Sunday, September 30, 2007

Show Day in Sydney, Australia

Met Blaine in the lobby at 8 and we hit the Starbucks near the hotel. I don't know if I've mentioned this or not, but I gave up my Starbucks habit upon our return from Europe during the first week of June. I got tired of being a slave to the habit and decided that while I was at home, I'd use my daily indulgence money to buy lottery tickets instead. From one habit to another, I suppose.

Anyway, it was en route to the legendary Sydney Opera House, where we'll be for 4 shows this week. The SOH is about 3 blocks from the hotel and you walk alongside the Sydney Harbor to get to it.

The building:

The view of the harbor from near the building:

The bridge by day:

Blaine and I decided that we're gonna do the bridge climb on Thursday morning. You actually walk up the top of the span to the apex, which is some 485 feet above the harbor.

Here you can see some folks doing the climb – click on the photos below to enlarge them and then look close at the specs on the bridge.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Travel Day to Sydney, Australia

Up at 7, breakfast with Blaine & Dennis around 9 across the street at Café Excello. Good stuff, best I've had since we got here.

We all split for the airport at 11 and arrive to find that our flight is delayed by an hour or so. I camp out at the gate with the lovely Janet Taylor and we do the chill & chat until flight time.

On the ground in Sydney about 50 minutes later than scheduled. Straight to the hotel, and I go hide in my room for a bit. Nice room…

Head out to look for dinner around 6. Run into Darren and Adam down by the harbor. We make plans to meet up on restaurant row around 7:30 and they head back to the hotel.

I walked around until meeting up with them, taking a few shots along the way…

Sydney Harbor Bridge

Sydney Opera House

Central Business District

We wound up eating outside at a place called Wolfie's. The food was pretty good. I only had 2 beers and my share came to $90 AUD, which is about $80 USD. Note to self – find cheaper restaurants, so I might actually come home with some of my per diem money at the end of the tour.

All those years of seeing pictures of the Sydney Opera House and there I sat, eating dinner, and it was right there in front of me. Cool.

After dinner, we just kinda packed it in and went back to the hotel. I was in bed by 11:30 or so…

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day Off in Melbourne, Australia

Met up with a few folks for breakfast this morning at The Commune. Good stuff.

Today is Laundry Day! Or as we say, Clean Underoos Day! I don't really need to do it yet, but I like to keep my bag full of clean clothes. Plus, this is our second day off in a row – no reason not to.

After laundry, Blaine and I met up with Dennis and Adam for lunch. We wound up at a very formal Chinese place that was expensive as hell. I really didn't want to fork out $30-32 for the entrée I wanted, so I settled for some Shrimp Fried Rice. It wasn't listed on the menu, but the waiter said they would be happy to make it for me. Not being on the menu also meant that there was no price listed. And I didn't ask. Imagine my surprise when the bill came and that the bowl of fried rice was TWENTY-ONE FUCKING DOLLARS. I mean, it was good, but not THAT good.

After lunch, Blaine and I broke off and did a little shopping. At Target, I bought a cool smiley-face nightlight. Can't use my US nightlight down here because of the difference in voltage, so I need one that runs on local current.

Nightlight, you ask? Yeah, smartass, a nightlight. I stay in different hotels all over the world and all the rooms have different floorplans, right? If I have to get up in the middle of the night to pee (Who, me? Like I drink beer or something?), I don't want to have to turn on a light or feel my way around a dark room. So I plug in a nightlight in the bathroom.

After shopping, it was getting close to Nap o'clock, so we headed back to the hotel. I spent most of my down time trying to catch up on some of my TV shows from back home.

Met up with Dennis, Blaine, and Will to go back to Spleen again for some pre-dinner cocktails. On beer number three, I had to bail out. Just wasn't feeling it, and I wanted to just go back to my room and chill. I took a different route back to the hotel, so I could see what else was in the neighborhood. It was a relaxing walk, with the temp around 60 degrees or so. Walked past an amazing looking church with 3 huge spires. Mental note to self to come back and get a photo…

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day Off in Melbourne, Australia

Since my Cingular/AT&T mobile phone doesn't work over here, I went out late morning and bought a local pay-as-you-go phone. The phone was only $79, and came with a $130 package of airtime and texting, which is probably waaaay more than I'm gonna use while I'm here. I can use it again when I come back in January. And again in the springtime if that tour works out.

Grabbed a sandwich on the way back to the hotel to take to my room. Got it from the killer restaurant/deli right next to the hotel called The Commune.

After lunch, I jumped on the City Tram with Blaine and Adam. It's the free tram that circles the CDB (central business district). A few shots of Melbourne:

We rode around for a while and eventually got off at the Melbourne Aquarium. Cost $25 AUD (Australian Dollars) to get in, but it was worth it. The best part was watching the 3 o'clock feeding.

Dennis, Blaine and I went out for dinner, stopping first for drinks at Spleen, one of the cool little bars on Bourke Street, near the hotel. Spleen, meet my liver…

Dinner was at Spaghetti Tree, an Italian joint. Afterwards, we hit The Elephant & Wheelbarrow again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rehearsal Day in Melbourne, Australia

After rehearsals were over, back to the hotel to drop work bags. Then Blaine, Janet, Wally and I headed to The Elephant & Wheelbarrow for a few pints. I slapped back a few pints of somethingorother, then switched to Bud. They had Budweisers imported from the US, and they tasted terrific. They ought to, for $7.50 a pop.

Monday, September 24, 2007

First Day in Melbourne, Australia

No time for a nap at the hotel, just grab a shower and head downstairs to meet some of the guys for lunch. We walk a few blocks to Japantown/Chinatown, but by then we'd decided to just wait and eat catering at the venue in a bit. Adam and I grab a couple of pieces of sushi to go cuz it's still gonna be a couple of hours before we get over there.

Arrive at the venue around 1:30. Catering doesn't look too interesting, so Darren and I go to the nearest chip shop and get some really good fish and chips.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working at the gig. Called my buddy Shabba, the dude who's out with Daughtry. They've got a gig about 7 blocks from the hotel, so I'm gonna go see him and catch the show later.

Back at the hotel a little after 6. Hook up with Dennis in the lobby at 7 and we head out to the Daughtry gig. A bunch of other people were gonna go, too, but everyone's beat and heading to bed by that time. No way I'm crashing this early – if I go to bed now, I'll be up by 1 or 2am and I just ain't having it.

So it's just me and Dennis. We jump a cab and get there in no time. I wanted to walk, but we didn't have solid directions. Turns out I had been within a block of the place this morning when I was walking around with the guys.

It was good to see Shabba. He and Dennis had never met, but they had one thing in common – they've both been using the same travel agent for years – Debra Copelan.

Shabba ushered us into the VIP area upstairs where the local Sony reps were entertaining some radio & retail folks. And of course they had a tab going at the bar. Now that's what I call a good time – free entertainment and an open bar.

We hung out with Shabba for about an hour before he had to get to work. In addition to being Daughtry's tour manager, he's also the Front of House Engineer. Got to hang a few minutes with Rock, one of the guitar techs, too. I've known him for about 8 years and he's married to a lovely young lady named Sooner Routhier, who is an LD. I worked with Sooner last year on the All-American Rejects tour and will be with her again on Rage Against The Machine, starting in January.

We watched the entire show (including the opening act, who were pretty good) from the VIP area. After the show went down, we spent a few more minutes with Shabba before heading back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

Oh, yeah, thanks for the beers, Sony!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Flying to Australia

Because we're crossing the International Time Line en route, I don't really even get a Sunday. We left LA just before midnight Saturday night, then have a 15-plus hour flight with a 17-hour time change forward, landing in Melbourne at 7:55am on Monday morning. Crazy!

Had a killer dinner about an hour after takeoff, then I finally went to sleep just before 2am. Wide awake 2 hours later and that was it for me, sleepwise.

I watched "Ocean's Thirteen" twice, then listened to some music, including the latest Amy Winehouse CD. She's got some pretty cool music, but is a total trainwreck of a person. I had hoped to see her play in Chicago when I had a couple of days off there back in early August, but couldn't get down to the Lollapalooza festival site in time that day. I did get to see her in the lobby of our hotel because she was staying there, too. She might just be the skinniest little thing I've ever seen. Her hair weighs more than she does.

So anyway, after some tunes, I watched another movie, the Mandy Moore flick "License To Wed". Robin Williams did some funny stuff, but I sure wish you could find his off-switch sometimes. Besides, it's all about Mandy, not Robin.

They served breakfast around 6am – I had scrambled eggs and sauteed mushrooms, with some fruit and yogurt. Probably the best breakfast I've ever had on a plane…

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sittin' Around in L.A.

So being on East Coast time, I was wide awake at 4am this morning. I'm usually up at 6:45 back home, so this was actually sleeping in for me. No reason to just lay there, to I got up and putzed around on the computer until 8am when I finally decided it would be safe to call Blaine and Darren to meet up for breakfast. They were both on East Coast time too, and had been up since 6am.

We walked to the Denny's a block away and had a leisurely breakfast. Long day ahead, as our flight to Australia tonight isn't until 11:40pm.

I was gonna rent a car next door (29.75 a day, wow) or take a taxi up to Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, just to hang out for a few hours and eat at Poquito Mas. Best damn burrito you will ever, ever eat. Promise. But it started to rain and try as I might, I just couldn't get motivated to leave the hotel.

Called mom a couple of times during the afternoon. She got put back in the hospital late last night, but seems to be doing better since arriving.

Never did eat lunch, but Dennis (the TM), Blaine, and I met downstairs for an early dinner around 6pm. After a little more hang time in my room, I made my way downstairs, met up with Blaine, and headed to the airport just before 9pm.

The international terminal was complete chaos. All of the trans-Pacific flights leave late in the evening, so it was crazy with people. Fortunately, we're in business class, so we pretty much walked right up to the counter and got checked in.

Blaine and I proceeded outside – he to smoke, me to make phone calls. My sister Donna had called me while I was checking in. I needed to get the update on mom's condition. She got another blood transfusion, and it looks like they're gonna let her out on Monday. Good news!

After talking to Donna, I got a call from my buddy Danny who offered me a gig that looks like it'll start up in April. Strong salary and benefits, too! Needless to say, I told him I'd love to take him up on it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Oh, yeah, that new gig includes 3-4 weeks in late spring touring in (guess where)…



That would make 3 tours down under in just a few months time. Pretty cool.

So to start my year, I'm looking at Australia/Japan with Rage in January/February, a few weeks in South Africa with Josh in March, and then a new gig with yet another run Down Under in the springtime. I'm lovin' it!

Got boarded around 11:15. Big ol' 747-400. Nice seat in business class. Tons of room, lays out nearly flat. I'm loving Qantas. I've got movies on demand, CD library on demand, all kinds of goodies to occupy my time. The flight is 15 hours and 15 minutes long, so I'm happy about that. I don't anticipate getting much sleep cuz I've never really slept well on planes. One good thing, they don't censor the movies. You get all the language, all the action.

The dude next to me is coughing and sneezing up a storm – I sure hope I don't catch whatever he's got.

Off we go…

Friday, September 21, 2007

Travel Day to Los Angeles

Man, my damn head hurt this morning. Went to dinner last night with Foy & Terry and Jeff & Kim. It was my traditional last-night-in-town-dinner at Mitch's Tavern, which would have been fine if Foy, Terry, and I had not gone to the PR afterwards and sat at the bar until stupid o'clock.

So even though I felt like ass, I figured I'd be just fine to make my 2:35 flight this afternoon. Only one problem, the flight got cancelled and Deb (travel agent) managed to get me a seat on the 12:55 instead. So suddenly, I lost nearly 2 hours of my day and had to go into rush mode.

Made the flight, but the whole way down to Charlotte (to connect), I thought I was gonna hurl.

Because of the earlier flight, I wound up with a layover in Charlotte of nearly 3 hours. I didn't really mind, because Charlotte has a pretty decent airport. After some good old greasy pizza from the California Pizza Kitchen, I felt much better.

The next flight, to LAX, was direct, putting me on the ground about 7pm LA time. Grabbed a shuttle over to the Westin nearby and dropped my stuff in the room. Made plans to meet up with Blaine downstairs to grab some dinner.

While I was waiting for him to come down, I got a phone call from my buddy Shabba, who's out tour managing Daughtry. He was in Melbourne, Australia, where we're flying to tomorrow. Made plans to hook up with him once we got there. He said he had a couple of projects coming up after the first of the year, both of which he'd need a tour accountant for.

I’m starting to think that next year might be pretty busy for me.

Darren (security) and Adam (videographer) showed up just before Blaine came down, and the four of us had a damn good meal in the hotel's restaurant. Nobody was in much of a mood to do anything, and there really wasn't anything nearby, so back to the room by about 10. Fine by me, because I was pretty tired.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Last Day Off at Home

Got a call from my buddy Steve this afternoon. Confirmed my next gig, which starts Janurary 1st. Looks like I'm gonna be going to Australia and Japan with Rage Against The Machine.

How's this for funny? In the nearly 20 years I've been in the biz, I've never been to Australia. All of a sudden, I have 2 tours there, 3 months apart, with 2 different artists. Technically, they're back-to-back. I'm done with the Josh tour for this year as of our return to the States on October 19th, then I have 10 weeks off, then I go out with Rage. Pretty cool.

Rage doesn't have many confirmed dates next year as yet, which is good, because I'm going to South Africa with the Josh tour in March. Right now, I may be with Rage for only 6 weeks. We'll see.

Here's what 708 Kimbrough is looking like today:

Teardown, schmeardown.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First Teardown

Well, it's finally happening in my neighborhood, on my street even. A teardown.

My street is all small cottages (mostly brick), between 900-1100 square feet (mine's 1030 sf). Most were built in the 1940's (mine in 1946) and I just love living here.

My house:

But time marches on and it looks like we're getting our first teardown. It's 708 Kimbrough, three houses down from me. Here's what it looked like this morning:

By the end of the day, this is what's left:

I'm sure that whatever monstrosity they throw up will be way too big and out of character with the neighborhood. Nothing I can do about that but accept it. I just hope they don't build the damn thing too close to the street. Every lot on my side of the street is 200-feet deep; they should at least line it up with the rest of the houses on the street and run it deeper into the lot.

Guess I'll find out when I get home in 5 weeks…