Sunday, April 29, 2007

Home in Raleigh

Mom's back in the hospital. Heart failure, pneumonia, and abdominal pain. The ab pain was the reason she was admitted. Didn't know she had developed the pneumonia until she got to the hospital and got thoroughly examined.

The size of the aneurysm in her abdomen has increased 33% in the last 4 months. It's still at an inoperable size, but on Monday they're gonna do an exploratory procedure to see if it may be possible to operate anyway. Without the surgery, the aneurysm will probably kill her soon. Then too, so might the surgery.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Perfect Day

I just don't see how today could be any more of a perfect day than it is.

The weather is beautiful. The forecast calls for a high of 76 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. I'm in the kitchen making a big 'ol batch of my killer guacamole. The whole house smells of garlic. Listening to the Beatles, the Stones, the Faces, the Black Crowes, and Rod Stewart (70's stuff only from poor pathetic Rod – what an embarrassment he's become since then…).

No plans for tonight. For about a second, I thought about going to see 38 Special at the RBC Center, where they're opening up for Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams, Jr., but I really just don't feel like it. I'll probably spend the night on the deck or the porch.

Not sure how many folks are coming for Quesadilla Night tonight. I'm also not sure how much I care. If it's one, none, or a dozen, it's all fine with me.

Tom & Jen and their baby Graylin came by about 7. Graylin was born during the first week of January and is just adorable. And well behaved.

Carina made it around 8 or so.

Just a chill night out on the deck, enjoying the beautiful night weather, until Carina mentioned that Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kicking Team were playing tonight. Yay!!!! Turns out the gig was just booked yesterday when another band pulled out. The bad news is that the gig's at Tir na Nog, not a very band friendly place. Most of the people that go there don't go to see the band, don't give a crap about them, and are just generally a bunch of rude, uppity, meat-market morons. But hey, as soon as a real rock band starts playing good music, a bunch of 'em oughta leave quick.

Tom, Jen & Graylin headed out around 9, so Carina and I moved to the front porch for the next couple of rounds.

We headed downtown around 10. Hung out with Terry and Jack for a while before they cranked it up around 10:30 for the first of 2 sets of excellent rock and roll. Drank a bunch of beer and had a great time. Got home around 1:30 and off to bed…

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Quesadilla Night

I'm turning every Saturday night into Quesadilla Night. Sick of going out so much, and I want to enjoy my house while I'm at home.

Henceforth, if I'm off the road, every Saturday night will be drinks, food, and music at my place. If you're reading this, consider yourself invited. Be sure to check with me first, of course, just in case there's an amazing band playing somewhere that may prevent me from being home.

Light turnout tonight, probably because I sent my email blast out pretty late. My buddy Ryan, who's in the band Mudvayne, drove all the way over from Mebane to attend. He and his girl moved to the triangle area last July from Santa Cruz, CA. They were looking to get out of California and had heard a lot of good things about NC. After everyone else went home, (11-ish, 12-ish?), the two of us went and closed down Northside. I offered to let him crash on the couch, but he said he was fine to drive home. No way I woulda wanted to drive that 50 miles…

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nothing Going On...

The usual drill – hit the gym early morning, hang out most of the rest of the day. Wrapped up the tour financials. Hit the bank for a money order to return the float, then off to FedEx to send my last package to the biz manager. Done with that.

I was enjoying my first Crown & Ginger on the front porch around 6 when Foy called and asked if I wanted to join he and Terry at the Ale House for dinner and beers. Well, sure…

Got home from Northside around 1:30. I think…

Monday, April 16, 2007

Paige's Birthday

At the gym early, glad to be getting a running routine going. Legs still sore from last week, but they'll get stronger.

Paige blows off any and all ideas for a birthday dinner. Today, this week, forever. Damn grumpy moody person!!! LOL…

Maybe she'll change her mind later in the week. Gotta get these damn presents off my dining room table sometime.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Man, it pissed down rain off and on all day long. It was cold, too.

Good thing the weather in Texas was clear. I would have been pissed if I couldn't watch the race on my first Sunday back at home.

Good ol' Jeff Burton passed Matt Kenseth on the very last lap for the checkers…

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Oh, Well...

I got up around 7 so I could get some stuff done before I get picked up at 10:30. When I went out to the car to grab a CD, I found this:

Some fucking jerkoff bashed out my rear window overnight. Kinda took the wind out of my sails as far as going to the beach today. Gotta deal with getting new glass put in.

I got a 4 o'clock appointment at Safelite Auto Glass to replace the window. While I was there getting that done, Foy called and asked if I'd be interested in doing a little decksurfing as he was just about to knock off from work.

Sounded like some good stress relief to me, so I said sure, why not…

The rest of Saturday (and a good part of Sunday) was spent sipping Buds on the back deck and listening to the Beatles, the Stones, (old) Rod Stewart, and Neil Young. What a great way to spend a Saturday night.

Neighbor Regan joined us at some point and was there for pretty much the duration. At some point, her mom called her and I told her to invite her mom over, too. Ordered a couple of pizzas and a good time was had by all…

Friday, April 13, 2007

At Home

Another morning at the gym. Damn legs are sore, but they start to feel better as soon as I hit the treadmill. Only ran 2 miles today and walked a little over 2.

Dinner with some friends tonight at the Ale House. Me, Paige, the Mac's, and the Beal's.

After dinner, I went downtown to see the Daughtry show at the Lincoln Theater. My buddy Shabba (who was the tour manager for the All-American Rejects) is the TM for the band. Hung around outside talking to him and some other crew guys I knew (Whassup, Rock!!!!) for about 40 minutes, then went inside and grabbed a beer to watch the show. Stood at the mix position with Shabba, but left after 5 songs. Gotta get up early to go to the beach with Paige, Beth, and Terry…

Thursday, April 12, 2007

At Home

First day back at the gym. Ran 2½ miles and walked almost 3. Gonna be sore tomorrow...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hanging in Charlotte

Up at 8, headed to Doug's around 10:30. My old buddy Craig Dagenhart, who I haven't seen in 18 years is there doing some plumbing work for Doug. Hang out with him for a while, then grab a Starbucks on the way over to see mom.

Stay with mom until Donna shows up around 2:15 to take her to a doctor's appointment. Up the highway homeward…

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Headin' to Charlotte

Went down to Charlotte to see Momzilla today. My sister Donna took a half-day off from work to make a big ol' dinner. I got to town around 3pm, checked into my hotel room, and headed over to mom's new residence, Carrington Place. She now requires more assistance than her assisted living facility can provide, so she moved here instead.

Donna's there when I arrive. We get mom and her oxygen tanks all loaded up and head to Doug & Donna's house for the evening. It was nice having dinner with mom and seeing her out in the world for an evening. Donna ran her back over to Carrington around 8:30. I stayed at D & D's until 11, then headed back to my room, where I sat up websurfing until around 1am.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Home in Raleigh

Up around 9, read the newspaper, grab a shower.

Paige picks me up just before noon and takes me to pick up my rental car. My car died a couple of days before I flew out 4 weeks ago.

Back at the house, I call the tow truck to fetch the car down to TAO. Follow it down there and tell them what the car is and isn't doing.

Then I'm off to Costco and the Teeter for some grocery essentials. Gotta have avocados to make guacamole for this weekend.

The rest of the day is spent wrapping up tour files and doing laundry and such. Finally make it to the front porch for a Crown & Ginger around 6:30….

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Travel Day - Heading Home

Up at 7, feeling like a million bucks because I never made it to the aftershow party last night. I meet Blaine in the lobby around 8:30 and we run into Frenchie the caterer at the front desk.

Fifteen minutes later we're at the airport, where Blaine and I head immediately for Satan's World. Uh, I mean Starbucks.

My security line is already about 500 feet long, so we say goodbye, see ya in Europe, and each head to our gate areas. It takes me the better part of 30 minutes to make it through my security checkpoint, then I spend another 10 minutes in the scanner area.

I'm flying Southworst Airlines today, for the first time in 7 years. I fucking hate them. Cattle-call bullshit. I can't stand having to sit on the plane while it loads. I want to be the last guy getting on, go straight to my RESERVED seat, then have them close the doors and take off.

The only good thing I can say about this flight is that I checked in online yesterday and got in the "B" boarding group, so at the very least, I still had my choice of seats, albeit towards the rear of the plane. I snagged an aisle and settled in for the next 4 hours. Not a single empty seat on the flight, but at least the dude next to me is cool. We chat for a few minutes before we both slip into our respective iPod worlds.

On the ground in Raleigh around 6pm, Paige comes out to pick me up. Drop bags at my house, then we head off to Mura (at North Hills) to me her friend Nikki for sushi. After some good bait, a few Buds, and a double shot of Patron Silver, I'm good to go. Paige drops me back by the house and I start to unpack. Next thing I know, it's nearly 2am, so off I go to Pillowville…

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Show Day in Las Vegas

Rolled into the MGM Grand Hotel around 6am. Settle up some final receipts with the 2 band bus drivers, then head up to my room, where I read yesterday's paper and talked to some folks in NC, 3 time zones away. Headed downstairs to the gig around 10, where I had 4 very pissed-off crew bus drivers waiting for me. They weren't mad at me – they were mad at the production manager Lyle. Of course, I had to listen to it. I won't go into the details here, but I've been told by the powers that be that these 4 won't be coming back when our US tour resumes in July, following our European adventures.

The rest of the day went more smoothly, although I never saw another lick of daylight.

Josh decided a day or two ago to throw a party tonight, yet another end-of-tour soiree. It's at Studio 54 in the MGM casino complex, immediately following our show. I couldn't decide whether I wanted to attend or not, but when Blaine and I didn't finish the show settlement until well after midnight, I figured I best just go to my room upstairs.

Walked in my room about 12:45 and had a change of heart, so off I went to Studio 54. Took about 15 minutes to walk there, cuz these Vegas hotels are absolutely h-u-g-e.

There must been about 50 losers hanging around by the velvet rope at the club entrance. Guess they didn't meet the doorman's criteria for entry. We've got a big private room inside, so I won't have a problem at the door.

I had a couple of wristbands that would allow me to waltz right past all of them, even though I was still in my roadie work clothes – cargo shorts and a black t-shirt. But as I approach the rope, my ears are assaulted by the unbelievably LOUD music emanating from the club. Always that horrible boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss-boom-sss stuff. That shit annoys the hell out of me.

A quick chat with the door guy reveals that it's that loud throughout the club, including our private area.

I do a 180 and head back to my room, arriving there around 1:20. In bed 10 minutes later.

Gotta be up at 7. Flying home tomorrow…

Friday, April 6, 2007

Show Day in San Diego

What a great day! Only 2 more shows before the break.

Nothing to report here. Did a show, moved on.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Day Off in San Diego

The bus stopped in LA around 4am this morning to drop off a couple of band guys who wanted to spend the day at home, rather than down here in San Diego. I slept right through the commotion of the bus stopping and them getting their stuff and getting off.

Woke up at 7, and hung out in the front lounge with my driver Mike and Josh's driver Rick Foote. All the other drivers call him Footie. Funny guy. We were just swapping stories and laughing like a bunch of kids. Talking about being cheap out on the road, Rick told Footie I was tighter than a G-string on a sumo wrestler. I admitted that the other day in LA, I cut the $2 off coupons for Quizno's out of the Sunday paper, so I guess he's right.

After I tossed my stuff into the room, I wandered off to hit the Starbucks 3 blocks away. Holy shit!!!!!! I have never in my life seen so many people standing in line at a 'bucks before. I was like the 23rd person in line. The bad news was that I just HAD to have it. The good news was that the line was flying.

After my latte and scone, I went back and hung out in my room. Downloaded last night's episode of "Lost" so I could watch it.

Today we're at the W Hotel in San Diego. I usually like staying at W's. Not to be confused with Westin's, which are pretty nice, too. One thing I really like about this room is the window area, seen here:

I took a nice hour-long nap laid out on that big comfy cushion you see there.

The shower in this room, however, leaves much to be desired. It's very Euro-style. Which can be good or bad. In this case, bad. Here's what I'm talking about:

No shower curtain, just a glass wall that covers only about 60% of the shower area, leaving one hell-of-a-lot of open space for me to fling water all over the bathroom.

Which I do.

In abundance.

Whenever a hotel is stupid enough to use a shower enclosure like this, I'll just be damned if I'll contort myself in any way to try to keep the water from flying around and out. Also, because the showerhead itself is kinda low, I have to point it outward rather than down, pretty much guaranteeing that the entire bathroom gets flooded.

One cool feature of the (semi) enclosure is the reach-in porthole so you can turn on the water before stepping in. For me, though, it's another spot for water to cascade out. Whenever I stand directly in the stream of the shower, the water bounces right off of me and straight out the hole onto the toilet and the floor. The porthole:

Seriously. How stupid of a shower design is this?

Oh, yeah, today is the last day off of the tour. We've got a show here in San Diego tomorrow and a show in Las Vegas on Saturday. Then we all fly home on Sunday.

About 7:30, I went to the Karl Strauss Brewery, located on the backside of the block from the hotel. Need a beer. Dennis and Ivan join me about an hour later for dinner.

I'm back in my room by 10pm. Watch some TV and it's lights out a little after 11…

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Show Day in Fresno

One of those road days that there's really nothing to say about. Woke up on the bus, walked inside the building and didn't come back out until midnight…

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Day Off in Los Angeles

Today was my last day off here in LA. Did the usual for breakfast. (You know…)

Around 1:30, I decided to walk up to the Sunset Strip. Needed the exercise and also I've been here for 6 days now and still haven't eaten at Poquito Mas, the place with the world's best burritos. I always get the Grilled Ahi Tuna Burrito, which is unbelievable. I got there by hoofing up La Cienega, which has an absolute killer of a hill the last 1200 feet or so before you get to Sunset. I ran 2½ miles the other day on the treadmill, yet just walking up this sumbitch kicks my ass.

Walking down Sunset, all the beautiful people are having lunch. You can sometimes spot somebody famous walking down the street, but I didn't recognize anyone today.

I grabbed my burrito and took another route back to the hotel, this time walking on San Vicente, which hits Sunset 1 block west of the Viper Room, if you know where that is.

So about ½ mile later, I'm slowly closing in on what's seems to be a gorgeous blonde – about 6 feet tall, model-skinny, blonde hair almost to her butt – walking down the sidewalk in front of me. Long, long legs, teetering on high heels. Struggling a bit, though, as she's carrying a small, but heavy-looking duffel in each hand. Looks like she's heading toward some parked cars near Santa Monica Blvd. Guess I should be a gentleman and offer to carry one or both of them for her. If I only carry one, she'll be all lop-sided. LOL…

So as I come up on her, imagine my surprise to find out she's a dude!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dude looked like a lady!!!!!!!!

Holy crap.

And fugly, too.

Chilled out in my room during the evening. My bus isn't leaving for Fresno until 8am tomorrow, but because I don't want to get to the gig at 2pm, I jump on Blaine's bus and bum a ride. We leave LA around 1am…

Monday, April 2, 2007

Day Off in Los Angeles

Got up at 9:30 this morning and headed straight down to Starbucks, where I read the LA Times and USA Today while sitting outside. It was such a beautiful day here.

Called my sister Donna this afternoon to wish her a happy birthday. She's 50 today. Ouch! I can remember when she was just a kid.


I should talk. I'll be 49 in July. Double ouch!!!!

Abby (our wardrobe chick) called me around 6 and asked if I wanted to join her at a Japanese place up the street for dinner, so I walked the 4 blocks up La Cienega and met her there. We both had a coupla pieces of sushi, then noodle entrees. I had the cold soba noodles with crispy fried tofu. It was rockin'. For desert, we split some raspberry sorbet.

I love me some Abby. We've done a bunch of tours together over the last 6 or 7 years. She dates Joey Jordan, the drummer from Slipknot, which was the first band I ever worked for as a tour accountant. She also does wardrobe for Prince and Bon Jovi. She's an ABsolute pleasure to be around. She's a bit ABstract, but funny as hell and she always brings the sunshine.

After dinner, she dropped me back by my hotel on her way to the Rainbow to meet a friend. I ran across the street to grab a six-pack of Bud and went up to my room to watch the second half of the Ohio State-Florida championship game, which sucked…

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Day Off in Los Angeles

Nope, that is NOT an April Fool's joke. That's the price of gasoline at the Mobil station at the corner of Beverly Blvd. and La Cienega, across the street from my hotel. It's gone up 4 cents per gallon since yesterday. I pretty sure I've never seen prices that high before, so I figured I better get a photo…

Got up around 8 this morning. Went down the street to hang out at Starbucks with a latte and a scone, then I walked around the neighborhood a bit. Watched the Martinsville race in my room – strange to watch racin' at 10:30 in the morning. Damn Jimmy Johnson - that useless prick has now won 3 of the last 4 races. Hope somebody figures out how he's cheating. And soon.

After that, I went downstairs to the gym and ran a few miles on a treadmill.

Josh is throwing a crew party for everyone tonight. It's at some tourist-type joint called the Saddle Ranch Chop House over at the Universal CityWalk. All-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink. I heard the budget for the party was about $15k. AND there's a mechanical bull to ride. Whoo-hoo!

Went over about 7:30 with Dennis, his buddy Donnie from Phoenix, Debra Copelan, our travel agent, and Ivan Copelan, our road manager, who lives on my bus. Ivan and Debra had a big ol' rental SUV and the five of us jumped in and took off for the valley.

I read about the place online today. Total tourist joint, but we had a huge, huge back room all to ourselves, with a bar, two bartenders, a wait staff of five, and a massive buffet.

Josh showed up wearing a cowboy hat and was the first person to get on the bull. Right there, I'm impressed – he's worth a bazillion dollars and he's leading by example. Cool.

A bunch of folks followed the boss. Colette, the cello player in the band, was overheard saying that there was no way she'd ride the bull. Someone asked what it would take. She said she wouldn't do it unless she had on pants (she was wearing a skirt) and she got $200. My dumb ass was just drunk enough to whip out a hundred dollar bill and say "Well, here's half of it, when the other half shows up I guess you gotta ride the bull, pants or no pants." At which point, Mike Colucci (one of the riggers) whipped out another Benjamin. Twenty minutes later, after she was tossed from the bull, I handed her the $200. Guess she earned it.

After the party wrapped, sometime after midnight, we all jumped back in the car and headed to the Sevendust show at the House of Blues on Sunset. The show was over but we were only going to hang out with the band, anyway. Stayed there for a beer, then I caught a ride with Ivan and Deb back to the hotel…