A Dream State….

Yeah im up early because work begins before I know it. Anyways, aside from my usual blogs about music and traveling I decided I wanted to post a blog about something else that fascinates me,…..Dreams! Since I was a kid I learned the art of Lucid Dreaming. Its basically where you are asleep but you know you are dreaming and you can control what happens in your dreams. Its like a fully realistic feeling but in a dream world.

When I was around 6 years old I started having the re-occurring dream that I died in a plane crash. When I was 6 I didnt know anything about Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly or The Big Bopper but this dream always haunted me. In my dreams I was in a plane traveling because I was a rockstar. Yeah its been my dream since i was a kid. Who would know that now I work for them eh? LOL. When I first saw the movie La Bamba I was fascinated with the story of how he dreamed the same thing I did but constantly. I always thought I was the only one. So when I saw that I really got a lil scared. My thought was that when I turned 27 years old I was going to die. So I tried to avoid airplanes as much as I could be that was NOT the case for me! I think this recurring dream is what made me learn the art of lucid dreaming although I had no idea what lucid dreaming was when I was a kid.

Years would pass and I would have that dream still but less and less to where I rarely have it. Now I never have that dream anymore. Another of my recurring dreams was that I was as light as air and I wouldnt walk but I could bounce or float through the air. Here is a strange one I still have to this day. I still dream at times that I am in a car or truck but im not driving it. I am in the passenger seat and no one is driving but the vehicle isnt moving wildly but actually following the road as if a ghost were driving. Then I would move over and drive. Its strange! Before I got my first guitar I used to dream about owning a Kramer guitar just like Eddie Van Halen’s. In the mornings when my mom or dad would wake me up for school they said I would be in bed asleep but my hands were positioned in the air as if I was playing a guitar. Then I read that Eddie Van Halen used to have dreams like that as well and I thought that my destiny would have me in music. Well, it does just not as a star but as their right hand man.

Ive also had dreams were I have talked to the dead. Mostly my grandfather. Honestly im not even sure if it was a dream or just some supernatural phenomena I experienced but it was real as if I could feel my grandfather putting his hand on my shoulder and giving me a hug. Usually those dreams were when I was younger and needed direction in life. For instance, when i last saw my grandfather in a dream he told me he was upset with me because I was drinking like a racehorse. I was drinking around a case and a half of beer a night just by myself. Then smoking cigarettes and on occasion weed. I cleaned up my act after that night. Actually I goofed. It wasnt the last time I saw him. I saw him about a year later and he was happy and laughing with me because I had cleaned up my act. Then he was gone and never saw him again. Maybe it was my mind telling me to stop by belieiving that he told me to or maybe it was him. Who knows.

Another dream I had was pretty bizarre and the outcome from the next day was shocking. Ok you know how on the movies Final Destination where the characters can see into the future how they die? Well this is quite similar. In my dream I lived in an apartment in a city that was unknown. I had woke up for the day and went walking my dog. Why a dog I have no idea because I dont like dogs but it was in the dream. As I was passing a store and a park a plane crashed into the park but it didnt explode. Then suddenly people started jumping out to safety and myself along with other pedestrians helped them. Ok I do NOT sleep with the tv or radio on. I woke up that morning and saw on CNN that a plane had crashed somewhere in the Netherlands I think it was and the plane didnt explode and the people were evacuated safely. I was fucking shocked that I had that dream and then in real life it happened. Coincidence or no? I have no idea but it was freaky.

I had another dream before I had ever gone to Moscow. I was on a motorcycle in this parking lot of a shopping center and across the street was a fast food place aka Mc Donalds lol where i had eaten and walked to the shopping center. I remembered vividly how it looked. When I went to Moscow with Stone Sour we had a few days before the awards and I came across this shopping center that was EXACTLY like I had seen in my dreams. I will post a pic I snapped at the end of this blog. If you notice the entrance which looks almost like a huge tunnel and to the right the somewhat old looking different color walls…thats what i remembered. Even the color. I dont know how this could happen but this seems to be a recurring phenomena for me when it comes to dreams. I dont know how or why but it is very strange.

So to end this blog I ask you the reader……What kinds of strange dreams have you had? Anything that is just totally unexplainable to you? Has anything you dreamed and remembered become or been a reality? ….and, does anyone know why these types of dreams happen? I mean for me to dream a plane crash and then it happens is odd. In addition folks, it is NOT the first time I have had a dream like this with planes. I have dreamed 3 different times of planes crashing and within a few days an airliner would go down. Its just fucking odd. How? Why? Whats the meaning?

If you have the answers or explanations please freely comment because I would love to read your responses.

Well, thanks and I am out to grab some breakfast……

oh and here is the pic….

Moscow SS Tour

A Week To Go….

….and we are off until September 13. I could use a short break again. I think we all could. Right now I have a bottle of Gatorade and it sure is a big help. We already left the Minneapolis/St Paul Area enroute to Columbus OH. Will get a few hours of sleep and then ride the remainder of the way to Columbus.

Was thinking I would pass by the Alrosa Villa Niteclub where Dimebag Darrell was killed. Just to go. His spirit may be roaming around looking for a friendly face. Everything has been going great. Omaha was a great show. Im thinking magic show here! lol….

Is there anything else people would like to suggest I write about? Just curious if my normal content seems a bit boring. Its just me I guess. So if anyone has any suggestions let me know. As long as it is NOT about the current political system in America OR the Iraq War and the soldiers. Ive said my peace on that before and it would just piss off more people. Thankful yes but sick of hearing about it like a broken record.

With all that said, I have traveled 13,800.1 miles motorcycling in a few months time. Quite an accomplishment and I am not sick of it one bit. One reason I am out here now enjoying this life and work. Living my dreams and in October another dream comes true. I get to goto Santiago Chile. Never in my life would imagine I would be going there. Ive been to Rio, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Bogota….etc….but this is the icing on the cake.

All I can say is thank you bosses…..

So anyways thats about it! Once again Ill leave you with a parting shot….

Sunset on the Motorcycle

You Dont Know….

….until you have lived a day in my shoes as a touring crew member. People get this idea that the work is easy and that they could do the job better than us. Those people have come into a tour thinking they know it all beacuse they went to school for it but have never worked a day on the road in their lives and fail miserably. The reason we survive our job is because we have done it day in and day out. Add in experience and we do quite well. Its takes years to adapt to the rigors of concert touring. After your first tour you think, “god I hope I get called on another one.” Some tours are easier than others as I have stated in a past blog. Some tours travel with one or two semis while others such as this tour in particular travel with a fleet! So its not as easy.

This blog comes from a discussion earlier with a friend. Telling me that traveling by motorcycle and touring with a band isnt supposed to be hard. hmmmmmm. how? Ok let me run through a day for you……

4am up for breakfast and unload bikes
5am get on the road
5am to go knows when – riding
4pm or so – arrive at venue, check bike, grab some dinner,
5pm soundcheck
6pm final preparations
7-8pm the show begins
8pm to 11-11:30pm the show
midnight – on the bus to next city
1am – plan routes and wind down
2am or so – sleep
4am – wake up and start over again

So please anyone tell me how you would fit in any free time in that schedule? I was asked why I dont workout while on the road. How? No exercise equipment. Im not spending an hour looking for a gym in not even a member of. We dont always stay in hotels that offer gyms or workout equipment. So that is why and with time restraints.

Sure we dont have to motorcycle but even when we dont and ride on the bus you are tired from the work, the travel and everything in between. This is another reason many stars do NOT have their families on tour with them. Most only travel for a short period of time and then go back home. Outside of motorcycling or riding in the bus there is flying. Try catching a flight from Toronto to Los Angeles and see how great you feel after the flight. Better yet, Boston MA to Osaka Japan…..I bet you wont want to do anything then.

The Road Never Ends

so im sitting here after a long day in Wichita. Im tired, cranky and just a plain asshole right now. I have that right to be. I mean I work all day. I am a “Working Man!” lol…..So ive been going over the plans with the guys and the miles are adding up. Over the course of the few handful of shows up to the end of the month show in Allentown PA the miles add up to an average of 2,349 miles. The rides even going by Interstates are quite lengthy. Just based on averages if I stick to the laid out plans from St Louis to Chicago in general will be 297 miles. From Chicago to Omaha through Des Moines IA will be 468 miles. From Omaha to St Paul will be around 368 miles. St Paul to Columbus OH around 753 miles. Columbus to Allentown PA is 447 miles with a stop possibly in the Weirton WV area to visit a friend and grab some DeeJay’s Ribs lol. This totals not including the trips to Syracuse NY and Holmdel NJ. So you can see the numbers add up.

Im not really complaining. I love the travel but sometimes it does get a little tiring. Im contemplating actually staying in the tour bus and just relaxing maybe a day or so between shows. Possibly from St Paul to Columbus since thats such a long haul. My mind isnt made up just yet. Im just thinking possibilities at this point. Other than that I am having a great time. Always great to meet new people out here. The fans are awesome. Much different from the wild heavy metal kids that start mosh pits and yell obscenities at the crew and others because they feel they are so much better than everyone else. Or the occasional fan that seems to think they know everything then gets mad when they are denied backstage access. As if those kids really NEED to be backstage in the first place. A friend of mine gave me a shirt a while back in Salt Lake City that reads the 10 things crew members hate to hear being asked. I will list them for your enjoyment! lol

10. Do you need anyone extra on the tour?
9. Do you have doughnuts?
8. How many trucks?
7. How long will the out take ?
6. When does the out start?
5. How long is the in?
4. Can I have a stick?
3. Can you hook me up with some picks?
2. Do I look like i don’t know what I’m doing?
1. Do we get any SWAG?

Sadly, crew hear this all the time. like #10. no we dont need any extra people on the tour. #9, no we dont eat donuts all day long asswipe lol….#8, why do you want to know how many trucks? nosey!! lol…..#7, the out will take as long as it takes if your slow and dont know your job lol……#6, the out starts when Alex, Geddy and Neil have left the stage…Pay Attention…lol…….#5, are you really asking this question?….#4, ask Lorne and probably the answer is no. im not stealing you a stick. #3, its always about you..what do i get in return for those picks? money? nope no picks for you! lol…..#2, yes you look like you dont know what your doing. go bother someone else now! lol…..#1, do i look like the SWAG master? lol. hell if I know. ask your steward! lol

So yeah take those answers with a sense of humor because if you think about it, when you get asked those questions daily it can and does get annoying. Every fan would love a stick, a pick and a photo with the band but its just not possible! Sooooo, anyways… lol. The tour break is nearing and this portion of the tour ends Sept 3rd in Holmdel NJ. I fly home sweet home on the 4th and will be there until the 13th before flying back to meet the guys at work in Boston MA. Might even leave a day earlier to see if I can meet up with my friend Rich Bissell.

As much as I would like to keep typing my thoughts, I am tired and really need to get some shut eye so its no movie night for me. Its bunk time and up early tomorrow for the ride to St Louis….home of Budweiser…..yeah that doesnt mean much to me anymore either! lol. I’d rather have a cold Guinness anyday! lol. So i bid you a great weekend and have fun. The everytrail page of my travels has been updated to my most current travel up to St Louis and the next few trips have not yet been finalized with my GPS Dumbass yet. So stay tuned if you really care to know about those routes. Pics I do have. Plenty. I dont really have a great place to post them and share except for the few on Facebook so I will leave a few teaser pics of the last run in Colorado.

Have a great weekend folks. Oh and just a quick note to the Slipknot fans on my subscription list. Slipknot is releasing a new Live DVD in September. The DVD is one of the final performances of the Late Great Paul Gray and is from Download Festival 2009. The DVD cover you will have to see at the site because the admins are being bitchy about us letting out that info in public. The disc will also feature some great footage and videos as well as “The Making Of” videos for each video featured. Will make a great addition to your Slipknot collection and a tribute to Paul. The idea I had for a DVD cover was more dark and featured Paul’s Original Pig Mask with a sweet evolution to his last and final mask. Sadly, you wont ever see that on the cover though. Also, Brenna Gray, Paul’s wife recently gave birth to October Dedrick Gray. Paul is a daddy shinning down on his sweet lil girl right now. So although Paul is gone he is not forgotten and October will be a reflection on his life. I mean, come on…..October’s middle finger ultrasound pic proves she is 100% Gray! lol….

So peace out folks…. enjoy the views….

Concert Touring: The Crew and The Production

you know i have been in the music business for over 10 years and I have worked with some of the biggest names in the business. one of the things that has always pissed me off about being a roadie/tech is ignorant fans. Fans that expect us to cater to them. Fans that expect us to give them free shit and most of all, fans that think they can perform our jobs much better than we do. So this blog is about those ignorant mother fuckers. Sorry, you fans are not all like this but im sure some of you know some people like this. The majority are younger fans like teenagers but the following is my thoughts.

In case you dont know, concert productions are by far a stressful job. The idea of traveling from city to city and country to country sounds awesome and it is but with that comes the rigors of the job. There are plenty of jobs in concert production. From the tour manager and stage manager to the backline techs, sound engineers, lighting and sound techs, FOH (front of house), monitor world…etc….Each of these jobs consists of professionals very skilled in their field. Together we construct a full concert production from an empty arena or venue. Some bands travel with minimum equipiment and use house sound and lighting. This means that most work is just stage props and backline (band gear). Then you take bands like U2 that travel with 15 semis or Rush that travel with 7-8 semis. These productions are full scale and require must more time. At the crack of dawn riggers begin laying out rig points and measuring where points will be placed so that truss, lighting, PA and whatever else the production requires to be in the air can be hoisted up. This involves math and a good eye. As you know every venue is different. Your band may play in front of 12,000 on Monday night and only load 4-5 trucks worth of gear into a venue and then Tuesday night play in an arena capable of holding 20,000 or more people. Then a full 7 truck production goes into play.

There is much more to this than just hanging some chains in the air and hoisting up all the hardware. There is sound and each venue is different. One venue may have great acoustics while the next may have shitty acoustics. A good sound engineer can help compensate for this. For instance Brad Madix. He is a great FOH engineer. I wish I could just record the entire process and let people see just how the job gets done and how stress can get to us. Its not just the work at hand but also family life as well. Being away from home for months and months. Very similar to The Deadlist Catch show where the fisherman are away from home but make really good money. As a roadie the job is hard, stressful and it can be overwhelming. Sound is one thing but getting lighting programmed is also another issue. Before a concert even begins to tour everything must be set up. Lighting structures, video montages, sound setups and monitor world is NOT the same as Front of House. Monitors are designed for the band to hear what they are playing. They dont hear what you hear. Many even using click tracks just to stay on timing.

Concert productions employ local stagehands to help with the building of the show. Usually just known as labor. lol. Never fun when we get FNGs out there either that dont know how to coil snakes or attach PA together to be hung in the air. Most stagehands are experienced and when asked to perform a fucntion they will do as we say. Even after all the PA, sound and lighting is set up and ready to go there still comes the stage and the backline. The techs then re-string guitars, tune and polish and drum techs spend hours depending on the kit putting things together and tuning as well as placement. Then comes mic’ing up all the speaker cabs and drums and getting monitors in place…..you name it…just so much.

By early afternoon or so a crew on top of things can get the show ready to roll and the only thing left is for the band to soundcheck if they get one and then get the show on the road. During the show all crew and techs are on top of their jobs. Making sure the sound is the way it needs to be. Making sure the band can hear themselves through their monitors and ear pieces and all of their equipment is in show condition. This also includes being on instant standby in case the guitarist needs to swtich immediately after a song or in many cases the guitar tech or drum tech may need to trigger certain effects or switch effects patches. Lorne Wheaton does this for Neil Peart of Rush on his drum solos when he changes his Roland V-Drum sounds. Dimebag Darrell’s tech also did this for him triggering and actually performing some of the effects so that Dime didnt have to. RIP Dime…..

I could go on and on about this entire subject. I know most people want to get backstage to meet the band and feel important for a night and others are interested in the full aspect of concert production. Its great when fans appreciate the work we put in for them to even have a show to attend. Doesn’t matter if your spending all day setting up the sound or stage or just spending 3 hours tuning and re-stringing some guitars or basses. Work is work and it has its ups and downs. sure there are the groupies. Women offering sex, blowjobs or money to meet the band. Many crew will accept a groupies offers and take them to the dressing rooms or the bus for a quick fuck. I’d rather not put my cock into a woman that I know absolutely nothing about even if she is the hottest girl to come on to me. Even with a condom. Just not my motif. I’d rather hop on the motorcycle and just ride to the next city as Neil Peart does than hook up with the skanks of the shows. In my opinion, the free pussy is very tempting but certainly not worth the prize. I have a special gal back home that I can be with for those things rather than be a manwhore. lol.

In the beginning I mentioned the idiots. The ignorant fuckers that bitch and call the crew losers. Why? Are you one of those people? Why do you think the crew are losers? We work for the band. We deal with your favorite artists daily and we get to know them on a personal level. In many cases becoming personal friends with them and they ask for us over and over again to tour with them because they like our work ethic. As a fan you work hard and buy your tickets for your favorite show(s). As crew we put those million dollar shows together day in and out for you to come see and rather than blast your stereo with the music we give you a full concert production with 100K’s of power of sound to enjoy for the evening and not only do you get to hear the band raw and live but you can get pics, swag, and if your lucky to be near the stage maybe a drumstick or guitar/bass pick. That is the icing on the cake to your live concert.

One thing fans do is wait by the buses or back door for their favorite bands to come out. Many times you get autographs and pics with them. In other instances you dont. They wont come out until after everyone has left or in many cases like my current bosses, the band leaves the venue immediately after the show. In conclusion we the crew and the band really dont owe you any more than they have already given you. They came to your city. You paid your ticket money and you got a show. Autographs, pics and meet and greets dont always come with that price. Some bands offer meet and greet VIP packages that allow you to meet the band before or after the show and get VIP seating up front with a few other gifts. For a price usually ranging from $200 to $400 and up thats a hefty price to pay but the huge fan will pay it if they see it worth it and worth their money. Nothing wrong with that. Just remember folks, your favorite bands have no problem visiting with you and signing autographs and taking pics. Some artists are not very good with dealing with the public and some altogether choose to exclude themselves from meet and greets of any kind. So before you talk bad about them remember that they deal with that every night and every day and minute of their lives. They might be sick for a few days and dont want to intereact with anyone and then a few days later feel better and get out there and talk with you happily. So dont get pissy if they dont spend 20 minutes or even 5 minutes talking to you. Respect the bands and they will respect you just learn when to not invade their personal space. Not always a good idea to attack a celeb when they are out eating or with their family and kids.

In this business I have met many greats. Bruce Springsteen, George Strait, Billy Joel, Ozzy, Bette Midler, Xtina, Britney Spears…etc to name a few. Many will easily say hi and talk to you but many of them also just appreciate a quick hello and have a good show rather than a full conversation. Learn their body language and if it feels a bit funny then its probably best to not try interaction with them. Many people have cursed their favorite bands because they had bad experiences with some of them. It is easy to catch a rockstar on a bad day. lol……

Think smart and for fucks sake, instead of being an ignorant mother fucker or bitch and calling us crew names, thank us for our hard work. It really is appreciated in the end.