October 18, 2013
... it's 1:43am... we pulled into an Econo Lodge at 1am on the dot... and somehow it's taken us 43 minutes to check-in and make it to our room. I'm thinking we were abducted by aliens... only logical explanation here.
The day started out pretty awesome... quick shower then hit up the cafeteria one more time to grab breakfast. It was actually pretty gross... even for free. The bacon was good but the scrambled egg mass and cold dry hash browns... not so much. I filled up on fruit and chocolate milk instead for a change... well that and bacon.
Tim and I wandered... semi-romantically... along the beach and Boardwalk after breakfast. I love oceans... I can geek out over the sound and sight of waves for hours. I'd come back here as a road trip stop for sure. Even though I can't imagine casino culture being squeaky clean... there's a good vibe in the air around here... probably the ocean.
We left Atlantic City around 10am. A few notables on the drive...
... I thought this was awesome. Even though I don't drink coffee... I thought this presentation looked delicious.
This was pretty awesome too. Seriously... we are jones'n for exercise. Everyone is starting to go nuts. We're all pretty active people (... yeah I'm marking Matt on the curve here) so sitting in a van this many days without time to really do much... if people are wondering why we're going crazy on stage... we're actually just trying to get in some cardio. We're desperate.
The drive to Luzerne felt quick... I slept a bit then rode shotgun after the first shift missed the same exit like 3 times... I'm not perfect but that was killin' me. The roads are pretty tight around here so maneuvering with the trailer was a bit tricky.
Luzerne reminded me of a smaller town outside of Peterborough (my hometown). The kinda place where if you aren't from there, everyone from there stares at you as they drive by. I spotted a McDonald's on the way in so I back tracked there after we got to the venue to try and finish yesterdays blog post. They had a big "no loitering" sign on the window so I felt obligated to buy something.
McDonald's is cheap in the US. They aren't joking. I watched a guy order 4 McDoubles and a small fry.
That is craziness.
Anyway, I spent the next hour trying to assemble the post... I had to put all the pictures in and re-read/edit it... I'm so tired when I write some of these that when I read over them the next morning, or in this case, the next day... I'm pretty sure people think I drink and do a lot of drugs... I don't though... in case you're wondering. I didn't manage to finish the post at McD's... luckily I found a spot in the venue with WiFi... it was nice having WiFi at the venue again.
Pretty mellow day overall... Pop Evil actually sound checked today... probably because they were headlining. I got to chat a bit more with their crew... really nice guys... good chats.
I love learning about peoples backgrounds.. and it's always cool hearing what bands and stuff people came from. So many of us in the business are musicians at heart. There are so many different cogs in the machine though to make things happen... but we're all pushing in the same direction. Pop Evil has 5 band members and 7 crew (including driver I think). Think about that for a minute.
There were two bands before us on the bill.
Small Town Titans.
... and Governing Murphy.
Both solid... great response from the local crowd. Small Town Titans seemed to be moving a ton of merch.
#DearBands... it's a good idea to have tons of merch available these days.
I thought we played pretty darn good tonight... best of the tour so far actually. It was a bit smaller of a crowd compared to the other shows but still a fun one... especially once they loosened up a bit. I think we played a bit looser as well. We were given a slightly longer set so we tossed All I Know into the mix. I love playing that tune... again... riffs are currency in my world.
I hated having to do this (feel like such a douche) but we had jet right after Pop Evil started. It's 7 hour drive to Burlington, VT and rumor is there's serious construction... so it could be closer to 10 hours.
We drove a few hours tonight... and now here we are... and here I am... sitting up against a wall in a stairwell while everyone gets some sleep. I should probably shower tonight too... 5 guys and 1 bathroom is a shit storm of wtf in the morning.
... free breakfast here though... fingers crossed they have oatmeal.
P.S. Sometimes this is what backstage looks like... when it's filled with Small Town Titans.
P.S.S. I can't believe how short this post is.
... 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)
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!