... just like in hockey... if a goalie is looking like they might end the game with a shutout... when you're on tour and things are going smoothly... don't say the words... it's bad luck.
February 18, 2016 - 11:15pm
I woke up at 10:30am... which is an unheard of length of time for me to sleep. Slept awesome though... and it was the first night which a) Reid didn't knee me in the back and/or b) I didn't punch Reid in the head.
... felt pretty bad about that one actually... I just extended my arm and... sorry Reid... he didn't wake up or anything though... that kid isn't a light sleeper which is great if you're in this band... considering the decibels of a Snoretallica concert and getting randomly punched in the head.
... ok... it wasn't a hard punch... but there was definitely contact.
... it definitely would've woke me up.
... actually it did wake me up.
... anyway... pretty uneventful afternoon until we arrived at the venue... Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary. The #1 question on everyones mind... will there be pyro???
I noticed on the day sheet at the venue (times everything is going on for crew and bands), that there was a "pyro demonstration". Apparently the fire marshall can observe and either say no, yes, or what needs to be done to make it safe.
They scaled things back at bit (1/2 to 2/3 I'd say) but I'm sure it was still a pretty cool show they put on...
... I'm saying this because we're already back at Tim's. We decided it'd be best to leave the show after Disturbed started to get a few hours sleep then hit the road.
There's apparently a storm around Edmonton, and on an 8 1/2hr (so 10hr) drive, that can cause problems... so we're giving ourselves 12hrs to make the trip.
It's much better to arrive early (and check in early) than be rushing... or worse.
It was a much more relaxed day though since majority of the stage/lights were all in house/venue. You could tell the crew was a little more relaxed as well.
... I'm glad we got a chance to hang out with a few of the them the other night at the bar... it's nice to see people outside their work environment. It's where people are "people".
... that's something I try to explain often... even if someone is up on stage... it's just people doing their job. Some jobs are a little more glamorous than other, but the 10+ cogs backstage make the machine work for the 4-5 on stage.
... I really need to get some sleep since I'm going to be part of the first driving shift... so I'll let some of the pics tell the story.
Highlights... Spinal Tap moment 7 minutes before going on stage...
Our dressing room happened to be the venue's Gibson Guitar Lounge (pretty sweet actually!)... the door was propped open when we got there... and locked when the door closed.
... we constantly had people knocking on the door to get back in.
So we were all standing back stage and I remembered I'd left one of my cases in the dressing room... no big deal but I was thinking I should just go back and grab it... I had time.
... then I was thinking... I bet you nobody thought to keep the door open behind them after our pre-show ritual and heading to the stage.
I looked around... if there's a guy to ask "hey, do you know if anybody made sure to keep the door open a little before we left?"... that guy is Tim... because it'll freak Tim out a little and it's funny to watch Tim freak out a little over something that's not a big deal.
... there are keys for that door... it's just a matter of tracking someone down. :-)
... I ask Tim... he immediately takes off to see if it's locked.
... 5 minutes til we're on stage.
I see Tim down the hall standing outside the door... looking at the door handle... looking at me... then back at the handle...
Our manager is in the office next to me... asks what's up... tell him about the door and he says he'll have it unlocked by the time we get off stage... all good.
... 3 minutes to stage time... crisis averted.
Great crowd in Calgary and I could tell it was probably going to be the best sounding room on the tour so far... reason mainly being it's a room... with carpet... and not an arena with concrete everything.
... this is where the blessing and curse of working in audio comes in.
... if a large space sounds nice, it's either ugly.. or SUPER expensive.
We almost got the house lights and intro music synced up tonight... almost... about 5 seconds off.
I mean... they can manage to do it for Saint Asonia and Disturbed... but like.. just not us... *cough*
The set was a blur again... saw a few people singing along... we changed the set up a little too... took out 'Dying On The Inside', which is new, and put 'Live Out Loud' in since it usually goes over well in Calgary.
It's a tough call putting a 5 minute ballad in an already tight 30 minute (28mins timed) set when you're opening this show. We went for it though...
... second highlight... Tim coming out on stage and his wireless mic wasn't turned on.
It happens but you just pray the mic is off and the batteries aren't dead. Dead batteries suck... end of story.
It was fine though... just missed the very first "CALGARRYYYYYYY!!!!! LET ME HEAR YOU!!!!" bit... it was implied... it's a rock show.
... good show overall... good energy... but I didn't realize how many people were there until we got to the part where I snap a pic of the crowd. People are still coming in as we're playing obviously... and we'd heard the show was close to sold out...
The house/crowd lights came on for a second and.. people... seemingly straight to the back of the room.
After the show they'd already packed up dinner which was kinda crappy... we don't typically get to eat dinner since we're setting up, but grab it right after we finish loading out. Missed it by 15 minutes apparently.
... but dessert was still out.
... I'm having chocolate cake for dinner.
... not the worst dinner... arguably better than McDonalds... which we'll probably still eat anyway.
Our manager noticed us all eating cake and asked us what was up... disappeared for 2 mins then said they're bringing food back out for us.
Not gonna lie... I was pretty hungry but not yet hangry (hungry + angry).
So we piled some salmon, beef, and vegetables on top of 2 kinds of chocolate cake already in our guts.
On paper all of this was awesome... but I also pretty sure if you pile protein on top of sugar... get ready for... *looks around... whispers*... farts.
... or cramps if you try and deny science.
We went to merch after Saint Asonia for photos/signing but it was too busy to really do much. Met a few friends and new fans... always worth the stop by the table.
Packed up soon after and headed back to the house... sans McDonalds.
Bed time for me... should get a couple hours sleep.
... I'll be honest though... I had a moment of really missing my studio today... and creating music.
I was chatting with Sal (Saint Asonia's drum tech) this aft and we geeked out lightly over recording and drum programs / virtual instruments... discussing the future of recording drums... then I got thinking about how many people I get to work on great music with... and they're friends.
... I'll be back in Toronto soon enough but hopefully recording will have me travelling a bit this year.
... but for now, I have a chocolate milk in the fridge for the drive and my alarm set for 2:30am.
- Mike :-)
P.S. We all pitched in to wash and vacuum the van this morning... clutch.
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…
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!