality.

And finally. I attended an event in London last night where the great Peter Shilton was taking part in a penalty competition. You will be pleased to know I managed to get one past him!Starsailor support The Police in Valencia in July 2008.  Please click for a larger view.

Before I go, here is a picture from our recent show with The Police in Valencia.

See You Soon,

James

P.S. Me and Lisa would like to thank everyone for all your kind wishes following the birth of our son Cillian.  

A couple of recent photos ~ By James Walsh
Friday 1st August 2008

  Hello All,

James with Phil Neal after winning the Legends XI trophy.  Please click for a larger view.  © Russell Pritchard. Here are a couple of pics taken recently.

I was fortunate enough to fulfil a childhood dream by playing for Liverpool in Belfast. I was an honorary legend alongside such greats as John Aldridge, Jan Molby, Ray Houghton and Jason McAteer.

Niamh with her litte brother Cillian in July 2008.  You will be pleased to know we beat Glentoran in the first game 2-0 and Manchester United (including Gary Pallister, Clayton Blackmore and Sammy McIlroy) 4-1 to land the trophy. This is me with Phil Neal, Liverpool's most decorated player (4 European Cup winners medals!).

Right is our daughter Niamh holding her brand new baby brother Cillian. Doesn't she look proud!

See You Soon,

James  

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been! ~ By James Walsh
Monday 22nd September 2008

  Hello All,

What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been!

It all started with a charity acoustic performance for The Willow Foundation (who organize special days out for terminally ill young people) in Welwyn Garden City.

Then we flew over to Ireland for the Cois Fharraige Festival where we played before headliners Travis.

After the post-Ireland hangovers had subsided (which took a few days!) me and Les went up to Liverpool for a solo show at the Newz Bar. When it comes to having a good time, Liverpudlians are hard to beat and the gig was highly enjoyable. The set included a rare acoustic airing of 'This Time' and a raft of covers including 'Champagne Supernova' and 'Don't Let Me Down'.

I was also invited on to Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) LA radio show where I played a version of 'Good Souls' with Jonesy on Lead Guitar!

Which brings me to the two highlights of recent times. Firstly there was the show at The Boogaloo in Highgate for Trekstock (Teenage Cancer Trust) where the excellent Jason Manford was compere. Mixmaster Mat Horne dj'd and I had two wonderful backing singers accompanying me. (One of whom is Stevie Lange who has been in the business for many years and has worked with Robbie Williams and Chris Martin on numerous occasions as well as myself).

The venue was absolutely packed and I was glad that everyone had a good time and a lot of money was raised for a very good cause. It's been a little while since this show but I remember it being a cracker!

And on Friday night we realised a long held ambition when we played with a full symphony orchestra in Brussels. The gig was held under the banner 'Stars Of Europe' in aid of UNICEF. Other notable artists appearing were Robyn, Sharleen Spiteri, Air Traffic and legendary disco band Chic, led by Mr Nile Rogers.

In fact at the end of the night a party was held at the hotel to mark Nile's 54th birthday. Somehow Benny Byrne ended up with a face full of cake! A suitably bizarre end to a beautiful night.

Clips are available on YouTube, keywords; Stars Of Europe, Starsailor.

See You Soon,

James  

We've now played on every continent! ~ By James Walsh
Friday 31st October 2008

  Hello All,

Well here I am just off the flight from Johannesburg following our highly enjoyable jaunt round Africa with The Parlotones. (The South African band who kindly invited us to join their tour.)

Before I elaborate on the African adventure may I thank all the Spanish and Catalan fans who came down to the Barca Hard Rock show. A great deal of money was raised for local breast cancer charities and we were all heartened by the lovely audience.

What to say about S.A? Well we played football in Alexandra, (A township in Johannesburg) with youngsters from a local school and Bafana Bafana legends Mark Fish, Mark Williams and Phil Masinga.

Thanks so much to Paul Thackwray from Sony for all the work in organising this. I also got to collaborate with respected musician Vusi Mahlesela on the same day and we played 5 gigs in 3 amazing cities with our friends from The Parlotones (1 in Johannesburg, 1 in Cape Town and 2 in Durban).

Many thanks to Kahn, Paul, Nick, Glen and Neil (Parlotones), Danny (driver, joker, Ken Dodd lookalike and Wonderboom member!), Raf (Parlotones manager), Tash (good luck with your forthcoming nuptials) and Mike (driver of the year 2008) for their wonderful hospitality.

Incidentally, Q magazine were along for a ride (respected writer Simon Goddard and super snapper Soren Starbird to be exact) so you can read a more detailed account of our trip along with some brilliant photos in a future edition of Q (either the next issue or the one after that, I'm not 100% at this point).

Following our trip to Africa I can now say we have played in every continent in the world! I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

I hope you'll enjoy the video of us at the Hard Rock in London the other night which we'll post shortly. Cheers Pete for the amazing guitar playing. Going to get some shut-eye.

See You Soon,

James  

Thanks to everyone who helped make this a cracking year! ~ By James Walsh,
Monday 22nd December 2008

  Hello All,

First of all I would like to thank everyone who came to the recent shows in London,New York, LA and Manchester. The show for Versus Cancer was a fitting end to a highly enjoyable 2008.

When I think of highlights, finishing the album was obviously a big one and of course hearing peoples reaction to the new songs when we first started playing them.

When it comes to gigs I think Hard Rock Calling, Isle Of Wight festival and Hard Rock Cafe London were all belters.

Our recent trip to South Africa was also a very fulfilling and enjoyable excursion. In fact I can't really think of a show where we didn't have a good time.

On a personal note the birth of Cillian was the obvious highlight for me and if he could talk he would tell you he's looking forward to his first Christmas!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this a cracking year and have a very Merry Christmas!

See You In 2009!

James  



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