Another Excerpt From My Book

Posted: June 5, 2011 in Book Related, Day to Day, Road Life
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

                                 Anything is Possible

As had become my norm, as soon as I got home from the Alice tour I was to start rehearsals for the next Debbie Gibson tour, although by now she was called Deborah. Her new record was called “Anything is Possible” and it was definitely going to broaden her audience. The songs were geared to a more adult market than her previous records. She had brought in big name production people and made a record she could be proud of.

Rehearsals were at a studio in Brooklyn, and except for one player the band was all new. The new band were all seasoned professionals and were very low maintenance. Rehearsals were just a matter of babysitting and prepping gear for the tour. We would be in Brooklyn for a while and then go toL.A. for production rehearsals with the full stage, lights and sound. Rehearsals were easy, nearly boring at this point.

We ran through our time in Brooklyn and before I knew it we were in Los Angeles working. Which was great for me, I got to introduce my backline partner John to Barnies Beanery. I was becoming quite the regular there. Production rehearsals also went really well. There was one incident I recall that took place at a bar not far from the hotel. A few of us were drinking and by now John and I were like brothers, and had started to get on each others nerves. In our drunken stupor we decided to settle things outside. Don’t ask me why, it seemed like a good idea at the time. As we squared off I never thought it was going to actually come to punches, and the next thing I knew, Wham! Johnny was in good shape and had punched me in the jaw so hard I saw stars. Even drunk I didn’t want this to escalate, so I called John an idiot and tried to walk back in the bar, but by now he felt bad and insisted I hit him back. So I did. We both went back in the bar with bloody faces and kept on drinking. The rest of the crew were a little taken aback by this, but we weren’t fazed. We had worked it out and it was over.

I thought I was done with this section, but I just got an e mail from John Karlquist and he reminded me of another story from this time period. We were rooming together and he had mentioned to me an actress he had met the last time he was in L.A. He had played a small part in one of Deborah’s videos and he met the actress on the set. They must have hit it off because she gave John her number and asked him to call her when he got back to L.A. When John told me this I was stunned that he hadn’t made the call. I even insisted he do so, I did a lot of insisting back then. I don’t know why but he didn’t want to, so I kept at him. After days of giving him verbal grief I decided on another course of action.

This particular day I was wearing grey sweat socks, one with a blue stripe, and I told John that I was going to wear those socks until he called the actress. This became known as the blue and grey event. I stuck to my guns; I would work, sleep and go out in those socks. The only time they came off my feet was when I showered. It did get bad, after a few days the socks started to feel like they were made of raw liver. And the smell was ungodly, I couldn’t stand it myself. There was a time we were with some other crew riding in a car and someone said”Ughh, there must be a garbage dump nearby”, but I knew it was me. I have to admit that after five or six days I was getting ready to cave, I thought I was getting a fungus and the smell was more than I could handle. Thankfully, John caved before I did and he made the call. It felt so good to get those socks off. I don’t remember if we threw them out the window or burned them. I don’t know what happened with John and the actress, I was just glad that the blue and grey incident was behind me.

Another night we were all at the hotel and the party in my room ran out of beer. We knew some of the other crew had a stash, so we had to get into their rooms. Now as all the rooms had balconies; all you had to do to get to the next room was climb over your balcony railing, jump to the next balcony and climb over their railing. It sure seemed simple enough. John and I went out on a mission, we made it to the next room over and it was locked. We had to keep going and hope that if we found an open room, that it was someone we knew. We didn’t seem to notice that our rooms were on the second floor of the hotel, we were really high up jumping around like Spiderman.

This went on for a little while before my luck finally ran out. I grabbed for a railing and it was loose. I lost my grip and down I went, but not to the ground, I landed on an aluminum storage shed. Where I made impact with the roof it had caved in quite a bit, and as I tried to stand and climb down it continued to collapse around me. I couldn’t get good footing, the roof just kept buckling until it finally gave way and I went through the roof and landed on the hotels lawn maintenance equipment. Yeah, that one hurt. I stumbled around and finally got out and made my way back to the hotels front door.

I looked pretty much like I just done all the things I had just done. My clothes were torn; I was bleeding, dirty and half drunk. I tried to look as innocent as possible as I asked the front desk clerk for another key to my room. I can’t imagine what she was thinking, but she gave me another key. By the time I got back upstairs John had scored more beer, so we were back in business. I’m pretty sure I stayed off the balcony for the remainder of my stay, but I won’t swear to it. Oh, and the garden shed was totaled, it looked like the Hulk had thrown a super villain through it. In case you’re wondering, aluminum sheds went for four hundred dollars back then. I bought one, I know.

Next was off to Rio de Janeiro, to play the Rock inRio festival. This was a huge event with a lot of bands. Our hotel was right on the beach and Rio was beautiful. A lot of bands and crews were staying at the same hotel, so I ran into a lot of people I knew. This was going to be a paid vacation. The festival was already going on when we got there. All we had to do was show up with our band gear and put it on rolling risers. This was one of those gigs where you only had a few minutes to get set up, so you would pre-set on risers off stage.

The crowd was enormous and Deborah and the band played really well. This was to be the first stop on a full world wide tour, and it could not have gone better. We finished the show and packed up, back to the hotel for a night out. Rio was really a great place to go out and tear it up. Everyone was in a good party mood, the first show had gone well and we were looking at a long tour with more of the same. Or so we thought.

I’m not sure if it was before or after we left Rio, but we were all told that the tour was off, indefinitely. I guess there were things going on behind the scenes that we didn’t know about. Most road crews are never involved with record label type of  business, so if the label isn’t supporting a record, or if anything else comes up that could derail a tour, we’re the last to know. So it was back home with no job. There was talk that the tour would be worked out eventually, but there was no way to tell when.

I started to make some phone calls to round up work and found out that it wouldn’t be long before Alice Cooper was starting up again. There would be new band guys, so there was no way to know if I had a job or not. There was always the chance that the new band guys would already have their own techs. So I had two maybes, the Gibson tour and The Coop. I kept making calls hoping something would turn up, and like always, it did.

Deborah had scheduled a tour of the Pacific Rim, which worked out perfect. I had been confirmed for the next Alice tour which would start up right after I got home. We started rehearsals with Deborah and everything was on track, until there was the possibility of extending her short tour. There was talk of doing a benefit that I wouldn’t be able to do, it conflicted with some of the tour dates on the Alice Cooper tour I had already confirmed. There was no way to know if this benefit would happen, so I had to bow out of the tour as I couldn’t finish it. It worked out well though, my friend Nick Morley was brought in to replace me, and the Alice Cooper people brought me out toL.A.six weeks early to do the rehearsals.     Sometimes things do come together.    

 

Excerpt from my book “We Are The Road Crew”

http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Road-Crew-Vol/dp/1450538673/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307275165&sr=8-5

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