Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Day Off in Lowell

The only time I left my room today was to go down to the lobby to get a couple of newspapers. Fun night last night, so I'm just chillin' today. We have 4-in-a-row, starting tomorrow here in Lowell…

Monday, October 30, 2006

Day Off in Lowell

Woke up at 6:04am, just as Steve is pulling the bus up in front of the hotel. He tells me that a couple of guys were up all night and just went to bed about 20 minutes ago. That's something I just don't give a damn about these days – staying up all night drinking on a damn tour bus.

We didn't buy the rooms for last night, so we won't be able to check in for a while. I grab a couple of newspapers in the lobby and sit in the front lounge reading them while Steve watches country music videos on the TV.

Finally get everyone's room keys a few minutes past noon, so I grab my stuff, head up to my room to drop it, then head out for a walk. On the way through the lobby, I checked out an area map and looked for the nearest bar for tonight. Looks like it's a place called Major's Pub, about 2 blocks away. I ask Mary at the desk about it and she says it's a cool place. She calls the owner up and tells him I'll be bringing a crowd over tonight to drink and watch the football game.

Take a walk around the neighborhood – not much here. I grab a sandwich at Subway and take it back to my room. Accomplish much of nothing all afternoon.

Meet a few folks in the lobby at 7pm and we head out to Major's Pub. I ask at the bar if Cory (the owner) is there. He's not, but he'll be in later. Then a guy at the bar introduces himself to me – he turns out to be Craig Gates, the general manager of the Tsonga Arena, where we're playing on Wednesday. Somehow, he found out that we were coming here tonight. Came to say hello, and then he tells me that he's picking up the tab for the whole crew tonight. Whoo-hoo!

A few more crew folks trickle in, and eventually there are 11 of us eating, drinking and watch the Patriots kick the living shit out of the Vikings. Poor Molly, she's from Minnesota and takes a bit of ribbing whenever she cheers her team on.

Feeling no pain, I slip out around 12:30 and head back to my room.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

Show Day in NYC

Wake up the usual way here in the Big Apple – morons leaning on their car horns. Even on the 10th floor, there's no way to sleep. Unless, of course, I was to wear earplugs like I do on the bus.

It's a few minutes past 8 and my head's a bit fuzzy for the first 30 minutes I'm awake. Finally get my butt in gear, take a shower, and check out around 11:30. The shuttles which are taking everyone back to the venue today don't start until 1pm, so I decide to just walk back downtown.

About a block from the hotel, I run into a huge flea market in the middle of Seventh Avenue. Seventh is closed from Central Park all the way down to 47th Street, which is about 15 blocks. I'm several blocks deep into it when I took this shot:

I don't buy anything, but it's fun to check it all out.

Get to the gig around 12:45, toss my stuff on the bus, and go grab some lunch, which I eat on the bus while watching a TV show on my computer. I download most of my faves from the iTunes Music Store online so I can keep up with them. Stuff like "Lost" and "N.C.I.S."

The rest of the day goes smoothly. Jimmy Archey threatens to come visit, but he's got his hands full with his kids, so he never makes it. My friend Jen Tressler's coming to the show tonight, but I never hear from her, and I don't know if she showed up or not.

I got to watch the last 40 laps of the Atlanta race in the promoter's office. Usually, I'd watch on the bus, but the buildings here in the city block the satellite signal. I get the settlement completed while the band is still onstage, then throw my work bag on the bus. Watch the second half of the Panthers vs. Dallas game in the promoter's office.

Get in my bunk around 1:45, just as the bus is pulling out…

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Show Day in NYC

I’m awakened by the choppy motion of the bus driving through New York City as we head for Hammerstein Ballroom, which is located on the block bordered by 7th and 8th Avenues to the east and west, and 34th and 35th Streets to the south and north, near Madison Square Garden.

It's pissing down rain and I’m wide awake at 6:30am. Load in won't begin until 8, so I jump off the bus and grab a Starbucks for me and one for our production manager Robert who just woke up. The man's got a caffeine habit like no other – he usually drinks about 3 5-shot venti Mocha's a day and a shitload of coffee, too. I've seen him drinking coffee at 2am. Yikes!

We're doing two nights here. No load out tonight, and I won't settle the shows financially until tomorrow night, so everyone starts making plans to go out tonight.

Around 6pm, I walk the 22 blocks to the hotel to pick up everyone's keys. Could have taken a cab, but I always like to people-watch in the Big Apple and the best way to do that is by walking around.

Show's done at 9:45. I distribute an info sheet to everyone to let them know where our BT's gonna be tonight. (BT = Bar Time) Do a little hang on the bus with some crew folks, then we head to the hotel (via the runner van) to drop bags and such.

My Jersey friend Sarah and her boyfriend Alex are outside the door at Collins Bar when I walk up around 10:30. Knuckles, our rigger, shows up a few minutes later. Audio Pimp Patrick and his girlfriend Terese (who flew in from L.A. for a few days) show up. Funny story about Terese. She's a choreographer by trade, and is the person who first introduced Britney Spears to her idiot husband Kevin Federline. I thanked her for taking both their trailer-trash asses out of circulation and bought her a beer.

Later my friend C.J. shows up with her husband Bjorn in tow. She brought a couple of cute young female friends with her, too. Security guy J.T. appears with Molly, our production assistant. Marcel, our venue security director, shows up after attending an aftershow party with the band.

Much drinking occurs.

Around 3:45, I decide that I had better get my butt to bed, so I bid them all adieu and walk the 9 blocks back to the hotel.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Show Day in Hartford

First show goes off pretty well. Head out around 4am to go to NYC…

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rehearsal Day in Hartford

Final rehearsal day. I take a couple of photos of the set while the band is rehearsing. Didn't really like the way any of them turned out except for this shot of Nick...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rehearsal Day in Hartford

10am bus call to head to the venue this morning. The band won't be around today – they've got to fly to Louisville, KY this morning to play a private show for Best Buy.

Head back to the hotel around midnight…

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rehearsal Day in Hartford

I decided to get as much sleep as possible, so I set my alarm for 6:45 this morning. Whoo-Hoo! Three and a half hours!!!! Screw showering. I get up, get dressed, chew my toothbrush for a minute, and try to shake out the cobwebs. Thinking that I should be able to grab a shower at the venue after I get in and get the production office set up, I grab some clean clothes and my toiletries on the way down to the bus at 7:00.

Remember, "Early is on time, on time is late."

Today, we're adding crew folks, an extra bus, 3 extra trucks, and a shitload of new staging, audio gear, video gear and lights. Lots of new faces, some familiar, some not.

We now have a production assistant (Molly), which means I won't have to fuck around with setting up and tearing down production every day.

And I'll finally start doing settlements every night, unlike the previous 3 weeks. For the college tour, the band was paid a flat fee, which was wired directly to CAA, the band's agency.

Our production rehearsals and first show are at the Dodge Music Center here in Hartford. It's your basic, generic music amphitheater, but during the cold months they put up a wall at the back of the "seated" area under the roof to close it off for winter use. Smart. Not cheap to do, either, as it also involves an HVAC system of enormous proportions. Brings the capacity down to 6,620 for shows, which is a great size for "in-between" bands like the All-American Rejects.

I did the very first show at this venue, back in 1995. Cry of Love was on hiatus (pronounced "in-between singers"), so I spent that summer tour managing Dillon Fence, who were on the road opening for Hootie and The Blowfish.

We finally get out around 1:30am and head back to the hotel.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Show Day in Providence

Today is the last day of the Verizon Wireless sponsored college campus tour. We're at Providence State College and have a huge production office today. I'm loving it. It's a million miles from the stage and has plenty of room for everyone and everything. The show is in the college's Rec Fieldhouse, which has five (5!!!!!) basketball courts side-by-side inside. We're only using the space of about 3 of those for the stage and audience area, so the "backstage" space is huge. Much basketball is played throughout the day by various band and crew folks.

After the show, we're driving 88 miles to Hartford, CT. We have an 8am load in tomorrow to start 3 days of production rehearsals for the "real" tour. The drive is too short to go to sleep on, so I struggle to stay awake.

Finally get into my room and hit the bed around 3:15am. That 7:15 bus call time is gonna suck.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Show Day in Framingham

Today's show is in Framingham, home of Framingham State College. Our show was originally going to be outside, but the weather forecast called for it to be too cold, so we're using the Framingham Town Hall. This building is totally NOT set up to put on a show. No rigging points, tiny stage. If fact, the stage is completely unusable. Which means we make a phone call and have staging brought in, pronto. The new stage gets built directly in front of the house one, which cuts the usable floor space by about a third.

For a production office, all 5 of us are jammed into an office shared by 3 desks and a LOT of clutter. The building guy starts freaking out when I roll in our 4 production cases and start setting stuff up. He can't fathom the idea that we carry our entire office on the road and both set it up and tear it down every day.

Me? I can't fathom the idea of going to work at the same place every day.

The show goes off without a hitch…

Because it was such an early show, finishing at 6:30, load-out done by 8:30, we ran by the driver hotel so a couple of people could shower, then we all went…

Yep, we went bowling. Not everyone participated (pronounced "Bob didn't bowl"), but a good time was had by all. I was drinking beer and hanging out with some other non-bowlers. Decided to grab my camera off the bus to snap a few shots:

Singer Tyson after a good roll:

That's the drum tech, "Captain" to the left in the photo.

Drummer Chris and Damone's singer Nicole:

Audio Pimp Patrick with Damone tour manager Misty:

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Show Day in Amherst

The first 10 minutes of my day sucked. Not really hungover, but feeling it. An hour later, I was fine.

Today's show is in Amherst, home of the UMass Minutemen.

The day was just average. Nothing to write home about…

Friday, October 20, 2006

Day Off in Hartford

Woke up around 7:45. The bus was parked next to the hotel in downtown Hartford. Went in to check on our rooms at 9. The not-as-nice-as-she-should-be-to-guests person at the desk told me that nothing was ready and that it would be at least 2 hours before any rooms would start becoming available. No big deal, I'll play along for now. Only because I've got a couple of newspapers to read on the bus and no one's gonna be awake for a while.

Went back in at 11, to find that exactly one room was now ready. I've seen this movie too many times, so I asked if they were sticking to their rooming list assignments or giving us first available cleans. And of course they were sticking to the assigned room numbers. In other words, I had room 401 on the list, and even though they may have had 20 comparable rooms clean and ready, they were gonna by God make me wait until room 401's guest had vacated and the room was cleaned.

Fuck that.

I told them in the nicest way possible that the bus driver had to shut off the generator because a cop was about to give him a noise ticket for $376 (which is true), and that once the gennie was shut off that I'd have to get everyone off the bus. This would fill their lobby with a bunch of ugly, smelly roadies.

Man, you shoulda seen their faces when I told 'em that.

Within 60 seconds, the manager on duty appeared and started putting all of my people into clean rooms. Ten minutes later I was on the bus waking everyone up.

Did a bunch of nothing for most of the day. Went next door to McDonald's with one of the guys for lunch at 2. Ran into another couple of our people there, so we all had lunch together.

Sooner, our LD, called mid-afternoon to ask if I wanted to eat sushi for dinner. She's a total sweetie, so of course I said yes. Two other folks went, also. The restaurant was flat out awesome. Some of the best sushi I've ever had. Very creative chefs.

After dinner, we met Patrick at the British pub across the street for a few beers. I actually had the good sense to pack it in and go home at 11. If I'd have stayed any longer, it could have gotten ugly for me in the morning.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Show Day in Albany

Pretty much a blah day. Looking forward to my day off tomorrow in Hartford, CT – a few of us are going out for sushi there.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Show Day in W. Long Branch, NJ

"Excuses only satisfy those who make them." -- Bob Davis

Yep, I said. I believe it. And you can quote me.

I later changed that to "Excuses only satisfy those who make them – they don't do a damn thing for the rest of us."

Either way, his was a lame excuse…

My bus driver Steve shut off the main engine this morning at 6:33am. With it, went the air in the bunks. All well and good, if things follow the natural order of bus life. Which means that he should have switched over from "bus air" to "generator air" at 6:33:01. Or even better, he should have turned on the genny air BEFORE killing the main, thereby providing those of us sleeping in our self-heating coffins with an uninterrupted flow of cool, fresh air. Ask any roadie, he can tell you what it's like to be in a bunk with no air.

When I heard him step off the bus immediately after killing the engine, I accepted the fact that my night was likely done. I thought maybe we were at a truckstop and he was gonna fuel up. In fact, we were at the gig, and he was helping one of the truck drivers back up. He was using a handheld CB radio to help truck driver Timmy, so I could hear it all over the CB on the bus, which he had left TURNED UP LOUDER THAN A FUCKING 747 TAKING OFF when he got off the bus.

Being the nice guy (pronounced "Sucker") that I am, I didn't want to interrupt him doing something important.

It was a bitchin' turn that Timmy had to back through, so it took some time. After Steve got him where he needed to be, I grabbed the radio's microphone and told Steve that I needed him back on the bus because we had no air in the bunks. Duh! He's a great driver and all, everybody sleeps great, but part of driving includes the little things, like making sure the air never goes off in the damn bunks!

By this time (6:51), there was no way in hell I was gonna go back to dreamland to await my 8:00 alarm. I tried, lying there for 15 minutes tossing and turning. If I'm not asleep within 3 minutes of my head hitting the pillow, it's just not gonna happen. So here I sit, typing and listening to CNN Headline News in the background.

Well, OK, watching the news while trying to type. Geez, Christy Paul is gorgeous. And their entertainment reporter, a diminutive Eva Longoria-looking hispanic chick named Adrianna Costa, is totally hot and waaaay prettier than Eva. Yowza!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Show Day in Philadelphia

Feel a bit better today. I actually slept about 7 hours last night, a rare luxury. Lay around the room all morning, shower, then head down around noon to handle the check out.

Bus call is 1pm, and we head over to the King of Prussia Mall, not far from the gig. One of the girls at Villanova last night told me it's the second largest mall in the U.S. I've been there before (BBMak tour, 2000), but don't really remember much about it.

On the way over, everyone gets told about what happened to Damone this morning. They're the opening act on the tour, and really the only support band that we all like. They're nice kids and their music rocks. Anyway, between 9 and 10am this morning, their van and trailer were stolen from their hotel parking lot. Everything they had with them, except for what they had inside the hotel, is gone. That sucks! They won't be on the show tonight, but they hope to scrape together enough equipment to play tomorrow.

It's raining like a bitch when we pull up to the mall. Everyone goes in, even the drivers. A bunch of us wind up in the food court for lunch. Afterwards, I head back out to the bus – gotta work on the budget for the upcoming arena run.

Arrive at the venue at 6pm. Hang out in production all night working, except for dinner. Catering sucks again tonight, so I have a PB & J on the bus.

Don't watch the show tonight. Too busy.

Out to the bus around 1am…

Monday, October 16, 2006

Day Off in Philadelphia

Man, what a crappy day off this was. I was up around 8:30 and felt like someone beat me up. I've got a minor case of "bus bug", which I picked up from someone a few days ago. It may be turning into a sinus infection – guess I'll know about that sooner or later. The super dry air on the bus isn't helping, either. So anyway, by 10am, I've got an absolutely debilitating sinus headache, which kicks my ass for the next 8 hours, all the way up to our bus call time to go load in at Villanova.

Not the way I wanted to spend my (half) day off…

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Show Day in Salisbury

Today's show is in Salisbury, MD, at Salisbury State University. Nice campus. Student population of about 7,000. 2300 or so of them will be at the show tonight.

Caught most of the Panthers game on the bus this afternoon. They won!

Not much else going on today. We have a day off in Philly tomorrow, but I haven't contacted any friends there about doing anything. After 4 shows in a row, I just want to chill out in my room. Even that is gonna get interrupted, because we're gonna go load in at Villanova University around 6pm for our show there on Tuesday. We can't do anything in the venue on show day until after 5pm, so we HAVE to load in Monday night. Sucks because we're just coming off a 4 in a row, then after a "sort of" day off tomorrow, we have a 3 in a row. That'll make 8 days straight without a real, true total day off.

But hey, that's why we make the big bucks…

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Show Day in Wilmington

Late load-in today, 11:00am. I'm up around 8, take a walk inside to wander around this strange place we're playing today. We're in Wilmington, DE, at The Big Kahuna. It's kinda like a Dave & Buster's, or Jillian's. A big restaurant/entertainment complex, with several restaurants and bars, a gigantic arcade-like game room, and 3 or 4 stages in various rooms. We're playing the outdoor stage, which has a capacity of roughly 4,000.

Gonna be kind of cold out on the stage tonight.

Around 7pm, I head out to the bus to watch the Charlotte race. Dale, Jr. came in 4th, which moved him up to 5th place in points with 5 races left. I'd love to see him win a championship, but I'm not so sure his team is capable to pulling it off.

Singer Tyson's girlfriend arrives around 7pm – she's flown in from Dallas and will be out on the tour for a week. She is just the nicest young lady and Tyson absolutely glows when she's around. My friend Sarah told me she's a model and that you can't open a woman's magazine these days without seeing her.

We're not leaving for Maryland until 6am, so our tour manager talks the venue into letting us have access to the building until stupid o'clock and then he orders 5 cases of beer and a few bottles of liquor for after the show. I hung out for a while, and had one beer. Finally went out and got to Bunkyville around 3am…

Friday, October 13, 2006

Show Day in Bethlehem

Nice venue today – Stabler Arena at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, NY. Smallish room, perfect for a concert. I'm not a fan of 20,000 seat rooms with "nosebleed" seating for half the patrons.

Idiot caterer put the vegetarian entrée (stuffed pasta shells with marinara sauce) out on the catering table at dinner, along with the other entrees. There was only enough for about 4 people (I'm one of only 2 "official" vegetarians on this tour), so of course the first 6 people that got there completely wiped it out. I went off on the 2 catering idiots. You never, ever put out the veggie entrée unless you have enough of it to feed a hell of a lot of people. Because if you do, suddenly everyone's a part-time veg or a veg-for-a-day or whatever, and they eat IT instead of their chopped up animal corpses. What you do is hold it back somewhere and issue it only upon request, or at the very least mark it "Vegetarians Only."

One of them suggested that there were still some veggie sandwiches left from lunch, which REALLY fucking set me off. I told her that they were shit at lunch, and now that they had been sitting out for 7 hours, I sure as hell wasn't gonna have them again for dinner. Wouldn't feed 'em to a dog. Fucking idiot.

So, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the bus was my dinner du jour.

My friend Sarah and her boyfriend Alex come out from Jersey to see the show and hang out tonight. It was nice to see her. I think this was the first time this year we saw each other.

In the bunk around 3…

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Show Day in Long Island

Happy Birthday, Sherry Willey!!!!!

Today's show is at Hofstra University in Long Island. Nice looking campus, one of the prettiest I've seen on this tour. Somebody told me today that Hofstra has a higher rate of STD's in their student body than any other college in the U.S., and has had for 4 years running. Wonder if THAT shit is true. All I know is that there's a bunch of slutty looking chicks here.

Dylan Ely, a guy who I did the R. Kelly tour with earlier this year, comes out to visit tonight. After RK, he worked for Linkin Park with our production manager Robert Long, aka Ragman. Dylan hangs out with us until our 2am bus call time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Day Off in Long Island

Woke up on the bus around 7am. Long ways to go, as we're only just now at Exit 6 on the New Jersey Turnpike. Nobody else will be awake for hours.

Here's the view, as we make our way east toward Long Island.

If you look real close, you might be able to make out the Statue of Liberty in the middle of this photo:

Hit the hotel just past 10:30 and it takes over 2 hours for me to get everyone their room keys.

We're at the Marriott across the parking lot from Nassau Coliseum, which looks like this out the window:

I decide to do my own laundry today, for two reasons. Number 1, none of the runners at these college gigs has ever been a runner before, so I don't trust them to get my stuff safely to and from the local fluff 'n fold. Number 2, there are 2 washers and 2 dryers on the lower lobby level of the hotel and I have nothing better to do this afternoon.

After laundry and some websurfing, I wind up downstairs at Champions, the sports bar in the lobby, around 6:30. Have a few beers and some steamed shrimp (which were great), and I'm back in my room by 8:00.

Fall asleep watching CSI New York. Wake up sometime after 11 and crawl into bed.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Show Day in Richmond

Man, oh man! Catering totally sucked today.

For reasons unknown, Tyson (AAR's singer) decided to go shirtless and wear a bra onstage tonight. Sorta looked like this:

Long drive tonight – day off tomorrow in Long Island.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Day Off in Richmond

Got up at 8 this morning, while the bus was sitting in a truckstop. Everyone on both buses is passed out cold – I’m told that they all came out of the bar around 6am. Glad I went to bed.

Since the rooms won't be ready until 10, I tell my bus driver to pull over at the next Waffle House. We find one about 15 minutes later, so I treat Steve (crew driver) and Mark (band driver) to breakfast.

Pull up to the hotel at 10am. Everyone's still passed out on both buses. I go handle the check in, put the keys on each bus, and head up to my room. Drop bags, then I take a walk to see what's around.

Nothing. One British pub (The Penny Lane Pub) about 7 blocks away, but downtown Richmond is dead, dead, dead. I can't believe it. Stores are boarded up all over, and it looks like downtown Raleigh did 20+ years ago.

My brother Bill lives here out in the 'burbs, but I don't think I'll have time to see him today.

I decide to have lunch on the bus – PB&J. Quick, cheap.

Wound up having dinner on the bus, too – another PB&J. Watched "How I Met Your Mother" while dining, then headed back to my room.

In bed around 11:30…

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Show Day in Baltimore

Today's gonna be a good day – I have a TV in the production office. Can't get the Panthers game, but I can see the Talladega race.

We're playing Loyola College in Baltimore. Nice venue, the people running this place are totally on the ball. And their using my favorite DC-based catering company, Hightopps. They're the best!

Dale, Jr. got screwed on the last lap by an idiot steering-wheel-holder named Vickers who managed to wreck Jr. and another steering-wheel-holder at the same time, costing Jr. a third place finish at the very least and (more likely) a win. June was leading during the final lap when Vickers (moron) caused the accident. Idiot!

Panthers won, although I didn't get to see any of it. Maybe next week.

After the show tonight, we jump on the buses and haul to Gaithersburg, MD, where the band's tour manager knows the owner of a large bar who's agreed to let us come party after hours. We pull up just before 2am and everyone heads inside. I have exactly one draft Bud before I decide it's just too damn loud, dark and smoky inside. I head out to the buses, chat with the drivers for a while, then hit my bunk around 3am…

Saturday, October 7, 2006

Show Day in South Orange, NJ

Down at 2am last night, up again at 6. I'm gonna have to pop half an Ambien if this keeps up...

Today we're at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, about 15 miles from NYC. The show is on the indoor track, inside the Rec Center at the rear of the campus.

My friend Sarah lives about 45 minutes from here and was gonna come visit me today, but we decide that she should come out in NYC on the 28th instead. That will be the first of 2 nights at the Hammerstein Ballroom in the city, so I won't have to do settlement or load-out that night. Just walk away and go have fun.

By 2pm, I have a splitting headache, so I go lay in my cold, dark bunk for an hour. I sleep for most of that, and when I get up, I feel like a million bucks again.

Not much to report today. I keep trying to find 45 minutes to watch the season premiere of "Lost", which I bought from the iTunes Music Store the other day, but I don't think it's gonna happen today.

While I was out watching the show a little while ago, I saw 2 girls hauled out on stretchers. A faculty member who I asked about it said they both reeked of beer and had probably slammed a few before coming inside for the show.

Ah, youth...

Friday, October 6, 2006

Show Day in Syracuse

Man, I need some sleep. Finally got in my bunk last night (this morning?) around 2:15. Woke up at 6:09. No way I'm gonna fall back to sleep, so I crawl out and get dressed. Kinda chilly outside when I step out. Find an open door to the venue and go wander around to see everything.

Today we're playing at Goldstein Auditorium on the campus of Syracuse University. The good news is that today's catering is the best of the tour so far, 3 shows in. The last 2 shows' catering was complete shit.

Just past 6pm, Tyson (the singer) is doing an interview with the campus station in the dressing room. Turns out that the station is also available to listen to live on their website. Somebody comes up with the idea to shoot out a message to all of the band's "friends" on their MySpace page and give out the station's phone number so fans can call and speak to the band. Over the next 15 minutes or so, a couple of calls trickle in, then one of the girls posts on the MySpace page that she had just spoken to Tyson.

All hell breaks loose, and the phone lights up like a Christmas tree. The band spends the next 2 hours goofing on the phone with their fans. Crew guys get in on it and there's a lot of funny shit being said by everybody.

Several of us are listening in via the station's website as we sit around the production office. Tyson gives me a shout out, dedicating a song to me and saying that I'm probably down the hall crunching numbers. He even calls me Bobzilla on the air. Props. Props to the old man…


I've started watching the first 4 songs of our set every night, because 2 of them are faves of mine from the record. The last song of the night is, too, but I miss it tonight because I'm busy doing other stuff.

I also missed our opening act's set tonight. They're called Damone and they fuckin' rock! Really cool, 70's hard rock kind of vibe with a chick singer. I've got both of their records at home, and they're even better live.

The Rejects' agent from CAA, Jenna Adler, is visiting tonight from LA. Jenna rocks! I've been working with her off and on since 2002 with various bands. Always good to see her.

I spend some time blogging after the show, and head out to the bus around 1:15…

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Show Day in Poughkeepsie

Glad I stayed in last night. Today is the first of four shows in a row. And I feel like a million bucks when I wake up just before 6. My alarm was set for 6:30, but I knew I wouldn't sleep that late.

Today we're playing at Marist College, here in Poughkeepsie. The entire crew is made up of college kids, who are all very bright-eyed and bushy-tailed looking. They kick ass on the load-in and especially the load-out.

The show is being held in the gymnasium inside the McCann Center, the campus' athletic facility. There isn't a real production office area available, so we set up camp in one of the handball courts. There's a tiny little door in the back to enter the room and zero electrical outlets for all our stuff – have to drop in lines from the hallway.

Poor Travis (band assistant). He's about 6'4" and I watched him bang into the top of the doorway twice before 10am.

The court is light by a bunch of really brutal sodium lamps which give off that sickly yellow-ish glow. It makes all of our laptop screens look blue-ish. By 10:30, everyone's eyes are hurting and I'm having a problem with running tear ducts. WTF? We send out for a bunch of table lamps and shut off the overheads. Gives the production office a kind of "living room" vibe for the rest of the day.

Mobile phone reception in here sucks today, so I have to step outside whenever I make or take a phone call. For about a two-hour stretch this afternoon, this worked out pretty damn well. When you step out the door at the end of the hall, to your right is about 40 linear feet of 8-foot tall windows, just inside of which is the olympic-sized swimming pool. And hey, look, there are about 40-45 college girls in swimsuits. There's a game of water polo going on, but only 14 girls are in the pool playing at any point. The rest are standing around the side of the pool, watching.

It really sucks to stand out here on the phone and have to watch all that.

No, really.


Chris Sheridan calls me to see if I'm watching the State game. Looks like they might upset Florida State. I don't have time to watch right now, but I make it to the bus in time for the last 10 minutes of the game.

Finally get into my bunk around 2:15…

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Day Off in Poughkeepsie

When Steve, my bus driver, pulls out of the venue lot just after 6am, I wake up. Think about going back to sleep, but no such luck. I roll out of my little womb and sit up front with him for the drive to Poughkeepsie. I already like Steve, he's a great driver – totally pro attitude and waaay laid back.

We make it to the hotel before 10. I'm still the only one awake, so I go handle the check-in. Throw my bags in, and head out for a walk to see what's nearby. Temperature's great, and the sky's completely overcast.

As we were driving in, Steve and I were talking about how neither one of us had ever been to Poughkeepsie. Or so I thought. While I was out walking down Main Street in downtown, I glanced down an alley and saw a club called The Chance that Cry of Love had played at back in the day. I wanna say we played there once in '93 and again in '94. I kinda remember seeing some snow on one of those occasions. I also remember having a conversation with Audley (CoL's guitar player) about how depressing these burnt-out towns were. Economy in the toilet, all the young people moving away, downtown turning to shit. I mean, have you ever been to a city where all the people look like they've just had the life sucked right out of them? That's what this is. You can just see it on their faces.

There's hardly anything downtown that's gonna be open for dinner tonight. One Chinese place, one pizza joint, and one deli that looks pretty dodgy. Maybe it'll be a room service night.

I grab a quick breakfast at the deli down the street from the hotel. Today it's a short stack (2 pancakes) with 2 scrambled eggs. Good stuff. Couldn't finish the pancakes, just too much.

Other than running down the street to handle some banking business, I pretty much spend the rest of the day in my room. Brent Carpenter, the monitor engineer, called and invited me to join him and a couple of guys for dinner, but they weren't even leaving the hotel until 9pm, and I just didn't want to go out that late.

I phoned in an order for some Chinese food (Shrimp & Broccoli, extra spicy), and even though they deliver, I decide I'd rather walk down the street and pick it up.

Back in the room, I catch a little TV while chowing. Off to bed just past 11:30...

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Show Day in Storrs, CT

Woke up around 6:30. Load-in isn't until 8, so I just kinda hang out on the bus. No sense going balls-out on the first day, right?

Our first show is in Storrs, CT, on the campus of UConn. For Duke basketball fans, this is enemy territory.

Turned into a long, slow, grinding day. Not too bad for the opening day of a tour, just steady on.

Before I knew it, it was well after midnight, and I was thinking 'bout getting in my bunk. We're not leaving until 6am, because tomorrow's a day off and it's only a 130-mile drive. Plus, we didn't buy the rooms tonight, so we won't be able to get into them tomorrow unless either a)the hotel was well short of a sellout, or b)everyone in it tonight checks out early tomorrow morning.

I'm in bunkyland just before 2am…

Monday, October 2, 2006

Travel Day to NYC/Storrs, CT

Finally going back to work today. Paige drops me at the airport just before noon. As soon as I'm on the ground at JFK in New York, I call Kenny Soule to see what he's up to. I've got 7-8 hours to kill in the city before our bus leaves sometime after midnight.

Lucky me – Kenny's gigging tonight with his country-music-live-karaoke band out in Brooklyn. So after grabbing a slice for dinner, I jump on the train and head out. The club -- Hank's Saloon -- is a couple of blocks walk from the Atlantic Ave. station in Brooklyn, and Kenny's standing outside chatting on his phone when I walk up.

I only get an hour and a half to enjoy it before I have to split to make bus call. That's because they didn't start until 10. The singer of the band is the guy who runs the karaoke. Don't remember his name, but he's funny as hell and between drunks doing bad karaoke, the band plays 4 or 5 of his original songs, which are damn good. My favorite one is called "The Older I Get, The Better I Used To Be."

I make it to my bus call at 12:30, but of course we don't roll until after 1:15. First night on my new bus, with a bunch of dudes I don't know. Hit the hay just as we're pulling out of the city.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Day Off at Home

Today's my last day at home. Going on tour tomorrow.

I know I've been pretty slack about my blog entries during September, but there just wasn't that much to write about. Had a bunch of fun nights with my friends, saw some cool bands, shared great meals, got in lots of front porch time, etc., just didn't feel like writing much of it down.

Once I get on the road again, that should change

Check in again soon…