February 12, 2016 - 11:47pm
The lady taking care of the hotel breakfast area was nice enough to leave the room unlocked well past 9am for us... mind you we got there at 8:30am... she could tell we could use the extra time... plus we did a good job cleaning up quite a bit of what was left... we raided it "zombie apocalypse" style.
... I guess there's a skating competition going on in the area. We saw a few girls with their parents (in team jackets) pushing around luggage carts with garment bags... those jackets that have no business being in -20C weather.
We got on the conversation (a few new parents I know have joked about it), about how they hope their kids are either really good at sports or have no interest at all since it's so expensive.
I think team sports are great for kids but unfortunately some kids turn into lottery tickets/retirement plans for some parents. It's one thing to be supportive, it's another to be insisting. We related it to music but really... there isn't much money in music anymore... as people know it at least... the model has changed too much for most to recognize it as a career choice... or a retirement plan for their folks.
I'm not saying you can't make a living in music, being proof of that, but the money isn't is insane as it was 20 or even 10 years ago. It can be a living wage though... regardless how many people poke fun at the idea you do music for a living... or play in a band... a band they probably haven't even heard of.
... back to the sports thing though... I think it's a very delicate balance when it comes to support. You want people to give you the nudge when needed but not force you to stay the course. Music, like sports, is a choice... and if your heart isn't in it, it's better to walk away... and either find something else to fill the void or... I guess... carry on with a smaller heart... slightly jaded and bitter.
... but I always think things are going to work out (one way or another) in music... which creates drive.
We got on the topic of concussions and I half joke to myself about maybe hitting my head too hard when I was younger... and that is the reason I haven't "grown up" and grown out of music... the way I see music as a career at least.
... still... seeing them walk around the hotel... is the luggage cart following their daughter, or is their daughter following the luggage cart...?
... I took a lot of fruit before we left.
Today is basically a travel day... 3.5 hrs to head to Winnipeg and pick up Seb (our FOH = front of house = "sound guy") at the airport.
Gas is so much cheaper in the US... so is food.
We tried to going to some place... Culver's(??) for lunch. We walked in... I looked at the pictures of the food on the menu and my gut said no... the way I see it... if the food needs that much colour correction to look appetizing... it probably tastes awesome but will leave you feeling like garbage soon after... and I'm doing my best to eat somewhat well... since McDonald's at 2am takes you downhill fast when you're already getting barely any exercise.
We ended up at Subway... I had a craving for pickles and olives so it worked out alright.
Crossing back into Canada was easy. We have nothing to hide but we are also not complaining one bit it's been so smooth... 2/2!
Oh... just before, Tim mentioned we couldn't bring fruit back with us... again, I'd taken quite a bit from breakfast... so I consumed as much as I could to avoid having to toss it... I was pretty fruited up.
Tim brought it up to the border officer and he said fruits/vegetables are ok (aka "it don't matter"). Just a heads up if anybody needs cauliflower... let me know... I'm back the end of the month.
There was some blue sky today on the interstate... it's been grey for a while now so it was refreshing... getting to Winnipeg though... I don't know why the GPS insists on driving through it instead of around it... and by the time you realize it, it's too late. Same thing, every time we're here.
We picked up Seb and headed to the hotel.
The girl at the front desk (and I use the term girl for a reason) had a bit of an edge to her while dealing with Matt, Tim, and I. She had that "slightly bitchy older sister" vibe about her... which was fine... I thought it was funny... but she didn't think we were too funny unless it was at our expense... and once she found out we were from Toronto (Matt, always assuring people he wasn't born there), she said it (we) all makes sense now... whatever that means.
The hotel is the kinda hotel that didn't put the hotel rooms in the hotel. The girl at the front desk was laughing at us for trying to find how to get to the rooms.
"Sorry, you have to go outside to get to your rooms."
The rooms are fine though... it's actually really good to be getting to bed somewhat early tonight... although I wish I was able to sit in the lobby... I like hanging out in them... and I don't feel like I'm buggin' people who are trying to sleep.
We ended up going for dinner at a pretty good restaurant across the street... the Jets VS Bruins game was on AND it was wing night... terrible combo for my diet... Reid and I split an order of wings to pre-game our entrees... they were super good though... could've easily eaten 3lbs... $3.99/lb... dangerous!
Dinner was awesome actually... pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw, and fries.
I had a good chat with Reid and Seb on the way back and stopped by the front desk (in the hotel) to grab some more towels.
... queen sassy pants seemed to be in a better mood now when I asked her for more towels... although her sass flared up when she asked how many and I said 3... as if 3 is just a dumb ass number of towels for someone to ask for.
I asked her name (no name tag... or maybe her name tag is in the desk drawer... considering this is the type of place that didn't put the hotel rooms in the hotel) and thanked her by name. She then asked where we're playing in town.
... I looked over at the TV on the wall showing the Bruins Vs Jets game.
"Oh, uh... MTS Centre..."
She was caught off guard and I'd known what'd I'd done... but I thought it was pretty funny. The timing was too good.
She asked the band name and said she thinks she's heard of us... I'm going to assume she hasn't since she said she "thinks she has".
I said we're out with Disturbed and Saint Asonia (who she has heard of)... she said that sounds like a pretty awesome tour to be on... good luck and have fun!
... I assured her we certainly aren't doing it for the money... it is pretty fun though...
Pretty low key at the hotel tonight though. A bit more post-mortem on the show last night but mainly just enjoying sweatpants, TV, and convo.
... and now Snoretallica.
Aiming to be at the venue for 1-2pm tomorrow... hopefully the van starts... it's friggin' cold outside.
... got to wear my legit adult winter boots to dinner though... glad I brought them!
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.
January 19, 2015
… well… my alarm went off at 5:30am… we loaded up and were on the road by 7am… finally arrived in Winnipeg at 12:30am… now (2:51 am) I'm sitting in an awkwardly long room at the end of our hotel hallway.
If you're doing the math, the drive sucked today… just long… and although the vehicle we're travelling in (Hummer w/ trailer) looks pretty badass… I can't say it's built for comfort if you're in the backseat. It does tow and ride pretty smooth though.
… I think I had 2-3 out of body experiences today because my knees were hurting so bad.
I forget how much I fidget at work. I'm constantly moving around… which I consider a good thing if you're working on music… having to basically sit still, not being able to stretch out for close to 15hrs (yes we made some stops for gas and food) but mostly you feel like you're sitting at a desk… with no work to do to pass the time.
… I still enjoy the change of scenery though... studio life has been non-stop for over a year I'd say.
We made a quick stop in Regina to drop off some rentals we had for rehearsal. I swapped out a cymbal I'd rented… noticed it was cracked yesterday and knew it'd be f*d if I attempted to use it all week.
The point is how awesome most of the people who work in Long & McQuade are. I told the guy I picked it up in Toronto, noticed it was cracked, and wanted to swap it out. He said "good catch" and took me over to the rental section to look through what they had.
Of course music stores have their share of jaded and bitter musicians who fill out the roster… but for the most part L&M employees seem pretty helpful.
… I love how I'm sitting in my pajamas in this weirdo lobby/hall place right now of the hotel… barefoot.
So this hotel… we're at a casino (I'm not checking just in case… that it's actually a casino) or something. We get to the venue/hotel and Matt and Tim go in to check in… and in true Spinal Tap fashion, our rooms are not ready… in fact, Matt's reservations aren't on file… the one he has the confirmation for on his phone that he's showing the front desk.
… figures… after a 15hr drive.
So the front desk arranged rooms at a hotel just down the street… apparently nicer (seems to be the cases so far) so we're not complaining. Bottom line, we're in rooms and no longer in the seated position… well I am in this chair but you know what I mean.
I think I have about 300ft of leg room right now... huge difference!
Breakfast buffet is at 7am… I'll be honest… I'm pretty excited to wake up in 5hrs (well 4 hrs now) to go crazy on that buffet... then go back to sleep!
… also really looking forward to getting the first show of the year under our belt tomorrow… rehearsals were sounding and feeling pretty good on Sunday. Good times.
P.S. My nail looks pretty bad. I tried taking a picture but my iPhone wouldn't focus.
P.P.S. I don't think there's a waterside at this hotel… sorta disappointed that might not happen now.
P.P.P.S. WE HAVE INTERNET AGAIN!!!
P.P.P.P.S. I totally forgot about this... we drove past this guy today... the COOOL BUS!!! It was hard to take a picture on the highway but the driver looked like Charles Manson with dreadlocks. So coool that bus was... so coool.
... so the 2014 Junos were held last night... the pre-broadcast gala where majority of the award winners were announced and hardware handed out. I found myself checking Twitter for the updates... seeing a few friends pick up awards really helped lift my spirits... even after an amazing day tracking group vocals... it ain't easy being a Leafs fan.
A few shout outs to some artists that hit a bit closer to home...
First off... huge congrats to Serena Ryder on winning Artist Of The Year and basically an insane year overall!
Serena and I went to high school together, and although we never really hung out or talked or anything, we've always said hello to each other around Toronto... high school runs deep... and I think there's a higher level of 'props' to people you know who've continued to grind it out with music as a career.
Again, she's had an insane year... and once Stompa came out... I figured it was officially go time for Serena and her camp. Glad she's been out touring like crazy as well... I've said it 400X, touring is where it's at... it's where you're going to solidify your core fans... and that's how careers are built and maintained.
Also, all the best to her tri-co-hosting the televised show tonight as well... even though I think it's kinda weird to have nominees hosting award shows... but I'll save that rant for later.
Congrats to Strumbellas on their win for Roots And Traditional Album Of The Year (Group)! I've known a few of the guys in this group since back in the high school days as well. I'm pretty sure they've all been in several bands together over the years, probably in several member combinations... but like most good bands out there, eventually there's a combination/chemistry that works and all of a sudden, things start to move forward. Of course that's the simplified version... but regardless, awesome to see!
Also... I'm really happy to seem them take home the award because they were nominated last year as well. I think there's a lot to be said in "not winning" your first time around.... and I can guarantee you at least one person at that table... after hearing someone elses name get called... became more motivated than ever. Congrats on getting the job done this time around! Been there. :-)
... and congrats to Eric Ratz for winning Recording Engineer Of The Year.
This one hits a bit closer to home for several reasons... although I doubt my name would ring a bell, we've crossed paths several times over the years. Like most people on this side of the glass, you eventually start blurring the lines between recordist and producer. He's been one of the careers I've kept an eye on the since I started 10 years ago, and I had my fingers crossed would take home the prize... plus he won it not only on a rock record... but on the Monster Truck record... which sounds rucking fidiculous. Good job Eric!
Congrats to Charlie Hope (Children's Album) and Courage My Love (Breakthrough Artist) on their nominations.
Third trip for Charlie, first for CML. It's always fun to go, but especially for the CML camp... it's great to see their progression over the years.
I typically have a bone to pick with acts that are "developed" but CML was one of the few groups I've heard of actually being discovered and developed... instead of discovered and then told everything they're doing is wrong and needs to be perfected over the next 5+ years until everyone has lost interested. Kudos to Nicole Hughes and Chris Perry for doing their part! All the best down the road... keep that momentum going!
Boourns to Ben Rayner. I saw this in the Toronto Star this morning...
"As for the rest of Saturday night’s Juno gala, it went pretty much where it always goes. Forever. Or for 3½ hours anyway. For the first time this year, casual observers could stream the pre-broadcast Juno gala online at home, but lord knows why you’d actually do that. Most of the people who actually attend the thing start tuning it out half an hour in because, frankly, by then it’s already clear there are several more crushingly dull and long-winded hours to come and everyone starts sucking down as much free booze as they can find until the bar shuts down."
Dude... of course you'd find it boring... it's not for people like you... it's not about entertaining, it's a dinner and presentations! It's a dinner party for those who actually belong in the room. And who would actually want to watch that? Anybody who has friends or family nominated... nothing tops seeing the happiness of people you care about in real time. I'm glad they streamed it... that's the future anyway... it's there if you want it.
Anyway, if you're there to be entertained, yes, you're going to be bored. It's probably similar to going to a party with your significant other, where most in attendance all went to high school or college together... it's going to be filled with inside jokes and you're going to hate it because you can't join in on their level.
You have no understanding how hard people are working to make a living in this industry and how emotionally charged up they are to be there... despite what they're showing on the outside. People aren't wandering around because they're bored or drunk (well... lol)... they're wandering around because it's a dinner, people have loosened up, and because you're allowed to walk around!
In my opinion, between the Saturday (gala) and Sunday (televised), it's all about Saturday if you're part of the business or more importantly, an artist.
You're in a giant room, filled with your friends, peers, probably a few mentors, and likely a few people who've done you dirty over the years... saying hello to people in that environment means a lot... for some of them, that might be the only time they've seen each other in years because we've all got our heads down, on tour or in our batcaves, working our butts off. Hearing your name called on Saturday is just a touch more huge than hearing it called during the nominations.... and once your category has been announced, all that anxious excitement you've been holding onto the past 6 weeks or so finally leaves your body... win or lose... you feel amazing... and you feel motivated.
Finally... finally, finally... a shout out to all those who were nominated but couldn't afford to make the trip. It aint cheap once you factor in travel, hotels, clothes, food, tickets, etc... for me, 2010 was close to $2,000, 2012 was around $1,500 (+$450 for the award! lol).
Obviously you look at the price tag vs. experience and think it's totally worth it... but I've heard of several artists over the years, mainly in the lesser known categories who just couldn't swing it... plus they didn't think they'd win anyway so why bother... which is pretty sad.
With the amount of money organizations like FACTOR have thrown around over the years to artists in that room last night to record, market, and tour... it'd be nice to see them throw a little in the corner of a few artists to help them make the trip. Even $10,000 could've helped send 5-10 people a year who otherwise sat at home last night... who despite having expectations so low, still had a sliver of hope in the pit of their stomach their name would be called... or at least the Leafs could've beat Philly... seriously guys... c'mon.
- Mike :-)
October 12, 2013
... I think I left off at sound check... which I felt like ass during.
The no sleep thing has really caught up to me. You know that feeling when you can do something easily 1,000 times and then all of a sudden your body just isn't responding? Well that was sound check. I simple felt "muscularly unresponsive".
... that being said, I was more focused on food after I'd heard we were welcome to the buffet... buffet is the magic word! The problem was it closed at 8pm and we started sound check around 7:20pm. Most of us were determined to hit up that buffet though... roast beef... veggies... salad bar... pecan pie! If only it was open now... I'd go back... after what we've been eating the past week... it was a magical place.
Overeating was a concern... but I think we all did anyway.
We hit the stage at 9pm. I forgot to mention around 3am last night I realized I'd forgotten one of my iPods in Lloydminster. I use one to play an intro song and I have a habit of not remembering to get it back from the FOH guy after I'm done packing.
Yes... we live in a time were losing an iPod is like "whatever". The tech that pretty much brought the music industry to it's knees isn't worth that much either anymore. I spent a few minutes emailing all the iPod nano ads on Kijiji close to the hotel to see if anybody wanted to sell me one cheap and deliver... no luck.
It turns out the Papa Roach crew grabbed it for me... those guys are saints... and probably wondering how we function since we're losing shit everyday. Ah well... I got a second chance with it... hopefully that's the last time I lose/forget something... especially that iPod.
The show went well... great crowd again here in Winnipeg. I played like crap... first time in a while I'd admit it... although I don't think anybody else would notice. lol. It's totally a personal thing about how you played and how you're feeling.
I've felt way off all day... not like "drunk" or anything... just uncoordinated due to lack of sleep and proper nutrition... I really wish I could keep my normal diet from home... it's so hard though with the schedule and the traveling conditions.
Pop Evil and Papa Roach were awesome again... a given at this point.
There were these gaps at the front of the stage and I thought at the beginning of the show "someone is gonna slip through there"... well... Jacoby ended up being that guy tonight. It was a scary moment since the band kept playing and he just sat there in pain.
The thought crossed my mind... he snapped his ankle or leg or something... tour is over... we all go home.
Life is funny sometimes... and shit happens.
A minute later he got up, walked it off, and finished the show. I wouldn't be surprised if he's still in pain... it looked really painful. Gotta be careful though... it's way too easy to fall off stuff when you're rocking.
It's 1:22am... I gotta get to bed... we're heading back to the US tomorrow and it's a 8-9 hour drive. We voted to sleep a bit and leave at 6am... we'll see how close we get to that!
P.S. Best thing about the room we got today is the bed... king size! Perfect for a 5-piece band.
P.S.S. I've narrowed it down to two people.
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!