February 3, 2017 - 4:37 pm
... stuck in rush hour traffic in Dallas/Ft Worth, TX!!
Good times... I know... so I figured now is a good time to crank this out... Reid and Dane are playing some songs and live streaming from the van.
... side note, I tried hard to do this last night before I went to bed but there was still more paperwork and logistics to take care of in the morning... tour managers... totally understand their gig now! lol.
So yesterday... finally got to play again! Even though it was only 2 days off, it's felt like a long time in between.
... my morning was like groundhogs day... woke up at 9:20am, hotel breakfast, emails and a couple calls, gym, then we were out the door to the venue around 4:30pm.
... which we couldn't find the entrance to.
Googlemaps is pretty good and locating things... but when there's a parking lot the size of a city block, it's not entirely sure what to tell you.
... so we drove around... and around... and around for a bit. Finally zoomed in enough so we could virtually walk ourselves from the Hooters over to Thunder Alley (venue).
Met at a couple guys from Lullwater outside... we'll be seeing a lot of each other over the next couple months.
Inside the venue... quite a few tables and chairs... this will be interesting.
Reid has hopped off the stage quite a bit during our set so... I'm wondering if he'll make use of "the props"... and how sturdy said "props" are.
... there was an opening band... and I don't remember their name... but would feel worse skipping them altogether. I am sorry... you were good though!
... awkwardly fast forward... LullWater is pretty sweet! They're in the realm of Monster Truck for those of you back home... big riffs and big cymbals... me likey.
We were up next...
If there's one thing we're going to get good at... it's referred to as "throw'n go". Where you get your gear on stage, set up, and ready to go... within 15 minutes... everything... preferably 10minutes. This is something to keep in mind when bands have elaborate stage setups (lights, track rigs, in-ear rigs, etc).
All of this stuff takes time to set up and the quicker and more efficient you are, the less stage managers for larger tour will hate you and make your life miserable.
There were times on the Age of Days tour with Disturbed when we had literally 3mins to set up. Granted we had stage hands helping... but that was fast... oh... and Saint Asonia was setting up at the same time behind us.
... if you don't know what you're doing... it can be stressful.
So we throw our stuff on stage... and get going.
I've been starting our intro from the stage for these shows and I kinda like it... I really like our intro... and I like having control over when the button is pushed and it's rippin' time.
... speaking of throwing... Reid... Reid on stage is consistent... but also involves an element of spontaneity and danger... which I think its great... it's definitely fun to watch (I have great seats for it!) but sometimes things happen... like the Jackson guitar in Berkley (WV).
We have a half hour set... we decided to try and cram another tune in, maybe squeeze it to 32-35mins.
We got about halfway through and I realize the time wasn't sitting right at all. Reid plays guitar in there but he took his guitar off so I was going to skip one of the tunes and we can start wrappin' it up.
He went back to pick his guitar up again and I'm like "ok... too late, I guess we'll play it."
... we start the song and Reid did a sort of somersault and I'm like "well that probably knocked his tuning out... or maybe Brendan forgot to tune down... or up... I don't know... I'm just the drummer... 1, 2, 3 , 4, 1, 2, 3, throre, etc"
Into the 1st verse he takes his guitar off and drops it on the ground... and I'm like "ok... probably out of tune... Reid gets mad when things aren't in tune... godspeed guitar.."
... not because I'm afraid he'll smash it... he loves that one... but the stage is kinda weird in that it has a raised portion at the front and it's a bit of a drop if you aren't paying attention and take a step back.
Dane continues playing one handed, grabs Reid's guitar and moves it back by me...
... we safely finish the set and throw our gear off the stage asap... we're way over time and I feel bad... even if people say they don't care... I/we care! It's annoying when shows run late because of this stuff.
"My guitar broke."
... Reid said with a sadden post-show adrenaline filled smile.
Somehow the headstock cracked which would explain the sudden massive tuning issue.
... sorta hard to keep string tension when the part that holds the strings on is able to do the "royal wave".
... so that's 2 guitars.
I'm not sure Dane has broken a string yet... or Brendan.
... so Reid might need a guitar endorsement and at this pace, and we might need to cave and get a trailer.
The rest of the show was good... Clinton (Another Lost Year) is pretty funny on stage... super comfortable in front of the crowd. He ribbed us a few times about being Canadian... made a couple references to Bryan Adams... to which we responded "we just call him Bryan".
(Not sure if he could tell if we were joking... or serious.)
They have a couple songs that stand out already for me which I look forward to... certain songs do it for me... so I'm curious if that feeling goes away. Solid band though... actually... I feel like the crappy drummer on the tour too! lol... again!!
We stopped by the Clown on the way back to the hotel... 2 McDoubles, small fries, under $5.
There was some footage from the show so the guys were watching in our McBooth.
"... is that live?" Asked another fellow late night Clowner.
"... no... but it was a couple hours ago."
"Are you guys in a band??"
It's fun when people ask... not entirely for ego reasons... but when you play to a "smaller audience", it's nice to hear someone sound excited to meet a band... followed by "tell me when ya'll are coming through next!!"
(... baby steps.)
Back to the hotel... I use the force to convince the guys to go to bed before 3am... I stayed up in the lobby a couple more hours... before purchasing a new toothbrush from the front desk.
(someone may have used mine... and I can't handle the thought maybe someone did if I'm brushing my teeth....but maybe someone simply toothpasted it up before noticing... anyway... yes I went the entire day without brushing my teeth... and it was awful.)
in bed by 3am.. alarm set for 9:20am. 3hr+ drive to Dallas/Ft Worth.... and we need to figure out a hiccup with our guitar situation.
P.S. Forgot we went to Olive Garden for dinner... super tasty but I'm afraid of too much pasta before playing... since it's one of my favs... and I can't stop... won't stop.... all you can eat breadsticks and salad too.
P.P.S. Yes, I'm finishing and posting this at the show tonight... we have WIFI!
P.P.P.S. I'm still working on getting an endorsement/printed sticks from Los Cabos... this guy wasn't taking no for an answer so this is my work around for now.
... 20 pairs left.
February 2, 2017 - 1:17 pm
Well... we've officially been out for 2 weeks. It's a really weird combination of feeling like a long time and not. I'd say it feels like a long time because I'm pretty tired and it's consecutive long (but productive) days! Meanwhile it feels short because we've only played 7 shows so far...
... we'll be at 10 by the end of the weekend... which is kinda crazy... but that's one of the reasons why we're out here... get a bunch of shows under our belts quickly.
So... not a ton to report on the day... day off at the hotel so I'm planted in the lobby (my office here) doing some logistics, emails, and getting on some calls. The guys did a pretty cool live stream from the hotel room so I popped up for a few minutes. After was a good time to take a break to hit the gym... took another break later to hit the pool with Dane and Reid...
... we need a place with a hot tub... if there's a place for 4 adult men to share good news and discuss concerns... hot tub sounds good.
For those of you thinking we'll live stream from the hot tub... not any time soon. We decided it'd be best to hold off at least a couple more weeks so we have time to... prepare ourselves for live streaming under those circumstances... diet starts today.
Highlight of today... well... yesterday... aside from oatmeal... and these awesome roasted almonds have to put on them... is labels and management have started reaching out to us. We've known for a few weeks some have been keeping an eye on us (we have birdies who tell us things)... but for whatever reason, they've inched close enough to start reaching out.
... my guess is the Octane chart plus the Billboard chart I saw this morning. There's some momentum with 'Like A Nightmare', and we need to keep it going... just a matter of deciding how...
... seriously one song can make a difference, seemingly over night... so that's exciting and putting the guys in a good mood.
... still need that hot tub though.
Only really notable thing past that... we went out late for dinner and were on a quest for Mexican... first place, "kitchen closed at 10, so only the snack menu is open."
Place number two, good to go... we binged and then I was back to the hotel to work on a quick promo video for the tour and get some emails done.
... I just realized the dinner story is pretty lame... I guess it was more exciting because a) we were going to walk 15 mins in the cold to realize the kitchen was closed anyway... and that there was a Chucky Cheese beside it.
If you're Canadian, I think you understand Chucky Cheese more... because we barely have any... and be honest, you never got to go.
... I wished we could've had dinner there... I miss video games.... I think I've turned on my xbox 360 less than 30 times last year... and most of the 0's was after June.
... not that we're travelling today, but I gotta start sleeping a little in the van. It was nice to sleep in this morning... but I still need to catch up... or at least take naps.
... I love naps.
Hopefully have more exciting news in the next few days... and hopefully the show tonight is decent... think it will be...
Alright... going to run to the gym quickly.... to... run... moderately.
P.S. Whoever did this... it's ok... we made it pretty far before this happened... we did good.
P.P.S We totally missed an interview (phoner) yesterday too. I set my alarm for 8:10pm, it was for 8:30pm... for some reason, didn't hear it. We found out around 9:30pm we'd missed it. We were told it wasn't a big deal, we could reschedule... we all felt bad though. We're all trying really hard to stay on top of everything, and when you feel like you have a handle on things, any hiccups like that are disappointments. Lesson learned though, we need a better system for our daily commitments! This (unfortunately) is how you get better.
February 1, 2017, 10:10 am
... I made it... I got my oatmeal.
I'll be honest... I didn't even think twice about staying up to write this last night... medium-length story short... we went out for drinks... and when I got back to the hotel... it was bed time. We have today off so I should be fine... and if not, I can nap... and if not... I can sleep in again tomorrow. Mainly a travel day yesterday without anything exciting.
Headed out to Joplin for a radio interview and possibly performance at Rock 107.1 for 3:30pm. Reid is pretty antsy to get some of the acoustic stuff Dane and him have been doing on Facebook live stream on a radio station... so I double checked and pushed for it this time.
... sometimes you just need to ask.. and sometimes you receive!
Short drive to Joplin, MO... ended up having time to grab lunch before.
... there's just so much fast food around... like... everywhere, all the time... and it's... I don't like using this word... but it's cheap. It's totally understandable why/how people can eat out so much.
"... but it's not good for you!!!?"
Well... #1, you don't need to order 3 Grand Mac's for lunch and large 4L Coke to go with it... them... and fries. #2, there are so many options... you can find something half decent... really.
For example... there's a Clown next door to a Subway... I can find things to eat at both for under $5 that will leave me comfortably full... not stuffed... it's not a contest... although Dane and I will be having a Clown cheeseburger eating contest in the near future.
... but aside from that... just don't eat like you're storing calories for the winter... because you aren't... and when you complain you feel like garbage after... it's your own fault.
... now I'm all rev'd up.
... wish I could get more oatmeal to calm me down.
... they had bacon today.
... back to yesterday.
... I went to Subway for lunch... ordered a 6" Cold Cut Trio (under $5), then we went back to the radio station.
Matt Circle (program director) met us outside and brought us into one of the studios.
I've only been in a few... but they're a lot more compact than you think.
We discussed who/how many should be playing on these things... I still think 2 people works out great. Typically, you're around 1 mic, and there's no space for much else. I know Brendan would like to play but he's a team player in this case... we are ready when the time comes though.
... and I'll shake on the shaker if/when I have to.
Things went pretty quick. We were doing a pre-recorded interview which takes a little pressure off... you can say things twice if you want to re-word anything and there's time to have a little space to think about answers... it can be edited out.
Observing the interview, I did think we felt a little rushed, but that's on us... and why the more you do, the better you get at these things. You might get asked a similar question over and over, but you refine your answers every time you answer them.
We asked and Matt gave the thumbs up so Brendan live streamed a bit of it on Facebook.
Finished up in 15-20 mins (which flew by) and then we shuffled back out into the front entrance to say our thanks and goodbyes.
There was a rather tall gentleman sitting in the front entrance when we came in and it turns out he knew we were coming and asked Matt if he could pop by to meet us... so we said hello to Aaron.
I'd meant to bring in a cd in for Matt so it just worked out to grab a 2nd one from the van to give to Aaron... even if he'd bought one, we appreciate him coming to see us and we have fun signing the cd's when we can.
Matt gave us some Rock 107.1 swag (shirts) which Reid and I both joked... "CLEAN CLOTHES!!"
... it's a thing.
We went back to the van to decompress and then headed back towards the Subway/Clown parking lot... because I need wifi... and Clown wifi is great.
So we were penciled in to play Joplin tonight, but it fell through. We tried staying positive it'd work out, but no dice... so now I'm thinking we should head towards Oklahoma City and stay a few nights.
(... still pushing for a hot tub.)
It was only a 3hr drive but it got dark so quick it seemed like it was 2am not long after the sun went down.
Brendan and Reid mentioned their old MDD guitar tech lived in Oklahoma City so they were keen on meeting up with him if possible.
We rolled into our hotel just after 9am. Orville (aka Popcorn) was there to meet us. Quick trip to dump some of our gear then we headed out for dinner.
"There's a ramen place and a pizza place."
... I'm totally good for pizza.. and by totally good, I mean totally good to not eat pizza.
... you're gonna get pizza 80% of the time on show days if you're in the position we're in.
I'm all about ramen though.... I miss that from Toronto!
It was a bit of a drive but worth it.
The place had a very simple menu... and food was very tasty.
I had Spicy (garlic) Miso... or something... it was Option #2 of 3.
We had an order of chick wings too which were dangerously good.
Orville offered to pick up the bill which was really nice of him... which means we're picking up his tab if we go for drinks.
... we went for drinks... this place that had 100+ beers on tap or something.
I'm not a beer drinker at all... but I felt I really should at least try something.
... sorry everything is on its own line here... just noticed.
... I found one that sounded least beer-y as possible, "Angry Apple Orchard Cider" I think... Brendan told me it's like candy.
(... I like candy!)
It was actually really good... first "drink" drink of the trip actually... total rockstar over here, I know.
The rest of the guys got stuff that just looked and sounded awesome too.. smelled awful but it looked like they were really enjoying the beverages. Our bartender was cool too.... she'd let people try stuff and was very informative.
... halfway through said drink, I knew it'd be bedtime when I got home. I think the need to sleep caught up with everyone... starting to feel guilty we aren't living it up on tour like people think we are... this is the truth though! lol.
We settled up and made it back to the hotel.
... on the car ride though... memory lane came out regarding some of the MDD shows and tours... I can't... I can't...
... I felt like a fly on the wall... but some of the stories they went into... wow... lol.
... it's like hearing about someone's time at summer camp...and it's awesome... and after you hear about what they did... all you can follow it up with is like...
"... we had taco tuesday's... it was pretty wild."
... nothing wrong with Taco Tuesday... it's pretty PG though... not wild at all... not even in context... taco context.
Still craving Mexican food... that was the original option over Ramen... maybe tonight.
... but yeah, made it back to the hotel... said our goodbyes... I think Reid and Brendan are meeting up again today with Popcorn to look at one of the guitars... not the Jackson. #RIP
I crashed as soon as I made it back to the room.
... that drink was good though... highly recommend it if you like apple juice.
... such a rockstar note to leave on... I know.
P.S. I hardly took any pictures yesterday... so here's more Brendan!
(aka B, aka Brentendo, aka Super Brentendo Chalmers)
January 31, 2017 - 1:09am
I think I can crank this out quick before I go to bed. We're off to Joplin, MO tomorrow to do radio... then there's a couple things up in the air before we head to Oklahoma City.
... nothing too exciting... but there is one thing I want to talk about. If you're in a band, you'll understand what I'm about to say.
... today I bought 36 Sharpies (markers)... for $12.
... but seriously that's a killer deal since they always seem to grow legs and wander off.... or the band has that one person that seems to absorb them or feed off them... they're always asking if someone else has one... meanwhile you've just given them like 5.
I don't even know how I got them for that price. They were on sale for 12/$6.. which is already pretty good... I can justify $20 on Sharpies to refill the supply... but it rang up on the till and the receipt made sense with how they wanted to apply the discount... so here I am... in a bathtub full of Sharpies... laughin' away.
... just laughin'.
I thought this hotel had a hot tub which I was really looking forward to... I don't get a chance to chill out very often lately but I like hot tubs... and my dream home is within walking distance to a nice hotel with a hot tub.
... it's crazy how far $6 goes at McDonald's down here... Dane and I caved and went there for dinner... within walking distance of the hotel... but we made a promise to get up and hit the gym in the morning.
... was half joking that it just works out, sleeping arrangement wise, because Dane and I are up early compared to Reid and Brendan.
... the gym was good this morning though... I'm feelin' it... unfortunately I'm feelin' the 2 McDoubles, McChicken, and side salad right now.
... I'm considering getting a US phone tomorrow... there's an AT&T and Verizon within walking distance... I have roam like home through Rogers but I need more data... we all do... except Brendan and his 26GB's... we all envy him.
P.S. For real this time... seriously, so little happened today... it was a travel day... I'm going to prep a few more emails to send in the morning but I should get to bed asap!
January 30, 2017 - 5:45pm
… Reid and Dane are live streaming in the van so I thought now was a good time to try and play catch up here… it actually eats away at me I couldn’t get these done at the end of the day… just too tired… and the sleep deprivation was affecting my ability to do the thing I’m out here trying to do… aka play the drums.
… my mind wanders when I’m tired… as I’m sure you’ve noticed on a few of these… so imagine that but on a drum kit… it’s not good.
So… yesterday… the other thing about not doing these at the end of day… it’s all a blur… and I’m not taking as many pics as usual so even skimming through those isn’t reallllllly helping.
... so… yesterday… I’ll just skip to us getting to Jackson, TN.
I’d heard a couple days before that the venue (The Empourium) had (ninja) shut down and there was an option to move the venue.
Apparently this isn’t completely uncommon in the US. I mean, venues are shutting down in Toronto but we have a decent amount of heads up.
… so yeah… try and fill the date or not.
I got the word the show could move to the American Legion.
Personally… haven’t played a legion hall type show since my teens… and it’d be a good test for us… character wise… since a year ago 3/4 of us were playing arena shows with pyro.
Also, real talk… if we didn’t take the show, we’d be driving through with no chance to make a few $’s to help with costs of travelling anyway. If you can stop and play… I generally say, stop and play.
So we arrive at the American Legion… and it’s about what I expect.
… moment of truth.
(… because you don’t always get to choose how you feel.)
Load in wasn’t for another hour but Reid quickly hopped out of the van to go look.
(… he wanted to see the PA situation… half jokingly “if” there was a PA… he’s into PA’s and lights though… he geeks out with sound techs.)
Reid comes back out, points around the side of the building to load in… I guess we’ll park near the white school bus.
5 Stories has a school bus! It’s pretty cool looking… not sure how practical on gas but we’re all sorta jealous of how it looks… blue LED’s on the inside and stuff.
We go in and the 5 Stories guys are set up and testing out the PA. Super nice guys!
… and now the reality this is a legion hall show starts setting in.
It’s a rectangular room with folding tables and easily stackable chairs around the perimeter… and a wooden patch in the middle for dancin’.
The PA is simple… and realize we probably only need to (should… can…) put vocals and maybe kick drum through it… which is fine with me.
We load in and then have a quick van meeting.
… this is a Sunday night in a rescheduled venue last minute to make this show happen…. and I see on Facebook at least one person is driving 5+ hrs to come see us.
One of the things I’d do if I had a time machine (aside from see dinosaurs) would be to see some of my favourite bands in small clubs before the they took off… so that’s where my head is at with shows like this… I can’t remember who said it but “play clubs like arenas and arenas like clubs”… I agree 100%.
… so we decided we’d do what we’ve been doing since we left hope a couple weeks ago… have people talking the next day… letting people know “they missed it”.
… and then next time we come through, aim to have 5X the amount of people out.
We quickly set up and did a sound check (playing 2nd of 3 bands)… which was good practice since I’ve been working on getting my “in-ears rig” in better shape to quickly carry on/off stage.
… we played Every Lie (MDD tune).
… we played it really well too… not that I didn’t think we would, but all things considered with the PA situation… it felt good and it sounded good.
The energy in the room instantly went up and I think everyone was pretty anxious to get this show going!
… sort of a blur up until we played… I just remember getting our gear up… Reid shot me a look when he was good to go… I hit play on our intro… and I prayed to the music Gods he wouldn't break his knees on the floor here… stages have a little give… that Legion Hall floor is solid… and Reid runs around a lot and definitely needs those 2 pieces in the middle that allow his legs to leg.
I saw a few cameras out during the set… I was hoping people were live streaming… live streaming is super cool and fantastic for bands these days. Some people complain about phones out at shows but… think about it… you’re sharing a “wish you were here” moment… and it was cool having people see our show while it’s actually going on. I’ll try and link to it here... might have to scroll down.
Felt super good about how we played and was happy the guys felt the same.
We packed up and then I hung out at merch for the remainder of the evening. Several people stopped by to say “good job” and put a deposit down on a signed CD… since I had to find the guys.
After the show was great though… people picked up some cd’s and shirts… took pics… we signed a bunch of stuff.
… I’m not saying last-last night (Clarksville) was a bust… but financially, even a show with 30 people in attendance can provide enough for what we’re out trying to do. Quality over quantity… and everyone in attendance last night (Jackson) wanted to be there… opposed to last-last night (Clarksville) where we had trouble getting fists in the air… and it can mess with you mentally.
… so despite it being a smaller show in certain ways… it was a fantastic evening for us to help bounce back morale wise.
… that being said…. this was our 5th show in a row… and I’m a little bummed we aren’t playing tonight… although I’m sure Reid’s voice could use the rest… as he and Dane are singing songs… live streaming on Facebook.
… 40 mins until we make it to the hotel. We need to do laundry BAD and… probably hang out at the pool. Tomorrow we’re off to Joplin to do radio… we won a poll there a few weeks ago “4 O'Clock Fights) so it’s pretty awesome we can actually stop by!
I might do another blog post tonight… but we’ll see… nothing too exciting today… maybe I’ll get loopy and tell a story at 5am… talk about how I bought 36 Sharpies for $12 today.
- Mike :-)
P.S. I tried the #2 setting on my beard trimmer... twice a year I think it'll be a good idea... and I always regret it half-a-face in.
January 29, 2017 - 2:42pm
… so I meant to do this in the morning… I woke up around 9am to grab hotel breakfast (aka oatmeal) and handle some emails. We got some good news and some urgent news… next thing I knew it was 11:30am (1pm checkout) so I thought going to the pool for 30 minutes sounded like a better idea.
… gotta live a little… can’t work all the time.
… well… “all” all the time.
… I pretty much feel like I work all the time… but it’s for a good cause!
So the good news… since we arrived in the US our socials have been very active… and since Three Days Grace gave us a shoutout on their Facebook page, it’s only picked up more… and still picking up!
… and that was still after Octane put us in Test Drive and then Accelerator.
These are all good things.
… the next on our list of “things that’d be very cool” was to get on Octane Big ‘Uns countdown… scrolling through my Facebook notifications this morning, I saw it.
One of the things about what we’re doing so far is accepting… “there are no independent bands on those charts.”
… and there aren’t really.
… so to see us at #15 on that chart… behind bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Starlet, Ghost, Chevelle, and Metallica… I was ear to ear grinning… and now wondering how do I share this on our socials… and how long until Reid sees it and tells me… lol.
It’s awesome though… the response has been great for the music and the band…. and even though it feels sometimes you reach out to people and don’t get a response… just keep at it… keep doing you... keep making it better… everyday, make whatever you’re doing better… general maintenance included!
… now that I’m thinking about it... what I’m noticing is a lot of bands either rest on small victories, when they should’ve already moved onto their next task… or they expect big moves to happen sooner.
… "one week you’re in a van, next week you’re headlining shows in a bus" type of thing.
… it doesn’t work like that... and if it does... you'll wish it hadn't when the wave is over.
It’s about constant and consistent steps forward… and even if you take a few steps back (or just feel like they’re steps back), you realize they’ll have added up to forward to momentum.
… Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks comes to mind.
That’s what it’s like being in a band that’s made it a career choice… it’s not always graceful, but it’s what gets you moving forward.
We’re all pretty stoked though about it… #15 on the Sirius XM Octane Big ‘Uns Countdown… and if you can guess what our next goal in mind is...
… we’ll see.
So yesterday… driving through the night in order to make the show yesterday caught up to us… which is why I went to sleep without posting.
… I gotta sleep a bit more… either in the van or at venues along with hotel.
The rest of the drive to Clarksville was easier… the promoter wanted us there for 1:30pm… we had it pushed back to 3pm… I kept looking at the GPS as we were leaving the hotel (5 hr stay!) and couldn’t do the time math… wasn’t that tired… but… TIME ZONE CHANGE!!
We gained an hour.
So instead of being 30 mins late, we were now 30 mins early.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter but if you’re trying to be professional, you do your best to be places on time… and for shows, sometimes it’s an early load in so the techs/crew have time to grab dinner before the show.
… which totally makes sense.
We arrived at a giant silver barn looking structure that is The Warehouse.
… was sorta expecting someone to have a bus… just so used to seeing buses from Age Of Days tours for headliners… but there was a van and trailer that turned out to be Kissing Candace’s.
We hopped out of our van, shook hands, made friends… apparently A Killer’s Confession (headliner) wasn’t there yet.
… maybe traffic or bus problems.
We loaded in and I set up off to the side… apparently 6 bands total tonight...
… I understand promoters try and throw a bunch of bands on shows to help get people out… reality is, they often don’t bring people out… unless they’re asked to sell tickets in order to play... which does get people out but has it's own catch(es).
… 6 bands is too many bands on any evening. Luckily there was tons of space side stage for gear… seriously, 6 drum kits in there… and still space to walk around… but with 6 bands, and 15 minute change overs… that’s an hour of change over… for an evening that’s (responsibly) 5hrs long.
(… yes, I’m old and think headliners should be done by midnight. *cough*)
The bands were decent and super nice at least…and I should also mention this show was a late add for us and from the sounds of it, AKC.
It was pretty cold in there so we all had our coats on most of the afternoon… we heard from the “backup sound guy” to just load our amps/cabs up in order and we’ll backline everyone that way, then put drums up for each band.
… ok cool… I’m ready to go… so I sat down on the couch and dozed off.
… this is the new plan. If I have time to sleep… sleep I will!
Attendance was a little light… but doors were early… 7pm… we weren’t on 'til 9:45pm, so we had time wander around for a bit.
… the opening bands were pretty heavy.
… like… a lot heavier than us.
I’d listened to AKC and KC before agreeing to take the show (would’ve been an off-day otherwise), but these opening bands were heavy.
I’ve been here many times before so I don’t worry… but a lot of bands out there freak out a little thinking they need to match “the heavy”… or magically become “heavier”.
The trick and I guess, reality… if you’re a pro band, you should be able to match your audience’s expectations/energy, but at the core, I think your show is your show. If you have good songs, even if someone doesn’t like them, or you, or the style of music… there’s a lot of people who will at least acknowledge when a bands is “good”… or played well... and hopefully entertaining.
I should also mention… if you haven’t checked out A Killer’s Confession or Kissing Candace… you maybe should… it’ll help put things into context.
… because the opening acts were HEAVIER than them.
… ok… our time to set up and do our thing.
We were finally into the 30min set we’d actually rehearsed prior to learning about some headliner (60min) sets.
The sound was good… stage was great… I thought we played really well.
…. crowd was tough though.
There was applause but it was difficult for Reid to get them to engage in some of our crowd response moments… which is fine… play Toronto enough, and you get used to people simply staring at you with their arms crossed… to only unfold them to clap or use their smartphone.
… 9/10 times it’s ok though… if people really don’t like you, you’ll know.
… this was just a bit quieter than what we’ve been use to so far.
… I will say the highlight was hearing a guy half yell in his buddies ear… “I thought this was a metal show??”
… and it was! We were just the mellowest metal band at the metal band ball…. and if anything, we made AKC and KC sound that much heavier.
Not saying I don’t think we can sound heavy… we’re just a different kind of heavy. :-) <— emoticons, not metal... I know.
We got compliments from both KC and AKC after our set though… that meant a lot… like, one of the bands wears masks and is “covered in blood and fluid stains”… meanwhile the headliner’s kit is “covered in blood splatter”… you know... metal.
… we rank in (probably literally at this point) as unshowered and I have chippy nail polish.
It was good though… after merch we had a post show powwow in the parking lot.
High on the list was “did they like us?” and “were we heavy enough?”
I say we have a lot of energy in our set… and that translates… and I think we have good songs… so even if someone isn’t wild about our brand of “heavy”… they’ll be entertained.
It was good though… I think it was good.
… and like all the shows so far… it wasn’t long until a few people came up and let us know they drove a while to see us.
I was pushing to run over to Arby’s (coming back asap obviously)… I was starving by this point… but we ended up sticking around and the promoter got us a pizza from the kitchen.
… that’ll do.
Again, attendance was light so doing the math... and we were a late addition to a show thrown together late… so I considered that pizza as payment…. and merch sales were looking like $0.
… all that being said, AKC and KC had pretty sweet merch setups… and they have way more overhead that us so they need those merch sales too.
… a tide can lower all ships as well.
(We ended up selling 1 CD as I was packing up our merch... better late than never!)
Everyone put on a solid performance still though… and that’s what you do… you create a moment for this in attendance to… as always… have people telling people the next day “you missed it.”
We said our goodbyes… not sure anybody noticed… the promoter and staff seemed pretty into the “punch strength game”… pretty entertaining actually.
We need food… I was ok from the pizza but the guys were still hungry.
… Wendy’s… McDonald’s… Taco Bell.
(… damn democracy and peer pressure.)
I’ll admit Taco Bell hot sauce reminds me of a lot of good times in high school... but it’s not high on my list right now… and drive-thru Taco Bell is even lower.
… but they do that Doritos Taco Bell shell thing… so I figure now is as good a time as ever to cross that off my bucket list.
… note to self... re-evaluate bucket list items.
In bed by 2:30am I think… somehow it got that late, that fast. I’ve accepted we’re in bed between 2-4am on this trip… something to keep in mind driving after shows or hotels in general.
Now that we’re all caught up… I’ll go back to staring into the void as we roll down highway 44 towards Jackson… just saw a sign… 44 miles.
- Mike :-)
January 28, 10:09 am, 2017
I only have 10 minutes to do this so I'm taking a risk and writing it right in the website... I've lost a lot of LOoooOoOOooonnnnng blogs that way unfortunately... but whatever... gotta live on the edge right?
So I'll sorta work my way backwards... since I just woke up 10 minutes ago... and when I wake up... yesterday becomes a blur.
We arrived at the hotel at 5am and "bus call" is 10:30am. We're playing in Clarksville tonight and it's a 7hr drive... which you can't really do in one shot when you're a band of 4 with no crew and basically 1 driver... so (if it's safe) it's best to break it up, quick sleep, then do the rest in the morning.
I was hoping we'd have to be at the venue a little later since we're opening... like 4-5pm... but we were originally asked to be there at 1:30pm.
... got it pushed back to 3pm... which is definitely better than nothing. We all grumble about these kind of short hotel stays, but it's mainly for the driver (Brendan) to get a rest.
It's a team though... I nodded off a few times last night... I just all of a sudden realize I'm asleep.
It's tough... especially after playing a show... and trying to get out of there as soon as you can, without disrespecting anybody... especially the headliners/our new tour mates Another Lost Year.
We grabbed McDonald's after the show for a quick meal / anything to eat at 1am that's fast and "affordable".
... I forgot what they consider a medium size drink.
... I was hoping coke would keep me awake but... it's just a silly size for "medium"... the caffeine works for a bit.
Overall a smooth drive... we ended up listening to Les Claypool side projects near the end... an awesome and not awesome combination when you're tired and it's 4am.
The show was good... a little bitter sweet... we had no idea the venue was set to close in a few weeks.
... like so many in Toronto, it sounds like condos are eating up the real estate.
We played well... and it was nice seeing people in Never Say Die shirts and singing along in the front... already.
Great stage, great venue, out front sounded great... I don't mean to call anybody out but we all had similar comments about the guy working monitors (aka sound on stage).
The monitor beside me was just puking bass... I looked over several times so I could motion him to turn it down... not so much for me, but for the actual monitor... it's not good for it. The other guys looked over at him as well to turn things up/down.
... and there he was... praying behind the console... a soft glow on his face.
... if I had his number I would've texted him... then maybe he would've got it.
See... the thing is... if you're doing monitors, it's supposed to be a bonus because you have someone able to help out with the sound on stage in real time... not just a prop console.
We all have enough experience that we can roll with it... one of my pet peeves is when people right after complain they "couldn't hear anything on stage"... sure... that's most shows up to a certain point though... you can argue it affects your show... but really, it's minor. After a while, you listen for certain things and you just play to that.
I play to my click and lead vocal.
I practice the entire set to just click and our tracks... not full songs... I know how the songs go.
Pick a couple things as your guide, then it gets down to how well you've prepared yourself.
... I thought we still played well though... really well actually... personally (as in myself) much better than last night (Fayetteville).
Oh... we were on second so we had to quickly set up drums and sound check.
I get set up... sit down.
... no sticks... no stick bag???
I know it's somewhere... but dark stage and red stick bag should be easy to find.
Experience told me to break up my sticks into 2 places just incase.
So I grabbed them... as in two pairs... and got to work.
This might not seem like a big deal, but I leave my sticks facing up in the bag... now I can't... and I refuse to put the spare/safety on my kick drum... they always roll off... so if I drop/break a stick... people are gonna notice.
Things were fine though and of course, after, behind the back curtain where my hardware case was... stick bag.
Opening band (Skipper The Lion) was pretty good... we were a little concerned what type of show this was going to be as they were dressed like common alternative bands in tight pants and plaid long sleeve shirts... we ware black.
We didn't arrive in our stage clothes and were a little late but there's Dane and I making chitchat with them as we strip down to our undies in the green room, semi-frantically getting changed into our stage clothes.
... again... been asked many times... "are you guys political activists or some kind of band?"
We joke we're a metal band.
... anyway, they had a great set and seemed to enjoy ours as well.
Another Lost was great.
The musicianship aside, the stage banter / crowd interaction is what sets pro bands apart.
Until you're a legit A+ headliner, you're always trying to "win the crowd"... you do this between songs. #realtalk
It's their hometown and the venue (I think) they played their first show at is closing so there's lots to talk about... but you just get drawn in when people are so comfortable on stage cracking jokes and making small talk with the audience between songs.
Space between songs is ok... don't fear the space... if you're fronting a band... this is your place to shine.
Last thing I'll mention from the day... post office... I think I was in there for 40 minutes... which sorta messed up our schedule... but we keep getting orders and I keep needing to get them in the mail. The US ones were quick but the one we had to send overseas... so much clickin' and clackin' on the keyboard... might have to rethink our mailing strategy... too hard on show days... even though we only had a 3.5hr drive.
... speaking of... it's 10:35am and I don't hear anybody.
P.S. Not proofreading... gotta go!!
P.P.S. This isn't all for me... I grabbed food for everyone... the staff didn't question my actions. #TeamWork
January 27, 3:56 am, 2017
... hopefully in bed by 5am... which isn't too bad considering I was up at 9am.
Based on how I feel right now... I need to let everyone know that I'm going to do my very best to keep this daily blog going.
I need sleep though...
The next few weeks are looking pretty busy (5-6 shows a week), plus drives... I'm just not sure I'll be able to keep up with the daily entries.
Playing is one thing... but also handling logistics, merch, and tour managing... it's becoming too much to juggle all that and not feel like I'm going to crash... I passed out a few times in the van today... despite having a great nights sleep (all things considered), it's nice being able to nap when you feel like it...
... I'm struggling to stay awake right now and tonight we were done at a reasonable hour!
... days are also becoming a blur... the way I notice is I can't keep straight what's around the hotel(s). The days feel really long... even thinking about the hotel this morning and the hotel this evening... aside from the name being different...
So about today.... short (3.5 hrs) travel day!
Speaking of... I thought it was a really nice drive today... went through the mountains... just wicked views out the window. Some guys weren't a fan of how high we were, some of the curves on the road, and thinking about the possibility of going through the guardrail and off a cliff.
... well... just don't think of that!! lol.
Made it to the venue on time (6:30pm)... but apparently felt late. All 4 other bands (and their van and trailers) were already there.
I was a bit surprised there was 5 bands on the bill tonight... but part of me knows what that means... show runs behind schedule... we go on super late... and most likely to nobody since the bands go home.
... this is a week night... not a weekend.
... that being said, the bands were all pretty good and we only went on 20 minutes late.
I'm skipping a lot because I keep zoning out on the lobby couch... and I'm afraid I'll fall asleep here... it's a pretty comfy couch....
... I really hope I open our hotel room door and the guys are asleep... they stay up late, but lord knows I'd be in bed 20 mins after arriving here if I could.
... but I can't... I have other things I'd like to/need to do tonight but I'm going to try and do them in route to the venue if necessary.
... yeah... I think I'll go to bed and do it in the morning... unbelievably tired right now... sorry gang!
I will say this... we loved the venue (@TheDrunkHorsePub) and hope to make it back in 4-6 months... and hopefully pack the place!
Other bands on the bill were solid. We were a little envious of their gear... but we all know, don't bring anything precious on the tour... things get lost, things go missing... plus we simply don't have that kinda space without a trailer.
I'll leave it on this... even though I thought we played well (as a band), I didn't think I played very well personally. Reid was asking me what I thought of the show... he could tell my mind was somewhere else afterwards.
It's nothing about anybody else, and there were no glaring hiccups on my end... it's just a personal thing... you know when you're on it, and you now when your mind is wandering and/or you don't feel great. lol.
I think that's the main thing though. Reid could tell I was thinking something... but truth is, I just didn't feel like I played very well... nothing major, just something person. I'll nail it tomorrow!
Ok... I need to get to sleep... hopefully we're' in a better spot in the summer and we can travel with not only a van/trailer, but hopefully (maybe) we have a tour manager/FOH (front of house aka sound person)... or at least a few more pieces of the puzzle together. It's a lot of work... but I/we signed up for it!
... this couch is comfy... I'm 90 degrees away from being asleep.
P.S. I had to re-read/edit this in the morning... it's 9:08am... it was a mess with typos... I usually don't care that much but... this was pretty bas. lol. Alright.. back to sleep for an hour then down to the ol' business center. We have a bunch more cds we need to get in the mail today!
January 26, 2017 - 3:53am
Going to be a shorter post... need to get as much sleep as I can tonight... 4-5 hr drive tomorrow.
Beautiful day in Staunton, VA to start the day. Had a 3ish hour drive to Beckley. Seems like a bit of a blur but I think it was mainly driving... driving and talking... and working. There are 4 of us in the van and we have started taking on some responsibilities.
Reid is focusing on reaching out radio stations/program directors, Dane is searching whatever we need, Brendan is driving, and I'm doing socials and graphics... all this while rolling down the highway at 65MPH.
Heard Octane was playing 'Like A Nightmare' a few more times as well... several people have mentioned it including people at the show tonight... not complaining... pretty stoked actually.
Made it to Beckley and went to Bob Evan's for lunch... ham and cheese sandwich w/ a garden salad.
(... doing alright eating wise so far!)
The hotel is right beside the Bob Evan's so I had time to have a power nap before heading to the venue.
... I can't say much about Muncheez... except it was pretty relaxed.
Yup... pretty chill in there.
So, similar to the first show, we hopped on a weekly "open mic" show where we were a featured guest. They brought couple local bands out as well... seemed pretty young but they sounded good and looked liked they had a great time!
... we were all pretty excited to play... been a lot of days off it feels like... sorta because it was.. but we also started an intense part of the schedule tomorrow... 5-6 shows a week for the next couple weeks.
... felt really good in soundcheck so I knew tonight would be a good show. Some rooms just make the drums "feel" better. If you play drums, you know what I"m talking about.
... too many highlights... really... but a couple... they had WWE on the TV and I caught myself watching it and zoning out... at one point a random guy came up on stage and tapped me on the shoulder to throw me the horns... I had no idea what was going on but he scared the crap out of me.
... the second... remember when Reid bought a new guitar? Well... it had an accident tonight at the end of the set and the headstock broke... so he took a couple more swings are it and that was that. Still, $65 well spent in my books... hopefully someone got it on camera!
We had to wait until a couple more people doing open mic were done before we could strike our gear. In hindsight... we should've struck the drums before going to merch. Merch did awesome but now ti's 3:42am.
Finally loaded out at 2am, said our goodbyes to a few more people and venue staff.
... good times.
Not that I forgot but huge THANK YOU to everyone who drove multiple hours to see us. You rock.... seriously... you rock and the world needs more people like you. We haven't hit a major low yet, but again, the response so far has been awesome... 3 shows in... can't wait to hit 30.
We hit the gas station on the way back to the hotel since we were all starving.
... gas station dinner... ham and cheese sandwich.
Quick shower... quicker blog and I think it's bed time.
... things really start tomorrow... there's a long drive in there too.. 8 hrs or something over the weekend... we'll see how that goes.
January 25, 2017 - 12:05am
I have a confession...
... I took the pen.
I discovered we had a similar but not the same pen in our hotel room... so I took it down to the business center, and swapped it out. I think Dane was with me when I did and I think he knows me well enough to not question it.
There are a lot of things that can appear similar but don't feel the same. If you play an instrument... you understand... 10 guitars that are "the same" but certain ones just feel better... same with (I Am Canadian) hockey sticks... there can be 20 on the rack... I'll pick up every single one and put the ones that feel good off to the side.
... anyways... it wasn't about the guilt of taking the pen, it was the guilt of someone in the business center not having a pen if they needed... meanwhile in the room, the cleaning staff would replace it.
... this is how my brain works.
I got the pen though.
... although, I think I traded my gym shoes for it... or at least I think that's what happened. #karma
We were up at 6am to do radio in Harrisonburg/92.1 WTPA for 10am. It was a few hours drive but a big part of this tour is being able to stop in at stations to chat and pass our record along.
We made it there in record time (no pun intended) to find the radio station was run out of a house... like, the rooms had been converted... it was pretty cool!
We met with Bob Waters, he put the album on and we chatted about the past, present, and future of Never Say Die.
Some of these are quicker and/or unnecessarily longer than other, but getting up at 6am, driving 3hrs, then chatting for 10-15mins about your music in a legit radio station is totally worth it. Both sides get it, but also both sides want to support each other. There were plaques and posters from bands like Halestorm and Disturbed on the walls so there's some common ground to chat about... and good company to be in!
Does this mean you'll get spins? Not necessarily... there's still a lot of things that play into whether you might get a feature or an add... but regardless... you want to try to get some ears on your music... and they hear a lot of great music... but even then, I think they want to give a helping hand to bands and artists they like and feel deserve it.
... and what we're doing sounds sorta crazy on paper... new band, release a record 3 months later, then head out on tour for 2+ months.
... we're making a statement though... bold actions and big risks... we came down here to grind it out and support our music... building the wings on the way down.
Bob complimented us on the hustle.
I'm glad we made it... mad props to Brendan for forcing himself to sleep in order to get the drive done.
We went to Jimmy John's for lunch... sandwiches/subs are $5.. we don't have these in Canada.
I'm in love.
You order, they make it, and almost before you finish paying, it's ready... no picking additional toppings or waiting for your number to be called... you have a sammy in your hands before you know it.
... so in love.
Hotel's in Staunton, PA to help break up the drive... I passed out a couple times the rest of the way... I really hate falling asleep in the passenger seat... it's a pet peeve of mine... your job should be to be a second set of eyes for the driver... my eyes were too heavy though... and I'd realize I'm asleep after it's too late.
About half way through the second leg of the drive, I realized I didn't remember packing my gym shoes... and odds are if I didn't grab them, nobody else did.
On all the trips I'd brought them, this was THE FIRST time I'd actually used them. My guess is they got knocked under the foot of the bed... and missed on the dummy check... since I didn't check under the beds.
... way she goes.
For bands out there, one of the things I do, is keep moving "our" things towards the exit when we're packing up... that way things don't get left behind. It's one thing to take care of your own stuff, but in the chaos, try to be that second set of eyes. It's always better someone asked "who moved my..." opposed to "Did anybody see my..."
Anyway, I made peace with it quick... again... don't bring anything on tour you aren't prepared to lose, destroy, or have leave you.
Godspeed gym shoes... I hope you find yourself in a donations big... you are in good shape... while I am not.
We hung out at the hotel for a bit working our socials... discovered we were added to a new poll for a station in Minnesota... if we win, we're put into rotation so we went into beast mode to get our numbers up... we started at 1.27% or something... went out for dinner at 60%.
... it's a blessing and curse having competitive people in a band... the blessing is when we work as a team... the curse is when we challenge other over stupid things... like running up a hill.
There's a mall across the street and looks like I might find some gym shoes there... I'm determined to spend at least 30 mins in a gym on off days... and I'm determined to return home in better shape than I left for a change.
Made it into the mall just before they were closing the doors/gate.
... it was quite a search for men's running shoes.
... found some... salesman tried to upsell me a little but I settled on a pair of black and red Nike's for $50... or so I thought... he rang them up and I saw $41 come up.
(... start the car.)
Then the question came...
"... so are you guys in a band or something?"
We definitely look like we're in a band.
I will say, of all the years with Age Of Days, we were never asked as much if we were in a band as we have in a week... then again, maybe it's because Age Of Days usually had access passes/laminates on.
Yeah we're in a band.
... there was the other time we were asked if we were "political activists" but that was more funny than anything... because we totally look like it when we're in our stage clothes... dress code... black/grey.
So post shoe buying... we were trying to decide between Clown and Applebee's. I just wanted a salad and something quick in order to hit the gym before they closed.
It's funny how much you can talk about not wanting to go to McDondald's as you're walking to McDonalds... it was closer though... and we haven't really been yet on this trip... aside "awesome Walmart parking lot day."
... 2 double cheeseburgers, and salad. $5
Made it back to the hotel and gym in time... I sorta like the gym because I can listen to music, audiobook, or watch youtube game reviews for a bit. So far it's where I can "not work" for an hour.
I'm now sitting in yet another hotel lobby... finishing my day... bed by 1am.
Oh! I should mention incase you're wondering... YES! Yes we do intend on playing shows on this tour.
There was a hiccup at the beginning and ALY (Another Lost Year) requested to push back the start date a week. Being Canadians, we had to cross on the 18th so booking found a couple short notice dates.
Is it expensive for us to be out without any shows? In short, yes... but we're out for a while anyway... so it's the same as if we played some horrible shows to nobody... you just don't have the knock to your ego or get to (at least) practice.
I don't mind... mainly because looking at the schedule, we're pretty much "go, go, go" the next 3 weeks.
... and that's where stories come from.
- Mike :-)
P.S. Oatmeal again for breakfast.
P.P.S Dane wanted to do other things at McDonald's.. but we compromised on this... he was allowed to wear this McWreath for the duration of one burger... or 45 seconds... whatever came sooner. We love you Dane.
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!