Saturday, July 29, 2006

How long WERE we in Greece?

These pics are all out of order- I just wanted to get up some of Greece for now...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Go EAST, Young man

I'm writing you this BLOG from... hold on ... let me check.... 18,100 ft. above Macedonia!
I'm in a backwards facing seat and can literally reach around and touch the pilot from here in this small jet. Our second flight now on this 8 passenger craft- a cigar tube. So far we've flown in and out of Macedonia. There have been some great surprises on this run in the form of unexpectedly great people from places I've only heard of but knew nothing about. I'll separate this long (make-up) entry into 2 postings: Czech & Slovenia, and Greece & Macedonia. Find these 2 postings below. (Greece might take a while- What a trip!)

Czech Rep.
This was another festival over 20,000 fans stayin up late to rock out. I kinda wish we were in Prague, and this was a small town in the middle of nowhere. This crowd was there for a more metal billing overall, but showed us love none the less. They either didn't know the words or know how to pronounce the words, as the sing-alongs were a little challenged. We got out quickly for the drive to....

Slovenia rocked! It was our own show and the folks there were very ready to see this band. Everything was cheap and the hotel was the most technologically advanced I've ever been in. Everything from videos, internet, movies, even the door unlock was on either the small, intuitive remote control or the matching mini keyboard. Wireless access of course.
Many of you who know me know that I need to get out and be with the locals to really get the best vibe of a country, as opposed to being a hotel room recluse. So I met a great bunch of folks who invited me to a home cooked meal and drinks into the wee hours. Very San Franciscan experience overall if I must say! One girl was about 6ft 3in and is a cop. On the way to dinner I got to experience her highway driving skills firsthand- not that I think I had a choice! A bit scary, but I embrace adventure!
The crowd kicked MAJOR ARSE! We were very close to them with a very minimal pit area, so there was lots of contact and reciprocation. They cheered and cheered and sang. Afterwards I checked out a local scene (The Skeleton Bar) before retiring back to the internet ranch. I ran out of batteries, so no pics here :-(

Thursday, July 13, 2006

2 up in Norway, 1 in Finland

I thought London was expensive-- I obviously hadn't been to Norway before. My god! $14 beers and $100 dinners for 1! For some regular shit! But enough about that... Norway was perhaps one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Click the pics for the bigger versions- So nice!

From when we landed in Haugesund (sp?) to when we played in Skanovik (at the local yearly blues festival), the landscape and fjords and such were breathtaking. Got a few pics. Although there were people puking on the street in Cardiff, Wales, Norway takes the cake so far for the most drunks per capita. And many rude ones too. They did however love the band and filled the tent when we arrived. Apparantly, they love blues and not rock, with Whitesnake being their 1 exception. I do think we could've played jazz flute on stage and they wouldn't have known the difference though. I however wish I had taped the show, as I played my butt off! It was my best show playing-wise- going out on limbs and landing everything I intended to do. I love that and strive to make it so each time I play. Anyways, we did what we call a runner (again) where we run straight off stage to the vehicle- usually to beat festival traffic and get to a long drive ahead. I fucked around and was late to the van. Tommy tore my head off. I shouldn't have been late, but it was really 30 seconds. I'm just not that stressed on time like everyone- never have been. Everyone will survive! But out of respect for others I'm sure I can tighten it up a bit. I'm way more on my game than last tour, for sure!
On a side note- I haven't laughed so hard in as long as I can remember.... Afrter going out for a few drinks, our driver, Solvi, piloted a bicycle we found that had flat tires, head first into an indoor pool at 3:30 am. Priceless! He's an Icelandic wonder. We also played in Oslo before flying to...

Helsinki, Finland...
3 days there. It turns out that my bassist friend I met at the Germany festival (Lauri Porra, from Stratavarious) lives a few blocks from our hotel and was in town for a day. We checked out his new apartment and played some bass ideas together. We're way similar in many aspects of our playing and careers. (check out his profile at We're both young bass whores with a main gig in older established bands. He gave me a lot of music, so I returned the favor with a dvd chock full of MY influences. The funk and rnb goodness, with some of my own stuff in there as well. One CD he gave me was Whitesnake Live: The Early Years. I had never heard the original "Here I Go Again" or "Fool For Your Lovin" before. Amazing playing! Melodic bass and Allman Bros. style guitars. "Like a Hobo" cracked me up! Thanks for the schoolin'!

We had dinner with his girlfriend- I had the RIBS- which were actually quite respectable (I got high standards comin' from the Baaaaay Errrrrria, CA) The show was huge- over 6,000 people, and it was our own show- not a festival. The opening band had 3 accordions and played old metal tunes. I love accordions, and am planning on getting one this year when I get home. One of our fans, Anya who had been emailing me for a while made the trip from Russia with two friends to see the show- what a great hang! They brought us as a gift, some fine Russian Vodka- I can't wait to crack it open! I'm waiting in an Airport right now, so maybe now's the time, no? Thanks Anya, Anastasia and my new St. Petersburg Tour Guide! And thanks to all the beautiful Finnish people who were so kind and welcoming.

Off to Czeck Rep.- Not Prague, but Brno.

Currently listening to:
Joe Pass: Virtuoso

Thursday, July 06, 2006

3 days off in London!

Great times. Timothy's b-day was on the 5th- excellent Indian food at Tamarind with the band and wives. Did some solo touring on the tube and the bus. Made a visit to the London Bass Centre. Hard to find in the heat and on foot. Great bass selection, and par for the course for UK customer service... Non existent. It was late- they probably wanted to go home. I didn't even bother mentioning that I was in a band. We all stayed at the Royal Garden again, but this time had the cool Princess Diana Kensington garden view rooms, which were nice. It also put the band close together so I could usurp the internet signal and spread it out to adjacent rooms via Airport Express, and share the ridiculous charge that we all love. WS Stickin' it to the man!
I didn't get to Camden again, but Covent garden shopping was all good. Lots o people and power cafe patio vibes. Fun times, but it was still London. Off to Norway!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sheffield, Glasgow, Cardiff & Liverpool.

My strap broke. When I do that silly "Spin the bass" trick (In "Still Of The Night"), the leather just snapped, sending my Jazz bass flying at a high-velocity into Tommy's Drums and drum riser. The Priceless moment had TD in STICHES- he couldn't even finish singing the tune! I had no clue what had happened until Reb pointed out that my bass was in the drums! I switched basses and carried on, thankful that it didn't go into the audience and take anyone out.

Glasgow: The stab-wound capitol of Europe. I somehow managed to leave that place without either giving or receiving a proper puncture wound! Glasgow was perhaps the best UK audience (no offense to anyone else!). Everyone was loud and into it and the WS choir was in full force. They really gave a lot back. It also may have been the Hottest, Sweatiest, humid show next to Toulusse France. Hung with some really cool fans back at the hotel after. Annemika, Helga and Lorraine from Doug's board were there too. We gotta do it again sometime Lorraine- that was too fun!

Cardiff: Loved it. Met great people here in my first Welsh visit. Through lunchtime friendliness, myself and TD made friends with 2 beautiful ladys. One managed the biggest club in Cardiff, and we became her invited guests. What a great time- food and drinks and dancing! Her friend is a former reality show star in the UK, now with her own talk show and a life of papparazzi stalkers. Very sweet. Thank you girls for kick-starting our stay in Cardiff! And Mark and Jo and Louise- such great people in Cardiff to hang with.
I am glad I didn't see the guy Tomy ran into- who was walking down the street vomiting on himself though every facial orifice without even bending over to stop.

Liverpool: Big outdoor tent. Huge arena inside. Awesome backstage outdoor area. The power to the lights went out a few times- but the PA system and spots still worked. I hung out with the opening band (The Answer, whom I adore) on every break, shooting Whisky and talking shit. They're from Ireland, and definatly bring out some of my Irish blood. This was the last time I'll see them until we hit the UK again (yes, AGAIN) in a month or so.

Up next: London Baby! (The place I love to hate!)