Sunday, April 30, 2006

Day Off in Denver

Wake up around 7:30am, but I lay in my bunk for the better part of an hour. It's 916 miles from Minneapolis to Denver and I don't think we'll be there before 3pm, so there's no real reason to get up.

Except that I can't go back to sleep.

So I'm up around 8. Sit up front with the driver. We're somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, hauling ass. He's pedal to the metal, about 80 mph.

I'm the only one awake for several hours. We're cruising with the other crew bus, and there's a third bus tagging along with us. I ask who it is. My driver's been chatting with the guy driving the third bus. He says it's a private coach, with some writer from North Carolina. ???? Wonder who that is?

A couple of hours later, all 3 buses pull into a truckstop to refuel. I get off my bus and strike up a conversation with Allen, the driver of the third bus. He's hauling none other than Maya Angelou, former Poet Laureate of the U.S. She delivered a poem at Bill Clinton's January 1993 inaugural celebration. Since 1981 Angelou is a lifetime Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Awesome. Maya's 78 years old, and rockin' the USA in her own tour bus. She's on the way to Greeley, Colorado, which is about 60 miles outside of Denver. Going to the ranch of her best friend, Oprah Winfrey, who is also on the bus. Pretty cool. Allen says they're en route from NYC, and that Ms. Angelou doesn't like to fly. Hell, if I had a bus as nice as hers, I wouldn't want to, either. I wish Oprah had gotten off the bus…

Anyway, make it to the hotel around 2. Throw my stuff into my room, and flip on the TV. No race – it looks like they got rained out in Alabama. That's actually good news, because now they'll run the race tomorrow and I've got the day off. Yee-Haw!

No race, so I go take a walk in the light drizzle. From my last stay here at the lovely Loew's Hotel in Denver, I remember there being a couple of high end audio stores a block or two away.

I'm doing some research on subwoofers. I gotta downsize some stuff for the house, as I’m trying to get rid of clutter. The big TV's gotta go – I'm thinking I'll hang a plasma flatscreen over the mantel. The two BIG subwoofers have got to go. There's just not gonna be enough room for them in the new living room. One of them will wind up in the pinball room, with the stereo there. May keep one in the LR, or may replace it with something smaller and more powerful.

I audition what I think is gonna be my new baby – a Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Signature. It's a fire-breathing, 2700-watt demon that can rattle the picture frames off of your next-door neighbor's walls. I've been wanting one of these for a couple of years now, just never got around to it. Can't wait…

I stop at Wahoo's on the way back to the room and grab a couple of fish tacos that'll be dinner later. Stop at the 7-Eleven for a six-pack of Bud, too.

Back at the hotel, I get online and I'm disappointed to find out there's not a damn thing to do here, insofar as going to see a rock band. I thought Buckcherry was playing tonight, but they're not. Grab the local rag and check all the concert and club listings. Man, for a city as big as Denver, there ain't shit going on tonight. I call my buddy Mike LaTronico, who's a promoter rep here, but I get his voice mail.

Do some blogging, Here's the view outside my fifth-floor window…

After chowing in my room, I wander across the street and discover an old man bar I never noticed before in my previous stays here. It's called Doctor Proctor's Lounge. It's so much like Northside Billiards back home it's scary. Except that it has twice as many pool tables (6 vs. 3) and about twice the normal crowd. They even do karaoke on Saturday night's here, just like NB. Terry Beal, where are you when I need you?

They've got one of those internet-connected jukeboxes like the Ruckmoor in Columbus has, but there's something wrong with the connection, so the only tunes I can play are the ones already on it. Kinda limits my selections, but I dump 10 bucks in it anyway. The good news is, since I can only play what's already here, I get twice as many songs for the money.

400 beers later, I'm back in my room, where I fall asleep sitting at the desk, websurfing.

Glad no one had a camera…

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Show Day in Minneapolis

Last show in the midwest. We head to Denver tonight. We're off Sunday and Monday. Sure hope we make it to Denver in time for me to see some of the Talladega race on TV. For whatever reason, the satellite system on the bus doesn't pick up the major networks. We've got every stupid movie and sports and porn channel ever invented, but I can't watch a race on NBC. Or Fox, whichever channel the race is on…

Friday, April 28, 2006

Show Day in Milwaukee

Today is show #35 of 49. Counting 'em down.

Blah, blah, blah…

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Show Day in Chicago

Tonight is show 2 of 2 here in the Windy City, R. Kelly's hometown.

I looked at a bunch of photos of my house the other day. You know, the one I bought back in January, but can't move into until this tour is over.

Is it over yet?

I really don't wanna be here…

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Show Day in Chicago

Did a show. Whoop-de-fucking-doo!

Today this feels way too much like a J-O-B.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Day Off in Chicago

Rudely awakened at 7:30am. We're at the hotel and somebody's yelling for everyone to get off the bus, because it has to leave – it can't park at the hotel. That's funny, because when I look out my room window 15 minutes later, I watch the driver park it 200 feet away from where we were thrown out. Asshole…

The temperature here never gets above 46 degrees today. I spend a couple of hours walking around this part of the downtown area. Park it at Starbucks for awhile.

My friend Evie's out of town, on the road this week with some metal band. She's a masseuse and does merch, too. I've got a couple of other folks I could (and should) call, but I don't think I'd be very good company today.

Not really in the mood to do much. When I make it back to the hotel, I hit the bar in the lobby. Have a few beers - $6.00 a pop for Budweiser – Ouch! Order a fruit and cheese plate ($16.00 – double ouch…) and take it up to my room for dinner.

So much for any kind of fun today.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Show Day in Cleveland

Mike Boykin from Sedaris Hardwoods went by my house a few days ago, took some photos, and emailed them to me. Here's what my newly refinished hardwood floors look like…

Can't wait to move in...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Show Day in Detroit

Playing today at the Fox Theatre here in Detroit. My first show here was back in 1993, when I was tour managing Cry Of Love. We were opening for Robert Plant at the time in the US, and then toured Europe with him, too.

After the show, Gratton and I go to a bar down the street. I almost never go drinking after a show. This is only the second time in 33 shows that I've gone out afterwards. The other time was at home in Raleigh, when I dragged some crew folks up the street Slim's, a Raleigh rock 'n roll dive bar.

So anyway, this bar we go to is pretty wild. Every woman in the place is two things: gorgeous and drunk. We grab a couple of stools at the bar and get to work. I'm sticking to beer, he's all about Petron (sp?) and beer. The 3 bartenders are all babelicious. And friendly. They're knocking backing shots with some of the customers. One of them (the blonde) pretty much keeps her hand in her crotch the whole time. Wild young crowd – chicks kissing chicks, etc.

(unmentionable description of events over the next 60 minutes)

We make it back to the bus around 2:30. I put my drunk ass into my bunk.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Show Day in Columbus

Woke up. Did a show. Got on the bus. Went to sleep.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Day Off in Columbus

We arrived at the hotel just before 9am. I love this Sheraton because there's lots of stuff to do here.

By 9:30, I'm at the Starbucks nearby, where I spend 2 hours reading the paper and having scone. Take a walk after that, mostly to clear my head and plan the rest of my day off. I check to see what movies are playing at the multiplex across from the hotel, then grab a sandwich from Panera for later.

Spend most of the day hanging out in the room listening to tunes and doing some work. Grab a shower and then head out just before 6 for dinner. Wind up at the sushi bar for dinner and brews. By 7:30, I'm at my Columbus home away from home, the Ruckmoor Pub.

The Ruckmoor is a great old man bar that I found last year. A bit smoky, but worth the visit. I'm in luck tonight – due to the great weather, they've got all 3 doors open and the breeze is blowing through.

The first thing I do (after ordering a $2.50 Bud in the can) is drop $25.00 in the jukebox and proceed to play all of MY favorite songs. Three-plus hours and many beers later, my music runs out, which means it's time for me to go.

Walk back to my room (about 4 blocks) and hit the hay.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Show Day in Syracuse

Nothing worth writing about today. I was busy as all hell, though.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Show Day in New York City

Up at 5:30. Suppose to be in the lobby at 6:45. Ugh!

I finally hit the lobby around 7:30. No big deal as the load-in's not scheduled until 8am. I check out and wheel my shit 4 blocks to the gig. Our show today is at Radio City Music Hall. What an awesome venue.

When I was tour managing the Squirrel Nut Zippers back in the 90's, we opened a show here for Tony Bennett. How cool is that? He even came into my production office and introduced himself that afternoon. A true gentleman.

Anyway, I'm in the building around 7:45. I don't leave again until around 1am. Since we're in New York, we have Ray's pizza on the bus for aftershow food. Mmmmm…


Monday, April 17, 2006

Day Off in New York City

A black cloud has descended over Manhattan. My worst fears have come true…

Ye Olde Tripple Inn is no more.

The "Trip" has been my favorite bar in the Big Apple for almost 10 years now. My friend CJ first took me there back in the day. Here's a little history on the best bar in NYC:

"Ye Olde Tripple Inn in New York City. Less than a block away from The Late Show with David Letterman, it’s a venerable old family-run bar/restaurant with oodles of history. Liza Minelli had her first legal drink here, the Beatles hung here to escape the mayhem before their first Ed Sullivan appearance, and scores of performers like Freddie Prinze got their first shot appearing in the Tripple’s showcases.

The regulars, and the wanderers - are a really diverse group. Somehow the Trip manages to attract the young and beautiful, the old and gnarled, and everyone in-between. But mainly, the place has heart. Even if you’re just drinking diet coke, you’ll feel better after one tall cold one there."

Damn, I'm gonna miss it.

I really need to call a couple of my friends here today and try to hook up. You know who you are – Sarah and Jimmy. Sorry, y'all.

After fiddlin' about in my room for most of the morning, I jump online and start Googling for some bars to hit today, in hopes of finding a replacement for the Trip.

About a quarter to three, I head out; I'm a man on a mission…

First Stop, Jimmy's Corner, 140 W. 40th St.

What they say:

"Cheap beer, multiple TV sets, an awesome collection of boxing memorabilia, a fierce jukebox and an adorable Eurotrash waitstaff are all key attractions."

Defiinitely an old man bar. A liitle too old man for me, even. No sign of any "Eurotrash" waitstaff. Maybe I'd have lasted for more than one beer there if there'd been any cuties like that. Just a grumpy old bartender dude behind the bar.

My rating: One and done.

Second Stop, Smith's, 701 8th Ave.

What they say:

"As long as Smith's Bar is in business, the Disneyfication of the neighborhood will never be complete. The atmosphere and characters in this loud, smoky bar are 100 percent old-school Times Square at its best. Working-class men and a few women jam the long bar and side booths, all swilling long necked bottles of Budweiser, smoking, yelling about sports and broads and cursing Hillary Clinton."

What a dump. Zero atmosphere. Zero vibe. The $3.00 Bud's rock, but who cares when the bar itself offers so little.

And anybody who's dissing Hillary can just go ahead and kiss my ass now…

My rating: One and done.

Third Stop, Bull Moose Tavern, 354 W. 44th St. (btwn. 8th & 9th Ave.)

What they say:

"The Scene:
There are plenty of pleasant, unpretentious bars that call themselves "dives" merely because it's more interesting than calling themselves "pleasant, unpretentious bars." Bull Moose Saloon, on the other hand, is actually a dive. It's for folks who want to save a few bucks and don't mind giant glowing beer logos, numerous massive TVs and bartenders who seem to want very badly not to be there.

The Draw:
There is a menu of burgers and sandwiches, and the beer is cheap, with a respectable set of tap handles ranging from Bud to Bass. Young Hell's Kitchen types take their libations by the pool table in the front room, alternately standing to shoot, sitting to sip and standing to shoot again. If you're low on bread and want to quench your thirst to the jangly guitar accompaniment of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the "Reservoir Dogs" soundtrack, this is your place."

I really liked this place. It is soooo NOT a dive, though, despite what the writer above says. I couldn't disagree more about that point – that person's obviously never been to a real dive bar. It's comfy place, not a dive. I'd definitely come back here and I'd bring friends. I was already getting a buzz from the beers at stops 1 and 2, so I ordered some jalapeno poppers, and even had a second beer here. Too bad I'm on a mission today, because I had only one old geezer with whom to share the bartender's attention. She was a drop-dead-beautiful brunette named Natasha, from the Ukraine. Friendly, funny, and nice. She works here only 2 days per week, Monday and Tuesday. She also works a couple of days per week at the owner's other bar.

My rating: See ya again soon, Bull Moose.

Fourth Stop, The Collins Bar, 735 8th Ave.

What they say:

"The Scene
If you don't want to sit at the bar, your only other alternative is one of the half-dozen wooden booths, which are as hard and unforgiving as church pews. The seating arrangements aren't exactly communal, either--since each booth can barely accommodate four non-waifish people. Expect to stand if you're coming with a large group.

The Draw
Formerly known as the Full Moon Saloon, it was once one of Eighth Avenue's sleaziest watering holes; it's under a facelift, and the space is now decorated with chic, intimate minimalism--think votives, blond wood, exposed brick and even a fish tank--and a crowd of theatergoers, local office workers and post-collegiate types. With upscale tap beers and a first-rate jukebox filled with everything from ambient to Steely Dan, the Collins is perfect for a quick, after-work pint or for a post-theater nightcap."

"A groovy art-deco feel - comfy booths, free popcorn, live fish - a welcome new addition to Hell's Kitchen. Incredible jukebox, live music and mime's drink free. Look for your name on the 'Buy a Drink For a Friend' board."

I really, really like this place. A rock 'n roll dive bar. Amazing jukebox. Everything from Willie Nelson to Iggy Pop to Marvin Gaye, and all stops in between. I could stay here for days.

My rating: Can't wait to come back. Might be my new fave bar in the city.

Fifth stop, Scruffy Duffy's, 8th Ave. (btwn 46th and 47th St.)

What they say:

"The Scene
A huge after-work crowd piles into this handsome, friendly Hell's Kitchen bar to partake of the 20+ beers and the easygoing camaraderie. Despite the long mahogany bar and a good handful of small tables, you'll be hard-pressed to find a seat in the early evenings, so be prepared to stand. Late nights and weekends the mass thins out a bit, leaving the hard-core sports fans to duke it out over their favorite athletic franchises.

The Draw
A half-dozen TVs--including several flat-screens and one projection screen in the back--means that any way you turn, there's a good angle. And with a personal sound system at each table, you won't miss a single word. The bar is also renowned for its billiards; though there's only one pool table, it's visited by lots of regulars who take the game seriously. There are even lockers for holding all the cues."

Sorry. No fucking way I'm even gonna order a beer in this place. I walked maybe 10 or 12 paces into it, turned on my heels, and walked right back out.

Gag me with a yuppie spoon!

Actually, CJ had warned me about this place, but I'd already had it on my list when she did, so I decided to at least give it a shot.

My rating: Never again! No way! Not for money, even!

Sixth Stop, Rudy's Bar & Grill, 627 9th St. (btwn 44th & 45th St.)

What they say:

"The Scene
Rudy's is one of the last bars in Manhattan where suits, slackers and lifetime ne'er-do-wells commingle in a laid-back, beer-laden haze. It's always loud and crowded, even when the backyard "garden" is open. And when you're ready to date out of your comfy little social circle, slap on your sluttiest lipstick or your spiffiest blue jeans and head here. Chances are you'll cozy up in one of Rudy's little red banquettes with someone new before long.

The Draw
Heated on one of those fast-food rotisseries and served with a plain white bun and a little mustard, the full-sized hot dogs are always free and always available--so long as "the hot dog guy" is behind the bar. The blackboard lists about 12 brews on tap, from Bud to Checker Cab Blonde Ale; Rudy's Red, the house brew, is dirt cheap (under $3 a pint) but rather weak."

I immediately like this place. The first 20 minutes I was there, they were blasting old Queen songs VERY LOUDLY from the house system. Then they mixed it up with a bunch of old blues. Nice contrast.

Great patio out back – don't see too many of those in New York. Some 50's style vinyl-upholstered booths, which appear to have way more gray duct tape than red vinyl on them.

Great window at the front. You can (and I did) belly up to the little bar/shelf there and guzzle while watching all of the pedestrians strolling by.

$3.00 Buds again. Love it. And it's right next door to Burritoville, where Kenny and I ate last night.

My rating: A very close second to The Collins Bar. Maybe too close to call even.

While I'm here, CJ calls – we're having dinner tonight. I'm about trashed by now, but that's OK because she's been drinking, too!

She's about 30 minutes away from getting here, so we decide to meet over at Collins. I kill my beer and head back that way.

Looks like I won't make it to stop #7 today, which might have been the best of the bunch, based on a recommendation from CJ. It's a place called the Subway Inn, up on E. 60th St. Guess I'll have to check it out next time through.

Back to Collins. Bartender gives me a big smile and says "you're back!". Told her about my bar hunt. The couple next to me strike up a conversation and want to hear details. They also have a few suggestions, but I won't have time to persue them today.

CJ shows up, and of course she knows the bartender. We down another round, then wander off to Restaurant Row, which is 46th Street between 8th and 9th Ave. Lots of food to choose from there. We finally decide on Thai. I can't remember the name of the place. The food was good, I think.

After dinner, we wander around for a while. Times Square is a mess. Some movie's shooting there today and there are production assistants yelling at pedestrians to do this and that. What a joke. We skirt the whole thing as much as we can and wind up back by my hotel. Keep going and wind up at Radio City Music Hall, where the R. Kelly gig is tomorrow.

I put her in a cab and walk back to my hotel. Early call time tomorrow…

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Day Off in New York City


It was one helluva ride from Norfolk to NYC. It felt like the damn driver was never on the interstate for more than 3 miles at a time. As if he took every 2 lane road there was between there and here at 100 fucking miles per hour. Idiot. He's an awful driver. He drives with no concern whatsoever for the fact that he's hauling people, not freight.

Anyway, we pull up to the hotel just after 8am. I have to do the check-in because Gratton flew home to see his family for Easter – we've got 2 days off in a row. Yay!

We bought the rooms for last night, so all the room keys are ready. I distribute to everyone on both buses, and then head to my room.

Open the door and I’m nearly knocked down by the stench of the room. For some reason, I've been given a smoking room. Ugh! Back down to reception to change, then head to my new non-smoking room. Great view facing north. No direct sunlight will hit my room, but plenty of ambient light as there's no tall building across from me for a block or so – I'm on the 12th floor overlooking 47th Street.

We're at the DoubleTree in Times Square. I mean right in the HEART of Times Square. Two days off in the heart of the city!

I head up the street to the Applejack Diner for breakfast, then grab a Starbucks and walk a couple of miles, just chillin' and people-watching. Make a pass by Ye Olde Tripple Inn, where I'll wind up drinking either later today or tomorrow (or both). The canopy out front's in a sad state of repair, looking as though the place might be closed. I can't really see anything through the gate or beyond the windows behind the gate. I'll come back by later.

Back to my room. I need a nap, bad. Damn bus driver.

Nap for about an hour and make a couple of phone calls. Can't get ahold of Jimmy Archey, but Kenny Soule calls me back about 15 minutes later. Kenny is a drummer extraordinaire, ex-Nantucket, PKM and Dag. He's picking me up later on the way to his gig in Hoboken. His band's playing about 8pm or so for a couple of hours. That'll be fun. We've been talking for a couple of weeks about me maybe coming out to see he and Anne's house they just bought, but I don't know if that'll happen today. They haven't moved in just yet.

I head out later to hit the Tripple again, but they look to be closed today. Hmmmm…

I go in search of another bar to kill time in until Kenny picks me up, but I'm so bummed out that I wind up just walking around the west side for over an hour.

I eventually find a spot on the corner of 9th Ave and something. Settle in to a corner seat at the bar with an eye on the door. I order a Boddington's draft and sure as hell, the instant the bartender puts it down in front of me, Kenny calls and is on the next block. I slam half the beer, tip the man, and head out to the curb, jump into Kenny's van, and off we go. He's blasting the new Yayhoo's CD as we're heading down the street. Good stuff.

Traffic on 9th is all screwed up up as we approach the tunnel – complete deadlock. He pulls to the curb and we bounce into Burritoville to grab something we can eat and roll with. Killer food. Sure wish they had a couple of these in Raleighwood.

Finally make it through the tunnel and into Hoboken. The club they're playing is Scotland Yard, a basement bar in a cool neighborhood right near the Path station. I help Kenny load in, meet the other bandmembers, and settle in at the bar for an evening of blues, rock, and Budweisers.

Kenny drops me back by my hotel sometime around midnight, I think…

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Show Day in Norfolk

Today our show is at the Ted Constant Convocation Center at Old Dominion University. Nice venue, at least the parts of it that I see. I never even see the room the stage is in, capacity 6000-ish.

The promoter today is Allen Corbett, from the AEG office in South Carolina. It's our 3rd and final show with him on this tour – he also did the Raleigh and Charlotte shows. His dad is the late Cecil Corbett, who founded C & C Concerts a long, long time ago. I met him in the 70's when I managed a Record Bar store in Charlotte. Allen and I kinda grew up in the same era and he knows a lot of people, places and things I'm familiar with. He's probably my favorite promoter in the U.S.

I definitely have my groove going by now, the 29th of 49 shows on this tour. I actually step away from the venue for about an hour during the afternoon and walk about a block away to the Port City Java. After placing my order, one of the kids behind the counter spots my laminate and walkie-talkie and asks who's playing the arena tonight. I tell him R. Kelly. His co-worker pipes in with "you mean the child molester?" For just a second I want to punch him in the face. Everybody's a smart-ass.

I'm NOT trying to defend R. Kelly. I don't know if he did what he's accused of doing or not. Just tired of hearing about it.

As long as the checks don't bounce, ya know?

In honor of tomorrow being Easter, we sent a runner out to get some Peeps. Man, those things are nasty…

Friday, April 14, 2006

Second Show Day in DC

Ouch. My head hurts.

The Madison is my new favorite hotel here in DC. The air conditioning unit is a BEAST. And it's the most comfortable bed I've slept in the whole tour.

We're not checking out until 4pm, so I spend a couple of hours walking around the neighborhood.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Show Day in Washington, DC

First of 2 nights in DC at Constitution Hall. I get to go out tonight because we're staying over.

After the show, we check in and drop bags at the hotel. A gang of us walk 4 blocks to a cool bar called Rumors. They have a way cool deck and it's a beautiful night. Let the drinking commence.

Head to bed around 3am…

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Show Day in Newark

Up early for the drive to Newark. Do the show. Leave for DC.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Day Off in Philadelphia

Rudely awakened at 4:27am when we arrive at the hotel. I'd gone to sleep around 2:15 after the gig in Baltimore, so I was more than a bit groggy. The buses can't park at the hotel, so everybody has to get off and go to their rooms. This sucks.

Finally get back in bed just after 5am and sleep until 9:30. Read the paper and hang in the room for awhile. Work for a bit, shower, then head over to South Street to people watch and hit the Starbucks for late light lunch.

I hit a couple of shops on the way back to the hotel and buy some cards and other stuff.

Make and take a few phone calls in my room, then head down to the bar around 5:15 for a couple of beers. Going to dinner with Bob Fontenot around 6. We're going to Bookbinder's, right behind the hotel. It's an excellent seafood restaurant. He doesn't drink, I have 2 Buds, and the tab comes to just under $90 before the tip. But it was good…

Back in my room a little after 8. Watch some TV, websurf, and blog….

Monday, April 10, 2006

Show Day in Baltimore

Another venue I've been aware of for many, many years. Yet this is the first show I've ever done here – The Lyric Opera House in Baltimore.

Don't think I've mentioned this before. Every day there's a security guard posted at my office door, whose sole responsibility is to watch over me. Cuz I'm the money dude.

After the show tonight, I made several trips out to the bus, and every time I set foot outside, a cop (a real cop, with a gun) would come out of nowhere and escort me every step of the way from venue door to bus door around the corner. Weird. I asked if everyone was being escorted and was told no, just me.


Maybe I'll go shopping for a flak jacket and a Glock tomorrow in Philly on my day off.



Sunday, April 9, 2006

Show Day in Atlantic City

Don't get me wrong. I like gospel music. I just don't like it at earsplitting volume at 11:30 on a Sunday morning. Today we're at the House of Blues in Atlantic City, NJ – a place I've never liked. This whole town gives me the creeps.

HOB's are famous for their Sunday Gospel Brunches. They always have these killer gospel bands, and fill the floor of the place with tourists and locals and such. The food kicks ass, too.

The problem being, it's fucking with our load-in. Lately, we've been loading in at 10am. Not today. The crew starts dumping the trucks at 11:30, but without full access to the room and the stage, it's gonna be a fast and furious afternoon.

Some things I discovered today about this venue:

1. The elevators are fucked up.
2. There are 119 steps up various staircases between my bus and my office.
3. I make this climb at least 10 times between 3pm and 1am.
4. I hate this place.
5. I hate this place.

I finally make it out to my bus just before 3am. Straight to my bunk.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Show Day in Philadelphia

Our show today is at the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia. This place has been around forever. David Bowie's first live record, "David Live", was recorded here back in July 1974.

I was here back in '78 or '79 to see Angel, Hawkwind, & The Godz. Haven't been back since.

Funniest thing I heard today - June (one of R. Kelly's management folks), who is black, saying to Janet Taylor as he was leaving, "Stay black!" Janet, who is very pale white, replied "I'll keep trying."

Maybe you had to be there.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Show Day in Boston

Drove into downtown Boston. Did a show. Left town to go to the next city.

Fun, huh?

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Day Off in Boston

We arrived at the hotel right at 5am. Everybody on the bus made A LOT OF NOISE as they gathered their belongings to go to their rooms. No way I'm getting out of my bunk to grab a suitcase and go upstairs. Why on earth would I want to do that? It's not like the bus has to leave – it's parked directly behind the hotel. I'm gonna sleep right here.

Well, except for getting up to turn off the fucking TV in the front lounge, which some moron has got tuned to a news channel and has turned EVEN LOUDER THAN THE OTHER NOISE THEY'VE ALL BEEN MAKING. And some other moron made sure to leave the door to the bunk area open so there's no escaping it. I've even got earplugs in, but there's no way to sleep due the volume.

Talk about rude. Makes me want to kick somebody's ass.

I wake up around 8 and head in. Read a couple of papers, have lunch, blog, shower.

My buddy Dennis Brennan arrives around 7. He's taking me to Legal Seafood for dinner and beers. DB is Disturbed's tour manager, and has been a good friend for years. Good food, lotta beer, and a good time catching up on stuff.

After dinner, we head back to my hotel and have a few more beers in the bar. He splits around 11:30 and I head up for the night.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Show Day in Albany

We're at the Palace Theater in Albany, NY today. Built in the 1930's, with minimal renovations over the last 70 years. Only 2 showers in the whole building, and all the rooms are tiny. Today's production office is so small that it'll only hold me, Gratton, and Janet. Big Bob, the venue security guy is down the hall in another room. The good news is that the room is cold, which I love. And Janet hates. She's cold natured.

Nothing happening today. Did a show. Went to the bus. Day off tomorrow. Yay!

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Show Day in Waterbury, CT

Got jostled awake by the shitty roads far too early this morning, around 5:30am. I hate touring around the Northeast. The roads just suck. It's a lot easier to sleep out on the open highway. You know, like on the Dallas-to-Denver run.

OK, enough bitching.

My driver Easy tells me that we drove through a helluva snowstorm on the way here. He says it was a complete whiteout. I sure wish I'd been awake to see it.

Nice building today, although I never see the room itself. Catering's weird today. Lunch consists of 7 meat entrees and 1 veg, which was Eggplant Parmesan. Absolutely no side dishes. Strange. Against my better judgement, I had the Eggplant Parm. I mean, it really was my only option, but I just knew it would give me heartburn.

Sho 'nuff…

Monday, April 3, 2006

Show Day in Pittsburgh

Called my sister to wish her a Happy Birthday. It was yesterday, but I couldn't reach her on her mobile phone. I forgot to get her a card. I'm a moron. We don't do birthday gifts among ourselves anymore, me and the siblings…

As a show day goes, it was as uneventful a day as I can ever imagine having.

Catering sucked.

I went to Subway for dinner.

It was waaaaay better than lunch.

Which should tell you how bad lunch was.


Sunday, April 2, 2006

Day Off in Pittsburgh

Happy Birthday, Donna!!! (My sister's 49 today.)

Lost 2 hours last night – one due to Daylight Savings Time, and one due to changing time zones.

Woke up on the bus just before 8. I'm the only one awake for about 4 hours, which is cool.

We get to the hotel in Pittsburgh at 2. I'm on my second beer as I step off the bus to head to my room. As soon as I drop my bag, I head to the restaurant for some racing, some beer, and some lunch. The restaurant in the lobby of the Westin here is the Original Fish Market, which is Pittsburgh's premier seafood restaurant. Great stuff – seafood and a sushi bar together.

Finish the race in my room, then grab a 20 minute nap. Phone wakes me up – everyone's down in the restaurant for dinner and drinks. I hang our for a while more, then I join the gang at the sushi bar, then head back to the room for new Sopranos and some blog work to end the evening.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Show Day in Memphis

Woke up just before 4am when the driver cranked up the engine to head to Memphis. Woke up again around 7 when both drivers couldn't find the gig. I sleep OK out on the open highway, but as soon as Easy starts doing the old "gas, brake, gas, brake" routine, it wakes me up. I could really use some more sleep, but I ain't gonna get it today.

I sit up front with Easy and get the 50 cent tour of Memphis as he sorts out the bum directions he's been given. I tell ya, he is one funny, funny guy.

Finally met the boss tonight. Spoke with him for about, oh, about 2.3 seconds. That's that for the tour, I guess.

Uneventful show. Promoter has not one fucking clue in the world as to what he's doing, but that's a story that's too long to talk about here…