Sneeze Tour Diary
October 16 to October 19, 2001

By Adam Gibson

Thursday, October 18, Morning, North Fitzroy
Simon and I wake up exhausted and, after tea and toast, head out into the ridiculously chilly Melbourne streets with Scott as our tour guide. We head back to the Corner Hotel, where we are due to meet Nic and Tom and pick up the trailer and the gear.

This all goes according to plan and not long after we arrived there, Tom, Nic and Aisahn (this spelling is wrong, I know...) turn up. We load the gear into the van and, with a few spare hours to kill before Sneeze were due to appear on The Big Schmooze, Aisahn says we can go back and chill out at his place for a while. That we do, having cups of tea and a good sit down on a good couch.

But before long it's time to get moving again and head to the Channel 7 studios for the taping of the show, which will later be aired on the Comedy Channel. We find the place somehow, got security passes, loaded the gear in etc. It's all very professional. Camera and sound people hover around and treat Sneeze with a strangely reverent respect. More used to being treated like shit, it's all rather nice, something everyone could get used to.

The stage and equipment is all worked out and then the band are told that the show will begin taping in an hour or so, the studio audience arriving shortly. We're asked to adjourn to the Green Room (!) and the assistant says the band can go to "make-up" if they wish (!!!) Alas, they don't and I miss out on getting a priceless photograph of the band being worked on...

The Green Room is stacked with plates of great food, a full fridge of beer and several quality bottles of wine. We've found nirvana and it isn't in our CD rack. Then some of the other guests arrive to wait for their spot on the show. The first is actress Kerry Armstrong, from the TV show SeaChange and also the movie Lantana. She looks incredibly glamorous and also completely bewildered by our mottly presence in the room. Then ex cricketer turned sports commentator Simon O'Donnell appears. He clearly has no idea how to react to Tom sprawled on the couch drinking a bottle of wine and simply stares mutely at the television screen, perhaps in an attempt to block out the whole moment...

Nic takes the whole thing in his stride and recounts true Rock stories about how, when playing with the Lemonheads, he had gone on Letterman and also another big American variety show (I can't remember which one). Simon, meanwhile, is like a little kid in a lolly shop, especially after spotting Kate Langbroek, the cool woman from The Panel etc. And we are all excited to learn that right next door to the Green Room, The Weakest Link is being filmed right at that moment. We can hear Cornelia doing her spiel. It is both unreal and surreal, if that's possible. Kate Langbrook and Simon

Soon after, Sneeze are given a yell and ushered quietly into the studio while the host, Matt somebody, threw to a break. Then the band is taken quickly to their instruments and the show comes back from the break. The host gives Sneeze a big welcome, mentioning they are gonna play some songs from their "great new album, Lost the Spirit to Rock N Roll".

Standing side stage, I reckon I'm more nervous than they are. They play Doctor of Love and it sounds f#*!ing excellent, amazing sound and the band in superb form. Honorary member Beth again handles proceedings like a true pro, pulling off her first TV appearance like she'd done it all her life. The song goes down a treat, the 100 or so studio audience members appearing to enjoy it. Or is that just bewilderment on their faces?

The Big Schmooze
The Big Schmooze

Later the band come back on and play the show into the credits, just like you see bands do.

They play Don't Go Distant and I'm certain the references to pot smoking go over EVERYONE'S head. As does Nic's spontaneous line,

"I will not followwwww, like a blind Mickey Mouse":

...something the rest of us interpret as a reference to John Howard committing Australian troops to Afghanistan. But then again, that mightn't have been what he meant at all!

All in all, it is an incredible experience. In some small way, it feels like the band has "made it". But the biggest moment is still to come. When we are going back to the Green Room, we see they've opened the set to The Weakest Link up. We ask the girl who is in charge of us if we could go in there. She says no problem and before we know it, we all are on the set of the show. I take a series of photos in which you'll see the current members of Sneeze "voting off" former members of the band, ... jest of course...

And then Kate L turns up, dressed "in character" as a tarty showbiz reporter. God she is hilarious, had everyone in stitches. What a woman!

The Weakest Link
The Weakest Link

The TV stuff all finished, we have to focus on another little matter. All day Nic has been trying to contact the booker from the Esplanade Hotel to confirm if, as suspected, the band are playing there that night. But he couldn't get through to her. So we load up the Tarago with all the gear, plus Tom, Simon, Beth, myself, Scott and Tina, and drive down there on spec.

We pull up out the back of the hotel and Simon and I go in to investigate. It is pumping in there, just like a scene from The Secret Life of Us, but from what we can ascertain, there is no "Sneeze" due to play. As far as the band is concerned, that is a good thing. Everyone is knackered.

Head off back to Aisahn's place, where Tom and Nic alight. Simon takes over the driving and takes myself, Tina and Scott over to Brunswick St where we have a late and well-earned dinner at a place I think called Veg Out. Good food, just what we need.

Then it's back to Tina and Scott's for sleep.



Oct 16 | Oct 17 | Oct 18 | Oct 19 |

All words and photos by Adam Gibson, 16-19 October 2001. Please ask before reusing.