October 15, 2013
... oh man... I dropped a stick tonight... and it felt awesome!
I took that pic from the stage after the set... definitely a few hiccups tonight but overall it was a good show. We were direct support for Papa Roach tonight so we didn't get our usual setup time... which is fine with me... we're pretty quick getting things together... and in theory, we know what we're doing.
I know I usually talk about the day in order but I gotta get this "stick dropping thing" outta my system... I'm probably the only drummer on the planet right now who can drop a stick and feel absolutely amazing about it... it kinda made my night!
... just digging through some records... I don't think I've dropped a stick since... 2008! Greekfest!
So what's the big deal?
Well... most people freak out when something bad happens on stage. They feel like everyone is looking at them like they're an idiot and/or they suck and/or they're letting the band down, etc. It's typically a crappy feeling. If you play sports, and you care, you know exactly what I'm talking about... except in most band performance cases, there are actually people around to see you mess up.
Fifteen years ago... dropping a stick would've caused me to implode... basically turn into dark matter. I loved playing but I hated being on stage... but I loved the feeling of accomplishment (high) I'd get after getting off stage. It just felt awesome to know I did something mentally I didn't want to do at all. Kinda like how you feel after getting off a roller coaster.
Ten years ago... dropping a stick would've haunted me the rest of the evening... it'd be my memory of the show for the next week or so.
Five years ago... dropping a stick would but crappy... but everyone is allowed to make mistakes here and there... still shouldn't be dropping sticks like some amateur though.
Today... dropping a stick... meh... that's what today is. lol.
The thing about live... there's 100,000 tiny moments going on. They pass so quickly... and if you're competent, you can cover really quick and go on with the show. Stuff happens! When the stick in my left handed decided to "peace out!" and fly across my rack tom and out over the front of my kit... I laughed pretty hard... inside and out. It's not like I meant to do it! lol. It just happened... and it's not like the song had to come to a stop or anything in order for me to recover... I just reached down, grabbed another stick, and kept on playing. That's all you can do. Way she goes. :-)
I've seen too many musicians beat themselves up over minor hiccups on stage... but I've seen how pros react to show issues... personal and/or technical. Real pros always laugh it off, cover it up, or turn it into something special for the crowd... and never sweat the small stuff. You just have to look out at the crowd to remember everyone is there to have a good time.
On that note... I'll rewind back to this morning... I'll be honest... when I woke up this morning... it finally sunk in... our hotel was mega sketchy. It was ok in a pinch (aka almost 11pm)... and we did get laundry done but still... we really gotta start calling and confirming hotels before we end up... I don't even want to say any "what ifs"... I'm pretty sure I got my yearly dose of asbestos and mold though.
Short drive today... 3.5 hours. Nothing too eventful... we did see a Tim Horton's though!
We ended up stopping... we had to. The inside was much nicer than any I've ever seen... and the donuts honestly looked unhealthierly delicious. Yeah I know unhealthierly isn't a word but it's fun to say (you tried it... admit it) and you know what I'm talking about.
We arrived in Flint around 3pm, unpacked our gear, and then decided to go for lunch/dinner while Papa Roach was doing their fan meet and greet. There was an Arby's 2 minutes away so we headed over there.
For the first time ever, we were asked out names to go along with our orders... so Brent, Dirk, Chico, Norm, and Bill all placed their orders.
I went with Norm just so I could say it was short for Normal (move the accent over the 2nd syllable) if anybody asked. I was tempted to go with a name like Jashawndon Tobias Kendreak King... but... as good as I am... there's no way I could've kept a straight face.
Arby's is awesome by the way... meat, bun, sauce... smart.
Back to the show... there was an opener tonight called No Resolve. They were pretty good... the singer was mentioning we should do some show trades once I told him we were from Toronto. I told him straight up, don't waste your time.
He looked confused.
We've played three shows in the US and they've been hands down better than any show I've played in Canada... probably ever. Combine that with cheaper gas, more cities, more people, music fans who buy cds and attend shows... easy choice. Sure you can tour and play shows for the sake of touring and playing shows... but it's a long drive to play to 40 people standing with their arms crossed in Toronto.
I love Canada... but it's no secret... it's hard for bands to make a living in music there... it's math.
No Resolve is heading out on tour with Trapt soon (I overheard) so that should be pretty fun. Good band and all the best to those guys!
Papa Roach killed it again. Not much more to add... old hat now. Machine Shop really held up it's end of the bargain though... sold out crowd... rowdy crowd... but responsibly rowdy.
Tim and I ended up taking a shuttle van back to the hotel after with a few others at the show... this about sums up the night.
... gotta come home with your shoes on kids.
P.S. After our set, it started raining... and we had to load our gear outside to pack it up... that sucked. I'm scared to see the actual aftermath... hopefully it's hot today so we can dry our stuff out a bit.
October 14, 2013
... two goals today.
1. Drive to the other side of Chicago (playing in Flint, MI tomorrow).
2. Do laundry.
A bit of a late start this morning... didn't end up getting out of the hotel until 12pm. I checked Google maps and there were a few places on the other side of Chicago that had vacancies at Holiday Inn Expresses. We prefer them because they have breakfast, a "gym", pool, and in this case... which is desperately needed... laundry.
Nothing too eventful today... driving... driving... construction... driving... construction. We made pretty crappy time on the road and I knew around 4pm it wasn't going to be an early evening (it's 1:26am right now).
At one of our stops for gas... I saw something we'd been keeping an eye out for since last summer... well we've seen them but it's always been like $35+ and nobody in the band will actually pony up the cash to buy it.
Our van has no CD player or Aux input for iPods. Most of Canada that we've been touring has no radio so the van is typically pretty quiet aside from our own chatter. Yes... we're probably the only band in Canada that doesn't listen to music on tour... because we basically can't... partially because we can't afford it. lol.
So in this gas station store, I saw the Cassette-to-1/8" adapter for iPods... for $15. I had the free breakfast that morning so I figured I'd put my per diem towards it as a gift for the guys and Green Machine (van). Maybe it'd make things a little better in there since now we'd actually be able to listen to music.
I make the purchase and bring it back to the van.
I show the guys what I'd found.
"How much did that cost?"
"That's a lot."
... well... you're welcome guys.
I also realized buying this adapter possibly meant two things...
1. Giving up my iPod for personal use... for the greater good.
2. Being subjected to metal.
I'm totally cool with metal... but on 10 hour drives... that's too much metal... and although metal is a great soundtrack to road rage... it doesn't help suppress road rage whatsoever.
I opened the package, and Tim plugged everything in.
iPods are alphabetical and I have a lot of music on there... days and days. So what's the first thing he puts on?
Occupants of Green Machine revolt.
I understand it's just music... but I was a little concerned some people might get out of the van, push it over, and set it ablaze.
... next choice... Johnny Cash.
... someone has a problem with that.
... Foo Fighters... someone doesn't like the first song on the album.
... we did manage to stay on Guns'n Roses for a bit... but still... all could not agree on what to listen to.
I yelled at Tim a few times "no schizo DJ's". It's a pet peeve of mine... but I can't argue it too much because that's how peoplw consume music these days. One song at a time.
Finally we landed on Motely Crue's, Shout At The Devil and everyone was ok... for a bit.
Bottom line... this adapter was ripping our band apart.
Eventually we did start making it through some albums though... Smashing Pumpkins... Rage Against The Machine... U2... I'm sure things will settle down and although it was highly disruptive... the addition of "music" to the van will overall be a positive one.
So back to driving... and driving... and construction... and driving... and tolls... and driving, construction, tolls, tolls, driving, and tolls. Seriously that was our day. We were talking about how awesome it is gas is cheaper in the US but the amount of tolls we paid to today might have evened it out.
... actually it's still far cheaper to drive in US than Canada.
We finally made it past Chicago and set the GPS for a place called Portage. It had a Holiday Inn Express. I asked Matt this morning if he wanted me to call and make a reservation and he said no, we'll just try our luck.
We arrived at the hotel, went in, asked the lady at the front desk about vacancies and she quickly said "no we're full".
... we'll that's not good.
There were a couple signs around town that said "Welcome Elvis Fans" or something along those lines... I starting thinking maybe there was an Elvis convention going on or something and we might be screwed for a place to sleep tonight... it was 11pm already... and worse... no place to do laundry.
I seriously have nothing left except pinstripe stage shorts and a button up dress shirt.
So we get back in the van and backtrack a few blocks to a Days Inn... the one with the Elvis sign actually, and ask for room there... $80, good to go! Laundry? Yes!
I had to laugh since when we checked in... I was looking along the lines of "people of Walmart"... I went back to ask the guy at the front desk about quarters for the laundry machines dressed like I was going on a date or something.
... it's all I had left!
I think we're back on the road for 9am tomorrow. I just heard the dryer down the hall stop... so I'm gonna stop here as well. The show tomorrow is sold out and I've heard tons of awesome about the Machine Shop. Should be good!
P.S. I hardly took any pictures today... but this basically sums up the day.
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!