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.
So it's been just over a week since I arrived back in Toronto. I must say, I felt pretty good until Saturday night around 10pm (I know this because I was trying to watch the Leafs/Pens game)... then I crashed pretty hard. The next couple days were mainly sleeping, eating, naps, and snacks... one of the perks to being self-employed I guess.
So I've decided to list off some stats from the trip... in honor of GTA V being released recently... a game that I will probably play 2-3 years from now when I have time... or come down with a nasty cold/flu and I find it used for $15 (delivered) on Craiglist.
Days On Tour: 23
Total Shows: 16
Shows Nailed: 13
Shows Pretty Much Nailed: 16
Drumsticks Brought: 15 pairs (Vater - Chad Smith Funk Blasters)
Drumsticks Consumed/aka Funk Blasted: 6 pairs
Total Drum Kit Damage Acquired: 17%
Cymbals Brought: 5
Cymbals Broken: 1
Times Intro Music iPod Was Forgotten But Returned By FOH: 9
Best Crowd: Quebec City (they went nuts)
Worst Crowd: Won't name names... but it was a Canadian city
Biggest Crowd: Montreal
Best Venue: Tie between First Avenue (Minneapolis) and Metropolis (Montreal)... and House Of Blues (Atlantic City)
Worst Bathroom: The Kooler (Lloydminster)
Best Bathroom: Cowboys (Calgary) - They had a bathroom attendant!
Best Stage: House Of Blues (Atlantic City)
Best Sound System: House Of Blues (Atlantic City)
Worst Sound System: Van... as in our van.
Worst Beer Spill: Atlantic City - Our Merch Table
Best Beer Spill: Atlantic City - Might have been the same girl... about 15ft away from our merch table.
Best Venue Meal: Winnipeg (buffet!)
Distance Traveled by Car/Van: 13,813 km *based on GoogleMaps City-to-City distances
Distance Traveled by Plane: 2, 716 km
Distance Traveled by Boat: 0 km
Distance Traveled by Elevator (total): 38 floors
Distance Traveled by Escalator (total): 18 diagonal meters
Distant Traveled by Foot: 16.87 km
Times Matt Declared He Is No Longer Driving Anymore: 5
Times Trailer Hitch Jack Bottomed Out: 72
Flat Tires: 1
Tires Changed: 3
Times GPS Blamed: 37
Times GPS Blamed In Pennsylvania/New Jersey: 31
Time Spent in Hotels (Avg): 8 hrs
Longest Time Spent in a Hotel: Coquitlam 36 hrs
Shortest Time Spent in a Hotel: Calgary (Tim's House) 3.5 hrs
Best Hotel: River Rock Casino - Coquitlam
Worst Hotel: Days Inn - Place we stopped after Youngstown, ON (Day 14)
Age Of Days 'Snoretallica' Concerts Attended After Posting Blog at 3am: 3
Best Gym: Holiday Inn Express (Montreal)
Worst Gym: McDonalds (PlayPlace)
Trips to McDonalds: 12
McDondalds consumed per day: 0.52
Trips to McDonalds with the sole purpose of using WiFi: 6
Times Concerned I Might Never Have A Proper Bowel Movement Ever Again... No Reason In Particular: 14
Buffets Found: 3
Trips to Buffets: 7
Water Consumed: 42L
Red Bull Consumed: 3 cans
Chocolate Milk Consumed: 7.5L
Alcohol Beverages Consumed: 2
Salads Consumed: 4
Bananas Eaten: 5
Apples Eaten: 7
Times Ordered As Alias 'Norm': 1
Instant Oatmeal Packets Opened and Consumed: 14
Showers Taken: 19
Showers Taken per Day: 0.82
Times Teeth Brushed: 41
Times Shaved: 6
Laundry Trips: 2
Loads of Laundry: 4
Times I Changed Toilet Paper Rolls After Finding Whoever Was In There Before Me Didn't Think It Was Necessary And/Or Might Not Of Known How To Do It: 5
Times Hit Head Off Roof Of Trailer: 9
"All Nighter's" Pulled: 2
Times Slept On Floor: 4 (2 hotels, 2 venue)
Random Books Acquired From People At Hotels: 1
Stairwell Skype Dates: 2
Tour Completion: 100%
It was a great time overall... and I'm not ashamed to admit it's the biggest tour I've ever been a part of. Most of the others I'd done have been around 2 weeks, but there is a difference for sure with the extra week. As soon as you do laundry, your mindset changes from being on a trip to actually traveling. Speaking of... one of the things I'd do differently next time is not bring any white shirts/clothes... simply because it's a separate load of laundry to deal with... if you care about that kinda stuff... and it's definitely worth bringing a small thing of detergent or picking one up along the way.
Thanks to everyone who read along during the trip. The comments, feedback, and significant increase in site traffic really helped keep me motivated at 2am.
As of right now, we're waiting on more dates... figures crossed we can get a single spinning in the US and it leads to a lot more touring next year. We're all ready to go!
P.S. In case you were wondering... yes... a lot was left out. :-)
P.S.S. I was planning on posting this yesterday... but it was Halloween... and I maybe have been full of chocolate.
October 19, 2013
We just found a hotel 20 minutes ago maybe. The first place we tried was asking $150... second place just up the road was $115... that's more up our alley.
... oh... and it's 1000X better.
... $150... seriously. We're only going to be here for like 7 hours!
Anyway... today didn't start out great... breakfast at the... I don't even remember where we stayed last night... bottom line... breakfast was pretty weak.
Raisin Bran, Cheerios, toast, english muffins, bagels w/ cream cheese, orange juice, apple juice, tea, coffee. That was everything. I tried to fill up but pretty much everyone ended up at the McDonald's next door... which is pretty good I must say.
Pretty uneventful day... 4-5 hour drive to Burlington, VT. One of the Pop Evil crew mentioned that you have to be careful going there because you can end up on the wrong side of the water and either have to drive several more hours around it, or take a ferry across... in the back of my mind I was constantly wanting to ask if we were on the right side of the water. That's how my brain works.
... all good though... in case you were wondering.
The drive was kinda slow... felt like we drove through countryside for most of it... which isn't too bad to look at but starts to eat away at you when you just want to point Green Machine (van) in one direction and go (interstate). We ended up stuck behind a few cars that just refused to do the speed limit... and because we're on single lane roads, it's almost impossible to pass.
Matt delivered one of the best horn honk moments I've ever been witness to. It must of been over an hour following the same 4 cars, led by a small red SUV. Matt finally reached his limit... and just laid into the horn.
... you could tell he felt better after. I know I would... horn honkin' feels good. It works for all emotions... even sadness... try it... you'll feel better.
Anyway... just going through my pics from today.
... so this was a bit before the country roads but in short... everyone was staring at this couple with a mattress tied to their roof. I couldn't/didn't want to get a better picture... the girl in the passenger seat was visibly embarrassed... but it was the least aerodynamic thing I've ever seen.
If you inverted the Wright Brothers calculations... you'd get this car.
Everyone on the highway was looking... and wondering what they were thinking. Who cares what they were thinking... they'll make it home eventually... they'll probably argue about the trip home then have make up sex on their new bed. They'll be ok.
We arrived in Burlington around 3:30pm. Everyone was starving... gotta just grind through it though. In the back of your mind, at any venue, you're wondering if they'll feed the bands. When you're per diem isn't much, you stretch the money as far as you can... and free meals go a long way. I finally broke and hit the Burger King adjacent to the venue. Fast food is again, mega cheap here. Value menu FTW.
The venue (Higher Ground) was actually really awesome... the set up/layout was great for bands. Staff was pleasant and did a great job stocking all three dressing rooms (yes you heard correctly) with drinks and snacks.
I meant to take a pic of backstage tonight but... I think I did and deleted it because it was crappy. It wasn't spectacular but having your own room, with food and drinks... it's awesome. Again, it's just nice having somewhere to go that's not the venue floor or the van.
The Pop Evil crew had a bunch of family at the show as guests and they brought tons of food. They invited us and Phantom Sons (opening act) to Pop Evil's room to grab a plate. I didn't end up having any because I was full but it looked/smelled awesome.
It was a really cool vibe tonight actually because it wasn't a huge venue and there was so many friends 'n family around.
The stage was pretty tight after Pop Evil put their gear and drum riser up. I looked at the left over space and though it'll be really tight but whatever... we'll make it work.
That's when it happened... they started striking their drums.
... we're going to get to use their super awesome drum riser.
... or at least I was thinking that was the case unless they were going to strike the riser too... but that'd be kinda silly in this room.
... then it was official... we get to use the riser!
Now... a little more personal info about me. Pop Evil's riser is pretty high and I'm not a big fan of heights. Also, there's no real easy way to get up on said riser... you have to climb up it. I'm not flexible. This could be a problem. I asked their guitar tech half jokingly...
"... possible stupid question... but is there an easy way to get up there?"
"... nope... figure it out."
So now I'm basically trying to build a set of stairs... and secretly... while trying to act casual... practicing getting on and off this 4ft (I think) riser. It might not sound very high but try and climb up something that high... with very little space to stand or grab onto.
I figured it out though between a milk crate and Brent's guitar cab.
... no ripped groins or jeans.
I was hoping for the best at the beginning of our set that I wouldn't fall, break through the milk crate, knock something over... or my ass crack would hang out or something. So many possibilities! This is how my brain works.
I made it up though... it sure was bouncy up there.
... I was determined to rock it though.
The opening act was called Phantom Sons. Crowd response was good and I caught a few of their tunes. I was also keeping a close eye on their drummer who was using my kit... seeing how springy it was for him... I might have to hold back a little tonight.
... game time... intro track was on... it was go time to get up on this riser... cool-ly.
... made it.
... it actually looked higher now that there were people there. I've been trying to take pictures at the end of the set for fun but I always forget. I'm usually more focused on getting our crap off stage so we don't get yelled at. I decided to take one at the beginning tonight.
... crowd seemed pretty dead.
I'm starting to realize if you hold a camera up long enough... eventually someone will clue in you're taking a picture... and they'll rock more... and it's contagious. They'll start cheering if I wave my hand around too.
... a little blurry... but there we go. Gonna be a good night.
We played pretty well... a bit of funky stuff going on in the guitars but all good. It was fun hearing some people singing along with the tunes. The record hasn't been out in the US very long but a few people seem to be coming out to see us...and/ or just super stoked to hear we are one of the support acts since they were going to the show anyway.
There was apple pie left upstairs so... because I could... was eating pie while watching Pop Evil's set. It was awesome... pie and rock show!
We stuck around a lot later than planned to sign some stuff, take pics, and chat with people. It's sad people seem so surprised we'll take the time to chat for a bit. Obviously we can't chat with 500 people after a show... but we do our best to be accessible. So far so good at least.
... signing shirts is hard by the way... especially when you're writing is crap.
We left the venue around 1am... drove a bit... and now here I am in another hotel lobby... 3:10am.
... shower... off to bed... continental breakfast here (looks promising), then it's back in the van for 9am and off to Quebec City.
Three shows left.
P.S. I'm pretty sure I saw a little girl playing soccer in a storm trooper helmet during the drive up... she's gonna go on to do great things.
... so we spent the night in jail.
... joking... but we did just arrive in Luzerne... and I did just find a McDonald's. :-)
October 17, 2013
… it's official… I've accepted it... I have no internet access… so I probably won't be posting this until we get to the next venue... or a McDonald's or something.
There is WiFI here but I'm having some IP address issue with my phone and laptop so it won't let me on… and the hotel here… a casino hotel… you have to pay for it. Unbelievable… I get it though… you spend time in a casino and you probably don't care about the $10 charge… problem for us is we have no idea who it's going to get charged to… we're not sure if this room is free or "free".
… it's 2:27am… Matt and I just got back from hitting some slots downstairs. I'm down $40, but still up overall thanks to my luck in Vancouver! The machines here were a lot more expensive… even though they're $0.05… you have to play max bet in order to really make it worth your while… and that's a jump from $0.02 in Vancouver. They had $0.25 machines too… I'm not there yet though.
… so this morning… it's actually really hard to remember the mornings now. It's not like we're sleeping very long so hotel stops kinda feel like food stops or pee breaks.
… oh yeah… we stayed at a Days Inn… breakfast was good… waffles and oatmeal were had. I love oatmeal for breakfast in case you didn't know. I eat it pretty much everyday… except on tour/trips where I pretty much live on bacon and eggs style breakfast. I'd probably save a lot of money if I just brought an electric kettle with me and bought some instant oatmeal and fruit… maybe next time I'll do that.
… although bacon and eggs is delicious.
I think we were back on the road for 9:30am… a little behind schedule but I had my fingers crossed we wouldn't hit any traffic. Five guys and one bathroom means it takes a while to get everyone through.
The drive was nice… even though we went through like 500 tolls, I still think the highways here are nicer… and we haven't really hit major traffic in a while… just a few bottlenecks because of construction... as long as we're moving!
One of the pee breaks turned into a 30 minute stop… we were already kinda behind schedule so I was biting my tongue. One thing I've learned… don't get on someones case if they're hungry (aka waiting for food) or if they have to take a number two (aka need to sit for a while… for the greater good). We were all waiting for Tim to get back to the van… I wasn't going to guess what was going on in that service station… when he finally came out and we saw the food bag, that answered that question.
... but it wasn't until he showed us what was in the bag until we fully understood why it was worth the wait.
... that picture is worth 1,000 words right there... or at least twelve inches of words.
... I think it was longer than a foot but bottom line… we were all in shock… but like the good kind. It was quite the sight to see. I'm not sure the pic I snapped will do it justice… but again, it was alotta dog.
I also tried to take a pic of the entrance to the parking lot/service station. I couldn't see because of the glare on my phone but I tried to get every single warning sign… there was like 11 signs or something... they sure do love their signs down here telling people what to do/not to do.
… I have to wait until tomorrow to transfer pics to this blog as well… I usually just email them to myself to get them on my laptop but no internet/WiFi means I can't! This no internet thing is really messing up my daily routine!
We arrived in Atlantic City around 3:30pm… I've never been to Vegas so I can't compare… and I haven't been to Atlantic City since I was 16-17 (hey Mom… remember that trip to Quebec I went on with a couple buddies...? well...), but I recognized a some of the buildings and the Boardwalk and stuff.
We found the hotel/House of Blues, spotted the buses, and parked… again... our van... next to the buses. I gotta say Trev and Matt and are getting pretty good at backing this trailer in so at least we look like we know what we're doing... we have that going for us at least… transportation wise.
We'd heard a lot about the building… how it's quite the trip from loading to the stage area. We had to wait 20 minutes or so for the crew to get down to help us load in… they were at lunch.
I had to pee pretty bad so I went in to try and find a washroom.
This place is a maze.
Stairs and halls… and halls…. and halls. It makes very little sense. Even at the end of the day it still seems like a bit of a labyrinth in here. I finally found a way to get to the stage, found the door to the venue… and there's a number lock on it. Frig. Luckily Brent came over soon after with the code… and we were in.
The venue is awesome. I know the pics don't do it justice… big stage, awesome layout, lots of access and proper ramps for loading gear. Tonight was gonna be good.
Bathroom was a mess but whatever.
I went back downstairs to the van and we waited a bit longer for the load-in crew to show up. Talking to the security guy there, it's a 1/4 mile to the stage to load gear.
In short though, on two luggage carts, it wasn't that bad. If we had to carry everything, it would've sucked huge… but on wheels, it's just a walk… and it's not like we couldn't use the exercise at this point. Everyone is malnourished, lacking in exercise, and sleep deprived… might as well scratch one of those things off the list today.
Papa Roach and Pop Evil were still setting up/doing sound check by the time we got our gear up to the stage… but there was something on all our minds as we passed through the halls. There was an employee/crew cafeteria…
... do we have access to that cafeteria.
… in our eyes, that place is a buffet… a magical place at this point. The loaders joked about the quality of the food… but our laughing along with them had an undertone of "… yeah but seriously as long as it doesn't give us the shits we don't care... it's free food!"
... two things off the list!
We got the word. Our passes/wristbands gave us access. We also found out we had a room (all three off the list!!!) in the hotel so we quickly ran the 1/4 mile back downstairs, grabbed our luggage, dumped our luggage, and hit that buffet… er, I mean cafeteria.
We hit that place as if we've been stuck on an island for a month. I've never been so happy to see a salad bar in my life…
... I never thought I'd be so emotional responsive towards a salad bar.
If you remember the show Pee-wee's Playhouse, where all the furniture and stuff in his house have faces and talk and stuff… that's what was going in my mind… from the salad bar, to the hot foods section, to the cutlery trays, to the soft serve machine. Everything was laughing, smiling, and welcoming. It truly was magical.
Everyone… stuffed themselves… it was awesome.
The show went well… attendance was lighter than the rest of the nights but the venue capacity was apparently 2,500 so it might have just looked that way because the place is huge. There was a really cool balcony area as well that was packed… if that wasn't open, the floor would've looked rammed for sure.
I think overall it was the best set we've played this tour. Stage sound was awesome, lots of space to move around, and the crowd response was good.
To the guy yelling at us to play something heavy… don't worry… "Angels" is early in Papa Roach's set… you'll be ok.
Speaking of… I was standing up top for a bit of Papa Roach's set tonight... again, the sound system is awesome here. I decided Angles and I have been seeing each other for a couple weeks now… things have been going really good between us. I'm pretty cautions about my hearing and always make sure I have my ear plugs in. I felt tonight was a special night though… tonight I decided I wouldn't be using any protection… and… it was better than I'd ever imagined.
… seriously… listening to them perform this song live almost everyday for a couple weeks... always a highlight of the day for me.
I shoved my ear plugs back in after the tune… and enjoyed the rest of the set from side stage.
Post show merch action was good. To the girl who spilled her beer all over our merch table… we are sorry about your loss… I also learned why K.C. and Ray don't put hardly anything down on the merch table. They are pros. I felt bad about the mess even though it wasn't our fault… stuff happens. They're just super accommodating with us so I try and make as small a footprint as possible.
… Spinal Tap moment after Pop Evil's set.
Our normal plan is to go to the merch table while Papa Roach sets up. Take care of sales, sign some shirts, set lists, tickets, cds, boobs (arms and pant legs if they are minors), take a few pics with fans, then go watch Papa Roach's set.
Tim usually takes a few minutes to get there… Tim time… but he does get there. Tonight however… Tim never showed up.
Again, Tim time, we weren't thinking much of it, until it just seemed like something was wrong. There's only 30 minutes between sets so it wasn't long until we were done.
Maybe 5 minutes before Papa Roach was on, Tim strolls over.
Us: "Where were you?"
Tim: "… I ran up to the hotel room, came back down... and I got locked out."
Us: "… so you were behind that door over there, 80ft away from the merch table while we signed a boatload of stuff and took a bunch of pictures."
Tim: "… yeah pretty much. I was banging on the door and trying the number code and trying to find someone to help me and looking for another way to get in... it's not my fault!"
Us: "Tim. You just had a Spinal Tap moment."
It was pretty funny… Tim was a little flustered… but whatever… stuff happens. This place is a maze… and again, Tim time… nobody thought to check their phones.
Oh… just before our set, Tony from Papa Roach came over and introduced himself. He was all smiles and seemed genuinely interested in saying hello. There was mention of us not being on the Orillia show but whatever. It's just a pleasure being part of this tour in general… I'm not about to complain about what we don't get when there's so much to be thankful for regarding what we do.
Besides… it's not like we're the ones selling the ticket on this tour... let's be honest here! lol.
Post show… everyone headed straight back to the cafeteria… went crazy again, and by now it was about 1am. I ate as if I wasn't going to be eating tomorrow… or the next day.
I managed to drag Matt down to the slots for an hour… we were both up a little at one point but ended up going through our "entertainment budget" for the evening pretty quickly.
It was a great day overall. These casino gigs are really different… maybe we've just been lucky but there's so many perks that help out bands in our situation. We have somewhere to go, somewhere to sleep, food, entertainment, staff is super nice… it's awesome.
I gotta get to sleep though… it's easy to find trouble here when there's a casino 7 floors down... and people recognizing you in the lobby.
Oh… you can smoke in here!? Like… in the casino area. I totally caught me off guard seeing someone smoking indoors since in Canada, you can't smoke anywhere… which I don't mind at all… gotta keep the seniors happy at their slots though I guess.
… 10am van call tomorrow morning… three hour drive to Luzerne, PA. I'd like to hit the Boardwalk tomorrow morning as well before we leave… officially gone coast to coast on this tour. Awesome.
P.S. This is a disaster.
P.S. This is a disaster.
P.S.S. I didn't get a pic of it but our room was another... single... king size... bed. A room is a room though.
P.S.S.S. Sometimes this is what backstage looks like. Fruit tray, pop, water, doritos, preztles.
P.S.S.S.S. This is probably overrun with typos and grammar issues... I apologize. I had to re-read this kinda quick. I ran out of time at the McD's... had to get to sound check. Doors are opening here soon... (6:09pm)
October 16, 2013
... 1:58am... I'm only doing this tonight because I know people are reading it... I'm wicked tired right now... which is either good for the blog... or bad for the blog.
Everyone slept through their alarm this morning. The plan was to get up around 8am and head down to breakfast for 8:30am. I heard the bathroom door slam around 8:45am. I guess my pillow fell off the bed, knocking my phone off the chair beside me and onto the floor... unplugging it... and somehow ending up under said pillow.
Bottom line... I didn't hear my alarm go off at 7:45am.
I showered before going to bed so I wasn't in a total panic... but I basically woke up, got right out of bed, and went straight downstairs to breakfast.
Breakfast... most important meal of the day!
It was decent... although I spotted the oatmeal too late... already committed to raisin bran. The "omelettes" were ok... but they put Kraft singles in them and that kinda ruined it. Eggs at these kinda things already taste a bit funky... but adding processed cheese is too much funk.
Back on the road for 10:30am.
Nothing too exciting... only highlight I can remember was wishing I had a megaphone. One of the pee stops we made had these little kids playing soccer or something on the other side of a fence/trees. Part of me wished I had a megaphone so I could yell at them (old man style) for fun. Next time... I'm bringing one... I know L&M rents them... look out kids.
We arrived in Youngstown around 4pm. The venue (Rodeo Music Hall) is pretty large... a huge boomy box. It had a massive stage as well... which is nice since the last couple shows have been a bit tight for us and Pop Evil.
Tim, in usual Tim fashion, was asking me a boatload of questions about things I had just as much idea about as he would... one of them being...
"How do we get on/off stage?"
Well... I'm assuming there are stairs on either side. It's a huge ass stage... 6ft high, maybe 50ft X 20ft... it's large. They gotta have a few sets of stairs and whatnot to get gear and people on and off it.
I saw some of the Papa Roach crew (PR Crew from now on) talking to some of the venue staff about loading gear so I wandered over and listened in.
Apparently... there's only one set of stairs.
They have a couple ramps they use to bring gear in and out. I took a quick trip backstage to see what else was going on... there are stairs everywhere... not good... well... not as bad for us because our back line can be easily carried by a person or two. Pop Evil's gear is a lot more serious. Their guitar rigs aren't light.
I went back to Tim and let him know my assumption was incorrect... and that they indeed, had built a big ass stage with only one set of stairs.
So after a bit more discussion... we were to load down the ramps, down another set of stairs, through the basement (basically), and out the side door in to the parking lot. Pop Evil got to load their gear down the ramps... through the crowd... and out the front door.
All I can say is when I saw that happening in real time... bless their crew. Everyone loves dragging gear through a crowd... even more than packing up in a parking lot... after it's just been raining pretty hard... and you aren't sure if it's going to start up again.
The show went well... solid crowd... and I think it was the best we've played in a few shows. I counted two hiccups. Everyone was sweating buckets on stage... the lights up top were cooking us while the lights on stage were blinding us. It's a horrible combo in case you were wondering.
To the photographer who was trying to get me to give him my cell phone during Papa Roach's set... I honestly had no idea what you were trying to say to me besides of "gimme your phone". I know realize what you were probably trying to say was "gimme your phone so I can give you my contact because I took a bunch of pics of you guys during your set and you might want to use some of them for personal and/or promotional purposes."
We headed out around 10:!5pm... just after Papa Roach started. They were killing it again... but we wanted to get a bit of a leg up on the drive to Atlantic City. It's 6.5 hours away... even if we do a couple hours, it'll make a big difference tomorrow... which we did... and now I'm sitting in a Days Inn lobby while the girl at the front desk is... I'm assuming... watching a horror movie... it sounds like a horror movie.
It's 2:26am... breakfast is 6:30am to 10am... they have waffle makers... I don't know much but I do know one thing... I'll be on the business end of that waffle maker in about 5 hours... back in the van for 9am.
Tomorrow nights show is supposed to be pretty good... you know it'll be good when the crew is looking forward to it.
P.S. I didn't take many pics today... and I couldn't get many decent pics inside the venue... too dark.
P.S.S. I had a salad today... it was awesome.
... third time this week. C'mon boys... I wish this was a joke... maybe they're just messing with me. I hope they are... but I have a feeling this is someones cry for help.
October 9, 2013
I did get an hour sleep this morning... I admit... I've felt like a bag of crap all day though. I thought I could sleep more in the van but there's a steady stream of distractions in there. If it's not one thing, it's another... and if it's not another... it's probably farts or something. I don't mean this in a bad way... it's pretty entertaining in there... the farts could go though... that's our own fault though from eating all the fast food lately... and perhaps a certain chip truck burger.
We got back on the road around 7:45am... big drive today to Regina.
About 3 hours in, Tim thought we should check/put some more air in the tires... we seemed to be losing air in the right rear consistently. We stopped and then drove awhile longer... Tim asked Brent to pop his head out the door while stopped passing through a town to see how the tire was doing... not good apparently... like "danger" not good.
We pulled over to a gas station put some more air in it, and realize it was now full on hissing.
Officially 100% not good.
Lucky for us, we noticed all this right alongside a strip of highway that's all tire shops. What are the odds?
We pull into a used tire shop... guy looks at the van... within an 45 minutes we've got the rear tires replaced and one of the wheels on the trailer swapped out as well. This is good. The tire swap took no time at all actually... it was more waiting for them to finish with their current customers... in the meantime we walked down the street to grab some Tim Horton's.
It's funny because even though I was bitching a little about the drive last night... everything happens for a reason, and I don't think we would've caught this, where we caught this if we didn't do the drive last night.
Hopefully this somewhat preventative maintenance avoided a potential catastrophe in the middle of the night... or worse... the middle of nowhere... at night.
Again... you have to factor in an additional 30% for time on these trips to actually get a more accurate arrival time. This can also cover some time for unforeseen events such as blown tires... and frequent pee stops.
(I'm sitting in the lobby of a Quality Inn right now... the guys are all asleep and I didn't want to be click clackiting away in the room. I hate the arms on this chair I'm sitting in though... it's too tight... gonna try and power through it... I'm sure this chair is of high quality for sitting... but not for sitting with a laptop.)
Aside from the tire situation this morning... it was just driving, driving, driving. We ended up arriving in Regina a couple hours later than originally planned (again... add 30% people!)... but the Papa Roach crew seemed understanding of our tardiness. Still... we really need to start leaving earlier.
By the time we got there, Papa Roach and Pop Evil had finished with the stage for sound check and were basically waiting for us (knowing we were running late with tire problems). Pop Evil was spending some time messing around with monitors so it wasn't like people were just sitting on their hands.
I think we had our gear unpacked and on stage in record time. No joke, I think we were setup and sound checked in 40 minutes... which I think is pretty quick!
The venue isn't huge but we knew it was going to be rammed... it sounded great on stage and we were good to go!
... got our hotel room sorted out... took a quick shower... and back over to the venue for 8pm... on stage for 8:30pm.
Another decent set I thought... a couple hiccups shuffled around again, but that's cool/normal. Fan response was great... last time we played here was ok, but didn't have anywhere near this strong of a line up... we were headlining! lol. Fans were singing along... it's always awesome to see a few people in the crowd who know every word to every song.
I wanted to stick around and see Papa Roach's set for sure. Big bands in smaller clubs... that's my jam. I'm not sure the last time they've played a place this "small"... well it's not small, just where the bands are is a smaller section of the venue. If you are a big Papa Roach fan... this would be type of place to see them... it'd be like seeing them at a private party... and even though it was a smaller venue... they threw down hard.
They were awesome.
"Where Did the Angles Go" was ridiculous... again... it's such a good song... it's not fair how much it rocks recorded and how much it rules live! Again, riffs are currency in my world... that tune's a blank check to me.
Jacoby put on a clinic as far as being a front man goes. He was everywhere... interacting with the fans, and sweating his bag off. It was super hot in there... but too awesome an atmosphere to worry about. A couple times in the set he'd finish a tune and bolt out the side door into the alley for a couple seconds. I could see him talking and laughing with his crew once he'd come back it... didn't need much experience reading lips to see he was laughing about how "f*cking hot!" it was up there.
It's a rock show though... one the people who came out won't soon forget.
We stuck around and did merch a while longer... we did attempt to pack up earlier but the Papa Roach merch guy (Ray I think...) yelled at us to get our shirts back out since people were still stopping by. lol. It's such a fun group... I know I keep saying that but it's just great vibe all around.
Finally made it back over to the hotel around 1am... it's 2am now... I think it's bed time for me. We're off to Lloydminster tomorrow... travel day but also a day off. Everyone needs sleep and a good meal... and we could use a couple hours to have a band meeting/vocal rehearsal.
Even if you're playing all the time and around each other 24/7, I think it's still a good idea to make time for a vocal rehearsal, and to go over band details/Q&A period.
... I think I've been up for close to 4 days now (with what I'd consider a few naps)... funny how time flies! lol.
October 8, 2013
.. I'm not sure you can tell, but it's, as far as I'm concerned, the perfect bottle of water. A 3-4" layer of ice chunks at the top. Oh man... I wish I had one of those right now. I love ice cold water... it's amazing stuff! So cold!
Anyway... Thrillhouse (check out their facebook page here) went on at 8pm, we were on at 8:30... I thought we played pretty good. Stage sound was great and that makes things easier.
Our transitions between songs was a lot better tonight too. It's gonna take time to work out the kinks as I've said before... there's only so much you can do in the rehearsal space... it's different having a crowd there... things are gonna happen and you just gotta roll with it... good and bad.
... highlight... Trevor jumped off the stage at one point and went over to this dude in a wheelchair and everyone over there was banging on his guitar... I don't know what it sounded like... I can't really hear guitar too much in my in-ears (I typically just get vocal on smaller stages), but it looked super cool!
Another was actually during sound check... we usually play "Live Out Loud"... it kinda covers all the bases... but just after the bridge I was thinking... 'wow... we are really killing this song today... like... I don't think we've ever played it this good... ever... in two years.'
... now what it sounded like out front, I have no idea... but feel wise... we destroyed that song. I felt like we got to Edmonton, unpacked our gear, set up our gear, and then threw down "Live Out Loud" better than ever.
It's a great feeling... and the goal is to make as much of the set feel that good... it's a natural progression though... sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't.
(... 4:15am... maybe I'll just stay up and listen to music. I haven't done that in a while! lol... I can be the 6am alarm clock to make sure we're on the road for 7am)
Pop Evil was awesome again... but because of the drive, we had to skip out after Papa Roaches first song. I was sorta bummed I couldn't get a pic of them in the venue... iPhone died. I did snap a few pics of Pop Evil though.
We stopped by McDonald's on the way... Bacon Cheeseburger X2 + small fries is the way to go. You can rock both 'burgs separate or remove a top bun and create what I'm going to name right now, a McBaconMac w/ cheese.
... I gotta chill on the fast food though... it's only been a week and I already feel a little jiggly up top... it doesn't take long people.
... 3.5 hours later, we were back in Calgary.
Looking forward to Regina tomorrow though... we played there back in June (I think) and it kinda sucked (I know)... time to throw down for real... for real in Regina.
P.S. This happened... again... twice in one week!
... unless you're gonna change that sh*t... don't take that sh*t.
October 6, 2013
Remember when I said hopefully we can go a while keeping a reasonable day/night schedule? Well that's completely out the window now. We ran into a tiny bit of drama after the show Saturday... hiccups can really snowball into something larger when you're on a busy (and somewhat tight) travel schedule. I think I slept 3-4 hours Saturday night, and 2 hours so far today/tonight... it's a 12 hour drive from Seattle to Calgary... so much for having today off! lol.
So after we got back to the hotel last night (1am), we realized some luggage was left behind at the venue. The bright side... it's not like we realized this after driving several hours to the next city... or worse, once we got to the border.
This is one of those situations where everyone feels bad. You'd feel bad if it was you, so you'd rather it just not happen to anybody in the first place and wish you would've seen it/grabbed it. Bands are a team sport. But it's also understanding the difference between "everyone for themselves" and "taking care of your own stuff". That's also part of being a team player.
My rule of thumb, never assume someone packed it. If you aren't sure it was packed, double check. You'll never be sorry you held everything up another 5 minutes to double checked and make sure you have everything. I'm constantly double checking I have everything, very easy to understand since I'm a drummer, but still sometimes I lose/forget things. It happens.
We were only 20 minutes from the venue so I made a couple calls to see if anybody was still there. No dice. Matt and I decided to head back over just in case someone was still there. No dice... but we did manage to catch the Papa Roach crew and they mentioned the venue staff pointed out some luggage was left behind. At least we know where it is. They had a show going on the next day so it was just a matter of stopping by once the staff get there to grab it.
Matt and I got back to the hotel around 2:30am, I slept horribly for a few hours then decided to just get up to hit up the continental breakfast. It's about 8am. Matt got word the venue staff should be in around noon... so we need to kill about 4 hours... 4 hours that we could be en route to Calgary.
I'll tell you right now, it's 6am here (6:35am as I attempt to proofread)... that theoretically means we would've got here at 2am today. There's a massive difference in case you're wondering.
Another thing, here's a basic formula to tour travel to how long the drives actually are.
Trip X 1.3 = Actual Trip
Seattle to Calgary = 12 hours
12 hours X 1.3 = 15.6
... so let's just say 15.5 hours.
We left Seattle at 1pm yesterday realistically.
1pm + 15.5 hours = 6:30am
... then factor in the time change... it'd be 7:30am.
... I think that's all correct.
... bottom line. The formula works pretty well regardless of where you're going... I knew we'd get in a lot later than the GPS was saying but way she goes... we were spoiled off the top of this tour... that's for sure... well... coming from a guy who skipped 3 days of driving by flying out. lol.
Speaking of regardless of where you're going... crossing back into Canada was pretty easy. Much shorter line, about a 15 minute wait. Matt handed our passports over to the officer, he asked a couple questions... one being where everyone is from.
Matt, in his super thoroughly honest response way said "Richmond Hill, Calgary, Toronto, Toronto, and Peterborough."
The officer then asked how do we practice (being a band) if we all live so far apart? "Well we get together to rehearse before we do shows/tour"... part of me was hoping Matt would've said something like "We don't rehearse... we suck live."
The officer then asked if this was a full time thing...
"... well we'd like it to be... that's the goal."
I'm pretty sure the officer was holding back the giggles... we certainly don't travel like rock stars.... and our van clothes certainly don't help us look the part either.
He handed back our passports and sent us on our way.
Such a long travel day though... at least the border didn't add any more time than necessary... especially more "waiting" time.
I spent most of the day riding shotgun... the roads are constantly curving and winding through the mountains which is awesome to see during the day... but at night it sucks. The wildlife warning signs suck more... fog sucks too... the combination makes the trip amazingly stressful... well, stressful if you care about your well being and safety of others. I think they threw some "people crossing" and a single mountain goat sign in there just for good measure.
... everywhere a sign.
Another highlight was witnessing this happen. I'll let you figure it out...
... if you can't see it... I mustache you to look again.
We eventually made it back to Calgary though. We're playing Cowboys tonight which should be good. Last show here was with Buckcherry back in July which was great. We were all sleep deprived from shooting the "I Did It For Love" video so when we hit the stage... we were all sorta on autopilot. I don't know how many people were actually in attendance but it was definitely into legit "crowd" territory.
Oh... I broke down and had McDonald's today... I'm only ordering off the value menu from now on at fast food places... nobody needs that drink... I also ate at Jack In The Box today as well... speaking of drinks... keep in mind, they ask you small, regular, or large. This is regular.
P.S. Yes I know I have tiny hands... but c'mon people!?
October 2, 2013
I'm kicking myself for not documenting the Halestorm dates from June. I have a picture diary on my iPhone but it's not the same... although I probably remember most of it pretty well... there definitely was a lot to talk about.
Today was a travel day... packing and travel day... the day didn't start out to good though. I was making breakfast while chatting with my mom on skype when my blender broke... well more exploded... causing my would've been delicious mango banana smoothie to fire out the bottom, all over the kitchen counter. It was pretty disappointing... and part of me was hoping it wasn't foreshadowing the engines on my flight later.
That's how my brain works.
Before I knew it, I was at the airport. Minor highlight was going through security. It seemed to be a bit busier at Pearson than usual. I put all my metal-ables in the tray, took off my shoes, and walked through the metal detector.
It went off.
Well that's new. The security guy says "you've been randomly selected for a pat down screening."
... I'm guessing the other non-white guy in front of me was also randomly selected as well.
I laughed and said ok.
The security guy then said I had the choice of public or private?
I asked him which one he preferred.
(... honest question I thought... he does work here, right?)
This was bordering on airport security humor... he seemed kinda stunned... so I asked what the difference was... is public kinda like at a club? If private involves different gloves, I'll go public.
He just sorta started doing the pat down without really saying anything else. He didn't really seem to enjoy this part of his job to be honest... I could tell by the expression on his face... then again, maybe I wasn't his type. Keep in mind I'm wearing cargo shorts and a T-shirt... there isn't too much to pat down... he could've probably visually patted me down.
In short, if you ever win the pat down prize, it's not a big deal. I figure if you ever have to go through extra security stuff, and you have nothing to hide, staying in public view is the better call.
The flight was decent... West Jet usually is. I was looking forward to watching the Leafs game since they had TSN and TSN2 on the TV. Little did I know as soon as the game started, we were no longer in range to get the station... not cool. So I spent half the flight watching Love It Or List It, and the other watching the Detroit/Buffalo game.
Tim picked me up from the airport... we're both really looking forward to the tour. I held off asking him to stop at the McDonald's by his place... I know there will be some McDonk stops on this trip... no need to start now if I don't have to... he has a bowl of Halloween candy here I've been snacking on (aka dinner) the past 30 minutes. I'll live.
We're off to Vancouver tomorrow (12 hour drive I think) then the first show is on Friday.
To anybody asking, I have no idea what is going on with guest list(s). We're an opening act and there is a pecking order. We do our best but you gotta understand sometimes you just don't have the pull... and sometimes it's just not that easy to make requests. I've written a blog about this already... please be understanding. :-)
P.S. I'll be loosely proofing these daily. Please ignore obvious spelling/grammar issues... some of these days are going to be long!
"... but do you want those people? Those... punch and pie people?"
Last night I saw something that's all too familiar if you frequent local shows. A group of people arguing the band had told them there would be guest list, or a lower cover than expected. In this case, they'd been told cover was going to be $5, but upon arrival, it was in fact $10.
So what happens?
GET THE BAND! They'll sort it out… they'll be able to explain the situation so that the bands FANS can avoid overpaying (or whatever the hell the problem is) and they can get in to see who I guess is most likely their boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, and/or family on stage.
I bit my tongue and walked past them as they pleaded their case… honestly though… if you think about this far too common occurrence, maybe the fans would realize a couple things.
1) What really is the difference between $5 and $10? Yes it's double, and yes we can't assume to know everyone's financial situation but considering how much most people I know piss away money daily on stuff like coffee, smokes, alcohol, pot, clothes, their pets, gas station food items… you know… typical "cost of living" stuff. What really is the difference between $5 and $10 though?
Chances are you're going to spend it at the bar anyway… at least if you spend it on admission/cover, there's a slightly higher chance it'll get back to the bands.
2) "Getting the band"
This is a no-brainer when you think about it. Imagine you're friends with Bono and Edge… or the… other guys in U2. Imagine you show up to the Enormodome to see them play. You tell security you're on the list… but they say you're not on the list… "well screw that!" you say… GET THE BAND! You're friends after all and they've invited YOU down to see THEM play… they told you you'd be on the list… they'll sort it out!
Now… if you are in fact good friends, you'd for sure be on the list and/or would have been given tickets probably in advance or to pick up at the venue. You're a guest of theirs. If by chance all these other options failed, you'd probably text them, they'd be super embarrassed and send someone down to sort it out asap.
The thing is… a band, even at a moderately higher level, is calling some shots... they've been given some leeway for it. When you boil it down, people are their to see THEM. The band/artist name & performance sold the tickets… not the merch, not the venue, not the bar sales. The promoter who booked them knows this... that's what they gambled on and where the profit is. The band is the product… and if you know anything about people who are product… happy people = better product… well, enough of the time to say "all the time".
When a band or artists name ISN'T selling the ticket… where does that leave them?
Well, they're really no different then anybody else attending the venue EXCEPT they've been giving the privilege to play for a certain amount of time. The bar is making money off alcohol sales, maybe a bit off door cover (to combat non/rare drinkers such as myself) but really… if your friends band is barely able to charge $5-$10 for a show… and honestly, it's friggin' sad bands get excited if they leave that night with and additional $50 in their merch box… what makes you think they can snap their fingers and get the venue staff to give them special treatment... to pass along to you? The venue has a business to run. They need to make their money first!
… and if the money from the door goes to the bands… the bands are only hurting themselves by further devaluing their product. People vote with their dollars in this case.
Think about that for a second. It's not a charity, but in a way your "fans" are saying their appearance is somewhat more important than supporting/paying for what their friends and family are doing.
I've been trying my best to not cuss in this post but seriously… if your friends and family don't think attending your show is worth $10… but an arguable $5… fuck them! Don't invite them. Either you suck that bad they seriously have a problem parting with an amount of money that barely gets you the entry level combo at McDonalds OR they suck that bad at seeing the value of people they care about past their value of a dollar.
… or maybe they're just broke… still, it's their choice how to react to the situation.
3) I'm going to end this here because I have to get back to work… but I was close to snapping on some cheapskates last night. Bands work really hard… yes it's a hobby for most, but a lot work really, really, really hard to create and share some fun and entertainment for everyone to enjoy. These things do come at a cost, and believe me the bands/artists shoulder the lion's share of it, but is it really that hard to pay a $10 or less cover while we have no trouble doing our share bringing a tuna casserole to a potluck or chipping in for a birthday gift for someone around the office?
I've argued both sides of the fence on whether shows should be free or not… I see both sides… and this year I've paid cover every time I've been asked… even if I'm on guest list... I believe it helps in the big picture. For now though, at the amateur (not an insult, look it up) level, you either play by the rules the venue has OR someone/something else does.
It's simple. It's their house so it's their rules… and it's quite affordable unless someone else wants to offer up their space… install a stage, PA, sound tech, fully stocked bar, eye candy barstaff, parking, bathrooms that wish they were born broom closets, etc.
So in closing… the next time you see someone arguing over guest list or a minor difference in cover… lean over and say "hey man… quit being so damn cheap." It's their option to pay or leave.
P.S. I know who the other guys in U2 are… Aaron Clayhorn and Lloyd Muleson Jr. are one of my favourite rhythm sections of all time.
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!