Friday, March 31, 2006

Show Day in Nashville

Ahhh, the brain's a bit fuzzy to start the day. Fuck it, it was worth it to hang out with Jen and see her band play.

I forgot to mention that while we were driving around Nashville yesterday, she showed me the building where here office is. She's Professor Gunderman at Vanderbilt University and teaches a couple of courses there – one about the history of rock music, the other about the history of pop music. She recently had Garry Tallent, Springsteen's bass player in to chat with her students. Cool...

Our show today is at Ryman Auditorium, a famous venue that everybody and their brother has played over the years.

No haps after the show, just get in my bunk around 2:30.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Day Off in Nashville

What a great way to start a day. I woke up about 40 miles outside of Nashville, around 7:45. Well, OK, 6:45. Forgot about the time zone change for a minute there. That's great, because it means I have an extra hour on my day off.

From the looks of the front lounge of the bus, a bunch of folks were up late last night and did some serious drinking. What a mess!

We dive into the Nashville Airport to let Ethan, our rigger, jump off the bus. He's gotta fly to L.A. today to take care of some personal business. He'll be taking the red-eye out of L.A. tonight to return for tomorrow's show. Better him than me – I hate overnight flights.

We get room keys straightaway, so I head up to the 15th floor and walk into a very toasty room. Yikes! Quickly switch the system to A/C. Gonna be about 78 degrees and gorgeous here today.

I'm armed. In the lobby I grabbed a USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Tennessean. I knock back the USA Today, then head down to Sevala's Café on the corner to grab some breakfast around 9. Believe it or not, they have the best biscuits I have ever had anywhere in my life. I loved my mom's biscuits when I was growing up, and maybe it's been too long since I had one, but these are like little pieces of heaven. I'll probably buy a bagful for the folks on the bus tomorrow morning.

My friend Jen calls a little after 1. I'm having dinner with her tonight and then going to see her band play.

In the meantime, I'm gonna wander around for a bit. She said there's a cool Ray Charles exhibit over at the Country Music Hall of Fame, so I might wander over that way.

Never made it to see Ray. I was back in my room around 4 when Jen called. I went with her to run an errand and then she drove me around East Nashville. Man, I just fell out over all the cool houses. I saw at least a hundred houses I liked. It was crazy.

We got to her and Audley's house and loaded up her gear for the gig. I got the deluxe tour of the house. Killer house, great yard, way cool patio and a really great fence. I can see why they love their house so much. We sat out back on the patio and had a beer before heading over to The Family Wash, their neighborhood watering hole and the venue where Jen's gig was gonna be tonight.

Dinner, 2 sets by the band, and about one thousand Pacifico beers later, I jump in a cab to head back to my hotel. That was the most fun I've had on a day off in a long, long time. Thanks, Jen, for the hospitality!

I wish that Audley had been around, but if he had been, I'd have been out waaaay too late and I'm sure I'd have had a mondo hangover…

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Show Day in Charlotte

Wake up around 8. Grab a bottle of water and step off the bus to have a look. Today we're playing at Ovens Auditorium, next door to the original Charlotte Coliseum, which is now called the Cricket Arena. Both venues share one parking lot.

I have a lot of history here. I lived in Charlotte from 1969-1973 and again from 1977-1984, so I kinda consider it the place I grew up in.

I remember seeing the symphony at Ovens a couple of times when I was in either elementary or junior high school.

I saw my first concert next door at the coliseum in February of '73 – Alice Cooper on the "Billion Dollar Babies" tour. It complete blew my mind. Pink fog, people openly smoking marijuana, the lights, the sound, the girls - just everything about it changed my life. I was 14 at the time, in the 9th grade at Cochrane Junior High. I went with my best buddies Rick, Kelly and Jeff. A lot of kids' parents wouldn't let them go to the show because Jeanne Dixon, who was a famous Astrologist/Psychic said that the coliseum's roof would collapse during the show and kill hundreds. Hooey! Alice was pretty much the anti-christ back then, what with the snakes, onstage executions, alcohol abuse and tales of sexual debauchery. My kind of guy!

I was once arrested right here in this very parking lot. The year was 1981. Sherry and I were living together over off Selwyn Avenue. My sister Donna (who was in sales at WBCY, one of the big rock radio stations here) had gotten us a couple ot tickets to see the Journey / Bryan Adams show at the coliseum. We'd both seen Journey a few times already and were really only coming to see Bryan. We were a few minutes late arriving, and realized that we had already missed about half of Bryan Adams' set. We debated whether to go on in, or sell the tickets and go meet Sher's mom Pat up the street at TGI Friday's, where she'd invited us to join her for dinner. We decided on the beer and the chow, so I needed to try and sell the tickets to get the bucks for dinner. I held up the tickets, and a chick in her 20's came over and asked if they were for sale. I said yep, $25 each.

Well, guess what? She was an undercover cop. I got arrested for scalping tickets. They were actually "hole-punched" comps, of no value technically, but they still had the original price on them. And as I was asking for more than the $1.00 limit (over face value) imposed by state law on re-sold tickets, I was handcuffed, read my rights, and whisked off to jail.

Bummer.

Sher had to go to my mom's house and borrow money to pay my bail. Yeah, I was a little embarrassed by that. So anyway, Sher bails me out about an hour-and-a-half or two hours later and she has a Godfather's pizza and a 6-pack of ice-cold Bud waiting in the car. Man, I loved that girl.

Saw about a million shows here in this coliseum over the years. I worked for The Record Bar here in Charlotte for 3 years, including managing one of their stores for almost 2 years. We always got free tickets from the label guys, so I'd come see shit I'd never, ever pay for, and a lot of stuff I just loved.

For lunch today, I skip catering and have one of the runners go over to South 21 and pick me up a Trout Dinner. It's a really cool drive-in restaurant on Independence Boulevard with old-fashioned curb service. Pull into a parking space (we'd always face the boulevard), use the microphone to order your food, and 5 minutes later a dude in a red jacket would plop it down on the tray outside the driver's side window and collect your money. Killuh! My family used to eat there when I was a kid. Later, my buddy Steve Thompson and I would spend many hours there, devouring trout dinners with sweet tea. For some reason, we'd always listen to classical music. But Steve and I always did weird shit.

The fish isn't really trout, it's either cod or haddock or some other whitefish. But it's damn fine.







Here's something cool. Right outside one of the venue's doors (and thankfully, one we're not using today), there's a nesting goose. The caterer shows her to me first thing in the morning, and we proceed to make her the most pampered and well-fed goose in town for the rest of the day. Her boyfriend shows up for some lunch, but that's about all we see of him all day.

Mother Goose is very protective of her nest, and whenever anyone gets within 5 feet of her, she hisses at them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Show Day in Raleigh

Our show today is at Memorial Auditorium in Raleigh. I've never done a show here before, but I've attended a few. I recognize a few familiar faces working as stagehands and security folks. It's nice to do a gig at home.

After the show, I drag a few crew folks up the street to Slim's, which we close down. I don't usually go out drinking after shows anymore, but I'm in Raleigh so I make the exception. Back to the bus and I head to my bunk around 2:45…

Monday, March 27, 2006

Day Off in Raleigh

Yay! A day off at home. I woke up on the bus about 10 miles outside of Raleigh around 7:00. We're at the hotel and I'm in my room around 7:30. We're staying at the Embassy Suites at the corner of Creedmoor and Glenwood. Our production manager is completely bonkers for P.F. Chang's, so this is the area he always stays in when he comes to Raleighwood.

I grab a quick breakfast and call Greg Howard, who lives 5 minutes away and has graciously offered to give me a ride to my apartment. By 8:30, I've got a load of laundry going and I sit down to catch up on the "24" episodes I've been Tivo'ing.

Greg brought me a big bag of mail to deal with. For years all of my mail has been going to my friend Paige's house and she pays my bills and stuff while I'm on the road. Which is a complete godsend for me, as I otherwise would have no one to look after things for me. So anyway, Paige and Greg met a few years ago and are now married, which is why he showed up with the sack 'o stuff.

Around lunchtime I head over to check progress on the house. The flooring company replanked the 2nd bedroom and a bit of the living room a few weeks ago, and I want to check it out before they start the sanding and refinishing, which they are supposed to start on tomorrow.

So here's what it looks like today…












I run around and do some other errands – hit 2 banks, the post office, and stick my head in at my Starbucks at Cameron Village. Two of my girls there ask me how the tour's going. I also have to run back out to the hotel because I forgot the FedEx package I have to get out today.

Drop the FedEx at the Kinko's by NC State, and run into Schoolkids Records to buy a few CD's.

Back at the house, I repack and catch up on some more home time. I also burn about 10-12 more CD's into my laptop. Always need fresh tunes.

Greg and Paige show up around 6:30 to pick me up for dinner. We're meeting some other folks at the Ale House. Everyone bails early, and I'm back at the hotel by 9. Fine by me, as I've gotta be up around 6am tomorrow morning.

A little tube, and off to sleepyville…

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Show Day in Jacksonville

One more show to get through, then I'm home for a day off.

I wake up around 7am. Load-in isn't until 9, so I've got fuckall to do. It's cold outside the bus. I take a walk to see what's around. There's a Starbucks 300 feet from the bus, but they don't open until 8.

The venue today is in the Jacksonville Landing area, a cool outdoor dining and entertainment spot down on the St. John's River. Here's the view outside the venue.









And here's the statue outside.





The last show I did here at the landing was in '93 or '94 with Cry of Love. We were opening for the Smithereens. I made friends with their backline crew chief Kevin and later when they came to Raleigh (and had a day off), me and my buddy Jeff McIntyre went to their hotel (Holiday Inn on Capital Blvd.), jumped on their tour bus, and took them all out to a Mudcats game. After the game, we wound up down on Hillsborough St. at the Brewery and then the Comet Lounge. I don't remember much about the night other than the fact that we consumed everything that was put in front of me. Also, Pat DiNizio, the singer, hooked up with Susie Blackdress, a local skank. Ira, their drum tech (who later started and still plays in the band Nada Surf) had a whole bevy of babes by the end of the night.

Wow, that was a tangent…

Anyway, the show is earlier tonight than normal by 30 minutes, which is great because I wanna get home in the morning. We're supposed to be rolling by 12:30. 450 miles to Raleigh, so I should be at the hotel by 8:30 am. I'm gonna stay at the crew hotel, even though I live in Raleigh. It's just more convenient. Greg Howard's gonna pick me up early and run me to my apartment, so I can get my car and run errands…

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Show Day in Clearwater

Woke up at the venue. Today were at the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL, in the Tampa Bay area. Nice, newly-renovated hall. Best catering of the tour so far. Lunch was so good that by 3pm, I'm ready for a sissy-nap. That's what we call the naps that people take in the middle of the day. Usually it's the folks who stay up way late on the bus and have lots of free time in the afternoon. The same fuckers who keep people awake late at night with their drinking and noise making. I've been wearing earplugs on the bus for years, so they don't really bother me – I can pass right on out. But if you have to go take a nap in the middle of the day, we think you're a sissy…

Needless to say (I love when people say that – if it's really "needless to say", then why the hell are you saying it?), no nap for me. I take a walk instead. Run into Carlton, our monitor engineer on the way out, and he joins me. We walk about half a mile away to the shopping center, and hit the smokeshop so he can buy a carton of cigarettes. I've been trying to convince him for about a week that he should try a cigar sometime. He likes to drink brandy and I think he'd enjoy it. The smokeshop has a large humidor room, so we peruse their selection and the salesman helps Carlton pick out a few. I used to puff the occasional Partagas cigar, mostly to annoy the hell out of other people, but no way in hell I would now.

The rest of the day is pretty routine. Just trying to get home at this point.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Show Day in Miami

Today is the first of two days here in Miami. I never leave the building - nothing to report…

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Day Off in Miami

The rooms weren't ready when we arrived at the hotel, so I take a walk for about 45 minutes to scope out the area. There's a huge shopping area across the street called Sawgrass Mills. It must be 5 times the size of Crabtree and all on one level, so there's a lot of walking to be done. They also have a massive restaurant plaza with a Cheesecake Factory, Legal Seafood (the best!), and a whole lot more. There's a 23 screen movie theater, so it's gonna be movie day for me.

Go back to the hotel. Everyone's off the bus and my key's the only one sitting on the table. Upstairs to grab a shower and check email, then I'm off to the 5:15 showing of Ultraviolet, the new Milla Jovovich movie. The theater is about a 25 minute walk from the hotel, so I leave plenty early. This is supposed to be big action, so that calls for a LARGE popcorn. I've got the entire theater to myself – love it.

The movie's a little cartoon-y, but I'd pay 6 bucks anyday just to look at Milla.

I check out a couple of restaurants afterwards, but decide to go back to the hotel and just grab a bite there. Catch a little TV, and lights out around 11…

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Show Day in Atlanta

Got up around 8:30. This Embassy Suites offers a free full breakfast until 9:30. I get dressed and head down, but there must be 50 people in line. Fuck that! I walk down the street to the CNN Center – there's a big old Starbuck's kiosk in the middle of the lobby/food court area. I grab a scone and a hot chocolate and do some people watching for an hour.

Back to the hotel and do some serious catching up on the blog. I post everything up through last night. I've got a couple of newspapers to read, too.

We're not gonna check out until 4:45 today to head back for night 2 at the Fox, so I've got a good chunk of time to kill. No way I’m sitting here until then, though. I'll probably cab it over to the venue so I can get started on my day. If I don't start until 5, I'll never get all my work done.

It's rainy and cold again here today. We have a day off in Miami tomorrow, then shows there on Thursday and Friday.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Show Day in Atlanta

Today and tomorrow we're playing at the Fox Theatre. This place is absolutely beautiful. It holds 4600 people.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd live album was recorded here, and everybody and their brother has played there sometime during their career.

When I lived in Charlotte back in the 70's and early 80's, we'd come to Atlanta to see shows that didn't pass through NC, and usually that would mean a trip to the Fox.

I saw the Kinks here on the Low Budget tour, with Herman Brood and His Wild Romance ("Saturday Night") opening.

Saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers during their Damn The Torpedoes tour. Got to meet the band and drink a bunch of beer with them at the aftershow party - most of my friends and I worked for The Record Bar (a chain of record stores) back then. I remember Tom Petty walking around with a bottle of champagne, in a celebratory mood for having sold out such a big (for him) room. His mom was there, too, at the party.

Our dearly departed friend Donnie Morse was the biggest Tom Petty fan and supporter on the planet. He was in seventh heaven getting to meet and speak to his idol. It was Donnie who originally turned us all on to TP when his first record came out.

I also got to see the Rolling Stones here in 1981. I paid $250 for a fifth-row seat right in front of Keith Richards. That was a helluva lot of money in 1981 for a guy like me, but hey, it was the Stones. I came with Sherry Willey (my girlfriend during the entire 80's), Steve Thompson, Bob Patterson, Pete Davis, Cheryl "Gidget" Dennehy, and (I think) Hal Clanton. I eventually snuck the entire gang down to the 5th row, Either Steve or Bob P. had the seat next to me, so I kept walking out with both ticket stubs and passing off the second one to one of the gang, who'd then walk in with me.

What a great road trip that was. It seems like we all drank a million beers and had the time of our lives on that trip. We were all 21-23 years old then and just hanging out together was a celebration. I really miss those people and those good times.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Day Off in Atlanta

Our hotel today is the Embassy Suites, overlooking Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta. Cenn Park is where the bomb went off during the 1996 Olympics.

The CNN Center is a block down the street. I wandered around in there for about an hour. You can take a tour of the CNN studios, but I don't really feel like doing it. There's a bunch of stuff nearby, and there's a Ruth's Chris Steak House in the hotel.

The race never gets going today due to the rain here in Hotlanta. Instead, I watch Carolina lose in the second round of NCAA play. I'm kinda surprised they made it this far considering how many great players they lost last year. To make the day even worse (basketball-wise, that is – personally, I'm having a great day), NC State falls to Texas.

I call up Big Bob, our venue security guy. I owe him a meal, and I suggest Ruth's Chris. I've never eaten there before. Pretty damn good meal.

After dinner, it’s back to the room. Gotta catch the Sopranos. Do some reading and wind up in bed around midnight…

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Show Day in Little Rock

Little Rock, home of Sweet Sweet Connie. If you don't know who I'm talking about, download a copy of Grand Funk's "We're An American Band." I haven't seen her since '96, but she's still around.

It's the 8th show of the tour, and today's the first time I've seen any veggie burgers in catering at lunchtime. Happy Happy Joy Joy! It really only takes a few simple things to make me happy. The food and catering staff here are great. Dinner's good, too.

We decide on Thai food for the buses after the show tonight. I normally don't eat aftershow food, but I order some Pad Thai anyway. I'll throw it in the fridge on the bus and it'll be my lunch tomorrow in my hotel room, while I'm watching the race.

I apologize for all the boring entries in my blog lately. This is not exactly the most fun tour I've ever been on. And on days off I've been laying low.

I'll see if I can spice it up at some point. Be sure to keep bail money and the address of the nearest Western Union office handy in case I call you in the middle of the night.

And remember, I'll only get one phone call…

Friday, March 17, 2006

Show Day in Austin

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today we're in Austin, on the campus of the University of Texas, at the Bass Performance Hall.

The humongous South By Southwest Music Festival is going on here this weekend. I've got friends playing, and friends attending. Wish I had the day off. Terry Anderson played this afternoon with Walter Clevenger, a power-popper I like. And I’m stuck in a basement instead.

I decided to Zep out today. Listened to all 56 songs in my iTunes Library. It made my day go by in a more rockin' way. And that's important.

I gotta buy some Zep CD's and round out my collection. I could see myself sitting on the rear deck of my new house vegging out to some cool tunes. Here's the view of the back yard while I'm rocking and drinking a Bud…


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Show Day in Dallas

Got up at 5:30 this morning. It was still very dark outside. We have a 7:45 bus call today. I really like the venue today. It's the Nokia Theatre here in Dallas, and my buddy Billy Morgan is the production guy there. He came up and did our show in Oklahoma City the other night, too. Great guy. Great room. Great crew.

I'm all kinds of busy today. Never get a chance to slow down until after 1am. Now I'm just too damn tired, so I'm gonna head out to Bunky World.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Day Off in Dallas

Got in my bunk last night around 1:30 am. I wasn't really tired, but since there are 8 other people who live on my bus, there were bodies everywhere. I needed some alone time. I read maybe 4 pages before sleep took over…

I woke up at 5:40 as we pulled into the lovely Sheraton Suites. Sure wish I could have gotten more sleep than that. Gratton's back in a few minutes with room keys. I head up to my room and try to catch a few winks, but it's just no use.

Knock out most of USA Today, then head down the block to Denny's for breakfast. There's absolutely fuck-all to do around here. There's a montrous Hilton across the street, a Renaissance, a Wyndham, a Ramada, a Fairfield, and a few others. We're talking a 2-block stretch with tons of hotels, yet the ONLY restaurant (other than the ones in the hotels) is a Denny's. Not just any Denny's, but the Denny's with the worst staff in America. I've stayed here a few times, and eaten at this damn restaurant more times than I can count. Pretty sure I ranted about it last August when I was here during the System of a Down tour.

So it's Denny's for breakfast, then back to the room to blog, read, and watch Headline News.

Back at Denny's around 2, where I meet up with Carlton (monitor engineer) and Big Bob Fontenot (venue security guy). We laugh through lunch and then discuss going to Jade, the Oriental massage joint 2 doors down. Can you say "happy ending?"

Instead, we all head back to our rooms. I'm just gonna kick it here for a few more hours.

Man, I just can't get motivated to do anything tonight. I'd like to go down to Deep Ellum (the Dallas equivalent to the French Quarter), and eat 'n drink at Sol's Taco Lounge, but it looks like I'm gonna just stay in. I order a small pizza and some Budweisers from room service and that's gonna do it. Watch the season premiere of the Sopranos and off to sleep.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Show Day in Houston

Our show today is at the symphony hall. Nothing much to report, except that this building has lots of stairs.

Lots.

Today is a one-in-a-row. We've got another day off tomorrow in Dallas.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Day Off in Houston

We arrived at the hotel this morning around 8:45. Rooms were ready and waiting, which was great. I grab 3 papers in the lobby – the Houston Chronicle, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Guess what I'm doing today?

Strange internet at the hotel today. I can get on AOL and handle email, but I can't use Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, or even the AOL browser to get to the web and hit all my usual websites. Bummer, because I was gonna get the blog all caught up today. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day off, which will be Wednesday in Dallas.

Big, big mall a block away. I head out of my room around 2. It's about 75 degrees, but a lot of cloud coverage. I think it rained before we got here, and it threatens all day long. On the way to the mall, I come across The Container Store. Man, I sure wish there was one of these in Raleigh. For a new homeowner, it just might be the coolest store on earth. I spent about 45 minutes wandering around in there. I never knew there were trash cans worthy of being lusted over. Believe me, there are.

Spot a Starbucks in the parking lot as I'm leaving. I haven't eaten today and it's nearly 3. Looks like they've got about a dozen tables outside, so I'll grab something and enjoy the sunshine. Before I get too close, I spot a half-dozen familiar faces, including the boss (R. Kelly). They've got a couple of tables pushed together, and a small group of women are getting autographs from Rob. I don't like to run into folks I tour with on my days off, so I decide to bag the 'Bucks. No biggie, because I immediately spot a Barnes & Noble across the street, with another Starbucks inside it. Score…

One cinnamon-chip scone and a grande hot chocolate later, I'm wandering around the mall. The very upscale mall. I find The Walking Store and buy a new pair of Merrells, as mine are on the cusp. New dogs here:





Wander the mall for another hour, then take about a 30 minute roundabout walk back to the hotel, searching out dinner options. Some cool stuff in the area, but I'm not sure I'll feel like venturing out again later. Just off the lobby is the Omaha Steakhouse (a supposedly good steakhouse), so that might be the choice for dinner.

We have so many show days and so few days off on this tour that I'm just rolling in per diem money, so I won't mind springing 18 bucks for the grilled salmon. If you didn't know already, I'm a cheap fucker when I'm on the road. Standard per diem for crew guys is $245 a week ($35 a day for you Liberal Arts majors), and I like to stash at least a hundred of that every week to take home. If there was a Subway in the lobby, I'd eat there in a heartbeat over a sitdown dinner. And this whole homeowning thing has made me even more frugal.

So…..

Wound up at the hotel bar. Had dinner there – the salmon was good. A really cute blonde named Lisa came and sat beside me. She works for a German software company and lives in San Francisco. Originally from Pennsylvania, lived in Chicago for a few years, and has been in S.F. for the last 5 years. Her job has her travelling Monday through Thursday every week, except for holiday season, so about 200 days a year. I can relate.

Really cool girl…

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Show Day in OKC

Today's show is at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City, which is the symphony hall here. Beautiful room, but I'll take the Fox in St. Louis anyday.

I stay incredibly busy all day. Seems like it's 8pm in the blink of an eye. All the better, as this is the 4th show in a row. Tomorrow, we've got the day off in Houston.

Show Day in Oklahoma City

Today's show is at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City, which is the symphony hall here. Beautiful room, but I'll take the Fox in St. Louis anyday.

I stay incredibly busy all day. Seems like it's 8pm in the blink of an eye. All the better, as this is the 4th show in a row. Tomorrow, we've got the day off in Houston.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Show Day in Tulsa

Yuck! The Brady Theater in Tulsa. This place is a complete shithole. I haven't been here since 1999. I was tour managing Machine Head and we were out opening for Sevendust.

Anyway, the Brady is a bit too small for this tour. Tiny production office – me and Gratton barely fit in there.

Merle Haggard played here last night to a packed house. Wish I could have seen that.

I actually watch the first 5-6 minutes of the show tonight. Definitely not my thing musically, but a great entrance.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Show Day in St. Louis

Today we're in St. Louis, playing at the beautiful Fox Theatre. Have you ever seen the Chuck Berry movie "Hail, Hail Rock 'n Roll?" It was filmed here. This place is amazing. Sorry to say that I didn't get any photos today.

Janet's dog Baxter comes by to visit today. He's a big goofy boxer, with a great personality. But since we've now become a "no visitation", he couldn't come in and hang out. So all Baxter hangtime was in the parking lot.

My old buddy Sunil brought him by. Sunil and JT used to date. Sunil used to run the amphitheater here, but these days he's Rod Stewart's tour accountant.

Catering was great today. The best so far. Considering today's only the second show, I guess that doesn't mean too much...

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Show Day in Kansas City

The first dump truck started backing down the giant ramp at exactly 6:38 this morning.

Fucker.

You'd think that being 23 floors up would alleviate some of the noise pollution.

You'd be wrong.

Fucker.

Trucker.

Trucker-Fucker.

Noisy-Assed Trucker-Fucker.

OK, I'm done.

First show tonight. As always, I don't see a minute of it. There's supposed to be a couple of cool production bits in the show. I'll catch it in a few days, maybe.

After the night is done, I sit in production listening to tunes and catching up on the blog. People are complaining that I'm not keeping it up. Not for lack of wanting to, I promise…

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Rehearsal Day in Kansas City

More of the same.

More of the same.

More of the same.

More of the same.

Man, screw all the rehearsing. Let's get this show on the road.

And really, fuck this dial-up internet crap.

And really, really fuck that construction going on next door. I can't wait to get in my bunk on the bus, so I can get some sleep.

The buses arrived today. Prevost H-3's. All of 'em. Pretty much the worst buses we could have. I'm bummed. As is typical, no storage cabinets or closets anywhere on the bus, so I'll have to have my safe mounted in a drawer in the back lounge. These things ride like shit, too. The only good thing about it is the fact that the bunks are just HUGE. And that's with a 12-bunk setup. Cool.

Gratton tells me that our bus used to by Monkey's bus. I think Monkey (or Munkey, or whatever…) is a musician in Korn (or maybe Limp Bizkit). One of those bands that Gratton worked for.

Hope the driver's good.

Finally get out of the venue around 12:30. Don't have to be back until 11 tomorrow morning. Yay!

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Rehearsal Day in Kansas City

Another day pretty much like yesterday. I'm up just after 6:30, which coincides with all the construction guys cranking up next door at the site of a very big project.

At the gig by 9, out just after midnight.

Monday, March 6, 2006

Rehearsal Day in Kansas City

Well, I guess I deserved that. I was asleep last night by 9; so I was wide awake at 1:30am. Finally fell back asleep an hour or two later, only to be up for good before 5.

I make the 2 block walk to the venue and arrive around 7:45 for our 8am load-in. Gonna be a long day.

And a slow one. No high-speed internet service here. Which is really a bummer since we'll be here until Thursday night. I'm sharing a phone line with Bob Fontenot, our venue security guy. We're both using the one line for all of our calls AND for dial-up internet service. Man, I forgot how s…l...o…w this crap is. Three days of this is gonna be torture.

Out at 10:30pm, because the band never made it today. A bunch of folks head straight to the hotel bar – I join 'em for a while. Slap back a few $4.25 Buds and head up to my room shortly after midnight.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

Travel Day to Kansas City

Up at 6am. Run grab a paper and a hot chocolate at Starbucks. Call Paige around 9am to make sure she's awake. She sounds like shit. She's been up hurling since (I think) around 4am. I offer to call myself a cab ("I'm a cab!"), but she says she's OK to drive. She picks me up around 9:30 to head to the airport. She looks more than a little green around the gills. She only had a couple of drinks last night – that's not the culprit. Might be a case of food poisoning, or maybe a bit of this nasty flu bug that's been going around. I thought she was gonna puke the whole way out to the airport. She's even got a plastic puke sack in her lap in anticipation. I offer to drive, but she still says she's good.

I find out when I call her later that she DID throw up after letting me out at the terminal. Puked right into the bag and kept on driving. That's killer!!! I'm damn proud of that girl…

I have a connecting flight in Cincinnati, and about an hour and a half to kill. I've always liked the Cincy airport, so I wander around and do some window shopping to kill time.

I make it to Kansas City around 3:30 and to the hotel around 4:30. We're staying 4 nights at the Radisson downtown and I gotta tell ya, downtown KC is deader than hell on the weekends. I spent about an hour walking around. It's like a freakin' graveyard. Wind up back at the hotel, eventually heading down for dinner around 7pm, where I got just what I was trying to avoid, a $55 dollar meal – Salmon and smashed taters, and the best salad I've had in months. Oh, yeah, and 3 Buds.

In the room and I was asleep by 9. Dreamed about moving into my new house. Here's what the view will be like when I'm sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch:

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Last Day Off at Home

Last full day at home – gotta fly out tomorrow morning. Start the day with my customary 3-mile walk to clear my head and set my agenda for the day.

Errands, errands, errands…

All damn day.

Oh, yeah. A little bit of ACC basketball action on TV, too.

And I got this shot of the house from across the street in the park:





Pick up Paige around 6. We're driving up to Wake Forest to have dinner at Chris Sheridan's house. Big fun - good food and good times.

I'm back home around 11 and do a final pack.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Day Off at Home

Hit it early this morning. Lots to do today – last business/banking day before I leave. Get the rental turned in an hour early and head back to Home Depot. Those damn cheap-ass gloves I got yesterday gave me 2 mondo blisters. I think I'll spring for the good ones. It's always true: a price buyer is a twice buyer.

Get to the house and discover that the contractor has put in the porch ceiling this morning. Here's the "before" shot:





And here's a couple of shots of the new tongue and groove plank ceiling:








Yay! Another step closer to moving in. One day. Maybe.

Go to dinner with some friends. Mmmmm, cold beer…

Home by 10pm. I'm boring today.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Day Off at Home

Nice to sleep in my own bed a few more nights before being gone for 10 weeks.

The TAO guys call mid-morning. Bad news. They can't get the starter they need until tomorrow morning. Not good. But that's life.

I jump online and rent a car from Enterprise. They'll come pick me up later (around 2:45) and take me to their office downtown to pick up the car.

Yay! Rolling again!

As soon as I get the car, I'm off to Home Depot to get some tools. Grab a hoe (ho-ho), two kinds of rakes, a shovel, a cultivator, a spade, and some work gloves. Geez, Louise, Mr. Homeowner! Head to the house to do some work.

Looks like I have gutters now:





Still no porch ceiling yet, though:





Gotta call the contractor.

Again.

Sheesh!

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Travel Day to Raleigh

Uneventful flight home from Chicago. As soon as I get home, I have to run a few quick errands, then drop my car off at TAO Auto to get the starter replaced. Hopefully, the (always efficient) guys there can get it back to me by mid-afternoon tomorrow. I've got a helluva lot of stuff to do during my few days back in town.