Thursday, November 30, 2006

Day Off in Las Vegas

WTF??? How on earth could 4 beers make me feel so bad? Must be the old, fourth-day-in-the-desert-weather dehydration thing wrecking me.

Here's the view from here on the 11th floor of the Hard Rock Hotel. The Vegas airport is just across the way:

Not really giving a crap about Vegas, the only time I leave the room during the day is to eat lunch at Johnny Rocket's across the street (awesome veggie burger called The Streamliner) and to pick up a few things from the CVS store on the corner.

Around 6pm, I head down to find the AAR display case and take a couple of photos. Here's a shot of it:

Bus call to go to San Diego for tomorrow's show is at midnight. Goofing off until then…

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Show Day in Las Vegas

Today's show is at The Joint, the venue at the Hard Rock Hotel here in Las Vegas. I've done this place a bunch. Chas, the production guy here, is great. Always a pleasure to be here. I don't give a shit about Vegas, but I do like this venue.

Instead of rolling on to San Diego after our show tonight, we're gonna stay in Vegas for our day off tomorrow. Lots of folks on my bus have "imported" for the occasion. Brent's girlfriend Libby is here, Robert's wife Kelly is here. Sooner's boyfriend Rock is here, And Suki's girlfriend Blue is here.

At 7pm tonight, the hotel unveiled their All-American Rejects display. It's in one of those display cases located throughout the hotel. Specifically, it's in the foyer of one of the building's main entrances. I couldn't be there for the ceremony, so here's a shot that Marcel took while he was there:

I'll try to swing by tomorrow to get a close-up.

Big aftershow party planned in a suite here in the hotel. Bartender, open bar, hot Vegas sluts, etc. I'm there for exactly 2 beers, then I ditch. What really drove me out wasn't the party itself, but the sheer number of absolute morons who came pouring into the suite about 5 minutes before I split. The place got extremely loud, extremely smoky and extremely not me. See ya!

I had promised to go to the Double Down (famous Vegas roadie bar), after a couple of beers at the party, but I bailed out on everyone. It was already pushing 3am, and I just didn't really feel like going. Maybe tomorrow…

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Show Day in Phoenix

Today's show is in Phoenix, AZ. I've got some friends who live here, but I doubt I'll see them. Robert Mason's band has a regular Tuesday night gig in Tucson, and Steve Kidd's on the road with Gn'R.

This is one of my fave venues in town – The Dodge Theater. I've probably done 5-6 shows here in the last few years. Behind the stage, there's a graffiti wall that runs about 100 feet or so. Most of the bands and Broadway shows and such that have played here have "tagged" the wall, so it's pretty messy in spots. The building actually encourages folks to do this, so when they asked the AAR if they would do a little something, Tyson immediately sent out for a bunch of cans of spray paint.

I was in the production office at one point during the late afternoon when I heard a bunch of commotion in the hallway. I stepped out and looked down the long graffiti hall to see a huge cloud of red haze in the distance. There was so much paint in the air that people were gagging on it. Yuck. And like something out of a Stephen King story ("The Mist" comes to mind, one of his best short stories), it was drifting eerily toward us. We quickly closed off that hall, and I in turn closed the door to the office. Here's the final piece:

You might notice the area marked "Band & Crew" at the bottom – we all signed it. Look closely on the left half at the bottom and you'll catch my "Zilla":

Kadaver, one of our guitar techs, came into the office today and told me about Kevin, aka Toad, the keyboard player, puking last night around 3am after getting a little too smoked up. He said he had pictures of it, so I asked him to email me a couple of shots. I picked out the best one, cropped it, blew it up, and printed out about 20 copies of it. I had the stage manager tape them all over the stage area before the sound check. They were also in the hallways all over the backstage area and even in the elevator the band was using all day. Poor Toad. Here's the shot:

Oh, yeah, I got a phone call today about a potential gig upcoming. It's a pretty famous band. They're evidently making a change – ditching the current tour accountant and replacing him. I'd love to get the gig, because 2 very good friends of mine are on it - the tour manager and the production manager. I've worked a bunch with these 2 guys over the last 7 years or so, and they both want me out there.

The downside is that the first show is on or around the 10th and I really, really want to be home for all of January. Hell, maybe February, too. But the money this gig pays is just stupid, so I'm taking it if it comes through. I'll keep ya posted…

Monday, November 27, 2006

Show Day in Tucson

I'm actually typing this the day after our show in Tucson. I can't tell you the first damn thing about yesterday other than the fact that we did a show.

What a bland, boring day it was…

I did, however, order all of my custom fitted blinds for the house today, so I'm happy about that. Right now, all of my windows are covered with $2.96 sheets from Wal-Mart, cut in half. Ugh! Installation of the blinds will take place after I get home in a few weeks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Day Off in Tucson

Like clockwork, up just past 7am. Long way to go still. I hang out up front with driver Steve until it's time for football. The front lounge will be on the New Orleans game (our production manager Robert Long is from Louisiana), so I'm hanging in the rear lounge to watch the Panthers game. They lose (again!), with the game finishing just as we pull up to the hotel. Steve made great time getting us here. It's just past 2pm here in Tucson.

On the way to my room, I walk past a guest laundry with 2 washer and 2 dryers. I don't normally do my own laundry on the road, but if it's this convenient, why wait until tomorrow (when I had planned to get it done)? Stick my head in to check pricing, and discover that it's free! All the better.

So that's about all I did today. Laundry and some TV. We're at a pretty expensive and exclusive golf resort just outside of Tucson. I've stayed here before. There's fuck-all to do without taking a taxi into town, and all the damn restaurants here at the resort are a bit too pricey for my new homeowner's ass. I've got half a Subway sandwich left from our truckstop stop late morning, so that's dinner.

I'm just no fun today…

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Show Day in San Antonio

Our show today is in San Antonio at Freeman Coliseum. And tonight I'm missing another big event back home in Raleighwood.

PKM is doing a reunion show downtown at the Lincoln Theater. That's P as in PeeWee Watson, K as in Kenny Soule, and M as in Mike Gardner. You can get the full story HERE

I really hate to be missing this show. These guys don't do nearly enough reunion gigs for my liking, and it seems I'm always out of town when they do do them.

(I said do-do. Ha!)

Meant to call Vicki, an old friend who lives here. She got her boobs done last year and I haven't seen 'em yet. She also got married, which lessens the chances of me seeing 'em.

Oh, well. You know what they say about boobs. If you've seen one, you've seen 'em both….

Long drive tonight – 900 miles or so to Tucson. We'll have a little bit of daylight left when we get there for our day off. Yeah, right…

Friday, November 24, 2006

Show Day in Houston

Holy mother-of-vomit! What is that fucking smell??????

I woke up in my bunk, threw open the curtain and got slapped in the face by a pail of steaming dirty baby diapers.

Now, first thing in the morning, the bunk area of a tour bus is not always the most pleasant-smelling place to be, what with the personal hygiene habits of certain folks. It almost always has a bit of a musky-icky-organic-crotchrot-moldy-locker room-dirty feet (20 of 'em) thing going on.

But what the fuck died in here?

Then it dawned on me. A whole lot of folks on this bus pretty much inhaled 2 huge trays of deviled eggs yesterday at Mike's house.



And you best believe I closed the door to the bunk area as soon as I passed through it….

Today's show is in Houston at the Reliant Arena. This is like the 4th time I've been in this building in the last 25 months.

Today is also when I start my countdown clock. I'm flying home 4 weeks from today. Yep, just 28 days until my next period of unemployment begins. Maybe I'll finally start unpacking all of my belongings – I was living out of my suitcase the last time I was at home – boxes all over the house. Gotta get the window treatments taken care of and a whole lot of other house stuff done.

But first, I've got to run down to Charlotte for a couple of days to see Mom and do the Christmas thing.

Christmas night, of course, will be spent at the PourHouse in downtown Raleigh, attending the annual Terry Anderson/David Enloe birthday party. Seems like this is the 8th or 9th or 10th year that this has been held. It was at The Brewery for a long time, and this is probably the 3rd or 4th year it's been at the P-House. Turdell and Enloe turn 51 this year – both born Christmas Day 1955. Couple of old farts. And a lot of old farts will be there to drink beer and share hugs and stories of the holiday season. So, whoever is reading this, make plans to be there.

I really hate not being home in Raleigh today. Tonight is Jack Cornell's annual post-Thanksgiving party. Jack's an old friend who played bass in The Fabulous Knobs and The Woods (The Woods being the first band I ever roadied for) and is currently playing with Terry in their band The Olympic Ass-Kicking Team. He also produced the record and did all the artwork. There's a review of their latest record, at the CDBaby website, that describes Jack as having "hair like an unmade bed." (In case you're wondering, that's a very flattering compliment.) You can read that review and others HERE.

You can download OAKTeam ringtones HERE.

Anyway, Jack's party is always a blast. I brought a bottle of Thunderbird to it a couple of years ago, but pretty much nobody except Carina would drink any of it with me. Idiot that I am, I happily drank the rest. Not smart, but I wouldn't realize that until the next day.

Sorry I can't be there, Jack. Hope y'all miss me just a little…

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Day Off in Edmond, OK

Happy T-Day, everybody!

I managed to sleep in this morning – got up around 8:30. Bus call wasn't until 2:30, so I had a lot of time to kill. Read yesterday's paper, showered, packed and was down on the bus by 1. Just didn't feel like sitting around the room any longer…

Our day off today has kinda been taken away from us. We SHOULD be waking up on the bus as we pull into a hotel in Houston, where our show is tomorrow. Instead, we're staying here in Oklahoma, where we're going to Thanksgiving dinner at Mike Kennerty's house out in Edmond, an OKC suburb. Don't get me wrong, I love working for this band, and I really like hanging out and drinking with everyone on my bus. As gracious as it is for Mike to provide a place for us all to spend the holiday together, most of us would rather be in Houston, chilling out. Me, I probably wouldn't leave my room today – if I can't be home with MY loved ones, I'd just as soon be alone with my thoughts.

I feel trapped. I don't really want to be rude, but I also don't want to hang out with a bunch of strangers in somebody's house all day. And I don't want to be trapped on my bus all day, parked in front of Mike's house. Mike's poor neighbors, they've got 3 tour buses parked here all day with their generators running.

To top it all off, I've got a splitting headache which is getting worse by the hour. About 4:30, I finally forced myself to go inside and meet everyone. Mike's got a cool house. It's about 5,000 square feet or so, and is decorated in "Young Person With Money" style. He also has 3 roommates, which means his mortgage is getting paid for him while he's on the road. No way in hell I could ever go the roommate route again. A live-in girlfriend, sure. But a roommate? No way…

After dinner, I hang out and socialize a while. Mike's dad is an interesting character, so I spend most of my time inside chatting with him.

Finally slip out to the bus around 7, never to return inside. Steve, my driver, is due back at 11 to head to Houston. I'll probably hit the sack around midnight, but for now we're watching an Elton John documentary on VH1, which seems to cover '70 to '75 or so. The "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road" era footage is amazing. And I'm blogging…

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Show Day in Oklahoma City

Today's show is in Oklahoma City, or as the band guys call it, Oak City. It's a "hometown" show for the band. Tyson and Nick are from Stillwater, OK, which is about 45 minutes away. Mike and Chris are from the OKC suburbs.

Good crowd tonight, about 6,000 strong. Lots and lots of friends and family in the building. Tonight I watched only the first song of the show, "Dirty Little Secret". Settlement with the promoter took far, far too long to finish, but we made pretty good dough tonight. After the show, we went straight to hotel rooms here – gonna spend our day off here tomorrow for the holiday.

Is it just me? Did you hear, see, or read ANYTHING about JFK's assassination today? Neither did I. I guess nobody cares 43 years later.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Show Day in Fort Worth

Never done a show in Fort Worth. Dozens and dozens in Dallas, but never here. Nice little theater we're doing today, the Will Rogers Auditorium, capacity 2700 or so.

Yet another night where I didn't see the show…

Monday, November 20, 2006

Day Off in Dallas

Lots of Budweiser + a couple of pints of Boddington's + more Budweiser = tossing my tacos at lunchtime. Throwing up was about the only thing I got out of bed for until around 5:30pm.

I did manage to watch a few episodes of Desperate Housewives on my laptop while lounging around the bed recovering. Pretty much a useless day, though.

Around 5:30, I grabbed a shower, walked ½ mile to Barnes and Noble for a magazine, and grabbed some Chinese food for dinner, which I ate back in my room…

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day Off in Dallas

Whoo-Hoo! Two days off in Dallas. We're staying at Hotel Lumen, a tiny (52 rooms) boutique hotel directly across the street from SMU (Southern Methodist University). First set of keys were ready at 10:30 – mine included, although I elected to hang out on the bus so I could see the Panthers game on our DirecTV NFL Ticket broadcast. No way to watch it in the room.

Finally got the last sets of keys around 2:30, but I remained on the bus until about 5:30. Finished the football game, then I watched the final NASCAR race of the season.

Ran to the room, showered, then met a bunch of folks in the lobby at 7:15 to go to dinner. About 7 of us walked ¾ of a mile to Campisi's, a great (non-chain!) Italian joint. Much revelry and food is consumed. Afterwards, off to the nearest Irish Pub.

I made the fatal mistake of switching to Boddington's Pub Ale upon arriving at the pub, after an evening of Budweisers. After a couple of Boddington's, I wasn't really feeling any love, so I went back to Bud. Boy, would I pay the price later.

Had a great time drinking and chatting with the gang, and some fuckin' loony blonde sitting at the bar. She was starkers!

At some point, someone suggested going to another neighborhood to drink the rest of the night away. Some wanted to go to Deep Ellum, but were convinced to go to Lower Greenville. Me and a couple of others opted to walk our drunk asses back to the hotel. I definitely did NOT need any more beer.

Stayed up for awhile in hope of burning off some of the alcohol...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Show Day in Memphis

Today's show is at the Mid-South Coliseum here in Memphis. Talk about history. Elvis did a gazillion shows here, including one shortly before his death in 1977. Everybody who's anybody has played here, including the Beatles. It was one of the few stops on the Beatles final American tour. Their August 19, 1966 performance is infamously known as "the firecracker concert" due to a crowd member exploding a firecracker (which some thought was a gunshot) during the show.

I won the "Roadie Of The Day" award this morning. I was having a conversation with a couple of crew guys about a certain group of lazy motherfuckers on this tour when Patrick practically leapt into one of his cases and came up with a trophy, which he presented to me with great fanfare, declaring me the ROTD. Here's a photo of the official presentation ceremony:

That's me on the left. Presenter Patrick Murphy on the right.

Close up of the trophy:

And even closer:

Amazing what you can do with a Sharpie and some white gaff tape.

I went out to front of house tonight during changeover. I've never seen anything like the little girls here in Memphis. They all kinda look like teenage Jon Benet Ramseys. Slutted up, lots of girly-girl dresses, tights, leggings, sprayed-on jeans – lots of looks – yet every single one of them is wearing 4-5 inch pumps. Strange…

Friday, November 17, 2006

Show Day in Atlanta

Today's show is at the Gwinnett Arena in the northern Atlanta suburb of Duluth. This is a great building and we have one of my favorite promoters today – Allen Corbett from AEG Live's South Carolina office. Catering kicked ass today. Allen always uses Wild Hare Catering from Marshall, NC (near Asheville), a bunch of cool, laid-back hippie types that make awesome food.

So…good building, good friends, good food. Never saw a minute of the show.

Off to Memphis at 1am.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Day Off in Atlanta

Woke up at 4:20am on the bus because the air went out. Steve had forgotten to turn on the generator A/C system before he shut off the main engine. When I made it to the front of the bus to see what was going on, I was told that we had bigtime engine problems. He was trying to see if he could duct tape enough of it together to get us to Atlanta.

I went straight back to my bunk. Ten minutes later, he cranked up the engine, then the A/C.

Got to the hotel around 11:30. Steve had to take the bus in for emergency engine repairs. We may or may not have the bus back in time for it to take us to the venue tomorrow morning.

Several folks tell me about the shenanigans that went on in the back lounge late last night. Lots of folks stayed up real late and got real drunk. Whole lotta liquor drinkin' goin' on. Evidently (unnamed audio tech) was shooting off his mouth about Sooner, our LD (and a simply lovely young lady), dropping the ball on a cue during the show. Fine, but he kept it up. Our head security guy, Marcel, told him to back off, at which point he shot his mouth off at Marcel. Call me crazy, but Marcel is a 5'10", 260 pound, former military, extremely muscular man. I am certainly not going to tell Marcel to go fuck himself. (Unnamed audio tech), in his drunken, belligerent condition, wasn't capable of exercising such restraint. So Marcel beat his ass. Right there in the back lounge of the bus. Our rigger Knuckles had to pull him off of (unnamed audio tech).

Big fun on the tour bus!

Spent the afternoon putzing around the room. Watched a couple of TV shows on my computer.

Just before 6pm, Brent Carpenter (our monitor engineer) and I met in the lobby to walk down the street to Carrabba's, where we met my buddy Chris and his wife Leslie for dinner. Chris is the Marketing and Media Manager at the Gwinnett Arena, where we're playing tomorrow. He used to be my personal trainer back home in Raleigh back in '97 and '98. That dude tortured me and got me in the best shape of my life. Sure wish he was still a trainer.

So anyway, the four of us sat there for 4½ hours drinking and eating and talking. Drank a shitload of beer - strangely enough, in full rounds. Everybody was toe-to-toe, beer-for-beer, the whole night. Got tore up from the floor up. And lucky enough for me, I was back in my room by 10:45.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Show Day in Miami

Anybody who reads this blog on a regular basis knows how much I hate Florida in general and Miami in particular. Happy to be leaving here asap tonight.

Dinner with friends in Atlanta tomorrow night…

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Show Day in Tampa

Went to Tampa. Did a show. Whip-dee-diddle-doo…

Cutest little runner you ever did see. Looked like Natalie Portman.

Oh, yeah, here's a shot of the band onstage tonight:

Monday, November 13, 2006

Show Day in Orlando

Man, I slept good last night. I was waaay off the deep end when my alarm went off this morning. I usually wake up before the alarm, but not today. You can go days and days on 4 or 5 hours of sleep just fine, but sooner or later your body needs to catch up and will go long, deep, and hard.

Today's show is at the UCF Arena in Orlando, Florida. I'm not a big fan of this building. It's pretty much just an overgrown high school gym. Not what I'd call a good place to put on a show, but hey, they didn't ask me…

Bad news today. Catering sucks ass.

Worse news. Gonna have the same catering company for the shows tomorrow and Wednesday in Tampa and Miami.

Maybe it's me, but isn't an omelette supposed to involve scrambled eggs? Evidently not here in Florida. What I get is a fried egg folded over my mushrooms and cheese. I mean, yeah, it's all the same stuff that woulda been in there, but it ain't the same. Even worse is the very strange Guido fuck caterer dude who hovers over you from the other side of the serving table as you snag your chow. Creepy.

It never got better at lunch or dinner. The food was just shit. No need to give ALL the details as it would take far too long to do so. I told our promoter rep George to fire their ass and find someone else for the next 2 shows…

George will be riding on my bus tonight and tomorrow night to the next two shows, so he'll have to be eating this shit, too.

Other than the crummy food for 3 days in a row, life's a bowl of cherries. Today is Day 43 of this tour, which means there's 39 days to go until I fly home.

Oh, yeah. WTF is up with this?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Day Off On The Big Long Highway


I got in my bunk around 3:15 last night just as we were leaving the venue in Morgantown. Woke up this morning around 7:45 just before we crossed the border from Virginia into North Carolina. Still got a hell of a long way to go. The entire drive is around 960 miles...

I spent the morning up front talking to Steve, my driver. No one else woke up before noon. It was nice to have the bus to myself.

Around 1pm, a bunch of folks got up to watch football. We've got a couple of Nor'Easters on the bus, so we watched the Patriots game. We have the NFL Ticket added to our DirecTV system, so we get all the games.

I snagged the TV in the back lounge around 4pm to watch the NASCAR Nextel Cup race. Today is the next-to-last race of the season. Three people were back there watching A&E or some such shit. I put the kibosh on that crap real quick. Sunday's for racin'. Needless to say, it took 'em about 30 seconds to get the hell out, leaving me with the back lounge all to myself. Fine by me...

We finally pulled up to the hotel at 6:30 and I practically ran to my room to watch the last 20 laps. Harvick won again! (He won the Busch race yesterday.) That's 5 wins this year in Nextel Cup AND something like 9 in the Busch series, where he won this year's Busch championship.

I could never get motivated to go out tonight or even go downstairs to the bar – a 15-hour-plus bus ride will do that to you – so I broke the Bob Davis golden rule, which is "Never Order Room Service".

The food was good. Grilled salmon, mashed sweet potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms. But geez, thirty-six fucking dollars????? Do you realize how many Budweisers I could have bought with that much money?

I probably should've gone downstairs.

I just didn't feel like it…

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Show Day in Morgantown, WV

Those are Chris Gaylor's new tattoos. He's the drummer for All-American Rejects. Whaddaya wanna bet that hurt?

Today's show is in Morgantown, WV, at the WV University Coliseum.

This building is a pain in the ass to load into and out of, and it just pissed down cold rain all day long. Load-out was a nightmare. We finally got on the road at 3am. I hit my bunk around 3:15.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Show Day in Hampton

Got up at 7am, just as Steve's pulling the bus into the Hampton Coliseum parking lot. He's never been here before, so I show him where to park the buses for the day.

Yesterday I told Tyson (the singer) a little about the building, including the fact that it sits next to a large pond. You can drop a fishing line 30 feet from the load-in door. So he sent out last night for a couple of rods & reels and tackle stuff. Wonder if he'll really go fishing today.

Late morning, I grabbed a loaf of bread off my bus and spent 20 minutes feeding the geese that were hanging out back there.

Had some friends come up from Raleigh for the show tonight. Donna G., Gigi, and Gigi's two daughters Nina and Bailey. They attended the sound check, then got to meet the band and hang out for a few minutes. I took some photos with Gigi's camera as the band was signing autographs for them. Here's the girls with the band:

During the show, I watched about 10 songs with them before I had to go backstage and settle with the promoter.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Show Day in Washington, DC

Yep, that was the best sleep I've gotten since I was home in September. I actually slept for 7 hours straight. Awesome. I feel like a million bucks.

Our gig today is at the Patriot Center at George Mason University out in Fairfax, VA – in the DC suburbs. The promoter is IMP, who own and operate the 9:30 Club, my favorite club in America. Back when I tour managed the Squirrel Nut Zippers, we played there a LOT. During one two-year stretch, we did 7 sold-out shows there. I know a lot of folks there and have driven up to see a lot of great shows there over the years. Ed, the GM of the club, is our promoter rep today. And of course he brings me a new supply of 9:30 Club t-shirts. Thanks, Ed! They'll be seen in the finest venues all over the world.

Korn's front-of-house guy has come out today, to help our FOH guy get the PA a little more tweaked. He's never used this system before this tour, and he's not completely happy with it. The Korn dude musta put the whammy on it, because I went out to watch the first song, and I swear to you on a stack of Budweiser beer, I had to leave after that one song. It was just SO FUCKING LOUD it made my ears hurt. They're still ringing like a bitch as I'm typing this, 3 hours later.

Here's a shot of Patrick Murphy, one of our audio techs. Kinda ran out of gas. Check out the sign:

I guess whoever made the sign was too tired to spell "too" correctly, too.

Bus call is 4am tonight. I'm just doing a little websurfing until about 1, then I'll head out to the bus. We're in Hampton, VA tomorrow and I have friends coming to the show from Raleigh…

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Day Off in Washington, DC

Wow, I slept in today. Didn't wake up until 8:45. Crawled out, got dressed, and sat up front with Steve The Driver. He sounds more important when I capitalize His Name like that.

The room isn't supposed to be ready until noon, so we meander the last 150 miles or so to DC. Stop to fuel up, then take the scenic route into town, then find enough room to park both crew buses right at Dupont Circle, directly across the street from Starbucks. How convenient.

We wind up sitting there for about an hour, sipping 'bucks, the smokers hanging around outside the bus doing their thing. The hotel called back to say everything was ready, so off we went.

After getting everyone's room keys, I grabbed my stuff and headed to my room. I just chill out for most of the afternoon.

Meet a bunch of folks in the lobby around 5pm and jump cabs to the Brickskeller. Nobody on this tour has ever been there, so I just gotta take 'em – it's my favorite watering hole in DC. I've been drinking there since 1977. They have more than 800 different domestic and imported beers in stock. I like beer. You probably know that…

(Gretchen, if you're reading this, please forgive me for not calling. I really was gonna stay in tonight, after that huge night in Rochester the other night. I DID NOT want another hangover like that one again. But after raving to the crew about how cool the Brick was, they twisted my arm and I couldn't say no. Anyway, I swear I'll plan to do something with you and Chris the next time I come to DC or Baltimore. Really.)

Knowing how easy it would be for me to close the place down, I give regrets and slip out the door at 9pm, leaving about a dozen people drinking and having a good time. I'll be glad I did that tomorrow…

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Show Day in Toronto

Completely uneventful border crossing last night. I woke up in my bunk a few minutes past 4, which meant we were long past the border. Sometimes you just get lucky like that. I rolled over and went back to sleep. When I got up, we were at the venue and it was just pissing down rain, and would continue to do so the entire day.

I saw a couple of cars sitting nearby that were worthy of standing in the rain to get photos of. This VW camper is just wack:

And the ancient Citroen is pretty cool, too:

After the show, I stayed awake on the way to the border. The U.S. Immigrations people ALWAYS fuck with you when you're coming back into America.

They turned out to be only slightly assholey. After running all of our passports through the computer, he got up on the bus and wanted to match faces with passport photos, which meant that everyone who had gone to bed had to get up and cram into the front lounge for inspection. Dickhead.

Because Lew Lew, one of our lighting techs is Canadian, he got hauled off the bus and into the building to be put through the grinder. Twenty minutes later, Lew Lew was back and off we went.

By this time it was 4am, so off to bed I went…

Monday, November 6, 2006

Show Day in Rochester

Wide awake at 5am. Sucks! Lay there in misery until a little past 6, then give up, and get up. Gonna make for a long day.

Don't think I have a hangover, but I start to feel like crap around lunchtime, and I can't really shake it until nearly midnight.

Oh, yeah, here's the new band logo decals on the backs of the buses:

Close up of my bus:

If you look close enough, you can see that damn Jeff Gordon plate on the right.

We've got a border crossing tonight, on our way to Toronto. Should hit the Peace Bridge crossing in Buffalo around 2:30am. I'm hating it, because I'll be deep asleep by then. I hope we don't have to get off the bus to do the dick dance for the Canadian Immigration people.

I'm not a big fan of the Peace Bridge crossing. I was held for 5 hours and then booted out of the country back in '93 when going in with Cry of Love. Had to do the "Perp Walk" of shame back across the bridge onto U.S. soil. The band's singer Kelly Holland got tossed into jail for 3 day for mouthing off to the bitch of bitches, Officer Bonnie J. Giles. The rest of the band, plus me and the soundman James Lewis, wound up hanging out in Buffalo at the Lord Amherst Hotel until Kelly got sprung 3 days later. It was cool to have the time off and discover a bunch of bars and restaurants and record stores, but the band missed out on a lot of media attention by not getting in.

So anyway, think I'm gonna head out and hit the hay a little early tonight. Head to the bus around midnight…

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Day Off in Rochester...

Check-in is pretty smooth today. We arrived at the hotel around 11:15 and I had all the room keys by noon. Pretty damn good for a Sunday.

No Panthers game today, but I have the Texas race to watch, which Tony Stewart wins.

Ten of us go to dinner at Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, about 2 blocks from the hotel. Afterwards, Brent, Patrick and I stay for more beer. Then we head back to the hotel bar for even more beer and Molly joins us there.

I wake up in a chair in my room about 1:30 and get into bed.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Show Day in Philadelphia

One of my favorite venues today – the Tweeter Center in Philly. Like the Hartford Amphitheatre, they have walls that enclose the pavilion area of the shed, cutting the capacity down to 7,000. Tonight's attendance was just over 4,500 and looked good.

Before the show, a fan made it to the band's dressing room to deliver a gingerbread cake of the band. It was printed using that edible ink and looked pretty cool:

After the show, we throw a big party in the production office. Much beer and liquor is consumed. I spend the majority of the time hanging out and getting to know Lauren, one of our runners from today. Can you say "cute as hell"?

We eventually move out to the bus to keep the party going. I'm awake up on the bus until just past 4am. Five minutes after I make it to my bunk, the drivers show up and we're off to Rochester for a day off…

Friday, November 3, 2006

Show Day in Sayreville, NJ

Awakened by Steve tossing me around in my bunk around 7am as he travels along Route 18 on the way to Sayreville. Today's show is at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville. It's a club gig, albeit a 2500 capacity club gig.

Can you say 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag? That's what the stage is like today. I can't believe our crew managed to put so much of our gear in here. We're doing a 3 truck, 3 bus tour (our stuff), plus there are 3 support acts (each with their own bus and trailer), and we have a 24-foot truck for our merch. So it's pretty much a full-on arena tour jammed into a club. The side of the stage looks like a music store:

Jon Bon Jovi is from – Sayreville. Still lives somewhere nearby. Bon Jovi's keyboard player, David Bryan, brought his kids to the show. I spoke with him briefly afterwards. A good buddy of mine has been Bon Jovi's head of security for the last 3 years, so that's mostly what we talked about…

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Show Day in State College, PA

I like this town. Kinda reminds me of Boone, NC in that it's all about the college. Nothing else exists here. Well, OK, there is a Best Buy here. I know this because I had to go buy a new printer today. My Canon i80 started giving me a strange error message about the "waste ink absorber" being almost full. Unfortunately, it's something that requires sending the printer to a Canon service center, which means I need a replacement now…

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Show Day in Lowell

Good building, good catering, good staff. We're at the Paul Tsongas Arena here in Lowell, MA. With the exception of the GM, who had his teenage daughters roaming the backstage area all afternoon, stalking the band guys. Moron. Our security guy Marcel put an end to that.

Brent, our monitor engineer, has taken over as bus mom on my bus. Meaning that he oversees what food and drink items are ordered and stocked onto the bus every day, and what food is purchased for after the show. He's a big fan of gourmet, snacky stuff, so starting tonight we'll be dining after load-out on cool stuff such as gourmet cheeses, breads, crackers, olives, tapenade, hummus and more. He's usually the first guy to the bus as the load-out progresses, and is happy to play "Iron Chef" and prep a killer spread for the rest of us.

And I'm sooo glad he does that…