May 21, New York City, New York, USA
Just got into the greatest city in the world, New York, New York. I have been coming here since the early 90s. My first trip was with Ryan Dahle when we were in The Age Of Electric together. It was thrilling then and it is thrilling now. Its after midnight and I gotta be up early to get over to 30 Rockefeller Plaza to soundcheck for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. I simply do not want to sleep when I get to this town. Hence my putting pen to paper (metaphorically).
Yes, it has been forever. I’m a neglectful, lazy man. My last blog was in March just after the Toronto show. I guess that’s only a few months. It has been a whirlwind, brothers and sisters. A real doozy of a whirlwind.
The video for You’re A Lie from the forthcoming album Apocalyptic Love was released today and is suddenly everywhere. We shot it on Stage 28 on the Universal lot where the 1925 Phantom Of The Opera was filmed. It is supposedly haunted. We did a little wandering around the theater set on our own. Pretty fascinating stuff.
You’re A Lie is currently #7 on the charts which is quite an achievement in this day and age of a topsy turvy music industry. That puts us in the top 10 and the album isn’t even out yet. Pretty exciting times!
Before the tour started not only did we shoot the video but we also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live and also made an appearance at the Revolver Magazine’s Golden Gods Awards. Kimmel was great. We never met Jimmy or even David Spade who was one of the guests. In reality from the green room you could hardly tell a show was even being put on except watching it on the big screen monitor. We played a short set featuring You’re A Lie and Back From Cali both of which were televised.
The Golden Gods were a whole other experience. We showed up bright and early to find a bright eyed and well rested Alice Cooper just chillin’ in our dressing room. I found myself for a stretch just sitting and talking to the man one on one. Just an amazing man. He joined us at soundcheck to run through School’s out for that night’s performance. We had played with Alice at the Bataclan in Paris, France in 2010. Playing with Alice is a thrill that will never be lost on me.
Duff McKagan hung out in our dressing room for most of the day as he was presenting that night. What an amazing guy Duff is. I told him how much I enjoyed his book and how inspiring it was to watch him crawl from the depths of near death to being in the best shape of his life. The weird thing is that Duff said he read my blog. This thing you’re reading right now. I was like, ‘whaaaat?’ Seriously. I kept saying, ‘get outta here’. Duff’s reading my nonsense. Will he be reading about me wandering into Amy Lee’s changing tent next? Jeez Louise!
He said he enjoyed it and that he like my writing. That is just too weird for me. This coming from a man I truly respect. His Wife Susan was super cool. She’s almost my height. They strike an impressive pose together those two. I’m jealous of all that they have together. In a good way.
Through the course of our day Chris Jericho was there as host. He, of course, is another fine Canadian fellow from the great city of Winnipeg and we always have a good time together. I said hello to Lita Ford whom I jammed with at the Vegas Rocks Awards a couple of years ago. Johnny Depp got up and jammed with Marilyn Manson and I watched side stage. Quite a night.
At one point Neil Peart (yes, from Rush) was hanging in our dressing room. That was surreal. Like seeing the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot. Neil is notoriously reclusive. How they got him to that thing I’ll never know. Tenacious D presented Rush with some kind of lifetime achievement award.
I saw Gene Simmons in the hallway as he was getting ready to accept his award. Still haven’t met Gene. I’ve even been on his tv show and haven’t met him. God knows he gets enough of my money from all the KISS stuff I buy. Someday we’ll meet. Someday.
Later in the night Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top walked into our dressing room. That was a trip. Love me some Billy. Stoked for the new ZZ album coming soon.
It was a pretty mental night. I remember being flat out spent after that event. This is quite a life I lead.
From there we filmed a set that will play in Wal Marts everywhere around the release of the album. This is what you do to promote an album in 2012. At some point people stopped paying for cds so all the record stores went away. No Tower, no Virgin, no HMV. All that’s left are my favorite independent places like Amoeba and Zia and giant chains like Target and Wal Mart. Ultimately what was accomplished was the disappearance of the record shop only to have product handed over to the giant conglomerates. Think about that next time you download that free album. At the end of the day cds gotta be sold someplace.
The following day I came back to Vegas to rock with the Sinners for the few weeks before the tour. Good times a plenty. I’ll be returning for the opening show of The Sin City Sinners return to Ovation at Green Valley Ranch Casino, our old stomping grounds on June 1st. I hope to get to see all my friends before making my way to Europe with Slash/Myles/Conspirators!
I took a quick trip to Vancouver to see my family and some much needed RNR (the other kind) before heading to Baltimore to begin the Apocalyptic Love 2012 World Tour. We hunkered down in Baltimore for several days of rehearsal before the kick off show at the Ram’s Head.
The opening show of the ’12 tour was off the chain. We couldn’t have picked a better place to start the tour. I have to admit it felt good to get back up there. Even though we had already done the one off show in Toronto this was to be the show that would propel us around the world into 2013.
Our opening acts on this tour have been Hillbilly Herald from LA and Brand New Sin from Syracuse, NY. Both are kick ass rock and roll bands.
From Baltimore we made our way to Virgina Beach, VA for the Lunatic Luau and our first outdoor festival show of 2012. It was great to catch up with so many friends. First of all there was a huge Vegas representation there. Five Finger Death Punch and Adelita’s Way are both from Vegas as are 3 of the Conspirators. It was great to see Chris ‘Sprinkle’ Kael from 5FDP. One of my favorite humans on the planet.
Art Of Dying, old friends of mine from Vancouver were there. Great to catch up with those boys. Known em a loooong time.
Playing in front of that many people is always a trip. It’s nice to see festival shows in the US. They are an absolute staple in Europe and always have been. We need more of em over here!
The audience in Virginia Beach was crushing. Absolutely amazing!
Next up was the Carolina Rebellion festival. Another gigantic, hot, sweaty, rock and roll day with a lot of the same bands plus Shinedown, Korn, Evanescence and more.
Funny story-at one point while walking back to the tour during the day (tour buses tend to look alike. All in rows. Some are different color, most kinda look the same) I wandered onto our bus while reading a text or checking missed calls as I opened the door to the main lounge Amy Lee looked up at me from the comfort of the front lounge couch.
Funny how in a split second you can cover all the bases-Hey that’s Amy from Evanescence what’s she doing on our bus (?) Oh my God this is not our bus this is Evanescence’s bus Sorry close door exit bus hope security dude doesn’t tackle me and eventually get slapped with some kind of restraining order.
I’ve never met Miss Lee so I wasn’t about to choose that moment of awkwardness to introduce myself. I was just another black haired rocker dude at the rock festival to her.
The show was incredible. Hot, sweaty rock and roll. Amazing audience!
From there we found ourselves in Orlando, Florida. I had been there with my family when I was, like, 11, I think…We went to Disneyland. That is a world away from where I grew up. Might as well have been Mars.
We played and stayed at the Hard Rock. The venue is beautiful and huge. It was interesting for us Vegas guys because it was so very familiar to be wandering around a casino and eating in a buffet-Vegas style! We had a blast. As much fun as the festival shows are with the giant crowds it’s nice for this homeless vampire to be out of the sun for one of our own indoor shows.
Hard Rock Live is an amazing place to play. The audience was amazing.
The night before Slash, Frankie, Fitz and I went and watched Megadeth play the same venue. It was awesome to see Dave Ellefson back in the fold. Some people may remember that Ellefson played a weekend with the Sinners a couple of years ago. That was a blast. We never got a chance to say hey to the guys but it was great to see them. I’d never seen Megadeth before. They are super tight.
It’s always nice to do our full headlining set. We were doing both You’re A Lie and Standing In The Sun from the new album. I so wanted to do more but with the album not even out yet it didn’t make much sense. The response for You’re A Lie every night has been bombastic. The festival shows saw people singing along and even moshing. Crazy.
The show was absolutely outstanding. You can see the whole thing on youtube. Most of these shows for that matter.
The next day we spent our day off at Universal Studios. All of us. The whole band plus Junior, head of security, and Ace, Slash’s guitar tech. We hit a gazillion rollercoasters, Simpsons ride, Spiderman ride, Jurassic Park ride even the Harry Potter ride. A bunch of grown men having the time of their lives like 8 year olds! Life is pretty good when you don’t even have to wait in line. We had our own escort. That’s what happens when the guitar player in your band happens to be a hall of famer!
Speaking of the Hall Of Fame that occurred before the tour started. Axl didn’t show. I wasn’t surprised. Izzy didn’t show. I was even less surprised. Izzy is waaaaay to cool for any stuffy, corporate thing like that and Axl, well Axl’s Axl. I always appreciate that Axl’s gonna do what Axl’s gonna do and no one can predict or tell him what to do. Slash and Myles played with Duff, Steven, Matt and Gilby and it was brilliant. I’m proud of those guys. I’ve gotten to know all of those guys short the two that didn’t show up and it was a special occasion for all of them. I’ve even gotten to play with Dizzy who also didn’t show. Congrats to all of them.
Where was I?…Ah, yes. Florida…
From Orlando we were on to Jacksonville which totally rocked. We played this awesome old theater called, fittingly, the Florida Theater. I love places with history like that. Another amazing show with Hillbilly Herald and this time Red Light Kings. Both groups have fellow Canadians in them. We are everywhere and we look just like you!
In Jacksonville we played the Skynrd classic Simple Man in honor of the fact that this year will be 35 years since the plane crash. Shocking. Time flies. A really great moment.
Next up we found ourselves in Biloxi, Mississippi at another Hard Rock Live gig. The hotel is amazing. On the water. Really beautiful. For this gig we did Mississippi Queen by Mountain. The cool thing about this band is we just jam something at sound check and it ends up in the set. Not everyone can do that.
Another amazing night.
Off to Kansas City, Missouri where we enjoyed a day off. ‘The Boy’ (that’s what I call new Conspirator Frankie Sidoris) and I saw Johnny Depp/Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows which was fun with an unexpected appearance from our pal Alice Cooper. I felt the film was a bit unrealized but Depp was chewing up scenery. I have to admit Burton has been pretty hit and miss for me ever since the big miss that was the remake of Planet Of The Apes. Virtually unforgivable. I am a giant follower of the original franchise, the Pierre Boule book and it’s legacy. Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is amazing. I’m stoked for the next one. Thank God they got that right!
By this point most of us in the touring entourage had seen The Avengers twice. Once regular and once in 3D Imax. What a great movie. You know I’ve always been a DC man (…and discuss) mostly because of Batman but have also had great love for the Marvel universe. I have to admit that Marvel is kicking serious ass over there. The Avengers is a must see. We’ll see if DC can one up ‘em with Dark Knight Rises. I don’t knooooww…
The Kansas City festival was the rowdiest one so far. It seemed that the entire population of females in Kansas City had run low on shirts. Alcohol plus Rock N Roll equals exhibitionism. God bless America.
The Iowa festival Lazerfest may have had more shirts but was every bit as rowdy. Dirt, sweaty, dust, mud, sun…Rock N Roll. This is the kinda thing that keeps our music alive. Always great to see and be a part of!
People keep trying to say how dead Rock N Roll is. Just check out one of these summer festivals. Then take a trip around the world. Rock N Roll is alive and well.
One of the cool things about playing in Minneapolis is how close we are to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Sure enough Canada is well represented by all of our rowdy friends. Fitz and I took a walk in the afternoon to find the legendary club 1st Avenue which was featured in the Prince movie Purple Rain. Legendary spot.
We played a cool spot called the Brick that was jam packed. A great, sweaty show. Can’t wait to get back.
The beautiful Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wisconsin was next up. As I said I love these old theaters. Such history. I’m not sure when but we eventually added the title track from the new album, Apocalyptic Love to the set. We are currently playing 4 new songs with the addition of Halo as well. It feels great to play new material. The energy of the show jumps up noticeable notches with the new music.
Madison, of course, rocked. We had a blast.
It is no secret that Michigan has long been the heart and soul of American rock. I truly believe that. KISS was huge in Michigan first. Stooges, Alice, Nugent, White Stripes, Eminem…the list goes on. Guess what? Grand Rapids did not disappoint. This was our last show with Hillbilly Herald who have members from Michigan so it was a big show for them. They are awesome. They will be with us in the fall. Check em out. Jimmy, the singer, is the true spirit of Rock N Roll.
That night we jammed Stranglehold by Nugent while Slash soloed and soloed. We do love to jam! Michigan rocks.
One of my first gigs with Slash back in 2010 was at Rock On The Range in Ohio. It was surreal to be back there. So familiar. Another day of hanging with our friends in all the other bands. There is a funny bond between these gypsy/cowboy/outlaw/pirates. We get together, tear up a huge crowd and celebrate together. Sounds like fun to me! That was a great show. Hope to do it every year.
Today we did a festival in New Jersey with Godsmack, Steel Panther and more. Was great to see the guys from Panther. Always fun. Did I ever tell you about the time I sang for them in San Diego a few years ago? Michael Diamond was sick. Remind me to tell that story some time. Those guys are amazing. Great guys and amazingly quick witted. They have been hugely supportive of everything I do and that goes right back at them from me!
This gig was our favorite festival show of the summer. We played a little later so it was a little dark. We did 4 new songs and the vibe was just perfect. An amazing night over all.
And now here we are. A two hour drive into the heart of Manhattan. This city has so much of the history that I love about Rock N Roll. CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, Kenny’s Castaway, Chelsea Hotel, The Ramones, KISS etc etc etc I cannot tell you how excited I am to playing Jimmy Fallon tomorrow (technically later today). 30 Rockefeller Plaza is the building that has hosted both Late Night and Saturday Night Live for as long as I can remember. I have been watching SNL all my life. I watched Late Night with David Letterman when I was a kid. Then Late Night with Conan O’Brien all those years. Now here we are with the amazing Jimmy Fallon. As an SNL fan I have been following Jimmy since his first days with the show. Now we’re gonna be on his show. How very surreal. I am a huge fan of the show 30 Rock which is all based on that building. I cannot tell you how trippy this is gonna be for me. I am stoked.
After taping the show myself and the other 2 co-Conspirators will be joining Eddie Trunk on his radio show. We have had so many dinners and jaw sessions together talking about…well, basically topics on That Metal Show. He is a wealth of Rock N Roll trivia and I am no slouch myself.
We have been playing Classic Rock Trivial Pursuit on the bus and I have been crushing. Our tour manager, Pete Merluzzi, is a formidable opponent. To be honest he is beating me in the current tally. Tour ain’t over yet!
So watch Fallon on the 21st then listen to Eddie’s show! Big day.
Of course the 22nd is finally the release of Apocalyptic Love. It’s out in Australia and South America, I believe. The reviews have been across the board stellar. We couldn’t be more proud of it. I’m going to write a song by song compendium of the entire album soon. I hope you enjoy it! I know I do.
That night we will be at the legendary Irving Plaza. What a trip. This New York trip is going to be a whirlwind!
So there you have it. I am completely in love with Jack White’s new record Blunderbuss. What an amazing piece. In my next life I’m gonna do my career more like Jack. The man has it going on. I’m a big fan of all his work.
I’m also currently obsessed with The Kills’ song Black Balloon. Some songs are like that for me. I can listen to them over and over and over. That’s one of them. It’s so bittersweet. So melancholy. Plus I love Alison. Who wouldn’t?
I’m reading Andy Summers’ book One Train Later. Andy was in The Police. I loved the Police. They were one of my fave bands when I first started playing music. Found this book and really am enjoying it.
Gonna go check out The Dictator as soon as we have a moment to breathe. I’m super stoked to see the Anchorman 2 teaser! Oh man. Anchorman 2, Arrested Development new season AND movie plus a Dumb And Dumber sequel featuring Carrey and Daniels? Wow.
I am currently stoked for the forthcoming Ridley Scott film Prometheus. I am such a fan of the first Alien film. It was a major event in my life for me.
Dark Knight Rises promises to be awesome and I’m mildly curious about the new Spiderman movie. Mildly.
When next I touch base Apocalyptic Love will be out there in the public consciousness. How very exciting. Hope you enjoy. I can tell you I am super proud of it!
Big Big Love to you and yours!
Your loyal and humble servant