February 9 2013
There is nothing like a good, dirt eating wipeout. The only thing better than taking a spill is taking it in front of 6000 people. When you have played on as many stages as I have you are bound to crash and burn every now and again. I’ve seen a million faces and I’ve…you know the words to that old Trixter song…Danger Danger…? No? Or was that Winger? I know-Tyketto!
I’m so happy I’ve never fallen OFF a stage. That sounds terrifying. The height of these stages and with a guitar in one’s hands no less. Eeek. That would suck. Some great ones have done that though-Steven Tyler, Angus Young…ouch. Sure to break a rib or lose a tooth. I’ve never been that unfortunate.
I have spilled a number of times. Rock N Roll is a full contact sport and I never phone it in. I have the scars, bruises, bad knees and feet and burst retina to prove it. Hey Ace Frehley did it nightly. Even Beyonce came crashing down one night.
I remember long ago doing an all day happy hour in Banff, Alberta, Canada then playing a show that night. I fell down that night though I think we all did. I think there may have been a shift in the planets that night. Gravity was not our friend.
In Vegas I fell from Rob ‘Boom Boom’ Cournoyer’s kick drum with a mighty Boom Boom of my own back in the Dive Bar days. There’s footage of that. I jumped up and kept rocking without missing a beat. Gravity was a problem back in those days too if you know what I’m sayin’….
On the Ozzy tour with Slash I spilled backing up into a monitor and down I went like a mighty Canadian Oak. I was back up in no time-beat unmissed!. That’s the trick-keep playing. Always keep playing. Amateurs stop. Pros keep rocking!
So in Budapest the other night I pulled almost the same move as the Ozzy show. I backed up and got tripped up and down I went. It all happens so fast that you have no idea how you’re gonna come out of it. All you know is that gravity has failed you and you aren’t gonna win this round. So you go down CRASH and get up as quickly as possible. Somehow I went into some kind of handicapped half roll and was back on my feet before I knew it with the nerve to stand triumphant like I’d won gold in men’s synchronized swimming. More like unsynchronized falling.
Somehow it was convincing enough that later Slash would ask me if that was on purpose. Oh, no. Not at all. I fell, plain and simple. Of course Slash didn’t witness it’s full majesty. Just his bassplayer rolling from the floor to ridiculous triumphant stance. Behind sunglasses and glaring lights that may have given the appearance of a long planned and tirelessly rehearsed routine but no-
-Trip, fall (yes, fall), roll, triumph. Plain and not so simple. Not so simple with a Music Man Stingray bass guitar in your hands. Which remained unharmed I’ll have you know.
It won’t be the last time. It may not be the last time this tour!
I keep getting messages as to whether I’m ok or not. I am perfectly fine. My ego, dignity and pride gets a little bruised but that’s forgotten before the next song starts. Honestly, I’m possessed when I’m up there. Nothing can hurt me. Nothing. I almost lost an eye. They had to force me to go home to surgery and even then I felt worse about missing shows than healing. I eat, breathe and bleed for this. It’s in my DNA. It’s what I do. It will always be this way. They will drag me kicking and screaming from the stage. More likely it’s where I’ll be til the very end.
Man, is it cold in Vienna. Like Canadian prairies cold. Just got back from a delicious Italian meal (should we be doing Austrian food in Italy next time?) with Cheryl Hall featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. Cheryl is our new tour manager as our main man, Pete, is moonlighting with some up and comer called Kid Rock. I think he’s a children’s entertainer or something. I wonder if he juggles and talks to puppets. Sounds adorable.
Cheryl has been my friend for 20 years and now she’s part of the family. She’s doing a hell of a job and we are having a blast out here. Smooth sailing on the good ship USS Conspirator.
It’s been over a month since I last blogged. For shame. If you enjoy this nonsense I write you have Norma, my webmistress, to thank because without her gentle prodding I’d probably find yet another shiny distraction to keep me from the keyboard.
I spent January rocking Vegas with the Sin City Sinners. We had some fun times. Jammed with friends new and old.
I also spent the brunt of my time on my new solo album, Hello Cruel World. I’ve done some pretty good damage so far. I took on quite a lot, to be honest. A full album plus an EP while touring with Slash AND playing with the Sinners? Yes. My wheels always gotta be spinning. I can’t stand it any other way.
It was a lot of fun revisiting some of my old songs for the Near Life Experience EP. Some of them are pretty radically different from their original recordings. I hope you get a kick out of hearing them turned upside down a little.
It’s always exciting to breathe life into new ideas and watch them come into fruition. That’s a flowery way of saying it’s cool to put new songs on tape. Some of the newer material was intended to be recorded with full band arrangements with drums and electric guitars but I think it’s cool to present them as such then readdress them later with the full arrangement. It’s always exciting to peel a song down to just a guitar and a vocal. That’s essentially all a song is. A simple piece of music and a voice. Almost any song can be played as such. I love the challenge of playing a Type O song or a Depeche Mode song with just a guitar and a voice. Songs that are rich with production naked and undressed. I dig that.
The Pledge campaign sits at about 150% about a month and a half in. That’s pretty exciting. I was happy with the full goal but we’ve just added what the Pledge folks call new ‘incentives’ to see if there is such a thing as 200%. That would be a trip.
I’ve even thrown in the jacket and T-shirt I wore in the Slash/Myles/Conspirators video, You’re A Lie. I’m a bit of a pack rat so to be honest it isn’t easy letting go of that stuff. Nor was it easy to let go of the shirts from the It’s Not You and Indian Summer videos but I hope someone will be their caretaker now.
Please head over to (My PledgeMusic Campaign) and be a part of my journey. It’s gonna be a blast.
So, before beginning the 2013 leg of the Apocalyptic Love (I call it Apocalyptic Live!) Tour my co-Conspirators and I took a trip to Anaheim, California to indulge in the beautiful chaos that is NAMM. It is such a blur I don’t even know where to begin. I saw a lot of beautiful guitars. I drooled over many. I have to say the Gretsch room was amazacrazy. Gibson is always rad. We watched our pal (and fellow Canadian), Jason Hook, from Five Finger Death Punch unveil his signature Gibson Explorer. Pretty rad. Very proud of him.
I stopped by and saw my boy, Brian Ball, at the Ernie Ball/Music Man booth. They have been so good to me. Truly the best. I have been wielding Music Man Stingrays since 2010 all over the planet leaving rubble in my wake.
I got to see my old friend Reed ‘Zowie’ Shimozawa who co-wrote and co-produced about half of my solo album, Go Time as well as a bevy of unreleased material that will see the light of day at some point. One of the most talented people I know. Hands down.
Got to hang with our pal, Scott Uchida, over at the Dunlop booth. Always a ball.
Saw some cool people. Stevie Wonder (yea STEVIE WONDER) was casually playing drums with the whole world taking photos of him. What a trip.
I shook Earl Slick’s hand again. He plays for Bowie and has a crazy resume. One of my faves.
I met Nuno Bettencourt and he was a true gent. Talented cat. I was drooling over the Paul Stanley models in the Washburn booth when i ran into him. I am such a sucker for KISS.
Got to say a quick hello to Mike from Loaded but missed Jeff. That place is such a cacophony of racket. Like a million guitars shops at once. It is overwhelming.
I saw Abe from Paul McCartney’s band but never approached him. He is amazing. Paul’s band is amazing! I want to be Brian Rey’s sub. He can take the summer off sometime and I’ll play guitar/bass with Paul. I’d be the guy with the perma grin on his face the whole show.
I’m sure I’ll think of a thousand people I saw later but like I said it’s a blur.
Got to hang with Eddie Trunk which is always a pleasure.
I saw a gazillion Canadians there. I wonder what percentage we make up down there.
A day and a half of that and we made our way to Los Angeles for rehearsals. Always good to get back with our traveling circus. We had our skeleton crew at rehearsals of Slash’s tech, Ace, mine and Frank’s tech, Ian and Fitzy’s tech, the amazing, Mark Kuntz. Cheryl was also on hand handling all the minutiae that I can’t imagine having to be responsible for.
We did a quick photo shoot with our pal, Gene Kirkland. He’s mega talented and has shot all the best. Not sure what’s to come of those pix but you may have seen one tweeted at the beginning of the tour.
We burned through two days of catch up on the show then hit the skies to Dubai. I believe that was a solid 15 hours in the air. I slept little as I rarely do. I watched Taken 2 which was enjoyable enough. Certainly implausible but I like watching Qui Gon Jinn/Ra’s Al Ghul kick ass. It was filmed in Istanbul where we would be playing not long after. I watched other things that are a blur now. Rewatched a bunch of Curb Your Enthusiasms. Amazing as always.
Anywho, a gazillion hours later and we’re in one of the richest places in the world, Dubai. I wish I could go on and on about all the sights and adventures but as always I mostly saw the airport, then the hotel, then the venue in which we played. At dinner in the hotel restaurant I leaned back on my chair and broke it into pieces. Leaned back like in high school and the thing just burst into toothpicks beneath me. Wanton, rock star destruction. Nah, just more uncoordinated damage. I managed not to fall (I need 6000 people around for that). I like to leave a path of furniture destruction in my path like the Incredible Hulk. Puny chair.
The show was insane. We re-added some gems from the the We’re All Gonna Die tour like Watch This and added something new for us altogether-Serial Killer from the Slash’s Snakepit record Ain’t Life Grand. That song is ferocious.
Me screaming my brains out to Welcome To The Jungle has become a regular part of our show. It is an honor to do so every single time.
The big surprise was getting to play with the legendary Alice Cooper yet again. I’ve lost track of how many times he’s sung with us. Every time it is a mind blower! I have been listening to Alice since I was a little boy. I remember looking at the back of Billion Dollar Babies (still my fave Alice album) and thinking they were the scariest band on the planet.
Alice got up and did School’s Out. Between the lot of us I think we could have gotten through a full set of Alice classics. It gets real serious when Uncle Alice comes out. At rehearsal we make sure we have that song locked. We make sure we have the ending cues all sorted just like Alice does in his show. I think we’d make a pretty bad ass backing band for Alice if you ask me.
After the show we sat and picked Alice’s brain. We talked about Frank Zappa, another of my heroes. In person Alice looks the same as he ever did. Like he’s never aged.
And then just like that he was gone! Can’t wait til our next meeting! And there will be another!
From there we were off to lovely Istanbul, Turkey-sight of Taken 2 starring Qui Gon Jinn/Ra’s Al Ghul/Darkman/Oscar Schindler. Check out episode 2 of Life Is Too Short on HBO. Neeson is hilarious on that.
Istanbul is stunning. The promoter took us to the amazing Topkapi Palace where we got to check out such an amazing piece of history. Built in 1459. That’s crazzzzy. The grounds were huge. Myles got in trouble for taking pictures in one of the display rooms. He’s so rock n roll. Sticking it to the man! Me breaking chairs-him taking unauthorized photos. Take that, establishment!
It was amazing. I highly recommend it. We had a blast.
The show was also insane in Istanbul. It’s always awe inspiring to be in a place you’ve never been before and see everyone singing all the words. Obviously seeing them sing Sweet Child O’ Mine is to be expected but when they sing Not For Me from our new album it is a hair raising experience. In a good way. So far from home and yet they know every word to Apocalyptic Love. That is pretty damned awesome. Istanbul is beautiful and the people are amazing.
From there-Sofia, Bulgaria. All these amazing places we’ve never been to before. The food, the architecture. Amazing.
Another amazing show. Getting to run through the ‘Jungle’ again with the fine people of Sofia was inspiring. Good, loud audience. Hungry for rock n roll. My kinda people.
Bucharest, Romania was next. Did I mention the coffee in this part of the world. Damn! We learned that coffee in Europe is good everywhere. Australia too! Run of the mill sandwich shop has the high end espressos. In fact you’d be hard pressed to find just a run of the mill truck stop cup of coffee. Maybe I’ll try and see what their truck stop coffee is like. I’m thinking probably still pretty damned good.
Another amazing audience. Like I said it staggers me when people so far from our neck of the woods know our songs so well. They always go ballistic for Dr Alibi too!
From Bucharest to Budapest-that rhymes! The sight of my great wipeout. Another exciting thing has been to be in such a subjective position to watch this thing grow. In 2010 this band was playing pretty modest venues and now we are playing hockey arenas at every corner of the Earth. That is amazing to me. Again, in 2010 I never thought we’d still be doing this in 2013 at all but here we are.
Another beautiful city made up of amazing people. Amazing people who came to rock. Amazing people who came to rock who have done their homework. Another city where everyone knows all the words. I can’t tell you how mind blowing that is no matter how many times I see it. We are all staggered by the audience taking over the vocals for Not For Me from Apocalyptic Love.
So I wiped out at the end of Dr Alibi in front of a hockey arena full of people including the whole first row made up of our English friends that came all the way to Budapest to watch the show. I figured I’d add a little extra for the visiting English delegation by adding a death defying stunt show.
The night before we all made our way to the local Hard Rock Cafe where we wined and dined like Kings, band and crew and Queens, our English booster club…and Cheryl!
The hotel we stayed at was built into a castle and was truly stunning. We took a great sightseeing walk to check it out. Truly breathtaking. Really stunning.
The crowd was amazing. I think they appreciated the extra mile I went. My sacrifice to the stage floor. We had a blast. Fun after show party that night with all of our friends visiting from so far away.
And then we were off to Ljubljana, Slovenia. A city I promise to learn how to pronounce the name of before we return. A great and rowdy, fierce crowd. Some nights you have a headache or a stomach ache but the lights go down, you walk on stage and you feel a surge of energy that lifts you to unimaginable heights. All aches and pains completely forgotten. I give 110% because the audience does. Anything less would be unfair and I would expect to be called on it. Like I’ve said a million times before if I wasn’t on stage I’d be in the audience with everyone else. I’m a ‘fan’ first. Always will be.
An amazing night. Fantastic crowd. I sit there, a broken, sweaty mess at the end of the show feeling the exorcism was successful. I piece my shattered self together, shake some hands, kiss some babies, then get on ‘the steel horse’ (Hey, there’s that Trixter song again) and ride on to the next unsuspecting city.
Which brings us to the fine people of Vienna. These poor folks, sleeping quietly now at 2:40am their time. This time tomorrow their eardrums will be rendered useless. Their restaurant chairs all but destroyed. Their ‘no photo’ laws paid no regard by that scoundrel, Kennedy. Their concert stages rocked and just maybe fallen upon only to be tucked, rolled and triumphantly celebrated.
Oh, fine people of Vienna lock up your comic shops for surely they are to be raided. Bar the doors to your vinyl shops lest they be perused. Most importantly close down and move your vintage guitar shops for they will be loitered in far beyond your comfort.
Beyond that, see you tomorrow night. It’s gonna rock.
I’m all caught up on the last season of Dexter. Great. Always a blast. Looking forward to next season.
I enjoyed This Is 40 and Silver Lining Playbook. Jennifer Lawrence is a delight. She’s going to be huge. You heard it here. Like Julia Roberts in the 80s/90s huge.
Kristin Wiig has officially joined the cast of Anchorman 2. Soooooo awesome. I always knew she was gonna be big. From day one.
Just finished Peter Criss’ book which was entertaining. He really has no interest in playing nice with GeneAndPaul so no punches are pulled here where Ace’s book was pretty kid gloves. I enjoyed it. As a KISS fan how couldn’t I?
Next up I have Pete Townshend’s book. I’ve been looking forward to that one for a long time. I’m a big rock bio nerd.
JJ Abrams has officially signed on to direct the next Star Wars film. Amazing. I love Abrams. He’s the man. A lot of people are freaking out about Disney being involved. Like the last 3 films were such masterpieces? Look, I’m a fan but those films are flawed. I don’t think anyone would argue that. People are like, ‘Disney is gonna make those movies for kids.’ I don’t think so. Disney never came up with Jar Jar Binks after all. How can they do worse than that?
Lucas is overseeing the whole thing. He’s using Disney money to do it. I think it’s the best case scenario. You have Lucas with the vision and a young, brilliant filmmaker there to carve it into something awesome. Mark my words, it will be far superior to any of the last 3 films. Far superior.
For me I’m just happy they’re making ‘em. Now hopefully they can make up for the abortion that was the last Indian Jones. Ouch. That was rough.
Big summer coming-Star Trek:Into Darkness, Man Of Steel, Iron Man 3, Lone Ranger…as long as there’s a batch of new movies every summer I’m happy.
Not to mention the new solo album. As soon as this tour is over I hop right back into the fire to finish this baby. Gonna be exciting. Haven’t planned any live appearances for it or release parties but I’m sure we’ll cook a little something up. Always fun and you are always invited.
Ok. Me sleep now. Must rock tomorrow.
Peace. Love. Metal,
Your loyal and humble servant