This is slightly strange as I can’t name the record label involved in this trip because until the contract is actually signed, nothing is set in stone. Lets just say that an American major label, based in New York has been very, very nice to us, and flew the band and management to the States, do play a show in Manhattan as the culmination of weeks of talks concerning Stimulator’s new record deal. And so, on Tuesday morning, at a pathetically early hour, the four of us staggered out of my flat in Westminster and into the car that was taking us to Gatwick Airport. We all felt excited because the land of Stim has been quiet of late, while our managers continue all the talking to labels and trying to sort out the new deal. So to finally be going somewhere to do something felt great. None of us have ever been to New York before, so the trip was going to be a new experience for everybody.

We met with Stuart and Julie at the check-in counter and got our seats. Then we all went through to have breakfast and to begin what was to be the first of many shopping expeditions! Duty Free may have been abolished, but that didn’t stop the four of us buying up most of the tobacco store and a few electrical toys to play with on the plane. The seven hour flight was fine – “ all hail Virgin Airlines! “ – and before we knew it, we had been picked up at Newark airport in a really flash Chevy van with black windows etc etc and whisked to our hotel, on W.57th street.  Time for a shower and a shave and then it was off to meet our guy from the label who was taking us to dinner. Only in America would you find the place that we ate. It was called MARS 2112 and to get into the dining area, you go into a flight simulator that takes you on a journey through space and lands on Mars. Then you are shown into the biggest area with rocks and waterfalls and a Martian landscapes everywhere, and at one point in the meal, a guy dressed up as a Martian comes up to the table and dances around for a bit!! Very strange indeed! When you leave the place, they beam you to the street, a la Star Trek. Jesus, I only wanted a burger and fries!! The food was excellent though, and we all ate like we were having our last meal – especially as they were paying!!

The rest of the trip was largely the same, except for gig day, which I have written about in part two. The other days were full of shopping trips, mixed with more expense account meals, and then more shopping! We had meetings with our lawyers……. who took us to lunch. We met with the label…….. who took us to lunch. And dinner. And lunch again! One of the places we ate at was called Patsys, and apparently is one of Frank Sinatra’s favourite diners. So I’m at the bar, smoking a cigarette, because you cant smoke at the table, and I overhear a very surreal conversation at the table near the window. “Nico…….you’re a knucklehead……you know how much you owe?” “Yeah, I know I owe four G…..on the Yankees game. I just feel like I been fucked over.” I turn my head and its like something out of a DeNiro movie. Six guys, dressed almost exactly the same in black, with loads of expensive gold and diamonds, having dinner together, smoking enormous cigars ( in a non-smoking restaurant )……..the fucking Mob are about six feet away from me. I just smoked my cigarette and listened to Nico try and tell the other guys how someone had cheated at a game of golf, and how he could spend $18,000 on clothes when he owed the bookies money. At this point, I decided that listening in could be damaging to my health and slunk back to the table.

The last night in New York was cool. Simon and me went to see Iggy Pop play at Irving Plaza which was an incredible show – Iggy jumping off the PA stacks, and generally being the rock star that he is. It sounded great. And Jason, Terry and Stuart went to the ESPN sports bar, where two of them got completely fucking hammered!! ( Guess which two! ) Rolling around in the streets at 5.00am, and generally being very funny. A good night for them, too!! All too quickly, the trip was over, the money had been spent and we were on our way back, some nursing hangovers, some wanting to spend more time in the city, but all of us feeling like we had had a great time. I cant fucking wait to get back.