February 21 2013
The other day I sat down to write one of my usual tour blogs and ended up writing a rambling diatribe on Pete Townshend, my musical step father. I wrote nothing of any detail of the tour I’m on or any projects of note I have on the go.
It’s a tangent. Enjoy it for that.
Prior to all that Pete Townshend talk I believe we were on our way to Vienna, Austria. I believe that was our first trip there. Honestly, the last three years are such a blur that I often confuse unfamiliar places that I’ve been to with familiar places that I’ve never been to. It’s quite a conundrum.
Vienna is breathtakingly beautiful. The people are wonderful. If I stayed there longer than the day or two I was there I’d gain a gazillion pounds eating all manner of delicious food. Mind you every stop in Europe is like that!
The show that night was amazing. We added Gotten to the set from Slash’s solo album. The first time we played that song was back in 2010 on the Ellen show with Adam Levine. Since then Adam has gone on to be a judge on The Voice as well as his day job-Maroon Five. Adam is an amazing guy and a staggeringly good singer.
So in saying that, Myles had never played it before. I suppose Frank never had either. Myles does such an amazing job of that song. We have managed to play quite a few songs from that solo album over the years. The two Myles co-wrote are in our set nightly.
We also added an instrumental jam from the Snakepit days called Jizz Da Pit. That’s a fun one.
I really wish I had more time to see beautiful places like Vienna more extensively. It always feels like the days vanish in an instant.
Wake up-Soundcheck-Concert-Bus-Hotel-Wake up-Soundcheck-Concert-Bus-Hotel-Wake up-Soundcheck-Concert-Bus-Hotel-Wake up-Soundcheck-Concert-Bus…
You get the idea.
Still think you wanna be a rock musician? It ain’t all glamour!
Me? I love it.
We drove overnight to the great city of Prague in the Czech Republic. There is so much I wanted to see there. A church of human bones. Too creepy to pass up! But I had to pass it up. You know-
If I could just remove sleep from my schedule I’d get to see a lot more stuff!
None the less Prague is a stunning city from what I could see through the bus window. Truly.
We had taken to opening with Ghost rather than Halo to change things up. Not sure what spawned that idea but we’ve been opening with it since 2010 so it’s a comfortable transition.
The classic GNR diddy, My Michelle, made it’s way into the set. It’s pretty mind blowing how we can just call these songs out of the air. Our catalogue gets bigger and bigger every day.
We even re-added Nothing To Say from the solo album to the set. That’s always a fun one.
The crowds in both Vienna and Prague were insane. It is a constant conversation how Rock N Roll is alive and well on this side of the world. If you ever worry that true Rock is weakening-cross the ocean. It’s alive and well!
Katowice, Poland was fascinating. For years now I have been getting messages from Polish people asking why we hadn’t made our way there yet? Well, we finally made it and, man, what a reception! That was the biggest crowd of people outside our hotel since South America. I mean we always have a lot of friends coming by to say hi but this was an out and out crowd. Not Bieber size but big!
We were definitely experiencing winter now. I grew up in similar temperatures but the thick Canadian blood thins when pampered in the desert for half a decade.
Katowice was beautiful. Took a short wander about enjoying some Polish delicacies at an awesome restaurant. Another country that will turn me into Chris Farley if I stay too long! I would eat myself silly!
That night we were issued plaques that certified Apocalyptic Love had sold Gold in Poland. That was amazing. We were really surprised! I had no idea that
was happening. Extremely exciting. What an honor.
The show that night was super intense. During Back From Cali the audience suddenly raised a gigantic ‘Welcome To Poland’ banner with our logo on it (4×14 meters I’m told. Not sure what that is by Imperial standards. Anyone?) It ran the whole length of the arena floor. It was very moving. Amazing
All those people who had written me to say that Poland would be an amazing place to play were not lying. It ended up being a very special show.
My dear friend, Jenny Galt, who sings on my song Indian Summer from my solo album, Go Time! is living in Poland and came to the show. She is one of the most talented people I know. Always has been. It was really wonderful to be able to catch up. You should go watch the Indian Summer video on youtube right now. That’s her in the video. Isn’t she great?
Caroline, who administrates a TK France page, was there. She showed me her Little Grace tattoo which took my breath away. It’s always an honor when someone takes something you’ve written and commits it to their body. Little Grace was a track given away to kick off the pledge campaign for my upcoming acoustic solo album. The pledge is kicking butt. We are at about 160% into the second month of the pledge. We are really pushing to get to 200%. How amazing would that be??? I’m getting right back to work on it when I get back from this tour. I’m really excited about it! Come be a part of the journey with us. It’s going to be a blast. A portion of the proceeds are going towards research to help with Muscular Dystrophy. I’m very proud to be a part of it. Please join us. It’s gonna be awesome.
We spent Valentine’s Day in lovely Kaunas, Lithuania. Nothing like spending Valentine’s Day with a bunch of dudes. Our tour manager, Cheryl, was the only woman on tour with us and I’m sure our sausage party was probably the last place she wanted to spend her Valentine’s Day. Just kidding. I suppose these ‘holidays’ no matter how fabricated are meant to be spent with people you care about and I may not feel compelled to by our crew flowers and chocolates but I love them just the same.
Another beautiful city that I got to see through the bus window. I’m not complaining. I’ve always said that no matter how beautiful the city my favorite part is the time spent on stage. Kaunas is no exception!
I sang You’re Crazy that night which I hadn’t done since the last leg of the tour. That was fun. Great crowd. Great night. Can’t wait to return. The people were amazing.
After the show we had a 5am flight to Moscow. Ugh. Nothing like no sleep til’ Moscow!
Anyone who has followed this online ramblings of mine is well aware of the fact that the last time I attempted to come to Moscow I was on a plane back to LAX within less than 24 hours.
On the We’re All Gonna Die tour I suffered a detached retina which plagued me for stretch of dates that started at Glastonbury and ended in Moscow.
I’m not a superstitious person at all. I, not for a second, thought that returning to Moscow would somehow bring on anything cataclysmic. They rebuilt me better than I was before. Better, stronger, faster. Nothing was going to happen to my eye. No way!
Sure I was a disaster when I got there. No sleep will do that to you but I was, otherwise, healthy as an Ox. If Oxes are in fact healthy at all.
The crazy thing is that earlier when we were in Turkey there had been bombings and unrest so texts and letters of concern were blowing up my devices. Now in Moscow a 10 ton rock was hurtling from space. Damn. What is with me and Moscow? As it turned out it was far from Moscow though still exhilarating to have been so close that ground zero.
In 20 years from now if a ‘Superman’ starts fighting crime in Moscow we’ll know that Action Comics had preordained his arrival only they got his destination wrong. Russia not Kansas. I’ll be able to say I was there when Superman crash landed from Krypton. Either that or Transformers or some other overblown Michael Bay project. Insert script here.
That day we returned to Red Square. I had been there last time. I took in the sights, enjoyed a meal, went back to my room and realized I was in real trouble and was on a plane a few hours later. THIS TIME I could enjoy the sights complete with a skating rink right there in the middle of the Square. It is never lost on me that not all that long ago the likes of us would never be allowed to enter Russia at all. Now here we are drinking Starbucks and wandering around at our own volition. The world is amazing. Life is amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
Mama Morgan from Roadrunner Records made the trip from London to be the adult and walk her handicapped Rock N Roll children through the paces of Russian rock.
We did two shows in Russia. The first in Moscow which was nuts. It’s another example of how amazing it is to be so far from home and see and hear people singing every word. We often comment on how it feels like just yesterday we were recording Not For Me and now an entire audience a world away is singing that song at the top of it’s lungs.
For a change of pace that night I sang We’re All Gonna Die rather than Dr Alibi. I also have been doing Welcome To The Jungle nightly. That is always an epic moment.
Halo has returned as the show opener. We like to keep it fresh from night to night and that keeps us on our toes. I am not a big believer in ‘phoning it in’.
It felt good to have that Moscow show in my back pocket as I had not been able to do it last time. Brent Fitz managed to play bass while our drum tech at the time, John Douglas, played both shows. That is astounding to me. There is no other band that could have pulled that off. None.
From there we were off to St Petersburg which was, again, massively satisfying because I never even got to go there last time. Last time I was already in surgery while the boys were playing St Petersburg. I ended up missing the whole next leg of dates. Tony Cardenas-Montana did an amazing job covering for me. He’s a good man.
St Petersburg is so beautiful. I really wish we’d had more time to see it. The architecture is stunning. It was cold but I didn’t spend a whole lot of time outside. That’s my remedy for Russian winters and Vegas summers-do NOT go outside!
The show was another triumph. The crowd was awesome and I have to admit it felt vindicating to be on that stage knowing that I had concurred what kept me from performing there last time. I had Moscow and St Petersburg, Russia on my checked off my check list. Rocked! Those shows are both very important to me for so many reasons.
With that personal success behind me I was very excited to get to Helsinki, Finland where one of my all time idols and influences would be opening for us. Michael Monroe and his band of merry men! Michael has appeared with us a few times and the thrill is never lost on me. Hanoi Rocks was one of my biggest influences. They were so far ahead of the curve that no one could keep up. Their majesty was cut short when their drummer, the wonderful Razzle Dingley, died on a boozy drive with a notoriously boozy driver. One of the many great losses in music leaving so many unanswered questions and unreached potentials.
Not one but two members of that band shared the stage with us. Sami Yaffa, who is one of my major bass playing influences, and of course Mr Monroe are both Rock N Roll royalty from Hanoi Rocks. The First time I saw Michael’s solo band my friend, Ginger Wildheart was playing and writing with him. Ginger has since gone his own, very successful route. Dregen from the amazing Backyard Babies took his place. Steve Conte, who defected with Sami from the New York Dolls is an amazing guitar player and an amazing guy. Karl, the drummer was in an amazing LA band called Chelsea Smiles.
I was stoooooooked. I watched every song of their 60 minute set.
Hanoi was a major influence on everybody. Check out the words to Underwater World-
Welcome to the ocean
Welcome to the sea
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE
Deep inside of me
Helsinki, you lucky buggers! Getting to see that show would have been something I would have paid a lot of money for. To be able to stand side stage and watch for free is something I never could have imagined. It immediately takes me back to sitting in my bedroom as a kid staring at the album cover for Back To Mystery City and cranking up some Hanoi. Now I know these guys. Sami is a dear friend. Michael is a warm and giving soul and one of the truly great frontmen in the history of Rock N Roll. Like Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger wrapped up in one. He is a gifted harmonica and sax player. Gotta be a musical cat to bust out those chops.
I watched Michael and the boys tear up a high energy show. So high energy in fact I felt I better take my game up a notch! Watching them was like 10 shots of espresso.
During our show Michael came out and sang We’re All Gonna Die (his choice-he loves Iggy too) and then we tied into Magic Carpet Ride. Slash mentioned that he and Michael had done a version of Steppenwolf’s Magic Carpet Ride for the Coneheads movie back in the 90s. That hit me like a ‘Nam flashback. I was like, ‘Oh my God. I remember that.’ I hadn’t thought of that since back then. So sure enough we went through it at soundcheck with Michael musical directing. He really is a wonder of musical skill.
Michael is a maniac on stage. During soundcheck we were running through Up Around The Bend, the CCR cover that Hanoi covered on Two Steps From The Move. Michael wasn’t there yet. It was just the four of us jamming through the arrangement when all of a sudden a blur of of bright light and color just whirled on to the stage and it was Michael Monroe in flesh and blood singing and rocking his ass off. Quite staggering, really and like I said I’ve been rocking out to Hanoi since I was a kid so it is always a thrill.
Hanoi was like an underground secret. They had come and gone so quickly in the North American consciousness that one had to wonder if they had ever really existed in the first place or if we had merely dreamt them up. Surely they were too good to have been real.
After Razzle died Michael went solo, Sami joined Jetboy from LA and Andy started Shooting Gallery and some other things that stayed under the wire. Nasty became a pharmacist/chemist bizzarely enough. Funny that.
How is it that so many bands come from this region? Hanoi, Backyard Babies, Electric Boys, HIM, Datsuns, Hellacopters, Turbonegro…I’m forgetting so many but the fact remains that Rock is alive and well in Scandanavia. Or is it the Netherlands? You know what I mean…This neck of the woods!
I cannot stress enough what it means to me to share the stage with people I truly love and care about. I think the world of Steve Conte. I saw him with the New York Dolls countless times and now we’re pals. He’s coming to Tilburg. That will be awesome.
We had a great hang after. Michael gave me a copy of his book and signed it. It’s in Finnish but still that means a lot. Last time I saw him he gave me the Hanoi Rocks book, also in Finnish. Michael signed it for me then I made Sami sign it.
I first met Sami when he came to jam with the Sinners in the Dive Bar days I’d say 5 years ago? He is a genuinely warm and wonderful guy. One of the best bassplayers in the world to me. I love the way he plays and he, again, is majorly influential. He was playing Gibson Thunderbird basses long before Nikki Sixx-and discuss…
I’m honored to call him a friend.
I’ve spoken enough about my love for all things Hanoi and the Dolls. If you love them too you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you have a wonderful journey ahead of you when you discover them on your own.
Our good friend Marko, journalist and photographer, gave me a copy of Andy McCoy’s new band, Grease Helmet. Andy was the guitar player and principal songwriter of Hanoi. I’m excited to hear that.
All and all an amazing trip to Helsinki. What more could I ask for?
We also took a trip to the great rock shop Hellsinki where I bought a stack of new bad ass t-shirts. You can see me wearing my Hellsinki shirt at the Helsinki show.
Now here we are in lovely Oslo, Norway. The land of painted face, church burning death metal. Now that is taking your metal seriously! Wow.
A lot of our English friends are here to visit so it will make for a great social night. Matt from the Quireboys is here. He got dragged around NAMM with us. Poor lad.
We’re looking forward to tonight. It’s gonna be awesome.
Tomorrow we head Stockholm for the Bandit Awards, whatever that is. Sounds like fun either way. It all sounds fun.
I suppose you all know how obsessed I’ve been with Pete Townshend’s book. If not just read my last blog. I’m so close to finishing it but am taking it slowly as I’ve enjoyed it so much. I don’t have any other books with me so once I’m done this I’ll be buying a book in Norway or something and teaching myself Norwegian. 50 Shades Of Grey perhaps? Nothing like soccer mom erotica in Norwegian.
I’ve been catching up on The Walking Dead. Man, I love that show. What’s not to love? Zombies zombies zombies. Bring it on!
Caught up on Dexter. Last season was good. The plot thickens. Poor Dexter. He was so close to having a normal life. Well, ‘normal’ might be a stretch but normal enough for him.
Just watched Skyfall again. That is breathtaking. I love all the Daniel Craig Bond movies. I think they are all amazing. You may remember me watching that movie in a theater in South America sitting upon Jalapenos causing uncomfortable 3rd degree burns in a past blog. Much more enjoyable this time.
Beyond that I will return soon to work on the new album and be doing my best to get the damned thing out as soon as possible. I really hope you enjoy it. It’s a postcard to all my friends who’ve been with me lo these many years!.
2013 has been, thus far, amazing and me thinks it shall continue in this vein.
Alright, I must get my act together. Got a show tonight with the fine people of Oslo. Odin be with us this night!
Your loyal and humble servant,