Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crawling King Snakes


Los Angeles Night #3 The Viper Room

This club is legendary for all the wrong reasons. Johnny Depp used to be the co-owner but sold his portion in 2004 in a lawsuit having to do with the disappearance? of other co-owner Anthony Fox. The club opened in 1993 and on Halloween Night of that year, actor River Phoenix snorted a speedball in the bathroom and died on the sidewalk outside of the club.

Inside it's dark. Darker than the night outside on the Sunset Strip...foreboding and ominous. There were thug like ghosts,spirits of vulturous cretins awaiting our arrival, in pounce mode. When our contact/stage manager at the club met us inside, he showed us to what might be considered a green room. But he called it Johnny's room and said Unspeakable things have happened in here, unspeakable."

The stage was small, jutting out in a semi circle, surrounded by a black curtain..that closed around the bands in between sets..for secrets to be exchanged, rules to be broken. We went on after another tip top performance by Leslie and a fine band from Jersey called The Parlor Mob. This was the last show of the tour ...a performance percolating from the culmination of emotions, road residue, exhaustion, tour stop peaks and valleys and hard earned recognition. We were feeling the pressure....we were preparing the final release. The crowd was a packed in mix of LA's finest tattooed service industry turned rock wannabe folks, gamers who had traveled from two states away, and guest list fans.

We gave it our all and purged demons that drove the ghost of every back room drug dealer or bad businessman that inhabited that space right the fuck out of there.
Bang Camaro brought the faithful to fever and entranced those on their fences.
After the show, Alex was approached by a slightly portly blonde gentleman who introduced himself as Tom Zutaut, who said he really liked the band and what we were doing with it. For those of you who don't know rock like Alex and I know rock....Tom Zutaut signed Guns N' Roses and Motley Crue to major labels. He's probably a good person to know. We will see....

We were kicked out of the club at 2 am and mulled around out front for a while with the gaggle of hangers on, well wishers and street people in turbans playing Smoke on the Water(the shred version). I stood by the garbage can on the corner of West Sunset and Larabee where Mr. Phoenix took his last breaths at 23 , and thought about how lucky I was. Lucky as a living breathing person at 40, when so many never made it that far. I'm lucky to have witnessed real crowds, real fans and to be a part of a band that has a future. I'm lucky to have band members who take this crazy life seriously, with dedication and direction.

I'm lucky to have come through six weeks of a nationwide tour unscathed, full of knowledge and with a renewed sense of why I need to create. It is who I am. I will use my time wisely.

We decided to go back to the hotel..believe it or not. There was no climax to this night. I originally planned to stay with the Leslie boys at the legendary Riot House on the strip. This used to be the Hollywood Hyatt where John Bonham rode a motorcycle down the halls of the sixth floor, Keith Richard threw a TV out the window of room 1015, Robert Plant raised his arms out on a balcony overlooking Hollywood exclaiming "I am a Golden God" and Jim Morrison hung out of windows. But the hotel in Culver City was closer to LAX where I was to fly out from in mere hours. Besides, they enclosed the balconies in glass, renovated and renamed the place to attract anything but rock stars. Fuck That Noise! I stood outside the van in front of the hotel and closed my eyes hoping that when I opened them, it would be 1975 and I would have sideburns and bell bottoms to die for as I entered the RH's famous halls. Instead I found myself half asleep and ready to get back in the van.

It is here we said our goodbyes. I hugged the Leslie boys. I will be friends for life with those three...Jonathan, Jason and Sadler. We taught each other so much about rock. The sing a longs, karaoke duets and trivia we passed around really forged our friendship. That album will be finished soon and I will be waiting...singing along to every word of Rescuer.

I said goodbye for now to the choir...Rod, Rich, Morgan, Nick, Steve and Andre (and Zach and Glen included back in Boston)...it was a revelation and a privilege standing shoulder to shoulder on that stage with them every night, bringing the energy no matter if five or five hundred in front of us.

And of course, I shared sentiments with Bryn, Alex, Doz and Pete...the masterminds and the men with the instruments. It was made clear to me that I was a "member for life, for better or ill." by the boys and I will do what I can to be a part.

I would like to end this lengthy submission by expressing to you what a wonderful feeling seeing my wife and son after six long weeks was....the look on my son's face and his little wave as I weaved around the slow bodies at Trenton Station to greet them.....the way my wife looked with her new blondeness and summer dress after picturing her in my mind for all of those miles out in middle America....is something I'll never forget. It is also for them that I took this journey. It was not easy..there is much work to be done, but they are worth it. They waited for me. They love me. They need me.

I'll be playing with Bang Camaro again in May in Jersey and NYC....but for now...domesticity awaits. I can still rock while I mow the lawn...watch me!

Thanks for following along for these six weeks. I'll slowly put pictures up, and get back to the regularly scheduled bitching and moaning(and even praising)passages about the world of Rock and Roll...........

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lost Angels Found

Los Angeles can be the most beautiful place on earth, where dreams are made while standing on a street corner and eating an ice cream cone or smoking a cigarette.

Los Angeles can be a cruel joke of a destination for the too hungry dreamer shuffling off the bus, the big fish in little towns, the pageant winners a few years too far back, the reality TV contestants/famewhores and the casting couch detainees who end up taking your order at In and Out Burger.

Los Angeles was where we were for three days and we were going to see as many sides of it as we could. From high peak to underbelly. We were there to rock, not gawk, talk not walk.

Our first stop was a showcase for Fontana on Thursday afternoon. Fontana is the distributor for Bang Camaro and they were putting on a "festival" of sorts for all of their hard working employees(read: free stuff) which was held at a club in Studio City. The van rolled up and we strolled in like ornery, dehydrated vampires and took the place over. We were served fried chicken, greens and mac and cheese while we watched a bevvy of hip hop and R and B performers crooning to slow jam backing tracks and rapping old hits to white folk. Names like Master P,Corrupt and Silk the Shocker were thrown around as being in attendance...but being one who would rather take a ball peen hammer to a temple than listen to hip hop, I focused on the spectacle of it all...because that's what you're 'sposed to do in LA. We did our 15 minute set and slammed them hard. I had to laugh at the back line drum kit that Pete played on. It looked like a teeny toy drum set for little boys who might break a bone if they swing at the cymbal too hard.
After the showcase we hit the open bar hard, and gobbled hors d'oerves fit for a B-lister, and hit the bar harder until the Crystal Method came on and impressed everyone but me. It went like this: button, fader, beat, cd, more buttons..repeat..hit a new, bigger button with one ear exposed for concentration. DJs are boring, shouldn't be famous and nobody should care. Everyone is a DJ. But I digress. We overstayed and then went back in for the afterparty and overstayed again. Lucinda Williams showed up and nobody recognized her but me. I drove the van at night's end and went 30 miles in the wrong direction to anything but our hotel. Most of us were drunk, stressed or too tired to care.

Day two was the jewel in this six week crown of gold thorns....our appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. We woke sort of well rested on 5 hours of sleep,put on our best black and wound up a bit anxious to get there. I had not one ounce of nerves, but was only about 85 percent. Mucus was hiding somewhere in my throat like impenetrable barnacles...and just wouldn't let go. I would not be sidetracked by something as menial as vermin living in my esophagus. Half of Bang Camaro were at a meet and greet for most of the afternoon, so Pete, Nick, Steve, Andre, Jason and I drove down to Hollywood Blvd. and onto the Kimmel Lot. We got our wristbands, and were escorted to the dressing rooms. On the way in, we walked past the legendary Jimmy Kimmel Green Room which has a full bar, pool tables, flat screens and deep, plush couches with stains of unknown origin on them. I could not wait to see and be seen by various hangers on and their instant entourages. We are our own entourage...we are our own party. But that green room looked perfectly suited for a celebratory after party.

The time came for rehearsal, then a short break, then everyone from the actual studio audience was shuffled into the room that housed our well lit and perfect sounding stage and we were on. We performed Revolution and Push Push (Lady Lightning) which would be used as the outtro song to the show that airs on the 29th. You see, Jimmy Kimmel isn't really live anymore...only parts of it are. The rest is up to the viewer to figure out. The performance was B+ but the energy and stage show was A+. The grade didn't matter, the response did. The crowd loved us with aplomb and a fury of fists in the air could be seen through the stage fog. No applause was piped in. It was the real deal...we wrapped and all went over and shook Jimmy's hand after the performance and he told every member the same thing in rapid succession.."You were the best one,You were the best one.....That was the first and last we saw of him, but it was good enough for us. We were going to be on national tv. We celebrated in the green room until they kicked us out for not being beautiful enough(except for Jason- who is the bass payer for Leslie but sings on mic # 8 when needed. His mustache is legendary among teenage girls all over the south.) As we left the building, we just kept repeating that mantra.."We were just on the Jimmy Kimmel Show." We walked on air and the world was our champagne that night.

It was decided that the after party would be at the legendary club The Rainbow Room on the Sunset Strip. This is where Led Zeppelin, Guns N' Roses and various bands with copious hair partied and held court. It is a true piece of rock history and I couldn't wait to get there just to feel the ghosts rising from the booths. I could picture the vodka glasses strewn out in front of a rowdy Bonzo ...I could hear the slurred conversations between Duff and Lemmy, Izzy and Iggy, Slash and Slaughter. I refrained from taking pictures while people ate, but just walked around in awe, wondering from which booth did Robert Plant pluck up barely legal birds to go back to the Riot House with. The Leslie boys actually thought the outdoor bar/tent/patio was the "Rainbow Room"...I had to school those younguns and had them follow me around as their ancient tour guide. A great time was had by all. Try the chicken soup. Its almost the best I ever had. Pee in a urinal and you can be sure Keith Moon was there, too.

Tomorrow is day three and the end of the tour. rest up...its a good one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The West Is The Best

The trailer fiasco/mystery has been solved. It was a wheel bearing that had no bearings left and needed replacing. We spent the day in Albuquerque wandering and waiting for that call from the mechanic. The call that packs the dirty clowns back into the van..the call that deploys the circus onward into tour oblivion. And away we went... The next stop would be San Diego... a mere twelve hours of desolate desert driving away. away....away.... Do you hear that echo? The echo of your thoughts bouncing around a small moving space and fighting with clusters of jokes, sweet beefs,recaps of the previous nights events... Have you ever sat with your knees nutcrackered against your chest while confronting an oncoming cold for hour after hour. You start seeing shamans descending from starry skies in a medicine haze out of the van window and wonder when they will come to take you.

I am the last guy to get sick on the tour. I was so surprised to have lasted this long as my immune system has been shoddy and assailed by any virus not on a computer for the last two years. Dan had a cold. Morgan had a fever. Andre had strep. Bryn had congestion. Rod had bad allergies. Sadler lost his voice. And so on. Toss it my way and see what sticks. But not in California....if I'm gonna get sick, let it be in Allentown...not in California! But here I am drowning myself in water and gobbling ibuprofen as I write from sunny San Diego. Last night before the show at the legendary Casbah, I took my wife's advice and went looking for raw garlic to consume. She claims that raw garlic will knock a cold out of you faster than a normal relentless path of treatment. So I found some and made the mistake of nibbling on the clove rather than just going for it gangbusters. My tongue went numb, my tears dripped holy water and my chest blazed under my shirt. I am now safe from Nosferatu, The entire cast of Twilight, that crafty Lestat character,Morbius and any one of Buffy's slayees. I don't know if my cold will go away. I will will it away in time for the Jimmy Kimmel Show and the Viper Room Show. I will rock like someone half my age!(otherwise known as anybody else in the van)

Last night's show was exciting standard fare. Hot Rockin' hair flipping metal madness..and despite the threat of mucus...I had no problems hitting the notes..The spell of being in Southern California wast cast by the skinny jean wearin' west coast wizards and shone through during Leslie's set. For the last two shows, Sadler has pulled out the deep cuts which are always a thrill for this card carryin' classic rock envoy. Hearing those boys tear the blues a new asshole is a wonder for me. Bring on the gooseflesh, old body of mine.

Bring on the sun today. Sun makes me think of home no matter where I am. My wife loves the sun and she gets all of those pretty summer clothes out of hiding right about this time every year. That vision might just make my cold go away faster than any old vampire deflecting drug store remedy will. She's got a long stride in a short skirt........

Today the sky is the limit and LA is the destination. Where many rock dreams begin and end in a whirlwind of addiction, attraction, destiny, luck, waiting tables and bartending.....Let's do it to it.!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where There's Smoke

Yesterday was one of the most eventful days of the tour and rock music had nothing to do with it. The terrain quickly changed as we headed west from Amarillo en route to Albuquerque. To the left it looked like a panorama found in the best spaghetti westerns. I kept looking for a man on horseback in the distance, clad in a poncho continuously lighting his homemade cigar, squinting his way across the prairie. Wild horses were running free in front of painted and craggy mesas jutting up from the earth... To the right, longhorn cattle sedated and grazing, makeshift meth labs on secluded hillsides, junkyards frozen in time and dusted tumbleweeds rolling into rusty swingsets.

Then about 40 miles outside of our destination, (a club called The Launchpad in downtown Albuquerque) a woman in an Altima speeds up besides the van with her window rolled down, frantically waving her hand,subsequently to warn us about something. We pulled over and jumped out in time to see the rear right trailer wheel spewing smoke and tilted slightly out.....Deeepppp Breathhhh as we realized the tragedy narrowly averted. The wheel had either lost its bearings or the axle had bent to the point where that thing could have come off in a matter of minutes..going 70 miles an hour. The trailer could have swung out on to the highway,hit another car, the fulcrum plus speed could have flipped the trailer full of gear and the van with 15 men inside causing serious injury and/or a pile of broken bodies.

We then realized that we all were safe. We would be late. We would have to wait in the middle of nowhere for a tow truck for several hours to get us out of there. But we were safe. That stranger on the highway basically saved our lives. 15 men did not smell the burning grease and smoking metal of that wheel. 15 men were either sleeping or talking or deep in an ipod playlist or book and had no clue what was happening at high speed behind the van.

A tow truck did eventually come and towed the trailer right to the club for us so we could get our gear out and set up for the show. The weariness and stress and low turnout was a factor during the show, which was not one of our best. But in the thick of the 10-12 people that were there were on a Sunday night were some insanely rabid fans. One freakshow of a guy was so into the rock that he picked up the monitor wedge right in front of Bryn and I and threw it hard onto the stage in a bodyslam like motion. He also came up onstage and screamed into several mics without warningin a haze of wannabe. I was pissed off about the monitor toss. He could have crushed Bryn's foot in his wastoid state...Bryn seemed to laugh it off...I guess the reality of the days events tugged a bit at my emotions. The guy was a super fan. The repetitive motion of slugging back tequila until his wits disappeared must have contributed to his stupidity.

Today we wait for a mechanic to either fix or give last rites to the trailer before heading to San Diego...a 12 hour journey with only desert and more ghosts of dead cowboys and desert shamans in front of us......I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No Yellow Roses Anywhere

Amarillo, TX....Amarillo means yellow en espanol. The only yellow colored thing I saw here was a puddle of piss emptied out of a stumblebum next to the taqueria we stopped at. This place makes Detroit look like Paris in the Spring.

We were booked at a BYOB death metal club in the middle of the wasteland section of Amarillo at a place called the War Legion Underground. We were wrongly booked. neither the outside or the inside of this place was anywhere near finished, but I guess fans of Cattle Decapitation and Cannibal Corpse don't really care.They keep the lights low and the patrons can't really see through all of that hair. The stage was held together by 3 or 4 drywall screws and looked like an after school project for shop class refugees. The drum riser was very metal...being a foot above the stage so most drummers heads can pleasantly graze the ceiling while they are thrashing around. How was this gonna hold 12 guys!!??

Alex decided to form a jam room situation with everyone facing each other during our set. The singers remained on the stage and Alex, Doz and Bryn stood on a curve in front of us on the dance floor...err, pit. The idea was that the 15 people who were there could be surrounded by us and rock out as one tight little unit. It worked and we had a blast wailing away and flailing around.

The staff was friendly, though and seemed bummed at the low turnout. But we ended up selling some merch and signing autographs for the fine folk who actually left their homes last night.

The precursor to this interesting evening was being forced to drive through a sketchy section of the Texas panhandle stamped with a severe threat of a tornado touching down 15 men strong and towing a trailer. I had never seen skies like that..grey talons of dripping clouds just waiting to funnel up and scoop us off of the highway and toss us towards the stratosphere. I pictured being launched into the swell of sky with stray cattle and a tractor or two swirling into the tendrils with us, and ended up calling my wife to check the internet for updates...err, say goodbye. But we made it through and at the next rest stop, I checked my drawers for any pee pee.

Today...we move west towards Albuquerque where a great portion of the meth labs and Krylon huffing Indians of the United States are located. Should be fun....rock on , we must.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Austin City (No) Limits

I have gladly worn my love for Austin, TX on my sleeve for years now after being introduced to this fine city by my wife several years ago via the Austin City Limits Music Festival.Every time I breach the brim of Austin's perimeter, a slow symphony of swirling notes and phrases runs through my mind like a roaring river, spilling over and flooding the banks of my brain with rock, blues, punk and country music. Soon enough I drown in sound. The motto is "Keep Austin Weird" and I couldn't agree more. Any and every musician could walk away from Austin feeling like they had finally made their pilgrimage required by The Man Holding the Fender Strat Upstairs, faithful and fulfilled.

This visit was no different. Bang Camaro rolled in to Austin on Wednesday for the second time on this tour to play at Emo's, a legendary venue on Red River Street, down in the thick of it all in the Sixth Street area. The arrival was much different from a visual checkpoint than on March 20th, when the streets were swelling with vans, trailers and restless rockers in the midst of SXSW. But the energy was no different for me...I just fucking love Austin. Get me out of the van, please!

Emo's is a sprawling, gritty punky club with a semi open air feel as half of the "outside" part of the venue has bleachers and port-o-potties and because of this, a large hacky sack circle was forming after load in. Hacky sack is not just for hippies anymore as members clammer for position in anticipation of the hack. Several of the people of Bang Camaro and Electric Six possess unbelievable hack control, foot tricks and pedi-prowess and it has become our sport of choice in the daylight hours. Imagine the sight of 12 grungy men forming a hack circle in a rest stop parking lot in Podunk, OK or Anywhere, TX. It has happened. We crawl out of the clown van like hungover clowns unable to find a circus, so we make our own.

The gig that night was the best on the tour so far. A full house of fist pumping Texans, the best monitor mix known to musical men, a stage covered in carpet with a tomato pattern on it, and the strongest choir we've had. The monitors were so good, I could hear what I sang before I sang it. Alex, Bryn and Doz brought everything they had to the front of the stage and the gaggles of gamers and wide eyed Texans were frothing with metal delight. Electric Six joined us for Push, Push (Lady Lightening)and the choir was 12 plus deep.

We have become such big fans of Electric Six on this tour. never have I encountered such a great group of musicians so laid back, conversational.and eager to please..and their live show leaves us dazed and amazed every time. Dick Valentine is a frontman for the ages. Dick weaves a hypnotic mix of crowd control,sarcasm, and commandment of the dance every night. Every frontman in this band has learned from him...we thank you Electric Six. We will part with you soon...but I'm so glad I've made new friends of you.

We headed to Denton, TX the next day after picking up the boys in Leslie and choir member Nick Given. We now have 15 people in our van. Picture that....15 men in a 15 passenger van. Odiferous, precious....priceless. No real evolution of the male species, just sweat, road food and dick jokes X 15.

Denton was another shocker of a show. The club has a "private member" policy where every person who enters must have their license scanned and sign paperwork. This made the line out of the door at the Boiler Room move like Texas Molasses. I had a revelation watching the opening band The House Harkonnen. This band is one of the best hard rock bands I've ever seen...nuff said. Pure loudness, brain slicing power chords, punishingly dark angelic vocals, twin leads and bass that made Mr. Richter proud. It was my pleasure sitting out front and having the tinnitus take me over.
Our show blazed glory again and we made new friends, signed new shirts and watched Electric Six for the last time on this tour. We will miss them....next stop..Amarillo.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Sooner the Better

I'm beat....There's been a mini horde of cough fests, strep throat and viruses swirling around the Man Van and I hope one has not latched on to me. I felt a twinge in my chest and stomach during our set last night This is the most important stretch of the trip so go fucking figure. In (one of the oddest towns I've ever been in) Norman, OK I sat post show in the outdoor green room just looking for energy, scanning the space for my bearings...Dick Valentine, singer for Electric Six looked over at me and said " Road gettin' to ya?" When the road gets to you you apparantly should have a talk with it.

I don't think the Road per se is getting to me. I think my unfriendly combo of bad to limited sleep and bad over eating is coming up for air in my insides and giving me a signal to find the horizon line and focus on it. More water, more greens,look under the van seats for stray chi or chakras...whatever it takes. So I look straight ahead to Texas, New Mexico and California for inspiration and health. My family is on that horizon line as well.

The Last few nights have been a heady blur of shows at the Record Bar in Kansas City. Small room, big energy... fans once again split 50/50 between us and the E6, burnt burger overtoasted bread, lost of fans who drove from other locales.

And then through most of Oklahoma, driving through the rolling cattle ranches, spotted scorched and blacked out landscapes, the rising smoke from the burning beef blood from the slaughterhouses and on and on into non descript Norman, OK for a show at the Opolis, a converted garage with a stage that shifted and vibrated throughout our set. A strange night with a heckler or two and some folded arms from some sooner hipsters staring back at us...playing the too cool for school part as best they could in their little town. It mattered not, the show was sold out, we signed a guitar hero guitar and a shitload of shirts and converted many to the way of the Camaro.

I chilled out in the van as best I could after the show, waiting for my wave of exhaustion to settle into sleep...it came down on me gently until the man van had to leave and everybody got in to drive for two hours. I don't even know where we are as I type this ...somewhere between Norman and Austin......today back to Music City...Austin Texas for a show at the legendary venue Emo's. Must rest until then........

Monday, April 13, 2009

District of Columbia

Whereabouts: the end of Iowa..The Big Bopper's thrashed tranny was covered under warranty..good thing, too. Van transmissions cost as much as a small slightly used-Hyundai these days.. with three and a half hours until showtime..Pete and I sat upfront with an steady ipod playlist diet of Dio and Soundgarden and blazed all the way to Omaha, Nebraska Our ears were ringing pleasantly as we pulled in front of the Waiting Room and 11 road weary men set up a stage in under 15 minutes. The set was like a tidal wave of rawk washing over the crowd and they were drowning in sound.As we left the stage there was a tray of shots given to us by the owner who(according to a member of security)"never does that". We sold a shitload of t-shirts and blazed out of there.

The next day we headed to Columbia, Missouri to a club called Mojo's near the campus of The University of Missouri. The exterior of this club looked equivalent to the one featured in The Blues Brothers....so we were envisioning playing behind chicken wire, dodging bottles of moonshine and getting requests for Conway Twitty. Instead it was a college heavy crowd and some local gamers who knew every word and wanted autographs at the end of our set. There was a fevereshly enthusiastic young fan who came wearing a REAL aluminum garbage can with suspenders and asked us all to sign it with Sharpies...we asked him why he was wearing it, since it has nothing to do with Bang Camaro...he replied simply "Because, I CAN." Kids today.....

I formed a coalition with Rod and Zach and Dan to dig deeper in our quest to avoid "road food" at all costs. I will eat more salads, run behind a rest stop and graze grass like the heffer I am if I have to. I will raid neighborhoods in the south for their healthy spring gardens, risking arrest. Its atrocious what's out there in middle America as far as healthy choices go. If I ever see another Wendy's or Subway or Hardee's or Pizza Slut again after the tour...I'm going to run screaming right towards the nearest obese tweenager sitting like a lump on the school grounds and have him/her do a lap with me. I really miss my wife's cooking and her gestapo like stance on bad food, high fructose corn syrup and saturated fats. I will never complain about being dragged to Whole Foods again. I promise.

Woke up yesterday Early to wish my wife and son a Happy Easter. Pamela sent me some pics of Hudson eating his chocolate carrots.She has been great about sending me pictures even in her most stressful stretches...she comes through. I get new ones every day...even of Hudson's haircut(which I usually disapprove of)..She decided against any sort of Easter egg hunt which I would have rectified had I been there.

Its been over 4 weeks since I've seen them and some days are really hard. I just focus on seeing them soon and enjoying the rest of the spring in some semblance of normalcy.

We're headed to Kansas City tonight...I've never been there so every experience will be a new one...and of course we will rock. We always do. stay in touch! Seano

Friday, April 10, 2009

Renaming the Van as "The Big Bopper"

Clear Lake, Iowa. Infamous for an unparalleled rock tragedy....the plane crash that took Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper happened in a field somewhere close to this freakin' Microtel. This is where we are stuck today. I am going to rename the man van as "Big Bopper"..because its big, it bops along the great highways and it died in Clear Lake, Iowa. Switch the field for an off ramp and you've got your made for TV movie right here.

The transmission is the culprit...slipping, racing and finally...a sound that rendered the van injured, immobile, dead on arrival. Like a blunt force trauma that sucker punched the van while Rodrigo drove and we all slept like drooling school kids in the seats. We called AAA,we checked fluids and then Clear Lake's finest paid us a visit for a background check on the side of the road. I guess the sight of 11 dirty rockers with greasy sleep hair and bloodshot eyes kinda scared the church going locals. We huffed it with our bags to the hotel and slept off the stress of missing our show in Des Moines.

Today we wait..like a patient for MRI results..crossing our fingers that something can be done for the van's tranny in order to get back on track.

The previous night in Fargo, ND was one for the history books...not because the town was in danger of flooding and we were 4 blocks from the river, but all because of one behemoth of a man named "The Walrus". This Paul Bunyan meets Larry the Cable Guy-like not so gentle giant, with a stained t-shirt that exclaimed "guns don't kill people" pawned off a multitude of double and triple shots of "whatever you got" to cowering band members in his sights. Small club + disorientation = no escape from The Walrus. He's a superfan that means well, and proceeded to tell me with tequila breath that withered my eyelashes like daisies in the heat, that he only enjoys three things: Riding his 4 wheeler, shooting guns and Bang Camaro. I guess he forgot that part about the alcohol poisoning. Alex got to see a small part of his gun collection as he kept several in his CAR outside in the parking lot..and dared him to shoot at a dumpster. Alex declined, petrified. There's only so much a lead guitarist can do for his fans. Oh that crazy Walrus.... I remember plowing through a chorus during our set and seeing him double chugging two beers at a time..they were empty before I finished the line of the song. Priceless. Fucking Scary, but priceless.

Today we hope to get back on the road and onward through the cornfields of Nebraska...anyway we can, because huskers need to rock too.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

From Loops to Lakes

Present time: 930am in a Comfort Inn right out side of Minneapolis...mood grumpy...having missed the continental breakfast by mere minutes and not wanting to venture out into the semi desolate/industrial landscape to find a breakfast sandwich that's just going to clog my arteries while soaking up the Pabst puddle in my belly anyway...guess I'll just sit here and blog...staring at a dusty fruit bowl. And catch you up...on the world of Bang Camaro.

Dateline Rochester..last weekend. Meaghan's Run was held on April 4th in blowing rain/snow and biting wind...and still 1100 people showed up for the cause.(local research for early detection of lung cancer) With the weather and a busted up economy as our nemesis, we still made 50k in one day and the money train continues to slowly chug in. My sister, floating above and passing through the spirit and determination of the runners, was proud of us all....The afterparty was also a stunning success. There was another reunion of my old band One Ton Hush..friends of 20 plus years lofting out classic rock bombs and seeing who caught them. Although the stage lights highlighted the double chins and crows feet,and we were merely one practice deep into preparation...we pulled it off and I was happy to entertain the crowd with several of our never- played -live- before originals like In Between, She's A Landmine and Replica. While I was in my hometown, I was able to get a new laptop battery, thanks to my best bud Anthony, so I will be posting more often.

On Monday, I flew into Chicago, just in time for soundcheck at the Double Door for our gig there with Leslie and Electric Six. I had only been to Chicago once before and was happy to be in a big city. The Double Door is a cavernous venue with great sound and awesome green rooms. I shared some homemade Jambalaya with my band mates,that was scanned at the airport, mistaken for explosives(must have been the duct tape)and devoured in the time it takes you to think twice about something.
The show was a tour de force of shred/head..that powerful combo of amplification and animation between musician and show goer. There were 600 fists in the air at one point and my neck thanks you all.The rock gods keep allowing us one hour away per night from our penance of the road to bring the rock to those most in need. We are missionaries of Marshall, we are the gift that keeps on giving. Chicago don't hate Mondays! Afterwards we played whiffle ball homerun derby with the bouncers/bartenders in an empty club...the key word being "whiff". I do have some background in whiffle ball prowess and brought my legendary swing to the plate/puddle several times. Got to the hotel at 330 and was up at 830am. I wrote a letter to my dear son Hudson whom I had a disturbing dream about while others slept and snored..I know he's confused without me there at home so I wrote about all of the things I want to do with him when I get home. I will make it up to him and my wife, who has done everything while I've been gone...without me there. As the road still calls, it won't be long until the three of us are together again.

We climbed into the van where the day's driving(7hrs) was split between myself and our awesome tour manager/soundman Dan. Lots of smooth jams, 80s one hit wonders, sax solos and Prince rocking the ipod...

And on to Minnesota to play at the legendary Minneapolis club, The First Avenue. This is where Prince rocked the celluloid in the movie Purple Rain in 1984...all decked out in Purple suede, frill and Jheri Curl. It was exactly as I remembered it in the movie..without the smoke machine, the motorcycle or the sweet vision of Appolonia shivering naked on the shores of lake Minnetonka(That's Not Lake Minnetonka). I looked for the ghost of Morris Day in the balcony but did not feel him. The presence of the Purple One was indeed on our minds as we entered the stage with Lets Go Crazy as our intro song.We traded the leather trenchcoats and high heels for dirty jeans and boots and tore into the crowd with a fury..They ate up Swallow The Razor,Push Push(Lady Lightening) and Rock Rebellion. My voice happened to be on last night and I delivered some high growls that would make Mr. Hetfield and Mr. Kilmister proud. The choir was 8 mics strong last night..and the throats and bodies were bumping to the wattage maximus.

Another great show in a legendary venue...another round of pressing the flesh, meeting fans, making new ones and hearing their stories. The camaraderie is strong and I really feel a part of this band. So much talent on that stage every night and great friends from different backgrounds. That's all for today.....send me a message out on this long road....love hearing from you.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Chi Town Here I Come

In anticipation to Bang Camaro's gig in Chicago tonight at the Double Door...I came up with a list of Chicago centric songs to prepare me

1)Sweet Home Chicago
2)The Night Chicago Died-Paper Lace
3)When The Levee Breaks-Led Zeppelin "If you don't know about Chicago"
4)Via Chicago-Wilco
5)Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night- The Hold Steady
6)Bad Bad Leroy Brown-"On the south side of Chicago"
7)Jesus Just Left Chicago- ZZ Top
8)(Please Come to)Chicago-Crosby/Nash
9)If You Leave Me Now- Chicago
10) Anything by the Smashing Pumpkins....and not Cheap Trick...they were from Rockford,IL.

What do you have to add? And if you're in the windy city tonight....come and see us at the Double Door with Electric Six!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Week in Rock Review

Did you know that the American side of Niagara Falls is difficult to find? And that it is not a good idea to make a U turn on the Peace Bridge in a white van full of long hairs who REALLY don't want to go to Canada. Did you know that its not a good idea to not have ID after pulling into the lane to get back into the US? Have you ever answered "cock rock" when asked by a surly border patrol official what kind of music your band plays? have you ever seen the inside of the detention area at the border and waited while sweating thru your denim for what comes next? Have you ever closed your eyes while in this situation and pictured a completely dismantled down to the axles van and hoped it all was over soon?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, you were with us on our field trip the other day...we were released without incident...not even a ticket for the illegal uturn right in front of the cameras on the bridge. We did get to see the falls and were not tempted to jump in.

Camaro rocked Kentucky at the Dame...twirling hair under the lights..thunder gone asunder..when the crowd is thin it moves us to rock to the tenth power. Goodbye KY...hello Detroit.

I've been around this country and have never seen an unused major league baseball stadium half demolished and still standing, or a large group of low income housing projects completely burned out and vacant or a boarded up Wal-Mart....until I came to Detroit. The blight we passed through was not going to affect our showcase for an advertising firm who deals with GM....the venue...a sports bar next to the offices with more screens than people....the goal... to impress the suits enough to get a Bang Camaro song on the soundtrack to an upcoming major motion picture. The bar was open and the show was super solid rock..lots of shaking hands and a few autographs...now its on to Spartan country...otherwise known as East Lansing, MI home of Michigan State...with them being in the final four this weekend...we're hoping for pandemonium.

Tomorrow I fly to Rochester for Meaghan's Run/5k 2009...for a reunion gig with my old band One Ton Hush as a celebration for racers and a celebration of the life of my biggest fan...my sister Meaghan.