Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nikki Sixx

On September 18 the family went out to a Nikki Sixx book signing for his new book The Heroin Diaries. It chronicles a year of his life from Christmas of 1986 through the end of 1987. Needless to say this isn't a G-rated book and walks through one of Nikki's bouts with drug addiction.

The signing was at Borders one block from my office so I didn't have an excuse to skip out. The line was enormously long and once Nikki arrived it took a good 2 1/2 hours to get the autographs. When it was all said and done I had spent close to 4 1/2 hours waiting.

You never know how these events will go, and considering Motley Crue was one of my favorite bands growing up you don't want to get a bad impression of the artist if you do get a chance to meet them. As we approached Nikki's handlers were trying to fly us through. I have an original Motley Crue Stick To Your Guns / Toast Of The Town 7" single I had to get signed. His people were saying he would only sign the book and would not sign anything else. After a brief argument with his people I was able to show Nikki the single and he told them he had to sign it.

I have been on a bit of a mission with this single with the autographs. I had Tommy Lee sign it in 1987, ironically the year Nikki documents in his book, at an in store in Houston. I had Vince Neil sign it outside the Four Seasons hotel in Atlanta in 2005 and now Nikki in 2007. Now if I can only get a chance to meet Mick Mars I can complete this 20 year mission to get this single signed!

Into The Wild

Go see this movie. Emile Hirsch is great in the lead role and the music of Eddie Vedder perfectly complements the movie. Jacki and I just got back from seeing at the Arclight and we both enjoyed it. Be forewarned that you may not have a dry eye by the end.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Frog Level

The family will be making an unexpected trip to Arkansas next week. My Aunt is in poor health so we will be going up to see her. This will also be my first time to see my brother and his kids in 3 years. As with these types of things it will be great to see family, but you wish it was under better circumstances. This next week is also my Dad's birthday so it will be good to see him as well.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Van Halen

We got our tickets to the December 14, 2007 show at Staples Center. This has to be the hottest concert ticket this year.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Rainy day in LA

Rain doesn't come often in LA especially with the lightning and thunder we've had tonight. It is odd how you almost look forward to a little rain out here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jason Falkner at the Roxy

Thursday night I saw Jason Falkner here in LA. My good friend Dean Truitt continues to be in his band. He is actually getting ready to do a small tour of Japan as part of Jason's touring band next week.

I arrived at the show around 9:45. The first band was a female solo artist named Annie Stela. She was backed by bass and drums. She had both good songs and a good voice. The only critique is the band needed a guitar player. The songs sounded a little empty with keyboards as the primary instrument.

The second band up was Castledoor. They were entertaining and had a great full sound. The had some unique instrumentation including xylophone/bells. I liked their up tempo songs more so then the laid back ones.

Jason Falkner hit the stage right at 11:30 and played an hour and a half set. I stood in front of Dean for most of the set and was able to get some good pictures at the start of the show. I think I worried Dean's girlfriend because I was taking pictures of only Dean and not Jason. Probably thought I was some gay stalker of Dean's, haha!

Since I left my camera's memory card on my desk at home, I was limited to a small number of pictures.

Highlights for me included the songs The Neighbor, and They Put Her In The Movies, I Don't Mind, and Stephanie Tells Me. I can still vividly remembering hearing Dean play the little keyboard riff on guitar at the Viper Room the first time I saw Falkner perform They Put Her In The Movies. A great song.

A good portion of the set consisted of new material so after few songs into the set I walked over to the merch booth to get the new disc. I am not that familiar with Jason's older material other than the Bliss ep but I find I like the newer songs more so than his older material.

The show was great, definitely the best of the three times I've seen them. Jason's voice was spot on and the band was tight. This was also the first time I had been to the Roxy where the sound was crystal clear. Always a treat to be at a great sounding show!

Jason Falkner
September 13, 2007
The Roxy Theatre
Los Angeles, CA

This Time
The Neighbor
Stephanie Tells Me
The Put Her In The Movies
Komplicated Man
The Knew
I Don't Mind
All God's Creatures

This Life
Goodnight Sweet Night
Gimmi Gimmi
Miss Understanding

I met Dean's girlfriend during my picture taking and was able to talk to Dean for a bit after the show. While we talked Jason's mother came over and said hi to Dean. She mistakenly thought I was the guitar player so I had to point her towards Dean. While talking with her and Dean I found out that Jason's brother is the dancer in Beck's touring band. And to think we watched the Beck Saturday Night Live performance over and over because of the dancing.

I ended up talking with Dean and his friends until the club kicked us out. I got home a little after 2am.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Steve Vai at the Wiltern

Last Tuesday I went to the Steve Vai show at the Wiltern. The first opening act was Orianthi, a female singer/guitarist from Australia. She was a good looking girl in her early 20s that could shred on guitar but I was put off by her not acknowledging her band and her repeated references to this is "my" song, and this is the last song "I'm" going to play. I suspect the band were hired guns for the tour but regardless it turned me off. She was still developing her own identity but the crows liked her and she looks to have a bright future in the US.

Second act was Zack Wiesinger. Very entertaining. He played his set solo during the set change, so while crew was on stage removing the first acts gear he was going from mic, to guitar, to amp that was available at that time and playing. Covers included The Munsters theme, James Bond theme, and Voodoo Chile (Slight Return). He also sat in on guitar during some of Steve's set.

Right as Steve's set was about to start I spotted John 5 in the balcony on the first row. Steve's set lasted right at 2 1/2 hours with virtually no breaks. With two violin players, and the arrival of a new bass player I wasn't sure what to expect. The start of the set was unfamiliar to me which was surprising considered I've followed his music very closely since the mid 80s. As he settled into the set things were familiar once again and he had good cross section of material including selections from two of my favorites Real Illusions: Reflections and Fire Garden Suite.

Highlights for me were Firewall, including a great reading of the intro lyric by Steve, The Crying Machine, Bryan was able to play some killer bass, the intro to Damn Good, and as always For The Love Of God.

Steve Vai
September 11, 2007
The Wiltern
Los Angeles, CA

Now We Run

Building The Church
Tender Surrender

Band Introductions - with a James Brown Bit with Steve saying in a James Brown voice I gotta kiss myself.
The Crying Machine
Dave's Solo
I'm Becoming
Die To Live
Freak Show Excess w/ bass solo
The "Vai-oi-lins" Solo w/ excerpt from Crossroads

Acoustic Set
At start of set Steve mentions 9/11
Damn Good intro ->

All About Eve
Steve and Jeremy (drummer) banter with Jeremy showing off "The Beast"
Angel Food
Drum Solo
Audience Is Listening
The Murder
Whispering a Prayer
Taurus Bulba

For The Love of God

I received a meet and greet pass through a promotion on his website. So after the show I headed to the meet and greet line. The line was extremely long by the time I found where I needed to be so it took a little over an hour just to say hi to Steve. I also had his most recent cd signed and was able to get a picture with him.

While waiting I was able to talk to Bryan Beller his new bass player. Bryan remembered me from seeing and talking to him at many of the Keneally shows. He was telling me about now that he has both moved to Nashville and is on tour with Vai he is getting more gig offers in LA than he ever had previously. Feast or famine for the musicians. He seems to be having a great time and I also saw him catching up with many of his LA friends after we talked. He said he'll be back in LA for some gigs at the start of the year but will be booked on Vai's tour until then.

It was a long night but well worth it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Rocky Mountains

On the final day of our trip the family ventured out to Rocky Mountain National Park. I had mis-booked our flights so when I attempted to reschedule the flights on Labor Day were booked so we had an extra day in Denver. Unfortunately Jacki wasn't feeling well so she tried her best to support Darian and I on our outing.

We set off around 10am towards Estes Park. Along the way we drove through Boulder and made it to Estes shortly after noon. The road between Boulder and Estes Park was full of bicyclists. Some of the cyclists were cruising along and others looked as though they were struggling to make it up some of the hills. Needless to say I would have been in the struggling camp. I was surprised that they shared the road with cars driving 55-65 mph.

Once in Estes Park Darian and I ate at a KFC/Taco Bell combo place, and we picked Jacki up subway. While waiting in the parking lot I took a picture of some lightning from a storm that was passing through. We waited the storm out and then got back on the road to the park.

Our first stop was the Park and Ride to Bear Lake. Jacki stayed in the car and slept and Darian and I took the bus to the Lake. We walked around the entire lake and took quite a few pictures. It was an overcast day with drizzling so it wasn't as picturesque as I was hoping. On the way back we walked through Glacier Gorge and then took the bus back to the park and ride.

Our next stop was Sprague lake. Park buses didn't take visitors so there was a lot less traffic and people walking around. In some ways that made this a better lake to visit. The pictures also came out better at this lake then at Bear Lake. Darian kept Jacki company. As I walked the 1/2 mile around the lake I saw a chipmunk and some ducks. Once I got back to the car Jacki was feeling better.

Our next stop was Fern Lake. The guide I printed off of the internet mentioned we may even see some Elk. On the way to the lake we noticed a number of cars pulled over to the side of the road. We decided to stop and noticed that there were two giant elk in the meadows. The horns on these elk looked as large as some of the small trees they were standing by. No one ventured close and kept their distance and took photos. They had to have been at least 50-75 yards from the road.

Further down the road we drove through a pack of close to 10 female elk. There was even a smaller baby elk in the herd. They were eating leaves from trees that lined the road. After driving through I walked back and took some more pictures. We were able to get within about 10 feet of these elk. Jacki said seeing the elk made the trip worthwhile.

As we headed back to US 34 we saw a coyote running on the top of a small hill close to where the two male Elk were that we originally spotted. Darian said the coyote runs and looks like a dog. We got back onto US 34 and drove through Deer Junction. Jacki spotted a deer running on one of the hills. Giant antelers but looked a little on the thin side.

Once up the road we accidentally made a wrong turn and ended outside of the park. After a u-turn and a visit to the information area we got back on track for Old Falls road. The family wasn't all that fond of driving up a one way dirt road in the rain on the side of a mountain, although I found it easier to navigate than the roads on Pike's Peak.

At the end of the 10 mile road we made it to the top of one of the peaks. I took some cool pictures and then we were off to our final destination in the park, Millner's Pass at the Continental Divide. The divide is the point where bodies of water drain to. On one side of the divide about 50 yards from the sign the water drains into the Atlantic Ocean, and on the other side with a small lake about a 100 yards away the lake drains into the Pacific Ocean.

At this point the sun was going down and entering into dusk. We drove through the backside of the park, saw a few more elk, and believe we saw some moose as we exited the park. After dinner in Winter Park we made it back to Denver. When it was all said and done it was right at a 12 hour day. By 10:30pm we were back in our hotel room packing for our flight the next morning.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Pictures from our trip to Colorado

Here are pictures from our weekend in Colorado. The first album are pictures from the wedding events of Brett and Sandy McGarity. Including rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.

Brett And Sandy McGarity Wedding

The second album includes pictures from Pike's Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Colorado Mountains

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Kings Of Leon at the Greek

The entire family ventured out Friday evening to the Greek Theatre to see Kings Of Leon. I left work a little early to pick up D. After sitting in traffic for over an hour we met Jacki for a quick dinner at Chipotle and then headed to the show.

Kings Of Leon
Greek Theatre
Los Angeles, CA
September 7, 2007

started at 9:17pm
intro music
Black Thumbnail
Taper Jean Girl (?)
King Of The Rodeo
My Party
True Love Way
Molly's Chambers
The Bucket
On Call
California Waiting
Spiral Staircase

Knocked Up
Four Kicks
Slow Night, So Long
Ends 10:37pm

I mistyped Taper Jean Girl on my Helio so I'm not positive I have it in the correct place in the set list. It either came before Charmer or after Charmer. I think I have it in the right place based on previous KOL set lists.

Opening acts were Manchester Orchestra and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Manchester was from Atlanta and we only caught their last song. BRMC played a solid set but probably didn't make any new fans. The lighting made it next to impossible to see the band and their energy level on stage didn't extend to the crowd.

KOL has now reached the big time in the US. I remember seeing them play a small tent at Bonnaroo back in 2004 and now they are packing the Greek in LA that holds 6000+. The band still has a bad habit of playing with their backs to the crowd but Caleb has become a much better front man and no longer looks intimidated by the audience.

They had a minimal headlining stage that featured the light bulb from their new album cover. They had 4 giant light bulb tapestries that were evenly spaced on stage behind the band and amps. They even brought a set of 4 disco balls out on tour that lowered a couple of times during the show. Oddly they didn't put a spotlight on the disco balls so it didn't become part of the light show. The stage backdrop featured a giant Kings Of Leon logo in the same style as that on the Aha Shake Heartbreak album.

Although their energy level wasn't as high as when I had seen them previously, they did perform a strong show that had the audience rocking along for the entirety of their short 80 minute set.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Brett and Sandy

We just wrapped a weekend of wedding festivities for Brett and Sandy. We took a lazy Saturday and headed to the rehearsal shortly after lunch. We did two full run throughs of the the ceremony so we could see what the cues were as well as see how things would be laid out. I had a reading near the beginning of the ceremony. I read the following piece, and after the wedding ceremony I received many compliments for the piece, although I did not choose the selection.

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love,” which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
And when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches,
They find that they are one tree and not two.

(Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres)

After the rehearsal we drove around, checked out Red Rocks, and then headed to the rehearsal dinner at Cool River Cafe. Brett and I went to Cool River Cafe years ago when I was in Denver for business so it was neat to see he selected the same place for rehearsal dinner.

There were many tributes to Brett and Sandy from friends and family. Of course I was expected to say something and ended up being the emotional one for the evening. Well at least I tried to speak from the heart. After the dinner Mac, Brett's dad, took a small group of us out to Dave and Busters for some beers and to shoot pool.

The big day was Sunday. The morning started early with a wedding breakfast. The group was a little larger than the dinner the night before and I was able to see Nicole, a college friend of Brett's, who I hadn't seen in years. I also met her husband and they ended up sitting with us at the breakfast. The breakfast provided a good opportunity to talk to Linda, Brett's mother, about the infamous fire incident. After all these years she had never heard that story. I was also able to catch up with many other of Brett's family and friends. My mom and Marvin were also there so they were making the rounds with Jacki. Brett showed up early and left after about 30 minutes and Sandy showed up after Brett left for the last half.

The wedding was in the afternoon. We arrived about 30 minutes before the wedding. Mac escorted Jacki to her seat and Darian was escorted as well. I followed them and we were seated on the third row. Frank, a friend of Brett's from highschool, also sat on our row. The ceremony went off without a hitch, I was able to get through my reading without problem and then Brett and Sandy were officially married. It was great to see how happy the two of them are.

The reception ended the night with dinner and dancing. For those of you that know me well I'm not much of a dancer. I enjoy myself by taking pictures and just hanging back. Well after much prodding by my family and even Brett I had to give in when the last song of the night ended up being "I Could Not Ask For More" by Edwin McCain. This was mine and Jacki's wedding song and afterwards we talked to Brett and he mentioned that he liked that song from our wedding and wanted it to be their first song at his wedding. Sandy ended up picking the first song so Brett made it the final dance of the evening. It was very touching to know that we had touched his wedding in such a special way.

We said our goodbyes to Brett, his family, and to my Mom and Marvin. A very rewarding trip and we are grateful to have been included in both the wedding itself and all of the weekend's festivities.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The top of Colorado

Yesterday we ventured out in Colorado. We took a drive up to the top of Pike's Peak yesterday. The summit is 14,110 feet. It was a stunning view from the top although at the high altitude I felt both light headed and sluggish. At one point I nearly feel trying to get into the car. Darian had no problems and Jacki felt a little like me just not as severe.

I also learned I don't know how to drive a giant SUV down a mountain. We rented a Trailblazer for the trip. At the break check about 1/3rd of the way back down the mountain they had us pull our car over because the brake oil was over 450 degrees. They said they stop cars over 300 degrees. We hung out for about 20-30 minutes and then proceeded to drive in first gear the majority of the trip down to the bottom.

After Pike's Peak we went to the Garden Of The Gods. This was the coolest looking exposed Red Rock I have ever seen. The write ups in the tour guides don't do it justice. We saw a picture on a postcard at the top of Pike's Peak and decided we needed to check it out. The shapes of the rock were very unique and it was remarkable that all of this occurred naturally. This is highly recommended if you ever make it to the Denver or Colorado Springs area. Many of the grounds around the red rock was landscaped with both hiking trails and sidewalk trails that also had the same color as the red rock.

We walked around for about an hour and checked out some of the different areas of the park. After a quick trip through the vistor's center we headed back to Denver.

We met up wtih my Mom and Marvin for dinner at Old Chicago and afterwards I was able to meet up with Brett and catch up. It was good to have some one on one time to catch up before all of the wedding activities. Today we have the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner and tomorrow is the big day.

Now we are off to get ready.

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