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Keith Roberts

Vocals - Acoustic Guitar

Stuff | Road Stories | Photos

Keith's Tales from the road 2016

November 23rd, Thanksgiving.

It's that special holiday time in America again. Being Irish I had no idea what it was all about when I first came here but it's actually a very cool day. Everyone is included, everyone gets to enjoy and everyone gets to stuff their face with delicious grub. The best thing about it is that it's primarily just a day for families to get together and hang out. It's on a Thursday so most people have Friday off making it a nice long weekend no matter the year. The date is not important. It's always on a Thursday. If only St Patricks day could always be on a Saturday. There would be so fewer missed work days on the 18th

Anyhow, what all this means is that you have no excuse for not coming to see us at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. CA this Friday. If you are in Southern California that is. We have never played on Thanksgiving weekend before but when the club approached us about it we decided it was a good idea. Think about it. You spent all day Thursday with family. It was fun but you are craving a good "get out of the house" story. Then you find out the Young Dubs are playing and it's a Friday!!! Still two more days to recover. Not only that but the pants you used to love to wear that no longer fit since the juice diet are now fitting like a glove after you forced more then your body weight of Turkey and mashed potato into your gob. Perfect, it's a win win. Chances are after rocking out to the Dubs you'll be back down to normal but you'll still have the memories. Booze stains on the pants, a new Shamrock tattoo that you have no recollection of getting and an absolutely unbreakable resolution that you will never drink again, ever!!!

The Coach House is one of our favorite venues in the States so come on down and enjoy the show. Doors at 6pm for dinner and then show starts at 8pm with our openers Four Sue.

I also wanted to thank all of you who replied to my last email regarding the election. I certainly wasn't expecting any replies but the ones I got were amazing. Seems like a lot of people wanted to get some stuff off their chest and I was very pleased that my message was well received. It came from the heart and you took it that way which meant a lot.

Only three shows left in 2016, where did it go!!!!

See ya soon Keith

November 11th Hey everyone, I know I already sent out an email about these shows but under the circumstances I wanted to send just one more.

I've lived in America for most of my life now and I've seen a lot of things go down. Before I ever came here I studied politics at University College Dublin and the the United States political system was the gold standard.

I have seen five elections since I've been here. Each one involved a winner and a loser and I marveled at how the country celebrated and commiserated and then kept on ticking. True democracy, the Gold standard.

I know this one has been tough. An extremely ugly campaign followed by a surprise ending. I have made a huge point of keeping my political opinions to myself on public platforms as I realized that the Young Dubs fans who have carried our careers come from all walks of life. I gladly discuss my views in private but never want to alienate anyone from our fan base on our social media platforms. It's just not the place.

So as I watch unrest and deep sadness amongst many of you and celebration among others I am reminded of how amazing this country is that we can be happy or sad, we can speak out, we can protest peacefully or we can celebrate. There are very few places in the world where you can enjoy true freedom of speech. There are many places right now where you lose your life for even muttering dissent.

The job of our leaders is to "represent the people". If they don't we vote them out. That's the deal. Many didn't exercise that right this election and it's a terrible shame. If you are upset with the result but you didn't vote then I have nothing to say to you. But if you voted and things didn't work out your way then believe in the democratic system that very likely gave you the result you wanted the last two times and trust in it to follow it's course this time. If politicians aren't performing then kick them out next time. You can vote again in two years and have a big impact on Washington.

If your person won then push them to do the right thing and represent ALL Americans especially when it comes to sweeping laws. Always remember that half of your American brothers and sisters are now relying on you to be civil and decent and respectful of each other. You're Americans, the Gold Standard, Just because your guy won doesn't mean half of the countries opinions are worthless. Be Americans, united and compassionate despite your political differences.

I know you will and that's why I chose to raise my son here.

And....if you need a night off from it all then come and see us play this weekend!!! Tucson AZ or Solana beach CA. We will cheer you up and take you mind off it all for a few hours, maybe even get ya drunk :)

Hope to see you all soon. Keith

End of August, 2016. August tour wraps up

The August tour has just ended and I as I write we are all on different planes going home to different places for 10 days off. It was a fun tour, which took us from Alaska to the Midwest and then to the East. Lots of great shows, big and small but each one reminding me why we do this. There are not many people in the world who get to do what they love as a career and this month showed us just how lucky we are. Thank you to all who came out to see us.

Alaska was amazing, the shows were all great but to have two days of fishing was a very rare treat I will never forget. Not to mention an absolute first. While playing our last show in Soldotna I commented on what a great time we had had on that run. Of course I mentioned the amazing fishing. Now we are used to people throwing things up to us on stage (usually not something I can write about) but this time they broke the mold. Filets, Salmon fillets!!! Unbelievable. They just kept coming. One fillet after another. Frozen and vacuum wrapped. As we said goodnight I gathered them all up and distributed to the band and Woofy. We had a good laugh about that, just when you think you've seen it all.

Then it was off to Nebraska. We landed in Omaha and headed for the hotel. Lucas (trusty stage manager) picked us up the following morning and we headed to Iowa for the first show of the week. Lake Okojobi. It was a great way to start that week. More shows followed including reunions with old friends and a reconnection with the Plains of the US. We need to go there more often!!

Finally we headed to the Northeast and wrapped it up with four shows in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I must say they were all fun shows. Played a few venues we haven't played for years and it was heart warming to see you all there. Maybe we'll keep this up for a while longer....

See ya back out there in a few weeks. We return to the East Coast for two shows and then head to the Rockies for some of the last outdoor shows of the summer.

Keith

Aug 2016. Alaska, Montana and the tale of Joey, the chubby Beagle.

I thought I would share a story that is actually about Montana but could just as easily pertain to Alaska. During the last tour on a stop in Cody Wyoming a very sweet young girl and her Dad gave me a gift of some home made root beer and a bag of jerky. Now I am no aficionado of jerky but by all accounts this was good stuff. It was in a ziplock bag and packed to the brim.

As we had just finished playing the best place to put it for safekeeping was in my guitar case. Now just to clarify this is a soft bag guitar case for my Taylor, which I usually carry on board planes. It's small enough to fit nicely in the overhead and it has a handy zippered pouch for various knick-knacks. It also handily fits a bag full of deer jerky!!!

Anyhow, the tour continued and my mind wandered away from said jerky. The plan was always to eat it once I got home but the truth is I may have forgotten it was in there. No doubt I would have discovered it once I unpacked. Unfortunately I never got that chance!!!

I arrived home exhausted after miles and miles of driving and a crack of dawn flight and deposited the guitar in my studio as I always do. The next day I went about the usual tour wrap up stuff and never gave the guitar case a second thought. Big mistake.

As I drove around town doing various errands evil was at play in my studio. A certain chubby beagle with an unbelievable nose had sensed something delicious was nearby. As he sniffed his way into my studio he undoubtedly saw the guitar case that he had ignored many times, but not this time. He probably couldn't believe his luck when the irresistible aromas of deer meat filled his senses. Where oh where was it coming from. The guitar case? Could it be?

But the guitar case was zipped tight. How was a chubby beagle with no thumbs to undue a zipped up guitar case. Then it hit him, it's a soft case.

When I walked in the door I instantly knew something was up. This dog has a way of looking guilty like no other. It doesn't matter how long ago the crime occurred, the minute he sees me a look comes over him. The ears go down, the head bows and I know to start looking for devastation somewhere.

Sure enough before long I discovered the scene. The guitar was still in its case but now lying on the ground. A huge hole was ripped into the pouch. At first I couldn't understand why he would do it, then it hit me, the jerky.

I found half of the ziplock bag on the ground about 10 feet away. It all came into focus. The chubby beagle had found the jerky and lost his mind. He had savaged the guitar case with no thought of the consequences. He had to have it, that smell, simply irresistible.

The end of the story is I now have a new bag for the guitar and the dog couldn't poop for three days. A combination of ziplock bag and guitar case with a pound of jerky not far behind was to blame I'm sure. He finally got back to normal and I would love to say he learned his lesson but I doubt it. The reward was too great. Ultimately it was my fault so no punishment was administered (unless you count the three days of sever constipation).

So to the young lass and her Dad who so kindly gave me the gift of the homemade jerky I apologize that I never got to taste it but I'm sure if the beagle could talk he would tell you it was truly delicious. Hopefully we'll be back that way shortly and I'll get another chance to sample your work. Until then it's back to the road, Alaska is calling and then the Midwest. We'll see ya out there.

Keith



July 2016. The Lion, the Mouse and the Loo.

And so it's time to go back to work. We are currently on our way (via all transportation methods know to man) to the beautiful States of Montana and Wyoming. I cannot lie, it's one of my favorite places. I love the great outdoors but this takes it to another level. It's majestic, it's vast, and it's the Big Sky. I know I sound soppy now but I truly appreciate this part of the US.

Ok, a tangent. Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of living "off the grid" I watch all the shows that pertain to any sort of subsistence living (that's a side affect of being in too many hotel rooms bored off your bollox) and have always imagined trying it some day. Hunting, fishing, chopping wood, surviving as man used to do, all of this has been a huge dream of mine for a long time.

Then came a hotel room in Washington DC. I won't mention the name of the hotel because I promised I wouldn't but lets just say it was a nice one. Newly renovated and smelling of that fresh aroma that only new construction can give ya.

We checked in and I headed for my room, looking forward to a nice pre show nap and some welcome time out of the van.

I headed into the loo after dropping my bags and opened my "Around Me" app (we are not sponsored by them but maybe after this?) to find a suitable dinner spot. As I browsed the choices I thought I heard a very faint struggling sound. Although I was buried in the App I was facing the door so I instinctively looked up. At first I didn't see anything, then I looked down. To my horror I saw a mouse trying to squeeze his arse under the door and into the bathroom. It was clearly a tough job for him and so he was focused enough not to see me. For all I know he had checked in earlier and the front desk had forgotten to list the room as occupied!!

Anyway, this big, strong, brave, outdoors man almost had a freakin heart attack. Now this mouse was no bigger then my little finger but for some reason I lost it. Call it a phobia, call it girly man syndrome, whatever, I lost it. I roared a profanity at him at which point the poor buggar looked up. He had just managed to squeeze his arse under a door that he had no business being able to squeeze under and seemed quite proud of himself until he heard my scream. With that he looked up and released what I can only imagine was a mouse shout. Turned out he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.

He turned rapidly and began frantically trying to force his rear end back under the door, all the while hearing me shouting as though he was a massive African lion about to devour me.

He finally cleared the door and I bolted out after him, not sure what I was going to do if I actually confronted the 2-inch monster. Needless to say he had legged it and was nowhere to be seen. I called the front desk and informed them of this horrendous personal violation I had experienced and they moved me to another room (not before sending up a maintenance guy with a broom who failed to find the offender)

I told the band what had happened and that was a mistake. The abuse began. "Afraid of a f*ckn mouse hahahahaha" "The man who thinks he can face a Grizzly in the Alaskan wilderness blahhahaha" Yes, it was well deserved. I obviously need a little more survival training. But you should see the email the mouse sent out to his friends!!!!He won't mess with a Paddy on the loo again!!

Anyhow, the moral of the story is that I'm glad to be back in Montana. See ya soon...

Keith

Update to my blog below

April 17th. I just found out that the Senate failed to pass a stricter background check law. This is totally nuts. So much has been said since that terrible day and most of the measures most folks wanted have been defeated. This was the "most common sense" issue up for a vote and its defeat really saddens me. NOTHING will change because of politics. Every poll taken by every poll taking group showed that a majority of citizens agree with background checks, including a majority of NRA members. This is a bunch of cowardly politicians, deep in the pockets of lobbyists, voting in a way that will bring more election money into their campaigns and without any regard for the opinions of the people who elected them in the first place. May it be remembered come next election.

Newtown, CT.

Dec 24th, 2012


OK, first things first. This is not a political comment. This is also not necessarily the opinion of my fellow band mates (though I suspect they agree). This is a personal comment based on common sense which I feel entitled to make as the Father of a young child in a US school.

What happened last week in Newtown is a tragedy on so many levels. I'm not going to attack any constitutional rights here. I just don't understand why everyone can't agree that we should try EVERYTHING reasonable to avoid it happening again. Obviously there are access to high powered weapons issues, mental health issues, more security at school issues. They are ALL important and relevant. You can't just brush one off and blame the other solely. Maybe if we address all of them in a unified way, no politics or grand standing, then we at least demonstrate that the lives of those children and teachers meant something more then a news story for a week on CNN.

I actually agree in part with the NRA stance on armed personnel at schools. It was my first thought as I rushed to get my child from school that morning. I realize it's a sad reflection on a society when there is a need for such a thing but we have to face facts. The guns are out there and they are staying out there. That means on occasion they will fall into the hands of nut jobs so we may just have to defend our kids until we have a better plan. I just hope we keep looking for a better plan!

What shocked me most about the NRA stance is their reluctance to support some sort of extra safety levels to try to stop these weapons getting into the hands of the potential murderers in the first place. It seems to me that almost everyone supports background checks for anyone trying to purchase a gun. It also seems that most intelligent people see no reason for normal citizens to have heavy artillery in their home. I just don't understand why the NRA can't seize this opportunity to reflect what I believe is the opinion of the majority of it's members and ban the ridiculous "over the top" assault weapons and over sized magazines. No one needs that type of weapon for hunting or protection and it would send a signal to the nation that the NRA is in touch with reality. That it can actually recognize and respond to a need for some compromise in the aftermath of such a tragedy. Is that really too much to ask?

There are so many other issues involved from parenting, to locking weapons up in the home, to diagnosing and treating mental illness. Why not tackle them all. Why blame one or the other. Lets run TV specials on gun safety at home, lets talk about dealing with young kids who show signs of mental illness and helping the parents who can't handle it alone. Why not make it as least as hard to own a gun as it is to get a drivers license. You want your constitutional rights then prove you are a law abiding, sane citizen.

The Ireland Trip for 2012

Just got back to the US after a grueling 28 hour travel day. I made the massive mistake of booking my flight for the day after the last night instead of giving myself a day off in Ireland before the fly day. Plonker mistake. It came from a good place as I knew I would be dying to get home after being away so long but I think one day might not have hurt and I would certainly have felt better on the flights. Either way though it's great to be home and now I can look back on a very successful run over the pond and feel good about the blast I believe all of you who came with us had.

It was a jam packed 10 days for the group. Lots of sight seeing, three rockin shows in Belfast, Galway and Dublin and a jam session night in the dungeon of a castle. Add to that the creamiest pint of Guinness you will ever have and great company to go with it and that was the 2012 trip.

The weather was not ideal but not too cold either. A few rainy days creeped in but the sun also made a regular appearance, thats as good as you can hope for in Ireland. The John Byrne band were a great addition to the shows and could also be found many nights hanging with the group in the hotel bars. I really enjoyed having them along.

I am already thinking about the next one. It will probably not happen until March 2014 but no date has been set yet. As usual I'll be aiming for bigger and better

October 24th 2012

Copenhagen Denmark. 4am

Sitting in my Danish hotel room, wide awake at 4am as jet lag begins it's evil work on me. Stayed up as late as I could last night (8.30pm!) in order to try to get a head start on adjusting but it made no difference. Once I wake up that's it for me. The head starts thinking and planning and I'm up. Luckily the brilliant hotel breakfast starts at 6am so that is something to look forward too. It's nothing like an American hotel brekkie. We're talking seriously good food. Definitely a highlight

Fairly uneventful flight over this time. Except that they lost my guitars. Hopefully they show today in time for the gig. Living home was awful as usual. At least I had a decent break between the end of the US tour and this one but it's never easy. The little man is missing me now as much as I miss him but he's a trooper and understands Daddy's job better then he used to. Thank God for Facetime and Skype.

I drove the 4 hours from my home to LAX airport, flew to Chicago and then on to Copenhagen on Scandinavian airlines. I was really lucky and ended up with a window seat with no one next to me. The rest of the boys were not so lucky and I think the 8 hour plus flight was fairly brutal on them. I watched Rock of Ages which was pretty bad and then nodded off for a while. Awoke to a strange airplane Scandinavian breakfast but devoured it nonetheless. Its funny how you always eat whatever they give you even though you have hardly moved a muscle since the last meal and certainly done nothing to build an appetite. I'm like a robot when I fly, eat, watch crap on TV, nap, eat again, arrive feeling like shite.

Two days before I left I was packing my gear into the various new flight cases I bought when I picked something up the wrong way and pulled my back out. I'm still pretty screwed up but have been self-medicating a bit so I'm basically out of it. I hate back pain, sends weird spasm like pains up my arms and down my legs whenever I move a certain way. I can lift my legs up but not my arms, so freakin weird. Unfortunately I shave my face not my legs so it's been a bit of a problem!

Anyway, we made it and the first gig is tonight. We drive about 3 hours today to the show, including an hour long ferry ride. That's one of the things I love about playing over here. Nothing's too far away but getting there can be a real adventure. I'll get some cool pics and post them for ya to see. Jaysus I hope the guitars make it



DAY 2

The guitars made it. I take back my nasty comments about SAS and United, or at least all the stuff I said yesterday. We had a great first show in Herning DK last night. In the van now with our trusted driver and Danish confident, Jorgen. He's been driving us for years over here. We could probably very easily drive ourselves at this point but it just wouldn't be the same without him. It also means we have a designated driver at all times which is a huge plus in the land of many tasty beers.

We are heading south today to Sonderborg. It's the first of three gigs with Fairport Convention. This is a band we have known of for years. In fact when we toured with Jethro Tull their name came up a lot. Should be a fun few days. I'll keep ya posted.

My back is still hurting although as usual the adrenaline of the show made me think I was fine last night. Not so much this morning but it's definitely getting better. I'm delving into many cure ideas and my large bag of collected remedies from over the years. This is where "pill identifier" website comes in very handy.

Our first few shows over here are all on the part of Denmark known as Jutland. It's the big chunk that sticks out above Germany. Very rural and reminds me a lot of the West of Ireland. Weather fairly dodgy but no rain so far. Freezing wind though that cuts ya like a knife. Just bought a scarf at HM store. Warm and stylish (but mostly cheap).



DAY 3

Here's the rain!!! Started off this morning with a very lovely day and I allowed myself to imagine a rain free tour. Wrong!!! Lashing now and still bitter cold. Heading for the West coast of Jutland, A town called Esberg.

Some of our mates from this part of the world are coming in for the weekend so that always adds to the festivities. Known to most of you as the General and the Admiral, our English brother team arrives from London to hang out for a few days.

Today I am dealing with another wonderful road issue. Dodgy tooth!!! Looking for a dentist in a foreign land is so much fun. It's just a loose cap but nonetheless a pain in the arse. I know it must be a shock to hear of an Irishman with dental issues. We are normally known for our wonderfully healthy teeth, not!!! Anyhow, it might be super glue time if I can't find a dentist in time. If there is no update tomorrow you'll know I swallowed some toxic poison by accident and am now in critical condition with part of a tooth stuck to my tongue and finger. Oh joy.

Ahh, the sun just came out again. Lovely. The roads in DK are really good so every drive is actually enjoyable, without the spine jolting potholes and constant roadwork in the States. Doesn't hurt that it's a small country so the drives are also short. OK, sorry I had nothing earth shattering to report today so far, maybe I'll add on as the day progresses.

A quick PS. Gig was great, ended up with some weird Danish tooth glue from the Pharmacy after a lot of language barrier back and forthing, mostly my fault, I talk funny. Tooth stayed in, crowd loved the show and now some well earned sleep. Goodnight

Day 4

Wow, amazing weather today. Woke up to sunshine blasting through the room. This was my first night of jet lag free sleep. I feel like I'm normalizing over here. The bad part was that I only barely made the breakfast which was luckily extended until 11 am.

Now before ya start saying "Aw poor Boo Boo had to get up by 11am" try to remember that these shows run late and after I enjoyed a few apres show pints of Guinness at Paddys pub next door to the hotel, it was actually 2am. Anyhow, I made the breakfast and then had to hustle to get out of the room in time and down to the van. We usually leave at 11 each morning. As I blasted out the hotel room door my bag caught on a freakin lamp that was too close to the door (in my opinion) and smashed it to the ground. Glass lampshade shattered to pieces on the floor as I tried in vain to catch the shagging thing. But I was already late. All I could do was fess up at the front desk and apologize, making sure I mentioned what a stupid place to put a lamp it was anyway. The nice lady agreed and told me not to worry. I'm sure she then muttered some Danish choice words for "Feic off Irish plonker" but I was none the wiser and ploughed out the door to the van.

You've heard me mention the breakfast over here with a certain amount of reverence. It really is very special. No one misses the breakfast. God knows we have arrived back to hotels so late that the breakfast is actually starting and despite being in no condition to sit and eat at that point, the fear of missing it is overpowering and so we eat.

So what's in this breakfast, well that's where it's so special. The line between breakfast and lunch is blurred in European hotels. We have all the usual cool breakfast stuff like multiple healthy cereal choices, eggs and coffee. But it's no usual breakfast. First of all the coffee is great. I don't know what they do but it's always great no matter where you are. The bread is unbelievable. Then they add lunch meats, multiple cheeses including Brie, some strange meats are there too but who cares what it is, it tastes great. Then you can get a soft-boiled egg, yahoo, I love em. Crack off the top, add a little pepper and dig in. Add fresh fruit, loads of juices and more coffee and there ya have it. Not a "Danish" in sight. Next time you get a crappy "continental" breakfast in a US hotel ask them what "continent" they are referring to. It's not this one.

In a few weeks I'll tell you about the Irish hotel breakfast, The Holy Grail of breakfasts.

DAY 5

Another great show with the Fairport Convention lads last night. That's it for those shows now. I particularly liked it because it was a one set show like most of our US shows. Now we are back to two sets and it's just more challenging on many levels. A one set gig has a flow to it. You build it up, drop down for a slow song, build back up, one more slow one and then the big ending. With two setters you kind of have to do the whole process twice. We usually have it mastered half way through our Danish tours but it does take a little finessing for sure.

We are in a beautiful town we have played before for tonight's show. It's called Fredericia and like many of the towns we play here it's on the coast. I love boats and harbors so I'll be heading out the door after this for a brisk walk. Weather pulling a strange one again. Beautiful blue skys but freakin freezing. Thank God I bought the scarf when I did.

The English boys have headed home and back to reality but they will re emerge with a gang for next weekend. After tonight we have two days off and will be heading to a farmhouse with no Internet or TV to speak of. Seclusion and cows!!!

Missing the family a lot right now. It's been a week with three more to go. Seems like an eternity. Have to keep busy.

Met a Scottish fella and his wife last night in Grenaa. They have been together for over 37 years. She's Danish but she sounds as Scottish as he does. Their daughter, although born is Denmark, sounds fully Scottish too. Really nice people so we had a few pints,as ya do. It would have been rude not to.

DAY 6

Had a grand show last night in Fredericia. Small intimate pub with a great crowd. Always a nice surprise when Sunday shows rock! Most of us walked back to the hotel after the show even though it was below zero (nuts) and ended up sitting in the hotel bar having a few "end of week" beers. Two days off to follow. Yeehaaaa

Headed straight to the grocery store this morning and bought food for our little mini vacation this week. We have two days off so Thomas our Danish agent has arranged for us to stay at what's called a "Summerhouse" over here. Basically a holiday home. But it's a big one so there is a room for everyone and a big sitting room with two fireplaces and a TV etc. The Internet is even working here. It rained most of the day so we just hunkered down and lit the fires in the two main family rooms.

Bren got working on the dinner while the rest of us drank wine and beer and laughed our arses off at a youtube video of Dara O'Briain, a stand up comedian from Ireland. Funny bugga and well worth checking out.

Good old Bren set a very nice table and we all tucked in. More wine, beer and craic in general followed until everyone passed out. Ya need these days for sure to regenerate. One more day off tomorrow and then we're back at it.

DAY 7

Had a great day off today. The weather was brilliant. We spent a whole week at this house one summer tour and never saw the sun. I hope I can get some photos up soon. You wouldn't believe it's October in Denmark. We were right on the beach and everyone took long walks in various directions. That's the way to spend a day off.

Cooked ourselves a big old spaghetti dinner and had an early night. We're so well behaved these days!

I forgot to mention that my relative Brendan (yes another Brendan) is working with us on this tour. He lives in the UK and I only met up with him a few years ago. He's a distant cousin, twice removed or however that weird stuff works but the minute you meet him you'd know he's one of us. He's a musician himself and just decided to take a leave of absence from his day gig at a London record label and come on the road for a month. Great to have him along.

DAY 8

Shite weather arrives. Ugly morning with drizzly rain but that's OK. Luckily I added a wooly hat and gloves to my possesions yesterday so the icy wind is not cutting right through me like it was. Holiday time is over and it's back to work.

Took one last early morning beach walk and then loaded back into our van and back on the road. We stopped a little outside Svendborg (where our gig is tonight) to get one of Bobs guitars fixed. The repair shop was a garage off the side of a house. They build their own guitars there too. Very cool small business. They fixed the guitar in 15 mins and didn't even charge us anything. Thanks boys.

The town of Svendborg is one of the nicest we've seen. Pity the weather is so dodgy. It's south of Odense on the middle island. It's a harbor town so you know I'm going to like it. We played in the Kulture House (we are so Kultural!) and had a near full house. Gig went really well so we are off to a good start for this week. Wouldn't mind coming back here on a sunny day. I got the feeling there is a lot more to see here.

I'm starting to realize that I could have a great fishing trip here in Denmark. Mmmmmmm.



DAY 9

Next up on the Danish mega tour is a town called Ringsted. It's on the same Island as Copenhagen, just a bit west of it. It was a nice drive here, especially because we had to go over the biggest bridge you would ever want to go on during a high wind alert. This thing is massive as it joins the middle Island of Fyn to the Island of Sjaelland. It goes very high in the air at times and you are literally blown all over the gaff. Scary stuff and not for the "backseat drivers" in the group. I heard many a moan as we swerved around up there and came closer to the edge then I would like. Some of the moans I heard were actually coming from deep inside me. I ride in the passenger seat so if we had gone off the edge I would have been the first to know. Lovely thought!

Anyway, after that excitement we exited the freeway (or whatever they call it here, definitely not "free". I think its about $65 to cross that bridge) and began to look for our hotel. Jorgen had a brief bout of amnesia and we were well and truly lost for an hour. Turns out the hotel provided by the venue was about 12 miles from the venue. We hate that.

When we finally found it we were greeted by another sight you never want to see on tour, a construction zone in the hotel. Seems like a new roof was going on and three of our rooms were right underneath it. Not sure whether it was the only vacancy in town or what the reason was but it was a less then ideal situation. We checked in and I went to my room. After about a minute it sounded like a worker was in my bathroom banging in nails. He was actually right above the bathroom and he stayed working on that bit of roof for four hours. I just put on my earphones and watched a movie. Not much else to do.

The gig was cool, another very typical room for here. All sitting down and paying very close attention to the show. They have a very strange clap here in Denmark. It's not a fast burst like most places but more a very concise and timed clap, clap, clap, clap. You have to hear it to believe it. It's a bit worrisome at first as it sounds like an impatient dinner guest but after a while you realize it's their way of showing their appreciation. Very unique. The good news is we have had nice crowds at every show, even the weekday ones. They really enjoy live music here and they support it whenever a show comes to town.

Quiet night after the show. I think I was sleeping by midnight. It was a good thing too as my worker pal arrived back fresh as a daisy at 7am next morning and started whacking the same area. And a good morning to you too, ya bollox

DAY 10

Long drive today. The longest of the trip. All the way to the top of Jutland. We are playing in a tiny town just outside Aalborg. It's called Hjallerup and it's another beauty to pronounce. After a four and half hour drive we pulled into town and everyone scattered to find out what sort of place this was. We all came back with the same report, no bars. A potential disaster as the English boys were rejoining us and we had planed a few beers after the show. The weirdest part was that the gig was in the hotel we were staying at. It was actually taking place about 14 feet from my room. Chas' room was even closer. We all agreed that we would probably never play a show this close to our rooms again. But then I remembered a small town in Michigan where my room was actually in the theater. That was an even wackier night, as I hadn't realized that the place turned into a nightclub after the show. But that's another story.

The show was packed and I really enjoyed it. Having the English gang and a few fans from Aalborg helped a lot too as they were rocking out and getting the rest of the crowd into it good and early. After the show all we could do was have a bit of laugh in our green room. Nothing else was open. Johnny the promoter was kind enough to bring us a load of sandwiches backstage and that was that. Good to see the boys again.

Ireland getting very close now. Four more shows in Denmark and we head for my hometown of Dublin. We will only be there for a minute as we head straight for Belfast after we land. But we'll be back. I'm really looking forward to it.



DAY 11

Today we drove back down through Jutland and over to the Fyn island again for a gig in Aarup. It's a small little town just west of Odense, which is the main town on this island. Must say I had no particular expectations for this one as it was a small suburb but man was I surprised. It turned into quite the day.

First things first, I had to tackle a serious issue. Laundry. In order to save on baggage fees we all agreed to only bring a small carry on bag for clothes, for a month! Yes ladies, you heard me, a month. I know this seems impossible but for hardy lads like us, no problem. It just means that you have to be prepared to do laundry each week. You pack for just over a week and then survive as best ya can. That usually means washing my gig shirt in the hotel room sink every night and hanging it up to dry by morning. By doing that and packing enough socks and underwear for about 10 days you can travel very light.

Another trick I learned on this trip was space saver bags. You've probably seen the late night infomercials on the bags you pack clothes into and then vacuum out the air. Well there are also travel size versions where you roll out the air. I found that with five of them I could really pack my bag and easily fit all the gear I needed. I think most of the boys took my advice and did the same. Sort of looks like clothes jerky when the airs gone.

Anyhow, it was seriously time for laundry so I asked the hotel reception if they had a guest washing machine. As with most hotels here, he said he did not but that I was welcome to use the main machine they use for the towels and sheets. I took him up on the offer and got all my stuff together. Then comes the next challenge, understanding the writing on the machine so you don't boil your clothes at 100 degrees (like I did in Germany many years ago, turning my adult clothes into children's size clothing). Turned out these were pretty simple and two hours later all my clothes were clean and packed away in the their respective bags. That felt good.

The next cool development was the audience. A packed house and one of the best responses we have had all tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and afterwards celebrated with a few beers and a game of pool. A good day indeed.

DAY 12

Short drive today back to Jutland and down to the town of T¿ender. We have played at a huge festival here before but this was the complete opposite of that. The man who runs the fest also has a small bar in town called Hagge's where a lot of the bands that play the fest come during the off season. It's pretty tiny so we played an acoustic show to a very enthusiastic crowd. Being a Sunday and the fifth show in a row the atmosphere was relaxed and mellow. The Guinness was actually quite good so we made sure we had a nice flow throughout the show. This may have led to a few moments of "looseness" but nobody seemed to mind.

Local volunteers staff the bar, which is another really cool thing about venues in Denmark. Most of them are staffed by volunteers who just like having a decent club in town and so they all chip in to keep it running without the demands of a high payroll. Very nice.

After the show we sat at the bar and had a good laugh. I think we kept the volunteers a little longer then they would have liked but our begging Guinness eyes won them over and the pints kept flowing. A day off tomorrow thank God and a chance to rest, after a 200 mile drive that is. We are down to the last two shows now and heading back towards Copenhagen. ItÕs been a very busy two weeks with ten shows under our belt.

DAY 13, 14 and 15

Putting all these together because we have been at the same spot. After a long drive we arrived in R¿vig at our B and B for the next three days. What a place. Absolutely beautiful and probably my favorite so far. The B and B itself was amazing. It's really a small farm with loads of rooms and kitchenettes to accommodate a large group.

It was already dark when we pulled in so it wasn't until the next morning that I realized what a cool place we were in. When I woke we were treated to a huge breakfast by the lady of the house and then I went wandering. In the back were goats, deer, chickens and cats. Now I am not a cat lover by any means but the little fella I met out there almost converted me. The whole band ended up hanging out with this little lad and I think he now has a picture on all our iphones. I know, we sound like a bunch of saps but what can I tell ya. The road can be a lonely place.

After that I headed down to the ocean 1km away and was immediately in love with the place. R¿dvig, it turns out, is a working fishing village with boats coming and going to unload their catch and locals meeting them to buy tonight's dinner. I sat there for hours just watching their world in action. It was bitter cold but sunny. These guys go out 365 days a year unless there's an Easterly wind and it gets too dangerous. Hardy buggers for sure. Had a brief chat with a few of them but they were looking at me like I was a spoilt city boy. I would have loved to have gone out with them and proved myself but it was very cold and I had the wrong shoes!

Anyhow, the gig was actually up the road in Store Heddinger. Yet again I was amazed by the crowd on a Tues night. Packed house and a great reaction. The venue is a cinema most of the time with a few concerts and plays throughout the year. All staffed by volunteers again and as usual the hospitality was brilliant.

The following day was off so a few of us went for a drive with Jorgen to see an old Cold War nuclear site just a mile from the village. Freaky place. It was built by NATO as a first line of defense for Europe and it has been preserved now as a museum. Amazing and frightening at the same time. It makes you very happy to know that none of these missiles were ever launched. Weird to have such a potentially violent structure so near to the beautiful little fishing village.

We also visited an old church that was built right on the cliffs. Killer view from there and loads of pics were taken so you'll see for yourself once I get them loaded on the site. To top it off we had a few Christmas beers in the local bar full of fishermen relaxing after a day at sea. Excellent time. I'll miss this place and hope we get to come back soon. I can just see Jake and I heading out for a day of fishing, with the right shoes of course!



DAY 16

Last show today. We are heading back to a venue we love called Portalen in the town of Greve near Copenhagen. This will be the farewell show and then it's back to the airport and a short flight to Dublin.

A great show, sold out and rockin. Usually is here but still it was nice. Nothing else really happened. We went straight to the venue and hung there until showtime. Then we cruised back into Copenhagen and talked about going out for a drink. Only a brave few actually did it, and I wasn't one of them! I had reached my Waterloo as my Mum says and I just hit the sack, live to fight another day. Something tells me I will need all my energy for the next 10 days in Ireland.

That's it for my diary. I'll post a note about the Ireland trip when it's all over but not day by day. Sitting in the lobby of the hotel now waiting to go to the airport and on to the next adventure.

Hope you liked reading all my useless information everyday

Bye for now,

Keith



Archived blogs

This years Ireland tour (2011)


Feb 28th 2011 (Written on a plane on the way to Chicago)

I recently found out that our Dublin gig will be at the Purty Kitchen in Dun Laoghaire. It is a total fluke that it will be there as our promoter in Ireland, Nick Docherty, had no idea when he booked it that I grew up a mile from the venue. It was a totally different place then it is now back then but a live music venue nonetheless. Not only did I live nearby but I actually worked there while in College as a "lounge boy". Sounds awful I know but all it meant was that I was a waiter in the upstairs lounge where the bands played. I would take orders from the customers and then go to the bar and buy them from my float. After I delivered the booze I would be paid and hopefully make a small tip. Unlike the States tipping was a very foreign concept in Ireland. The basic belief was if you were being paid to bring drinks to the table by the bar then why in Gods name would you get more money from the punter. Now that I live in the States I sometimes agree with that Irish way. Between adding on sales tax at the check out and being expected to pay various different percentages as tips it's hard to know how much anything costs these days. (even worse when in the grip of the pint!). Mind you I also believe that waiters and bar tenders should get paid more so don't get mad at me waiters and bartenders!!!!!

Anyway, I was a lounge boy at the Purty Kitchen back in the early eighties in Dublin and now it appears I will be returning there to play a show. It's a much bigger venue now but it was one of the first places I saw ballad bands perform. At the time I was only into rock and playing my electric guitar and I didn't really have any time for the "old songs". I remember a band called Blackquire playing a gig one night and I surprised myself by loving the show. It was all Irish ballads and rebel rousers and it was brilliant. It undoubtedly planted a seed in me that bloomed years later in the US.

Anyhow, the Purty Kitchen also re entered my life a little earlier. Once while in a pub in Chicago called FADO I was having a pint in the upstairs part and admiring the huge mahogany bar. I had heard that FADO (which has bars all over the States) would buy actual Irish bar furniture and fly it over to put in their pubs. I asked where this particular one had come from and was amazed at the answer, Upstairs at The Purty Kitchen. I have no idea if that was the truth or not but as I leaned against the beautiful bar with my pint of Guinness I imagined that this was the same bar I had worked at, served drinks from, removed glasses from when a huge fight broke out so they wouldn't kill each other with them, sat at and enjoyed a pint and a packet of Tayto crisps after the night was over with Marty the owner (who always called me UCD due to the fact that I was in college).

They are great memories for me and now I'm going back, over 25 years later, to sing some of the songs I heard there all those years ago and to enjoy a pint and a packet of Crips (as Marty called them due to a speech impediment).

UPDATE. June 11th, 2011. The gig was great and loads of old mates were there. No speech impediment though!



________________________________________________________________________

Lets all take a deep breath

Jan 19th, 2011

So 2011 was starting off quite nicely for us this year. Bookings are flying in, tours are filling up and new song ideas are sprouting out of me again. My son is turning eight in a few days and I also have a birthday although no reason to dwell on a specific number. Needless to say its a bit more then eight and considerably less then fifty. Anyway, I was feeling pretty good about the world when, as usual, sh*t hit the fan.

It always seems to happen right around the New Year. The worst of course was the Sunami when a tragedy occurred of such magnitude that it almost seemed unbelievable. Then we had Haiti and a similar catastrophic event too huge to fathom. The event this year (at least up until now) was a lot smaller in size but just as tragic for those involved. As you all know last week a crazed gunman shot and killed six people and critically wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Now as the dust has settled it seems that he acted alone and was not influenced (at least not directly) by any of the nastiness that has swallowed up the Political agenda these past few months if not years. However it certainly sparked the debate and finally got people really looking at how they treat each other based on their Political beliefs.

It's a terrible new trend in this country and one that I witnessed first hand during Gorges W Bush's second election victory. Now let me remind you all that I am an Irish Citizen and so I can't even vote in this country. This is just a commentary on what I have seen and heard over the past few years and why I find it troubling. I made a critical mistake over that time period and I have regretted it ever since. Passions were running high during that election and I unfortunately got caught up in the moment and made a stupid statement from the stage about how much I didn't want President Bush to get re elected. Right after I said it about 1500 people stood up and left the outdoor show in CA leaving about another 1500 cheering me on. I split our fan base right down the middle. After the show an angry audience member actually came at me at the merch booth and had to be restrained. Wow, I was shocked. Could one simple statement create that much animosity? Yes it could.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not sorry that I exercised free speech. What I am sorry about is that I was insensitive to the fans of our band that were supporters of the President and it was the absolute wrong place to voice my opinion. Things had become so polarized that it seemed like I was staging a full frontal attack on people I had no quarrel with and who had shown great support for our band. It was simply inappropriate due to the times we were living. And thats the saddest point of all. I have a degree in Political Science from University College Dublin and I LOVE political debate. However thats what it is to me, debate. It was always fun to have a good old argument with someone who's political beliefs are not yours but when its over, no matter how heated it gets, you're still friends, acquaintances, co workers, family members and you get back to being that. What happened to civility and "live and let live". Why can't we agree to disagree. I get email from fans around the US who often disagree with my politics and we have enjoyed years of back and forth debate without ever losing our friendship. Of all those people who walked out of that show I bet most share many beliefs with me, but not liking their President and verbalizing it was a reason to disown me and the band and to never come back (we have never been invited back to play that event despite three years of packing them in before this slip up).

I can honestly say I love this country and have nothing but gratitude for what I have been able to accomplish over here. And so it pains me to see you at each others throats over politics. Lets get back to making good arguments for what we believe should be happening and winning that way. Have a better idea and solution to a problem instead of just slamming the others guys views. Personal attacks and refusing to hear another side to the story is not the way to move forward and may actually move society dangerously backwards.

Thats all I wanted to say. May Republicans, Democrats or whomever continue to argue for the good of the country and to fight (verbally !) for what they believe in but at the end of the day come and jump around at a Young Dubs gig together and have a pint. Its a lot healthier. The Paddy will now shut up :)

Happy to be here


Nov 28th 2010

I've been planning on writing so called "blogs" for years but am only getting around to it now. Not sure what made me suddenly want to do it but I think maybe the beginning of the festive season made me want to interact with my fellow man and do a little "sharing" as the over the top, feely touchy people say!

Anyway, the point is I have a lot to say just about everything and as those who know me will tell you, yapping is what I do. So I am now going to yap via the internet whether ya like it or not.

In this "blog" I am going to tell you about the weird stuff that happened while we were making Saints and Sinners. Over the last couple of years I have had a few mishaps during the making of albums but this was the big one. This one actually almost put a stop to me altogether.

We had just started the process of writing the album when my first problem arrived. My Mum was on holiday in LA (where I used to live) and we had just finished a great family dinner out on the back patio. Everyone was leaving and I was in the process of turning everything off outside when my Mum started to head inside. There were three steps that led up into the house and she was just getting to the top one when I saw her start to fall backwards. It all happened so fast as I realized that if she fell backwards down the stairs it would be very, very bad. I ran over to catch her and failed miserably. Instead I fell down on the ground underneath her and at least managed to give her a nice soft landing, Not so for me. I twisted my knee and ended up with a broken kneecap, torn ACL and multiple ripped ligaments. Disaster. My poor Mum was so upset that she had hurt me. I ended up on crutches for the next two months and had to hop into rehearsals for the rest of the writing sessions. Pretty funny when I think back on it but not so at the time I can tell you.

The weird thing was that I was given so many vicodins to help with the pain that I can't really remember writing half of the lyrics. During an interview following the release of the album I was asked where I was when I wrote the words to IN THE END. Although I completely recall why I wrote it and what I was trying to say I can't actually remember doing it. Thank you Vykees.

So that was the first thing I dealt with during the process of making the album. The second thing was far more important and a lot scarier. I have never spoken of this publicly as I didn't want it to be seen as some sort of "publicity stunt" when the album came out but now I think it might be important to talk about it in the hope that others will gain some sort of encouragement from my story.

For about a year before the album began I had noticed a new mole on my arm. I have many so I wasn't at all concerned but it was in a place on my arm that meant I saw it in every picture of me singing. Now we get a lot of pictures of us playing from folks around the world and one in particular from a Norwegian fan made me take a second look. I was holding the microphone and you could clearly see this mole. And it looked like it was getting bigger. Now I was freaking out a bit so I decided it was time to have a Doc take a look.

Off I went to see my GP. Like most men, I hate going to the doctor but I was fairly sure it would be nothing and he would send me packing forthwith so I wasn't too worried. He looked at it, measured it and told me it was probably nothing to worry about. He did however suggest that I go to a dermatologist 'just in case'. I tried to make an appointment with them but another six months went by before I actually got to see them.

That's when my world changed quite a bit. The minute he saw it he knew it was a melanoma. However he would have to cut it off and send it for tests before he would know just how serious it was. Turns out it was pretty serious. I got the call on Christmas eve. It was a late stage melanoma and I would have to have surgery. They would have to take a chunk off my arm and remove eight lymph nodes as well to make sure it hadn't spread. I was definitely shocked and freaked out that Christmas day. I hugged my little boy more then usual which drove him nuts I'm sure. On top of that the vicodins were starting to make me a little loopy and over emotional about every little thing. AND I was trying to make an Album!

I know the band was freaked out to. We had just started recording the album and everyone was obviously wishing me well but also wondering what the future held for all of us. If there was even going to be a future. That's how bad it was. I felt awful for putting everyone through that.

Throughout it all we kept recording and even did a few gigs. No one knew what was going on outside the inner circle and most presumed that the torn ACL was the only issue I was dealing with. I liked it like that. I really didnÕt want what I was going through to be the focus of attention.

Anyway, a month later I had the operation and it turned out that we had caught it in the nick of time. It had not spread and all was left with was a big scar on my arm. It was actually supposed to be a far worse looking cut but the surgeon was brilliant and now it looks ok. I sometimes wonder how many of you have noticed it and thought it was an old drinking injury. Come on, admit it! Now I must endure a quite embarrassing full body screening every six months but it could have been so much worse. My doctor is my hero and the visits have become routine. It remains the biggest scare I have ever had and a huge eye opener.

So why tell this story now? A while ago I met a lovely couple in Denver. They had written to me telling me of her skin cancer battle. I was surprised as they had no way of knowing it had happened to me too. When I got the email I immediately wrote back and told her of my experience. I then met them both at the next Denver gig and we took pictures and compared scars. It was a great night

A few months later she passed away. I was devastated when I heard the news. I was heart broken for her husband and family. She was a lovely woman and I'm so glad I met her. I have seen her husband once since it happened. He told me it had helped her to talk to someone else going through the same thing but that in her case they had just caught it too late. My thoughts are always with him and his family and I send them my love and best wishes.

Please don't wait if you have any questions about marks on your skin. It can be such an easy thing to deal with when caught in time. Pick up the phone and make that appointment with your dermatologist. If anyone is going through this and needs some advice or info or anything at all just write to me and I will gladly tell you what I know. I have been clear now for over three years and consider myself one of the lucky ones for sure. Saints and Sinners will always be a reminder.

I hope the next album has a lot less injuries..and that I can remember where I was when I wrote the lyrics.

UPDATE June 6th 2011. I have been delighted with the emails I got from this post. Turns out there are lots of us out there. A few people told me they would get check ups on things that have been bugging them for ages. Good, good, good. A few of you are going through treatment right now. Thanks for the updates and know that we are all in your corner. Prayers and love, much love. Keith

Email me at keith@youngdubs.com

Keith now plays Sierra Guitars!

Here's the news today from Sierra Guitars...

5/28/2010

Sierra Guitars is happy to announce guitarist and singer-songwriter Keith Roberts, Lead Singer and Guitarist as the newest endorser of Sierra Guitars! Keith Roberts plays the Sierra Sunrise SA28CETBL in Transparent Blue.

After officially signing an agreement with Sierra Guitars earlier this month Keith Roberts stated, "I first played a Sierra guitar at the 2010 NAMM Show and even with the craziness of that event I was pleasantly surprised by the feel and sound of the guitar. Once I had the chance to plug it in at a show, I was sold on the sound of the pickup and the overall comfort of the guitar. Now I have a fancy blue one and there's no stopping me!"

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[previous road stories]



The Scandinavian tour

I am writing this note on a ferry bringing us from Bergen in Norway to the Vikodal Festival. It is a 2 hour ride through amazing scenery of mountains and forests. This is an unbelievable part of the world and I only wish the freakin weather could be better.

Yes, as is the usual thing with the Young Dubs, it has rained everywhere. EVERYWHERE!!!. We arrived in Denmark on June 27th and the tour and rain began in perfect harmony. Our good pals at British airways lost all 10 bags we had and we had to wait until about 1 hour before the show to get 8 of them back. the other two are still missing almost 3 weeks later. Last we heard they were in Milan , Italy. I hope they are having a good time and getting some good pictures. Hopefully we will reunite before tours end so we can share stories!

Other then that it has been a great tour. The gigs have all been big and well received. The festivals are all really well attended despite the shite weather. In fact they almost seem to enjoy the mudbaths that appear all over the place. Luckily we are usually looked after with a dressing room and hotels etc but even the short walk from the band room to the stage can get you covered in mud.

When we arrived at the airport our fearless translator, confidant and driver Jorgen was standing by to whisk us off on our month long voyage. Our first show was the Kloften Festival and it was a great success. The rain stopped briefly to allow us to get a great crowd and we rocked them as hard as we could. The papers the next day listed us as a highlight with a cool pic of Chassie rockin out.

The following day we went to Faaborg for a small club date. We met the promoter at a show on the last tour and he decided to bring us to this quaint little town in Southern Denmark. It was a good house and again the show went well. However jet lag had gripped us tightly and I think every one was wrecked. After the show we headed back to our hotel in Odense and crashed hard.

The next day we left for a summer house in Fredericia. This was organized by our Danish agent Thomas (or Buks as everyone calls him). He found a beautiful beach front location for us with about 10 rooms. Perfect for the boys to spread out and get out of each others hair for a while. The weather sucked but every now and again there was a little sunshine. We spent most of the time walking and enjoying home cooked meals provided by our tour manager Adam. It was a great break.

Back to work then with 5 gigs in a row. The first was the only dodgy show of the tour. We had been asked to play a private show for the volunteers working at the Nibe Festival. I suppose we thought it would be a club of some sort but it turned out to be another mudfest of tents in the middle of the vast festival grounds. Dont get me wrong, everyone treated us a wonderfully as always but the conditions and size of the venue were messy. Nonetheless we rocked as hard as we could for 2 shows and made it a rehearsal for the upcoming shows.

Our actual Nibe show was the following day and it was crackin. I really enjoyed the show as there were loads of kids rockin out mixed in with an all ages audience. It was another step forward in our plan to break Denmark. Of course it was raining and muddy so the only thing to do after the show was enjoy the beers provided back stage

TANGENT The beer is great over here. Even if you are normally a a wine or hard liquor man you have to hand it to Scandinavia, they have tasty beer. A good deal stronger then the US so be advised you may be speaking in tongues a little sooner the you might usually be so proceed with caution.

After Nibe we went to what would be one of the biggest shows of the trip. Skagen. We were to play directly before Runrig, one of the most successful Celtic rock bands in Denmark (even though they are Scottish) 3000 people packed into the venue while the opener, Beggars Row got the crowd going. We went on and worked hard at lifting the show up to the highest point. By all reports we succeeded and our Danish record label seemed very pleased. I was personally delighted when that one was over as it had been a milestone in the tour. We never met Runrig which was a pity but for some reason they were very much keeping to themselves. They escaped a night on the tear with the Young Dubs, maybe it was for the best, for them!

To finish off the week we headed for one of the most remote shows of the trip. Tuno Island. The island is about as big as a golf course with hardly any actual residents (less then 150) However when the festival comes to town thousands head out to watch the bands (in a big tent thank God as the rain continued) This may have been our best performance of the tour and I really enjoyed it. We were all in a great mood after the show as we had survived 4 in a row spread all over the country. Some drinks were had!!!

Signing off now. I will continue after Berlin!!!

Im Back.

The next day the inevitable headache arrived to remind me that there is a reason not to drink nasty Danish shots with your pint! This was to be the most challenging day for me personally as I was on a mission to meet my pals in Berlin for a bachelor party. I ended up on just about every type of transport known to man on this day. It started with a trip on a small boat to get off the island. Then our driver Jorgen drove us to Odense. The boys were all staying at a hotel there for the 4 days off. I however jumped a train to Copenhagen and then on to the airport. When I got there I found that my flight was delayed for 4 hours!! Pain in the arse. I made the most of it by sitting at the bar and meeting folks coming and going from all the world. Quite an interesting bar actually.

Finally at 11.30 pm the plane took off. I arrived at the hotel in Berlin at 1.30 am. Not to worry, its Berlin and so the festivities continued into the morning.

After my little excursion to Germany I rejoined the band in Copenhagen and we headed to Norway the following day. Unbelievable. Bergen is a beautiful city and right away we knew this would be a good place for us.

Both club dates were well attended and we had great shows. The highlight however was the final show at Vicodal Roots festival. The crowd proved that they are Celtic Rock fans to the core. We went on at 1 am and the place was packed. Thousands of Norwegians sang along and rocked out for our hour long set. What a great place. The Jam session after the gig with two Norwegian bands back stage was also a major highlight.

Then it was back to Denmark for the last week of shows. It began with a TV appearance on TV2 ( a live set with Bob , Chas and I). Then we headed to Randers for a club night. Despite the fact that we had never been there we had a great crowd and we had a rockin show. Then it was back on a boat to Samso island for yet another big festival. This might have been the best show we did all tour but it was 3 pm and the sun had finally shown its face, right into ours!. I forgot to put sun block on and I was roasted. Still the gig was massive with a huge audience. The food afterwards was phenomenal, compliments to the organizers of Samso, they throw a hell of a party.

Our last show turned out to be the mother of all shows. Quite possibly my favorite Young Dub show of all time (see video to be posted very soon). It helped that we were in one of the coolest parts of the world I have ever been, The Faroe Islands. For only 5 years now they have been hosting the G Festival. It is undoubtedly the most amazing show we have played. We went on at 2am, yes folks 2AM!!! We were the last band on the main stage and it was brilliant. Thousands of people were on hand and they acted like we were their favorite band of all time. What a response. That made us play a rollicking 90 minute set while the sun rose over the water ( remember there is only about 2 hours of darkness in this part of the world during the summer).

It was the perfect way to finish off the Scandinavian Tour. We have now officially added Denmark and Norway to our list of fav places to play, with the Faroe islands getting a most favored nation score on every bodies books.

I am writing this on the plane as we head back to North America to start our US summer tour. I have forgotten so many cool details which hopefully I will write about next time. A big thanks to Thomas Hansen and Jorgen for another well organized and fun filled trip. It has been a wonderful tour and we are looking forward to returning next spring. Until then Scandinavia..........

Keith

IRELAND 2006

A TALE OF FOUR CITIES, 70 AMERICANS, 5 BAND MEMBERS, 2 CREW MEMBERS
AND STEVE!!

A LETTER WRITTEN ON THE PLANE TO IRELAND, NOV 2006

Just left on our sort of European tour, Ireland and Denmark at least!! It was the toughest goodbye I have had with my family. Not because of the length of the tour or even the distance. Mostly because the little man is now starting to fully understand that Daddy is going away and wont be there to tuck him in tonight.

He knows what I do for a living, God knows he has seen a lot more rock and roll shows then most kids his age, and I think he digs it. But the sad part is also sinking in now, rock and roll means going away sometimes and that part is hard for him. I wish it could be done some other way but it cant. A band has to tour sometimes.

Anyway, I may be over emphasizing his sadness, its probably more my sadness. Maybe Daddy now fully realizes that he has to go away and leave them from time to time and he doesnt want to miss a moment of the little mans growing up.

So I have taken steps to lessen the blow. We now have two computers that have isights. For you non Mac users that is what we call cameras. I can now see and talk to Jake live from any country I am in, very cool. Will try it out for the first time in Ennis tomorrow. Fingers crossed that they have good internet at the hotel!!!

The airport was nuts as usual today. We have so much crap to fly with that we had to enlist the help of some of the folks that are following us on tour. It was quite the sight to see Wally and Francine (long time Dub fans) checking in cymbals and a bag of merch. Those rockers!!!

Once we got that nightmare out of the way it was up to the international bar for a pint and a burger. Diets are usually the first casualty of a tour. First the bad food moves in and then comes the lazy days where you really intended to run for a while or even a fast walk but ya just couldnt quite get your butt out of bed. Doing gigs late at night and then enjoying some 'refreshments' afterwards is not conducive with a healthy lifestyle. It just isnt!!!

Now that I am on the plane I have met a great bunch of travelers who are all coming with us on the first half of this voyage. 10 dates in Ireland. Right now we have people on flights from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York all coming to join us in Ireland for an adventure. That is a very cool thing. Everyone on this plane seems excited to kick it off. I hope they all nap a bit because when we get to Ireland it is already morning and the day has begun. I will be going straight to the hotel and back to bed but they will see the Blarney Castle........oh yeh, they will be tired tonight

Thats all from day one............talk soon....

K


I wrote the above on the first day of our trip with the idea that I would write a few paragraphs everyday. It is now over two weeks later and I am finally getting back to this, what a putz!!

What can I say, things in Europe are fast and furious and you don't always have time to think nevermind write. Anyhow, here are my recollections of the trip so far.

Day two we landed in Dublin for a brief stop over and then headed for Shannon. But not before we had the first creamy pint of Guinness on Irish soil, the first of many I am sorry to say... As we arrived in Shannon the weather was remarkably mild as it was to be for the whole Irish trip. Sun was shining and it was almost warm!!! Further prove that there is something wrong with the world temperatures right now. I remember Nov being rainy and freezing when I was growing up. One of the main reasons I was late for school.

We met up with Steve our trusty driver for the adventure and headed off to the first hotel. Like all the rest of them it was a beauty. Nice rooms, friendly staff (although none from Ireland, immigration is booming in the emerald isle). We had decided to stay at the hotel bar for the first night so everyone could get to know each other. At once it was apparent that we had a hell of a group. It was like a party where everyone already knew everyone. I could tell that we were going to have a great time from that night on.

The first show was the following night in Westport. Another fine hotel and a show at Matt Molloys. It is a small little place so we decided to play acoustic, sitting down. The place was packed with our group and curious Irish. I also had a few friends drive down from Dublin and the guest of honor, my Mum!!

We went on a little late (no, not the Dubs, on late, never!!) as I had left my guitar in the hotel room, nice, what a plonker. I raced back and grabbed it and we hit the stage by 10.30pm. It was a wonderful night to start off the trip as everyone sang along and danced for the duration of the show. Afterwards it was back to the hotel bar for another all nighter. My God there were a lot of all nighters.

The next day was a day off in Westport. I spent the afternoon with my Mum while the rest of the band and crew milled around town eating and drinking and even taking in a movie. It was a good chance for me to catch up on family matters and afterwards I met up with the gang in town. There is something magical about a night out in Ireland. I can never quite put my finger on it but I'm sure all those that were there would agree. You sort of float through the night from pub to pub. You always meet a few characters as you go. I was happy to bump into some Irish folks who had seen the show and loved it, first timers. I told them to spread the word in Galway where they were from and that we would be back again soon.

Getting up in the morning is never easy in Ireland. At least the band could make it a little later then the rest as we were not touring the countryside. The group however were up and at it by 8am usually as they took in the beautiful scenery through bloodshot, hungover eyes (some worse then others). My heart went out to them as I awoke at the crack of noon and headed down for our van.

Off to Derry today, across the border into what is still technically the UK. Dave was astounded to hear that his Euro was no good here. Having just mastered the coins and notes of Southern Ireland we now had to master her Majesties currency, the pound. We stopped right at the border and exchanged our cashola and then raced on to the hotel. I really liked that hotel, another top class gaff. You can see all the hotels on our home page. It was another night off for us and a big dinner was planned for everyone in the restaurant. There were 4 group dinners included in the trip and I managed to make two of them, one more then last year. Well done me!!

After dinner a few of us headed off to see the club we were playing at the following night. I had found Sandinos on the web and it turned out to be a great choice. From the place itself to the staff it was probably my favorite venue of the whole tour. We had a few pints there that night and then returned to rock the place the night after. This time it was full on rock show and it felt good to let loose again. As usual the Americans sang along as the curious Derry folk joined in. Back to the hotel and more liver abuse......

I saw a few very funny shirts over the trip. One said the Liver is evil and must be punished and one was worn by our driver Steve. It said. alcohol is my religion, will you join me in a prayer, nice!!

We left Derry the following morning and headed for the most spectacular location of the journey, Newcastle. Still in Northern Ireland it lies at the base of the Mountains of Mourne. The hotel was stunning, my favorite of the bunch.

Unfortunately during soundcheck the previous night I had inadvertently stabbed myself in the eye with a guitar string. What a gobshite. We had chosen not to bring a guitar tech on this tour to save a bit of moola and now I was seriously regretting the decision. After I did it I really felt very little pain but the next morning all hell broke loose. For the entire drive it weeped and hurt like a bugger. I could not open it in the light at all. As soon as we arrived in Newcastle I went to an eye doctor. He confirmed that I had ripped the protective cover off the eyeball and that it was now becoming infected. Bollox I thought, a one eyed front man. Had it been done before. Would I now need to invest in a parrot and a wooden leg?

All kidding aside I was freakin out. He gave me some anti biotics and told me to see another doctor in Dublin if it got any worse. I was well pissed off. Here I was in a beautiful setting that I could not even look at without an aching feeling in my eye. I went back to the hotel room totally bummed out and proceeded to pour the medicine into the injured curry pie (slang for eye in case anyone is paying attention).

By showtime it had not improved. Word had spread that I had damaged myself (mostly because I was telling everyone) and my one eye looked like I had been on heroin all week. I decided to wear my sun glasses to help with the lights. Im sure many thought I was just trying to look cool but I assure you that was not the plan that night.

Thanks to the help of some serious pain killers and adrenaline the show was actually a success and I returned to the room to celebrate by pouring more gunk into my eyeball, and a pint or two at the hotel bar for medicinal purposes only of course.

Miracle, the next morning I was actually feeling better. The aching had gone and I could actually open the eye in daylight. I immediately returned the parrot and the eye patch, took off the pirate outfit and we headed for home, Dublin City!!!

This was was a big night, Whelans was the venue, well known rock spot and loads of family and friends on the guest list. I was so relieved that the eye was better but nights of talking , singing, boozing and the rest had taken its toll on the old vocal chords. I didnt care. We just got up there and did the best show of the tour. My Mum was there again as was Brens. Brothers and sisters and friends galore were in attendance and we had a blast. The Americans in the group did us proud as usual and packed the place singing and roaring along to every song. I was delighted to say the least. Always a great feeling when you arrive back to the place you were born and show that the last 15 years have not been a complete waste of time. Jubilant is the word. There was only one thing to do, back to the Burlington hotel bar for an all nighter!!!

Wow, the last day. Woke up quite a lot later then usual. It was big relief that all had gone so well on the trip but a little sad that it was almost over. Everyone seemed to get along famously and besides the dodgy eye incidence, all was well. I had promised a pub crawl in Dublin for the last night and was somewhat apprehensive as I was not feeling the May West (slang for best, are ya with me?). But the show must go on so I bravely dragged my lazy arse out of the bed and prepared for one last knees up.

We started at the bar my Father had frequented for over 30 years before he passed away last year. By the time we got there we had regrettably lost a few along the way to other bars but most made it in and joined me in a toast to my Dad. It was a moment. Enough said.

After that we crawled all the way back to the hotel, stopping at ODonoghues, OBriens and a few more on the way before settling in at the hotel bar again for a farewell pint.

It was a sad farewell. Many new lifelong friendships were made and everyone seemed to have had the time of their life. I am glad and proud that we were able to accommodate.

That following morning the group flew back to the US while we headed for Denmark and the start of another adventure......more on that later.

K

P.S. The computer worked amazingly well and I was able to see the family live almost everyday. Well worth the investment for you travellers.

P.S. The next Ireland trip is roughly scheduled for March 2008.....

THE AMAZING HOTELS WE STAYED IN ON THE IRISH TRIP

The Woodstock Hotel. Ennis http://www.www.thewoodstockhotel.com

Hotel Westport. Westport. http:// www.hotelwestport.ie

Great Southern City Hotel. Derry http://www.greatsouthernhotels.com

Slieve Donard Hotel. Newcastle http://www.hastingshotels.com

Burlington Hotel. Dublin http://www.jurysdoyle.com



THE DANISH CONNECTION

For information on booking the Young Dubliners in Europe contact Thomas H Hansen. BUKS Int. Gunloegsgade 15, 2300 Copenhagen S. Denmark. +45æ 3296 1092. buks@worldonline.dk