subject: When the Sun hits your eye...
Posted on June 11, 2004 at 12:25 PM

Well, it's been an eventful few days since my last missive, no doubt about it. I don't really have anything to say about Oklahoma City. It was a show, etc. We had an 1140 mile drive from OKC to Phoenix, so we left immediately following the show, and drove until about 2:00pm the next day. This put us in lovely Grants, NM. There are a couple excellent National Parks around Grants, so it was determined (by me; this tour is not a democracy) that we would stop for the evening, and go enjoy the great outdoors.

So, the members of the tour that aren't afraid of sunlight and other facets of nature (which is 40% of us) went to El Malpais for some rock climbing, while the rest stayed in the hotel and did whatever it is they do when I'm not around to boss them about. The next morning we motored for points west. At this point my story takes a turn for the worse, as my major eye problem (which we'll call irisitis for now) kicked in to high gear, and I had to spend almost the entirity of the daylight hours with my eyes covered, as every time I saw something resembling light, it felt like I got kicked in the face.

All personal bitching aside, the Pheonix show was excellent. Mike Fisher showed up, and I hung out with SonsOfSolomon for a while, and met _mArk finally. Knocked my voice out on Sins again. We'll see how it goes in Tuscon tonight for that. My eyes seem better today (I was able to go outside for a while with only dark glasses on) so hopefully that shit is calming down. So, we'll play the show, then motor for The City Of Angels.

subject: By the time I get to Phoenix, she'll be rising...
Posted on June 9, 2004 at 1:46 AM

Isaac Hayes, despite various musical failings (most of which took place in the 80s, like almost all R&B artists) sure did hit the motherfucking spot with that song. I mean, God Damn. I wish I had that shit on my iPod.

But anyways, that rings true. OK City is now in the bag, and we have _just_ begun our 1140 mile drive to Phoenix. We'll arrive there some time in the morning on Thursday, day of the show. So technically speaking, we have a day off on Wednesday, but since it will be spent, for the most part, in the van, I don't really count it.

All bitching aside (yeah, right, like that will happen) we are now leaving anything that could even remotely be considered the Southeast behind. Phoenix will be our first show that is definitely in The West. LA looms on the horizon, and our run up the West Coast will have the Seattle show (and my birthday party) as its capstone. The end of this monster of a tour is now in sight, and I can't say I'm unhappy about it. But like all tours, when you're in it, you have a much different perspective than when you're done with it. I'll let you know about that on July 1st. But in the meantime, I'll be driving.

subject: Oooooooooooooooooooooklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping off the plains...
Posted on June 7, 2004 at 3:40 PM

Well, we managed to get out of Texas alive, all evidence to the contrary. The Houston show was fine, except for some drama after we had loaded the van and were about to leave. It seems that this one gentleman (and I use the term in a liberal sense) was upset that this other dude had shot his horse. At least, that's what I picked up from the drunken altercation. There was also a bit about the guy with the horse (or rather, the lack thereof) having to listen to the other guy's girlfriend's demo tape over and over again. I'm not sure about any of this. The guy without the horse broke the window of the guy with the girlfriend's pickup truck (or it may have been the girlfriend's pickup, for all I know.) To make a long story short, the police arrived and we left. It's nice to have drama that we're only involved in coincidentally for a change.

Anyways, we're in Tulsa now, about to go to the club for sound-check. I'll check in tonight with a full report.

subject: Satantonio
Posted on June 6, 2004 at 11:15 AM

I knew a long time ago that the San Antonio show would be a Cluster Fuck Of Vast Magnitude. I had, of course, hoped that it wouldn't actually come to pass in that manner, but no such luck. The club lost their liquor license several weeks ago, and thus their entire existence on this temporal plane was in question. We had been unable to reach them on the phone for a couple weeks now, and by the time we got to Dallas, I pretty much assumed the show was cancelled, although I couldn't actually get anyone from San Antonio on the phone to tell me that.

Lo and behold, right after soundcheck at the Dallas show, the promoter for San Antonio actually picks up the phone when I call for the tenth time that day (and about the thousandth time that month.) She says they have booked a benefit for the club on that day, but since we were in the neighborhood would we want to play afterwards? Now, I normally prefer to operate on at least a semi-professional basis, and alarm bells were going off all around me, but for some bizarre reason I said "fuck it, we're already in the neighborhood. Let's do it."

To describe all the various surreal things that occured yesterday would take more typing than I have time to do. Suffice to say that from the moment of our arrival in San Antonio right up until right now (which is some 22 hours later) it wouldn't surprise me to learn that the Earth has reversed its spin or something. We seem to have been caught in an Eddy In The Space-Time Continuum or some other weird piece of spacial distortion. I don't fucking know.

Ranting aside, the show was "fine," and furthermore "pretty good." We'll be hitting the highway for Houston here in a half-hour or so, then on to Places That Are In Neither Texas Nor Florida, which is my favorite part of the tour. Tulsa is Monday, then we motor for the west coast.

subject: Who shot J.R.?
Posted on June 5, 2004 at 1:44 PM

Well, that was something of a surprise. Dallas has traditionally been a rather poor market for SMG live, so I'll be honest here and say I wasn't expecting a whole lot from the show tonight. In retrospect, I'm of the opinion that our troublesome shows from the past were a result of playing in venues that maybe weren't the best choice for us.

Tonight we played at a newer place, Club Clearview. This is one of the more unusual venues on the tour, as it one of those club multiplexes, which seem to be cropping up more often, where there are 5 to 10 totally different environments inside one venue. While I've known about these types of clubs for a while, this is the first time I'd been in one, and I'll just say that, if done right (like Clearview is) this is a very cool concept.

At the place we played, there were 8 totally separate environments. They included the 450-capacity concert room where we played, a lounge-type bar (where a poetry slam was going on tonight), two separate normal smallish nightclubs (one of which was playing 80s, and the other rare groove), a gigantic roof deck, and a couple just plain old bars. One cover charge gets you in to the entire venue, and you can move about as it suits you. Since I work in the entertainment industry, these sorts of things amuse me more than the average person, so I'll stop waxing poetic about the club now.

The show itself was much better than I expected. I thought we would get completely killed by the fact that Rasputina (which we share an audience with for some obscure reason) was playing across the street. That show was sold out, and I assumed that we would goose-egg for the night as a result. I couldn't have been more wrong. We had our second best Dallas audience of all time (as a result of people from other parts of the club coming in to see what all the racket was about) plus a very nice selection of SMG die-hard old-schoolers. I was very tired today from an excessive amount of tour drama during the previous 48 hours, and had to bang three Red Bulls before the show to get my groove on.

But all's well that ends well. The technical problems that plagued us in Austin were nowhere to be found (other than the continued problems with keyboards) and I worked up a good sweat, playing the whole set on a Red Bull Jag. Muchos gracias to the staff of the club for their incredible hospitality, and a special thank-you to Chad (formerly with Course of Empire and an old friend of mine) for coming out and putting the absolute stink on the club's excellent sound system.

And finally, I need a favor. If you're coming to either the San Antonio or Houston shows, and are a musician, I need a 20' or longer MIDI cable. I'll gladly pay for it, but I just haven't had time to find a music store in the last few days. Thanks in advance.

subject: The Big Easy...
Posted on June 3, 2004 at 7:51 PM

I could go on and on about New Orleans. I mean really. I love that fucking town, and am always a little sad to leave it. The show was one of the more fun ones on this tour so far, despite the incredibly small stage. I basically had Levi in one armpit and Miguel in the other. No room to get my show on, and I must have sweat about three liters during the course of the show. All in all, it was the fucking shit, and we wish we were the house band at Lounge Lizards.

As I write this, I'm sitting in the club in Austin. Corpus Christi was a complete and total cock-up, front to back. I stopped the SMG set about half-way through, and the nine people that weren't mislead by the faulty advertising (which listed the show as June 22nd instead of yesterday) got treated to a full-on jam session that lasted about three hours. During one epic pass, we did Papa Was A Rolling Stone / Smash Your Radio / Pusherman / Microphone Fiend. It was, after all was said and done, a good night.

Austin is, as always, a fantastic place for a show. The only reason I like New Orleans more than Austin is that New Orleans isn't in Texas. The two cities are very similar, and Austin has the added benifit of having far fewer tourists. The Elysium is a great club which I've played at before. All the stars are in alignment for this show to be one of the classics of this tour. I'll reserve judgement until 1:45 when we're walking off the stage, but it looks good right now.

subject: Wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago...
Posted on May 31, 2004 at 10:09 PM

Let me just state for the record that I love New Orleans. Lisa and I visit this city often, and have pondered moving here several times, to the point of looking for apartments even. I like the weather, I like the look of the town, I like the people.

I don't like the tourists, but you take the good with the bad, and I know that the chickenshit bastards can't stomach the more extreme conditions here year round like I can. And (taking that rough and tumble piece of February out of the picture) for the most part the tourist plague here is mild compared to, say, New York City.

Anyways, our last day off for a while, so I took special care to enjoy myself. Went to an excellent seafood restaurant, and spent a little too much money on dinner, but it was well worth it. Oysters Rossini so good I about passed out. Best I've ever had, truth be told. I generally don't frequent these sorts of restaurants when I'm here with Lisa, as a place that specializes in lobster and steak isn't exactly vegetarian-friendly. But when the cat's away, the mice will play, as the saying goes. The irony here is that, in a situation like this, I spend the entire meal talking about how Lisa couldn't eat here, and there's nothing on the menu Lisa could eat, and this place would be so much cooler if Lisa could order something besides the garden salad, &c., &c. So, it really kind of defeats the purpose for the other people that share the meal with me, as apparently Lisa's eating habits aren't a subject they really find interesting in the same way I do. Well, that's their loss.

Walked around the Quarter as always, went to the same stores and bars I always go to, did the usual things I do when I'm in New Orleans, and had the same absolutely awesome time. I fucking love this town. (Did I already say that?) The show is tomorrow, and while I'd like it to be off the hook, it's okay if it isn't, because, well, this is New Orleans and it's so fucking easy to have a good time here, I'm all good. I'll let you know either way, of course. This is our last Southeast show; our Tour Of Texas starts in two days, and we're back in to the core of the SMG fanbase. (There is only one state with more SMG fans per capita than Texas, and that's Illinois.) So, while I really like the South from a personal standpoint, from a purely business aspect I'll be glad to get in to Texas.

subject: Whip it good...
Posted on May 30, 2004 at 1:56 PM

Well, that was a fun start to Memorial Day weekend. Met some fun people last night in West Palm Beach. The show was part of a larger Fetish event, and as such, there was much latex and leather in attendence. Everyone on the tour that needed a firm spanking got one, best as I can tell. Thanks to Joseph and crew for the hospitality both at Respectable St. last night and at Sonar in Ft. Lauderdale the night before.

It should be mentioned that I very nearly killed B. McDaniel and Vincent on the way back from clubbing in Ft. Lauderdale. I-95 is like 10 lanes each way in this part of Florida, and I decided to take a little nap on the way back from Sonar. Unfortunately, I was the one driving. I woke up going diagonal across the highway. A glance in the rearview of our rental car showed a Brian McDaniel Classic Look Of Shock And Awe. He was, it seems, so fucking scared he couldn't make any sound that might be loud enough to get me out of REM sleep.

The look was worth the trip.

So we're en route to Orlando right now, where we will play then motor to New Orleans for some Memorial Day festivities. The show last night was the Official Half-Way Point for the tour. We're now done heading south and east, and are today beginning our trek north and west. The main difference (other than the scenery) is that the drives will be significantly longer. It's really fun sitting in the van with 2nd degree burns on my legs. Happy days.

subject: I'm burnin' up, feel my fire...
Posted on May 28, 2004 at 8:48 PM

There's nothing like following up a hard run of shows with a really good day off, and today was the exemplification of a Good Day Off. We left Talahassee after the show at about 3 in the morning, drove all night, and rolled in to West Palm Beach at about 10 in the morning. My Day Off didn't start out too good, truth be told. Cranky after a relatively sleepless night in the van, I was confronted with the complete and total stupidity of The World's Dumbest Hotel Clerk. I'm sure she was trying her best, but unfortunately her best wasn't exactly up to snuff with anything that would generously be termed "below average" in others. To make a very long and drawn-out story much shorter, in order to get two rooms for two nights I had to check in four times. In my sleep-deprived state, this was an excrutiating process, and that's 45 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

That done, Vincent and I rented a car (a story unto itself), and proceeded to Find A Beach. Luckily, this isn't too big of a problem on the Atlantic coast of Florida. The day was beautiful, the ocean was warm and clear, and I proceeded to do the same dumb-fuck thing that everyone does at least once on tour. I fell asleep on the beach after an hour and a half of swimming. I had coated everything north of my waist with SPF-5,000,000 sunscreen, but unfortunately my dumb ass forgot to do my legs. So while I napped away the afternoon, my legs got par-fucking-boiled. I am now Cap'n Red Legs, Master Of All I Survey.


So, Vincent, Brian and I are going to drive down to Ft. Lauderdale to pick up a new stock of t-shirts (we ran out of DT shirts last night). I'm going pawn-shopping tomorrow before the show, and will hopefully replace my keyboard that has been broken since the Atlanta show.

subject: I-75
Posted on May 27, 2004 at 7:05 PM

Sorry I missed a day or two, but it's been one of those weeks. Very hard driving this week, with not much proper sleep. We drove the 330 mile stretch of I-75 between Atlanta and Gainesville three times in three days, which would have been funny but for the fact that it just wasn't, like, at all. By the time we rolled in to Jacksonville, I'd all but forgotten what a hotel room was for, and what they looked like.

So let's see what we haven't talked about. At the Birmingham show I was sick as a dog with, like, a 6-hour flu or something. I fell asleep in the van after soundcheck totally on accident, and got par-boiled. I woke up about ten minutes before we were supposed to go on, drenched in sweat and completely unable to talk. A somewhat truncated set resulted. Despite my personal condition, I just want to say that the soundman and manager of Nick's in Birmingham are the shit. Incredibly nice people.

Next up was Jacksonville, last night. Some nights we're just "on," you know? Everyone had a good set last night, but when I was on stage we were really popping, for whatever reason. Miguel was down to two strings on his guitar by the end of "Sins," from playing so hard. I must have sweat out whatever shit was in my system, because as soon as I walked off the stage I felt a thousand times better. Big thanks to Tim and all the staff at Jack Rabbit's, because they went way above and beyond the call to make us feel at home.

Now I'm sitting in the Beta Bar in Talahassee. Sound check is done, and they're getting ready to open doors. I think tonight will be pretty damned good, as this is more of a normal venue, as opposed to a bar that has live music. To the best of my recollection I've never been in this town before, so I really have no idea what kind of audience will be here. But the club is like a small Metro, and soundcheck went excellent, so hopefully it'll be good. Big day off tomorrow on the beach.

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