The lads before the show in Trondheim

So, after intense rehearsals in North West London, we were ready for the first shows in around 6 months! Not only were we anxious because of the 6 month break, but also coz it was the very first gigs with The Amazing Mr Duncan!

We arrived exhausted in Oslo, early morning of 23rd May! A great start eh?! Ready for bed before we even begin! still, we were eager to get into the tour.

We were picked up by our promoter from Norway, and were back in the van heading for Lillehammer, I am sure I have spent 75% of my life in the van!

Anyway, after around a 3 hour journey we reached the venue, a tiny, great looking club, here Duncan had actually already performed a few years back with Snuff! Of course the wrong equipment arrived, and after much arguing between our tour manager and the promotions company, we decided we would have to get on and soundcheck with what had been provided.

Wrong sized drums and incorrect bass speakers put us on a bit of a downer, I was even on a greater downer when I had to use a Marshall JCM 900 amplifier, I had brought my new Red telecaster with me, and I was dying to find out how it would sound at a live show. Anyway, we sound checked , and although not exactly perfect, the sound wasn't so bad.

After a nice meal at the hotel, a wash and brush up, were were ready to rock! (and sleep!) Late gigs in Norway, I really cant remember the gigs being this late last time. All the gigs in Norway, this time, were around midnight, well past my bed time!

Despite problems we had, snapping strings, guitars dying, bass drum pedals falling to pieces, we really enjoyed it! not the tightest show in the world! but certainly one to remember! Thanks to all of ya for turnin up, the night was mega!

Next up was Oldansenes, seemed like a life time in the van! But that's life on the road! We arrived at the Grand hotel, our venue, and hotel, all in one! I know a great deal o you lot had booked rooms in the hotel too! you noisy lot! cheers loads for coming though! Apparently, famous faces had stayed in the hotel, like the Queen, and Sir Cliff Richard! and now us lot!

Different equipment AGAIN! NOOOOO! still, we played better than the previous night, and were starting to sound a little tighter! again you lot were great! Thank you!

After a brisk morning walk the next day around the beautiful setting of the hotel, we were back in the van heading for Trondheim, maybe a 5 or 6 hour journey. I was a bit worried about playing Trondheim to be honest, we had performed there about 20 years ago with Teddy and Dean, and it was empty!

Ha! what a surprise, the gig was sold out on our arrival! And what a fantastic venue, brilliant, we were well looked after by a great local crew, the sound system was superb, lights n all. And guess what... all the equipment we had requested was there! wow! perfect! At last we had no excuse not to be good! And finally I could try me red Telecaster through a Marshall JCM 800 amp! I was very happy! The guitar sounded very nice, however, with the Telecaster being a 90s model. it is lighter, and also having a rosewood neck, it doesn't have the same warmth and sustain as the yellow one! So, you've guessed it, I have gone back to my ever faithful 70's vintage yellow friend!

We played well, very happy with the equipment, and a fantastic crowd, we were improving each night, life is good! Cheers Trondhiem. can you believe the father of one of the guys from support band was actually in the support band last time we played Trondheim!! How the hell old am I!?

Next day the promoter had arranged two flights to Stavanger, via Oslo. Easier than being in the van? NO! On arrival at Stavanger airport none of our guitars turned up! I hate flying with our stuff, being in then van with all ya own equipment is the best.

We arrived at the Folken club with no guitars or props, and to find the wrong equipment set up stage for us again! We had a call from the airport saying our guitars would arrive later that night, in which case we had to open the club doors late, really sorry to all of you lot for having to wait around outside while we done our sound check.

The night went ahead smoothly, despite not having the right equipment, moan, moan, and getting drenched in beer, which doesn't help the playing at all when the guitar neck is stuck up with lager, and I must point out that the equipment we use on stage in electric by the way! I have said my piece! Now I will say we really enjoyed the night, Cheers to you lot at the Folken.

So, the last Norway show was upon us, 2 ferries to Bergen, and we were in the Garage club. A great little club, in the basement, just the kinda close contact 300 capacity venue I like! By this time we were just coping with the wrong equipment, and we were making the best of things! Another late night show, we thought no one was gonna show up at around 9pm. But, by the time we hit the weeny stage, the place was packed! great to see you lot enjoying yerselves as much as we did. We played well, and were in high spirits, the night rocked! thanks to you lot!

Back at the the hotel we reflected on the week in Norway, we had met some lovely people, and you lot were fantastic, and a very important thing, the chemistry within the band had worked great, The Amazing Mr. Duncan proved to be an asset to The Toy Dolls, and Tommy Goober was playing tighter than ever! I am one happy man!

Buzzing about the gig, I sat up all night with Koen (our merchandiser) and Mr. Duncan, talking about ideas for the next new Toy Dolls set! Our last tour? who said that!?

The lads in Red Square, Moscow

Seems we all caught some kinda flu virus in Norway! so when we all met up in Moscow on June 2nd, we were all feelin sorry for ourselves! However, a 10 hour overnight train journey to St Petersburg would help!!

After a swift vodka or two in the bar, we hit the sack. After what seemed like 2 hours sleep, we were looking outta the train window onto a rainy St Petersburg.

We grabbed the guitars and headed for the van which was waiting for us near the station, though it was wet and overcast, St Petersburg is one beautiful city, but we were tired and needed more sleep! We headed to the hotel which had for that day and most of caught up on some shut eye!

I say most of us coz I had an to make a TV appearance in the centre of town, for early Russian breakfast time TV, still it was good fun, everyone at the TV studio were very nice, and wow, there's some beautiful girls in this county, but we wont get into that! I managed to get 2 hours sleep back at the hotel , then it was off to sound check.

Cor!! ALL the correct equipment at the Club Port, a nice venue, though it sounded like we were playing in the Grand Canyon! One thing we always notice in Russia is that everyone is so eager to help! thank you to the local crew!

First time for us in St Petersburg, and we were wondering if anyone would know us? or even turn up!
But, over 500 of ya came along, and we had one great night, Cheers! I love being on the road!

Having said that, straight after the gig, we were back, not on the road, but on the train, another 10 hours overnight to Moscow! With our soaking wet stage clothes drip drying in our compartments, we headed to the bar for a little drinkypoos, well... not so sure about the 'little'!

We managed to get to sleep around 4am, 3 hours in bed, great! On arrival back in Moscow we headed to the hotel just in time for brekkie! then more much needed kip!

The Aplesin club is not my ideal choice for a venue, a bit too disco-like for my liking. I was a little worried as to what kind a crowd we could expect! Of course I need not have panicked! you lot were fantastic, we went on stage to a sold out venue around 10pm. We are sorry that a lot of you had been waiting from 7pm! but we really had to wait until the queue outside had all got inside!

A wild wild night indeed, I loved it the last time in Moscow, and this time was even better, we were now playing well, and you lot were crazy! a wild tribe of over 1000 of ya! making it a fantastic night to remember, lovely to meet loads of you after the show too! A lot of younger faces in the audience also, and girls! beautiful a Toy Dolls gig!? that's not a complaint incidentally! Great to see a load of you who were there 10 years ago too, thank you so much for your loyalty, we are really flattered that you still remember us! We wont leave it so long next time for sure!

I really hope more shows can be arranged for Russia, meantime THANK YOU TO EVERY ONE for to turning up! You are a great bunch!