The Gathering is like animal critters arriving at the watering hole. Waves of familiar and soon to be familiar humans flood the hotel as each arriving flight dumps off new ones. Production is first to arrive. I sat next to Big Daddy, whom I met 20 years ago. We had a blast catching up on old times and Danzig/Soundgarden tour in 1990 we did together and it remains a constant source of funny stories. Who would have known that Danzig's body guard, Jessie James, would end up on TV married to Sandra Bollock!
I find 'our people' just wandering the street, searching for food or beer or just wandering then clustering and wandering some more. It is our new stomping ground. Lighting, riggers, sound and tomorrow we get backline techs. When all is said and done, there will be 50 or so crew from across the globe all here for a common goal. To build us a killer rock show!
Barcelona seems to have an amazingly high quantity of street artists that stand really still and each has some unique presentation, some are better than others.
These guys ride bikes with their skeleton friends
and some cowboys
and my favorite was just too realistic to even describe
Â I almost failed the jet lag battle and passed out, fortunately to be saved by a phone call. Never nap on a trans-euro flight landing day. Stay awake till after midnight at least, or you will pay the price for many days.
Let's see, I am 43, we tour this year, we tour next year, if past experience is an indicator, I will be 45 when the tour ends and my daughters will be 12. Hmmm, that is kind of scary. Yikes!
This where I fall into "why am I here mode." Well, it's not out of need, Rat world is doing well and the challenges there keep me happy and financially stable enough. More cities? I have seen enough, I have a back log list of places I want to revisit, when I am not working, too long to ever fulfill. Ultimately the answer of whether the adventure is worth the sacrifice will unravel itself with my personal happiness as the barometer.
I do know that these are 'my people.' I feel a welcome-ness and depth of belonging that I experience in no other group of humans. At home, I enjoy a relatively solitary existence. Family, a few friends I see on occasion, peaceful, focused and wrapped in projects that I seek out to solve. But here I feel like I glow. I know this world. Strangely familiar cities and wires and knobs and endless streams of puzzles that appear in the form of broken things need fixing. The creation of sonic landscapes. This is the forest I know like the back of my hand and these are my people.
I wake up out of a jet fly haze to the sound of an upset voice. Something about a missing wallet. All her money, passport, credit cardsÂ in said wallet haveÂ disappeared on the plane, while flying! Yikes, talk about a bummer. To make matters worse, immigration was on the jet way and she was trapped in the nether world. Not allowed into the country and yet has to leave the plane, flying alone on business, ouch. Just before security I turned around went back and handed her a fifty English pound note (about $90 us dollars). She told me thank you but she was ok, they will surely give her some $. IÂ insistedÂ she take it and gave her my email address as she promised to pay it back. I received an email the next day that she had ended up needing the $ for a cab to the hotelÂ after all. Who would have guessed it was a bank holiday and they cleared her into the country but gave her nothing.
They found her wallet on the plane sometime later, money was gone.Â I lose enough things in my travels, where having some credits in the "help me out department" can't be bad. That was at the plane change in Paris.
Starting up a major tour is kind of a big deal. Having already completed 3 weeks of Euro promotional dates doing TV, radio and small gigs. In the US there was Saturday Night Live
some small shows, a NASCAR event
and some web broadcasts.
Crunching a band of this caliber into small and awkward venues
is quite the challenge and can be frustrating. Doing the real deal with 13 trucks, full sized stages, proper loading areas and all our gear will actually be easier in many ways once the initial dust settles.
Sound, lights, video, rigging, barricade, catering, busses, trucks, dressing room and accounting departments all get to meet each other and figure out how to interface safely and efficiently. It pretty mind boggling to see it all come together. The time has come for The Gathering.
The order of business is #1 -Communication, #2 - Battle JetÂ Lag, #3 - Keep Battling Jet Lag.
CommunicationÂ with the Homeland. Intentional communication with the Homeland, not the in advertant communication with Homeland Security that I guess is a given at this point. So, the plan is to buy a local SIM card for my spare unlocked GSM cell phone, in each country. I will then give out my Skype #, which is a Los Angeles 213 # to all that need to reach me. As I arrive in each country, I set Skype to forward to my cell/SIM cardÂ # for that country. The end result is; one phone #, worldwide, that rings on my spare cell phone. Since all the phones over here are free incoming minutes if you use them in their own countryÂ and the Skype forwarding charges are relatively low, I now can be reached easily and inexpensivelyÂ via a single US phone # worldwide and I can monitor the costs by watching the Skype account charges. Sure beats the $1 a minute they charge to use my US cell overseas.Â For outgoing calls, I will use Skype in my hotel room for long chats. The cool thing to do there is get a blue tooth ear piece so you are not attached to the computer when you talk.