Friday, September 30, 2005

Show Day in Chicago

Wow! I don't think I've ever spent 9 hours in a bunk. I'm usually only good for about 5-6 hours max. Musta really needed some sleep.

I step off the bus to scope out the lay of the land and suddenly an airliner buzzes right over me, maybe 100-125 feet up, LOUD AS HELL! We're right under the approach path to one of the runways at O'Hare, which is right across the street. Jets continue to buzz us every minute or so for the next 12 hours.

Today we're at the Allstate Arena, in Rosemont, IL, a Chicago suburb. There's a Target right next door. Might have to do a little shopping later.

Still have 2 hours before load-in, so I wander inside and find a shower. I want to make sure I'm all caught up on work early in the day because I have several guests coming out today.

My "daughter" Evie's coming to visit, and she'll be working here today, too. She's a massage therapist and will be on call to take care of touring personnel throughout the day.

Also, my buddy Dan's coming out to see the show. He plays guitar in the band Disturbed. I worked for them back in 2001 and we still keep in touch. They just released a new CD Tuesday a week ago and right now it's the number one best seller in the U.S.

Evie shows up mid-morning, sets up her massage space, and I get to spend some time catching up with her world.

Her old running buddy Kim shows up around noon to spend the day also.

Dan and his posse show up during Mars Volta's set, and so does the entire gang from Anthrax. They have the night off and are opening up tomorrow night for Judas Priest, 90 miles away in Milwaukee. We got us a whole mess of rockstars backstage tonight.

Watch a few songs from out front with Evie and Kim, then head back to settle the show. This will be the last night of the tour that the band will make any overage money. The rest of the shows aren't selling well enough for us to make any backend, so my job gets a little easier from here on out.

After the show, Evie and Kim come hang out with me in the office until a little after 1:30am. Then it's out to the parking lot for goodbyes.

We've got over 1000 miles to drive tonight to get to Denver for our day off. We won't get there until around 6pm, so really it'll just be a night off.

I crawl into bunkyland and read a few pages. Lights out around 3…

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Show Day in Detroit

Up at 8. Load-in's not until 10am. I head in and check out the building.

We're at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, home of the Red Wings.

Hockey - don’t get it. Never will. You throw a punch in any other sport and you get your ass thrown out of the game. Oh, well, different strokes for different folks.

Right next door is Cobo Hall, where Kiss Alive (their first live album) was recorded. Sort of – the show was taped, but they pretty much overdubbed everything afterwards.

The Joe, as it's known, sits on the Detroit River. Just across the water from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. The river…

Saw some birds out by the boardwalk, so I went to my bus and grabbed all the stale bread out of the cabinet to feed it to them…

Here's Mark Wise, our venue security director. Wonder how clean he gets his ears when using a sharpie?

After the show, I'm badly in need of sleep. I pack as fast as possible and head to the bus, in hopes of getting to bed early. Crawl into my bunk just before midnight, read 20 pages of my book, and out I go…

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Show Day in Grand Rapids

Up at 8. After checkout, I head to Starbucks for a drink, then walk to the venue. The video shoot is scheduled for 12:00 to 4:30 today. They will also shoot one song during the show.

Pretty much caught up on work, so today's gonna be an easy one…

I have a TV in my office today. ABC's showing last week's season premiere of Lost at 8, followed by this week's episode. I manage to watch both, so of course now I'm sucked into the show for the next episode. Rats!

Bored out of my mind by 12:15 after the show, Might go get in my bunk early tonight and start my book…

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Day Off in Grand Rapids

…or so I thought.

Woke up at 7am because Kenny (the bus driver) was stuck in standstill traffic on the interstate traffic. Still about 40 minutes from the hotel, but I get dressed and sit down front with him.

As we get close, we pass the other 2 crew drivers walking down the street towards the hotel. They have evidently parked their buses at the venue and walked the 3 blocks back towards the hotel.

We pull into the hotel around 7:45.

Good news! Starbucks connected to the hotel.

Bad news! I've got to check everyone in, wake up everyone on my bus and toss them off, and then ride the bus over to the venue to deliver room keys to the other 2 crew buses, then walk back to the hotel. Before I do all that, I run my bag up to my room. Here's the early morning view out my window…

That's the Grand River. It's so shallow through here that there are 2 guys in waders standing in the middle of the river fishing. Sorry, you can't see them in this photo.

I wind up walking around town a bit to see where stuff is, and then go straight to the Starbucks. Today's their grand opening. I grab a drink and a scone, then sit and read the paper for a while.

Back to my room for a shower, then walk over to the venue around 11:30. I don't need to be here today, but I figure I'll get ahead on some work stuff.

Head back to the hotel around 8, spend a few minutes in the room, then head across the street to Z's. Gonna meet some crew guys and the promoter there for bites and brews.

About a million beers later, around midnight, I head back to my room. In bead around 1am.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Show Day in Cleveland

Wake up on the bus around 7:45. We're parked up at the venue, which is outdoors today. The venue is called the Tower City Amphitheatre and it has a kinda Euro vibe to it. It's a big tent, open at both ends, with trailers for production offices and dressing rooms located behind the stage.

It reminds me of the Oktoberfest tents in Germany. Especially the interior...

More venue photos HERE.

I spend some time walking around outside the venue. It's in an area called The Flats. You might have seen the neighborhood on the intro to the Drew Carey show a couple of years ago. Read more about the flats HERE.

The venue itself is situated on a crook in the Cuyahoga River. It's called Collision Bend. This is what it looks like from catering…

This is the only part of the river wide enough for tankers to turn around in. But the current is flowing so quickly that it can shove a ship into the riverbank's you see in the picture above. Hence, the name...

Here's how nasty the river is, right next to catering…

No wonder it stinks.

Way cool drawbridge nearby has been out of service for years. There's talk that someone may actually build a restaurant up on top of this damn thing. Crazy…

Beautiful sunset today. I missed the best part of it, but did get to see this much…

Didn't see any of the show tonight. Settled with the promoter, then websurfed and blogged until around 1:30am.

300 miles to go tonight for a day off tomorrow in Grand Rapids, MI. Day off for me, that is. The crew has to load-in tomorrow for the next day's show. That show's being filmed for video footage and the video crew needs to sort out all of the camera placement, lighting and such before show day.

Me, I'll be relaxing in my hotel room…

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Show Day in Columbus

What a great day it's been. Up around 8am. Putz around, check email, shower, and then head out to the Starbucks 2 blocks away.

Sit there for over 90 minutes – me, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (highly recommend you try one), the Pumpkin Muffin, and the Sunday Columbus Dispatch.

We've got a late load-in today, because the Stones' load-out was supposed to go until sometime between 4 and 5am. So my bus won't leave the hotel to head over until 12:30pm. The downside of that is it cuts my workday down by a couple of hours.

I start slammin' as soon as I get there and get enough done early enough that I go watch the second half of the Panthers game. Also get to see the last 60 laps of the Dover race.

My old buddy Dave Watson, our Columbia Records rep in this area, comes by. I've known Dave over 12 years now – he was our guy when I worked for Cry of Love. Had a lot of really great times with him back then. He's got the "Roadie For A Day" contest winner with him. No telling what sorta crap our guys will have the poor fellow doing today.

Catch the season premiere of Desperate Housewives out on the bus. That shit is so funny. Our 2 merch dudes are sitting on the bus working when I come out. They're forced to watch it, too. By the time they're showing previews of next week's episode, Tim is cursing me – he's hooked. Ha!

Didn't see any of the show today. Never even walked out to see what the room looked like.

After settlement, I wrap up some work and do some blogging.

Short drive tonight, just 150 miles to Cleveland. Should get some good rest in my cold, dark cave while the bus is sitting still at the Cleveland venue.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Day Off in Columbus

Wake up at 7am because the driver kills the main engine, which shuts down the A/C, so he can fuel up at the truckstop. Thirty seconds later, he fires up the generator and turns on the secondary A/C unit, so we don't roast in our bunks. He switches so the main unit won't suck up the diesel fumes and throw them into our bunks.

I get back to sleep, and finally wake up around 8:30. Long way to go yet to Columbus. Thankfully, all the retards will be asleep for some time to come. We've stopped so one of the other bus drivers can get food. We're at a McDonald's – ugh! I go in search of a USA Today from yesterday, because I never got one or had time to read it anyway.

Read the paper up front with the driver. First retard up has to take a crap.


It's that time of day where if the driver stops again, other people will wake up from the motion, they too will have to crap, and the next thing you know, we'll lose 45 minutes at the damn truckstop.

Sure as hell that's what happens…

We finally get to the hotel around 4:45pm. Now we have a night off, not a day off.

I decide to not go see the Stones. I want to SAY I went to see it more than I want to see it.

On the way in to the hotel's 'hood, we pass the Ruckmoor Pub, and The Winking Lizard Tavern. Hmmm, Winking Lizard, what do you think that's a reference to?

Might have to bag my other plan, which was to go to the Rusty Bucket Tavern.

Up to the room for some blogging and a shower.

While I'm in the shower, I get a couple of phone calls. Hmmm, who can that be?

Call around to my usual gang of dinner and beer pals. Somebody's managed to get some tickets to see the Stones. Wonder if that's what those calls were about. Oh well, better that someone who WANTS to see the show goes to it than my jaded ass.

Never connected with anyone by the time I'm ready to go out, so I head up towards the main road. The plan: one beer at the Ruckmoor Pub, one beer at the Winking Lizard, then a sushi dinner and back to the hotel.

Walk into the Ruckmoor and spot Eddie Kercher (production manager) sitting on a corner stool, talking to a couple. Grab a beer and hang out with them for a while.

The Ruckmoor is my new favorite bar in Columbus. Bud in the can is $1.75, the jukebox is amazing (more on that in a minute), and I'm one of the youngest people in the joint.

The jukebox is some new-fangled doodad that has an internet connection. You buy credits and either spend 1 credit for something that's already on the box, or spend 2 credits to search and download songs from a server on the internet. That part's kind of a rip-off, but there's four Mott the Hoople records on the server. Yeah!

Needless to say, I spend a bunch of money and download all the shit I wanna hear. No Mother's Finest, no Foghat, but I hit a bunch of favorites – Todd Rundgren, Mott the Hoople, the Outlaws, 10cc, Marshall Tucker Band, Badfinger, etc. Lovin' it!

Nobody knows what to make of my musical selections. I think I'm confusing them somehow...

Start slammin' beers with Eddie. He says a big gang of our guys are next door at the Mexican joint and are coming over when they're done.

Sho' nuff, 30 minutes later, about 10 very drunk guys come in.

Me and Eddie are both hammered by then, too. I haven't eaten since lunch, Eddie hasn't eaten all day and he's been drinking all day.

I order a pizza from a local joint which takes an hour to deliver. Great pie, though, worth the wait.

Carlsen's falling down drunk, so is Sean Bates. They both get escorted back to the hotel (10 minute walk) by a couple of guardian angel crew guys.

Me and Eddie split around 11:15. Had enough. Walk back to the hotel.

I'm blogging until midnight, then I'm out…

Friday, September 23, 2005

Show Day in St. Paul

Ah, finally, back in the US. The border crossing last night went a lot smother than expected. A nice fellow in his 50's came up on the bus, and all he wanted to do was match a face with each one of the passports that the driver was holding. So he stands in the hallway, calling out names. Guys wake up, stick their heads out of their bunks, he says OK, and then it's back to sleep.

Well, except for me. I had to get up and call the tour manager to let him know that we'd gotten through OK. Then I crawled back into my cave.

Arrive at the venue around 10am. JT, our production assistant, is not here today. She went home to her 10-year high school class reunion. I'm hating it, because I'll probably have to do most of her work today. But I’m glad she got a chance to go.

Mark Wise, our head of venue security, usually sits next to, and works closely throughout the day with JT. And he's her roommate back home in St. Louis, so he's doing double duty today covering for her. All I have to do is deal with the runner floats and the aftershow food, in addition to my regular stuff. No sweat.

Got an email yesterday and a phone call today about a potential next gig. System's going down for the count after our October 12th show in Las Vegas. They won't be touring again until May – not good for my income stream if ya know what I mean.

So anyway, I'm in the running for the tour accounting gig with Bon Jovi. Their tour starts November 2nd. I don't really like working that time of year, but hey, it's a good gig. They lost their tour accountant to the Stones tour. He'd been with them for 8 years, I'm told. I got the call from the band's business manager, who is also Clay Aiken's BM. I worked for Clay last year and they liked my work. Needless to say I’m flattered. We'll see how it pans out. Hope I didn't jinx it by mentioning it…

When I go out to watch our first 2 songs, I run into Tekumi, Prince's guitar tech. I met him years ago when he worked for Corrosion of Conformity, our Raleigh metal homeboys. He's hanging out at front of house with a friend. I spend a few minutes getting caught up with him, and then watch my 2 songs and head back to work.

Bus rolls around 2am. 809 miles to go for a day off in Columbus. Thinking about going to see the Stones. They're in our building tomorrow night and we've got the night off.


In my bunk by 2:30.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Show Day in Winnipeg

Trapped in another hockey arena all day today. This time the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Had to take a walk around 3pm. Walked a few blocks one way, then the other. Wound up going to Staples to buy some office supplies. Trying to use up my Canadian cash so I don't lose even more money exchanging it back to USD.

The band's jet had some sort of mechanical problem. They took off waaaay too late from LA to get here on time. They're supposed to be onstage at 9:15, but probably won't even be here until sometime around 10. Oops.

Today is Tom Robb's birthday. He's one of the 3 security dudes who travel with the band – there's also a venue security guy who travels with the crew. At the request of John Dolmayan (drummer), Justen the head caterer made Tom a big ol' PENIS CAKE!

John also had us buy about $100 worth of dildo's and gay porn for Tom. Ha!

I took a few photos tonight. Finally got a decent shot…

Because the band got here so late (9:50), they went on late and they came off very late (11:40, 40 minutes past curfew). We won't get to the border until around 3am, maybe 3:30. This particular crossing is where US Immigrations trains their people to be total assholes. We're all gonna get hauled off the buses and grilled. I've got one total dumbass on my bus who insists on smoking pot up to 5 miles from the border station. Can't do anything about him, he's one of the band's bitches.

Soooo, I hope we get through without Stupid Boy getting us all busted.

I'm gonna crawl in my bunk and pray that some type of miracle happens and they just let pass through.

Yeah, right.

Head out to the bus around 2.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Travel Day to Winnipeg

OK, in bed last night shortly before 2:30 – never did take the Ambien, but I did have 2 Buds.

Wake up at 7:04. Gonna be a long day – we won't get to Winnipeg until at least 5pm.

Hang up front with the bus driver for most of the day. We stop at a truckstop for all the buses to refuel. Our 3 crew buses are travelling with the Mars Volta crew bus and the MV band bus.

Inside the truckstop there's only 2 toilets in the men's room and there are like 12 crew guys jockeying around waiting to drop the kids off at the pool.

Screw that, I walk a block to the McDonald's I spotted coming in. Not a customer in the place, and no one in the men's room.

Morning sabbitical completed, I buy a big bag of Eggamuffins and hash browns for the fools on my bus. Yeah, I know, I'm too fucking nice.

Six hours later, we're at a McD's again for a late lunch. Yuck!

Finally get to the hotel in Winnipeg around 5:30. I get everyone checked in and agree to meet a few guys downstairs around 8 to go to one of the 2 British Pubs I spotted behind the hotel.

Get a call from Andy Battye around 7:30. He tells me to turn on CNN. The jet with landing gear problems in LA, the hurricane going Cat 5, the tornedo in Minneapolis – lots to see. We agree to postpone dinner plans until after the plane has crash-landed.

Make it to Bailey's Pub around 8:45 for dinner and a few beers. I'm back in my room shortly after 11.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Show Day in Edmonton

Today we're playing the Rexall Arena in Edmonton, home of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers.

OK, now that you've stopped yawning…

First thing this morning, as I'm setting up my world, I look up to see Janet, our production assistant, doing a table dance on the table next to mine.


Get tired of working late morning and take a walk around the arena. Six trucks can sure hold a lot of crap:

I try to get some shots during the show, too, but they all sucked.

We had 12,636 paid tonight and a couple hundred more in comps. Good strong, loud crowd. The kids here definitely rock!

The band makes a bunch of extra money, their manager in L.A. is happy. I'm done early, so get the blog caught up and websurf for a while

Think I'll have a Bud or 2 tonight. We've got an 825 mile drive to Winnipeg for our day off tomorrow, so a couple of beers and an Ambien sounds about right for some good sleep. We won't leave here before 2am, so no way we're there before 4pm tomorrow, probably more like 5 or 6pm. Sucks!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Show Day in Calgary

Up early, check out early, wind up with 45 minutes of spare time to sit at the Starbucks in the lobby. I enjoy a Tall Decaf Pumpkin Spice Latte, with a Pumpkin Scone, while I'm reading my paper.

The weather here's nice, should be around 65 degrees today.

Today we're playing the Pengrowth Saddledome. And it is one UGLY-ass building. Same architect as Dorton Arena back home in Raleigh. About twice the size as Dorton, but the same stupid Pringles Potato Chip roof. I meant to get a picture of it, but couldn't be bothered.

Get caught up on a bunch of the work I'm behind on. I'm starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Stay in the office after the show, work until about 1:50 before heading out to the bus.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Day Off in Calgary, Alberta

Down last night at 3am, up this morning at 7. Oh, well, that's called East Coast bodyclock.

We're driving through the Canadian Rockies, which are spectacular. Take a look:

On the way into Calgary, we pass the site of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games. Here are the ski jumps:

Two of the clowns who live on my bus are still up from last night, completely wasted. They've been doing blow and smoking dope all night, and they're still pounding Newcastle's. They'd be pretty funny if they weren't so pathetic. They both try to engage me in conversation about our football pool for today, but I can't understand a single thing that comes out of their mouths. I ignore them and they go away. Likely to the back lounge for more consumables…

My beloved Carolina Panthers are playing the New England Patriots this morning at 10am (remember, I'm out west). Unfortunately, we're so deep into the mountains that the satellite reception sucks. The audio/video locks up every 3 seconds or so, and the announcers can't even get a complete sentence out. I consider slamming a few beers for breakfast, thinking it would make watching such a jittery broadcast easier, but decide against that.

We kinda have to follow the scoring and down/yardage graphics on the screen to figure out what's happening. This lasts well into the second half, but I do get to see most of the 4th quarter. They finally kick the shit out of the Patriots. GO PANTHERS!!!

Arrive at our hotel in Calgary around 2. Hot diggity, there a Starbucks right there inside the lobby. Couldn't get much better!

Get everyone checked in quickly, and head to my room for a shower. Turn on the TV long enough to get all the football scores, as I'm responsible for scoring everyone's pool entries. I'm not in the pool this week, but probably could have won it. On one of my (not-entered) sheets, I picked all the home teams. As of the end of the first 13 of the 16 games, I'm 10 and 3.

I head down for a drink at Starbucks and bring my laptop along to do some blogging. A steady parade of crew guys go in and out of the hotel. I eventually have about a half-dozen hanging out with me as we all get caught up on what everyone's been doing and where they've been going today.

Andy Battye shows up – he's wanting to go the one of the Irish Pubs nearby for some fish and chips. I run my laptop to my room and go with him. We wander around for about 30 minutes, checking out all the area restaurants. Lots of she-she places here that we're not dressed for, nor do we want to eat in.

Finally decide on the James Joyce Irish Pub. Every city we go to has a James Joyce Irish Pub, why is that?

They have not only fish and chips, they also have Halibut and chips. An excellent and rare fish to use for this. It's maybe the best I've ever had, and I slap back a couplethree pints of Kilkenny with it.

A couple of dudes come sit around the corner of the bar from us and engage us in conversation. We chat with them for a half-hour or so. Mike Stehr (lighting tech) sticks his head in, spots us, and joins. Andy splits 20 minutes later. The 2 dudes hang out, they're both college students here and are coming to the show tomorrow. They're well travelled guys, one's in a band here, and they have lots of questions about what we do. They're both so nice that Mike and me don't mind talking to them. That, and the fact that they tell us they'd be happy to buy us some beers in trade for stories.

The bartender tells me that Sylvia, one of the waitresses, would be happy to buy us some drinks for tickets to the show tomorrow. I holler at Sylvia to come over to the bar and tell her that I'll hook her up for tickets if she'll get Mike and the 2 dudes double shots of whatever Scotch they'll all drinking.


Nothing for me, thanks.

Two hours later, I'm drunkenly on my way back to the hotel. Mike's off with Gord and David (the dudes) to meet a bunch of our crew guys at Cowboy's, the massive nightclub down the street, where the marquee reads "The Most Beautiful Women In Calgary Pass Through These Doors". No shit!

I do some more blogging and head to bed around 12:30…

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Show Day in Vanvouver

Couldn't sleep worth a crap last night. My leg is killing me. Every time I would move I'd get a sharp jolt of pain. Just having the damn bedsheets touch it would hurt. Hope it scabs up soon.

Finally get out of bed around 6:30. Get caught up on email. Hit the checkout, then walk to Starbucks with Joe Paradis. I'm on Decaf only these days. When I quit caffeine 2 weeks ago, I had a migraine for 3 days. It sucked!

Busy as hell today. First day back on the tour, and when we'd flown home from Toronto 2 weeks ago, I'd given all 4 bus drivers four times their normal amount of float to get them through the break. Meaning that all 4 of them are dumping 4 times the normal amount of receipts on me today.

I step outside during the afternoon to get a couple of photos of the mountains nearby. What a beautiful place this is.

Factoid: For any of you who didn't already know it, Vancouver is the Transvestite Prostitute Capital of North America. Just head on down to Granville Street and you can see for yourself.

Here's Crusty, one of our truck drivers:

There's a couch just outside our production office today. Looks like the Internet Café:

Second from the left is my buddy Shawn Sebastian. He's The Mars Volta's monitor engineer, and a fine feller, indeed.

I watch my usual 2 songs during our set, then get back to work. I stay in the production office until about 1:45, coming out just before we depart for Calgary, where we'll have a day off tomorrow.

Finally crash into my bunk a little after 3am…

Friday, September 16, 2005

Travel Day to Vancouver

Finally, time to go back to work.

Up at 6:30, as I could use the extra time this morning. Don’t have time for a walk, but I decide to jump on the bike and pedal my ass up to Bruegger's for breakfast. Decide just to grab a bagel to stuff in my bag (in case the food on the flight sucks), and head off to Starbucks for a scone instead. Sit outside at 'Bucks and read a bit of the paper, enjoy a drink and m' scone.

Start back towards the house around 8:30. On the way there I take a nice tumble off the bike. Nothing extreme, no endo's, no headover's, just a tumble. It was actually kinda cool – it all happened in very slow motion. What a rush!

Fucked my left knee and shin up pretty good. By the time I get home, I've got a river of blood pouring down my leg. Ugh!

Try to clean it up. I'm pulling little bits of gravel out of these wild trench-like cuts that range from 2-4 inches in length. I've also completely taken the skin off of my knee in a spot about the size of a silver dollar.

But the fun part is getting in the shower and having the water hit the open wounds. YOWCH!!! Today's gonna be painful…

White Horse shows up right on time (like always) at 11. I'm off to the airport.

Nobody in the terminal – I'm though check-in and security in no time. Flying American today, terminal C, which means I'm having lunch at Maui Taco inside the terminal. Great food. Wish they'd open one up in Raleigh – for now, you have to be flying to eat there.

So after my love #10 burrito, served wet (with secret sauces and cheese piled on), I'm off to the gate.

Not good – my flight's delayed by an hour, and my layover in Dallas is an hour. Doesn't look like I'm gonna make my connector and it's the last flight out of Dallas heading to Vancouver for the day. Nice agent at the gate double books me on a flight to LAX, where I can take another flight to Vancouver. That would get me there after 11:30, 5 hours late, but hey, whatever.

Even worse, I'm in the back of the plane, so when we get to Dallas, I can't just jump off. After we land, it's excruciating to wait for all these "Carry-On Bag Fools" to get out of my way. Once I'm clear, I have to take the tram to another terminal and do a total OJ through the terminal, all the while hearing "Mr. Robert Davis, paging Mr. Robert Davis" over the intercom system.

The agents spot me running towards them from 2 gates away.

They're holding my luggage in case I don't show. I'm the last person getting on.

As I get on, there's our FOH guy, LD, and production manager all sitting in first class. Lo and behold, there's also an empty seat there. I sweet-talk 2 of the attendants, and they let me sit there. Happy, happy, joy, joy. The flight's almost 4 ½ hours long, and my knee is fucking killing me, so I could use the extra space to stretch out.

The food'll be better here, too.

And the beer'll be free.

Too bad I’m not drinking on the plane.

As we're approaching the airport in Vancouver, the view is spectacular. There's a low-lying cloudbank covering about half of the metropolitan area, with the mountains poking up through the cloud layer. Really hard to describe it, but it blows me away. These photos doesn't really do it justice:

Get through Immigrations and Customs without a hitch. Takes a while to get my bag, but it's soon loaded onto the bus and I'm hanging in the bar with a bunch of crew dudes. Seems we've got time to kill. Several crewmembers are getting hassled by the Immi's. One's accused of being a convicted armed robber. Two others were pointed out to security as having had a conversation about conducting terrorist activities (I kid you not!). The jackasses who pointed them out and said that shit about them did so after telling them they disapproved of the inappropriate language the two crew dudes were using. Needless to say, the two crew dudes told 'em to go fuck themselves, so the loser's DID tell security the bullshit story, after which my guys got jacked for about 2 hours.

We finally get everyone cleared after sitting there for about 4 hours and head to the hotel.

A few of us venture across the street for Chinese, then it's bedtime for my butt…

Thursday, September 15, 2005

At Home...

The car's fucked. Drove it to TAO Auto, my local Honda specialist. No way in hell they'll have a chance to look at it today. I'm leaving tomorrow morning for 4 weeks, so the best I can do is park it at home and deal with it in a month. I'm thinking really ugly shit like "cracked block", due to the location of the coolant leak.

On the way home from TAO (1 mile from my apt.), the temp goes through the roof. Steam coming out from under the hood by the time I get home. Shit! I've got a couple of things I HAVE to do today. Oh, well…

Foy, my accountant, comes by the apartment around 2pm to have me do some paperwork. Bless him, cause I sure as hell didn't think I was gonna get to his office today.

Don't really have any other errands to run, but I've got to meet a bunch of folks for dinner tonight at 7:30. Paige volunteers to come pick me up and drive me to dinner. Yay! Tonight we're going to Torero's Mexican restaurant – me & Paige, Jeff & Kim, Foy & Terry, and Chris & Natasha. Good chow, and after dinner, we sit, drink, and talk for awhile.

Home just before 10. Putz around for a bit, then off to bed. Need a good night's sleep for a long travel day tomorrow. Heading to Vancouver, BC to start the next leg of the tour…

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

At Home...

Hit the ground running at 7am. No time this morning for a walk OR a bike ride. Leave just before 11 to drive to Charlotte. Going to visit Momzilla.

Spend a few hours hanging out with Mom. Just chatting and getting caught up.

Leave late afternoon to come home. Stop in Mebane to gas up. Leaking anti-freeze – this can't be good. Can't really tell where it's coming from. Temp's ok, so I head on home.

When I get to town, I go straight to Mitch's Tavern to grab some dinner, as there's no food in my apartment. Well, except beer. Beer's food, right?

Head home and watch a little TV. In bed early, tomorrow's my last day in town to get stuff done…

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

At Home...

Walk this morning. Decide against the bike ride. Lots of crap to get done today. Going to go see my mom tomorrow in Charlotte, so I'm losing a day of prep time.

Go to dinner with Paige tonight at the Rockford.

Home early…

Monday, September 12, 2005

At Home...

The countdown clock's ticking. I'm leaving Friday to fly out to Vancouver – last 4 weeks of the tour.

Go for a walk and a bike ride. The bike's starting to come to me. Figures, just in time to leave town.

Spend most of the afternoon working. Crack a beer at the stroke of 6. Head over to the Ale House around 6:30 for the usual gang dinner. Tonight's it's me, Paige, Jeff & Kim, Chris & Brandy, Ian & Amy, and Jen & Tom. Good crowd, lots of good intellect and some funny fuckers, to boot!

Home before 9:30. Fall asleep watching the football game…

Sunday, September 11, 2005

At Home...

Ouch…who hit me? And who put dirty sock in my mouth? Ugh!

Wake up around 7:40, not feeling my best. Gotta get it in gear, busy morning ahead. Panthers first home game today…

Well, that sucked. They lost. Fuckin' New Orleans.

After the game, go meet Paige for a movie. We see "The 40 Year-Old Virgin". Damn funny movie. After that, we head out to Brier Creek to find a place to dine outdoors.

Settle on Champs, a combo Thai/Sushi joint. Holy Shit!!!!! I've never paid more that $8.95 for Pad Thai – it's $14.95 here. I get it anyway and it's damn good. Not sure it's worth 6 bucks more, but it's great to sit outside and watch the world go by…

Saturday, September 10, 2005

At Home...

Walked and rode my bike this morning. Mostly laid around the rest of the day. Watched last night's Busch race (tivo'ed last night).

Went to dinner with Paige, Jeff & Kim. We went to Tavola Rossa. After dinner, I let Jeff & Kim take Paige home – I went straight to Northside to meet the Beals around 9:15 and to watch the rest of tonight's Nextel Cup race.

Got tore up from the floor up.

Decided to play "Beat The Cops", so I left just after 1am. In bed shortly after…

Friday, September 9, 2005

At Home...

Took Paige to see 3 Doors Down, Staind, and Alter Bridge. Chris and Natasha go with us.

My friends Herman the German (security) and Tom Willhelm from Charlotte (drum tech) work for 3DD. I also know their production manager Conrad - he's the guy who hooked me up with passes.

We run into Bert and Leslie back in the private VIP bar. Love the VIP bar – free food and FREE DRINKS!!! Ya gotta be connected to get in there, but once you are, everything's free. You can watch the show on the TV's inside, or step outside to watch on a giant wall screen.

Left during the encore to beat the traffic…

Thursday, September 8, 2005

At Home...

Update from last night – didn’t do anything with Paige, so I went to Mitch's for dinner and a couple of brews…

Today: After my walk, I did an hour and a half on the bike. Damn, damn, damn, my butt hurts.

Worked during the afternoon, then went to a cookout at Chris Sheridan's house. Drove Paige up there – Chris lives in Wake Forest, about half an hour north of Raleigh. Buncha folks there. Split by 10, home before 11.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

At Home...

Get up and walk 3 miles. No bike ride this morning – 1) Sore legs, 2) Dentist appointment. Gotta get a cracked filling replaced. I've got the best dentist in town. Always tells me dirty jokes, and I can NEVER feel the needle when he gives it.

Sit outside and read the paper afterwards. Beautiful weather. A Volvo pulls over nearby and a lady walks over to ask if she can use my phone, as she has no mobile. Her car's badly overheating. I go have a look and find a shredded hose in the coolant system. She's not driving this thing anywhere. Babysit her until the flatbed comes to take the car. Nice lady – plays the harp!

Spend the early evening hours sitting outside, websurfing and catching up on the blog.

Waiting for Paige to call to tell me if we're going to dinner. If not, it'll be a peanut butter & raisin sandwich in front of the TV…

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

At Home...

Get up and walk 3 miles. After that I jump my bike and go riding. Haven't ridden in over 5 weeks, so my ass starts getting big-time sore 30 minutes in. No matter, stand on the pedals for a while. Legs get good and sore. Tomorrow morning should be lovely.

Rent "Be Cool" to watch tonight. It was OK. Greg Howard was in it, during the backstage scene at the Aerosmith show. Greg is Brad Whitford's tech, and is married to Paige, the girl I have mentioned here before.

Monday, September 5, 2005

Day at Home

Do a little work for an hour or two. Call a few folks to say "Howdy!" and then met Paige, Mac, Kim, Foy and Terry at the Ale House for beers & dinner.

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Travel Day - Going Home!!!!!

Up at 6am – UGH!!! 9am flight, need to be there at 7am. Good thing the hotel's connected to the airport.

Mistake #1: Taking a goddamn early flight to begin with.

Mistake #2: Ask the hotel's desk clerk about Air Canada flights. He asks what my destination is. I tell him. He tells me the terminal right through the lobby doors is mine. OK.


After asking airport staff, I'm directed to Terminal 2. They tell me to jump onto one of the blue buses right outside the downstairs doors.

Mistake #3: Jumping onto one of the blue buses.

I wind up in the (very) distant employee parking lots. Turns out 95% of the blue buses are "Link" buses, linking the terminals. But the blue bus I jumped on is the employee shuttle. Shit! Ask the policeman/security guard/whateverthefuckheis guy standing in front of me where this damn thing is going just as we pull into the employee lot. He 'splains to me that I gotta to the yonder kiosk and wait for a bus that will take me to Terminal 2. Points it out to me – I confirm.

Mistake #4: Listening to that fucker.

Stand by the kiosk for about 20 minutes. Getting nervous. Left the hotel at the 2 hour mark for my international flight. It's now 9:30 and there are no goddamn buses in sight. A flight attendant parks her car nearby and walks over to my kiosk (that's right, I've been here 20 minutes, I've claimed it as my property). I politely inquire, she politely answers. I'm at the wrong kiosk. Gotta go………………………………there, to a Term 2 kiosk. OK, thanks

Make it 500 feet across the parking lot to the Term 2 kiosk. 3 minutes later a bus approaches, but it has an "Out of Service" message on the marquee. WTF???? The bus is empty. I confirm with the driver that the bus is, in fact, out of service. The dumb bitch has no idea when the next operational bus will be coming.


Another bus shows up. 10 minutes later I’m at my terminal.

Did I ever tell you? I HATE EARLY MORNING FLIGHTS!!!!!

OK. Rockstar hissy fit's over.

It wasn't all bad - the good news is that US Immigrations is all done here, which means that when I get to Raleigh I'll go straight off the plane to the baggage pickup area. Cool!

Land early in Raleigh at 10:30am. Great! Go home to dust, sweep and clean up. Hit the grocery store, have lunch, and then a nap.

I have a terrible headache all afternoon and evening. Have to cancel dinner/drinking plans with Paige. Don't know if it's residual caffeine-withdrawal headache or dehydration from flying on short sleep, but it SUCKS! Feel like crap.

Watch the NASCAR race. First ever Sunday night race. It's in Cali, and tomorrow's Labor Day, which 'splains that.

No shows until the 17th, so I probably won't have anything to write about until then.

Translation: I'll be doing shit you don't wanna know about…

Hell, check back anyway, maybe something'll be worth writing about.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Show Day in Hamilton

Boring day.

After the show, we drive to the Toronto airport. After I check everyone in, I finally get to bed around 3:30…

Friday, September 2, 2005

Day Off in Hamilton

Cool! The hotel's attached to a MASSIVE underground mall. Lots to do – shopping, eating, and MOVIES! YAY!

Repack my stuff – gotta make room for some stupid (work-related) stuff I've gotta take home with me.

Find a really cool grocery store in the underground. Buy some cheese, a loaf of bread, and an apple strudel. This'll be my lunch and dinner both today, and of course POPCORN at the movies.

I catch 2 today. Four Brothers, and Red Eye. Neither one's gonna win any awards, but it was a great way to waste a few hours. Never set foot outdoors today – strange – but everything I need is either in the hotel or in the mall.

End the night reading for a couple of hours and then websurfing. The situation in New Orleans is insane!

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Show Day in Toronto

Great crowd – too bad I missed the show tonight. I usually only see a couple of songs anyway, but it's the first two songs of our set, when the crowd is at fever pitch. No such luck tonight – too much work to do before our break. Flying home Sunday.

After the show, we drive to Hamilton, about 45 miles away, where we'll have a day off tomorrow. Get everyone checked in, and crash into my bed about 4am…