Nick Lowe - Buffalo 1978
For any British band touring America in the 70's the first thing you did after checking in to the Hotel/Motel was to hit up the Thrift Shops and Pawn Stores.
Back then there were still gems to be had at both, and musicians rigorously checked them looking for guitars and other instruments, on this particular day Charles Shaar Murray found a Telecaster in great condition, in fact he lent it to Nick so that he could play Heart of the City in the encore at Elvis's show that night at the University.
Thrift Shops, also known as Sally Ann's (Salvation Army) were great places to find cool stage clothing, and also winter coats, much needed as this trip occurred during the great Blizzard of '78.
These were the days before Johnson and Johnson started being the place for Rock Star Threads, us chaps could not get enough cowboy shirts, leather jackets, cashmere coats and a whole lot more.
The Thrift shop in this photo is in Buffalo, and the temperature was 15 below, but Nick Lowe is a hardy chap and never even bothered to wear a jacket over his legendary musical note sweater.
Nick Lowe - Toronto 1978
When Jesus of a cool was released Charles Shaar Murray and I went to the US to do two cover stories for the NME, one on Nick and the other on Elvis.
The American record company was nervous about the LP's title and chose instead to call the album Pure Pop For Now People, a catchy little phrase that worked quite well as an alternate title.
Nick had brought Mighty Martin Belmont from the Rumour with him and was due to do a couple of special gigs to promote the LP.
Rather than a full set Nick chose to join Elvis for the encores in Buffalo University and at the El Mocambo in Toronto. He also did a special radio show for CHUM FM.
The people at the El Mocambo put up a special sign for this event, Springtime for Basher it proclaimed, using a line from the Producers along with the nickname many if us knew him by. It came from his simple instructions to bands he was producing in the studio, "bash it out—we'll tart it up later".
It was too good an opportunity to miss and so I asked Nick to stand outside the club and throw a few shapes, Nick did this with ease, the expression was one Nick used to describe the art of guitar playing in front of an audience.
"It's easy being in a band, all you do is go onstage and throw a few shapes"
Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Steve Nieve - Buffalo 1978
In April 1978 one of the biggest Blizzards in decades hit the East Coast of America, it covered the ground in over two feet of snow. I was on tour with Elvis Costello and the Attractions and we were in New York when the blizzard hit. It snowed for eighteen hours and when the snow stopped it was obvious that there was no way we were going to be able to drive the bus to the next gig.
Elvis hated flying and would normally do anything to get out of traveling by plane, but we had no choice as we had to get to Buffalo in upstate New York in order to play a show at the University that evening. The travel agents worked like crazy to get us tickets and eventually we were able to fly there via Boston.
You always see those classic photos of bands with planes and I was lucky that in those days you often had to walk from the plane to get to the gate. Knowing this was the case in Buffalo I made sure I was the very first person off the plane. When Elvis saw me lying in wait for him he laughed, not something you usually saw him do back then, but we were good friends so I saw a different side of him.
In front of EC is his keyboard player, Steve Nieve, behind him is Nick Lowe, also known as Basher, writer of hits and the producer of EC's first three LP's. I have to say that this is one of my all time favourite photos.