Friday, June 30, 2006

Day Off in Kansas City

Up at 7:30. Head feels pretty good for having slapped back 12 Budweisers last night. Head to Starbucks, where I have a scone and a drink (decaf), read the local paper and the New York Times, then head off for a walk and to find the grocery store.

Spend about an hour walking around. Discover that the Westport area is about 5 blocks from the hotel in the other direction. See some stuff I recognize a few spots. There's a place called America's Pub that used to be The Shadow. Did a couple of shows there with Dillon Fence back in '91-'92. Can't remember if Cry of Love ever played there – fuzzy memories.

Grab some stuff from the grocer's and head back down the hill. Goof off in the room – mostly reading because the internet is for shit here. The entire hotel is wireless, but the signal is inconsistent and it's not playing nice. Web pages take forever to load and I keep getting bounced off. The hotel's only been open for 6 weeks, so I guess they still have a few bugs with the system. Cool hotel though. This used to be an old apartment building which they refurbed. I'm told by the GM that they're gonna take it one step further next year and go boutique. Wonder why they didn't just start out that way in the first place?!?

I order some "to-go" chow from PF Chang's next door around 6. On the way to pick it up, I hear some commotion across the street. There's a mini marching band making some racket. I have a weakness for marching bands – don't ask! There's about 6 drummers, 6 marcher/dancers and a "drum major". And they are smoking. I watch for about 20 minutes, then dip in and grab my food. Watch again for another 10 minutes, drop a few bucks in their bucket and head back.

I'm staying in tonight, just gonna watch some tube and chill out. Might go meet Stonner and some of his friends about 6 blocks away and see his buddy's band play. Might not.

He calls around 7:30 – they're on their way to the first watering hole of the night. He gives me the name of the bars they'll be at in case I decide to come out. I think about going out around 10, but decide against.

In bed around midnight.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day Off in Kansas City

Up at 7:30. Hang with the driver all the way into Kansas City. We arrive at the hotel just after 2pm. I walk into a room that's evidently been used to facilitate a cigarette-smoking contest. This entire hotel is non-smoking, so it shouldn't be like this, but it is. Twenty minutes later I'm in my new non-stinking room. I crank up the A/C, drop bags, and head off in search of anything cool in the 'hood. Major shopping area starts 300 feet from the hotel. Almost everything you could ever want, except of course, the two things I really want – a grocery store and a drugstore. Turns out they're only a few blocks away, so all's well.

I drop a call on my KC buddy Brad Stonner and discover he's home. We worked together on Disturbed a few years ago and again on System Of A Down last year. He just came off the Black-Eyed Peas tour. Turns out he lives about 4 miles away AND he's having a cookout tonight. Yay!

Brad's little brother Trent lives about 2 blocks from my hotel, so he sends him to pick me up around 5:30. The cookout was a blast. Brad has a way cool "rock & roll" home. Lots of cool memorabilia from his years of touring, garage full of motorcycles, and a backyard full of interesting characters, a couple of whom I've actually met before on previous trips to the KC area.

A good time was had by all, and Brad's other brother (whose name eludes me) drops me back by my hotel a little after 11…

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day Off in Houston

Up around 7:30. Not much to do today. Read a LOT. Go to The Container Store to get some ideas for the house. Browse around Barnes & Noble for an hour. Wander around the mall for awhile. Watched the ice skaters on the lower level for about an hour – some of those kids are pretty good.

Dinner in the room while watching TV…

Monday, June 26, 2006

Day Off in Houston


Crap, crap, crap.


Just woke up. We're at the hotel and everyone has to get off, as the bus will be parking several blocks away.

There's nothing I hate more than arriving at a hotel in the middle of the night and having to get off the bus. Why in the hell can't we leave later so as to arrive around 7 or 8 in the morning? Stupid fucking tour manager and production manager would rather leave at midnight, stay up drinking for 5 hours, then crash into their rooms. Me, I'd just as soon sleep in my nice cold bunk overnight and go into the room when I wake up.

Gather my stuff, head to the room, stepping through the door just about 5:15.

Just as I predicted, the room is hotter than hell. Absolutely no way I can go back to sleep in a room like that, so I turn the AC unit to FREEZE, and go take a walk. Walk for 2 hours before I come back. Damn room's still hot. Read 2 newspapers and eat my bagel while waiting for the room to cool. Finally, around 11:30, I call the front desk and tell them I need to change rooms because the AC's for shit.

Twenty minutes later, I'm in a better room down the hall. AC's good and I have 2 beds, which is great cause I can use one for my luggage.

We're in Houston for 3 days. When I was here a couple of months ago with R. Kelly, I stayed about 2 blocks from here, so I already know where everything is. Four Starbucks, The Container Store (great place), Barnes & Noble, drugstores, everything. This particular hotel (Westin Galleria) is attached to the Galleria, which is a pretty upscale mall.

Work a little, read a lot, do some window-shopping, etc. Around 6:30 my buddy Shawn comes and picks me up to go to dinner. We go to his favorite Chinese buffet, which turns out to be the BEST buffet restaurant I've ever been to. The food is amazing, lots of selections. Crazy – Chinese, fish, seafood, sushi, pizza, all kinds of stuff.

A couple of hours later, Shawn drops me back by the hotel. It's not yet 9 o'clock, so I head to the sports bar in the mall to watch the UNC/Oregon State college world series game. Tonight is the final of a best of 3 series to determine the champ. Carolina loses. Oh, well.

Back to my room to chill and watch some tube before hitting the hay…

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day Off in San Antonio

Slept in this morning, meaning 7:30. Putzed around the room for a while, then went in search of breakfast. Walked around for about an hour, then on the way back, I found the Blanco Café about 5 blocks from the hotel. Pretty well known place as it turns out. There are three of them in town, but this is the original.

By this time it was after 11, so I opted for lunch instead of breakfast. Had some cheese enchiladas that were among the best I've ever had.

Walked around for another hour. Went by the Alamo, but didn't go in. I've been before, and besides, the line was crazy. Went there back in 2000, when I was tour managing BBMak.

I celebrated my 43rd birthday here in San Antonio back in 2001, during the Ozzfest tour. Did a 10-mile run that day in some serious heat. Well, it was July after all. Sure wish I could run a 10-miler right now.

I head back to the hotel, where I accomplish nothing the rest of the day. Run out to pick up some food around 6, for later on. Wind up watching Forest Gump on TV, then off to bed.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Day Off in San Antonio

Finally starting to feel human again. I've been sick since around the 12th. I've spent all my days off just laying around my hotel room. On show days (event days?), I'm miserable, up at 5:30am and I usually head to the bus around midnight.

I was lucky enough to see a bunch of Hurricanes games during their Stanley Cup run. I missed all of game 2 and the first 2 periods of game 7, but at least I got to see the last 16 minutes of the final game. Both game 2 and game 7 fell on work days for me. For game 7, I just snuck away for a little while to catch the end. Congrats to all those guys!

We've just made the two worst drives of the whole tour, back-to-back. Monday night past (19th, following the Canes game 7) we did a 920-miler from Phoenix to Denver. Left around midnight, arrived at our hotel around 4pm the next afternoon.

I was sooo ready to kill some people on my bus by the time we got there. There's a bunch of dumbasses on my bus who are way too LOUD, and obnoxious, and they wanna dominate the TV viewing. Wouldn't be so bad, but all they want to watch is really bad, dumb movies. Their slogan is "We're crazy for Swayze", as in Patrick. Seriously, they've watched RoadHouse like 6 times in the last 2 weeks. And yes, it's the women. There's gonna be a man-revolt if this crap keeps up.

Anyway, I stayed up front with the driver the whole way. Only way to do it.

The other bad drive was Denver to San Antonio, which was like 1060 miles. Left around 12:30am Thursday night and finally got to the hotel Friday night around 8pm. I had the shotgun seat from 7:30am until we got there.

Again, I wanted to throttle some idiots. I literally dumped my bags into my room, jammed the AC to "freeze", and headed out the door. Our hotel was right on the San Antonio Riverwalk, which is kinda like Glenwood South multiplied by a factor of 10 or so. People were e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e!

I wandered around for a while, trying to decide if I wanted a couple of beers, or just a bite before heading back to the room for the night. Every restaurant was packed. As I was walking down some street, I heard a Bad Company song blasting up from a downstairs place called The Basement Bar. I stopped to see what they were gonna play next. Boston. OK, maybe I've found my place. Next up was Ray Charles. That's it, this is my place. It was dark, cold and cheap. Bud's were $2.00, tonight's special. Great!

Around 10:30, some dude came in and started setting up a DJ area in one corner. I asked the bartender what kind of music he was gonna play. He told me the guy plays everything.

Well, "everything" turned out to be a bunch of hip-hop garbage, starting with Eminem. I put up with about 5 songs, then had to bail out. What a buzz kill.

Grabbed some chow on the way back to the hotel and called it a night. Those were the first beers I'd had in over 2 weeks. It's good to be back in the game.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Day Off in Portland

Sorry for the gap in my blog posts. I've been busy as hell…

Hate my life. Hate my job. Simple as that. Stress is my new best friend. This sucks!

Watched the Grand Floral Parade this morning. The parade is a H-U-G-E deal here in Portland, and its route had it going right by my hotel's front door. Saw the whole 2 hours of it.

Find out that Greg Howard's in town. He's out with Hall & Oates right now, working as John Oates' guitar tech. Their venue is only 4 blocks from my hotel, so I go down in the middle of the afternoon to hang out with him. My buddy Jesper, who was the LD on the System of a Down tour in '02 is also working for them, and I've known their Tour Manager Todd for a few years, too.

I stay through most of sound check, then head back to my room to watch the Canes game.

Grab a few beers and make it back to the theatre, pick up my lammie from will-call, and make it to stage left exactly 5 minutes before they hit the stage. They play almost all of my favorite H & O songs during their nearly 2 hour set, and some classic R & B hits, too, from their recent cover album "Our Kind Of Soul". I leave during the last song – straight back to the hotel. Early call time tomorrow, gotta get up at 5am.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Day Off in Los Angeles

Walked around downtown LA for a couple of hours, including twice by the Staples Center. Madonna's there tonight. Think about going to the show for about 3 seconds. The promoter is the company I'm working for, so I'm pretty sure I could scrounge up a ticket. Decide - not.

Went to Roy's for dinner. I have the scallop-stuffed soft-shell crab appetizer and the macadamia-crusted Mahi-Mahi for my entree. Great meal.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Day Off in Los Angeles

These people are completely crazy.

Had dinner with my old buddy Mike Renault, his wife Darcy and their son Declan. Went to a nice French place called Maximillian's. Good meal. After dinner, we went back over to their house and hung out for a couple of hours. Mike drove me back to the hotel a little after 11...

Thursday, June 1, 2006

Work Day in Los Angeles

Up at 5am (yeah, like I wanna be…). I eventually head to the AEG Live offices on Wilshire around 11. In the middle of my first meeting (first of four), I get a call from the tour director who seems to have a player revolt on her hands. Either I rush back to the hotel and give her all the player's per diems this instant, or the players are refusing to leave the hotel for practice.


The VP I'm meeting with graciously gives me a ride to the hotel. I wait 20 minutes for the TD to show up, then have her sign for the money. Grab Mark Wise, our venue security director, who wants to eat at the cool burrito place again. 30 minutes later, I'm heading to my room to check email, then I'll head back to the offices for the rest of my meetings. While I'm in the room, I get another phone call from Claire (the tour director), who says she left 3 people out of the count. I have to chase her down again and give her more money.

Ten minutes later, I'm in a cab heading back to AEG. This time, in the middle of the second meeting (again, of four), she calls and says that now that the players have received THEIR per diems, EVERYONE wants them. This, after telling me last night that all of her people could wait. I tell her that I’m NOT leaving again, that they will just have to wait until I return.

At the end of the day, around 6, it's decided that we'll need a 2-hour meeting of the minds tomorrow with 2 of the folks here, me, and the head honcho flying in from the St. Louis office. Due to his arrival time, looks like it'll be 3-5pm.

In the cab on the way back to the hotel, I get a call from the #2 person in St. Louis, who informs me that I have to make it to the venue early tomorrow, pick up tickets for our Sunday event and box office cash from the BOM (box office manager) there, and deliver them to Venice, where the sponsor (And 1) insists they be made available for sale during the press event there that the players are doing ("Crashing the Beach", where they take on members of the public on the beach courts). I'll have to stay through the event and afterwards retrieve the unsold tickets and the revenue and redeliver them to the (Sunday) venue first thing Saturday morning. Evidently, our Sunday event here in LA isn't selling well, so they need to promote it and sell whatever they can. The venue personnel won't take responsibility for the transport of the cash and the tickets, so I become the designated gopher. I start getting that ol' WTF feeling again.

The hotel's kinda quiet when I get back, as everyone else has gone to Graumman's Chinese Theatre for the premiere of the movie about the And 1 tour. This will be followed by a big party at White Lotus. Me, I'm in bed by 11…