Saturday, September 13, 2008

The lonnng and winding road....

As some of you may know, five a.m. (the band I manage) has gotten the opportunity to open for SISTER HAZEL on their west coast tour! Last Sunday night at 9, we drove 5.5 hours to Yreka and stayed the night at Trents dads. Bright and early-ish Monday, we drove 10 hours to Seattle where the tour started. We stayed in a hotel and hung around Seattle before checking into "The Showbox" where the gig was.

We were all champing at the bit to play after 15+ hours in the bus (it's a 15 passenger airporter style bus...not like, a luxury liner...just so you know) and it was a really, really great show. To be honest, we all like Sister Hazel but had NO clue what kind of draw they would have. Turns's big. And the fans are SUPER cool. They were all really attentive and seemed to dig the band. Yay! You really can't ask for much more when playing a new city. Plus, The Showbox is an AWESOME venue.

After the show and many beers (they serve Olympia in CANS there as well as Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys!) we drove to Portland where we stayed the night in this frigging huge mansion that one of the guys in the bands wife knows the people who own it. If that makes sense. That drive wasn't bad...only 3 hours. But it was really weird waking up in a mansion and you have no clue where you are. Seriously, I didn't know where I was, aside from Oregon. It felt like a weird drunken bender than landed me in rehab. I woke up in a nice and pretty place with 4 lbs of bacon waiting for us. We ventured down to the Aladdin Theater in Portland later on and set up. The Aladdin apparently has a claim to fame in that DEEP THROAT played there for 14 years straight. Gross! At this point, we've driven about 19 hours and played 45 minutes. Sounds lame, but that's the job.

Honestly, and don't laugh (well, you can) I can really see what Jon Bon Jovi is on about in "Wanted Dead or Alive." Having been on the road a mere 3 days and I was lost. Tired, sore, out of place...out of time. Focused on getting the guys to the gig on time and ready to play. Very different from regular day-to-day life. Although we never got far enough away to need to tell the day by the bottle that we drink, it was still all very...weird.

So Portland was another killer show. Five a.m. has really got their shit going on. Seriously. They were tight and fun and polished and again, people watched, danced and bought CD's. Unfortunately we had to bolt immediately after the gig to go to Yreka which was again, 5.5 hours away. It was a bummer because in Seattle, the longer we stayed, the more new fans wandered over and bought a CD, got an autograph, etc. It was neat. And, we could use the money. But our well being and rest was more important so we split Portland at about 9:30 and our bass player Jason cranked us into Yreka in 5 hours flat!

Slept in a bed (I forgot to mention, due to my newfound fat-assedness, I snore now. So, I had to sleep with Jed our drummer, the other snorer, in the living room on some couch. Well, he was on the floor and I was pretty uncomfortable on the couch.) and got up early to drive HOME to San Francisco, another 5 hours. Wheee! Time -vs- playing numbers at this point are as follows: Driven 28 or so hours, played 90 minutes. Ouch.

Again, I was in a haze. I had brought some books and a notebook to entertain myself (and you know, maybe write something? Since that's what I do. Or, did) but mostly napped uncomfortably, screwed around with the guys and stared out the window. I gotta admit, I love driving. I can just zone out and almost meditate. But still, my ass, back and neck hurt, my schedule for eating/sleeping/bathrooming was destroyed and I missed my wife, dog and baby (not in that order). We got to SF around 4:30 and loaded in.

I was psyched for the guys to play The Independent because it's a great SF venue. And, we've never played there. I think we put on a good show and saw alot of fans. I even managed to finagle a ride home with frequent blog commenter LJ...which was awesome. I was dying to spend a night at home and plus, I got to get drunk at the show! Mostly free beer in the dressing room but I still managed a fat bar tab. I was so happy to be home I was buying everybody drinks. We got back to Petaluma around 1:00 a.m. as we stayed to watch Sister Hazel put on another great show. And it was another packed house. Awesome. Plus, we were all in a weird malaise or mood early on and were worried the show would suck...but as soon as they hit the stage, it was on.

The next morning it was my turn to watch the baby at 7:30 a.m. So...after driving 30 hours through 3 states and waking up after 6 hours, it was time to be a dad. In all honesty, it was awesome. My wife went to work and me and my daughter hung out and then she took a 90 minute nap! whatta sweetie. I promptly konked out as well. Friday night we chilled and watched MAD MEN (best episode of the year so far....maybe ever for the show IMHO) and I passed out at 11:00.

Woke up at 7:30, got in the car....drove to L.A. where I write to you from now. I got a hotel on the Sunset Strip! I was going to stay with a friend but he had a change of plans. Plus, the guys are staying at our percussionists in-laws (which is a nice house and they're super nice) but I need to leave tomorrow and the band will carry on to close out the tour just outside San Diego.

I'm tired, but super stoked! The band is playing House of Blues on Sunset!! Anyone who grew up in the 80's came to know the strip as the place for bands. Sure, they were shitty, drunk hair bands, but those early influences stick with you. I'm drinking a beer now, gonna hop in the shower and then walk 3/4 of a mile to the show. I couldn't be more proud of the band for kicking so much ass this week. And, there were no arguments or crappy times. We only kinda sorta broke down once too!! I'm looking forward to a great night in my 3rd favorite city, L.A.


Jonny said...

Hey Don, I forgot to mention this earlier, but I think I saw Five A.M. play at the San Mateo County Fair back in August. Am I crazy or was that them?

Also, I really like a few Sister Hazel songs. That's awesome that your band is touring with them!

And in closing, people can say what they want about "Wanted Dead or Alive" but there is some major bad-assery in that song.

Major. said...

That was them! Damn, wish I'd known you were going. Bet you were there for Weird Al and caught the band by mistake. ADMIT IT!! ;-)

Jonny said...

Guilty as charged.