When i say Sake, you say bomb.
This is how touring goes in the early years. Gigs are never an hour apart from each other. Your tour map resembles a sadistic game of twister, and most of your time, as a tour manager, is spent staring at your cell phone and calculating how much time is left before you're sposta be at your gig. My new pastime is looking at a highway sign for a town that we're driving by and google map-ing it to our destination. 600 miles left. 500 miles left. ad nausium.
We departed Portland at 11pm on Wednesday, knowing we were in for a ride. We would be traveling to Los Angeles, just shy of 1,000 miles. We needed to be there by 7:30pm.... 20 hours to make the 18 hour drive. When i awoke, we were somewhere near Sacramento, and i was happy because no one had woken me up at an Agriculture checkpoint upon entering Cali. This was a point of interest to me because we were traveling on expired license plates, as well as a dog, and lots of food, all potential problems if we were stopped. Having made it without issue into the state, i decided the day was going well. Tim our driver was a trooper, only sleeping an hour an a half the whole time. Things were going right on track up until about 2 hours to go. Our bus, which had been running thru the California heat for about 18 hours decided it was tired, and began to overheat every 5 miles or so.... this could be bad.
Google Maps... Cell Phone... Google Maps... Cell Phone.
With 40 minutes before we were due to arrive, we were still 90 miles out. I called the venue to let them know we were "almost there." And i had the guys start bringing their gear out to the front lounge of the bus... any time we could spare. Long story short (too late, i know) we didnt make it to our destination until about 5 minutes before we were supposed to play. Furiously we set up, and lost only 15 minutes of our set time. Congrats was due. We made it to the City of Angels in one piece.
Highlight of the night: After our gig was over, an entourage of people came back to check out our bus... somewhere in the mix, a tranny found her way on to our sweet ride, and began asking if anyone would like any choice sexual acts performed on them. We persuaded her off the bus, but things escalated when she began yelling at Jeff's Pit Bull puppy Izzie. Words were had, spit flew through the air, cops were called. This all of course peeked when the tranny yelled "Suck my pussy!" to which Jeff retorted "are you sure it's not a dick" to which she dropped trou to let us all see.
The next day was a blast. Jeff made reservations at Tokyo Delve, a sushi bar, famous for their Sake Bombs, and theatrics as you eat. A fantastic time was had by all as we chugged our beer at marathon speeds, danced the chicken dance, and enjoyed some great food. We went bar hopping down Sunset After that, having a quick drink at the famous Whiskey where bands such as Mötley Crüe began their way to success. Thanks to the lovely Brett Wulfson, we ended up at a VIP after party at the Roxy, and ended the night with some pizza from the famous Frankie and Johnny's.
We said goodbye to LA, and headed to my most anticipated stop, San Diego, California. Home to surfers, amazing weather, wildfires, and of course my sister, brother-in-law and my baby niece Autumn. For the first time this tour, i left the vicinity of the bus, and went to chill and have dinner with my family. It was a nice break to be away from everyone for a little while, and to see Autumn! She's gotten so big since 5 weeks old (last time i saw her) and she's smiling and trying to crawl and talk. Seriously, its totally awesome to have a niece. After dinner, i met up with everyone near Lestat's the venue that we would be playing at the following evening. I saw famous singer/songwriter Gregory Page, whom i know through my sister and had a chat with him, inviting him to the show.
Sunday afternoon, Jeff and Floyd did some surfing at OB, while i did some exploring, and we all finally indulged in the Mexican food we were all craving. We headed back to home base, and gathered everyone up for the gig, which we have been anticipating since the tour started.
Lestat's is a cool joint. A local 24 hour coffee house/music venue, it holds host to a vast array of characters that hang out both inside and out on the patio. Passersby linger outside the doorways to listen to new music, deciding to pay the cover or not based on what they hear. The night was opened for us by the talented Anna Troy, whom i had the distinct pleasure of chatting with later in the night. Hopefully we see more of Anna on the east coast this summer, hooking up for a few shows in the Northeast. Shortly before the set began i also had the pleasure of watching the 2007 Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the second time in 4 years. GO SOX! Jeff and the guys played a great, and very well received set at Lestat's and we are excited to return there again next time around.
Monday had arrived, and we headed to El Cajone, California, the home of Taylor Guitars. We were treated to a private tour of the factory, and got to see how these amazing guitars are constructed. It was really fascinating to see the stages of the product, literly from planks of wood, all the way to finished guitar. We got to see their new line of electric guitars, not yet available to the public as well, which was a real treat (they are absolutely beautiful). At the end of the tour, we landed ourselves in a room of guitars that we could just play. This was especially cool for me, for a couple reasons. Reason Number one, is i got to play a Taylor 914ce. This particular model is the guitar that Dave Matthews plays, and iv always wanted to play one. Its a $6,000 guitar, and now i know why. It was so freaking cool to bust out some DMB licks on that thing, and almost heartbreaking when it was offered to me for a meer $2000 dollars. You dont know how badly i wanted to buy it. Reason Number two however, is because i did buy a guitar. Oh yeah. I got me a Taylor.
I'v wanted a Taylor for awhile now, and iv been amping myself up to just finally spend the money and get it. This was the perfect opportunity. By chance, the first guitar that was pulled out, was the one i fell in love with immediately. I'm not the proud owner of a 2007 Taylor 420ce Limited Edition Koa Dreadnought. It's absolutely gorgeous, i love it, and i know its not something im going to regret buying. I mean, come on.... look at that thing.
We left San Diego, and hightailed it for Phoenix, AZ. A bit of hilarity ensued. At one point, we couldnt figure out what time it was. Now... when you hear about something like this, your inclined to laugh, and poke some fun at those who are in the predicament, thinking, how could they not know the time. But seriously...we had no idea. 8 people on the bus, everyone's cell phone changing to different times...we didnt know if it was quarter to midnight, or quarter to one. It finally took me logging on to Greenwich Mean time on the net to determine that while the rest of Mountain Standard Time was at quarter to 1, Phoenix did not observe daylight savings, and therefore it was quarter to 12. Glad that was cleared up.
I awoke at 4:50am and trudged out to the lobby of a Red Roof Inn to rent a room for 6 hours. The guys would be appearing on Good Morning Arizona this morning, and needed a shower to look dapper. We had a great television performance, and after catching up on a bit of sleep, and getting a little sushi in our stomaches, we made our way to The Red Owl, in Tempe for our gig.
2E+BLB played one of the best sets iv heard them play tonight, and Tempe, AZ loved us on a Tuesday night. We've loaded up the bus once again, and we are on our way to Taos, NM where the temperature is half of what it is in Phoenix. We'll be blowing the dust off our space heater in no time.
This may sound odd, but im really psyched that its a 10+ hour drive to Taos... im so used to long drives, that in a way they are comforting. They allow everyone a chance to chill and relax. There is nothing we can do but sit and drive, and maybe do a little internet work or makes some phone calls. We know it will be hours before we have to unload and play a show, we can catch up on sleep, or personal matters. We listen to music, joke around, watch movies, and just take in the road. There something to that... maybe you have to be on tour to appreciate it.
Speaking of catching up on sleep.