Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A tour of last 3 tours

Yay! Rocket Scientists got another award, this one was for the participation in the Baja Prog festival. We did get another award at the Rotherham, England Progressive Rock festival. I don't recall what it was for however until I find pictures of us accepting it.... 'trust me, it looked a lot like this .... lol.

After that we went back east to Lakewood, Ohio and played the Winchester Theater. A Very nice time was had. I recall the meal before this gig being EXCELLENT... hence while I am pictured here playing a solo... I'm thinkin' "Wow, that was a great meal! I'm stuffed!"

Then on to Rotherham, England. Now that was a trip. I loved the plan ride. Sure ya think, "C'mon 9 hours in a plan!!! That's gotta be rough.

BUT! here's how I look at it. "Where else can ya sit in a nice reclined chair, not be bothered, watch movies and TV all day while someone brings you food and stuff to drink! and not be called a 'Lazy Bum!" I'd never get away with that at home! Hence, same situation but on a plan... and suddenly 'your working', part of the job, poor guy - has to travel all day. Well truth be known I really like it. I catch up on all the movies I haven't seen, all the "Family Guy" episodes I've missed and some darn fine documentaries I wouldn't bother watching at home. It's all good at 30,000 feet up.

Well then... on to Vancouver, I just got back. I did some solo shows and taught a lovely Stick seminar with Steve Adelson. Great wonderful group of participants.
Here is a few of us, (Jim and Louis) moments before I downed "A LOT" of (Canada's own) "Tim Horton donuts"... Ohhhh they were gooood.., Reeaaal Goood!

And.. here's the rest of the group.

Vancouver is Gorgeous!

Hey we even went "5 pin bowling". It was great fun, I've never done that before... and was about as bad as I am at 10 pin. But we had the best time! "Hi everyone!" (if you're lookin' in on my blog!) Thanks for such a GREAT time 

Nathen, Louis, John, Scott, Noel, Katy, Grant, Augy, Jim, Glen, bottom row -
Neil, Mike, Griffin, Steve, Diane and myself.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On my way - to UK!

Hi EveryOne!!! (and you too!)

Yes, arms are in 'flap ready position' as I take off for Rotherham, England. "WHY!" you may ask. Well it's not exaclty for the lushes Blood Pudding or Krumpets BUT that is a bonus. The main reason is "Rocket Scientist" (Progressive Rock Band) is playing the:

"Classic Rock Festival" SATURDAY (at the Montgomery Hall, Wath-upon-Dearne) in Rotherham, England.

" Wish Bone Ash and Rocket Scientists" Ohhh it's gonna be fun. http://www.classicrocksociety.net/
Click - ROTHERHAM ROCKS 2008 - to the right of that page.

We will be shouting out! and spreading the news of all Stick Enterprises wonders as well as I'll be playing the NS/Stick and... I'll be jumpin' up and down playin' a darn fine feature NS/Stick Solo moment too! Okay maybe I won't be jumpin' up and down and we'll hope for a 'darn fine solo'..

Alright then, I've got my leather flyin' hat and goggles in place... turbo charged beanie cap ready to spin and arms startin' to flap!!!!!

See ya there!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pete the dog!

Ah yes, A man, a Stick and his dog.

This was me and our dog "Pete" back in the mid 70's. We posed for this picture for a book about playing the Stick instrument. "Pete" used to tour with me. Not because I thought it was a great idea but because 'he' and my wife did!

Yes, I was against having pets (for the past 32 years - and now having 2 dogs and 3 cats living with us)... but because I figured when I'd start touring there would be no one to watch the pets.

 I then started to tour to some great places and thought, "Hey I'll take the wife!" and she thought "Hey, I'll go pack Pete!"... "and soooo it began."

Mind you hotels don't allow pets, especially the very nice hotels that we were staying at. Well, I had to figure a way to sneak him in and of course it was left up to me. 

I had a nice tour jacket at the time and putting Pete in it worked very well as we'd quickly go to the elevator, then on up to the room. In fact, over time it worked to well... Pete became so adept to this, the sight of the jacket would spring him into this routine. 1. I'd hold the jacket up and show Pete and 2. say, "Pete, we're gonna sneak!" He would look down and scrunch his little body into a crouching position.. (sooo cute). I'd put the jacket on top of him - scoop him up in it  and carry him like a football - just 'holding my jacket under my arm, while wheeling my luggage with the other hand. 

This all worked great but unbeknownst to me... he loved this so much and was SoooOooOo happy to sneak, his little tail would pop out the back end of the jacket behind me - wagging away in the wind. AND that's how we finally got caught.

PLAN B: "So whatta ya say when you get caught!?" I was traveling with the Ann-Margret show at the time when hotel security said, "You can't have dog's in this hotel" and so, thinkin' on my feet I said, "Oh I know but this is Ann-Margret's dog"... he said, "How come he doesn't have a diamond studded collar!? I said, "Because then people like you - would then 'know' it's Ann-Margret's dog and try and steal him." He said, "Oh okay, good point." From then on we didn't have to sneak him. BUT that left me with a problem - what if hotel security ran into Ann-Margret and said, "Oh I saw your dog, he's so cute!"

Plan C: I took "Pete" to rehearsal one day and showed him to Ann-Margret and said, "This is Pete! He's on tour." Now if security said anything about a dog, she'd just say something polite, kinda knowing what he was talking about and it would end there.

The Beauty of this tale, is later that year, Ann-Margret started touring with her little dog! And when we'd have after show parties in her suite (Large two floor - 8 bedroom suite atop Caesar's Palace) her little dog was there except her pooch had a darn fine collar. Ha! Come to think of it maybe security now thought.... "Oh I get it, the dog with the nice collar is the decoy dog and the  scruffy lookin' Benji type dog is the 'real' pet. 

At any rate, that's Pete, God rest your little dog soul, you were fun.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

So close and yet!

So I stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton last week. It was wonderful. I have SooOoOOooo many great memories there from when I was the 'house bassist' for the showroom. That's where I got to play the Elvis show. Yes, it was incredible.

Some of my favorite Las Vegas adventure stories get to be quite long so I'll direct you to an E-zine that published a few of them in an interview... There are even has some spiffy pictures as well.
------------............Las Vegas Stories.......--------- 

However I'll tell a brief Elvis story here and tie it into this picture of me and the statue of Elvis.

First a little about this Statue, as it commemorates 8 YEARS of sold out shows. I was able to be apart of his last Hilton appearance as he died shortly after that gig in 1977.  Whoa already in my head as I start the story, I can see how long it can get, there are actually two cool stories, I'll chop the first one down to size and tell the other one another time. Sooooo there I am playin' the Elvis show, the legend that ya just couldn't take you eyes off of. I've seen his movies since I was 10 and NOW here he is right in front of me! It was great, however.... he was 'very' well insulated. Body Guards (very large ones) never let him out of arms reach except to go out on stage.

It was grand, the 2001 one music theme would start and he curtain was closed. It looked like a 'football' huddle and Elvis was in the middle of a circle of 'large' personal bodyguards. When the curtain opened, so would the huddle and out he'd go to a screaming, frantic, excited audience. You could "feel the rush". Okay, so the show ends and the 'huddle' awaits him and off he goes to his private elevator (backstage) on up to his suites.

Tony Decaprio (house guitarist) and myself get invited to his private party after the show, sounds simple enough however there were many stages of bodyguards to go through who didn't know us... fortunately at every 'way station' an 'inside' person was there that could vouch for us.

We get up to the "Elvis Suite" and right before we go in, two security guards spot 'movement' behind these giant potted plants. They RUSH over and haul out to woman hiding in them and drag them to the exits. A bit scary and intimidating I must say. AND so we then go in. I must add here that the 'high alert' was justified as at that time Elvis was getting a death threat that they hadn't been able to resolve as to who it is. Very nerve racking I'm sure as 'each' performance left him vulnerable the moment he left the huddle.

So, now I'm in the suite with a small group of people, most of whom I didn't know and we're waiting for Elvis. I'm thinkin' "Wow, what am I gonna talk to him about!?" Hmmm what could I possible say that he hasn't heard a million times already?" Well, I labored over that thought a good twenty minutes when all of a sudden... the entry double doors open up --- we look up excited when...... "A large necked bodyguard pops through and says, "Elvis doesn't feel like havin' a fuckin' party, everybody get out!"

Eh... so you see the picture picture of me with the statue, well, oddly enough is some ways, that's about as close as I ever got to him. I had planned on such great conversations, but saddly his untimely death. "God rest your soul Elvis!"

Epilogue: My impressions of who he was in no way reflect the bodyguards actions. I saw him as very generous, kind, someone that strived to be a great role model. In many ways he succeeded, the other stuff I cannot judge. How would all that fame, money and pressure have shaped my personality? I don't know, however.... I'm up for finding out!!! LOl!

Remind me when you see me to tell the other Elvis story, "It'll be the 'icebreaker' when we meet on the road. Mention "Doctor TCB".

Be well, and hold fast!