Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

Sunday paper.



New Year's Eve at Hideaway BBQ. Blackened catfish for dinner. Decent music.

Home by 11:45.

Fuck New Year's Eve.

"Amateur Night" bullshit.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Day Off at Home

Lazy day. I'm taking today off. No running. No housework. Well, OK, I did do the dishes. Today is officially veg-out day. I'll get back on it tomorrow.

Party at Suzanne's neighbor George's house tonight. A trivia party. They were just about to start when I got there. I didn't officially get in (with a $5.00 entry fee), but I should have. Tracked my answers myself and I would have won by 2 points. D'oh! Next time I'll get in the game.

After I drove my car back to the house, I walked over to Northside for a little redneck karoake action.

Got home around 2:30am.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Day Off at Home

Really haven't gotten much accomplished this week, just putzing around the house trying to finish the tour paperwork and get settled in.

My new stormdoor was installed today, leading out onto the deck at the rear of the house. Bit-by-bit, bit-by-bit…

Cable dude came out and swapped my DVR, the hard drive of which was starting to take a shit.

My buddy Foy came over mid-afternoon. We sat on the porch and slapped back a couple of beers before he split. Those 2 beers sure made my 6pm run a lot more interesting. Today was the 3rd day I've run – started back Wednesday.

Went to dinner with Jeff & Kim at Salsa Fresh. My friend Gretchen and her husband Chris are in town from Maryland, and they joined us.

Drove my car home around 10pm, parked it, and walked over to Northside. Next thing ya know, it's 2am, so I walk home and sat up watching TV for a bit. Woke up in the chair around 4am, and crawled off to bed.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

Had to be at mom's place at 11am to pick her up and take her to Doug's house, where we're having Christmas. Taking her somewhere involves the wheelchair and the oxygen tank, so it takes a few extra minutes to get her out the door.

Doug is my sister Donna's boyfriend. In attendance at his house are he & Donna, mom, me, Sherry & Ed, and Tim Young (former neighbor) and his girlfriend Monica.

I split around 4:30 to head back to Raleigh. I have to drop by the house and then make it to the PourHouse by 8pm. That's where Terry Anderson's annual birthday party is.

Home around 1am…

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Got to the rehab center mom's currently in around 5:30. Hung out with her for a few hours. Don't really like this place – hopefully she won't be here for long.

By 9pm, I'm heading up to Pat Willey's house. Pat's my "ex Mother-in-law", sorta. Her daughter Sherry and I were together for 10 years and she always referred to me as her son-in-law. Pat lives with Michelle, one of Sher's two sisters, and Sherry & Ed (her husband) are in town from California. Lots of drinking and talking and hanging out. I finally split and drove the 3 miles back to my hotel around 1am.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Day Off at Home

My first full day at home since late October 1st. Man, I've got a bunch of stuff to get done around here.

My neighbor Charlene (without whom I wouldn't even have this place, as she's the one who told me it was on the market) offers to drive me downtown to pick up my rental car. My car's been just sitting for the last 12 weeks, so I'm not sure I trust it to get me to Charlotte and back for Christmas. Charlene gave me an awesome gift bag full of her homemade baked goodies.

Run by the grocery store for some vittles as there's not a shred of food in the place other than the Charlene goodies. Believe me, they're so good I could eat them for a meal, but I want to save some of them.

Run into Tom Cuthbertson at the Harris-Teeter, Jennifer's husband. He's pushing around a shopping cart with the entire polar icecap in it. Not really, but it must have 47 half-gallons of ice cream. Tom and Jen's baby is due on Monday, Christmas day. Spend a few minutes with Tom, then call Jen after I check out and get to the car. She's in good spirits for a woman with a bowling ball in her stomach and doesn't seem to care if the baby comes Monday or the next day, or the next.

Putz around the house doing this and that all day. Paige calls and says the neighbors are coming over for drinks this evening and that I should, too.

Make it over there around 9pm and stay for a couple of hours. Head home sometime past 11, but decide not to stay there.

Run downtown to see Night Prowler, some Bon Scott-era AC/DC cover band that's playing at the Lincoln. No one's taking the cover charge at the door, so I just stroll in. Stay for a couple of beers. The band's neither good nor bad, just there.

Swing by Northside for a nightcap. Jennifer the karaoke lady is there, doing her thing. I spend most of my time there chatting with her daughter, who's a big fan of some of the bands I've worked for over the past few years.

Home around 2…

Friday, December 22, 2006

Travel Day Home - Headin' To The House

Uneventful morning and trip to the St. Louis airport. Ran into Patrick Murphy in the terminal and hung out with him for about an hour. Flight was a little bumpy as we neared the bad weather over the Carolinas.

Greg Howard picked me up at the airport and delivered my butt home by about 6pm. Met the gang at the Ale House for dinner, then I went back home for some unpacking action.

Blew out of the house around 10 to hit 3 Christmas parties.

First up is the Deep South/96-Rock FM shindig at Tir na Nog. John Custer's new cover band Marvel is playing. All good players. Interesting choice of songs. Best version of "Ziggy Stardust" I've ever heard. Run into Dave Rose and hang out with him for a while. Meet "Crash", the afternoon DJ from 96-Rock. Funny guy. Went to ECU, so we start swapping Attic/Joe Tronto stories. This guy had me in stitches. Joe Tronto's an old buddy of mine and he owned the Attic for many years. One of the best clubs in the state. I have many memories of working for many bands in that joint.

My second stop is the Guitartown party out at Hideaway BBQ, the new cool restaurant and venue in town. I ran into a bunch of folks I know there, too, including Mark Lynch from Charlotte who's playing in the band when I walk in. I'm told that damn ol' Carina ditched just before I got there. Fucker!

Last stop of the night is the party at Northside, my home away from home. Got there about 1:15 and spent the remainder of the night posted up at the bar catching up with Skin. He's the King of Regulars at Northside – he's pretty much always there when I drop by. Skin doesn't drink; he just enjoys the place and the people.

Finally make it home sometime after 2:30am. G'night…

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Show Day in St. Louis

Well, here we are – it's the last day of the tour. I wish this tour could just keep on rolling. I am genuinely going to miss everyone. Absolutely the nicest band I've worked for in a long, long time.

Lots of chaos today, typical of a last day. Packages of excess acquisitions being shipped home by all. Gear being labeled to ship here, there, and everywhere after the show is done tonight.

Got a big, fat Christmas bonus in the middle of the afternoon. Way cool!

The show was probably the best of the entire tour. Because the show was already sold out, I was able to settle early and watch most of it.

Man-hugs all around after the show, both at the venue and at the hotel. Molly threw an impromptu party in her room that I slipped out of around 2am.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Show Day in Champlaign

I've updated the December 18th blog entry (scroll down) with a few photos. Check it out.

The venue du jour is Assembly Hall at the University of Illinois. One more show after this one…

I screwed up and shipped the "Accountant Of The Year" trophy home today before I took a picture of it, so you'll have to wait until I get home to see it.

Somebody (probably Tyson, our singer) got the bright idea to send out for a Tiki Bar to set up onstage tonight. Like, during the opening bands' sets (but not the first band, who are being punished tonight). So it gets put up during the first and second bands, and all of our band and crew wind up onstage hanging out at the bar and drinking. And I mean it's on the stage, among the bandmembers who are playing at the time. Funny as hell. Here's a few shots:

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Show Day in Chicago

The lovely (NOT!) Aragon Ballroom in Chicago is the site of today's show. Only holds 4500 people and this show has been sold out for weeks.

After sound check is finished (around 4:30pm), everyone in the crew is called to front of house, the area where the sound and lighting consoles are set up. Our tour manager Shabba makes a speech to everyone and then proceeds to start pulling out some hilarious trophies for us. Robert Long (the production manager) and I got the biggest ones. Mine proclaims me the "Accountant Of The Year, Bob Davis" and underneath that it's engraved "Don't Fuck With My Money". Awesome. I'll get a photo of it before I ship it home and post it here.

I shipped a couple of other boxes home earlier today. One full of backup files and the other full of schwag I've accumulated.

My friend Evie is our masseuse today, but she doesn't get much action so she hangs out with me a bunch until she splits during our set.

Our bottom-of-the-bill support band, "Boys Like Girls" completely trashed their dressing room tonight after the show. I saw it well after the fact. It was disgusting. All kinds of shit thrown all over the place, a broken lamp, about 60-70 empty beer cans and bottles, furniture overturned – just a fucking mess. I was told that they had opened the windows (2nd floor, overlooking a very busy street) and were throwing trash out of them.

Justice from our production manager was swift. No dressing room items for them tomorrow, in fact, no dressing room at all. No nothing. And they'll have to leave the building after they load their gear out.

Fucking morons…

Monday, December 18, 2006

Show Day in Ypsilanti

The show today is at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center, which is where the school's basketball teams play. Kind of a bland day, just counting down the days until we all fly home.

Tyson decided to get dressed up for the show tonight. Here's what he looked like in the production office:

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And here's his onstage date for tonight:

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A shot of Tyson onstage. Chris in the background wearing Ty's hat:

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Day Off in Detroit

Today's the last day off of the tour. Our gig tomorrow is in Ypsilanti, MI, but nobody wanted to stay out there, so we're staying at the Marriott Renaissance. It's right on the Detroit River, across which is Windsor, Ontario.

The Marriott is part of the GM Tower complex, which is a bunch of really cool looking buildings. I get a couple of good shots of the complex as the sun is going down:

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We're throwing our end-of-tour party tonight because there's no more nights off. I've been planning to go to Tom's Oyster Bar for weeks, but can't do it now since the party's on. It just got planned a couple of days ago, but I don't wanna be the guy who doesn't show up.

Almost everyone showed up and a good time was had. Can't tell you any more than that as it might incriminate someone…

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Show Day in St. Paul

We have a 30-person video crew on hand today to shoot footage for the band's next DVD. Vidiots always think the band and crew are gonna bend over backwards for them and reinvent the show on their behalf. In fact, the band won't do one single damn thing any differently from what they've been doing every night of the tour. The video crew will just have to adapt.

A couple of shots of their crap getting all in the way:

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Show Day in Milwaukee

Today we're at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee. Shit gig of all shit gigs. Any roadie reading this is shaking his head in agreement. Disgusting place. You'd think as many years as this place has been around that they would have made some improvements by now. But, no…

Fucking crook of a promoter, too. We made the decision weeks ago to click the doors tonight. By that I mean we'll have people positioned at each entry point with "clicker counters" to count the number of people coming into the building. This building is notorious for putting far more people into the building than the number of tickets sold, which is just plain stealing money from the band. I'm taking the main entrance myself, which I always do when clicking.

When the promoter heard that we we're clicking, he went through the roof. He sent his people to click as well, thinking that we were trying to pull a fast one on his sorry ass. He also called me pretty much every nasty thing you can think of.

I wound up at the door for almost three and a half hours. I personally clicked 3,963 patrons while I was there. Around 7, the city attorney showed up at the request of the promoter, and I overheard dickwad ragging on me again. The shithead was still so pissed off at the end of the show that he sent his flunky to settle with me instead of doing it himself. Assface…

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Show Day in Green Bay

I haven't mentioned here previously, but my mom's not doing too well right now. She's in the hospital and today she's supposed to have a stent put in her carotid artery. Easy enough for most folks, but she has some particular difficulties that could complicate matters.

Later on today…

The procedure's postponed until tomorrow morning. I hope that's a good thing. We'll see.

Today, we're at the Brown County Veteran's Memorial Arena. It's right across the street from Lambeau Field, the longtime home of the Green Bay Packers, and famous for it's "Frozen Tundra." One of our building folks has access to the stadium and takes us over there for a private tour. Us being me, Robert and Marcel. We got lots of inside poop, and got to walk out onto the field to take some shots:

Went to the stadium's Pro Shop after the tour. All 3 of us bought stuff. I got some cool Packers thermal pajama pants.

Yes, I'm a Carolina Panthers fan AND a Panthers season ticket holder. But I always liked the Packers growing up, and YES, I remember back when Vince Lombardi was their coach. (Remember, I'm an old guy.) I bought the pants. So there.

I guess out of guilt I'll need to buy some more Panthers stuff.

Got a new gig today. Got a call around 6pm to firm up something that's been in the works for a couple of weeks. Can't say just yet who it's with, as someone is being fired and that's why I'm coming in. I CAN say that it's a huge band, and I believe the tour's gonna start in mid-February in Russia. I was also told that the band will likely only tour overseas next year – no U.S. dates. How strange is that?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Day Off in Green Bay

Cool. The hotel today is all suites. And there's a washer/dryer on the floor below me. Today's my "last load" of the tour. I'm keeping enough clean clothes to finish the tour, and shipping the rest home, along with some stuff I've accumulated along the way. On some tours, you're lucky if you get anything. On this tour, there's been a bunch of schwag rolling in – t-shirts, hoodies, a cool jacket, a really cool fleece, and what no one knows yet is that we're all getting iPod Shuffles with the band's logo engraved on it. I know this because a buddy of mine in Phoenix owns the company that's selling them to us and doing the engraving. Looks like this:

Free beer in the lobby from 5-7pm today. I met a bunch of crew folks down there with the intention of drinking for an hour or so, ordering some dinner, then heading back to my room to watch a couple of TV shows.

Oh, well.

Got back to the room at stupid 'o clock, drunker than Cooter Brown…

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Show Day in Kansas City

Got offered the Goo Goo Dolls tour manager gig today. Turned it down. Not gonna tour manage anyone for any amount of money ever again. Been there, done that. Over it…

Today's show is at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City. Out in the lobby, I found a couple of display cases with some bizarre busts in them. The detail on these things is pretty wild. Take a look:

And this is the sort of artwork on display in the other parts of the building:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Day Off in Kansas City

Made it to the hotel around 11:30am. Got everyone into their rooms pretty quickly, in spite of the incredibly stupid people working the front desk.

I'm all the way up on the 31st floor today. Here's my view of downtown K.C.

In the distance is the new Sprint Arena going up. It's gonna replace the Kemper Arena as the main indoor concert venue here:

Didn't wanna eat at any of the hotel's 4 restaurants for lunch, so I walked 6 blocks to the nearest sandwich place. The walk was totally worth it, as I came across a new place called "Cheeseheads", which is a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich place.

Not gonna venture out again tonight. Not really feeling sociable. I'm thinking room service and TV…

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Show Day in Denver

Yet another gig in Denver at the Fillmore Auditorium. Been here many times. I wish we had a day off here cuz Denver's one of my favorite cities for that.

My buddy Mike LaTronico comes over during the afternoon and hangs out with me for a couple of hours. Mike was my promoter rep for a lot of shows I did here in Denver back in the 90's. He tours these days, mostly with String Cheese Incident.

Great crowd tonight, great show. I watched 4-5 songs tonight.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Show Day in Salt Lake City

Today's show is at an absolute shithole of a venue, the Saltair Pavilion, just outside of Salt Lake City. It's pretty much just a box of a room. Lousy dressing rooms and office today, too.

The venue sits on the edge of the Great Salt Lake. Some shots below I took outside today:

Friday, December 8, 2006

Day Off On The Big Long Highway

Didn't have to get off the bus last night coming back into the U.S., but I had to wake everyone up (me and Brent were the only ones still up when we got to the border) and have them sit in the front lounge so the U.S. Immigrations officer could get up on the bus and match passport photos up with the people on the bus.

Everyone went back to bed, and I sat up a little longer with Brent, finally hitting the hay around 3:30.

Woke up at 9am and assumed my position up front, hanging out with the driver. We finally got to our hotel in Salt Lake City just past 6pm. Nice little 1000-mile drive. Steve was hammer down the whole way except for one fuel break and 2 pee breaks for himself.

After we checked in, I grabbed a shower, then went out to get a sandwich to bring back to the room for dinner. A little TV, then off to snoozy world around 11:30.

Oh, yeah, flying home 2 weeks from today…

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Show Day in Vancouver

Pretty smooth border crossing last night. Everyone got to sleep right through it except for Knuckles, our rigger. He has a DWI on his record from a few years ago, so the Canadian Immigrations people dragged him inside and had him do the hoopdy dance. He had to pay $200 CDN (about $174 USD) to buy a temporary Minister's Permit to come into the country. I'm wondering why I didn't get dragged off the bus, too, seeings how I have a DWI conviction in January 2001 myself. It's never come up when entering Canada – maybe one day it'll bite me in the ass.

Here's some shots from the show tonight:

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Show Day in Seattle

The air conditioner in my room last night sucked. I couldn't ever get the room cool enough to sleep comfortably.

There was a bar near the venue today that I found as I was walking to Kinko's called Tiki Bob's. Stuck my head in to see if they had t-shirts, but they didn't. Maybe I'll have some made whenever I build the tiki bar on my back deck at some point.

If I ever lose my mojo, I found a place that can help me out:

Our venue today is the WaMu Theatre, inside the Qwest Field Event Center, which is attached to Qwest Field, where the Seattle Seahawk's of the NFL play their home games. I went out onto the football field to see what the place looked like when it's empty:

And here's a shot of Brent Carpenter (near), our monitor engineer, and Kadaver (far), our stage left guitar tech:

Border crossing tonight to do a show tomorrow in Vancouver…

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Day Off in Seattle

Nice little 900 mile bus ride to get to Seattle. I'm up around 7 and spend the rest of the ride sitting up front with Steve the driver. Three of the people on my bus didn't want to make this drive, so they stayed behind in San Jose and took $84 flights to Seattle late morning, arriving at the hotel around 1pm.

They might have gotten here 2 hours ahead of us, but I've still got $84 in my pocket.

My buddy Scott Goodrich comes to the hotel at 7pm to pick me up for dinner and a few beers. I've known Scott since the mid/late 80's when he lived in Raleigh.

He takes me to a cool little part of town which I think is called Belltown. I've been here before, but I never really got a chance to check out the bars.

First stop is Shorty's Coney Island, which is a combination hot dog stand and slacker bar. They don't sell Budweiser (WTF?????), so I have a couple of cans of Schlitz. Not bad, but they never should have changed the recipe back in the early 80's. I used to drink it a lot, but I haven't had one since the change. Scott's slapping back Pabst Blue Ribbon on draft. A round of his and mine together is only $3.75. Awesome!

We yack there for a while, getting caught up on each other's lives. Scott's in law school, is married to an attorney, and he and his wife are getting ready to adopt a Chinese baby. Wow!

For dinner, we move down a couple of doors to the Noodle Ranch, where I have the BEST Pad Thai I've ever eaten. Funky little restaurant – cool d├ęcor, concrete floors. I'm slapping back Sapporo on tap.

After dinner, it's next door to the Lava Lounge. What a cool block of Second Avenue. Everything you need is right here.

The Lava Lounge is pretty similar to Slim's Downtown back home in Raleigh. A rock n' roll dive bar. I'm so comfy here I could stay all night. Lame fucker that I am tonight though, we pack it in after only a few more rounds. This is the only place we've been tonight that sells Budweiser. And I declare it my new favorite bar in Seattle…

Monday, December 4, 2006

Show Day in San Jose

My driver Steve lives and dies by his GPS unit. Today all he had for a venue address is Seventh and San Carlos, which means he couldn't find the gig for shit. He woke me up making tons of turns and turnarounds while trying to find it.

For some reason, I'm in a pissy mood all day. Trying to get through some hotel settlements today and every last person I speak to is a fucking idiot. I guess it's just one of those days.

Here's a shot of our stage in the empty arena:

And a closer shot of our stage:

And here's a couple of worn-out roadies (Brad Stonner near, Patrick Murphy far), grabbing a nap on the "B"stage, which is located at the FOH mix position.

I got booted out of the office for about an hour today so the lighting crew could have a meeting with the production manager. We're shooting DVD footage at one of our upcoming shows, so they've got a lot of technical details to iron out. I went to the bus to take a nap since I couldn't do any work.

After the show, Molly had a bunch of her friends hanging out in the office, drinking and socializing. Normally, I'd have booted the lot of them out as I find it very distracting when I’m trying to work. But for some reason, I decided that I would split instead. I threw my stuff on the bus and then went and walked around downtown San Jose for an hour.

Eventually found a great dive bar call Cinebar. I was still pretty steamed about all the fuckers in production all day long, so I grabbed a seat at the bar and got a Bud. My kind of place. Dark, dingy, rock music, cheap beer.

I've got a new favorite bar in San Jose. Go figure.

I loved their t-shirts. They say:

"I'm at the Cinebar, BITCH!"

Got back to the bus just in time for bus call. Long drive to Seattle tonight…

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Show Day in Ventura

As usual, woke up well ahead of the alarm. 6:44 to be precise. Tried to go back to sleep, but my brain kicked in, so I finally got up about 7:15.

Today's show is at the Majestic Ventura Theatre here in Ventura. Hey, which way to the Ventura Highway? Downloaded that song just for today.

Not fuzzy-brained at all today, just need more sleep. Today is show 3 of 4-in-a-row, followed by a long day-off-killing bus ride to Seattle, where I’m supposed to have dinner with a buddy, but we may not make it there in time.

We were originally gonna have a day off in LA today. Woulda been nice. We had rooms booked at the Grafton, my fave little boutique hotel on Sunset Strip in Hollywood. My fave LA burrito joint, Poquito Mas is about a block away – unbelievably good food – but I guess that'll have to wait until my next visit to Cali.

The show goes well. Watched one song, went back to work.

My promoter rep today is a really cool dude named Nokey. Having never heard the name before (and being a totally nosey fuck), I asked him the origin of his name. Turns out his older sister had a terminal illness and was allowed to choose the name of her baby brother who wound up being born shortly after she died. She chose Pinnochio, and he uses Nokey as his nickname.

I thought that was a great story!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Show Day in Los Angeles

Yeah, I guess I deserve this. Shouldn't have gone to bed so early. Wide awake at 5:44am, thanks to the wonderful road surfaces here in SoCal. Feels like we're riding on a giant washboard for about 10 miles. I rolled over onto my back and it was knocking the air out of me with every bump. Weird. After we got away from that, I laid there for about 40 minutes trying to go back to sleep to no avail. Up and at 'em. Long day ahead here in L.A.

Today's show is at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Universal City. Used to be called Universal Amphitheatre back in the day. Now Gibson Guitars is the main sponsor. Right outside my office there's a photo of Robert Plant that was taken on the night of his show here in October 1993. I was tour managing Cry Of Love at the time, who were his opening act.

As I've said before in this blog o' mine, the three toughest shows you'll do with any artist are always New York, L.A., and the band's hometown. Today's the third of those three. Pile into that equation all of the Los Angeles-area label, management, biz management, and press people and it makes for a hell of a day.

Today may well be the least chaotic L.A. show day I've ever had. Had some problems with the settlement that required hitting the promoter in the head with a claw hammer, but eventually I got my money…

After the show, I had schmooze duty. My old friend Lauren from Miami is now living here, and by sheer coincidence is the assistant to the Rejects' A&R guy at the label. Small world. Promised her I'd hang out and have a couple of beers with her.

Also, my day-to-day biz manager person Kim has come out to see the show, meet me, and pick up some show files from me. Promised her the same thing – the hang time and the couple of beers. And…

Tracy, the travel agent who's been handling the majority of my tours since '02 has dropped by. She brings the heat (if you know what I mean). Tonight, she also brings the lovely Jeany Kim, who is about 6-foot-1 of some serious Asian honey. And funny as hell, too. Since we dragged them away from some event they were attending, I had to do some hang time with them, too.

All of which means I got in bed far too drunk and far too late on a school night. I guess 7:30am is gonna come hard and heavy…

Friday, December 1, 2006

Show Day in San Diego

Our gig got moved 24 hours ago from the ipayOne Center (the old San Diego Sports Arena) to the club (Soma) across the parking lot. We've only sold about 2400 tickets, which is what the club holds. The promoter's gonna lose money in either building (due to low ticket sales), but he'll lose a lot less in this building.

There's a Target store across the street, so I make a trip over to kill time and pick up some stuff. Spend a lot of time goofing on the computer, as there's not much to do with settlement tonight. Finish up with the promoter by 8:30. Bored. But not bored enough to watch the show in such a crowded room.

Heading to bed around midnight. Los Angeles tomorrow. Yippee!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day Off in Las Vegas

WTF??? How on earth could 4 beers make me feel so bad? Must be the old, fourth-day-in-the-desert-weather dehydration thing wrecking me.

Here's the view from here on the 11th floor of the Hard Rock Hotel. The Vegas airport is just across the way:

Not really giving a crap about Vegas, the only time I leave the room during the day is to eat lunch at Johnny Rocket's across the street (awesome veggie burger called The Streamliner) and to pick up a few things from the CVS store on the corner.

Around 6pm, I head down to find the AAR display case and take a couple of photos. Here's a shot of it:

Bus call to go to San Diego for tomorrow's show is at midnight. Goofing off until then…

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Show Day in Las Vegas

Today's show is at The Joint, the venue at the Hard Rock Hotel here in Las Vegas. I've done this place a bunch. Chas, the production guy here, is great. Always a pleasure to be here. I don't give a shit about Vegas, but I do like this venue.

Instead of rolling on to San Diego after our show tonight, we're gonna stay in Vegas for our day off tomorrow. Lots of folks on my bus have "imported" for the occasion. Brent's girlfriend Libby is here, Robert's wife Kelly is here. Sooner's boyfriend Rock is here, And Suki's girlfriend Blue is here.

At 7pm tonight, the hotel unveiled their All-American Rejects display. It's in one of those display cases located throughout the hotel. Specifically, it's in the foyer of one of the building's main entrances. I couldn't be there for the ceremony, so here's a shot that Marcel took while he was there:

I'll try to swing by tomorrow to get a close-up.

Big aftershow party planned in a suite here in the hotel. Bartender, open bar, hot Vegas sluts, etc. I'm there for exactly 2 beers, then I ditch. What really drove me out wasn't the party itself, but the sheer number of absolute morons who came pouring into the suite about 5 minutes before I split. The place got extremely loud, extremely smoky and extremely not me. See ya!

I had promised to go to the Double Down (famous Vegas roadie bar), after a couple of beers at the party, but I bailed out on everyone. It was already pushing 3am, and I just didn't really feel like going. Maybe tomorrow…

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Show Day in Phoenix

Today's show is in Phoenix, AZ. I've got some friends who live here, but I doubt I'll see them. Robert Mason's band has a regular Tuesday night gig in Tucson, and Steve Kidd's on the road with Gn'R.

This is one of my fave venues in town – The Dodge Theater. I've probably done 5-6 shows here in the last few years. Behind the stage, there's a graffiti wall that runs about 100 feet or so. Most of the bands and Broadway shows and such that have played here have "tagged" the wall, so it's pretty messy in spots. The building actually encourages folks to do this, so when they asked the AAR if they would do a little something, Tyson immediately sent out for a bunch of cans of spray paint.

I was in the production office at one point during the late afternoon when I heard a bunch of commotion in the hallway. I stepped out and looked down the long graffiti hall to see a huge cloud of red haze in the distance. There was so much paint in the air that people were gagging on it. Yuck. And like something out of a Stephen King story ("The Mist" comes to mind, one of his best short stories), it was drifting eerily toward us. We quickly closed off that hall, and I in turn closed the door to the office. Here's the final piece:

You might notice the area marked "Band & Crew" at the bottom – we all signed it. Look closely on the left half at the bottom and you'll catch my "Zilla":

Kadaver, one of our guitar techs, came into the office today and told me about Kevin, aka Toad, the keyboard player, puking last night around 3am after getting a little too smoked up. He said he had pictures of it, so I asked him to email me a couple of shots. I picked out the best one, cropped it, blew it up, and printed out about 20 copies of it. I had the stage manager tape them all over the stage area before the sound check. They were also in the hallways all over the backstage area and even in the elevator the band was using all day. Poor Toad. Here's the shot:

Oh, yeah, I got a phone call today about a potential gig upcoming. It's a pretty famous band. They're evidently making a change – ditching the current tour accountant and replacing him. I'd love to get the gig, because 2 very good friends of mine are on it - the tour manager and the production manager. I've worked a bunch with these 2 guys over the last 7 years or so, and they both want me out there.

The downside is that the first show is on or around the 10th and I really, really want to be home for all of January. Hell, maybe February, too. But the money this gig pays is just stupid, so I'm taking it if it comes through. I'll keep ya posted…

Monday, November 27, 2006

Show Day in Tucson

I'm actually typing this the day after our show in Tucson. I can't tell you the first damn thing about yesterday other than the fact that we did a show.

What a bland, boring day it was…

I did, however, order all of my custom fitted blinds for the house today, so I'm happy about that. Right now, all of my windows are covered with $2.96 sheets from Wal-Mart, cut in half. Ugh! Installation of the blinds will take place after I get home in a few weeks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day Off in Tucson

Like clockwork, up just past 7am. Long way to go still. I hang out up front with driver Steve until it's time for football. The front lounge will be on the New Orleans game (our production manager Robert Long is from Louisiana), so I'm hanging in the rear lounge to watch the Panthers game. They lose (again!), with the game finishing just as we pull up to the hotel. Steve made great time getting us here. It's just past 2pm here in Tucson.

On the way to my room, I walk past a guest laundry with 2 washer and 2 dryers. I don't normally do my own laundry on the road, but if it's this convenient, why wait until tomorrow (when I had planned to get it done)? Stick my head in to check pricing, and discover that it's free! All the better.

So that's about all I did today. Laundry and some TV. We're at a pretty expensive and exclusive golf resort just outside of Tucson. I've stayed here before. There's fuck-all to do without taking a taxi into town, and all the damn restaurants here at the resort are a bit too pricey for my new homeowner's ass. I've got half a Subway sandwich left from our truckstop stop late morning, so that's dinner.

I'm just no fun today…

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Show Day in San Antonio

Our show today is in San Antonio at Freeman Coliseum. And tonight I'm missing another big event back home in Raleighwood.

PKM is doing a reunion show downtown at the Lincoln Theater. That's P as in PeeWee Watson, K as in Kenny Soule, and M as in Mike Gardner. You can get the full story HERE

I really hate to be missing this show. These guys don't do nearly enough reunion gigs for my liking, and it seems I'm always out of town when they do do them.

(I said do-do. Ha!)

Meant to call Vicki, an old friend who lives here. She got her boobs done last year and I haven't seen 'em yet. She also got married, which lessens the chances of me seeing 'em.

Oh, well. You know what they say about boobs. If you've seen one, you've seen 'em both….

Long drive tonight – 900 miles or so to Tucson. We'll have a little bit of daylight left when we get there for our day off. Yeah, right…

Friday, November 24, 2006

Show Day in Houston

Holy mother-of-vomit! What is that fucking smell??????

I woke up in my bunk, threw open the curtain and got slapped in the face by a pail of steaming dirty baby diapers.

Now, first thing in the morning, the bunk area of a tour bus is not always the most pleasant-smelling place to be, what with the personal hygiene habits of certain folks. It almost always has a bit of a musky-icky-organic-crotchrot-moldy-locker room-dirty feet (20 of 'em) thing going on.

But what the fuck died in here?

Then it dawned on me. A whole lot of folks on this bus pretty much inhaled 2 huge trays of deviled eggs yesterday at Mike's house.



And you best believe I closed the door to the bunk area as soon as I passed through it….

Today's show is in Houston at the Reliant Arena. This is like the 4th time I've been in this building in the last 25 months.

Today is also when I start my countdown clock. I'm flying home 4 weeks from today. Yep, just 28 days until my next period of unemployment begins. Maybe I'll finally start unpacking all of my belongings – I was living out of my suitcase the last time I was at home – boxes all over the house. Gotta get the window treatments taken care of and a whole lot of other house stuff done.

But first, I've got to run down to Charlotte for a couple of days to see Mom and do the Christmas thing.

Christmas night, of course, will be spent at the PourHouse in downtown Raleigh, attending the annual Terry Anderson/David Enloe birthday party. Seems like this is the 8th or 9th or 10th year that this has been held. It was at The Brewery for a long time, and this is probably the 3rd or 4th year it's been at the P-House. Turdell and Enloe turn 51 this year – both born Christmas Day 1955. Couple of old farts. And a lot of old farts will be there to drink beer and share hugs and stories of the holiday season. So, whoever is reading this, make plans to be there.

I really hate not being home in Raleigh today. Tonight is Jack Cornell's annual post-Thanksgiving party. Jack's an old friend who played bass in The Fabulous Knobs and The Woods (The Woods being the first band I ever roadied for) and is currently playing with Terry in their band The Olympic Ass-Kicking Team. He also produced the record and did all the artwork. There's a review of their latest record, at the CDBaby website, that describes Jack as having "hair like an unmade bed." (In case you're wondering, that's a very flattering compliment.) You can read that review and others HERE.

You can download OAKTeam ringtones HERE.

Anyway, Jack's party is always a blast. I brought a bottle of Thunderbird to it a couple of years ago, but pretty much nobody except Carina would drink any of it with me. Idiot that I am, I happily drank the rest. Not smart, but I wouldn't realize that until the next day.

Sorry I can't be there, Jack. Hope y'all miss me just a little…

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Day Off in Edmond, OK

Happy T-Day, everybody!

I managed to sleep in this morning – got up around 8:30. Bus call wasn't until 2:30, so I had a lot of time to kill. Read yesterday's paper, showered, packed and was down on the bus by 1. Just didn't feel like sitting around the room any longer…

Our day off today has kinda been taken away from us. We SHOULD be waking up on the bus as we pull into a hotel in Houston, where our show is tomorrow. Instead, we're staying here in Oklahoma, where we're going to Thanksgiving dinner at Mike Kennerty's house out in Edmond, an OKC suburb. Don't get me wrong, I love working for this band, and I really like hanging out and drinking with everyone on my bus. As gracious as it is for Mike to provide a place for us all to spend the holiday together, most of us would rather be in Houston, chilling out. Me, I probably wouldn't leave my room today – if I can't be home with MY loved ones, I'd just as soon be alone with my thoughts.

I feel trapped. I don't really want to be rude, but I also don't want to hang out with a bunch of strangers in somebody's house all day. And I don't want to be trapped on my bus all day, parked in front of Mike's house. Mike's poor neighbors, they've got 3 tour buses parked here all day with their generators running.

To top it all off, I've got a splitting headache which is getting worse by the hour. About 4:30, I finally forced myself to go inside and meet everyone. Mike's got a cool house. It's about 5,000 square feet or so, and is decorated in "Young Person With Money" style. He also has 3 roommates, which means his mortgage is getting paid for him while he's on the road. No way in hell I could ever go the roommate route again. A live-in girlfriend, sure. But a roommate? No way…

After dinner, I hang out and socialize a while. Mike's dad is an interesting character, so I spend most of my time inside chatting with him.

Finally slip out to the bus around 7, never to return inside. Steve, my driver, is due back at 11 to head to Houston. I'll probably hit the sack around midnight, but for now we're watching an Elton John documentary on VH1, which seems to cover '70 to '75 or so. The "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road" era footage is amazing. And I'm blogging…

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Show Day in Oklahoma City

Today's show is in Oklahoma City, or as the band guys call it, Oak City. It's a "hometown" show for the band. Tyson and Nick are from Stillwater, OK, which is about 45 minutes away. Mike and Chris are from the OKC suburbs.

Good crowd tonight, about 6,000 strong. Lots and lots of friends and family in the building. Tonight I watched only the first song of the show, "Dirty Little Secret". Settlement with the promoter took far, far too long to finish, but we made pretty good dough tonight. After the show, we went straight to hotel rooms here – gonna spend our day off here tomorrow for the holiday.

Is it just me? Did you hear, see, or read ANYTHING about JFK's assassination today? Neither did I. I guess nobody cares 43 years later.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Show Day in Fort Worth

Never done a show in Fort Worth. Dozens and dozens in Dallas, but never here. Nice little theater we're doing today, the Will Rogers Auditorium, capacity 2700 or so.

Yet another night where I didn't see the show…

Monday, November 20, 2006

Day Off in Dallas

Lots of Budweiser + a couple of pints of Boddington's + more Budweiser = tossing my tacos at lunchtime. Throwing up was about the only thing I got out of bed for until around 5:30pm.

I did manage to watch a few episodes of Desperate Housewives on my laptop while lounging around the bed recovering. Pretty much a useless day, though.

Around 5:30, I grabbed a shower, walked ½ mile to Barnes and Noble for a magazine, and grabbed some Chinese food for dinner, which I ate back in my room…

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day Off in Dallas

Whoo-Hoo! Two days off in Dallas. We're staying at Hotel Lumen, a tiny (52 rooms) boutique hotel directly across the street from SMU (Southern Methodist University). First set of keys were ready at 10:30 – mine included, although I elected to hang out on the bus so I could see the Panthers game on our DirecTV NFL Ticket broadcast. No way to watch it in the room.

Finally got the last sets of keys around 2:30, but I remained on the bus until about 5:30. Finished the football game, then I watched the final NASCAR race of the season.

Ran to the room, showered, then met a bunch of folks in the lobby at 7:15 to go to dinner. About 7 of us walked ¾ of a mile to Campisi's, a great (non-chain!) Italian joint. Much revelry and food is consumed. Afterwards, off to the nearest Irish Pub.

I made the fatal mistake of switching to Boddington's Pub Ale upon arriving at the pub, after an evening of Budweisers. After a couple of Boddington's, I wasn't really feeling any love, so I went back to Bud. Boy, would I pay the price later.

Had a great time drinking and chatting with the gang, and some fuckin' loony blonde sitting at the bar. She was starkers!

At some point, someone suggested going to another neighborhood to drink the rest of the night away. Some wanted to go to Deep Ellum, but were convinced to go to Lower Greenville. Me and a couple of others opted to walk our drunk asses back to the hotel. I definitely did NOT need any more beer.

Stayed up for awhile in hope of burning off some of the alcohol...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Show Day in Memphis

Today's show is at the Mid-South Coliseum here in Memphis. Talk about history. Elvis did a gazillion shows here, including one shortly before his death in 1977. Everybody who's anybody has played here, including the Beatles. It was one of the few stops on the Beatles final American tour. Their August 19, 1966 performance is infamously known as "the firecracker concert" due to a crowd member exploding a firecracker (which some thought was a gunshot) during the show.

I won the "Roadie Of The Day" award this morning. I was having a conversation with a couple of crew guys about a certain group of lazy motherfuckers on this tour when Patrick practically leapt into one of his cases and came up with a trophy, which he presented to me with great fanfare, declaring me the ROTD. Here's a photo of the official presentation ceremony:

That's me on the left. Presenter Patrick Murphy on the right.

Close up of the trophy:

And even closer:

Amazing what you can do with a Sharpie and some white gaff tape.

I went out to front of house tonight during changeover. I've never seen anything like the little girls here in Memphis. They all kinda look like teenage Jon Benet Ramseys. Slutted up, lots of girly-girl dresses, tights, leggings, sprayed-on jeans – lots of looks – yet every single one of them is wearing 4-5 inch pumps. Strange…

Friday, November 17, 2006

Show Day in Atlanta

Today's show is at the Gwinnett Arena in the northern Atlanta suburb of Duluth. This is a great building and we have one of my favorite promoters today – Allen Corbett from AEG Live's South Carolina office. Catering kicked ass today. Allen always uses Wild Hare Catering from Marshall, NC (near Asheville), a bunch of cool, laid-back hippie types that make awesome food.

So…good building, good friends, good food. Never saw a minute of the show.

Off to Memphis at 1am.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Day Off in Atlanta

Woke up at 4:20am on the bus because the air went out. Steve had forgotten to turn on the generator A/C system before he shut off the main engine. When I made it to the front of the bus to see what was going on, I was told that we had bigtime engine problems. He was trying to see if he could duct tape enough of it together to get us to Atlanta.

I went straight back to my bunk. Ten minutes later, he cranked up the engine, then the A/C.

Got to the hotel around 11:30. Steve had to take the bus in for emergency engine repairs. We may or may not have the bus back in time for it to take us to the venue tomorrow morning.

Several folks tell me about the shenanigans that went on in the back lounge late last night. Lots of folks stayed up real late and got real drunk. Whole lotta liquor drinkin' goin' on. Evidently (unnamed audio tech) was shooting off his mouth about Sooner, our LD (and a simply lovely young lady), dropping the ball on a cue during the show. Fine, but he kept it up. Our head security guy, Marcel, told him to back off, at which point he shot his mouth off at Marcel. Call me crazy, but Marcel is a 5'10", 260 pound, former military, extremely muscular man. I am certainly not going to tell Marcel to go fuck himself. (Unnamed audio tech), in his drunken, belligerent condition, wasn't capable of exercising such restraint. So Marcel beat his ass. Right there in the back lounge of the bus. Our rigger Knuckles had to pull him off of (unnamed audio tech).

Big fun on the tour bus!

Spent the afternoon putzing around the room. Watched a couple of TV shows on my computer.

Just before 6pm, Brent Carpenter (our monitor engineer) and I met in the lobby to walk down the street to Carrabba's, where we met my buddy Chris and his wife Leslie for dinner. Chris is the Marketing and Media Manager at the Gwinnett Arena, where we're playing tomorrow. He used to be my personal trainer back home in Raleigh back in '97 and '98. That dude tortured me and got me in the best shape of my life. Sure wish he was still a trainer.

So anyway, the four of us sat there for 4½ hours drinking and eating and talking. Drank a shitload of beer - strangely enough, in full rounds. Everybody was toe-to-toe, beer-for-beer, the whole night. Got tore up from the floor up. And lucky enough for me, I was back in my room by 10:45.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Show Day in Miami

Anybody who reads this blog on a regular basis knows how much I hate Florida in general and Miami in particular. Happy to be leaving here asap tonight.

Dinner with friends in Atlanta tomorrow night…

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Show Day in Tampa

Went to Tampa. Did a show. Whip-dee-diddle-doo…

Cutest little runner you ever did see. Looked like Natalie Portman.

Oh, yeah, here's a shot of the band onstage tonight: