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Pravda: The GPS News Service

Don't expect this to be a comprehensive news page.

We shall aim to avoid unsubstantiated rumour; anything listed here should hopefully be definitive and reliable information.

 

Last modified: 28/08/03


6 April 2005. There are rumours that the Sisters will be returning to a stage not-very-near you this summer. Andrius will have the latest info, but you won't find it on the Sisters' web site. Why? We hear Eldritch - having a "senior" moment - has forgotten the web site password. So no official conformation any time soon.

The hot gossip out of Leeds 6 is that there will be a change to the band's line-up on this tour, with RoboChrist doing something or other. Whether this means that either Adam or Chris have called it a day is unclear.

ps. RIP Saul Bellow.


28 August 2003. Assuming he passes a late fitness test on an injured foot, Field Marshall Eldritch is appearing with "Justin Sulivan and Friends at a FC St Pauli benefit in Hamburg on 30th August.


17 May 2003. Chris Starling is out doing solo dates. 13 May, Madrid. 16 May, Barcelona. One of the guys from Sulphur (support act on the SIsters' Smoke & Mirrors tour) is helping out on bass. Umm, bit late with that news item, then.


30 March 2003. Gratuitous news item to show off the new passes.


19 November 2002. Someone's rediscovered a lost poem by Phillip Larkin. It's about personal perspective, the difference between optimism and pessimism, between looking forwards and looking backwards. The third verse goes:

Always for you what's finished
is nothing, and what survives
Cancels the failed, the famished,
As if we had fresh lives

And is there tonight fresh life in The Sisters of Mercy? The initial dates, 8 shows in Germany, of what looks like a major spring tour are up on the web page. The halls booked are large: 5000 at the Munich Zenith, 7000 at the Philipshalle, Dusseldorf. Is something going on? The band had made tentative plans for a German tour last Spring, but were discouraged by booking agent and promoter, who advised that without new Sisters product tickets sales would be sluggish. So why the renewed interest? A new major-label recording contract would appear to be most unlikely after all this time, and the Sisters' legendary slow-pace in the recording studio would appear to rule out any finished audio product. Is the mooted live DVD to be rush-released?

We walked through the last of summer,
When shadows reached long and blue
Across the days that were growing shorter
You said: 'There's autumn too'.


12 April 2002. Sisters are slated to headline two European festivals this summer, and plan to include new songs in the set-list.


29 August 2001. Hmm, lots of gigs, but no gossip, I hear you say. Guest-list, free drinks, Aftershow shmozzling with the band and Nelly Furtado, yet the GPS boys aren't dishing the dirt. What gives?

Well nothing gives. There is no news, because there is no news. Things are stagnating. Eldritch had some time ago spoken to all major record labels and received interest until the financial arrangements were discussed: "they say they love you until you tell them how much it will cost them to love you". We need a catalyst to get things moving again, but I'm damned if I can see a solution.


24 August 2001. Pukkelpop. Balls-out mayhem from the get-go.
12 July 2001. Arvika. Balls-out mayhem from the get-go.

20 April 2001. Couple of festivals announced for the summer: Bonn, Germany on 23rd June and Arvika, Sweden on 12 July. Several more can be expected, we hear.


17 December 2000. The "Exxile on Euphoria" tour, celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Sisters' live debut, is being advertised in the scum press. (See left).


3 September 2000. “Party on, Wayne”. “Party on, Garth”.


28 August 2000. The first UK date of the Trip The Light Fantastic tour at Rock City Nottingham on Wednesday is OFF. A burst water tank at the venue is the official excuse. The second Notts date, also at Rock City, on Sunday is ON. The UK leg of the tour now kicks off at Manchester Academy on Friday. The cancelled show is expected to be re-arranged at some point. (Now mooted as February, which would coincide with the 20th Live Anniversary.)

GPS 03 is now back from the printers.


13 August 2000. The Trip the Light Fantastic tour got underway at the Mera Luna festival, Hildesheim, Germany last night. Two new songs were premiered: Crash and Burn and Snub Nose (the latter currently an instrumental) indicate Eldritch has lost none of his penchant for either the trash aesthtic or weaponry. As expected Sheehan was in for Varjak.

We’re making another stab at getting GPS 03 ready in time for the UK dates. Proof copies are now ready, so it’s looking good.


14 July 2000. Widespread press advertising of the UK dates featuring Adam’s white Gibson Firebird and the usual on-stage Sisters smoke-fest (see right, this one from the NME). Typically the ads are about an eighth of a page, buried deep in the magazine - a far cry from the full page ads that greeted the Wembley shows in 1990. The shows are promoted by Mean Fiddler/SJM concerts, same as the last Forum shows in 98.


3 July 2000. It is looking increasingly unlikely that Mike Varjak will be appearing with the Sisters on their forthcoming tour, and Chris Sheehan will be coming off the sub’s bench as a replacement. Before anyone starts jumping to the wrong conclusions, the switch was beneficial to both guitarists: Varjak presumably being busy with JackieOnAssid and other projects, Sheehan having finished promoting his recent Starlings album. A shame to lose Varjak, however temporarily, as he had become a useful addition to the Sisters, both in terms of his songwriting and live perfomances. But that’s a risk you take when the band is operating on a part-time basis. One of the major disappointments about the Sisters was the failure of the 92/93 incarnation of the band to record an album. I think we’ll look back over the 97/98 period with similar regrets.


19 May 2000. The Sisters’ appearance at the Eurorock festival seems to be in jeopardy. Eldritch commented that he had tired of getting “dicked around” by the promoter concerned and had issued an ultimatum (presumably for a signed contract), which expired last week without resolution.

There is a lesson to be learnt here: concert promotion is not an exact science. Anything can, and will, happen. Long confirmed gigs can collapse. Gigs can happen at no notice. Prior to the Sisters performing at Philly in 1997, there was serious discussion as to whether the band should take the stage at all, so extensive had the promoter’s manifold contract breaches been on the day (video screen in the auditorium, no security checks for recording equipment, etc.). Our experiences with the Sisters would lead us to conclude that promoters as a breed are spivs, con-artists, scum of the worst kind. On the occasions that we are planning to travel long-distance to gigs, we sometimes check with the band that the gig is 100% solid. Invariably are there problems. Lighting specs not agreed, contracts not signed, contracts signed but not being honoured. And so on.

However, GPS numbers amongst its entourage an occasional promoter, and from what I hear from the other side of the fence I’m surprised anyone ever goes into the promotion business. Money is clearly not the motivating force - it’s love of music. If promoters have a poor reputation, it’s partially due to amateurism and a desire to remain solvent.

And for what it’s worth to fans simply looking for some entertainment this summer, the two German shows look fairly solid.


10 December 1999. The Sisters look like headlining Eurorock Festival in Belgium on the 5th August 2000. (2 more large festival headline slots later confirmed on the official web page.)


12 November 1999. Press reports suggest that Eldritch is psyching himself up for a tilt at record companies. In an interview with “Allstar”:

"We're in no particular rush about it, but we're putting songs down now," says Eldritch. "It will take us another six months to finish it, and then shop it around. I would hope to be putting out singles somewhere at the end of the spring."

Later in the interview it is suggested that The Sisters will entertain offers in the region of $3,000,000. On the face of it, this appears an astonishing demand for a band that hasn’t released any significant new material for 10 years. However, there are a number of unspecified parameters that would affect the size of the advance, not least the number of albums that a proposed deal would cover. Sales figures for recent (!) Sisters albums are a matter of debate: I estimate figures between 500,000 and a million. In the context of a worldwide deal for, say, 3 albums, the sponds look reasonable.

Also of interest will be the parties which are directly constrained by any contract. Eldritch was personally constrained by the EastWest contract, and found this overly restrictive: it appears to have been partly the reason why Eldritch’s trance/ambient albums were so secretively released. Perhaps it would be better for the new contract to be limited to Sisters releases, leaving Eldritch free to release side projects independently if he wishes. Whether this would be acceptable to the eventual record company is debatable. One suspects Messrs Pearson and Varjak will not be directly limited by the contract: Adam’s Scifidelity production company work would make it impossible for him to be constrained by an exclusive contract with the Sisters.

GPS news: The Doc is laying out 03 as we speak. We’re probably looking at a January release, as we usually spend December in an alcoholic daze.


24 September 1999. The Sisters of Mercy are in the USA. GPS 01 and 02 are on sale inside the venues. The locals are being subjected to a volley of strobe lighting and serious entertainment. Vision Thing is the opening song. Go Figure.

Tour dates are currently up on the Official Site (but don’t expect them to stay there).


29 August 1999. The Sisters plan to tour North America in September and October. No shows have been officially confirmed by the band as yet. However, tickets are on sale for a number of dates via the Ticketmaster site.


18 July 1999. The Sisters headlined the Festival Rock Ilha Do Ermal in Braga, Northern Portugal.


Spring 1998. ‘It will be rain tonight.’ ‘Let it come down.’

Chaos reigned at EastWest (UK) in Spring 1998 as the company regrouped after long-serving Managing Director, Max Hole, quit the Warners subsidiary for a new position with Universal. To lose one senior manager may seem unfortunate; to lose two, careless, and EW were hit with a double whammy as Head of A&R, Ian Stanley, also quit the company. Stanley’s name will be familiar to Sisters fans as the man responsible for production work on ‘Temple of Love 92’ and ‘Under The Gun’. Reaction to the losses were mixed. Commenting on Hole’s departure, the head of Warner UK said “It was the right move for everybody”. East West’s recording artists were similarly less than devastated by the move: Tori Amos simply saying “times change”. Ex-EastWest artist Andrew Eldritch was more outspoken. Speculating that Hole had been looking to leave EW for some time, but had been unable to find alternative employment, Eldritch summarised Hole’s leaving as “finally walking the plank”. Eldritch firmly placed the responsibility for the Sisters’ disastrous relationship with East West with Hole, describing him as the “prime non-mover”. (See also “The Spider’s Stratagem”). The press release announcing Hole’s departure is believed to be gaffa-taped to the door at the Reptile House.


Pre-history: we wrote a "brief history of the Sisters of Mercy" for the Sisters FAQ. The FAQ hasn't been published yet, but the history stands as a good summary of the state of play before the GPS site was created.


Top picture: Breznev and the Politburo on the Kremlin balcony, May Day 1973 © Corbis (not sure who the gentleman on Breznev’s left is, but he looks particularly sadistic, quite an achievement in this company). Side picture: Mike Varjak goes full shred at the House of Blues, Orlando 15/10/99 © The Glass Bead Collective.

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