Monday, July 31, 2006

Day Off in Miami

Woke up at 7 and sat up front with Danny for the rest of the drive. Pulled in at the Hotel Intercontinental at 11:30 and made it to my room shortly after.

This hotel is right on the waterfront of Biscayne Bay. I'm on the 26th floor, so I've got a terrific view of the shoreline, American Airlines Arena (home of the 2006 NBA Champion Miami Heat team), and the bay itself.

The usual drill – drop bags and go exploring. There's a really cool open-air mall/plaza a couple of blocks north along the waterfront. Almost buy some souvenir crap, but talk myself out of it. Find a cool little grill along the water and have a lunch consisting of blackened fish, rice & beans and fried plantains. Yummy!

After walking off my lunch, I wind up back in the room around 3 and just chill. Around 6:30 I head out for more exploring, this time away from the waterfront.

An hour later though, I'm right back over there, where I discover a restaurant billing itself as an oyster bar. This is the second time in two weeks that I ate at a restaurant claiming to be an oyster bar. Having 3 different oyster varieties in stock and selling them only by the ½ dozen ($10.00) or dozen ($19.50) doesn't quite get it. If you don't sell 'em by the peck and shuck 'em right in front of me, you're not an oyster bar. And WTF is up with those prices?!? Right now, I am really missing Gino Russo's and 42nd Street in Raleigh.

One thing I will this place props on is the outdoor seating at their "oyster bar". Right on the waterfront, although you're sitting with your back to the water.

Just as I'm sitting down, one of the bus drivers (T-Bone) wanders by and decides to join me for a few beers and dinner. T-Bone and I split some calamari (nothing special, but has a nice fiery Cuban dipping sauce instead of the usual marinara), then he goes for a dozen Apalachicola oysters. Apalachicola is in the Florida panhandle area and is famous for its seafood. I opt for ½ dozen of the same, along with ½ dozen jumbo shrimp. The oysters were OK, the shrimp were stellar.

Drop by the liquor store on the way back and grab a few Buds for the room. In the room, I'm chilling, gonna watch my 2 favorite comedies - Two And A Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. Twenty minutes into Men, the local station interrupts with a special news announcement about Castro's illness, surgery and his stepping aside to allow his brother to take over. When this shit goes on longer than the length of the commercial break it interrupted, I start getting irritated. OK, OK, you said it already. Finish it at 11.

But no, hell no, they keep going. Over the next 15 minutes, they give the exact same details over and over and over again. By my count, at least 6-7 times, although it involved 3 different reporters repeating them.

Now, I realize that's there's lots of Cuban folks here in Miami for whom this might be news, but WTF! Next, they start taking calls offering opinions on the whole thing from both analysts and local folks.

Guess I won't get to see my shows after all. I turn the TV down, but not off (just in case), and hit the computer.

In bed around 12:45.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Game Day in Atlanta

My usual 7:30am to 11:00pm workday. Doesn't help that it started around 2:45am. That's when all the players and staff idiots got back to the hotel from their nightclub event excursion. For the next 2½ hours it seemed as though they did the rest of their partying in the damn hallways of the hotel. Many loud, drunk, stupid conversations being held, and more doors being slammed than you could count. I called the desk several times about all the racket. Don't know if security came up or not, but it continued until well after 5am. By then, there was no reason to try to go back to sleep, as I had my alarm set for 5:45 anyway. Assholes.

Scott Cameron, the crew guy who skydives, got some bad news yesterday after he finished his jumps for the day. There was a voice mail on his phone about a bunch of his friends back home in Missouri getting killed in a plane crash. Four skydivers, all of whom were friends of his, along with another guy and the plane's pilot, both of whom he also knew. Turns out that it happened at the field where Scott does most of his jumps, and it was the very plane he goes up in all the time. The plane hit a utility pole somehow during takeoff and crashed immediately, killing all aboard. Scott will going home in a few days for the funerals.

Left the arena mid-day to grab lunch with Chris Hendley. Watched about 15 minutes of the game with him, too.

In the bunk at midnight, heading to Miami. Yuck!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Day Off in Atlanta

Lazy day. Best I can tell ya. Read, watched some TV, watched a movie, hung out. Never left the room until after 6. Walked a couple of blocks to Carrabba's. Super friendly bartenders (Ross, Amanda and Heather). Sat at the bar with them, and next to a nice local couple in their late 50's. Good conversation ensued, along with some surprisingly good food.

A little later, a couple of drunk-assed redneck dudes came in and took the couple's place after they departed. The dude who sat next to me absolutely reeked of cigarette smoke. I'm talking about an overpowering stench. I couldn't believe how bad he smelled. Damn sure glad it was a non-smoking bar so he couldn't fire up another one the disgusting things.

The happiest day of my life will be when I can go into smoke-free bars all over America and especially in NC. Of course, NC will be the last damn state to go non-smoking.

Back in my room by 10 for chill time.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Day Off in Atlanta

I wake up as Danny pulls off the interstate north of Atlanta. Hotel time. It's just after 6am. The person who normally handles our check-in's is the tour manager, Claire. She fell ill yesterday and was left behind in Louisville to recuperate in her hotel room for a couple of days. So one of the other goobers is doing it, with the help of Claire's assistant.

About an hour after we pull up, I finally get a room key. I notice that the original name on the packet was scratched out and replaced with someone else's name, which was also scratched out and replaced with mine. Not a good sign.

I've seen this movie before, so I ask on of the desk clerks to confirm that 627 is a non-smoking room, which of course it is not.

Ten minutes later, I finally have a key to a non-smoking room, and off I go. Drop bags, and head out to walk around to see what's here.

In one direction, a Carraba's and a Chick-fil-A (sp?), in the other a Kroger and a bunch of fast food, nothing worth mentioning. I stop at Kroger to grab a couple of items and wander around for another hour or so.

Back at the room, I read a couple of papers, then I call my buddy Chris Hendley. He's the Marketing and Media Manager at the Gwinnett Arena, where our game is being held on Sunday. More importantly, he was my personal trainer in Raleigh back in '97 and '98. He was an awesome trainer, but I'm glad to see him with a much better gig.

I'm having dinner with he and his (second) wife Leslie tonight. Really looking forward to it. He is such a funny guy, always a blast to hang out with.

Go next door to the Laughing Leprechaun (an Irish Pub, or so they say) for lunch. Absolutely horrible fish 'n chips. Geez, even Arthur Treacher's was better than this crap.

Chill in the room all day. Chris calls later and suggests meeting at the Leprechaun around 6 for some starter beers. Hey, ya don't have to twist my arm (as long as I don't have to eat their food).

So we knock back a couple there, then head out to meet Leslie at a damn good Italian place in Norcross called Dominick's. Stuuupid sized portions. One entrée could probably feed a family of 4. Chris' lasagna is bigger than his head, just like he said it would be.

We eat, and yak, and drink, and yak, and the time flies by. Leslie is overflowing with personality (just like her husband), so I'm having a blast. The night ends way too soon for my liking, but they gotta get home.

Chris drops me back by the hotel, but I'm not ready to retire, so I scoot next door to the Leprechaun for a nightcap.

Whoa! It's karaoke night, but Terry Beal's nowhere in sight. Whassup widdat?!? I watch some of the worst singers this side of the Northside Billiards karaoke gang for a few songs, but pack it in and head home.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Game Day in Louisville

Well, Mark's gone. He's one of the few people on this tour I can tolerate. He split to work for Korn on the Family Values Tour. I'm sure we'll work together again soon.

Mid-afternoon, Brooke pulls me aside and tells me that she, too, will be leaving the tour. Today's her last day, and she'll be staying behind here in Louisville to fly home tomorrow.

Now this tour REALLY sucks!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day Off in Louisville

Today is Mick Jagger's birthday, so the first thing I do is fire up some vintage Stones in my room.

Worked for all of 30 minutes, read a bunch, walked to the drugstore, watched TV, walked some more around the neighborhood, had lunch, goofed off on the web, walked some more, watched more TV, went out to grab dinner, watched TV, went to bed.

I really gotta get out more.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day Off in Louisville

Up at 8, chill, shower, pack, check email, and head out. Grab a cab to the airport, jump in the rental car and head south.

Don't have any CD's to listen to, so I bounce around the radio dial for 5 hours. All this does is remind me of why I never listen to the damn radio and haven't since the mid-70's. It's just godawful.

Hit the Louisville airport around 4:30, turn in the car and grab a cab to the hotel. Check in, drop my stuff and head out to see what's here. Find a cool little area just around the corner and wind up at The Pub, one of thousands of pseudo-British pubs in America. None that I've ever been to have been remotely similar to the real thing, but as in most cases, they'll do.

They've got Boddington's on draft (the "Cream of Manchester"), so I slap back a couple of those babies at a table outside while watching the human river flow past.

A couple of the players spot me (Spyda and Helicopter) as they're walking down the street and come over to join for a while. A few minutes later, there's a crowd of 20 people surrounding us, getting autographs from the guys and getting their pictures taken with them. When that's all done, the guys split, and Scott Cameron (the tour's skydiving nut, who's a pretty cool guy, except I can't figure why on earth he likes to JUMP out of a perfectly good airplane…) drops in on me. A few more beers, then we both have dinner. He manages to talk our waitress into going skydiving with him tomorrow morning.

Around 10:30, I head on back.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Game Day in Cleveland

There's usually nothing to write about on game day – that's why I usually just skip over them. Today would have been the same, except the bus AC crapped out during the afternoon today. Things like this are usually easy enough for the driver to sort out, but when Danny got back tonight around 11, he told me this repair would require a part. Not really a big deal, as most buses have 2 separate AC systems – one that runs off of the generator, and one that runs off of the main engine and is knows as the "bus" air.

So the good news is that we'll have bus air for the 5-6 hour drive to Louisville, although it'll take a while for it to cool down the now roasting bus.

The bad news is that the gremlin has also taken out a few other things, like the bunk lights, the bathroom lights, and most important to me, the power-operated doors that close off the bunk section of the bus from the front and rear lounges.

With all the dumbasses on this bus, it's hard enough to sleep with earplugs in and the doors SHUT. But with them stuck in the open position, there's no way in hell I'm gonna get any sleep.

It takes me all of 3 seconds to decide to stay behind in Cleveland and rent a car tomorrow to drive to Louisville. I call the hotel to secure a room (we all checked out this morning), but they're completely sold out. Plan B – I get Danny's room key from him (he didn't check out at the desk when he left an hour ago, thankfully), so I'll go sleep in his room.

I grab my luggage and catch a ride back to the hotel with Mark Wise, who's leaving the tour tonight. By 12:30am, I've gotten online and secured a rental car for the drive and hit the hay.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day Off in Cleveland


Up by 9, feeling just fine. Get a Sunday paper to read, watch some TV, wait for the race to come on. Got the celebrating out of the way last night, so I'll just be chilling out today.

Get birthday wishes over the phone today from Paige, Foy, Sheridan and Mom. Get a few more via email.

Late afternoon I ice down a couple of leftover beers, and go out to grab some dinner to bring back to the room.

Veg out in front of the TV and go to bed at 11.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day Off in Cleveland

Man, talk about a lazy day. I'm just not motivated to do much today. I thought about another movie, but don't feel like putting up with the weekend crowds.

I call Chris Sheridan during the afternoon to wish him a happy birthday.

I hang out in my room the rest of the afternoon, then finally head out for my little celebratory dinner and night out around 6pm. Tomorrow's my birthday, although there won't be much of a shindig. There's really only 2 people on this tour that I care to hang out with, and they're both busy tonight. And I didn't tell anyone about it.

I head over to Fat Fish Blue, a local cajun seafood joint. Turns out they sell ice cold beer right there at the bar. How cool is that? And food, too? Hell, think I'll take a seat at the bar and chat with the bartenders.

I order some Buffalo Tails, which are shelled crawfish tails done up Buffalo style, and served with blue cheese dressing for dipping. Fab. I was gonna find something else to do after dinner, but it turns out that there's gonna be a blues band playing starting around 9, so I guess I'm gonna be staying right here for the night.

And I do.

Not really sure what time I finally left. Both the bartenders bought me birthday shots & beers. It really sucks to spend your birthday by yourself, but such is the road life. This is a kind of payback for having the whole month of July off last year (with pay!) and getting the chance to throw myself (and Chris Sheridan) a big ol' party with all of our friends. Win some, lose some, ya know?

Back in the room for a bit. Then it's time for my annual birthday ritual. I was born at 1:05am, so every year I make it a point to step out under the stars and toast a beer at that moment. Happy Birthday to me!!!

Another year older, another year _________...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Day Off in Cleveland

Here it is. Laundry day. Again. Up, showered and out the door by 11. Nothing close enough to walk to, so I jump a cab and head off to the Soap Opera Laundramat. The wash is kinda expensive ($2.25), but the dryers are all FREE. The guy who owns the place is here, so I ask him whassup. He's got a little turf war going with the guy down the street. Whatever the reason, I don't mind. Free popcorn, too.

Back at the hotel, I grab a local paper and scour the movies. This hotel is right next door to Tower City, a cool urban shopping, office and condo complex. I've seen movies here before on other tours.

I decide on Clerks II. I loved the first Clerks movie and pretty much everything that Kevin Smith has done ever since.

Turned out to be even better than the original. And Rosario Dawson is babelicious!!!

After the movie, I walk around the neighborhood for a while, then I pick up some beer and grab some Chinese food for dinner, which I eat in my room.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Game Day in Detroit

No haps today. Get done as quickly as possible so I can meet up with Audley, who flew into town around 6:30pm. After finding out where he and some of the other Dixie Chicks bandmembers are drinking, me and Mark walk the 3-4 blocks to Jacoby's, which is a bit of a dive bar. Get to hang out with him for all of 40-45 minutes (2 beers), before we have to bail out to make bus call.

I was gonna stay behind and see the Chicks show tomorrow night (first of their tour), but I wouldn't get to see much of Audley at all. Plus, I'd have to rent a car and drive to Cleveland on Saturday. I'll catch 'em later.

Tonight's the shortest bus ride of the tour (at least, so far…), but I wonder if the dumbasses will be misbehaving again. I decide against even going to my bunk, and sit up front with Danny the driver for the 3-hour drive to Cleveland.

Pull up to the hotel just after 3. I'm in bed by 4.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day Off in Detroit

Much better. Feel like a million bucks. Didn't really do much today.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day Off in Detroit

I don't even wake up until 12:30pm. Very uncharacteristic of me, at least the "road" me. Feel like crap all day and never leave the room.

Damn tequila-drinking bus driver…

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day Off in Detroit

Bus call is noon. Uneventful trip, due to all the damaged-assed idiots going straight to their bunks to sleep off whatever they did last night. Two folks sit in the front lounge and websurf – we've got wireless internet on the bus, even when we're rolling – and I sit up front with Danny the driver. It's like that the whole trip, 281 miles. No stops.

We pull up to the hotel just after 5pm. I tell Mark, Danny and Brooke that I'm heading to Tom's Oyster Bar across the street in 15 minutes if they wanna join.

Thirty minutes later we're on the way.

Oysters and beers all around. Danny comes up with the bright idea to do shots of Patron Silver. Oops.

Mark had the good sense not to participate. He later told me that me, Danny and Brooke drank nearly 2 bottles of the stuff. He said the only reason we stopped was because the bar ran out of the stuff. Ouch!

Mark says he pretty much had to walk each of us to our rooms.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day Off in Chicago

Several discussions were held yesterday (game day) in the production office about all the bullshit shenanigans on the bus the other night. I honestly don't think it'll change anything, but I can promise you that I'm gonna fuck somebody up if it keeps going.

The powers-that-be on the tour have decided that they don't want to have to spend 4 days off in Detroit, so we're staying over until Monday at lunchtime. Which means that Mark (security director) and I are gonna go to Ozzfest today.

We commandeer one of the SUV's that the tour rents in every city and head out around 12:30. Lunch on the road, and arrive about 1:45. Spend the next 12 hours hanging out with friends and seeing bands. Oh, yeah, and drinking beer.

Ozzy sucked. Poor guy just does NOT have a voice anymore.

Disturbed put on a good show. They better; it's their hometown.

System was OK. I thought I would enjoy the show a lot more, seeings how I've worked for them for 5 years. But, no…

Make it back to the hotel around 2am.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Day Off in Chicago

I was fuckin' steamin' mad by the time we got to Chicago. It was a three-and-a-half hour drive, during which I got not one wink of sleep. The people on this bus are fucking rude morons who have no respect whatsoever for the fact that there are other people on the bus besides themselves. I tossed and turned in my bunk all the way here, trying to fall asleep through their cacophony of alcohol-fueled stupidity.

Not long ago, I'd have rolled out of my bunk and somebody would have gotten a beatdown. Now, I try to get along with everyone. But this is bullshit.

When we got to the hotel, the chick who's in charge of the tour was so completely shitfaced that she lost her luggage before she could even get inside – it was sitting on the sidewalk by the bus door. She was ridiculously drunk and couldn't even form a sentence.

I spent 20 minutes talking to my bus driver, Danny. We both agreed that this had been the most unprofessional, rude, and disrespectful journey that either one of us had ever been on. If I wasn't gonna throw a punch, there wasn't much point in even talking to these dumbasses right then, considering how wasted they were. I'll save that for later.

So, anyway…

Got into bed around 4am, up around 9. Grabbed a shower and spent some time walking around. I've stayed in this neighborhood a couple of times already this year, including one other stay at this hotel, the Swissotel.

I wander over to the Pritzker Pavillion because I could see from my 44th floor window that something was going on there. Turns out that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was holding a free rehearsal, for the also-free show they're doing tonight. So I sat and listened to that for almost an hour and man, that was cool. Beautiful day, nice and cloudy to keep the sun from blazing on ya.

This is our only day off here, so I just chill in the room most of the late afternoon and evening. Dinner catered by Subway, entertainment courtesy of CBS.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Game Day in Indianapolis

Damn! Found out this afternoon that 3 of my fave road dogs are out on the Fiona Apple tour. Should have gone to see the show last night.


And to top it off, they've been in Indianapolis for last couple of days, doing nothing.

Tonight's a short ride, only about 3 hours to Chicago. I'm gonna hit the bunk early and snooze to the hotel…

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day Off in Indianapolis

I'm loving it. Three days off, three movies. Today I was gonna see Cars at noon, but as soon as the lights dimmed a family came in. Mom, dad, an incredibly talkative 3 year-old and a baby in a stroller. Say it with me:

HELL, NO!!!!!!!!

Had the place all to myself until they came in. I can't deal with noisemakers in movie theaters, so I slipped out and went next door, where Nacho Libre was gonna start in 15 minutes. Only about 8 people in there, and all adults. Much better.

Too bad the movie sucked. Seriously, do not waste your money to see this piece of crap.

Hung our in my room most of the afternoon, then around 6 I headed to McCormick & Schmick's for dinner.

Thought about going out to the shed to see Fiona Apple, but it's too damn far away and I don't feel like calling anyone to scam tickets.

TV, bed…

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day Off in Indianapolis

Up at 7am. Man, it is just pissing down rain. I was gonna walk the mile and a quarter to the coin laundry, but not in this. I jump a cab instead. Take a book and read while my clothes are cooking. The rains stops as I'm folding the last of it, so I do at least get to walk back. I'm at the hotel by 11.

Walk across the street for the noon showing of Superman. Better than Pirates, but I'm just not really into the whole superhero thing. Superdude, Spiderdude, Captain Jack Sparrowdude, Batdude. Shit, give me a good cop movie anytime. Although I do like the X-Men movies. But maybe that's because I get to look at Rebecca Romijn in blue body paint. Woo-Hoo!

Work for about an hour in my room, then about 6pm I walk 2 blocks to Mikado for sushi. I eat at this place every year. Always seem to get a day off here.

Back in my room, I watch some TV, websurf, and call a couple of folks. Get offered a tour managing gig for the fall. Might do it if no acounting gigs pop up. It's only about 7 weeks or so – maybe I have the patience for it. Damn sure could use the money for stuff for the house.

In bed around 11:30…

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day Off in Indianapolis

I was in my bunk and fast asleep by midnight last night following the game. Good thing, too, as we keep doing the same stupid shit - leave by midnight, arrive at the hotel at stupid o'clock, get thrown off the bus, and go to an oven of a room that you can't sleep in. Soooo…

Once again, I throw my stuff in my room, crank down the AC, and go walk around the downtown area for a couple of hours. I've stayed in downtown Indy so many times now that I pretty much know where everything is, but hey, what else am I gonna do at 5am?

A lot of folks call this India-no-place, but I like it here. Hell, John Hiatt's from here, what's not to like?

I head to the 24-hour Steak & Shake and grab a shake to walk with. Contradictory, huh? Exercising (ok, walking) and drinking a milkshake AT THE SAME TIME!

So sue me. I wanted a shake.

Walk by the mall to see what movies are playing – gotta plan my movie viewing for these 3 days off. Hit a part of downtown I haven't been to before, and find some cool buildings and an amazing veteran's monument/fountain. I'd show ya a photo, but I didn't have my camera with me.

Note to self: buy a smaller camera, one you can put in your pocket. That way you're more likely to carry it around than your super-duper killuh camera which is a little big.

Get back to the room around 7:30 and manage about a 90 minute toss 'n turn session. When I get up, I work for a bit, then go see a mid-afternoon movie, the new Pirates. Don't waste your money, the first one was waaaaaaaaaaay better. It's not that it's bad, it's just not that good. They really could have edited it down by 30 minutes or so. Maybe I'd have liked it better if they did.

Go back to the mall for dinner later – Johnny Rocket's. Only fast food place I know of that serves Boca Burgers, which I think are the best veggie burgers you can buy.

Watch a little TV, in bed by midnight. Lotta rain coming tomorrow, and I gotta go do laundry in the morning…

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Day Off in Milwaukee

Up around 8, read for a bit, then head out in search of breakfast. George Webb is PACKED! Whassup with that? It's 9am, so I figure I'll take a walk (opposite direction from yesterday) for an hour and then swing back by.

At 10 it was even worse. So much for that idea. I head off and about 45 minutes later I come across the Michigan Street Diner. Not so crowded. I grab a seat at the counter and settle in. The eggs are better here, but the hash browns were better at the GW.

Spend the rest of the day hanging out in my room. I wanted to go see Toto and The Click Five tonight, but after last night, no way, I'll pass.

A little after 6, I head across the street to the Calderone Club Italian Restaurant. I googled it earlier and there were a lot of rave reviews online. Only one of their dozen or so cafe tables was taken outside, so I got a primo spot where I could eat and people watch.

Got a killer glass of Pinot Noir, which led to another, and another, and another. It rained twice while I was there, but I had double coverage (the umbrella on my table and the building's canopy kept me high and dry.

Had a big plate of calamari for dinner – it was among the best I've ever had. No way I was gonna order an entrée after that.

I was eventually joined by a few crew guys who saw me sitting there as they were exiting the hotel. Switched to beer after about the 8th glass of wine – this oughta make for a nice head at 6am.

Finally took leave of the place about 10:30, and headed off to bed.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Day Off in Milwaukee

Pull up to the hotel at 5am. Tossed off, and head to my room. And as usual, it's hot as hell. Crank up the AC, and lie down in hopes of a little more sleep.

Sleep for about an hour, then get up and read the paper. Head across the street to the George Webb restaurant for some breakfast. Good place, good food. Cheap, and they have a counter you can sit at if you don't want a table.

Go walking around downtown for a couple of hours, then back to the room to work a bit.

Take off about 7 to walk over to Summerfest. According to Mapquest, it's 1.7 mile from the hotel to the festival site.

Unbelievable. Insane amount of people there. I buy a ticket and head in.

First stop I make is at Train's stage. I call their TM Tom, and he comes out front to meet me. We walk over to Cheap Trick's stage and hang out for about 30 minutes, until he has to go back and babysit his band dudes.

I wander all over the site. There's like 10 stages or so, and tons and tons of bands play over the 11 days of the festival.

I worked here with various bands every year from '93 to '99, with the exception of 1997.

Kinda bummed – couldn't get close enough to Cheap Trick to hear them well or see them well. I only watch a couple of songs, then split. I pretty much do the same at the stage that Styx is on, and again at the Train stage, the P.O.D. stage, and the Yellowcard stage.

After I've had my fill of frustration, I head out and start walking back to the hotel. I'd passed a cool looking old man bar on the way down, and wanted to check it out on my way home.

It's not too bad. Looks like an old man bar, but I'm the oldest person in the place, other than Sandy the bartender, who's 50. Her mom opened the place many years ago, and now her brother owns it. She's a hoot and I wind up staying and talking to her for whatever amount of time it takes me to drink 6 beers.

She tells me to come on back tomorrow night, as she's off and will be on the drinking side of the bar. I tell her maybe, and off I go into the night.

Home in bed around 2:30.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Day Off in Minneapolis

Be still my beating liver! No beer today. Mean it.

I spend most of the day reading. Have to work about an hour. Decide to go see a movie across the street. Wind up at the latest X-Men flick. Good stuff.

Grab a sandwich on the way back for dinner later.

Do some websurfing and check to see who's playing at Summerfest in Milwaukee during my upcoming 2 days off there.


Cheap Trick Friday night at 10. I am sooo there!!!!!

Saturday night I may go see Toto or Click Five. Toto always puts on a good show. Click Five had the song of the year last year (as far as I'm concerned) with "Just The Girl" (look it up, it's awesome). Problem is, they're both on at 10pm and I'm usually in bed by 11 on the eve of a game day, as I have to be alive, awake and aware at 5:30am.


Might go see 'em anyway.

Watch the premiere of Rock Star: Supernova. Some serious talent there, and some total jokes. It'll be fun to watch it progress. Maybe I'll work for them next year.

Finish the night websurfing. In bed around 11…

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Day Off in Minneapolis

Ouch! My head hurts. Good thing I don't have anything to do today. I lie around the room, watch some TV, read, listen to John Hiatt.

About 4:30, I wander over to the club to scam some tickets for David and me – Susan's not coming out tonight.

The North Mississippi All-Stars are opening the show tonight AND their John's backing band as well. I've known Luther & Cody Dickinson for nearly 10 years. The All-Stars opened a lot of shows for the Squirrel Nut Zippers back in the 90's – I tour managed the Zippers from '96 to '99. Had to get a club dude to go in and grab one of them. Luther came out and walked me in. As soon as he opened the door, he went "BOBZILLA!!" Hadn't seen the guys in a few years, but they looked absolutely the same.

Spent about 30 minutes with them in their dressing room, getting caught up. Good kids, both of them. Their dad is Jim Dickinson (look him up), who among other things played piano on the Rolling Stones song "Wild Horses". He also produced one of my all-time favorite records, "Pleased To Meet Me", by the Replacements.

Enloe takes the train up from his house south of town and meets me out front of the hotel about 6:30. We go to Chevy's across the street for dinner and a few drinks.

When we got to will-call at the club, Luther & Cody had left us tickets, backstage passes, and he'd even arranged for us to have a private table in the balcony. Cool.

Drank ourselves stupid and had a great time.

Note to self: Spend more time listening to John Hiatt.

Hung out with the band until they had to get on the bus and head to Chicago.

I poured David into a cab and went back to my room. Might have been around 1am, maybe 2am. Who knows.


Monday, July 3, 2006

Day Off in Minneapolis

Wow! Great day off!

Woke up just after 6, about 100 miles from Minneapolis. Danny (the driver) had pulled into a truckstop. A lot of times, stopping will wake me up, and I'm always curious as to where we are. He was just filling the water tank.

I jumped off the bus and grabbed a bag of Mickey D's for me, him, and Mark Wise, who was asleep in the front lounge when I got up and woke up just as we were pulling back out.

At the hotel about 8am. Yesterday I googled 3 local coin laundramats and mapped them out. About 9:30 I head out to the closest one, just under a mile away. Not too sure about old google – nothing there. Of course, I should have called to confirm, but that takes all the fun out of it.

Head off to #2 (about ¾ mile from there), also without calling. No sweat, because if it's not there, #3 is only a few blocks further.

Coin laundry was there. Got that done, then walked 17 blocks back to the hotel with all my clean cotton.

Call David Enloe to let him know I'm in town. David's band, the Woods, was the first band I ever worked for, waaaay back in the 80's. I was a guitar tech back then. We make plans to have dinner and drinks later.

While reading the local paper, I discover that none other than Dwight Twilley (look him up) is playing tonight over in St. Paul at the Taste of Minnesota Festival. I've been a fan for 31 years and have never seen the guy. He rarely tours, or at least he sure as hell never makes it to North Carolina.

David picks me up around 4:45 and we head back to he and wife Susan's house. Sit on their deck and drink for a bit, then the four of us (her son Will came along) head to their neighborhood pizza joint, which I think was called Turtle Bread or something like that – combination bakery, hip groceries, and killer pizza restaurant.

They live in a great neighborhood. Only a block from their place is a 2-3 block stretch with bars, restaurants, stores, independent movie theatre, and more. Man, I sure wish my neighborhood had all this. Maybe one day…

About 7:45 we jump a cab to St. Paul, arriving at the festival in plenty of time for Dwight's 8:45 show. Buy lots of beer tickets and head to the stage. In the distance, we can hear Soul Asylum playing on one of the other stages, but we have no interest in seeing 'em. We're only here for Twilley.

The show was fun, but as always, I wanted him to play songs from the old days only. He played a few – "I'm On Fire", "TV", "Girls", "10,000 American Scuba Divers Dancing", but I wanted more. Glad I went, though.

Here's something for ya - the headliner here tomorrow night is David Cassidy. WTF!!!!

The fireworks following the performances were great. They lasted about 25-30 minutes and the finale was going off just as we were leaving the festival grounds.

Grab a cab back to their house and sit on the deck drinking. We make plans to go see John Hiatt at First Avenue tomorrow night. First Avenue is a club about a block from my hotel, and located directly across the street from the Target Center, the arena my tour's at on Thursday. First Avenue was made famous in Prince's movie "Purple Rain." I did my first show there in 1991 with Dillon Fence. Did a few more there sporadically over the years, most recently April 2005 during System Of A Down's guerilla club tour.

David calls me a cab around 12:30. Shows up about 15 minutes later and I'm back at the hotel at 1am.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Day Off in Kansas City

Up at 6:30, at Starbucks by 7:30. The usual: a scone, a drink, read 2 papers, feed some sparrows. I stopped by the bus on the way over this morning and brought a couple of slices of bread in a baggie for the birds.

Back at the hotel around 9:30. Maybe I'll actually do a little work today. Maybe.

Take a break from reading around 1 to heat up some PF Chang's for lunch. I had ordered one entrée for dinner last night and one to keep for lunch today – I've got a fridge and a microwave in my room here. Turns out my shrimp fried rice is actually CHICKEN fried rice. Toss it in the trash. Eat a bagel instead.

Gotta tell ya, the whole PF Chang's thing is waaaaaay overated. You can find better Chinese food just about anywhere, and you won't have to wait an hour to get it. Not sure I'll ever go back.

Work for a couple of hours during the afternoon.

Around 5, I run down to the bus, grab some beers and ice them down in my room for the race later on. Tonight is the Pepsi 400 at Daytona.

I head next door to Figlio's, the Italian restaurant with the cool second-story veranda overlooking the plaza. It must be 98 degrees out, but the sun is on the other side of the building, so it's not too brutal here. A couple of glasses of wine later, I don't care about the heat anyway.

Decent chow, although I could do better. The Capellini Diavolo is sorta OK (what on EARTH is up with all the damn olive oil?), but the calamari is pitiful. Maybe they just don't ship the good stuff this far inland?

Back in the room in time to see the last pace lap. Watch the race from green to checkers and drink a few beers.

Off to bed around 11…