February 25, 2016 - 3:37am
... I took 267 pictures today. It never feels like I take that many since there's always stuff I see where I think "I should take a picture of that!?"... but it's usually something stupid... or just feels like overkill after a while.
Looking back over everything from today though... it helps jog my memory. Sometimes it's better to just document everything and sort though it later.
I'm pretty tired... it's almost 3am and we're aiming to head out on the road for 6:30am. We're all hanging out in the hotel lobby except Matt, who's sleeping... we're doing our best to not disturb him since he's Age Of Days #1 driver. Tim is flying back to Calgary in a few hours and the rest of us are driving back to Toronto... 20 hr drive I think... if all goes well we'll miss some snowstorms that are rolling through the area.
So... lots of time to kill this morning... Matt and I went for breakfast around 9am. Part of me wanted to hit up the pool but I had visions of not being able to use my body properly after... I was a combination of sore and relaxed after swimming yesterday... I really enjoyed it but didn't want to push my luck... so my focus was to go for a walk for exercise.
Dan's is food... in case you were wondering... it's a grocery store.
Captain Jack's is a liquor store.
Menard's is like Home Depot (I think, didn't go in).
... and CVS is shoppers drug mart.
When I'm out doing band stuff/tour, I do the black nail polish thing... something I've done since I was 16, so... half my life. It's a conversation starter and photographs well.. matches my stage clothes.
So I haven't been able to find my nail polish since like, 3 days into the trip... probably left it at a hotel or venue so I've been borrowing Reid's... until we lost that too.
I'm using the word "we" because I remember putting it near his stuff in the "D R" (dressing room) but who knows what happened after that. It's often a shit show when we're packing up to head out of a venue... so it was probably left behind.
... goal this morning... find nail polish.
CVS being just like Shopper's Drug Mart back in Canada... the adventure to find nail polish was pretty straight forward... $4.99... done.
There was so much candy there... and sorta cheap... I paced in the aisle for long time... long enough for someone to ask me if I needed help... I was killing time but also trying to decide if it was worth my precious american dollars.
... I only have $9,775 left.
I'm so tired.
I passed a Golden Corral on the way back to the hotel... there's a plan to stop at one on the drive home... when our "diet no longer matters post tour". I have a feeling it won't happen since we won't see one on the way home... because we've been parked next to one the past 36 hrs... just the way things work.
We got to the venue around 1:30pm. It's a basketball arena.... I think.
We went a little earlier since Reid was helping tech guitars for Saint Asonia. Their's had to fly out early. Reid seemed pretty stoked to get the opportunity...the kid has energy, knows what he's doing, and I'm sure has been dying to poke around Musok's rig... I know I have.
It was a bittersweet day... we've all discussed it a few times... brushed over the topic at least that today is the last show of this run...
... will we get pranked?
... will we get any shoutouts from Saint Asonia or Disturbed?
... will we end on a high note?
... will we have Wifi?
We loaded in and set up back stage... spent most of our time in our dressing room to be honest... well except Reid since he was busy with fancy guitar tech stuff... but we just hung out... casually bringing up often how great things have been the last couple weeks... and how long until we're back to our "normal lives".
... the thing, even though half of us work in music full time, I'm sure we'd all like this to be our "normal life". Playing in a band/touring has it's pros and cons... and financially it's a commitment... but the experiences you get from the highs and lessons you learn about yourself from the lows... priceless.
I popped the question... tour highlights?
Tim's was every show where we ask the crowd to take a picture... the roar... the participation... the positive energy.
We've all played shows to nobody... we've all played shows where nobody claps.
That's not the case on this tour... or any of the past few really... it's surreal at times though.
Highlight for me was still that guy in the stands who waved off security, saying he was ok... and he was obviously not ok as he went on to barf all over himself and the 2 rows of seats in front of him.
That was awesome. That guy was awesome.
... so tired.
We went down to the stage for 7:15pm... just in case Detroit (production manager) wanted is to go on 5 mins early again.
Pre-show ritual and then that last walk down another vacant venue hallway.
Detroit came up to us all smiles... said it was a pleasure having us along and grabbed a quick pic with us.
It meant a lot and it felt sincere.
I imagine there's a fair amount of bands that screw things up... ask for too much, don't do enough... get in the way... that was the biggest part of our first day... just trying to find the flow of the crew and not get in the way. A few people made comments that they barely saw us... just heard us on stage... more or less that was it. Perfect.
Response has been great from (new) fans as well... the amount of people that have stopped us around the venue after we've played. I really hope we can line up some pending tour opportunities summer/fall. It feels like there's momentum again.
... a few more crew came up to us pre-show to somewhat say their goodbyes... Corey... Scotty... I actually helped Scotty patch in the mics for my kit today... he didn't seem surprised or anything, more appreciative that I took the initiative to help him and move things along. it's not hard plugging cables in... it's all labeled and colour coded.
... 7:29pm... 1 minute to show time.
Go house lights. Go intro music.
... I was nervous so I brought my practice sticks on stage... just incase mine were... missing.
... you just never know what might happen.
We hear our intro music fire up... it's game time... we walk on stage.
... then it switches to (I think) Ace Of Base - Beautiful Life in our monitors... thanks guys.
(It's a good thing... and it put us at ease... they're leaving the van alone!)
... now we were sorta wondering when to start since we couldn't hear the intro... they cut it off just before the end and the show went along as usual... blur.
As you know by now, we have a spot where I can take a pic of the crowd... I was back and forth about it all day but... the one thing about being behind the camera all the time is it's tough to get in front of the camera. I see photographers at the front of the stage most shows and they snap a few pics of me... but I haven't seen any yet. I think there's 1 pic of me so far on stage... so I thought maybe there'd be time to try and go for a selfie... as lame as I'd feel doing for it... there are moments you want to capture... what would make me feel worse... taking a stage selfie in front of 2,500 people? Or wishing I had'f got one with the crowd behind me.
During the 2nd guitar change, I went for it.
"HE'S TAKING A SELFIE!!!", I heard from the crowd.
I laughed... I was going to enjoy the moment... it's been a blast... and in a way, as much as we're getting paid to entertain, tonight was more for us. We were having fun. Being in a band can really suck... tons of lows... but tonight was one of those payoffs. We really were up on stage having fun for 30 minutes... for us... as a band.
Tim chimed in while struttin' across the stage with something along the lines of "hey man... fuck that selfie shit, live in the moment!!"... the crowed cheered... I laughed.
... I figure he had no idea what was going on behind him and I'd give him the gears for it after... throwin' me under the bus WHEN I know the first thing I'll see on my phone after the show is "hey man, can you send me the crowd pic?"
Tim... I'm probably standing beside you... you don't have to text me... and basically I'm sending you a pic of you (selfie) in front of the crowd... that I took while still playing drums... you're reading this and probably laughing because you know I'm right! :-)
It was worth it though... and amazing as the pic turned out *cough*, I think it's perfect.
Reid ended up jumping off of my kick drum today... he brought it up the other day... I said "rental drums" and that was that I guess.
... I tossed a few sticks into the crowd after we finished too... and our gear was off stage 2 minutes later.
... it's that quick... it's over.
... pack up... ask catering to stay open for another 30 minutes so we can load the trailer and eat.
... we always miss most of Saint Asonia because we're packing/eating but I try and catch King Of Nothing if I can... love that tune.
Watched most of Disturbed in between band duties... wanted to bask in the warmth of the pyro and "wall of fire" one more time.... for now at least.
This really has felt like a tour of bands who enjoy playing together... sometimes it takes a while to find that feeling again... as lame as that sounds... it's the reason I stopped years ago... but I really enjoy playing with Age Of Days... it's fun... we have good songs... and I feel we're all pushing in the same direction.
We'd sniffed around to see if we could grab a photo with Disturbed... and post (their) set we got the word.
Seeing them around the venue is one thing but they were open arms and smiles when we went into their dressing room. I ended up beside Draiman in the huddle... he put his arm around my shoulder and pointed at the camera... I threw mid level horns with my right hand and didn't know what to do with my left. I wasn't about to put my arm around him... didn't feel we were there yet.
They were really nice to us though... cool guys... I think the crew liked us too... people talk I'm sure. It was great to get a pic with them though... more for us really... like I'm sure it'll get shared on social media and people might think that's the motivation... but even though "you were there", it's nice to have a picture... with smiles.
We responsibly partied in our dressing room for a couple hours after... veggie/fruit trays weren't going to eat themselves and I was determined to make a dent in our cheese/cracker tray.
... I'll leave it at that... it's just after 4am now and I think I might be getting my 3rd wind. I should lay down for at least an hour (already showered) but I'd like to thank everyone for the words of encouragement and motivation to keep this tour blog going. These are long days and late nights... and while I'm still relatively young, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Sidenote... I did bring a rig to do an audio/video blog/podcast... maybe next time...
Long drive back tomorrow... we'll see how close we get to our 6:30am departure.
- Mike :-)
P.S. Rock ain't dead. ;-)
... I think it's a full moon today... get ready for fun!
February 23, 2016 - 2:07am
... super tired but just realized I've been awake (minus a couple cat naps in the van) since 5:30am. It was a 7hr drive to Moose Jaw, plus a time zone change, so we rolled in a little late around 3:30pm.
... I'll spare everyone the details but... if you're on tour, once you hit half a tank, take a few seconds to see when the next gas station is. There are times in Canada when it's 100+km's between gas stations... happens often around here... and northern Ontario is even worse.
... we didn't run out of gas, but had we of missed our chance today... it could made the day a whole lot more interesting... and probably cranky... and gotten us yelled at once we arrived.
... seriously though... don't run out of gas. Nobody will feel sorry for you. There are gas stations all over the place. No excuses.
Side note.. our GPS needs to be updated badly. The amount of times it's dumped us either in the middle of nowhere or we've been driving in the middle of nowhere since there were no roads there since last update. The amount of times we're all checking GoogleMaps on our phones and the GPS thinks everything is ok... seriously... update your damn GPS's.
... I think I'm done for a bit... ranting... van rants.
So the first place we arrived in Moose Jaw, according to the GPS was a smaller looking community centre... but it still looked like it could possibly be the place... but we couldn't find the buses.
... after checking our iPhones, we realized the location was actually down the street... hockey arena... there we go! Mosaic Place... looks like what we were... looking for.
Walking in, I noticed the venue seemed a bit smaller than the others... it's still very much an arena (it's an arena!) but it reminded me more of my hometown... I think it was probably still 2,000 people in there and it felt full... mind you, the Disturbed merch table is always busy and I see so many of their shirts in the front row, so there are other factors than just tickets sales to determine where it makes sense to play... especially considering the size and quality of the production they've brought to their fans.
#DearBands, gauge the dedication of your fans by your merch sales. If you play for 2,000 people and you're selling shirts for $50... do some math... if by chance you sold a shirt to everyone in there, that's $100k... half, $50k... quarter, $25k. Same with album pre-sales...
... the numbers stay pretty healthy... and this can be a real thing if you're a headliner on a large tour.
... I'm so tired. It just hit me.
Our dressing room was a hockey arena dressing room... I'm totally used to/ok with it but the other guys had an... adjustment period.
... play a few arenas and all of a sudden everyone gets soft!
... nothing a candle and some air flow can't fix.
... if anything it reminded me I have playoffs coming up... I miss you men's league hockey.
Since we were there kinda late, I looked for a day sheet after loading in... had about 45 minutes to shave, shower, and I might as well have my stage clothes on... time flies... and we're on in 3 hrs... really not that long of a period.
We missed lunch catering so we took some of the snacks... dinner started at 5 and ends at 7 so we decided grab a few things and take them back to the dressing room... have food waiting when we get off stage... RIch (Saint Asonia) came in to say hi and hang out... then he ate Reid's dinner.
... he didn't know it was Reid's dinner... just that Reid hadn't eaten yet and Seb and I grabbed a few extra takeout containers while people were getting cleaned up.
We went on at 7pm which is pretty early so it was maybe 1/3 full... by the time our set ended it was back to normal. 3/4 full (packed by the time Saint Asonia started). Response was great too!
I wish we could sell cd's at $20 but we have to match the headliner so it's $25.... I think there's a big difference between the two... also factoring in Disturbed is a US band and our $CND is pretty low these days... plus taxes and all the percentages that come off the sale... $25 makes sense... just hard to pass that cost along to the fans.
Our set was good... I'll brush over our technical difficulties but understand most often, the audience doesn't know there's a problem unless you make faces like you're having a problem.
We had a pretty good size problem going on tonight, but we played through it... it's fine... control the flames and smile. We're only on stage for 30 minutes anyway... and it goes by really fast. You can have all the backup plans in the world... but Murphy just laughs and decides which band member to toy with next.
... this is why I love it when people say their monitor mix was different than during soundcheck.
You know why?
... because audio does that... I swear it just does that.
You can have something dialed in... 60 minutes later... not the case.
... just the way she goes... roll with it.
Adam gave us a pretty cool shoutout during the Saint Asonia set... a couple guys have bumped into him today around the building... I guess him and the guys had a lot of fun the other night. Awesome... just (sorta) glad they didn't see the downward spiral that was our hosting abilities.
"Never again..," groans 2/5 of the band.
So tired right now.
So the smaller venue made Disturbed's pyro/light show even more awesome. It was a special night I think because people in seats were so much closer to the stage. The pyro was really awesome though... it throws off so much heat... good times.
I love playing hockey arenas... and it sorta sunk in today the tour is ending soon. It's easy to say "let's get another one!" but this has been a special opportunity... heading out with a band with fantastic production value who've been away for several years... we're all very thankful opportunity knocked and we answered.
It was an ok show for us but I'm glad it was the 2nd last show... we'll bring it tomorrow... we have wiggle room... long drive home either way.
We headed to Regina after to drop Seb off at the airport. He doesn't have his P2 visa so he can't cross the border with us. Of course he could sneak over and meet us but let's not do that... it's not worth it.
... one last trip to McDonald's with him for good measure.
It was great having Seb along though... extra hands, extra driver, attention to detail at FOH (Front of house / sound guy)... good times. Thanks Seb! Safe trip home and hopefully we can do it again sometime! :-)
We're at the hotel now though.... soooooo tired. Breakfast is at 6am, pool opens at 9am... and we have a 7 hr drive to Bismark.
... should go fast.
... it'll be 8pm on Wednesday soon enough.
- Mike :-)
P.S. I ran out of data today and couldn't find the Wifi password at the venue... reason I wasn't posting pics... got my data back though! And Wifi tonight!
... delicious Wifi.
P.P.S. A new fan came by and told me I killed it on guitar tonight... I told him I'm the drummer... but I'd pass the word along to Reid that I killed it on guitar tonight.
"Seb put it best... it's that feeling of weightlessness that gets the adrenaline going.
The first time we hit black ice was gut wrenching."
February 19, 2016 - 11:47pm
It's like I finished the last post, closed my eyes, then was back in the van... 2 hours sleep isn't enough... although when I woke up nobody else seemed to be getting up to be in the van for 3am...
I'll once again try and keep this short... need sleep badly... plus people are flooding into the hotel and the lobby is the only place I could find to write... just a matter of time until someone recognizes me... right?
Seb and I did the first shift driving... left Tim's at 3:40am. Figured the roads would be clear and with steady driving, hopefully hit Dawson Creek by 12pm.
... except the weather created a variable.
Seb put it best... it's that feeling of weightlessness that gets the adrenaline going.
There was a storm rolling past Edmonton and we drove into it... and in a place where the speed limit is 110km/hr, having to drive 60-70 really adds time to a trip.
The first time we hit black ice was gut wrenching.
On the highways out here, there's these big, graceful curves in the road... which combined with black ice create this amazing opportunity for the trailer to try and overtake the van.
I didn't think we were going to die... the roads are wide enough and the ditches aren't that deep... and we really weren't going that fast... fast enough to get banged up but not to throw/roll the van.
... safety first.
... even if safety is going to take us forever to get there.
... and I always figure in situations like this, you're not alone. If we're hitting this weather and road conditions, the other bands/buses trucks are too.
We switched off drivers around 6:30am.
It was a long drive... definitely got dicey a few times but again, we were taking our times.
I think we slid 4-5 times... and it kept everyone awake.
I guess if you're going to die in a car accident, it's best to be awake for it.
... I knew we were fine though... I have faith in the Seb.
This is a lot of single sentences.
The roads were fine after Edmonton... back to normal traveling speeds and the sun being out probably helps.
We arrived in Dawson Creek around 2:30pm... surprisingly not that late. We went in to check out the venue... the stage looked like it'd just been finished and the crew were starting on the first bit of lights/rigging.
... we are definitely behind schedule.
We a better idea how much time we have in this situation now. Odds are we're free to do whatever until 6pm (doors at 6:30... lol... *tear*), but be ready to go, go, go when it's time.
Breakfast/lunch was good... they went ham on the bacon.
We all tried resting in our own way most of the time since sleep wasn't really to be had in the van today. I grabbed a (hockey) shower in our dressing room which at least helped wake me up... hopefully athlete's foot doesn't take hold since I don't have shower sandals with me.
Things are sort of a blur now... I think we started loading ours and Saint Asonia onto the stage at 6:10pm... I was thinking the doors aren't opening at 6:30pm... no way... they were still working on rigging and we were booted off the stage while loading to do the pyro test.
... I started thinking if there was a day for an accident, it might be today... not that people were recklessly rushed, but that's how accidents happen... when you don't have time to cross your T's or when you're overly confident... this crew is solid though... I think they opted to not put up a couple light rigs because of the delay.
OH! I forgot to mention... when we got there, the stage looked like it'd just been finished... why? It wasn't long before the buses and trucks showed up. Apparently there was an accident on the highway that stopped traffic for a couple hours.
That could've been us, could've been anybody on the production... I overheard a few others talking about how they felt the weightlessness of their bus at times during the trip.
... that'd be scary... I think buses are way more dangerous in an ice related accident.
So at least everyone is on the same page... and glad everyone made it.
We finished soundcheck just after doors opened... people ran to the front of the stage... felt less like a loser soundchecking after doors opened... I'd heard the floor tickets were sold out... 1,600 or something.
... this is good.
We ended up going on (told to) 7 minutes late... which was totally cool with us. We had time to run back to the dressing room to mentally prepare... still felt like a long time between setup and showtime.
... lights go off... intro music.
My hi-hat clutch was giving me problems but aside from that, it was one of the better shows I've personally played on the tour. It was awesome to hear after the show that everyone felt similar about their performance and our performance as a whole.
... even Reid was happy!
... Matt! Even Matt was happy!!!
Good times... great crowd too. The place looked packed from the stage and walking around after, it pretty much was.
We signed a few shirts and took some photos after Saint Asonia's set.
(signed a guitar for the venue earlier too!)
... one girl asked us to sign a Saint Asonia t-shirt and I vetoed that. It's faux-pas in my books.
... with that she went and bought an Age Of Days shirt and asked us to sign it. That wasn't my/our intentions but it was awesome she liked the band enough to grab a shirt and help support.
... it really does help... merch sales are the lifeblood of a band on tour.
We finished packing our personals in the dressing room and headed out just before Down With The Sickness started up. By far, this was the loudest "encore" crowd on the tour. We could hear the thunder of stomping feet above our dressing room.
So now we're back at the hotel... Reid, Dane, and I have assembled in the lobby... converted it into our production office for a while.
Chatted with a few fans coming through about the show but overall it's pretty tame.
... apparently the parking lot isn't... but that's another story.
I'll leave some more notes about the day in the slideshow.
... breakfast opens at 4am, we're back on the road for 6am. Edmonton tomorrow... supposed to be nuts...
... we're ready.
- Mike :-)
P.S. Happy Birthday (again) Dad! Glad I could catch you on Skype, but sorry I couldn't show you the stage setup out front because of the wifi... will try again tomorrow. :-)
... 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.
February 16, 2016 - 3:50am
... I'm in the van so I'm not sure how long this will be... we're on our way back to Calgary to avoid hotel rooms and also avoid burning one of our days off driving back when we could sleep all day tomorrow... then possibly go party.
... there's been a lot of half joking about people wanting to go party in Calgary.
Nothing too crazy today. Woke up at 5:50am to be back in the van for 6:20am to drive to Saskatoon. It was a late night for me and a rough start this morning. I slept for a couple hours but didn't feel rested at all.
... and I'm still not quite sure how the time math made sense for the stage/show to get moved from Lethbridge to Saskatoon over night... safely.
We arrived a little late around 3:30pm. There's a time change too we didn't really factor in... it's fine though... we got a message from management the trucks/rigging were running late... meaning we'd be standing around waiting for direction anyway.
SaskTel Centre is a decent size arena. The layout is easy to get around and the dressing rooms are nice... I wish I got a pic of the shower stall though.. instead of having all the facets on the walls, it has a main one in the middle, that sprayed outwards. Pretty awkward setup if you ask me...
I'll skip ahead right to the good part.. the show.
There were no handlers to help us load so we ended up helping Saint Asonia's techs get their gear up and then we loaded it up on top of them... it's organized chaos but we're getting the hang of it... we had 15 minutes before doors opened I think.
.... back to the stage for a second.. they were hustling to get the stage built and lighting/pyro together... and Disturbed had a very quick sound check.
The thing is though... you can't rush putting the stage together... assuming if something goes wrong... people will die. There's a lot of gear/lights... and the pyro alone is dangerous. Rushing is how accidents happen!
We did a quick line check and were off the stage 3 mins before doors opened... do the math. That's all you should need though...there's no need to stand on stage playing random chords checking your guitar. Play when you're asked... otherwise...be quiet... people are doing something else... your guitar works.
We hung out in the dressing room and handed back to the stage at 7:15pm... 10 mins before heading on stage.
The tour/[production manager came over and made a few jokes about the days off... we haven't been yelled at today.. so far so good! It was 2 mins to show time... 1 minute...
"Is that your intro?"
I guess the intro started up prematurely and the cues got mixed up... regardless we ran up the stairs and got on stage.
... it was quick... and we were not really ready... but still hit the downbeat on time after the intro ended... I'm sure nobody noticed but it was a crazy start for us... was like jumping off the back of a moving truck while you pray your legs are moving fast enough.
(... I'm so tired right now... I'm actually typing with my eyes closed and hoping I don't fall asleep like this... although it is comfy.)
The crowd was awesome (again)... quite rowdy actually... and I got some great pics of the crowd... it was the end of the set when I noticed Dane having problems.
Dane is a super solid guitarist so I was fairly certain it was a cable problem since he was crouched over his pedalboard... not uncommon in guitar world. He missed the intro of the final song and I started thinking it was either a brain fart or motor skills.. which would be odd.
We finished up... 2 mins under set time... and backstage Dane was pretty upset about the show.
"My guitar started tuning itself mid song!!!"
The Les Paul's Gibson lent us for the tour are "robot guitars" they are motorized and self tuning.
... and the robots wanted it tuned to E... which is a massive problem when you're playing a song in E-flat.
This made way more sense since I remember the tuners flashing while he was messing with his pedal board... and that's what they do when they're self tuning.
I know found this somewhat hilarious and told him it was Skynet sabotaging the show... and saying he got John Conner'd.
... Terminator 2 reference.
I don't think many people even noticed though... lots of bands are out of tune but not many bands actually hear pitch (that well). Seb said he noticed it was a little "jazz" but the audience couldn't tell. Just keep playing, keep smiling, and deal with it later.
(This is really hard to type in a bumpy van right...not to mention being pushed against the side of the van... I keep closing my eyes and feeling like I'm waking up after a coffee... not that I really drink coffee... but I imagine that's how alert people are after drinking coffee.
I'm probably going to have to post tomorrow morning when we arrive... cell reception is bad out here.)
The crowd was definitely into our set by the time we were done... or maybe just cheering for Saint Asonia for being up next. Gotta be careful though...sometimes doors lock. (<-- re-reading this at 9am, I have no idea what I'm talking about here)
I'm craving pomegranate right now... too tired to eat it but I don't care. (<-- same ???... really tired...)
We loaded out and went back to catering for dinner... braised beef was amazing! Caught the intro to Disturbed's set and watched until the end of "Prayer", such a good tune.
Hung out in the dressing room for a bit then headed side stage.
I can't even read what I'm typping... thera read liins all the place... since we don't konw what we're doing! I can barely read any of this... Besides I need WiFi for internet;.
(I left that last bit as-is so you know how brutal this was to edit this morning)
Oh... we hung out at merch after Saint Asonia's set....we probably posed for 40 pics and signed a ton of tickets and couple T-Shiirts... posed for another 30 after the show was over.
We had like 12 bottles of Gatorade in the dressing room and somehow they're all gone.. I had one.
There was a blogger/photographer at the show who asked to do an interview.. Tim and Reid ended up doing it.
I wish they gave some more specific answers... the questions were pretty basic (music influences, favourite song to play, how the band rights, etc). Sometimes "real life"answers aren't glamorous but I think people would rather hear it... it's more interesting at least... maybe Dane and I can do the next interview... we both have some media training... and no filter. *cough*
.(.. I'm so tired... I keep leaning over and closing my eyes... almost falling asleep.... if I don't write things down now though I'll forget... and then my journal/timeline gets screwed up.)
... I wanted to shower at the arena but opted to just go for a complete change of clothes... I'll last 6 hrs.
I took the first shift with Seb on the drive to Calgary... 2 hrs then switched up and I started writing... Matt and Dane have second shift... we had our eyes peeled for wildlife... nothing... they've seen tons so far though... lots of deer... I hope we don't hit anything... we really don't need an accident... things have been going so well this far.
I need to sleep... I just feel asleep again. I'm going to try to upload this (tethering off my phone) but I'll upload pics tomorrow... wifi.
Again... we have a couple days off but then I think it's drive, play, drive, etc... it's going to be a grind but it's what we signed up for... and they're good markets... and a casino... finally.
... turns out I don't have enough bars to use my phone for data/internet... I can't even proof read/edit this either... I think that's a sign. Bed time it is!
February 16, 2016 - 8:50am
... we made it to Calgary. I got a couple hours sleep but after we switched off drivers (and I'd finished/accepted not being able to post this) our GPS wanted to take us in a circle and GoogleMaps quickest route wanted to take us on backroads. I woke up to Matt declaring "there's no way I'm taking this on a dirt road." Totally understandable... if anything happens you might be kinda screwed this late at night (4am) and that far off a major highway.
We drove on a dirt road for a half hour...
... just so people know, when following GoogleMaps... yellow lines are good... grey lines... try your luck. Stay on the highways!
I've left some more nuggets about the day I forgot about in the picture/slideshow comments. It was a long day. Everyone is asleep... I need sleep...
... sleep time!
February 15, 2016 - 1:32am
... I have to make this quick today... I'm so tired... and bus call is 6:30am. We have a 6hr drive tomorrow to Saskatoon (8hrs), and it's a show day. We're supposed to be there for 2pm... and then wait until probably 6pm until they're ready for us... but regardless what time we're supposed to be there and what time we're actually needed irrelevant... it's going to feel like a long drive tomorrow since everyone feels tired today.
So today... woke up a bit later for breakfast... around 8am... I actually slept through my alarm and Matt woke me up.
I'm sorta sick of the "free" breakfasts already... the novelty of hotel waffles has worn off... and I think I'm gaining weight with all the sitting around.
After breakfast we did a quick load of laundry and bugged Tim in the gym to pass the time... good times.
I was bugging people to go for a walk or something... it was so nice outside... I just wanted to stand around in the sun... I feel like it's been a while since we've had actual sunlight... I cut my hair this morning and everything! I was ready for it! It's glorious rays! It's warm outside too!!! 10C!!!!
We headed to the venue for 1:30pm... lots of crew said hello to us when we came in.
I wouldn't say we're all best friends but it's nice having them acknowledge you... although we know where we stand in the pecking order and what cog we are in the machine.
... it's such a crazy stage setup. We've seen quite a bit of it put together but there's just so much... really curious how it looks the first couple hours... since they rip it apart so fast at the end of the night!
I chatted with Saint Asonia's guitar tech (Hoogie) a little today. I'd heard his name several times over the years (18 as a tech apparently!) and figured we'd have some common ground with Evans Blue. Turned out to be the case... said he's toured with them (teching for other bands) many times over the years.
It's such a "family" environment... something I've watched from the outside over the years, working in a pretty small circle (or solo) in the studio. I may be quiet but I do enjoy people's company! I really do! lol.
I chatted with Saint Asonia's drum tech as well... his name is Sal... I asked him how long he's been teching for... seems like only a couple weeks... turns out he's the drummer for Stained...
I felt like a bit of an idiot for not realizing that but also how it makes sense since the guitarist from Saint Asonia is from Stained. Keep it in the family.
... I've had a handful of friends over the years offer to be my drum tech if I ever needed one... I joke there won't be much to do since I have such a small setup... but I think that's the point... it'd be more of a hang... not that Sal isn't working hard (because I see how hard techs work!) but it's more fun bringing your friends out... especially when they have a gap in their schedule. Again, cogs in the machine... everyone pushing in the same direction... music isn't easy.
It was a good chat though... I may not be a "musicians" musician, or a gear guy... but I love checking out peoples setups... there's a lot of character and personality in everyone's setup.
... we waited by our gear for a while today. I've accepted we will be yelled at for something new each day... and in Winnipeg it was not being ready to load our gear... so once Disturbed started their soundcheck, we went to our gear pile.. and waited.
... and waited... waited some more.
Not complaining, but we were gonna be ready.
I think we went to our gear at 5:05pm and loaded it on stage at 6:20pm... and we loaded it fast... Saint Asonia only had/needed 15 mins to get their gear on stage and wired up... and we were loading up half on top of them.
It's stressful... again... trying to do your job but not step on the toes of anybody above you. There is an order and we're an opening act.
We did get a little soundcheck though... off stage by 6:53pm, doors at 7pm!
Waiting again now... we go on at 7:50pm.
I love the little intro music/clip I put together. I love it when the lights go down and it fires up.
... I have 45 seconds to get to my kit, get my (in) ears in, click on my iPod, and start the set.
The heart rate gets going though when it fires up... the crowd... the nerves go away... time to throw down.
Our set went well again tonight... I only missed one drum fill... had a bit of a brain fart making rock faces with people in the front row... it happens.
... was sorta crapping my pants though once I checked the time... our set is 30 mins, and can't go over... just assume going over means a fail. You can get 99 questions right on the exam, but if you get that one wrong... you fail the course... and everyone hates you.
So we had 10 mins left going into the last 2 songs... 4 and 3 min songs... all good... but we ran a bit long on some crowd participation parts... and while it's fun having people sing along... we only have so much time. The last breakdown part in the last song I'm free to take a couple pics of the audience... we had 2 mins left... we gotta finish this up asap!
It's hard to signal to Tim we gotta hurry up while I'm playing drums... so I killed the click and just played it faster. No joke... this needs to end asap!
... ended the set at 8:19pm. #pass
... too close for my comfort though. We'll talk about it in the van tomorrow since I know where things went long.
Finally saw some video of our set too... sounds pretty good in my opinion! Good job Seb!
He said he thought it sounded pretty good out front... I told him he was biased.
... so I was sitting in my typical spot at shows to watch Disturbed's set... sitting... at the back of the venue. I noticed my wifi connection was pretty good (been great all day) so I thought I'd see if my parents were around on Skype...
... I called them, turned on my video and pointed the camera at the stage.
I'm sure my mom was trying to figure out what was going on and trying to talk to me... although I couldn't hear here anyway over the crowd... so I just messaged them again that Disturbed's set was about to start.
... and start it did.
I'm not sure how much they were really able to see over Skype video but there's a lot going on lighting and pyro wise on the opening tune.
Hopefully it looked alright... I'm sorta weird about having friends and family come out to shows, but I thought this was a happy medium... and I wanted them to see it. These are awesome shows... we're playing hockey arenas... it's sort of a big deal for me and I'm sure my parents get a kick out of it. They've been super supportive since the beginning... they've never (really) told me to get a (real) job.
I let them watch the second song as well and then had to turn my Skype off... partially because I'm sure what I was doing broke some laws but also because my hand was cramping.
"Ok thanks, nice surprise! Sounds good. Pretty exciting. Enjoy every minute. It's a treat for us too. Thank you!!"
Prayer is my favorite song in their set... such a good tune.
Rich (Saint Asonia - drummer) popped in our dressing room after Disturbed finished their set and mentioned maybe going to a bar after... if we were interested.
... we were all "sure! yeah that sounds great!" on the outside... but on the inside we're all "fuhgg!?!" We really need to sleep and get on the road early. It's one thing to have a bus driver... driving your bus to the next city... but we have to drive ourselves... and we still need to sleep.
... it didn't turn into a thing luckily enough and we were out of the venue by 1am.
... couldn't make it past McDonald's though. We've decided "no day is official until Reid has consumed a hamburger of sorts".
... I also accidentally guilted Reid into buying me a Cadbury Cream Egg McFlurry. I totally didn't want it... but I totally ate it... it was totally awesome.
... shower... blog... bed time.
It's going to be a long couple days coming up... drive, play, drive... then we have a couple days off I think to sleep... probably do a photoshoot once we're in Calgary... if I know Tim.
P.S. Reid put some duct tape on the stage and we got yelled at for that... so that's what we were yelled at for today.
February 10, 2016 - 4:20am
... I set my alarm for 3:40am yesterday... 4am "bus call" outside the house (Reid and Dane were there since midnight)... finish packing up the trailer and we're on the road by 5am to cross the border as close to 8am as we can.
Toronto (ON) to Fargo (ND) is a bit of a drive... we're use to (unfortunately) the drive from Calgary to Winnipeg (13 hrs + 30% = 17hrs), today was a Googlemaps 18 hr trip... then add on the 30% real world driving time = 23.5 hrs... so let's call it a 24 hr drive... we're supposed to be at the venue tomorrow for 2pm...
... lots of time!
... but yeah... monster drive.
All things considered our van/trailer set up is pretty awesome. I call it the "fishbowl". It's more a shuttle van opposed to a typical cargo van but there's tons of space (compared to what we're use to) for us to be comfortable and actually have space... you can stand up in it! If you've ever tried to put your pants in a GMC Safari van... and I'm sorry if you have... you'll understand. Just the fact all of us can stretch out in the van is great.
So in short, the 24hr straight drive wasn't awful... we're here now... spirits are good... tea station at the Travelodge has been raided.
So how do we pass the time?
Again, if you've read my past tour blogs, we're an odd band in the sense that (not that we had the ability in the past) we don't really listen to music or the radio. We talk. We read. We play games on our devices... but we very, very rarely blast music or watch movies. Maybe that'll change someday but even with a fully functioning radio, it rarely gets used.
One game we did play today (whoever is up front), the GPS obviously tells you how much time is remaining... so every hour that passed, we tried to attach a memory to... yearbook styles. Remember the good times we had with the "hours remaining" about to pass...
21 hrs - border crossing, which was VERY smooth. Then again most of us have had/have visas so we were in and out in maybe 20 minutes.
19hrs - snow storm/accident. We knew there'd be traffic somewhere and had our fingers cross the weather would hold up. We didn't see much of the aftermath of the accident since clean up was mostly done, but we had a 1.5hr delay where traffic was slightly rerouted.
16hrs - Bob Evans (I think)... oh Bob Evans... we love your warm, sodium infused embrace. *tear*
... yeah it's a blur now... 10 was remembered as the last of the double digits, 7 was driving for 45 mins without the trailer lights on, 5 was exit 112 and McDonalds, and now we're here.
I'll admit... when I wasn't up front riding shotgun, I was asleep. Stay ahead of the sleep game if you can! Your eyes will thank you!!!
I'm definitely going to sleep after I'm done this (then up at 6 to eat if I'm not still awake, then sleep more), but I feel alright... some people can sleep in the van, some can't... I definitely can... I could probably sleep in the chair I'm sitting in... but that'd be weird... mainly because this guy is watching me...
Oh... weather wise, I held off saying anything all day in the van about "the weather not being bad" or "having good luck with the weather!"
We drove out of a slight blizzard this morning and hit traffic once. Even with 6 hrs left I held my tongue... since things can go wrong very quickly on road trips.
There were a couple times the roads were bad (bumpy) were you think you have a flat... which can screw up the plan when it's 20 hrs into a drive and -20C (or something) outside (my hands were freezing trying to get the trailer unlocked). Imagine trying to change a tire or make a call for help... that sucks... and being honest, time wise, today had to go smoothly.
... my thoughts... don't talk about how great things are going when you can wait and talk about how good things went!
... the weather was pretty great today overall.
... similar reason why I didn't start writing this in the van. I had time... but even with 3 hrs left, I'll wait... just in case... and sleep.
... so I think there's only one more big drive on this tour...we'll know it when we see it (the day before, like usual) I guess....
We're all looking forward to getting into the venue tomorrow to see what Disturbed has going on stage wise. Most of the venues are pretty large so my guess is they're going to fill it... with production and fans.
... fun times so far... I'm serious... even after a entire day in the van... a lot of laughs already.
P.S. ... cherry coke!!!
(I haven't got into it yet... but I will... I'm not a big pop drinker but this... this is my jam.)
P.P.S American Hockey Players!!!
(... check out that flow.)
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!