They say…

That’s it. After 24 gigs the winter club tour is over now too.
Remembering the Great Shake tour I wanted to look back and consider few stereotypes, typical facts about a tour that seem to be generally accepted as the truth. But how true are they really?

They say that every single gig, even if the setlist is exactly the same – is different from another.

True. Which is obviously due to the people. Every audience is different. There’s a different vibe in every venue, in every city. From the first song onwards the audience gave us a certain vibe. Every gig therefore remains an individual experience. The Napoli gig at Casa della Musica for instance was incredible in this sense. I felt like being on a different planet from the first song onwards…

They say that due to being blinded by the light we never see the public.

Wrong. We see all of you! :-) its rare that the lights are so blinding that we cant see a thing. So yes you might be watching us but don’t feel too secure as we are watching you too :-)

They say that although you pass through so many different towns you don’t actually ever see much of the city you’re playing in.

Partly true. This tour was particular though as in Italy, (due to the strict policies of the communes) most music venues are outside of the town centers. When we arrived somewhere just before the sound check it was impossible to “take a quick stroll” through the town center as they were often too far away. Usually I was tired from the night before and a bit of rest (if possible) suddenly seemed more attractive than sight seeing. What a shame-particularly in Italy though as there are so many beautiful places.
I therefore tried to do as much of it as possible. So I remember for instance being particularly impressed when we played in L’Aquila. Seeing how affected the town still is since the earthquake was shocking. I already knew how beautiful Napoli, Roma, Firenze, Torino and Bologna were but I had never been to Bolzano which I found really picturesque, Taneto di Gattatico where the people blew me away or Perugia where the food was amazing. I also remember a nice jog in Bari and getting lost in Brescia. Actually, to be honest, the people and the food were literally amazing in every town on this tour, I really mean that.
The solution to more sightseeing is probably to party less after the gigs to be more in form the next day… but that’s not always easy.. :-)

They say that on tour the band and the crew become something like a family.

I don’t know if it’s always the case but on this tour it certainly was.
You see each other all the time and on this tour we were really lucky with the people surrounding us. There was just a lovely vibe going on. Great people, in fact I miss them already. It was always nice to get to the venues and seeing these familiar faces again. When Alex Neri mentioned and thanked them all individually on stage at the end of the last gig in Rome at Orion it was a really special moment to all of us, and we continued celebrating them frenetically backstage afterwards.

They say that after a while hotel rooms start to look exactly the same.

And lonely I would add to that. Each one of us seems to have his own habits to deal with this. Personally when I get to a room I firstly try to personalize it a minimum. Which usually consists of throwing my stuff all over the place.. :-) Then I switch off all air conditioning, I hate the sound of them, it makes me mad… Then I call reception and make sure that it wont turn on automatically again. (because they usually do) I better stop here or you think I’m some kind of divo. :-)

And finally..

When you come home after a long tour, you become a little sad. This is known as the tour blues.

True. I feel a little lost. I’m waiting in vain for our tour manager to tell me when we have sound check and when we go for dinner. I miss the incredible food, different in each region. I miss Gigi’s jokes in the car and Neri’s banter after the gigs. I miss meeting the people once the concert is over and I miss seeing the crew for sound check. I miss Marco’s hilarious Vocoder warm ups and Luca making fun of how I perform.
But mostly I miss the energy of being on stage, the energy that comes from the people who come to our gigs, from you guys, without whom all of this doesn’t mean a thing.
But then I think about the next tour and all is good again.
So thanks for coming to see us people in Milano, Napoli, Torino, Noventa, San Pancrazio, Lignano, Cagliari, Alghero, Trescore, Riccione, Monza, Firenze, Trezzo, Rimini, Reggio, Mendrisio, Brescia, Nonantola, Bari, San Martino, Cortemaggiore, Alessandria, Ferrara, Taneto di Gattatico, Ripalimosani, L’aquila, Marghera, Bolzano, Bologna, Perugia, Arezzo and Roma!!!
I leave you with this video I found on youtube of the estragon gig in Bologna. I think it was the first time we sang with the crowd in the end of Another Sunrise. Great memories! (please ignore my voice failing me miserably-it was the end of the night..:-)) Ciao for now

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Time Flies

It’s almost Christmas now and our winter tour has already taken us to Milano, Rimini, Reggio, Mendrisio, Brescia, Nonantola,Torino, Napoli, Bari, Padova and Piacenza.
Half-time so to speak. Time to look back on an amazing first half and look forward to a promising second one. Looking back, a few special moments easily spring to mind, such as the craziness at the end of our set in Mendrisio, the Simoncelli moment in Trezzo, the tiny venue with so many people left outside in Brescia, the warm reception once again in Torino, absolute madness in Napoli and the rendition to Maradona in true tifoso style or the non stop pogoing in Padova and Piacenza. These moments will be forever stuck in my mind, no doubt.
All the travelling takes it’s toll of course and some mornings I wake up and take a few minutes to realise in what town we are in, but there is nothing more beautiful than to play infront of a full house of people that are singing and dancing, sharing these moments with your friends on stage. Friday night before our gig in Padova the promoter came to see us backstage and wished us “buon lavoro” (good time at work) and I realised how lucky I am that this is my work. A few years ago I was stuck in a 9-5 job which sucked all life out of me and “good times” at work were extremely rare to say the least.
So – with Christmas being around the corner – I’d like to say thanks to all of you for coming to our shows this year, buying our albums and making it possible to have a great time at work!!!

Hopefully see you during the second half of the winter tour or else in 2012!

Merry Christmas everyone!!

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The Other Side

Being in Berlin in the deepest coldest winter is not always an amusing experience. But it is certainly inspiring.
Often Berlin today is represented as being this avant guard party town, where everything is possible and that everybody loves. And it is true, Berlin has that alternative, positive energy and it is in fact full of artists.
But there is more to it than that. The past is without a doubt present and can be felt everywhere in this town, especially while walking through the snow on a dark winter night.
The song is about imagining what it must have been like growing up in the east during the times of the wall when it was not possible to go over the border. Imagining what the west would be like, far from communism and Stasi.
However, in reality, after the wall fell a lot of East Germans realized that the West was not all that great, in fact, not few are nostalgic of old times to this very day.
This is a feeling we can all be guilty of – “The grass is always greener on the other side” – Not appreciating what we have and wanting what we don’t have.
It’s a song about two sides of a city.
The Other Side

Alex
______________________________________________________

Is it better on the other side
Or do we wait until the worlds collide
Every morning when I disappear
Away from here

Getting rid of whats inside of me
To cross the border I will need to be freed
From all the things that could hold me back
I run off track

People walk today at slower pace
Would you believe it’s now an open space
The other side
The other side
The other side

Where before there were walls to divide
For decades based on a nations lies
No matter where you’re from or where you go
Walk on walk slow

Always reminded of the darker past
A generation on which a shadow casts
Theres karaoke in the parks sometimes
Alright, I try

People walk today at slower pace
Would you believe it’s now an open space
The other side
The other side
The other side

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Live it up

Live it up is one of those songs in which the chorus is really lifting in all senses, musically, lyrically and emotionally.
It’s a song about fears, panic attacks and depression. How much time in one’s life can be wasted on such states of being before one may realize that life is too short. It may sound naive, but in life one can do so much more. The chorus acts like a reminder of this, leaving fears behind and living this life to the fullest. Live for the moment, embrace what you have and go and explore. You can do whatever you want to do.
Live it Up.

Alex
______________________________________________________

I’m checking out into the unexplored
Never better when your self assured
If a lifetime is all it takes
Then at night time I’ll go insane

Feeling better when the walls come down
Only sorrow only thoughts to drown
Superstition in the atmosphere
but where’s the peace of mind
that once was here

Your whole life is in front of you
Live it up Live it up Live it up now
Can do whatever you wanna do
Live it up Live it up Live it up now

I’m checking out into another world
I’m breaking out while you’re lost for words
Somewhere deep inside a fire burns
And I know that it inspires you

Nows the right time for disbelief
No more white whine and pain relief
Another morning in the after life
Can sell your soul only once or twice

Your whole life’s infront of you
Live it up Live it up Live it up now
Can do whatever you wanna do
Live it up Live it up Live it up now

When all my chemistry is fading away
Then all my memories are waiting for me
No more illusions of a separate sphere
Only conclusions as to why we’re here

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You Remain

You remain was the first song we wrote for “The Great Shake”.
In fact we wrote it few hours into our first meeting in the Naples studio.
You remain is like a voyage, a timeline of one’s life, the story of a life from beginning to the end.
We don’t know why we were put on this earth, what “our mission is”. What we know is that a major part of our life is made of moments and experiences that are shared with others.
Everyone you meet in your life is in a way special and unique. When we look at our life in retrospective, we will remember the people we met. Everyone remains. Some more, some less. Even if for instance a relationship or a special bond with one person ends – that person will forever remain in your life in one way or another. Everyone leaves a mark in your life. That makes them in a way immortal. And you become the same to others – you will remain.

Alex
______________________________________________________

Tick tock never stop never wanna get enough
Out of dark out of space nothing fades away
Come undone
So come with me I’ll come with you
Saving grace from your face escaping from the cages
Of a place we left behind
Come along
When you asked me yesterday what i wanna do today
I wanna say I believe in every single day
Realise

Because we don’t know what we’re gonna be
We just see what we wanna see
Feel your blood running through your vein
You will have to go through this pain
You remain
You

Picture you far away counting down the days
Come alive
Saving me saving you all the things you wanna do
Serious delirious you’re dancing through the night
Come on home

Because we don’t know what we’re gonna be
We just see what we wanna see
Feel your blood running through your vein
You will have to go through this pain
You remain
You

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On the plane back to Berlin,

I finally find the time to write few lines about the craziness of these past few weeks.
I remember mostly the amazing gigs we have played on this first promotional tour for our album “The Great Shake” which has been released in Italy on the 20th of September. My fondest concert memories are of all the beautiful people singing our songs back to us, jumping up and down and showing us their love. “Another sunrise” is probably the song I‘ve enjoyed playing the most, I always felt a special magic, a particular connection with the crowd. Torino on the 2nd of September was special due to the power cut on stage which forced me to improvise a bit and play a slightly different rendition of New York New York,

Our Florence gig at the Stazione Leopolda was also worth mentioning, a bit of a home coming for Marco and Alex, the crowds danced their socks off from the first minute. Respect! And how can I not mention the Monza date for the Formula 1 Grand prix supporting the fabulous Jamiroquai.
I remember driving up to the venue for the sound check, only realizing then that we were to play a football stadium. Wow. And Jay Kay himself, besides being one of the best performers out there, is also a top bloke. Most of all this summer however I have enjoyed meeting the fans after the gigs. Every gig is different and remains an individual experience in my mind and that is always due to the people. The energy you transmit to us on stage is what makes us being better performers and make the whole thing even more emotional. Sharing these emotions with the public made my summer. So thanks to all of you guys out there, wherever it was, Milano, Firenze, Noventa, Cagliari, Alghero, Lignano, Bergamo, San Pancrazio, Rimini etc. I truly know that we would be nowhere without you guys.

Then of course, as mentioned above, there was the minor detail of releasing the album :-) We actually showcased it in Milano the other night. Before we went to see Nikki at Radio DJ and performed a few tracks acoustically, you can check it out here if you missed it.

and

Please connect with me and the boys on facebook, let me know what you think of the album, which song you prefer, what lyrics interest you etc.
https://www.facebook.com/alexuhlmannmusic
And
https://www.facebook.com/planetfunk.
Believe me we try to read every post.

So what is it like to come home after a long tour? Tour Blues? Yes, that actually exists. You feel lost when the day is not organised around sound checks, travels or stage times.
But what makes me happy is that there is so much more to come.
Our second single “You remain” has just come out and is already getting lots of airplay. And in Rome we recently recorded a video for a different track with some very special guests.
I won’t mention anything more, it will be a surprise..
And most of all there is the winter club tour to look foreward to and I really hope to see you on one of the dates!
http://www.planetfunkband.com/tour-dates/

Stay safe, stay special,
Love Alex

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Another Sunrise

Another sunrise is very much in line with the concept of the whole album.

The world we live in today has become very intertwined. Globalisation and mass communication leave us restless in our daily strive for some sort of happiness.

The borders are blurred and ideals become utopia. We never take a breather. I realized that even on the underground i stare at the news screen, in the waiting line at the supermarket i check my phone for messages. In the studio we tried to take all our external influences, mix them together, shake them up and the result was something new, something positive.

Another sunrise gets us back to basics. A smile, a beautiful flower, the smell of coffee, whatever it may be for you. Another sunrise, and we’re fine.

Alex
______________________________________________________

Outside, you’re looking at me
Broken glasses neon lights and daytime TV
Shout out as loud as you can
Broken dreams on billboards while
you’re faking a tan, you can
Smoke some, a happy parade,
Through the mist I clinch a fist at five i’ll get paid
Then your eyes shut but you get no sleep
Because you know you got them mouths to feed

Another sunrise will find us
Another sunrise and we’re fine

Out tonight with sneakers and beers
The week is barely over and it all disappears
And then I’m burning out
In hospital beds,
Looking over shoulders I can see no regrets
Because we got cigarettes, rock and roll
When memory is fading you know nothings for sure
With all the policies
And thought control
Were chasing things we cant enjoy

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All Your Love

All your love is about nightlife. About the destructive part of having fun. Of basically not really knowing where you will end up and especially when it is time to end the night, to go home.

Because you never know what could still happen. You feel like you’re on some sort of excursion, a quest, a hunt. But for what? For something bigger than what happens in day life, something out of the ordinary. A form of escape I guess. A drug, or love perhaps. Something that makes it all worthwhile. Something that you miss in normal life. All your love…

Alex

______________________________________________________

When I’m out in the night for the seventh time,
In this week i don’t know why
I get high from the smiles of the party girls
As I leave my soul behind
As if all I am, as if all i was
Becomes a distant memory
I’m drowning all I know, just want to lose control
Not thinking straight but this is me

And when the sun goes down there’s nothing left to lose
As we escape into the night

For your love ohh all your love
Where’s the love ohh all your love
For your love

Losing consciousness, settle for nothing less
You need to pick me up the floor.
When I’m waking up feels like my heart will stop
But tonight I’m back for more

And when the sun goes down
There’s nothing left to lose
As we escape into the night

For your love ohh all you’re love
Where’s the love ohh all your love
For your love

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“Look at all these people”

“Look at all these people”, I told myself just before going on stage at the MTV Days in Turin. I suppose I was a little nervous. But then, once we started playing, I felt right at home. The people were responding to our songs and we all felt a positive energy from the crowd. Thats what playing live is about – bouncing off each other’s energy – from band member to band member, from band to crowd – and from crowd to band. Beautiful.

I stayed in Turin for few days actually as I had never been there before. Lovely town.

On tour, especially in Italy, there are so many beautiful towns and places to visit but often enough there is no time to do it so I was happy to stay for a while.

After MTV Days we had the Magnolia gig in Milano. It was a really hot day and just before we got the “go-ahead” to go on stage, it started raining… Its funny, when i used to play festivals in England the threat of rain was always so present everyone would mention it, “Hopefully it wont rain..”‚ In italy no one seems to be bothered by that slight possibility. But there it was. As the rain became stronger and stronger we all looked at each other shocked and not knowing what to do next. But suddenly, as if someone had just turned a switch off, it stopped. Looking back now i think it was just a little shower for everyone to refresh fort the gig after extremely hot day. The crowd was wild, crazy, amazing. During “Another Sunrise”, our current single, I could hear people sing every single word… beautiful feeling. What a great gig. Thanks to everyone for coming and making it so special.

So now we have few days off. These days I’m listening to Bon Iver’s new album, seems to meet the high expectations, don’t you think?

I’m writing a bit in Berlin at the moment and i already cant wait for the next gig in Noventa Vicentina on the 29th of July!

Hope to see you there!

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Tomorrow night in Milano

See you there!!!
http://www.circolomagnolia.it/evento/1875/LIVE-At-MAGNOLIA-PLANET-FUNK

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