August 29, 2017 - 10:31am (EST)
... so I've been putting this off for a long time... it eats away at me everyday. I know... I've neglected my personal website for months now... my last blog/tour post was back in February??? What's up with that??
Well I'll tell you what's up with that...
These last 12 months have been a bit of an experiment.
For years I've offered bands and artists some career advice while we're working together in the studio (... the bonus stuff! Asked or not... lol). When the opportunity to get involved with (now known as) Deadset Society... I told them I needed to play a larger roll if I was to be part of it.
... I felt my reputation was sorta on the line... if I can bark out opinions from the couch, I have to be able to back it up on the field.
While we launched this band in October 2016, I feel it really started getting serious in August. A lot of the ground work for the next 12 months had been laid out on paper, goals had been set, and time and money began to be set aside to invest.
As much as I really liked the tunes and the guys involved... another big incentive was to get back out touring... I LOVED writing the tour blogs over the years playing with Age Of Days... but I wanted more...
It's one thing to be out for a few weeks at a time, but what's it like to be out for a few months... what's it like coming "home" after living out of a suitcase and dining like a college student for weeks on end.
(... I'm just going to ramble for a bit btw.)
In short... touring is hard... but it's SOOOO worth it.
While a lot can be done with a band without having to set foot (or I guess tires) on the road, there's one thing you can't get...
Human to Human interaction.
Despite all the ups and the downs to doing this... and the opportunities through social media channels... being available (in real life) is crucial.
People want an escape at shows... people want to be entertained... people want to leave a show glowing... all warm and fuzzy from having a great time!
You have to go meet people (in real life)... and I don't think you'll truly understand how much people are connecting with whatever it is you're doing until you meet them... in real life.
So... the tour blog.
I've told a few people but I had to put it on the back burner for a couple reasons.
#1 - Too f'n tired.
Tour managing, playing, graphics, social media, navigating/logistics, financials... pools/hot tubs *cough*.
It takes me around 60-90 mins at the end of the day to write about the day (in a way I'm happy with it)... I tried my best at the beginning of the first tour but I was exhausted. I wasn't sure how much extra work it'd be but it didn't take long to find out how much work that really is. Huge props to Matt McLaughlin (Age Of Days) for doing all that over the years... I get it now.
Also... something I didn't consider to much on past tours... politics.
This is about story telling... while on past tours it's fun to skim the top layer and share my observations (even then management would call in the morning to ask me to remove/edit certain things)... but this year... so many things just wouldn't make sense if I left out details.
... you seriously can't make some of the stuff up that's happened already this year... but I didn't want people reading my thoughts the morning after and having that mess with their "day-to-day".
(... or other bands we're out with for that matter.)
It's a fine line but... like Game Of Thrones... it's hilarious how complicated things can get when you factor in personal agendas, politics, coincidences, the actions that come of it, and the results because of them.
... all that being said, I'm keeping my notes off to the side... waaaaay too much gold to go to waste! lol.
Again... you can't make this stuff up....
... I can't say when (later), or how (possibly a book), but I'll have stories to share.
... and just in case something should happen to me, I've hidden my notes online.
(If you know me, you know that's how I roll. ;-) )
I'd like to finalize this by reassuring everyone I haven't changed my stance on why I don't want to be in a band and that being in a band sucks... but I love this band, these songs, and this group of guys more than I don't want to be in a band.
... and I can't say thank you enough to everyone who's been supportive of us as a collective... especially our friends and family back home... you mean the world to us! In an strange way, they're one thing you should never leave for tour without!
More things planned, bigger goals set, and we look forward to what 2018 has in store... yes, already... because this is how far out things should be planned... if you have a plan.
- Mike :-)
P.S. The pic at the top is the last one I took at the Trapt show in Keokuk, IA... before I fell asleep on the bench... before waking up to people staring at me after doors opened... and then realizing people were taking pictures of me while I was asleep. :-|
February 13, 2017 - 1:03am
... going to try and rip through this... consult my notes and pics.
Woke up in a Motel 6... conveniently next to a Denny's... good start.
Drove through the desert some more on our way to Scottsdale, AZ.
No idea what to expect there... all I know is it's the hometown of Toronto Maple Leafs superstar (and savour) #34 Austin Matthews.
Scottsdale sorta came out of nowhere compared to what we've been looking at the last while... we arrived around 4:30pm and the area was beautiful... and full of beautiful people... almost like a movie set... nice cars, pressed clothes, designer shoes, and white teeth.
... meanwhile I'm pretty sure I didn't shower today... not that I really had clean clothes aside from "show shirts" at this point.
The venue here is small. We saw ALY getting set up when we went in... and then saw them load their drum back out side.
Apparently the venue is so small that they only have one band in at a time basically... so you get set up on the street out front, load in when you play, then load out.
I'm only saying this because it's beautiful out and I like setting my drums up outdoors... I think it's fun when people rubberneck.
I tweeted at Austin Matthews about food in the area.
I laughed to myself I'd probably have a better chance getting the President of the United States to reply...
... worth a shot though.
Jimmy John's for dinner.
The venue sounds awesome. Top 3 on the tour so far... possibly #1.
It's amazing how often on this trip "rock drums" don't sound like drums... the thing about mixing modern/hard rock is edge... don't be shy with EQ's and compression... screw the natural tones! Carve, boost, and squish!!
Lullwater suggested sharing a kit because of the space issues... normally I'd be down... but I'd much rather use mine... mainly because if a photographer shows up, I'd rather our kick drum say NEVER SAY DIE opposed to the ALY logo.
... it's a thing. Awesome pics always make it look like it sounded awesome.
... so don't ruin your band photos when you're playing live... or else you'll have to edit the truth out of it later!
We ended up swapping spots with Lullwater so they and ALY didn't have to swap drums in/out.
Fun room to play and the sound on stage was just as good.
Fog machines scared the crap out of me... they started coincidentally as soon as I hit play on the intro... I thought something was incredibly wrong.
Response was good though! Fair amount of people up front, singing along.
Oh! The opening band... drummer had a massive kit. There's no way I'd A) want to play that amount of drum kit, even if someone else was setting it up and B) would ever want to move that size of a kit.
Drums are so finicky... you want everything in its right place... that many pieces... looks like a nightmare.
... good drummer though... my guess is Neil Peart fan.
Sorta sad to leave Scottsdale... even though I felt like I couldn't afford it. Highly recommend making a stop there on a future tour.
We drove out for a bit that night since we needed to get to Las Vegas tomorrow... early... just try and grab 4-5 hrs sleep... can't be late since we have radio to do tomorrow around 1pm
Grabbed another Hotel 6 on the way.
... the toilet.
The water was shut off.
The water was turned on.
... the toilet wants to overflow now.
When I got in the room, the TV was on but I didn't think much of it... and Dane said there was a towel on the floor in the bathroom... but didn't think much of it.
... the trifecta of out-of-place items in the room was slowly rising towards the top of the bowl.
Adult Tip: If you're ever having a problem that involves water, ask yourself, can I shut off the water?
If the answer is yes, SHUT OFF THE WATER.
If the answer is no, DO SOMETHING TO STOP THE WATER.
... and if the answer is still no... well... you're probably screwed... and hopefully it doesn't involve a log rafting counter-clockwise towards you.
That explains the wet carpet outside the bathroom (I'm in my bare feet) and the towel on the floor.
I got dressed and went down to the office to ask if we could switch rooms.
(... no biggie apparently.)
We switched over our stuff and I was back in bed... and asleep within 10 mins.
... no internet here.
Zzz... can't be late tomorrow... and it'll be tomorrow in 55 minutes.
February 11, 2017 - 9:38pm
Yup… writing at the show again. There’s a couple local support bands so I have time. Not a lot of AC plugs in this venue (Adrenalin) but I found a corner… probably look like a weirdo, click-clackin’ away… maybe they think I’m playing internet poker… we are in Vegas after all!
I dragged myself out of bed at 8:15am... breakfast was only 6am-9am here.
… and breakfast turned out to be pretty garbage.
I don’t like saying that because there are lots of hungry people out there… but most of it wasn’t edible… I’m pretty lenient on the quality of hotel “complimentary” breakfast but aside from the oatmeal (packets).. and yogurt cups (that’d expire in a week), everything was either stale or “off”. The worst was the fruit… typically a safe bet. I had one piece… and I recognized that acidic aftertaste.
… well… hopefully we can hit a Denny's or something... we haven’t actually been there in a while so maybe it’s time.
I scrambled around after “breakfast” to use the business center. We had a bunch more CD’s to mail out and I wanted to restock our set lists, merch signs, input lists, etc.
I think I printed off 60 sheets.
(... go, go gadget laser printers! Don’t be shy!)
Ended up driving the wrong way for a bit to the post office… but that lead to getting Jimmy John's for breakfast… then finally finding the post office lead to a Starbucks stop. I hung out in the Bucks parking lot eating, and a guy waiting for the bus came over to ask if I was in a band… seriously surprised how many people ask…
He kept looking over at us from the bus stop after the rest of the guys came out… I’m sure the guys thought it was odd… then he started singing really loud… yeah it’s time to go.
The drive to Albuquerque was nice… desert (I think)…. I didn’t feel like I was going to die out there and that’s partially what I think of when I think of desert.
Reid was pushing for a desert highway “van jam” so we found a safe place to pull off and get out.
People were honking… I thought it was funny.
I held the camera (again) but unfortunately the reception in the desert was too weak to properly stream.
(… well, we tried!)
… super nice scenery on the drive though… just started sinking in how much of America (highways at least) we’re getting to see on this tour.
Arrived at The Co-Op in Albuquerque and found a sweet spot out front to park our van and load in.
(… as much as it sucks inside the van having no space… having no trailer means more parking options!)
The venue was neat.. really decent stage for the size of the room. Apparently it’s where some “school of rock” programs take place.
… which is a pretty cool thing kids (and adults too) have access to. Not all kids have enough friends who play music growing up… I consider myself lucky that way... I had friends who played instruments and places parents allowed “drums”.
… oh shit.
… there’s no bar in here.
Great stage, awesome lights sweet sound system… nowhere to get drinks.
… this may not end well.
There was a local support band called BlindDryve playing direct support to ALY… and I was hoping they’d draw… I really was… then I saw they had promo for an upcoming show with tickets they were selling.
… this really may not end well.
“I think I just bought my amp.”
Reid said after coming over to me at the merch table.
The guitar amp/cab we rented has a wonky caster wheel… sometimes it tips/leans… three legs on a four-sided table does not make a sturdy structure.
… I guess the guitar head took a tumble… and no longer works.
… well… we're up to 2 guitars and a guitar amp now. It’s one less thing to put on stage but that’s a bummer since I like the dynamic… and the MDD tunes sound good with 2 guitars.
… ah well… we'll deal with it later… later being tomorrow.
Brendan and I headed out for food.
National pizza day!! ... and we ended up at a pizza place!
… I wish I had it on video… there were 2 slices left.
“Do you have any other slices coming out?” I asked the pizza guy.
“No, we’ll make another one after those 2 are gone.”
“Which one do you want?” I asked.
“I’ll take the cheese one,” replied Brendan.
“Those two are sold, did you want to wait 15 minutes for another one?” Asked the pizza guy.
… we backed out of there… couldn’t tell if he was high or not… but I was too hungry.
… Jimmy John’s it is… twice in a day.
(... 1st World problem when you aren't in the mood to have someone make you a sandwich.)
"Where are you guys?? We're on soon, Lullwater is almost done."
... that text was from Reid.
I honestly had no idea the show had even started... there was nobody there but bands... even then, the bands weren't even really there... we'd all snuck out for food!
... there was no house music on... no... typical show "stuff" going on... just a room... with a big ass stage... and awesome lights... and no bar.
... this is not good.
I asked Brendan to be the Godparent of my Jimmy John's before I ran back to the venue.
(... I actually ran... running on the treadmill has really helped!)
... I went inside the venue... yup... that's Lullwater... rockin' out to nobody.
... I'm trying by best not to cuss in these blogs... but it was sad... it was fuckin' sad.
It's tough playing to nobody, but it truly was playing to nobody... I didn't even see the sound guy.
... ok, they were playing to the guy sitting at the door collecting cover... which as of right now, a job that rivals the "all-time leaders" of meaningless work.
... he wasn't even facing the band!!?
They had a couple songs left... I know their set now... but they were half going through the paces.... this is a practice... it's tough to not make shows like tonight a practice.
... like... what do you do with your banter??
... you have nobody to bant it off of.
They finished... and luckily a few people had filtered in by then so it wasn't just the sound of 5 hands clapping.
... I don't even know what that means right now... just assume one person was on their phone I guess... it was sad though.
Change over was good considering how much gear was backstage.
... and a few more people had come in still... so we're at least playing to 15-20 people.
... now... Lullwater is a straight ahead 4 piece rock band... so are we except we have two (2) additional inputs... an effected (distortion) vocal mic.... and a DI by me for tracks/samples. Both XLR... both fairly easy to deal with.
I swear we were waiting 15 mins for a line check... this is after we had set up.
... sitting on stage like that sucks... since you're just waiting... and I've played enough shows to know what's going on... and I had no idea what was going on or why things were taking so long.
... it got to the point where I started texting people about how long it was taking... it was passing the time.
... 2 additional lines... seriously.
Finally get those 2 additional lines patched and then struggle through a line check... which should've been the same from Lullwater....really... and then finally get the green light to play.
... we play.
... highlight was Reid attempting to climb the lighting rig... it looked not as secure as somewhere like Providence so I'm glad he didn't make it very far.
I thought we played well... there were people in the... in attendance who knew some of the songs which was awesome... always awesome.
It was very anticlimactic though.... you give all the energy and it's bittersweet because you're in a good mode from playing, but disappointed because you fell nobody was there to throw that energy back at you.
We loaded off... and helped load up BlindDryve.
I was quite curious to see them... another female fronted rock band... been a few on this tour so far!
They were good... but I'll skip ahead to a moment that stood out.
I first saw Reva (lead singer) when I walked past her on the way into the venue. I said a half-hello... but she has a reasonable amount of tattoos, piercings, and vibrantly black and red streaked hair.
My problem... I think tattoos and piercings are neat... and I catch myself counting and analyzing them... which is awkward if you're 2 feet away from someone that doesn't know you... just being honest.
During the show she made a point to say a special person was in the audience... her sister... who's never seen her perform before.
Now... in this crowd, it's easy to point out who her sister is... because if she points out in the audience, it's easy to see who she's pointing at.
... between her and her sister... it's easily apparent they chose different paths in life... just based on the visual.
Playing in front of friends and family is the toughest crowd you'll get... so in a crowd like this... it has to be a mixed bag of emotions... and maybe I'm reading into it too much, but the vibe I got was "I'm glad you finally got a chance to see me doing what I love to do."
... she also wished her mom a happy birthday who came out.
I'm not sure I'm able to articulate it... but that small moment moved me a little... there was a connection there between family... between siblings... and I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have a supporting family... despite me being pretty quiet and almost secretive about my career in music. I know enough people whose family or even partners/spouses, downplay their dream to do music... they're just waiting for that dumb dream they have to die already... stop wasting their time.
... for better or worse... for some people, that dumb dream is all the want and that's all they've got.
I'm not saying it works out for everybody... I'm reminded of that often... but that's a decision someone has to make themselves... and even then... fittingly in this school of rock... even if the dream dies... that doesn't mean they can't still do it for fun... it brings them joy... and on the honesty tip... that's something that took me a long time to understand.
... I've made peace with the idea I won't make the NHL.
... probably won't make the NHL.
... old re-occurring groin injury... hard to explain.
ALY was good again, but unfortunately the room cleared out again after BlindDryve.
... tough night in Albuquerque... sounds like a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
We had to drive a bit after the show... it was a trek to Scottsdale AZ... and tonight was the first time I had to mutter the words...
"... what about a Motel 6?"
Only the best accommodations so far on the trip *cough* but we were already 3:30am and needed to be back on the road early... so for $50, it's totally worth it just to sleep.
... the room we had... had a bit of charm to it... it was certainly a smaller than the rooms we've had so far... well... except "the van" room.
I quickly got into bed... and encouraged everyone (no fun dad style) to get to bed asap.
It was all laughs until we all finally fell asleep... good times.
... Scottsdale, AZ tomorrow.... home of Austin Mathews.
P.S. I woke up remembering I'd originally ended this with a different Motel 6 (ending)... I remembered what Motel 6 ending that belonged to... so if you missed it... you'll have to wait... this is what happens when you're a week out trying to remember a detailed blog. lol. *tear*
February 10, 2017 - 11:20am
Sitting in a Motel 6 "lobby" in Hol… something... NM… maybe AZ… not sure yet… and this sounds funnier than actually knowing. We drove 3.5hrs last night, another 3 to get to Scottsdale, AZ. I have no data and barely any cell reception.
Writing these is hard enough... no reception isn't helping.
I set my alarm for 10am… the radio station was a 15 minute drive but I needed time to get cleaned up (somehow) and grab a couple things from Walmart.
Dane was up too… Brendan and Reid... still very much out.
We walked over to the Walmart… I grabbed more merch supplies and a pack of gum… just in case it’s the closest thing to a shower I’m going to get right now… I actually went into the Walmart bathroom to brush my teeth and get changed… but there was… pooh on the floor… and I just wasn’t able to handle that right now… definitely too early since I felt like I was in a daze.
Reid was up when we got back and we headed over to Clown… I wanted a smoothie.
… apparently there’s lunch provided by Hooters at the KBAT 99.9 thing… which I’d be really excited about normally… because I love wings… but I had no appetite right now… sorta wish lunch was provided by Sleep Country… but way she goes… wings will do.
Got cleaned up best I could then we headed out… somehow it took us 40 mins to make a 15 minute drive… highways… and our GPS was laggy… so you approach a turn and then the signage is bad… then… you’re 6 mins both ways to turn around.
The best was the actually radio station parking lot… the address on the GPS was past the entrance to the parking lot… so we’re already 15 mins late… and now we’re another 15 mins to simply turn around… can’t win right now.
We finally arrive and saw ALY’s van in the parking lot. I went inside… my best Canadian apologies ready to go.
Chris Muttley met us (myself and the Hooter’s girls/rep) at the door… we were 30 minutes late (I think)… he still seemed happy to see us though… and let us know we weren’t too late…. late for lunch I guess.
(… wasn’t hungry at all… which was a shame since I LOVE wings.)
Navigated through he radio station and found the ALY camp and the sweet, sweet, hot, smell of lunch provided by Hooters.
I’m torn… I want to eat, but wings for breakfast is already not sitting right.
… oh yeah! ALY is here already… eating… I’m so out of it... should probably just sit off to the side and dodge any pressure to perform… maybe I’ll hold the camera… odds are they’ll want to live stream… that’s my excuse.
We hung out for maybe 30 mins eating and socializing. The Hooters rep and Hooters girls were pretty cool… very chill… but I was kinda wondering what the Hooters girls would be doing… it’s not hard to entertain 8 guys in bands who’ve been away for a few weeks… they entertain themselves enough… I hope they got paid to hang out at least… I wonder if they eat the food… that should be part of the “Hooters uniform”… wing sauce stained finger tips and corners of their mouths… and this is why I shouldn't own a Hooters franchise.
(… see… I’m by myself right now and very much entertained!)
… I packed away as many wings as I could (because I’m weak) and we… I can’t remember if we did the interview first or performances… so I’m going to go with performances… because it makes more sense.
… I’m also going to add a special guest appearance by Big Bird since I’m trying to remember this a few days after the fact and I’m allowing my memory some wiggle room.
Big Bird is a honey garlic fan by the way… I didn’t mention I thought it was weird he ate wings to begin with…
(… I’m sorry everybody… even though I’ve been up for a couple hours… already tired again… lol… join a band they said… see the world they said… )
ALY performed a couple songs first.
It’s tough essentially driving 5-6hrs over night then trying to play… especially sing… it’s pretty early in the day when you haven’t really slept…. they sounded good though. Everyone was on stage, Angel (drums) played a Djembe which I thought sounded good. So many bands use a cajon for acoustic performances now… they’re kinda played out to me…
… and lord knows I’ll probably be sitting on one within the next year if everything works out… or I come up with a better idea.
They’re still just as entertaining between songs… even though they only played a couple songs… the banter between Adam (bass) and Clinton (vocals) is worth the ticket price every night alone!
Brendan ended up playing guitar and joined Reid and Dane on stage… I held the camera so we could live stream to Facebook.
(… that really is a thing these days… live streams… #DearBands… get your music out there, but get your personality out there too! So many opportunities to get some behind the scenes content as well.)
It sounded good though… and the live stream didn’t crap out… which was good.
We moved over to Muttley’s broadcast room for the interview portion… it was sort of a gang approach with everyone there sorta all at once with Clinton and Reid answering the bulk of the questions and dialog.
This was a bit of a blur but Clinton had a lot of kind words for us.
#RealTalk - It’s been a bit of a grind for several reasons… and it’s tough to headline a tour where the venues aren’t doing as much for promotion as they really could be. It’s tough… but it’s nice to hear it from each other on the tour, especially on the record in a radio interview that people see the work going into it… there’s definitely been a couple “Lemonade Stands” and I’m sure there’ll be a few more still… we’re in good company on this trip though.
Interview was a bit of a blur… we finished up and then did picture time in the hallway... exchanged some merch/swag, hung out in the parking lot for a bit (1,005F again) then made the decision to head to Albuquerque… I was pushing to stop in Roswell, NM… we have to pass through anyway!!
… easy sell. ;-)
… maybe 3hr drive… was dark by the time we got there.. ended up getting a hotel through Hotwire… had a pool and a hot tub… I’m down!
When we arrived I remember looking behind me while checking in and all these army people were behind me.
… ok, that’s a bit odd.
… I’m always awkward as F around military. I’m awkward around cops too but my mind just goes to 10,000 questions I can’t bring myself to ask… since eventually the answer would be “maybe you should join the army…”
… and I’m not army material… I’d have my mouth slapped off within the first week… for sure.
Checked in, Reid and I headed straight for the pool/hot tub. We actually bumped into a couple army guys dressed for the bar in the elevator on the way down.
"Looks like we're heading to the same place!" I said jokingly... as we were in bare feet and swim trunks.
"... I'm just joking."
"Yeah, not unless it has cold beer."
(... my delivery on the joke was good... I don't know what went wrong.)
... then Brendan joined us for dinner.
(… how Brendan was still remotely functioning, I have no idea.)
Ended up walking over to Applebee’s… my stomach said salad… fingertips pointed to club sandwich, salad and fries.
(… I should just stop eating fries… fries are my “beer”.)
We could see ALY’s van across the road. We (half) joked about trying to meet up with them… but I was the buzzkill reminding people we haven’t really slept in a while and should get to bed as early as possible.
(…. Mike “Fun Ruiner” Langford)
I tried working in the lobby after we got back… problem is I crashed for 20 minutes in the hotel room once we got back… so I was mega groggy.
… decided to tap out… get some sleep… there’s always breakfast.
February 9, 2017 - 6:36pm
... I'm sitting on a questionably clean couch at The Co-Op in Albuquerque (NM)… it’s times like this I’m glad I have an amazing (selective) memory! All I gotta do is think back to Wednesday… a day that just wouldn’t end.
… not for bad reasons though… it all worked out so… actually… I’ll just cut to it… we’re not dead.
Today was a show day… and typically I try and schedule 2-3hr drive so we have an easy way to kill time before load in.
We’re out of the hotel for a “musician’s noon” and hung out in the hotel parking lot for a bit… ignoring the fact it was 1,000F again. We aren’t able to load in until 6pm… and it’s only an hour drive…
McOffice it is.
… which is fine… because they have decent Wifi and $1/drinks.
… so as far as data and hydration plans go… it’s pretty good!
We dropped Reid and Dane off at McOffice then Brendan and I went to the post office… that we couldn’t find… GPS has been throwing some curveballs on this trip.
(Honestly, all our phone GPS’s are solid… and way quicker to input addresses… just sayin’.)
When we returned, Reid informed me that his card didn’t work at the cash… and that the worker had “comped” him some cheeseburgers.
(… I’m still laughing about this… fast food REALLY is affordable here??)
The McEmployee seemed really interested in us being in a band… finally caving and asking Dane and Reid to grab a pic with him.
(… works for me… we are going to be here for 3-4hrs… probably having spent $10 between us… $12.5 if we included Reid’s order.)
Spent the afternoon working on socials and doing emails… time really does fly when you’re chatting with several people on several social platforms… it was easier when I was at home... easier to turn to my left and do some stuff while Pro Tools is doing stuff.
… it is tough because I feel you should keep on top of the messages and reply quickly… but I also (unfortunately) understand why larger acts simply don’t… there has to be a tipping point where it’s overwhelming.
… we’ll do our best though if/when that time comes.
We made our way to Austin… a city I’ve heard so much about because of SXSW… so I was kinda excited about it.
… until people kept telling us/me to “be careful.”
… because now I'm sketched out a little.
Our lives (in a way) are packed in a van right now. Between our instruments and our personal items… such as the one I’m typing on right now. We brought our essentials to function for over 2 months… and you can’t really wrap your head around what you need until you realize how much of it you don’t… really… and how much of it you do.
… in hindsight, I would’ve packed less… as they say with travelling… “pack half they stuff and twice as much money”… I guess the joke is we’ve already brought all our money.
(lol... *tear* … seriously… the eggs are in this basket.)
We find the venue and discover an alley in behind… full of vans.
… sounds about right!
So, similar to Queen Street in Toronto… or I guess I should say, the idea that people portray Queen Street in Toronto, there’s a bunch of venues and bars all in a row on this street… that I can’t remember the name of… so everyone is loading in, loading out at the same time… and there’s basically no cover since if you want to go see live music while you drink, there’s no shortage of options… again, real talk, the competition is often to provide booze, the entertainment is secondary... if you aren't buying a ticket.
… there’s a vibe in Austin so far though… and alley smells like a combo of day old prawn and urine.
… and there was an incident with a “knife guy” that I missed… can’t remember if it was before or after the show but Reid and Dane were telling me about it… apparently the guy was recreating a scene from a movie… but things like that can really go south fast.
I looked at the schedule inside:
Another Lost Year 11pm
Lullwater - 10pm
Never Say Die - 9pm
Ok cool… I think Lullwater had hooked up this show (late notice date filler) so all good if they want to switch spots on the bill… there is some advantage to playing later on these types of gigs… up until about midnight.
… and considering how things might go tonight… getting packed up a bit earlier since we have a drive tonight (all night)... being able to head out easier once the show is done wouldn’t hurt.
“Do ya’ll wanna draw straws for set times?”
(… yup… we’re all thinking the same thing apparently. lol. *tear*)
I went back inside…
… I heard the cheers from outside…. and I recognized the voices… none of them Reid, Dane, or Brendan’s.
To be honest, it kinda put us in an awkward position and we did offer to switch spots with ALY if they wanted. We both have a long drive tonight (to make radio tomorrow) but we’re guests on their tour and we’ll take one for the team… and if we can play a little longer to practice a few songs we haven’t played in a while… I’d be ok with that.
… so the new set times:
Never Say Die - 11pm
Lullwater - 10pm
Another Lost Year - 9pm
… going to be positive… perhaps there’s walk in traffic… the front is open… and there’s a lot of country (and apparently reggae next door) going on. If you want rock… here you go!
The crowd did pick up as the night went on… a decent sized pub crawl came in while Lullwater was playing… there were a couple comments that maybe we ended up with the sweet spot after all… but my gut said that’s a pub crawl… and they aren’t here for the music… because if they were, they’d be up near the stage… not at the very back (where the entrance is) shouting over a live (loud) rock band and getting smashed.
There was a decent number of people left by the time we played… but that pub crawl easily could’ve made a difference if they a) stayed and b) made it to the front of the stage.
We’d thought about playing a few more songs but decided to keep it to 30mins so we could all head out on time.
#realtalk - Politics and ethics… being packed up and ready to go is one thing, but the thought never crossed our minds to leave early (bands still playing)… you just don’t do that… and if someone did that, that would’ve said a lot about respect. Travelling like this, your band is a team but all the bands (as a whole) is a team as well. This is not easy… it can be fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. At one point or another you’ll need help… gear issues, missing/forgotten items, financials, morale… it’s a sum of the parts. It’s doesn’t have to be completely even, but it needs to maintain a balance.
… but the only reason to leave early (Age Of Days succumbed to it a couple times over the years) is when you have a drive that you can’t make unless you leave now. We had no crew… and when you’re chasing a bus tour, especially in Canada… and you have a 12hr drive… sometimes you have to bite the bullet and pack up… and miss (especially on those larger tours) that late rush of merch sales.
… but that is not the case here or tonight though.
We played… played well… nice size drum riser here too.
Reid toyed with the idea of heading out onto the street… I reminded him how far you don’t have to go before time delay kicks in and you have no idea what’s going on.
(... because science.)
… skipping to that, Reid hops off stage and makes his way to the street… maybe 80ft away from the stage… so (really) easy math, 10ft/1ms delay.
You can easily hear 10ms delay… and if you have a good ear (which Reid does), he’s now realized he’s paddling himself up shits creek.
I’m fighting his late vocal blasting in the monitor beside me… I think he just started yelling or talking to people outside… the band is fine, we can just keep playing… it’s fun though… I like the element of danger.
We finished up, packed up… I chatted with a daddy/daughter combo on their own mini pub crawl. They were using our merch table as a “table” table… which irks me a little since I’ve noticed 9/10 spills in a venue happen on your merch table if you let people treat it like a “table” table…
… they had nice things to say about our set and it was nice to know the people there appreciated it.
… except this one guy who apparently gave Reid “some pointers” about the songwriting… apparently “Like A Nightmare” is too derivative…
It was fun though… Reid ended up comping him a cd which was funny… the whole album is derivative.
(... in my mind we signed it… I actually just deleted what I think we would’ve (I would’ve) wrote… it’s pretty funny though... but derivative.)
So packing up, loading out… this is where things got dicy and I’ll choose my words wisely.
This show was put together on super late notice… so promotion is what it is… a place to break up the drive, off the street traffic, no cover, etc… you sorta get what you get… except tonight was a cut of the bar sales.
… from past experience, and hearing from bands over the last 10+ years… you’re at the mercy of the bar… since it’s one thing to say “X number of people paid cover” vs “X number of drinks were sold”.
… often, even if sales are low, a bar might top up the $ because it also reflects on them.
This is a solid tour package. With proper promotion, there’s no doubt we couldn’t get more bodies in a room like this… the venue is really cool! … and some of the “more intimate” shows so far… in my mind, I want to come back and pack those places on a second run… as a thank you for helping us fill a few dates on late notice.
… but this hiccup with the bar put things in an awkward spot. Now a night we're still having fun (because that’s 1 of 2 options sometimes), is now a little insulting… and the numbers we’re being told vs what we saw are not adding up.
… there’s no way 1 of the band members on this tour, spend 10% of what the bar said they made… just no way… but again, you’re at the mercy of the bar.
Luckily it was dealt with diplomatically (over the next hour). We settled up, and we all went on our way… much later than I’d hoped… again… we were already driving all night…
… we didn’t make it very far until the Jameson caught up with one of us.
“Just give me a bag or something, just incase.”
… if you think you’re going to be sick, we are pulling over. This is our home… do not hurl in the van.
… I think we had gas station dinner… I bought some Starbucks energy drink thing… see if that will keep me awake.
… oh dear.
… literally oh dear… as in deer.
It wasn’t long into the drive (a 5hr drive) that we started seeing deer all over the place… well, on the side of the road… standing around… just wanting to ruin your day.
The “speed limit” on these roads (secondary highway) is 120 km/h … yeah… really… in the dark, through a gauntlet of deer… seriously.
I have a soft spot for animals so I sorta like seeing the deer… but after the moose accident a couple years ago… and having my eyeballs coated in powered glass… I’m good… I’m good for wildlife on night drives.
I counted 199 deer… +/- 10… since sometimes it’s tough to see how many there are in a group.
Only 2 were on the road were we had to slow down enough (form 70-80 km/h and actually honk at them… which was funny… in my sleep deprived mind, they are apologizing for not crossing safely.
Speaking of safely… mad props to Brendan for powering through that drive… I woke up several times after trying to stay awake on look out… it was a grind though… and he didn’t try our luck through deer alley… and he slowed down even further when I voiced concern over a few deer-ier patches in particular.
… radio was 12pm… no hotel tonight… our go to, Walmart… where you find Wally, you find Clown… and that’s a great combo for more reasons than I’m willing to share or admit right now.
Found one with Clown and Starbucks (aka Bucks)… and gas station…
… we pulled in at 7:33am. The sun was already up. Brendan pulled into one of the many vacant spots, put the van in park. He leaned forward and put his forehead on the steering wheel in a comical manner…
“Good job Brendan.”
His hand went up to like my real world Facebook comment… and then he was out.
… the last thing I remember doing was opening the my door, kicking off my shoes outside (I’ve been wearing them for 21hrs… and they’re gonna smell like it), and then I was out… telling myself “Do not forget your shoes beside the van.”
Good job Brendan.
February 9, 2017 - 12:40am
... this should be short... I really (only) did 3 things. I sat in the breakfast lounge (9:30am - 3am) and did emails, calls, and a few graphics... gym, and when the guys went downtown Austin, I stayed behind to work... but I did sneak off to the pool quick.
.. so... the guys went downtown Austin to promote the show... perhaps partially an excuse to go have some fun downtown but I buy the reason behind it.
... so... sometimes like they found some entertainment and live streamed it... go find that if you like. lol.
Felt like a super long day though... remember finally crawling into bed... both eyes feeling like they'd been punched in by tiny hands with tiny boxing gloves on.
... still liking the gym too btw.
... oh my God... I think I'm pretty much done... I did SOOO much nothing entertaining that day.
... work, work, work all day long.... work, work, work while I sing this song... because I'm done!!
P.S. Forgot we had pretty awesome Mexican for lunch... only place I got pics too! I was uncomfortably full the rest of the day. Not much of an appetite for a while now... probably sleep deprivation and stress... it's stressful trying keep the plates spinning.
... building the team is about finding the right people though... see the big picture, and in it for the long haul.
February 8, 2017 - 5:32pm
I think I can play catch up today… currently on a highway… a very straight highway… en route to Roswell, NM.
(… yup… bucket list item will be achieved today!!)
I’ll get into it in more detail but we drove all night in order to make a radio performance (K-BAT 99.9) this afternoon… and Roswell is the halfway point between there (Midland, TX) and Albuquerque, NM.
So.. Sunday… Sunday, February 5… we had 2 days off before Austin so we decided to camp out a little outside the city… found a place called Bastrop, TX. Got a good deal on a hotel and I figured we should use these couple days to rest… there are some grinds coming up (hence last night) and enjoy the downtime.
… that being said, we were still hard at work on our socials and doing our best to promote the shows... get the word out to a few more people if we can. It’s been tough but we do see some results… more than zero… close to zero stings though…. but you just remind yourself you tried, tweak the approach for next time, and try again.
So I don’t think I got a pic of it, but if you ask the guys… it probably looked like I had planted myself at a table with 4 chairs in the lounge for 48 hrs… only times I got up were for food, Walmart, gym, and pool…. from 9am to roughly 2am, I was there… emails, research, photoshop/graphics, tweets, Facebook posts, and any other various fires that came across my "office desk".
#DearBands - There’s no free time unless you make free time.
Take that how you will, but there’s always something to do… and when things are good, there’s typically more to do than you have time for… and things are quite good right now.
The day overall is a little blurry, but I think it ended with the 4 of us at the pool... and I was doing laundry as well.
… oh, I should mention when we approached this hotel, it was like out a video game… it was beside a plaza, but at the end of a road… as if the designers wanted to make it obvious where you character could save their game.
(…. so much of these trips is like GTA / Grand Theft Auto… simple missions… right?)
I went in to check in, and I saw the sign on the wall…”Pool / Whirlpool”
Online it didn’t say hot tub… but the wall says hot tub.. so I think there’s a hot tub!!
I’m totally into that right now.. 100%. Internally, I’m almost in tears at the thought of a hot tub right now… sort of expecting it to be out of order or something… or worse… kids are using it.
(… those kids.. probably peeing in it.)
The front desk was helping another guest so I peeped the ammenities.
Laundry… front loaders… nice.
Gym… treadmills, bike, weights… nice.
Pool… pool… hot tub… no kids/pee… amazing.
It didn’t take long after checking in to get down there… I was excited.
Oh, Super Bowl was on too… I called it when we got back from the pool… what are the chances it’s in overtime… it’s football and anything can happen when scoring is worth so much.
… we caught the end.
… although it seemed like most people wanted to see Atlanta win, and at 28-3 when we left the room, it appeared to be the case.
… but New England clawed their way back.
… sorry, couldn’t help it.
- Mike ;-)
P.S. Remembered we cleaned out the van as well. It wasn't that bad actually... nothing gross, just stuff that could use a repack from shows... and a good sweep. Good jeorb guys.
P.P.S. Forgot, it was 1000F that morning. Temperatures have really been all over the map.. then again we're sorta all over the map... *cough*
February 7, 2017 - 12:45am
... I have never been this far behind on posts before... the upside... the last couple days have been pretty boring!! Can't wait to write those... they're going to be pretty quick... unless I rant.
So, I'm pretty tired... was up around 9am and have sat in the same spot for close to 11hrs now, with the exception of 2 breaks for the gym, and the pool... need to enjoy this place while we have it... since it's looking like a grind starting tomorrow until we make it to Seattle... on the 21st.
... so... Day 17... gonna fast forward a bit... since I think we woke up and... ok now I remember.
We got in super late from Ft Worth. The idea was to drive a bit so it was only a 3hr drive to San Leon... and this was a great plan until we found out the show had 100 bands on it and we didn't get out of there until almost 2am.
... seriously... why they put another band on after Another Lost Year (ALY)... I just don't know.
(Warning: tired blog post imminent)
... I get the idea of having a bunch of locals on to spread the word but... 8 bands is way too many... unless it's a battle of the bands... and Wyld Stallyns are going to win anyway... and if you don't know who that is... well... I just dated myself... and you have a movie to watch.
... seriously though, I wouldn't want to play after ALY regardless... the jam is done after they play... the bands were decent... just too many.
... too many bands.
So I think we arrived at the hotel at 5am and the last time I said "go to sleep", the clock was reading 5:30am.
Alarm set for 9:30am, just to grab breakfast and then we were back in the van for a "musicians" 11am.
Some people hate the idea of this... or think it's a waste of a hotel... but do it for the driver... and for the shower... 4hrs of sleep + a shower goes a long way!
Our goal was to make it to San Leon for 3pm... and oh how we tried!
So, traffic... it was bad through Houston as well. Not making excuses... but I felt like the GPS said 45 minutes for well over an hour.
... I did a blog post while Reid and Dane live streamed a "van jam"... and I'm sure Brendan wished he could put on those glasses with the open eyeballs painted on them so he could take a nap.... because we weren't going fast enough for any danger.
... I could've nudged the wheel from the passenger seat... would've been fine.
Past that though... we started getting concerned.
... sometimes you end up taking roads or going through communities where you start thinking (and not judging), are we sure there's a venue around here?
... because it certainly didn't look like it.
... maybe it's side streets....?
Seriously wasn't until the very end of the road, a stones throw from the Gulf of Mexico did we find the venue... and luckily, Lullwaters van.
.. oh! Another thing... so many of the properties in the area were raised or on stilts... super weird to see... probably up there with how Americans see Canada and their "bags of milk"... and "ketchup chips"... seriously forgot about that one the other day at Walmart... I settled for Cheese and Sour Cream... because that's normal.
"Don't worry!! It's pretty awesome inside!!"
That was reassuring.
I'd heard some decent size acts have come through... so I figure the stage/sound must be decent at least.
We get in... definitely a decent size room... lots of tables and chairs again (restaurant), but the stage is awesome... drum riser!! Whoa!! Lights!!? Speakers look good, although I oddly know the least about that stuff... only deal with 2 in the studio really... and SHARK!!! Giant shark hanging above me.
... that is rad.
We load in... and I get to work finding a hotel.
... there's this Superbowl thing going on this weekend in Houston (1.5hrs away) so... slim pickin's finding rooms that are "affordable". Scrolling down to the bottom of my usual hotel finder... quickly escalates to $950+/night.
... and we can't afford that. :-|
... to finish that up, it took almost 2 hrs of trying to find something that made sense.
So there was an opener...
I can't remember the exact words but the average of every long-haired awkward teen approached me to introduce himself... he's the drummer of the opener and wanted to know where to put their gear.
... see, without even knowing who they were... I know they're going to rip. Kids do... they learn some covers "of cool bands" (because they're young and cool... and still know what "it" is), and they'll anchor their set off that.
... this is a thing... and this is why the internet freaks out then a 12 year old covers (and nails) prog rock or something.
... side note... I'm sleep deprived and my logic is now giving my ego the gears that I'm about to be lit up by a drummer who wasn't even a twinkle in his daddy's eye when I started playing drums.
... way she goes.
ALY showed up a bit later, quickly sound checked and then kid band (15ish I think) got on stage.
.... yup... pretty good.
I think it was a Brand New cover they sound checked with... female lead vocals... fantastic.
Kid bands are awesome.
Long wait until the show started. We got dinner (hoping the venue/promoter would comp... no dice), super tasty!
I sat side stage for a bit... half warming up and half thinking I should take a nap... until I noticed a random dude setting up a drum kit.
... another opener I guess.
... ah well.
Watched kid band (I'm sorry I can't remember their name... I feel bad... but not bad enough right now to Google it... actually... one of my early memories in music was when someone asking me my name, then cutting me off telling me I'm not old enough to have a name... you're just "yute"... these kids will get names soon I'm sure.)
Highlight of the set... "we're going to play a cover you might know, so sing along if you know it."
Dazed and Confused.
... and it was pretty awesome! lol.
... forgot how long that song was... I don't think I've ever had to learn a song that long.
It was fun though... and they looked like they had fun... and then the parents were on stage doing parent things, getting their gear off stage.
Parents... get off the stage. I know you want to help, but let your kids do it themselves. They can carry their amps to rehearsal, they can carry them at the gig. If you want to get on stage, start a band, book a show... otherwise... don't ruin the cool with the sometimes uncool helpful hand of parenting.
... that being said, the yute still want you there to see them play... but just hang off to the side... be cool parents.
(... the guys just returned from doing some promo downtown Austin... thank you Brendan.)
So it turns out there's another local opener.... another female fronted opener... and a doom/metal band!!
I got some video and stood in front of the stage, nodding approvingly for a bit.
... I looked around to make sure none of the parents were nodding approvingly as well.
... I went back side stage after a couple songs and fell asleep.
(... 100% Zzz's until they finished playing.)
Lullwater was good again... starting to get a feel for their set and learn the tunes.
Our set was good... Reid made use of that drum riser... thought a couple times he might crack his skull off the ceiling jumping off my kick drum... not a lot of room for error.
The crowd was fun though... a few people in particular that were singing along to the MDD tunes.
Late night trying to get out of there though... had a bit of a pow wow outside after everyone loaded up. The weather was perfect for it... but we still had an 1.5hr drive to get to our hotel.
I went a little "dad" trying to get people to hurry up and say their "see you laters"... believe me, I'm sure that bottle of Jameson will drink itself if nobody is drinking it.
Spent way too long at McDrivethru.... then finally at the hotel by 3:30am.
... random people were asking for rooms as we were checking... nobody has anything... Superbowl dude.
Alright... I need to get to sleep... might not even proof this until morning.
... I'll try and catch up quick tomorrow... only an hour to the venue...
February 5, 2017 - 2:17pm
… yup… I’m that far behind right now… again… it’s tough thinking back to yesterday when the days start melting together… pretty sure we can assume it’s emails and admin stuff up until when we left for the venue.
… oh yeah! It was a 3.5hr drive that turned into like, 5hrs. We were warned about Dallas traffic (construction) and apparently it is a thing.
… ah yes…. it’s all coming back to me now… in a flood of remembering... it… like it was Friday.
We left the hotel for 11am to go by a place called Toucan Productions where Arvol (yeah I think I butchered his name in the last blog... thanks Facebook!) works… he said he could hook us up with some guitars… because of our “accidents”… well the one was semi-intentional… the other… sadly, very much an accident.
Wasn’t sure how long this would take so I budgeted an hour.
So, Toucan specializes in (I think) audio/visual backline productions. a mouthful (and again, a guess) but you walk in the front door and you can quickly tell they’ve done some shit.
Staff was super nice… I think another one of the employees has a history with MDD as well. I hung off to the side and Arvol showed me what I have to assume is the Boss’s office.
I’ll post a quick pic here… because that’s the only way even begin to describe it.
… yup, guitars.
… and each one has a story.
.. I failed huge on getting a pic of the other way... I got video... but I don't feel comfortable posting it now that I see it.
I think it’s neat going into places like this… especially involving instruments. Not to go all *spirit hands* but if you pay attention, “things” will speak to you… again, not in a *spirit hands* kinda way but in a “I like this, and I don’t know why” kinda way.
… ok, I guess it’s a little… *spirit hands*
… but take a musician into a store… show them a wall of 50 guitars… and before you now it, they’ll point.
“… that one.”
… or even worse… they pick up 10 guitars that are “all the same”… and there’ll most likely be one or two in there that just feel better.
… and this is why there’s always money for new guitars!
… back on track… this “office” is insane… and that guitar that called out to me was a white Gibson Melody Maker signed by Joan Jett.
(… soooo cool!!!)
I didn’t spend much time in there… I figured we’d take a second pass with the whole group… this was a tour stop for sure!
Arvol took us over to the warehouse where they kept all the lights and trusses and stuff… Reid and Brendan geeked out a bit… ended up in the repair section which I thought was cooler. I think it’s neat how things work so seeing a bunch of gear in various states of disassembly, that’s more up my alley.
… I like fixing things… or at least opening things up to figure out why they’re broken.
Arvol had the guitars stashed in here.
A PRS Baritone (Mike Musok) which I’d done a ton of work with, and a custom modded Schecter… which just looks baddass. Arvol sanded off some sections and I think I heard him say (AND DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME) h took a blowtorch the body to give some texture.
… it looks awesome, I sorta want one.
We assured him we’d do our best to have them avoid a similar fate to Reid’s other guitars… then headed back to the front entrance and “the office”.
Robin was his name and he gave us a tour… and just as I thought, every guitar has a story.
You can tell what people are into by how they talk about the things … you can’t fake passion for a collection… and if we had more time, I would’ve gladly listened to the story behind every guitar in there.. and that might have been 100+ stories.
… I’m just going to stop talking about it because it’s too awesome.
We grabbed a couple pics of everyone and headed out.
… small side note, Robin wanted to get a pic of us for their socials, but we had to bug him a bit to get him to take a picture with us.
I think it’s one thing to have a memory to to say “someone was here”, but better to have a reminder “everyone was together”.
… and this is from someone who isn’t a huge fan of picture time. (lol.)
We said our “until next times” and were en route to Ft Worth, TX.
… we were a little behind schedule after the long stop at Toucan, but figured we’d only be a little late.
… the traffic though.. just like Toronto… construction that just seems to not stop.
We’re some what comfortable in the van but it sucks when you’re looking at the GPS and it just don’t seem to be moving… always 45 mins way.
… but we made it… 90mins late… we tried! lol.
I guess ALY (Another Lost Year) couldn’t even really sound check anyways until after a certain time because it’s in an office/industry area.
We loaded in… and waited… and… holy smokes there’s like 8 bands on the bill tonight..?!
As someone pointed out… “I wonder who’s going to win the battle of the bands??”
That’s sorta what it felt like… because that’s a lot of bands… even if people are doing 30 minute sets… that’ll run behind schedule for sure… and we have a 90 drive after the show to our hotel… so here’s to hoping we can get out of there at a reasonable hour.
… oh awesome… that’s a band playing after ALY… this is going to be a late night.
We played well and ended up live streaming a few songs to the MDD page… well… MDD songs… which makes sense.
It’s super awesome we have the ability to do that these days… it really does make the world a smaller place. We’ve sold CDs to every continent I think (except Antarctica) so it’s cool (Antarctica pun) that people can catch us “live” live all over the world… granted they have internet and Facebook.
After the set we tried to strike/pack as quickly as we could. The plan was to load out after ALY was done, then head out asap after the last band had finished.
… best laid plans.
It’s tricky to keep everyone together and sticking to the plan sometimes… not a huge deal but considering how quick it got late, it didn’t help us get out of the venue any earlier.
The other thing… waiting for merch to finish.
You a) should wait for the headliner (ALY) to start packing up… it’s good form, but understandable if you have a monster drive a head of you and you’re on a bus tour or something… but you don’t have a bus.
I figure we’re still ok because we can load out when/while packing up merch.
Last band plays… finishes… people half shout “encore”… I use the force to convince them there is no need… the force is strong… 5 mins later we’re packing up merch.
… and a few more sales are made.
This is the other reason it’s hard to pack up before a show is “done” done. Sometimes you’ll sell another $50 worth of stuff in that last few minutes… even as you’re closing the boxes up.
Final merch sold, packed up… get outside… I hear some commotion at the van… Brendan has sliced his finger open.
… and it was one of those cuts that didn’t look that bad until I looked it… then it looked worse that it was… sometimes a bunch of blood makes wounds look bad!!
(… thanks MMA/UFC.)
My main thing… 1) How’d that happen??? 2) How much blood is going to get on your bass?
Apparently one of the pedalboard cases slipped down and caught his finger.
We’re off to the bathroom to get that cleaned up and bandaged.
(… I have the first aid kit… I cut/nick my hands all the time… typically in the kitchen but often on the drums as well… first aid kit is a must!)
So hopefully this doesn’t turn into a thing… won’t really know until the morning… actually it’s getting late enough that it’s going to be morning soon…. so let’s say we won’t known until the next show… tomorrow.
We finally say our goodbyes and head out… 3am… 90 min drive… frig.
… gas station dinner it is.
(… see the world they said! Join a band they said!)
Seriously though… it’s times like that where I think the average, sane person would think “this sucks”… and well, it kinda does… but that’s just what today is… and you’ve probably had a lot of days like that if you’re in a band long enough… most people quit though. #realtalk
I had a starbucks frappathingy drink… partially hoping it’d keep me awake… partially hoping it’d taste like an Iced Cap… was craving. I still had “muffins” from hotel breakfast to snack on.
(… it’s “muffins” because they taste like cake… you could put icing on them, stick a candle in it… nobody would notice.)
… arrive at the hotel at 5am… bed by 5:30am.
On some Age Of Days tours I’d simply stay up and write…. but I need to get more sleep on this trip… must prioritize… which is why I’m so behind on these now… I’m keeping notes though… well I am now.
I set my alarm for 9:30am before I passed out… can’t remember if I showered before or after.
… join a band they said.
P.S. Super tired... so please excuse the spelling and grammar!
(as always lol *tear*)
February 3, 2017 - 4:37 pm
... stuck in rush hour traffic in Dallas/Ft Worth, TX!!
Good times... I know... so I figured now is a good time to crank this out... Reid and Dane are playing some songs and live streaming from the van.
... side note, I tried hard to do this last night before I went to bed but there was still more paperwork and logistics to take care of in the morning... tour managers... totally understand their gig now! lol.
So yesterday... finally got to play again! Even though it was only 2 days off, it's felt like a long time in between.
... my morning was like groundhogs day... woke up at 9:20am, hotel breakfast, emails and a couple calls, gym, then we were out the door to the venue around 4:30pm.
... which we couldn't find the entrance to.
Googlemaps is pretty good and locating things... but when there's a parking lot the size of a city block, it's not entirely sure what to tell you.
... so we drove around... and around... and around for a bit. Finally zoomed in enough so we could virtually walk ourselves from the Hooters over to Thunder Alley (venue).
Met at a couple guys from Lullwater outside... we'll be seeing a lot of each other over the next couple months.
Inside the venue... quite a few tables and chairs... this will be interesting.
Reid has hopped off the stage quite a bit during our set so... I'm wondering if he'll make use of "the props"... and how sturdy said "props" are.
... there was an opening band... and I don't remember their name... but would feel worse skipping them altogether. I am sorry... you were good though!
... awkwardly fast forward... LullWater is pretty sweet! They're in the realm of Monster Truck for those of you back home... big riffs and big cymbals... me likey.
We were up next...
If there's one thing we're going to get good at... it's referred to as "throw'n go". Where you get your gear on stage, set up, and ready to go... within 15 minutes... everything... preferably 10minutes. This is something to keep in mind when bands have elaborate stage setups (lights, track rigs, in-ear rigs, etc).
All of this stuff takes time to set up and the quicker and more efficient you are, the less stage managers for larger tour will hate you and make your life miserable.
There were times on the Age of Days tour with Disturbed when we had literally 3mins to set up. Granted we had stage hands helping... but that was fast... oh... and Saint Asonia was setting up at the same time behind us.
... if you don't know what you're doing... it can be stressful.
So we throw our stuff on stage... and get going.
I've been starting our intro from the stage for these shows and I kinda like it... I really like our intro... and I like having control over when the button is pushed and it's rippin' time.
... speaking of throwing... Reid... Reid on stage is consistent... but also involves an element of spontaneity and danger... which I think its great... it's definitely fun to watch (I have great seats for it!) but sometimes things happen... like the Jackson guitar in Berkley (WV).
We have a half hour set... we decided to try and cram another tune in, maybe squeeze it to 32-35mins.
We got about halfway through and I realize the time wasn't sitting right at all. Reid plays guitar in there but he took his guitar off so I was going to skip one of the tunes and we can start wrappin' it up.
He went back to pick his guitar up again and I'm like "ok... too late, I guess we'll play it."
... we start the song and Reid did a sort of somersault and I'm like "well that probably knocked his tuning out... or maybe Brendan forgot to tune down... or up... I don't know... I'm just the drummer... 1, 2, 3 , 4, 1, 2, 3, throre, etc"
Into the 1st verse he takes his guitar off and drops it on the ground... and I'm like "ok... probably out of tune... Reid gets mad when things aren't in tune... godspeed guitar.."
... not because I'm afraid he'll smash it... he loves that one... but the stage is kinda weird in that it has a raised portion at the front and it's a bit of a drop if you aren't paying attention and take a step back.
Dane continues playing one handed, grabs Reid's guitar and moves it back by me...
... we safely finish the set and throw our gear off the stage asap... we're way over time and I feel bad... even if people say they don't care... I/we care! It's annoying when shows run late because of this stuff.
"My guitar broke."
... Reid said with a sadden post-show adrenaline filled smile.
Somehow the headstock cracked which would explain the sudden massive tuning issue.
... sorta hard to keep string tension when the part that holds the strings on is able to do the "royal wave".
... so that's 2 guitars.
I'm not sure Dane has broken a string yet... or Brendan.
... so Reid might need a guitar endorsement and at this pace, and we might need to cave and get a trailer.
The rest of the show was good... Clinton (Another Lost Year) is pretty funny on stage... super comfortable in front of the crowd. He ribbed us a few times about being Canadian... made a couple references to Bryan Adams... to which we responded "we just call him Bryan".
(Not sure if he could tell if we were joking... or serious.)
They have a couple songs that stand out already for me which I look forward to... certain songs do it for me... so I'm curious if that feeling goes away. Solid band though... actually... I feel like the crappy drummer on the tour too! lol... again!!
We stopped by the Clown on the way back to the hotel... 2 McDoubles, small fries, under $5.
There was some footage from the show so the guys were watching in our McBooth.
"... is that live?" Asked another fellow late night Clowner.
"... no... but it was a couple hours ago."
"Are you guys in a band??"
It's fun when people ask... not entirely for ego reasons... but when you play to a "smaller audience", it's nice to hear someone sound excited to meet a band... followed by "tell me when ya'll are coming through next!!"
(... baby steps.)
Back to the hotel... I use the force to convince the guys to go to bed before 3am... I stayed up in the lobby a couple more hours... before purchasing a new toothbrush from the front desk.
(someone may have used mine... and I can't handle the thought maybe someone did if I'm brushing my teeth....but maybe someone simply toothpasted it up before noticing... anyway... yes I went the entire day without brushing my teeth... and it was awful.)
in bed by 3am.. alarm set for 9:20am. 3hr+ drive to Dallas/Ft Worth.... and we need to figure out a hiccup with our guitar situation.
P.S. Forgot we went to Olive Garden for dinner... super tasty but I'm afraid of too much pasta before playing... since it's one of my favs... and I can't stop... won't stop.... all you can eat breadsticks and salad too.
P.P.S. Yes, I'm finishing and posting this at the show tonight... we have WIFI!
P.P.P.S. I'm still working on getting an endorsement/printed sticks from Los Cabos... this guy wasn't taking no for an answer so this is my work around for now.
... 20 pairs left.
Mike Langford - Official Blog
Being on both sides of the glass, I get the chance to wear many hats in the music industry. This is a place to share my thoughts, views, predictions, rants, stories and news!