Sala Santana 27
Friday May 30th 2008
We took a ride from the Hotel to the Industrial area in Bilbao. Scott, Stone and GT had missing luggage and the airlines did not know where it was. Scott went out and laid down some cash on new clothes, then later on during the day after sound check they got good news that the bags showed up. The music side of the show was fine, but the acting part was very sloppy. Many of the new personnel did not know the show that well. Light cues were completely wrong. Set changes did not happen or were seriously late, and GT had problems with his headset mic. The crowd was great and rocked regardless of the first show blues. One other thing that happened was a truck carrying Hughes and Kettner equipment showed up. I guess they must have got the memo that we were hiring Marshall.
Electric Weekend Festival
Saturday May 31st 2008
This was the first of the open air festivals to play. There were 15-20 thousand people there. We lounged in the backstage area and I got a bit of a sun tan which I badly needed. We were right next to the Machine Head guys. They are huge down here in Spain, as metal is huge here. We went on at about 8:00 p.m... We waked up to the stage and plugged in. All of a sudden Stones guitar rig disappears. There is widespread panic. His guitar turns on and then disappears. Then it comes on. We have to start the show. 30 seconds into the 1st song Stone disappears. So basically for 4 more songs I am playing by myself which sounds a bit strange. The crowd senses something is wrong. Stone pops back in for 30 more seconds, and then he is gone again. I had to concentrate super hard and keep my composure. When our show finally ended we actually go a good applause. The mood in the ride back of the van was very somber. We drank our sorrows away and I walked out to see Machine Head. All along the fence barrier was port-a-potties. But the people in Spain just peed thru the fence. When we got to the stage the crowd was ready for Machine Head. They hit their first song and the crowd went crazy. I watched 4 songs then went back to hang out with the guys from Metallica. Kirk came into our dressing room and told me his Wife was ready to have a baby. He was a bit of a nervous wreck. A few more people backstage said the show was amazing and didn’t know we were lacking a guitar player. Anyway you look at it, it was a crazy day.
Sunday June 1st 2008
Jet lag has taken its toll. Everyone is complaining about the bus. There is a fractured barrier of communication with the local hands. The show is taking extra long to set up. We play to a sit down audience. I notice a lot of phones in the air taking pictures and quick movies. The crowd is split between hard rockers and semi conservative dressed folk. All in all the show went pretty smooth and looked great on a good stage. I met some cool people at the after show. They were so pleased for Queensryche to perform in Portugal.
Tuesday June 3rd 2008
Another beautiful day, but a shit hole of a venue. Some greasy Chinese food kind of set the mood for the show. ½ hour before the show and nobody’s in the venue. They are all outside in the parking lot whooping it up. We start the show and the venue is about 1/3 full. But during the MC 1 show they were loud as hell. I had a few hotties in front of me. MC 2 people looked bored, kind of the “deer in headlights thing”. They picked it up from the encore and cheered as loud as a packed theater. The after show was pack it up and get the hell out of there. On the bus for a beer then on our way. I really didn’t think the bus was going to make it when we left. Everything began failing on it. A most uncomfortable ride.
Wednesday June 4th 2008
A hell of a long drive but the scenery was breathtaking. Something I will remember was the huge cemetery cut into the side of a small mountain. Thousands of glass mausoleum columns reflecting sun light in the 100 degree day. The equipment was an hour late so there was a scurry to get the full staging up. Our new bus arrived and it is quite an improvement. The show was the best so far. The crowd was amazing, singing and shouting the songs. For our last show in Spain it was a killer. We had a small 5 person meet & greet, one which was from Hughes and Kettner amplification. As well as the leader of the German Empire. We drank a bottle of Russian Vodka then it was party time on the bus. The apple Device was being passed around. That’s the last I remember.
Rock Sound Festival
Friday June 6th 2008
We get to the gig, unload, and a huge explosion happens. Our trucks air suspension system exploded. It definitely scared the shit out of a few people. The show was Altered Bridge, QR, then Europe all inside the venue. Outside were a bunch of local bands. The crowd was a bit mellow compared to Spain, but we got all there hands in the air after the last song. One of the Europe dudes was on my side absorbing some Whip guitar craft. And all the VIP’s were in front of the barricade on my side taking pictures and whooping it up. After the show we sampled some of the Swiss Vodka that the record guy gave us. Then we said goodbye to the Promoter and his assistant. By the time it was time to go I heard the song “Final Countdown” which I had not heard in a very long time. Time for a Tylenol PM..
Saturday June 7th 2008
I walked around the area where Alcatraz is. Nothing too interesting, except some super hot Italian chicks driving expensive cars!!! Stone and I did an interview for the Italian equivalent of Guitar Player. It was super muggy in the backstage area. The catering was amazing. The cook cooked all day. The show was incredible!! The fans were so supportive of us I had some girls from Barcelona in front of me. Maybe some new Whiptress’s! At the meet & greet I signed 2 Soulbender CD’s! I told them about the new one coming soon. I took the usual pictures, then vacated to the dressing room were a bunch of us polished a vodka bottle. At 2 a.m. there were still fans outside the bus, that’s dedication…
Monday June 9th 2008
What a beautiful day in France. We were to play the hit set to a small audience as a quick gig on the way to Belgium. After managing many roundabouts in the suburban city of Vaureal we arrived at a strange small building. The venue was part performance center part police academy and part day school. They set up a nice long table with white linen and brought dishes of salmon and rice. Luckily it was delicious. This French lady who was the cook wanted to keep feeding us bringing out cheese dishes then whipped cream desserts. We politely said no thanks, but I think she was offended, so someone sat there and ate her dishes to make her happy. The burnout factor is very high today. And there is a shortage of Red Bull! They brought us their equivalent which was called “Dark Dog”! It tasted like Formula 44 cherry cough syrup. We pounded through a quick soundcheck on the very tiny stage. It was a tight loud sound check. I made sure I had a small fan in front of me because I know it was going to be a scorcher. The place held 450, but there were 800 people outside. It was manic, stuffy and sweaty hot. After the first 3 songs there were pools of sweat in front of me. And the fans were arms lengths away were dying as well. We hammered through the sauna gig and wrung our wet cloths out in the dressing room. We proceeded to drink and sample the amazing cheese and interesting deli meat. The after show was interesting, with some fans that I recognized from the last tour. There were still fans outside on the way to the bus. I had a guard to protect me..
Tuesday June 10th 2008
I woke up to a hot sunny day. As I got off the bus I had the pleasure of seeing a dude peeing on the side of the wall right by our bus. How uncouth!! I noticed a lot of the restaurants and bars had rainbow colored flags. When I got to the venue they said our bus was parked on the gay street. I got something to eat then I went and did a quick walk around the venue. Everything was pretty damn expensive. The city was bustling for a Tuesday. Edbass and I did an interview for an internet magazine. Then I ate a horribly salty dinner. The audience was a little subdued but again they cheered heavily for the end of MC and the encore. The M & G had some repeat fans from the France show. I was hanging outside the bus talking to fans when I got the eye from a gay guy coming out of a club. We moved the bus and I waited outside for our tour manager. A gay couple walked past me and one growled and blew in my ear!!! That was it. I got on the bus and went to sleep!
Wednesday June 11th 2008
Where the fuck are we? The local dude said we were 1 hour north of Amsterdam. It was chilly outside, but nice and sunny. I ate some good food and recharged my battery. I was getting these pre-mixed pseudo RBV’s in tiny bottles, which they sold at the bar. The crowd was livelier than Belgium, I noticed some die hard fans in the crowd. I had a very good show.
Friday June 13th 2008
We just took on a whole new semi truck and 4 or 5 new personnel. Now our busses are crammed full. It took and extra long time for the show to be put together, since we had to hang our own lights and sound. Talking to some of the locals we found out we had not been there since 1994, wow…!! We did a quick sound check because they had to open the doors. I was a bit brain dead for the show. And in the middle of “mary” I lost my place in time when a dude from the audience screamed and startled me. After that I drank some Gatorade for sugar to the brain. The second set was going great until the end were Junki Blues goes into the clean pant. I lost time again due to an audio dropout. I guess some security guard decided to turn on his walkie talkie. Just my luck. The meet and greet were full of Irish people. These 2 girls were taunting me to go to Dublin. I did talk to a young rocker, a cool future guitar player. I told him to keep it up and save for an ESP guitar.
Saturday June 14th 2008
I went for a pleasant walk around the city square, it was quite bustling for a Saturday afternoon. Our long time bud Ian took a shit load of pictures of the show the night before and they look pretty cool. My days are pretty simple. Just stay active and practice as much different music as possible. After every meal a heavy sedation comes over most of us. So we try not to eat too heavy especially around show time. Before the first song one of the cameras lost power so Edbass and I were not to be featured as much. The crowd was very into Mindcrime 1. Mindcrime 2 some people in front rows knew the songs but beyond that I saw folded arms and confused looks. Well by the end of that set I think they got it as much as they could. I had a flawless show, and it was quite fun to perform to an unfamiliar audience. The encore they came alive as usual. The meet and greet was quite vigorous. Especially these Irish girls who kept asking why we did not come to Ireland any more. There were also some young rocker lads there as well. They thought we were cool. That’s what its all about when the kids think your still cool! On the bus I hit the apple and floated into la la land.
Sunday June 15th 2008
This is the legendary Leeds Hall where numerous bands from the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s have all played. I think it must be a prestige gig because we are here in a college cafeteria. The dressing rooms are very old and dingy, but I was still excited to possibly playing on the same old stage that Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page performed on! As well as being Fathers Day it was also Scott Rocks birthday. Also, it was 3 of 4 in a row, but it seemed like 6 since there really was no day off in London. The show started and I noticed I had a big tripod in front of me on the right side of my stage. Also I seemed to be in the dark most of the night. Still, I pulled off one of the better shows as far as technique in considered. During the encore, Pamela brought out an x-rated birthday cake for Scott. Pamela’s assistant Lea brought out balloons and tied them to Scotts drum set. After the show it was RBV time. We partied till 2 a.m. I went on the VIP’s bus and did some shots in honor of SR. I did catch my eye on a plastic sex sheep in Jason’s bunk.. Well well….
Tuesday June 17th 2008
We had played the Academy before and it was a bit of a shit hole backstage. This time it was renovated and comfortable. Backstage we were considering changing the encore songs. I think some of us are already getting bored with the set. We played our asses off but it was another sit down and stare audience. They stood up for the ending of “eyes of a stranger” then the end of MC2 and all the encores. The after show was full of happy backstage rychers. They said it was one of the best shows they have ever seen. One rocker metal kid apologized for the lame audience and said that I shredded..
Wednesday June 18th 2008
Wolverhampton was another sit down gig but they were one of the better audiences. There were plenty of colorful characters in the audience. Not many new about MC2 but they got into it regardless. And they came alive for the encores.
Friday June 20th 2008
We had super long bus ride through the beautiful suburbs of Norwich, then onto a university campus that was full of summer school kids. We all had to eat lunch in A cafeteria with the students. I had a bit of a beer hangover from the night before, but the sunny day cured that instantly. It was a super tight stage with my tech Geno actually on the stage. I had a killer night some of the other guys had monitor issues. Afterwards at the M&G we were greeted by some of the Greek contingency. I noticed a few in the audience because they were cheering the loudest. I got some more of the beads they give to nervous people. I had a little Chinese food then went to the bus for a nightcap.
Saturday June 21st 2008
This was one of the most grandiose buildings we played in England. The show started and it must have been 20 degrees hotter on stage. About the fourth tune I felt my head getting super hot. Then nausea came over me. I drank a whole Gatorade in one song. The second set I had a garbage can on my side of the stage because I thought I was going to hurl. I stayed pretty cool most of the set until the end of “AIC”. I immediately ran over to the garbage can and did a few dry hurls but nothing came out. Fortunately I got a cold towel on my head for a bout 10 seconds the finished the set. Afterwards I did not eat anything and went to the bus and went to sleep. Even though I was feeling ill Ian the photographer friend took some great shots of me and the rest of the show.
Sunday June 22nd 2008
The day started off just fine. We were at an almost brand new venue. Hardwood floors and state of the art lighting were among some of the features. In the dressing room everyone was concerned about me but I felt fine. I was really starting to feel like something was wrong with me but I didn’t know what it was. Fozzy and Geno made sure there was a chair, a fan, and a garbage can ready for me. The show started out fine and I was rockin. Then suddenly by the end of “Mission” that feeling started and I began to get hot as hell. During “Mary” I felt a tingling sensation go up the back of my neck and then FUCK! I got dizzy and disoriented. I rushed to the side of the stage where Geno was waiting with an ice soaked towel. He felt my forehead and said, “Fuck dude you are on fire”! I played the rest of the song with a fan on my face. I cooled off and played the rest of the set. After the finale of Mindcrime 1, I went to my side of the stage and nearly fell over. Fozzy grabbed me and said there was a medic that was going to take me for a diagnostic. I sat down in a room feeling like shit. Pandemonium was happening back stage about me. The medic did a bunch of tests then took my blood pressure and his eyes went wide open. He said I was over 200 and advised me to get into an ambulance if my blood pressure does not go down. I drank a ton of orange juice and had my blood pressure taken 2 more times. I started to get angry with myself and said “the show must go on!” the 2nd went flawless and I drank gulps of orange juice between every song. And I felt fine. After the show he asked me if I have been taking any medication. A light bulb went off in my head, sleeping pills (Rozerem). He said stop taking them immediately. You've become addicted to them and you are having adverse affects from them. FDA approved? well no more for me! The medic followed me around the M&G. Everyone said it was a phenomenal show but the VIP’s were concerned because they heard what happened. I started to freak out a bit thinking what had just happened to me. Anyway I went right to the bus and to my bunk. No partying for the Whip..
Tuesday June 24th 2008
Bristol is a quaint vibe of a city with cool architecture and nice people. I really enjoyed walking around. I was told to purchase a portable blood pressure machine, so I found one in a sundry store. I took it back to the room and it did not work, so I walked all the way back to the store. The manager took the machine and plugged it in and it worked. Boy did I feel like a fool. Anyway I took my blood pressure and it was normal. Thank God. I could definitely still feel a tingly sensation in my head, but everything seemed clearer. The show was in an old church like building. The stage was cool, that was a good sign. When I hit the first chord everything sounded amazing, almost 3D like. Wow, I felt like my old self and had a kick ass first set. During intermission the band said it was good to have the Whip back. The 2nd set was a piece of cake and near the end these two lesbian girls came down to the front row on my side. They were hilarious. One was butch and one feminine. They were the high point of the sit down crowd. GT said he had nothing left so we gave them a 2 song encore. The M&G was cool, I met one dude who brought one of my ESP ltd’s. He had everyone sign it and then told me he was going to acquire the signature model. I told him good choice..
Wednesday June 25th 2008
WE were playing a hall that was part of a civic center so the general public could walk through the back stage were our dressing rooms were. People in business suits kept coming into our dressing room, then a dude said he was a repair man demanded that something needed to be repaired. Not today fella. The stage was a true down stage because it tilted forward down so a balance adjustment was needed. The stage was so hot when we started that my guitar went flat by the 2nd song. Even though I was hot my head was cool. I definitely sweated the last of the Rozerem out. It’s good to be back. The crowd was a good size but they were a sit down crowd until the last song of each set and the encores, which we did only 2. The after show was done in a bar and I made my rounds and left. I hammered a VRB and it was off to the bus. A few more autographs and I was bed bound because we had to get up at 5:00 a.m. for a ferry ride to France then the 15-hour drive begins.
Bang Your Head Festival
Friday June 27th, 2008
Fucking unbelievable. The promoter said the night before that 15,000 tickets had been sold and that was at a week ago. The backstage area was full of band dudes that I did not know except for the guitar player from Great White. During the afternoon there were some drunken Scandinavian dudes playing in a blow-up pool. Needless to say they were a bit shit faced. They would get out of the pool and their pants would fall down…. Yes it was probably one of the grossest things I have ever seen. These douche bags then let all the water out of the pool and flooded the backstage area turning the dirt into mud. I guess that is typical for a rock festival. There were reports of massive passed out people getting seriously sun burnt from the hot day. If you can imagine looking out from the stage the area is surrounded by vendors in shacks selling everything you can imagine. After White Lion, Great White, came Iced Earth and they were very cool heavy metal band. By this time the place was packed. I was seriously rushing when we arrived to the back stage area. Photographers were snapping pictures as we ascended the stairs. We had a German drum core for the Anarchy X march. When I went out for the first chord I went – YES! This crowd is mine. We had no screen behind us, but we piped all the media into the 2 giant 40 x 60 Trinitron LCDs. I heard it looked amazing. We gave them a 4 song encore. All in all, one of the best QR shows ever!!! Rock Hand Magazine had filmed the whole concert. So hopefully this one will be preserved for everyone to see.
Plzen, Czech Republic
Saturday June 28th, 2008
It was quite interesting being in this country. The people are quite different but the girls are pretty. The festival was a 3 day event with 3 stages. The music started at 10:30 a.m. and just about every band was thrash metal. So were to be the lone beacon of melody for the festival. It was another hot day but the weather kept changing every hour. We were scheduled to play at 11:00 p.m. and it was getting very cold. I met the singer of the band Primal Fear. They were from Germany. In fact we were the only USA band. When we started we had a technical glitch. Some stagehand had rolled a heavy case over one of our cables and caused a short break in the line. They got it all fixed by the 3rd song and we proceeded to give a 1 hour 15mn show. The crowd was obviously young and had never herd of us. But by the time some of the Mindcrime 1 started, the came alive until the end of the show. We were called back for an encore and blasted “Empire”. We took our bows then left the stage. Then the crowd began to chant our name. We defiantly left our mark in this country and gained some respect among the metal crowd. No aftershow so it was pack it up and go fro a 30 hour from hell trip to Bucharest.
Plzen to Bucharest
Sunday June 29th, 2008
*****THE BUS RIDE FROM HELL*****
Upon wakening on the bus, I asked where we were. They said some where in Budapest. The air stopped working on the bus, so It was steamy and uncomfortable. The drive turned out to be longer then estimated in the Itinerary. We were mainly on 2 lane highways often getting stuck behind horse and buggy wagons. We made a pit stop at a Hungarian truck stop. The 2nd bus had been apparently drinking heavily and one of the super fan s erupted vomit on one the crew guys. My guitar tech Geno had fainted due to heat exhaustion. When we got to the Romanian border the heat had gone up a few degrees. They detained us for 30 minutes. When we finally made it thru I noticed that there was at least a 5 mile queue. I could only imagine the drive back!!!! As dusk came upon us we made our way through the hill of Transylvania. An eerie fog or mist was clinging in the valley. I saw beautiful stone houses that had mini graveyards attached to them. Then I saw it “The Bank of Transylvania”. I felt a feeling of disarray. How surreal it was to drive through that town. The night time came quickly and progress was slow going. There was a plethora of nighttime truckers which made the drive dangerous on the windy 2 lane roads. The drivers were toast and pulled over at a truck stop 3 hours out of Bucharest.
Monday June 30th, 2008
Another bus ride from hell. No air conditioning, only sun roofs that were letting in 90 degree weather. We ended up at a truck overnight parking. Then woke up early, to get our weary bus drivers back on the road. The problem became apparent that whoever wrote the mileage was on crack. It took us 3 hours once we were in the city just to get us to the venue. We were 4 hours late and our promoter Dragos Vlad (who we thought was going to be a Vampire) was making our life difficult. The problem was we had to leave by a certain time to make the next show in Budapest. So we agreed to play all of Mindcrime, and 4 songs from Mindcrime 2. Then 5 encore songs. The venue was unreal. I looked like an Olympian arena with huge Greek columns that went around the venue. I imagined visions of gladiator once happened here. The show was amazing, and the crowd was incredible for a place we had never been. After the show some of the press people from the preshow said it was one of the best shows ever. Afterward we were all feeling exhausted and I sensed that the super fans were wearing thin. We embarked on another journey. The bus ride from hell continues on.
On this bus ride when we went thought Slovakia, I got a the bug and had to have the bus pull over and make a much needed pit stop. I slept like shit with a fever running through my veins. I just had to grin and rise above it.
After the show in Bucharest we took off that night. I awoke the next morning in a long line at the Hungarian/Romanian border. Since we were on a bus we could bypass the long 5 mile line of trucks awaiting in the truck line. But that meant that the truck could not follow us. So our tour manager got on the phone to the Hungarian promoter. And told him if we can put the truck to the head of the line, we won’t be able to make the show. So the promoter called in a police escort for us. With a little payola we bribed the guards to let the truck through. They said we would cause a riot. But our 2 Hells Angel drivers went for it. When they pulled out of line all the trucker started flipping the bird to them. Then, all of a sudden a driver jumped out of a truck and pulled a knife. Our driver got out of the truck and walked up the him and punched him in the face and knocked him out. They then pulled up to the border station and took care of the paperwork. They tried to stiff us for 2,000 pounds because they said we needed another day visa. Our guys said no fucking way. They said 1,000, we said no fucking way. They said 500 , we said no fucking way. They said some Queensryche T-Shirts, we said OK! Then it was see ya, off to Budapest!
Tuesday July 1st, 2008
After the hell bus ride from Bucharest we barely made it in time for load in. In fact, we were 4 hours late. Out tour manager was on the cell phone non-stop trying to determine if the promoter was going to cancel the show. Once we got into the city, one of the promoter assistants flagged the bus down and guided us to the venue. When we arrived there was a plethora of fans yahooing at all the outside bars. Unfortunately we had to drive through that. When we got to the back entrance our crew jumped off the bus and busted ass to get a 4 hour set up in 2 hours. We were fed an extravaganza of Budapest food. Some of the crew were feeling a bit ill, so tensions were in the air. We played the whole set and ended after midnight. The fans were incredible. We rocked and so did they. After, we were supposed to drive to Warsaw. But we cut a deal, so we could sleep in the local hotel. And have a nice day off.
Monday July 3rd, 2008
After another long bus ride we arrived at the venue to find out there is only 1 bathroom working in the whole venue. After a torturous night that was not what I wanted to hear. I found out that this was a press day for Geoff. But he decided to go shopping, so Stone and I did 2 interviews. One with “Burn”, and one with “Rock Hard”. I was very careful with what I snacked on. We had a great show. The polish audience was amazing. They were loud and passionate about our music. After the show our tour manager started selling bits of our staging for backstage passes. We ended up selling the couch, the table, the garbage can and some other misc stage props. We ended up throwing the rest of it away. WE did toast to the end of Mindcrime 1 and 2 in its entirety..
Saturday July 5th, 2008
We got in a van at the hotel and drove about 20 minutes to the festival grounds. There were a shit load of fans and bands in the backstage area. We stayed in our corner with Angry Anderson form Rose Tattoo. Then we talked with a guitar player from a British metal band. As we walked to the stage, the beautiful day had turned to rain. We are last as usual, getting all the gear hooked up. We play the first three tunes, then there is a big bang. The whole stage went dead. Also, there whole backstage catering and dressing rooms were dead. We are dumbfounded as we just realized we blew up the festival. I am hanging on the side of the stage watching crew guys stressed out of their minds racing around trying to fix the problem. Finally the lights go back on. Geoff says to the crowd, “sorry for blowing up your gig”. I start the song NM156, it was a fractured set but at least we did not get booed off the stage. In fact some fans said it was the best we ever sounded. Afterwards I hung out with some fans and took some pictures. I packed and sorted my gear for Rocklahoma. Then it was on the bus for a long drive to Heathrow Airport. It seems every “throw and go” festival, something always happens to us. It’s not even a surprise anymore. All you can do is just go with the flow and improvise. I need a drink!!!!!!