Monday - January 26, 2015
… late flight back to Toronto. It's crazy how much quicker the flight is (or maybe just feels) from Calgary > Toronto. Neither flight there or back had TV's on the plane… I don't watch a lot of TV but it sucks without them. I can watch that map and plane channel for hours… it's still better than Desert Bus, for any of you hardcore gamers out there.
I'll be honest… I thought about a bit in the air… what's worse… the situation and having to return early… or what the drive would've been like to do the last show… half joking here… but seriously the drives are rough… they can be fun but laughs don't fill the gas tank… well… unless you're a comedian… and you convert those laughs into a paycheck… or you actually laugh gas... you know what I mean.
So… like usual, there's a bunch left out… but overall the trip was pretty fun. It's always nice to get out playing since so much of my work week is spent dealing with what's on the other side of the glass.
The highlight for me is still having those errant guitar tracks the first night (Winnipeg). One of those situations where you don't know how you'll react unless it happens… and I laughed pretty hard on the inside… oops. lol.
Hopefully we can get some new tunes and tours going soon… there's a few in the works… being in a band is spinning plates in a house of cards.
P.S. Just a reminder, it was 12C+ in Calgary, and now it's like -12C in Toronto.
P.P.S. I will make my hockey game tomorrow though… go ALL CAPS.
P.P.P.S So it's now Wednesday night... we lost 4-2 last night... the other team has probably the best player in our division and they're debatably the worst team... not much you can do when they win 4-2 and their superstar goes home with 3G and 1A. He's a nice guy too which makes him that much more hateable!
P.P.P.P.S I would've posted these last two sooner but like a dummy I stopped by work as soon as I got home and left my charger there... then decided I needed a day away from my laptop... once I ran out of battery.
P.P.P.P.P.S If you're curious about my finger (WARNING... it doesn't look good!)... click here.
If not, click here.
P.P.P.P.P.P.S One last time for good measure...
Sunday - January 25, 2015
… so I probably didn't know if Red Deer was today or tomorrow because it's not actually happening… which is probably why nobody was talking about it.
I'll be honest… I get most of show info from the Facebook page… and/or my Mom. I've said it before…
Mom + iPad > NSA.
Breakfast at Ricky's… and by breakfast I mean 1pm… I think this was the latest we've all slept in since the trip started… I was up fairly late doing the last blog but I'll assure you… Snoretallica concert was in full effect last night… to the point I had my earbuds in and tunes on to fall asleep.
… I won't tell you what I was listening to though… it'll ruin my street cred!
… side note… the amount of people who complain about earbuds not fitting or hurting their ears is insane. We've come along way with how they sound and fit/feel… they're totally practical compared to big bulky headphones and at $30/pair they're pretty disposable.
I'm saying all this because I feel asleep, on my side, with earbuds in, on low volume… you can't do that with over the top headphones... well unless you want to ruin your neck... and your headphones.
… expensive headphones playing MP3's… unbelievable… because of course we can hear the difference… no… you're hearing the EQ curve of the headphones... and you spent $200+ on said headphones.
… anyway… it was nice to sleep in.
… so same waitress and table at Ricky's… I think we even sat in the same spots… I even ordered the exact same thing… Groundhog Day for her.
… I'll be honest… today was a bit of an odd vibe… a couple pieces of news came in over the trip and another bit of "life happening" happened yesterday… but all things considered, we discussed the repercussions of having to miss the show in Saskatoon and fly home a bit early.
… I mean… I could always just add more to the tracks...
Some decisions are tough to make at the time but in hindsight, they're no-brainers.
People, places, and things… in that order.
I'm calling this now though… we'll probably be cancelling on the Saskatoon show for "unforeseen circumstances" or something… the "upper/lower body injury" of the entertainment world. I'm sure people will understand though…
Saturday - January 24, 2015
… it was a late one last night… apparently I didn't miss much after I went to bed/wrote the last post… which is a little surprising since there was lots of fuel and kindling around to make for some good stories to eat up the drive today.
Ah well… it's what happens I guess when you're in a band with guys who've got most of what could be considered "trouble" out of their systems.
… not to say trouble doesn't have a way of finding you sometimes.
I woke up around 8:30am… Dane and I headed down to grab breakfast. I think we still had close to $500 left on our casino/hotel food credit so… yeah… might as well use a bit more of it.
The buffet is really good there… still stoked I could get oatmeal along with the typical bacon and eggs.
… oh yeah… so before breakfast I stopped by the front desk to double check we had a late checkout… even though we planned to leave at 11am. Calgary isn't too far, but who knows how late Matt and Tim were up til.
I was trying to be a good guy… just incase.
So as Dane and I are walking away from the front desk, this guy in a beige hoody, jeans, and construction boots comes over and starts talking to Dane… and mentioning the show and band stuff.
Ok cool… no big deal. I guess Dane was chatting with him around the casino last night… I guess they're just continuing the conversation… or at least pleasantries.
We're heading over to the restaurant and the guy asks where we're going… we say we're going to eat breakfast… he asks if he can join us… Dane and I kinda look at each other and Dane says I think the guys are coming down and we need to hang a bit… regroup for the day.
Constructo says ok cool… and disappears to where the elevators are.
… no big deal right?
So Dane and I (Dane always dresses like a rockstar remember) head in and sit down… then head to the buffet.
No sooner do we sit down with our food does Constructo stop by our table to start talking again… then leave… then come back again… then leave… then come back again… and again… and again… then he asked us to sign a piece of paper for him… then comes back again… and again… then starts asking us about quotes from the movie Young Guns quotes… and again he returns… now he's got a newspaper he wants us to have… then comes back a final time to see if we need anything from Tim Horton's… then comes back again… then says something about knowing someone who's shook hands with the Queen… then told us about the time he challenged George St. Pierre to a fight… then.. and then… and then…
I've know Dane a while but this is the first time I've seen someone or something test his patience.
The restaurant staff came over a few times to see if we wanted them to do anything about him… but it's sorta one of those things where it could just make things a whole lot worse… it's kinda shitty he doesn't understand continuously interrupting someone while they're trying to eat isn't cool… but I had to consider maybe this dude's party hadn't stopped from last night.
Eventually he started disrupting other groups in the restaurant and was asked to leave… to which he went to the Starbucks across the hall.
I wish I could remember all the stuff this guy said he did or had going on… forgot the Dos Equis guy… this guy was the most interesting man in the world.
The drive to Calgary was quick… maybe 3 hours? Which feels like nothing right now… another casino tonight… not as fancy as last night though. I guess there's a bunch of functions going on in the hotel so we couldn't get hooked up with the room… or rider… we still have loads left from last night though so that's fine… as long as they have ice and a couple bins… we're good!
Nice venue though… a bit smaller… maybe 600 cap? Sold out apparently… and it looked like it by the time Buckcherry went on.
It was sorta weird... they had a bunch of seats out… numbered seats… people were sitting at the beginning of our set and Tim joked with them a little about it… it's awkward when people are sitting… front row of a rock concert. I knew they wouldn't be sitting for Buckcherry but still… makes for an interesting dynamic.
… let's just pretend the seats are "assigned standing".
… yeah that sounds better.
Anyway… the set went well. I think that's the best sounding stage so far. Really clear… vocals were nice and clear.
I got a chance to chat a bit with the guy doing monitors… older fellow with a British accent… and an Iron Maiden… crew… sweatshirt.
… I was trying to steer the conversation there out of curiosity.
Yup… Gonzo (his name is Gonzo) worked with Iron Maiden for 18 years. He said a heart condition/surgery nudged him to leave that kinda lifestyle… I'm sure he misses it though.
I have some idea how tough it can be for bands but crew work REALLY hard making sure things run as smoothly as possible. You might think crew/techs are crusty but really they're just focused on doing a good job… all cogs in the machine. They typically joke around quite a bit once you get to know them though… and they know you aren't going to f*k things up!
Once we were all packed and loaded I headed out to merch. CD's were selling and people were asking for signed copies… good times!
This was the first time I was actually able to go out to merch. I'm usually packing up/loading out... then we have to leave soon after because of a drive.
#DearBands - Not many people want to hold your CD/shirt while at a show… they want to grab it on the way out.
I ended up chatting with Oli (he's done the last few band photoshoots) in the casino during the later half of Buckcherry's set. He's a super cool dude and very talented photographer. It was nice to catch up and chat outside of Facebook!
Back to merch after Buckcherry finished… really busy. Busiest and best sales of the tour so far… have to chalk it up to us being able to stay until the end.
… I really need to work on a cooler signature. I think mine sucks… I've practiced a bunch but still haven't found… I guess… the stroke.
Anyway… signed bunch of stuff… no boobs though… which was a little surprising since this is Calgary.
… signed Dane's shirt though… that's just where things ended up.
… speaking of… too bad we didn't have any shirts for the merch table. Even a basic one would've been nice… hard with small runs like this though.
We packed up around 11:30pm (yeah, early night again) and went out with Oli to grab some food… McDonald's it is!
There were some teens hanging out and up to no good in there. I know I'm getting old because all teenagers look annoying and super young…. one of them did eat a burger that had fallen on the floor to impress a girl though… hopefully that worked out for him.
… actually…. no I don't hope it worked out for him…for her sake.
It's close to 2am now… back at Tim's. Day off tomorrow or Red Deer… I can't check since there's no internet here… and again, I could tether off my phone but… I'M THAT GUY!
… my guess is Ricky's tomorrow for breakfast regardless.
P.S. I broke down... thanks iPhone!
Friday - January 23, 2015
… I just want to sleep! It's 1:40am and to say there's still a party going on in this hotel/casino would be an understatement… party animals like myself know when to shut it down though… especially now that I've eaten dinner.
Speaking of eating… again... the nice thing about casino gigs are the comps… usually rooms, sometimes food and rooms. Here we've got the food and rooms. So breakfast was an awesome buffet… really looking forward to getting up tomorrow and doing that again. They have oatmeal!! That's my staple at home.
I'll admit, I spent most of the day laying in bed… nodding off here and there. After those two monster drives my back is still loving the feeling of being horizontal… I'm lying down right now… it's awesome!
So the venue at the casino is called The Venue I'm pretty sure… it's a giant "tent-like" structure where you have to walk outside the casino to enter.
It's pretty huge.
I think it'd comfortably fit 2,500 people. Sales were decent and even at 2/3's full it was still pretty busy.
We were direct support today and it was an early show. Soundcheck was at 4pm. I was a little concerned about the slap coming from the back of the building from the stage/speakers. Once on stage it sounded fine though… sounded great actually.
One thing I will remind people though… well more people in bands than just random people who… well maybe they can find some way to apply this to their own life… during our soundcheck we spend most of the time making sure our monitors have decent levels/mixes.
It's really annoying when you come back to what you spent time setting up and things have changed… but unless it's REALLY screwed up… just roll with it. That's what today is! I felt my levels were pretty wonky once we actually did our set… a couple of the other guys said the same.
I have my own mixer beside me so I can make adjustments, but a couple other guys had similar issues.
… I'm fairly certain Dane's mic wasn't on at all during our set. He was checking it at the beginning of our set and nothing was coming out… sorta made for an awkward start to the set… things felt good though once we got a few bars into the first tune.
The set felt really solid tonight actually… it was another 30 minute set so we didn't leave much time between songs to try and do 7. (We have 40mins tomorrow so it'll be a little more relaxed).
I saw a fight during Buckcherry's set! I don't really know what happened but of course they play a ballad and two dudes decide to get into a shoving match.
… yelling leads to shoving, shoving leads to fighting… and fighting leads to 4 large security personnel holding you down with their knees in your back… and then kicked out of the tent.
You can imagine what they look like too… it was one of those "of course you're that guy" type moments.
The venue filled our entire rider tonight I'm pretty sure… same with The Wild! who we were sharing a backstage space with.
… I'm sure you can do the math after I type this next bit.. but our full rider, plus not having to drive tonight because we have accommodations within walking distance of the venue… means people are making good use of what's on the rider… and the Grey Goose didn't last too long tonight.
Good times though… it was nice to see Buckcherry's set in full, plus they only had an hour tonight. It's a pro and con that these shows start and end early. My guess is they want to get people back into the casino… drinking or drunk… to spend some money.
Can't blame them though…the amount of money I see people dropping in machines… I haven't gambled anything (yet) by the way.
I think we left the venue around 11:40pm. We just missed the dinner buffet… but I was starving so I was sorta nudging people to make our way back to the hotel rooms to dump off our stuff, and then go find food.
There ain't much to eat this time of time… or at least things we can use our credit towards.
The one restaurant that was open though was the one with the hockey rink… and there was a men's league game going on! Trip worth it!
There was a 20 minute wait but I like to think the hostess pushed us up because we are "in a band".
It was probably 1am by the time we sat down to eat… I'm starving… I haven't eaten since breakfast at 9:30am. Sorta my fault but I did good this morning and wasn't too hungry until a song into our set.
Buffalo Chicken sandwich and a salad… I'm trying to be healthy! … as much as I really wanted fries and ketchup.
After we'd eaten, a fair number of fans or people from the show kept asking us for pictures and wanted to chat. Even the staff were asking to get pictures.
I kept joking with Dane that people don't even have any idea who we are… Dane looks like a rockstar most of the time though so that's what does it.
Dress for the job you want!
… the job I want right now is "sleep study participant".
Short drive to Calgary tomorrow… 3-4 hrs I think
… we'll see how many of us make the 11am call go head out… my money is on 25% of us.
P.S. Watched a ton of Food Network the last couple days... food is awesome.
Thursday - January 22, 2015
… I've been waiting for this day to come… playing a strip club again!
… joking… it's 3:42am and we're checked into the hotel in Edmonton. We got in around 2am but Matt and I ended up walking around the hotel/casino for a bit… then I decided to catch up on some emails before getting to this… I think I've been up since 8am.
The day started out good… had the complimentary breakfast at the hotel… they had quite a bit available... had one of those waffle stations there... with a woman (arguably 35 w/ young kids OR 14 with two younger siblings) making (attempting) a waffle.
I'll be honest… I just assume when things aren't working right, that they are broken… it rarely crosses my mind if the thing isn't simply "on".
So she was making a waffle but it wasn't turning out too good. She ended up scraping it out of the machine, covering it in syrup, and calling it a day.
I went to make mine after and figured something was wrong… or that it was just broken. I mean… the thing was pretty hot… it's just that the timer wasn't working.
Then the guy behind me, somewhat impatiently suggested the machine probably needed to be turned on.
So the on switch was flicked and the road to better waffles was soon to be paved…
… or so I thought.
This thing took a while to heat up. I mean… it was 9am… breakfast started at 6am… why wasn't the machine on and LEFT on? Other hotels, that's the case.
So another horrible attempt at a waffle was made… this one was much more edible though… ended up pawning half of it off on Matt… he didn't seem to have a problem with it.
I made a comment to the guy behind me in the waffle line… asked him if he was the "resident waffle expert" and he shot back a smile that was half "yeah bud" and "I will punch you if you're being a smart-ass"… with a dash of "… don't take this from me… this waffle means a lot to me."
Tim had the same trouble with the machine apparently.
… he tried to hide it but the truth poured out once I shared my story… you see, the thing is the instructions for said waffle maker is placed off to the side… when they should be above the machine… since you're killing time looking around when you finally find the instructions posted and realize you probably missed some steps.
… just saying.
I think I was back in bed by 10am... hanging out watching cartoons... rock and roll!
Our late check out was 1pm… sort of sucky since we had nowhere to go except the venue… knowing sound check was realistically at 5-6pm (we opened) and our set was at 9:30… this was going to be a serious day of hurry up and wait.
We decided to go find some lunch… tour rule I'd like to remind people of… "eat what you can see". We could see Wendy's, which just happened to have a Subway beside it so the guys went to grab a burger while I met up to them with a sub.
Lunch was good today… it's a different vibe being 4 instead of 5 but it was a good bonding experience. We talk about how shows/rehearsals go but today at lunch felt like the first time where it was a team.... where you're just hanging out... not at work.
All things considered, even with the two monster drives, it's a pretty short and basic tour at the end of the day… the times when you're eating together, hanging out at the hotel, sitting in the van, etc, these are the times where the real team building occurs.
Again… 23 1/2 hrs you aren't on stage… and you only sleep so much.
Back to the venue… sound check… hang out in a little upper area… sorta acting as a band room, sharing with The Wild!
We had almost 2hrs to kill so I did a mental rehearsal to pass the time… where I put my click track in my ears and visualize playing the set. I didn't feel super good during sound check so sometimes this helps.
… yes I can play the entire set against the click in my brain.
… I fell asleep 3 times though I think…it's surprisingly relaxing!
The set went well… crowd wasn't huge but apparently Buckcherry comes through pretty often… and word is the oil prices have affected the city quite a bit… which I could understand.
… but anyway, crowd was still good… it's always awesome having people up front singing along. That makes it worth it.
Afterwards while packing up my kit I was quickly reminded the venue is a strip club 7 days a week… all the girls were polite and understanding of my drum stuff scattered in the hallway… curious how they dress in the summer though if that's how they're dressing in the winter.
We didn't stick around too long after… it's only 2.5hrs to Edmonton and we had rooms here already… decided to take advantage of that… plus we have insane amounts of food buyouts/vouchers here.
Apparently there was a few fights during Buckcherry's set we missed… it's too bad, we had some PRIME seats for all the antics that apparently went on… ah well… I'm sure we'll be through Lloydminster again.
I like casinos… said it before, and I'll say it again… can't say I got the itch though when Matt and I were walking around. I'm sure I'll throw $20 in (high roller, I know!) here or Calgary, but I should get to bed… there's a pool here too I'd like to hit tomorrow… not to mention breakfast… gotta start chipping away at these food vouchers.
... oh... we all caved and went to McDonald's after the show tonight... Dane and I found crayons.
P.S. There's a hockey rink in the casino!!!
Wednesday - January 21, 2015
… yup… another 12hr drive today in the books… 28hrs of driving since Monday… welcome to touring in Canada!
I was going to say "welcome to the Canadian music industry" but that's not fair. There's a lot of great bands working really hard driving back and forth across this beautiful country… that's the problem though… the drives are what drain most chances you have at breaking even, mentally and financially.
I woke up still pretty full and most of us skipped breakfast… we still had quite a bit left over from last night's rider anyway… back on the road around 7:30am.
Nothing much to really talk about since there's nothing really to do cramped in a vehicle for 12hrs… except put Dane's sunglasses and make "Kravitz faces" at people we pass on the highway.
We arrived in Lloydminster around 9pm… there's a pool here!!! Here at the hotel!!!! … WITH A WATER SLIDE!!!
Seems like most hotels have water slides around here… so it seems a little less special now… I don't even feel like water sliding anymore… besides, the pool closed at 10pm and I was more hungry than felt like swimming at the time… maybe I'll go in the morning… after breakfast.
We had a bit of an adventure finding dinner tonight… I searched and there was an A&W just down the road… 10 min walk.
The thing about Lloydminster… there doesn't seem to be any sidewalks here… so we tried walking a little off the beaten path (the beaten path being the road/highway with transports and stuff whizzing by)… everything was fine walking through parking lots but then we tried crossing a field.
Dane: "… maybe we should walk along the side of the road… we don't really know what's out there."
Me: "… let's just give'r a go!"
Matt: "Let's run!!!"
About 100ft later we're up to our knees in snow and dealing with a decent size snowdrift down a ditch.
… but we made it… and burgs and rootbeer were had.
We're back at the hotel now… 11pm… looking forward to getting to sleep and hitting the breakfast here in the morning.
… and now for your enjoyment.
Tuesday - January 20, 2015
… buffet breakfast… buffet dinner… 15hr knee destroying drive is forgiven!
Alarm went off at 8am to hit up the breakfast buffet here… it was pretty good actually… f*n awesome for $6! All the usual suspects except I didn't feel like stuffing myself as if it was an olympic sport to get my money's worth.
… straight back to bed for me for a few hours while the guys ran some errands. It was nice to have some quiet time… people are usually talking and doing stuff which is cool… but you need to find spots to just enjoy some silence.
… and sleep.
We headed over to the venue for 2pm to load in. We knew (better) there'd be nothing to do for a few hours… Buckcherry was sound checking when we got there… just like the good old days! It was more about getting our gear out of the trailer to warm up... especially the drums. It's about -15C here... we'll bring our guitars in but the hardware was pretty chilly when I opened up the bag!
We've probably done 20 shows with Buckcherry now but it never gets old watching them… especially the guitarist… both are just wicked players.
Today they were jamming on classic rock tunes for fun… basically playing as much as they could of whoever started the riff… sorta like a game. Good times.
That's a band! I still don't like jamming but it's fun to watch guys like that jam!
So we set up to sound check around 5:30pm… to be honest, I think I was more nervous to sound check then actually play tonight. Considering this was our first show this year (and we only played one show last year)… there are all these little things you need to get back into the groove of… and setting up on stage is one of those things.
… and I have a lot of things to deal with on stage.
It went well though… Live Out Loud… and half of Bombs Away if we feel the need… the usual.
One thing that isn't the usual, we're doing this tour with one guitar player. Brent couldn't make the trip and Trevor and (Mike) Diesel couldn't make it out because of their own bands. So we decided to just roll with Dane… throw a few rhythm tracks under solos (in the tracks) and see how it goes as a 4-piece.
… yeah that's right we run tracks. Funny story…
So tonight during our set, which was a bit rushed getting set up on stage (we were on 2nd and The Wild! went over time a little... good band though!)… I forgot to grab some water… yeah we're our own techs/roadies too! I grabbed one of Matt's but wanted to replace it... figured during a guitar change was a good time.
We finished Justify, I took out my in-ears and went side stage to grab a couple more waters. I went back to the kit, put my in-ears in and was like "why the hell is Dane playing the riff… he knows better!"… one of my pet peeves is when people play riffs of songs, between songs, before the actual song… and I started hearing the riff for Ready To Go…
I'm actually quite pissed at him right now… then I look over and realize he ain't playing it… then I'm all "shit… that's me playing guitar! My tone is awesome!!!"
Dane and I look at each other and laugh. I hit pause... yeah I forgot to hit pause on my iPod before I got up… let's chalk it up to rust!
The best part about it though was the guy in the audience who yelled out "BUSTED!!!"
… dude… we have congas going on in Justify… we have a string section going on in Live Out Loud… we run a few tracks as hair and makeup, not a crutch… lots of bands run tracks… and incase you couldn't tell, we don't have a conga player or string section on stage with us and nobody seems to care too much... and it sounds great!
… i'm sure some people would've been horrified… I thought it was pretty hilarious.
Overall we all felt the set went well. A couple hiccups but we felt good... and definitely fun to get on stage in general.
Packed up, watched Buckcherry's set, and now we're back at the hotel watching School Of Rock.
… we got a wicked fruit tray… that's our "1,000 brown M&M's" on the rider… never really expect it but when it's there… it's awesome. The Wild! were all "we got pizza!!! we never get pizza!! Nobody ever even looks at our rider!!!" The staff at The Oak did an awesome job with the bands tonight.
Long drive to Lloydminster tomorrow… but at least we have tomorrow night off so there's no real rush.
... meanwhile... 7am buffet it is in a few hours.
P.S. We got our rider food AND dinner buffet at the hotel/venue. Had turkey and all the fixin's for dinner… then took an epic nap!
P.P.S. Here's the water slide none of us got to slide on today… I know. Le sigh.
January 19, 2015
… well… my alarm went off at 5:30am… we loaded up and were on the road by 7am… finally arrived in Winnipeg at 12:30am… now (2:51 am) I'm sitting in an awkwardly long room at the end of our hotel hallway.
If you're doing the math, the drive sucked today… just long… and although the vehicle we're travelling in (Hummer w/ trailer) looks pretty badass… I can't say it's built for comfort if you're in the backseat. It does tow and ride pretty smooth though.
… I think I had 2-3 out of body experiences today because my knees were hurting so bad.
I forget how much I fidget at work. I'm constantly moving around… which I consider a good thing if you're working on music… having to basically sit still, not being able to stretch out for close to 15hrs (yes we made some stops for gas and food) but mostly you feel like you're sitting at a desk… with no work to do to pass the time.
… I still enjoy the change of scenery though... studio life has been non-stop for over a year I'd say.
We made a quick stop in Regina to drop off some rentals we had for rehearsal. I swapped out a cymbal I'd rented… noticed it was cracked yesterday and knew it'd be f*d if I attempted to use it all week.
The point is how awesome most of the people who work in Long & McQuade are. I told the guy I picked it up in Toronto, noticed it was cracked, and wanted to swap it out. He said "good catch" and took me over to the rental section to look through what they had.
Of course music stores have their share of jaded and bitter musicians who fill out the roster… but for the most part L&M employees seem pretty helpful.
… I love how I'm sitting in my pajamas in this weirdo lobby/hall place right now of the hotel… barefoot.
So this hotel… we're at a casino (I'm not checking just in case… that it's actually a casino) or something. We get to the venue/hotel and Matt and Tim go in to check in… and in true Spinal Tap fashion, our rooms are not ready… in fact, Matt's reservations aren't on file… the one he has the confirmation for on his phone that he's showing the front desk.
… figures… after a 15hr drive.
So the front desk arranged rooms at a hotel just down the street… apparently nicer (seems to be the cases so far) so we're not complaining. Bottom line, we're in rooms and no longer in the seated position… well I am in this chair but you know what I mean.
I think I have about 300ft of leg room right now... huge difference!
Breakfast buffet is at 7am… I'll be honest… I'm pretty excited to wake up in 5hrs (well 4 hrs now) to go crazy on that buffet... then go back to sleep!
… also really looking forward to getting the first show of the year under our belt tomorrow… rehearsals were sounding and feeling pretty good on Sunday. Good times.
P.S. My nail looks pretty bad. I tried taking a picture but my iPhone wouldn't focus.
P.P.S. I don't think there's a waterside at this hotel… sorta disappointed that might not happen now.
P.P.P.S. WE HAVE INTERNET AGAIN!!!
P.P.P.P.S. I totally forgot about this... we drove past this guy today... the COOOL BUS!!! It was hard to take a picture on the highway but the driver looked like Charles Manson with dreadlocks. So coool that bus was... so coool.
Sunday - January 18, 2015
… I know I technically could use the data on my iPhone to post this… but I can wait until we get to the hotel in Winnipeg tomorrow… why? Because I'm that kinda guy.
Today was pretty easy… slept in til 10am (noon Toronto time) which felt pretty good. I'm actually surprised I slept that long… it's very rare. It's 12:12am right now and we're planning on hitting the road by 6am. Some people would be freaking about having to get up so early… I'm smiling right now… sorta excited about living on a 24hr schedule the next few days.
I'm going to set my alarm and take a nap until 5:40am.
… right… so today was simply rehearsing for the tour. Please note I said rehearsal and not practice. I believe practice is what you should work on in your solo time… that way you bring everything necessary to the band, and rehearse what you're going to do during the show... together.
#DearBands - Don't just run your set and pretend you're practicing with a purpose. Figure out what goes on in and around the songs in the set. The devil is in the details, especially when it comes to playing live. Let mistakes and hiccups happen and figure out how to correct them (or simply deal with them) next time around. Most importantly, police yourself!
We ran the set about 6 times today. I won't lie… I'm pretty sore. I don't usually play drums that long. In the studio I get lots of breaks around tracking… generally only play a song 3-4 times when I'm tracking then have an hour or 2 before changing tunes. This was straight at it today… for a good chunk of the day.
It's sounding pretty good to me though… and I'm pretty tough of bands… especially my own stuff.
There's a bit of a surprise involved too with these shows… I'll save sharing that until Tuesday night…
My nail hasn't completely fallen off yet in case you were wondering. I showed the guys today and I'm pretty sure Matt left the room because he thought he was going to be sick.
It's pretty gross looking… but I wouldn't expect blood that's been sitting between a finger and a nail for 6 weeks to look any different.
When we were packing up the gear tonight I had The Sole Pursuit record I just finished producing/mixing. It took about 30 seconds for someone to ask what I was listening to after they came down.
It passed the test.
Often I play stuff I think its good around people and see what they do… will they stop talking? Will they talk over it…? Maybe they'll ask what it is… maybe like it, maybe hate it. Worst way they can comment is to be indifferent… aka talk over it.
It was nice they noticed and complimented the songs and production. Everyone in the group has been doing music a long time… so it means a little more coming from them.
I should get to sleep… get this nap going… I have a date with my 2007 iPod tomorrow and a book.
P.S. The guy at Long & McQuade tried to convince me I didn't need cases for the rental kit… said they didn't normally give them out with the mid-level kits. I assured him the cases weren't for me but for them… these drums are going to spend close to 40 hrs bouncing around in a trailer the next 10 days.
I'm sure in an alternate universe I didn't get cases… and those drums are a mess.
P.P.S. There's a water slide at hotel tomorrow. Once Dane found out he was pretty sad he didn't pack swim gear. I've known Dane a long time… and I'm sure he was born with a solution to that problem.
P.P.P.S I haven't even McDonalds yet… nobody has. We've ordered pizza twice though.
Saturday - January 17, 2015
… well… another tour means another tour blog.
I don't think these will be as long as the others but like usual, I'll try and touch on the highlights… and food… and lowlights… like the crappy start I had this morning… I've been awake since 3am (Toronto)… it's 11pm (Calgary) but my laptop is mocking me by saying it's 1am (Toronto time).
Little story... about 6 weeks ago I was hit in the fingertips with a hockey puck. The pain and annoyance it caused was up there with paper cuts and splinters… except X100. I had that grey, spaced out, fuzzy vision feeling after it happened… I tried to play another shift then decided I should go back to the dressing room for a minute. The puck had jammed my nail back into my finger and blood was pooling behind it.
Again, it hurt like crap.
I've kept an eye on the injury, my nail turned black over the past few weeks. Many sources have said my nail would eventually fall off, or should I say, almost rip off… anyway, today was that day… conveniently happening while going through airport security… which is already unnecessarily stressful and unpleasant enough.
Minutes before that my backpack zipper broke. I'm not a light packer on trips. I find it hard to pack light as a drummer but I tend to grab odds and ends just before I head out the door.
So now I'm trying to carry my cymbal bag, carry on suitcase (personal in ears/monitor rig), and my broken backpack… with a fingernail wanting to finish ripping off.
The flight to Calgary from Toronto was decent. I passed out a couple times which made the 4 hour flight go by quickly… mind you we were in the plane almost an hour before we took off.. de-icing… but WestJet did bump us up to "Plus" (so we could all sit together I guess) which was nice… but they had no TVs on the plane which kinda sucked. I'll admit, I do love watching that map channel… and the news.
Once we got to Calgary we ran errands picking up our trailer, gear rentals, and odds and ends such as a new drum carpet.
For the drummers out there… just go to Home Depot and get them to cut it for you (cut a rug! lol). Something 6X4 should be fine and will come in at under $30.
If you're out tour, I highly recommend getting a rug with your kit mapped out/marked on it. If by chance you have people helping you move your kit on/off the stage, that drum rug is the map to put the puzzle together!
Don't be cheap.
So we set up in Tim's basement and started rehearsing… our plan was to set up, then grab some food/naps but we just sorta start jamming out the tunes.
Truth is we're all pretty happy to be playing… and that's coming from someone who really doesn't care much for jamming.
We ran the set for a while, took a pizza/movie break, then went back downstairs to rehearse a bit more.
… I wonder if the neighbours can hear us… then again I don't really care too much... it seems like a pretty boring suburb so at least they'll have something to talk about if they can hear us.
We have the day off tomorrow as well to rehearse (and relax), then we leave early Monday to head to Winnipeg. It's the same place we played with Papa Roach so it should be good.
They have a pool… I have my swim shorts.
P.S. Props to the guy on the plane behind me for letting those man-tears flow at the end of whatever movie he was watching on his iPad.
P.P.S. There's no Wifi at Tim's so perhaps I'll get creative tomorrow to post this.
P.P.P.S. I fixed my backpack zipper in the car today… it can be done!
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!