Monday, October 17, 2005

End Of The Line (For Now...)

OK, it looks like I'm home until February. I think my home life is a little too boring to write about, so I guess the blog entries are gonna slow down at this point.

Hang in there, and check back from time to time...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day Off at Home

Nice little hangover when I wake up at 9. Lots to do before football starts. Lots of catching up, that is. Haven't finished Friday's paper, or started yesterday's, much less today's.

I also have to watch the race I Tivo'ed last night while we were at the show.

I'm couching it all day and all night. The only time I open the door is to grab the paper.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Day Off at Home

Work, work, work.

Blah, blah, blah.

Go to Walnut Creek with Paige, Chris Sheridan and his girl Natasha for the Def Leppard/Bryan Adams concert. Got my tickets through Aidan, on of DF's guitar techs.

Second row, pretty much dead center. Couldn't ask for better seats. We hang out on the midway for a while, then get to our seats just as Bryan Adams is hitting the stage. He puts on one of the best performances I've seen in years. Def Leppard is just as good, maybe better. Definitely louder.

Home around 1:30.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Day Off at Home

Up at 10. Lots to do to finish the paperwork for the tour. I'll probably be working on it until Monday or Tuesday.

Take a break to run to the grocery store. Not a stick of food in the house.

Pick Paige and we go meet Foy & Terry Beal for dinner and beers at the Ale House. After I take Paige home, I meet the Beal's at Northside Billiards for a few more beers. Head home around midnight.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Travel Day Home

Sleep in until 9am. My flight's at 1:30, so no rush. Run downstairs for a Starbucks and a scone.

Check out around 11 and grab a cab to the airport. Nothing to report on either flight – I change in Dallas.

Home just after midnight. I'm still on west coast time, so I don’t get to bed until around 3:30am.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Show Day in Las Vegas

Happy Birthday, Sherry Willey!

This is it. Last day of the tour. Flying home tomorrow, and unemployed on Friday.

How fitting – my first show ever with System of a Down a few years ago was at The Joint at The Hard Rock here in Las Vegas. Tonight, for what I expect to be my last show ever with System, we're at The Joint. Strange, or what?

Grab everybody's keys around 9:30 and drop them on the buses. I clean out my bunk (earplugs, eyeglasses case, windbreaker, spare hat, and paperback), throw it all into my suitcase, and then head up to my room to grab a shower. We're loading in at 11.

Hit the Starbucks in the lobby on the way back.

Busy day, all day. Don't see even a minute of the show.

Goodbyes all around after load-out. A few folks are going to the Double Down, which is a really crappy (so crappy it's cool) bar down the street. When drinking there, you can buy puke insurance, which guarantees that they'll clean up your vomit if you hurl from overindulging. Cool, huh?

Anyway, I pass on all the partying and head up to my room to get a good night's sleep before flying home tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Show Day in Fresno

Today we're playing at Save Mart Arena in Fresno. This will be the last day that our caterers are on the tour. We don't need them tomorrow in Vegas. We'll be eating in the employee's cafeteria at the Hard Rock.

All I do is work today. No good stories. Dammit!

Tonight's our last night on the bus. I'll miss it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Day Off in Fresno

I wake up in my bunk just before 9am, trying to figure out what the hell the bus driver's doing. He's stopping, starting, turning this way and that way. WTF? Is he lost, or driving around in a parking lot?

Turned out to be a detour between the highway and the downtown area. I can sleep fine on the open highway, but once the bus hits traffic and/or stoplights, sleep's over.

We pull up to the hotel at 9:30. I get everybody's keys distributed – I'm free.

Turns out that Clancy (driver of Crew Bus 2), had an owl dive into his windshield about 30 minutes after leaving the gig last night. Damn bird shattered it. I told him it was a Tactical Strike by Owl Queda. Ha!

I take Kenny (my driver) and Clancy down the street to "Country Waffles" for breakfast. After that, I take off in search of the closest Starbucks. It's about ½ mile away. Sit there and read the paper.

On the way back to the hotel, I find a pretty cool old man bar, but I doubt I'll be up for it tonight. Time for some hang time in the room. There's a great recliner by the window, so I sit and read and listen to music for most of the afternoon.

After a late afternoon shower, I head out to the bus to watch baseball and football on the widescreen TV on the bus. Back to my room and in bed by midnight.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Show Day in Sacramento

Up early again. Building's open, so I grab a shower and I’m ready to go by 9:00. Problem is, load-in's not until 10. D'oh!

Football, football, football today. It's the last shot I have at winning our weekly pool.

Work hard and fast so I can go out to the bus to watch the Panther's game at 1:00am. They win. Back to work.

Normal night. I no longer watch the band.

Got a great photo of our tour manager, Mike Amato, in the Tour Management and Accounting Office. Mike and I usually share an office, but today there's only room for him…

Pack my crap after the show, surf the web, head to the bus.

Tonight we're having our end of the tour party in the parking lot. We order about 6 cases of beer, a bunch of liquor, and tons of pizza and wings. Fire up the blenders and it's a party! I was gonna skip it and get a good night's sleep, but cave in and hang out. Three or four beers into it, I realize it's nearly 3:30. Time for my tired old ass to go to sleep. Don't want to spend my day off sleeping.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Show Day in Oakland

Up at 7:30, make it to Starbuck's by 8. Read the entire paper sitting outside there, then head back to shower and do the checkout. Bus call at 11:30…

Today's show is at the old Oakland Coliseum, now called the Oakland Arena. Should be about 10,000 kids tonight. The Metallica guys are coming to the show, and at least one of the Deftones will be here, too.

I never venture outside the building once we get there. Around 7:30, Jason Newsted (Metallica ex-bass player) comes into production and hangs out for a while. Kirk Hammett's hanging around outside the door in the hallway. Lars Ulrich is here with his girlfriend Connie Nielsen, the actress.

Abe Cunningham, the drummer from the Deftones (who I also work for), comes in to hang out and gives me an update of the timeline for the band's new record and upcoming tour. No time soon! Won't be touring before April or May…

I don't watch any of the show. Work all the way through it. Head to the bus around 1:15. Only 100 miles to drive tonight to Sacramento for tomorrow's show.

Three shows to go – Sacto, Fresno and Vegas. Flying home on Thursday. Yay!

Friday, October 7, 2005

Day Off in Oakland

A few high-speed corners coming down out of the mountains are all it takes to get me up around 7:30.

I go sit up front with the driver and read my USA Today and my Portland local paper from yesterday. Never had time to read them yesterday, but I've got at least 4 hours to kill before we get to the hotel…

Take a couple of shots going down the road. First was the cool lake…

And here's what it looks like most of the time when I'm sitting up front…

We pull in around 12:30. It takes me until 2 to get everyone into their rooms. This hotel just isn't very "group savvy", it seems.

Head off to Starbucks. Sit outside and read for a while, then head back to my room for a shower. Next thing I know it's 7 o'clock and I’m just not feeling like going out tonight.

Walk across the street for some Chinese food and bring it back to my room. Lay around watching TV, falling asleep during the 11 o'clock news. Wake up around midnight and crawl into bed.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Show Day in Portland

Man, I have NO IDEA what's up with these people around here!

I mean, really, have you ever seen a frosted doughnut with Fruit Loops, or Capt. Crunch with Crunchberries, or crushed Oreo's on it? That's crazy, just crazy.

The coolest one, though, was the one I had for breakfast. Regular doughnut with chocolate frosting, sprinkled liberally with Rice Krispies, then drizzled with peanut butter. Can you say over the top? Shoulda took a picture of THAT one – it definitely belonged in the Doughnut Hall of Fame!

One of our runners today is Heather, who's been my runner at least 7-8 times over the past 6 or so years. Seems that every woman I've ever met here was a stripper or an ex-stripper, and Heather's no exception. She's not dancing these days, though, she's studying to be a mid-wife.

I can tell that the tour is definitely winding down. Everyone seems to have an attitude shift in the works. Me, too, I guess.

Found out this afternoon that I didn't get the Bon Jovi gig. The band's business manager told me that the "powers that be" chose a teabag. Evidently this fellow had been recommended to management by the previous tour accountant. Oh, well.

I'm still up for the Lenny gig. Got the schedule today. All the dates are with Aerosmith. Starting October 30th, and running until just before Christmas. Not sure what their plans are after that.

AND… I'm not sure if I care about getting a gig right now. This is my favorite time of year to be at home. I really dig autumn and winter in N.C.

We're leaving early tonight, hopefully around 1:15 or 1:30. We've got a 650 mile drive overnight to Oakland for a day off. Should arrive at the hotel around noon or 1pm. This will be our next-to-last day off.

After the show, I do some blogging, then head out to the bus around 1. I'll read 15 or 20 pages and then out…

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Show Day in Seattle

Today we're playing Key Arena, which is located in downtown Seattle in a funky location about 300 yards from the Space Needle. At the base of the Needle is a cute little "amusement park" area, but it doesn't seem to be open today.

Lots of bohemian flavor in this area. I see lots of strange-acting folks here. One guy repeatedly tells me that it's 5:05 and he HATES 5:05. He had been walking past me, and stopped to say it to me over and over and over.

Then I watched a guy who was obviously not all there push his 2 shopping carts around. It took him about 8-10 minutes to cross the street with them, including stopping in the middle of the street to arrange, and then rearrange the carts, for about 5 minutes. When he decided he had them just right, he continued to the other side. All the while, people drove around him with the most confused looks on their faces. Poor guy, it made me wonder what his story was and who on earth was looking out for him. Seeing people suffer like that really gets to me.

Sat on the bus to see tonight's episode of Lost at 6pm. It's on the NYC ABC affiliate, on our bus' DirectTV system.

On the way back in, I pass Kim Thayil in the hallway right outside my office, who says hello. Chat with him for a moment, nice guy. He was the guitarist in Soundgarden a few years ago.

The tour's winding down. Only 5 more shows after tonight.

Got another nibble on a potential gig this afternoon. Janet, our production assistant, is doing the Lenny Kravitz tour, which starts later this month. She mentioned my availability to LK's production manager, who immediately asked for my resume. Cool! If I don’t get Bon Jovi, this will do just fine. He's gonna be out opening for Aerosmith for a while.

Out to my bunk around 1am. 200 miles to Portland for tomorrow's show.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

Day Off in Seattle

What a great day off. You just KNOW where I was at 8:15 this morning. There are 5 Starbucks locations within 2 blocks of my hotel. Also a mall on the next block, where I had a Johnny Rocket's veggie burger for lunch. Did a little window shopping, and spent the rest of the day reading – newspapers, magazines, my book.

Had Subway for dinner in my room. First Subway meal of the tour. Watched some TV, surfed the web some. In bed around midnight.

Monday, October 3, 2005

Travel Day to Seattle

We left Denver last night at 2am. I'm up at 8, and take my preferred seat up front with the driver. Read yesterday's paper to kill some time.

Faces from the back of the bus begin to appear around 11:30. We hit the Flying J Truckstop for a group crap. Geez, that sounds strange. I grab a USA Today and a local paper – you know, for the comics.

Since leaving Denver last night, we've driven through Colorado and Wyoming. We're currently in Utah, and will continue on through Idaho, Oregon, and finally into Washington. Total mileage on this trip is 1335 miles, according to the bus driver's GPS system.

We stop again around 3pm at another Flying J, not far from the Oregon border. The drivers have to pick up the Oregon Fuel Permits, which they have ordered via phone today and had faxed to the "J".

Both buses dump personnel into the truckstop for junk food and a leg stretch, then we're off again.

Here's a few photos of the sights I take in through the windshield during the day..

One last stop at a scenic overlook somewhere in Oregon gives me these shots...

Looks like we're ahead of schedule. We should be arriving at the hotel around 10 tonight, making this only a 21 hour bus ride.

Watch the Panthers game up until the time we arrive at the hotel. They won, but I lost the pool because of the tiebreaker parameters. I did, however, when a $50 side bet with the drum tech. Yay!

Up to my room for a shower. Not going out, just hanging in the room…

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Show Day in Denver

I love this hotel. We're at the Marriott in downtown Denver. There's a Starbucks in the lobby, another one directly across the street, and yet another down on the corner. These fuckers are completely jacked up around here. I wonder if it has anything to do with the ridiculously high usage of crystal meth in this area. That being Denver and Colorado Springs.

Matter of fact, the last time I did any of that crap was here in Denver 12 years ago on a Cry of Love tour. Me and James and a couple of chicks were up all night blasting that crap and playing cards. Never slept, and we had to drive down to the Springs the next day to load in at the Gold Rush. We drew straws to see who was gonna have to drive the truck because we were both completely wrecked. I lost. Sucky day, I tell ya. And long, too.

Don't know why I brought that up. Maybe because there's nothing much to say about today.

I sat and read the morning paper at Starbuck's for an hour, then got ready for bus call.

Football and racing today. I've got my own room and a TV. Kickass! And by the end of the night, I'm right near the top of our football pool - might win this week's pot, which is $260. Carolina's gotta win tomorrow night, and then I'm tied with 7 other people to win. At that point it'll come down to the tiebreaker. Cross your fingers for me.

Here's some photos I took tonight…

Leaving tonight at 2am. We have something like 1350 or 1400 miles to go to get to Seattle. Should arrive tomorrow night around midnight if the driver can do it in one shot. Sure hope so…

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Day Off in Denver

Wake up at 8am to a new month. Fall and winter are by far my favorite seasons. I would like nothing better than to see some snow before I get home, but it's still a little early in the season.

Gonna be a long day on the bus. Because of my guests yesterday, I never got around to reading the paper, so that'll help me kill a couple of hours.

At 2:30 in the afternoon, we're still about 250 miles from Denver. Our internet connection on the bus seems to be on the fritz for some reason, so I can't get on and check email.

Finally get a connection 20 minutes from the hotel. Figures…

In my room right at 5:30. I have a couple of invitations to join a couple of different gangs going to dinner here, but I'm thinking I might just hang out in my room tonight. After 16 hours on the bus with people, I'm ready for some alone time. We'll see.

After showering and working for a while, I walk down to the bus around 8:30 to grab a beer. Sean Bates (set carpenter) is sitting nearby yakking on the phone. He's bored, so I suggest we go grab a bite and a beer.

We walk around for a while, then decide on a very busy restaurant with a huge patio. It's a beautiful night, and the restaurant's on a very busy pedestrian mall, so it'll be good for people watching, too.

Our waitress is completely insane. Totally out of her mind with personality. She spends the next 90 minutes fawning over us. We're drinking like madmen – me, Buds, and Sean, his Corona's and Jager shots. Even better, they have Bud in a CAN! Doesn't get much better than that. The food's not bad either. I have a tuna steak with some sort of Asian glaze on it.

I wind up trading 4 tickets to our show tomorrow night to Sandra (the waitress), in exchange for our bill. Cool!

We finally walk our drunk asses back to the hotel around 11:30…