Monday, October 27, 2008

Day Off in Trenton - WTF!

Whatever idiot decided to put us up in Trenton for our day off needs a beatdown. Philly is 20 minutes away and there are a million great hotels and plenty to do. Here in Trenton, there's zippo. Zilch. Nada. As in, nada fucking thing.

With fuckall else to do, I decided to go do laundry. Didn't really need to, just had time to kill. The laundromat was a $5.00 cab ride away, which was great. Big place, like 50 washers and 50 dryers.

I grabbed a killer slice of pizza next door for lunch, and then spent 45 minutes wandering around the grocery store in the same shopping center. Can you say bored? I'd already read 2 newspapers on the bus this morning while sitting up front with Reb, so wandering the grocery store was about all there was to do.

Back at the hotel, I actually took a little nap, from which it was very hard to get up. John's staying in his room tonight to watch his Phillies in the World Series, and it's pretty nasty outside, so I figured I'd stay in the building for the night.

Met up with a few folks in the bar. A bucket of 5 Buds was only 10 bucks. That's a killer deal for a hotel bar. Nice lady sitting next to me was Debbie, from Vermont. She's an insurance claims adjuster for Lloyd's of London. Boy, did she have some stories!

After I killed my bucket o' beer, I ordered a Portobello mushroom sandwich and a couple more Buds to go, and went to my room to watch TV. This was around 8, and I made it to bed around 10:30.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day Off in Cincinnati

Up and at 'em around 9 this morning. No damn newspaper outside my door - again. I've never had so few papers on a tour. Not sure what's up with that.

Putzed around the room for a bit, then headed out to go to the Post Office. Gotta mail my absentee ballot for the upcoming election.

Ran into our merch guy, Richard Carter, en route. He joined me for the journey. After the P.O., we walked around a bit. I don't know downtown Cinci too well, so I needed to scope out a bar and a restaurant for later today. Found a couple of interesting places, then headed back toward the hotel, stopping at Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte and a USA Today. I've been real good lately about avoiding Starbucks. I think this is maybe my third one in about 5 months. So I have no guilt.

Tell ya what, downtown Cincinnati looks like shit. This town is just u-g-l-y.

Spend the afternoon in my room, chillin'. Met up with John at 4:30 and we headed over to the Cadillac Ranch, a bar/restaurant about 4 blocks away with a killer outdoor bar. We grabbed a high-top table along the sidewalk rail, perfect for people-watching. Five or six other roadies joined us over the next couple of hours. We had a pretty good little crowd going.

Somebody spotted something up at the corner of the block. Looked like an accident involving a bus. Half-buzzed and curious, I walked to the corner to check it out. Not smart. We're talking dead body under the bus. And you would think between a firetruck, an ambulance, and 6 police cars, that they could have blocked the view a little better. A 14 year-old kid (who HAD the right of way, I was told) was flattened in the crosswalk by the bus. The bus had supposedly been cut off by a car, causing the driver to divert somehow, striking and killing the kid. Not a good way to die.

And man oh man, did seeing that bum me out…

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Show Day in Columbus

I apologize – I'm not taking many photos on this tour. It's not that I'm not having fun; it's just that I'm not having as much fun as some other tours.

I'm also not doing many touristy things, or staying out late. If that sounds boring, you're probably right.

After the show tonight, our drive to Cincinnati is only 112 miles, so there's no reason to go to bed. I stayed up and drank beer during the drive.

We pulled up to the hotel around 3:15am. We're at the Garfield Suites Hotel, an old apartment building turned hotel. My room is huge. I have a living room, dining room (table and four chairs), two bedrooms, bathroom, and a full kitchen, containing a full-size fridge, a full-size (4-burner) stove, pots and pans, cutlery, and even a dang ol' dishwasher.

Which reminds me of an old joke I learned from Willie Nelson:

Q: How do you turn a dishwasher into a snowplow?
A: You give that bitch a shovel.

Hey, don't get mad at me, get mad at Willie.

This would be a great hotel to be in if you were in Cincinnati for an extended time. Of course, nobody in his or her right mind wants to spend any time in Cinci. Me included.

Got in bed a little after 4am…

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day Off in Milwaukee

Yay! Day off in Milwaukee. I've always liked this town. We're staying at the Hyatt on Kilbourne, about a block away from tomorrow's venue.

I woke up about a half-mile from the hotel this morning. We pulled up at 6am sharp. I'd only slept about 5 hours by that time, but I didn't see any sense in going back to sleep. I read the paper, watched a little TV, took a shower and headed out to the coin laundry about 4 blocks away.

After laundry, I came back and hung out in my room until about 4:45, then took off to find the old man bar I'd gone drinking at when I was here 2 years ago.

Being the bright guy I am, I checked my blog archives to see what the name of the place was.

Being the dumbass I am, I discovered that I never wrote down the name of the place. Lucky me, I did note the bartender's name, Sandy, who was 50 at the time.

I kinda remembered the layout of the street the bar was on, and by checking a map, I narrowed it down to a 4-block stretch running north and south. Problem was, it was on one of four different parallel streets in that area. Crap!

Only took me about 10 minutes to walk to that area, then a few more minutes to eliminate 2 of the streets. The third one looked familiar, and I stuck my head into the first bar that might be the place. Asked if a lady named Sandy used to bartend here, and sure as hell, I was in the right place.

I called John and told him where I was and he showed up about 20 minutes later. Another 30 minutes later, Matt Dillon (our stage manager) and Brian Custer (our AEG production guy) joined up.

Had a few more rounds, then headed off to the little Germantown area just past the hotel. We decided on Mader's, a place that’s been around many years. The food was damn good, the service was great.

And as is typical on this tour, I was back in my room long before misbehavin' time kicked in.

For the record, my fave drinking hole in Milwaukee is called My Office. Love the name – "Sorry, honey, I'll be at My Office late tonight. Don't wait up." If you ever make it to Milwaukee, stop by – it's at 73 N. Milwaukee Street. Bob and Warren the bartenders will take good care of you. Or Sandy will, if you come by on Fridays, the only day she works these days…

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Show Day in St. Paul

Nothing much to report today. Our show is at the Xcel Energy Center, the arena where the Republican National Convention was held a few weeks ago. At one point today, I thought I detected the odor of Sarah Palin.

Or maybe somebody came and farted in my room. Hard to tell.

My dear friend Missy Boucher came by this evening and visited for a few hours. She was our Production Assistant on the last R. Kelly tour and I most recently saw her when she passed through Raleigh this summer as Maroon 5's Tour Accountant. She's a total sweetie (and a hottie!) and I miss working with her.

Heading to Milwaukee tonight after the show for a day off tomorrow. Gonna be laundry day for me…

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day Off in Chicago

Our day off here in Chicago is being spent at the Hotel Sax, which used to be the House of Blues Hotel. I've stayed here a bunch over the years. Great location – there are lots of bars and restaurants nearby – plenty to do.

Hung out in my room until it was time to meet up with John downstairs. We walked about 8 blocks to a bar called Streeters. Angela, our Production Assistant told me about it yesterday. She lived less than a block from it for a few years, so she knew what it was like and had decided that I would like it.

She was right. It's a little hole-in-the-wall, about 7 steps down from street level. The bartender was friendly, the crowd was both racially and generationally mixed, and the beer was cheap.

It's now my new favorite bar in Chicago. I can't wait to go back.

After about 6-7 rounds, we were joined by Lowell, our lighting crew chief. A few beers later, we jumped in a cab and wound up at a McCormick and Schmick's location a few blocks on the other side of our hotel. Had a killer meal and I was back in my room by about 10…

Monday, October 13, 2008

Day Off in Tulsa

We're staying at a Renaissance Hotel out on the highway, outside of town. I was awake this morning and sitting up front with Reb for the last 100 miles or so coming into Tulsa. I was a bit surprised when we got off the highway 10 miles from downtown. We usually stay at downtown hotels where there are things to do nearby. But this hotel is hell and gone from town.

Turned out to be OK. There was a shopping center nearby, which had a Super Target, a bunch of other stores, and some decent shopping.

I hit the Target for some personal items, then snagged a couple of things from Office Max. Walked around a bit to scope out the evening's dining options, then returned to my room to hang out for most of the day.

Met up with John down at the lobby bar around 5. An hour later, there were probably 8 or 9 roadies sitting around when the topic of discussion turned to politics. I'm not gonna go into details here, but it got real ugly real quick. It seems there's a few dumbasses in our midst. John and I quietly ducked out of there, along with Lowell Hawley, our lighting crew chief.

We wound up a few blocks away at the Carabba's Italian restaurant, safely out of the dumbass zone...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Show Day in Austin


Today's show is at the Frank Erwin Center on the University of Texas campus. Typical day, I never left the building the whole day.

My damn Slingbox still isn't connecting. Gonna have to get my buddy Greg to go over and kick it in the ass. Problem is, he's out on a tour and won't be home until at least the 27th. All of which means I'll miss the next few Panthers games.

If they keep playing like they did today, I won't mind. They got their asses kicked by Tampa Bay, 27 to 3. Not good…

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Show Day in Houston

Having a bad roadie day here in Houston today. Our show is at the Reliant Arena. This building absolutely sucks, and the caterers didn’t show up for breakfast. Somebody, somewhere dropped the ball and there were a lot of pissed-off roadies and drivers who didn't get breakfast. Balls!

Something's wrong with my Slingbox unit back at home, too, so I can't watch my home news or any shows I've recorded. Double balls!

Ran out to the bus to watch the last 20 laps or so of the race. By that time, Dale Jr. had long since blown a tire and wrecked his car. Jeff Burton won the race, and I like Jeff, so I guess that was OK…

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day Off in Dallas

Slept in (8:30), then putzed around the room for an hour or so. Grabbed a shower and then jumped in a cab to go do laundry. That's was pretty much my whole day.

Got in touch with my old friends Maria and Todd Donaldson, a couple of Raleigh transplants who live in downtown (uptown?) Dallas. Wound up going to dinner with them at some Belgium restaurant they go to regularly. The place had a massive patio, so you just know we sat outside to eat. Great beer, good food (Todd and I both had the fish 'n chips), and it was good to get caught up with each of them.

They dropped me back by my hotel by about 10pm. I grabbed one last beer in the bar to take up to the room for a nightcap…

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Travel Day to Dallas

That was one long-assed bus ride to get here. We left Phoenix last night at 1am and finally pulled into our hotel here just before 7:30 tonight. Take out the time change and that equates to a 16½ hour bus ride. We only made one combination refueling/poop break stop the whole way and averaged 65mph getting here. Hammer down!

John (production manager), Lyle (rigger) and I got the hotel shuttle driver to run us down to Deep Ellum, the cool neighborhood that USED to be full of bars and restaurants. I haven't been down there in about 3 years. I was completely shocked when we got there – everything's gone. All those cool bars have just disappeared. Freaky!

We wound up at Sol's Taco Lounge, a place I first ate at back in 2005 on the System Of A Down tour. The food is great and the service is friendly. A few other folks joined us later and the wardrobe girls talked John and Lyle into going to some dance club nearby.

I decide to take a pass on that idea and jump in a cab instead. I don't want to stay out late because tomorrow is laundry day for me…

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Show Day in Phoenix

Again, not really Phoenix. Our gig today is in Glendale, AZ, a different suburb of Phoenix.

Around lunchtime, Angela (our production assistant) sticks her head into my office and tells me that catering has honest-to-god sweet tea. Now, Angela's from Nashville, so I tell her she should know better. There's just no way in hell that an Arizona catering company can make genuine sweet tea. She ain't having any of my crap, and insists that I accompany her to catering right this instant to try it.

Damn if she ain't right. I mean, it's not my Mom's tea, which I would always describe to people as being glucose with a little food coloring in it. But, man oh man, this is some good tea. It's been awhile since I've had any good sweet tea. I think the last time was at the family Christmas dinner last December.

I wound up drinking 3 glasses of it and bouncing off the walls for hours.

My friend Molly Brickson came by the venue to visit and have dinner with me. Molly and I have toured together all this year on Rage Against The Machine and we toured together on the All-American Rejects back in 2006. She's doing a show in this building tomorrow and has the night off tonight, so she was just looking for a little hang time.

Long ride tonight to Dallas, some 1070 miles. I should sleep real well…

Monday, October 6, 2008

Day Off in Phoenix

OK, not really Phoenix. Our hotel is in Scottsdale, AZ. But it's a Phoenix suburb and you can't really tell when you leave one area and enter the next. And tomorrow's gig is in Glendale, a suburb on the other side of town.

Had lunch today with Steve Kidd and his lovely wife Vikira, along with our mutual friend Robert Mason. Steve is Rage Against The Machine's manager AND tour manager, and Robert Mason used to be the singer in Cry Of Love, a band I tour managed for about 7 years back in the 90's. Man, that sounds strange to say…

Anyway, Robert is now the new singer in the band Warrant. You know, "Cherry Pie" and "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and all that. Hell, I still listen to them, don't you?

They came and picked me up at the hotel and we went down the street to a great bar/restaurant called Oregano's and sat outside. The weather was nice, high 80's and no humidity at all.

After lunch, back to the hotel where we sat around the fire pit by the pool area and chatted until it was time for Steve and Vikira to go pick up their son from school. Robert split when they did and I headed to my room for a bit.

Met up with the usual suspects in the bar at 5 and we wound up having dinner in the hotel's killer bar & grille, sitting outside once again.

Made it back to my room by 10 or so…

Friday, October 3, 2008

Day Off in Reno, NV

After last night's gig in Sacramento, we drove directly to our hotel here in Reno. Got here around 3:30am and went straight into our rooms. I got in bed around 4:15 or so.

Up at 9:30. Kinda hate that I slept that late and I hope it won't keep me up tonight.

Never left the building all day. We're staying at the Silver Legacy Hotel and Casino. I fucking HATE casinos, so I really had no reason to even go downstairs. I did finally go get a newspaper around 4:30, though.

Met up with John at 5pm for drinks in the bar. About 30 minutes later, there were 8 or 9 crew guys joining us. Five of us went to dinner in one of the hotel restaurants. Damn good food. Not cheap, but good.

Back in the room before 10pm…

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Show Day in Los Angeles

Today's show is at the Nokia Theatre, next to the Staples Center, in downtown Los Angeles.

My buddies Shabba and Travis came by to hang out and have lunch with me. Shabba is Daughtry's tour manager and I did the All-American Rejects tour with him when he was their TM back in 2006.

It was another typical day on the road. Once inside the building (7:30am-ish), I saw no more daylight, eventually emerging around midnight to go to the bus…