Billboard Hot 100 Fest
Shiny Toy Guns
The show was perfect... but I walked from the venue in confusion and heartache. As we stood behind the merch table signing things and talking to our friends a girl who was one of our voices in the are30 november.
1000hrs. we land in LaGuardia Airport in cold New York City .. but not quite as cold as the blizzard we outran from Denver the night before. Our plane was de-iced 9 times on the runway in the middle of the night as the ice and snow slammed sideways into the plane, bending the wings like a toy model. We got in a set of black vans and headed to our hotel, still wincing from the lack of sleep on turbulent flights and our decision to withdraw from our sold out Salt Lake City show because we knew the weather would not allow us to get to New York for what we absolutely had to do today. Later this week we will have to figure out how to make it up to our SLC friends... thank God they are really close to us.
1200hrs. our east coast crew had already been at the Ed Sullivan Theater since 0800, complete with our co-producer Mark Saunders who will be recording us later this evening. We have only a moment to drop off our personal things in our rooms before off to Smash Rehearsal Studios to mentally and physically prepare for our network television debut on the Dave Letterman Show.
Meanwhile our west coast and primary touring crew and trucks depart Durango, Colorado trying to outrun another blizzard and get into northern New Mexico en route to San Diego, CA before they are trapped on the side of the road somewhere on the I-25.
1500hrs. we arrive at Ed Sullivan for sound check and dress rehearsal. Then lunch with our record company. Then off to hair and make up for the performance.
1730hrs. we are ushered down to perform. Jennifer Colonay(sp?) was the guest, and it was no warmer than 48 degrees in the room. We take the stage while the cameras are focused on Dave .. and suddenly the music director/keyboardist Paul Shaffer leans over to our lead singer Chad and whispers “Hey you know what, I’m related to you by marriage! Have a good show…” Right before we play "le disko."
Just to add one more element of anxiety to an already altered situation of performing in front of millions of people.
Meanwhile our sound and stage managers from the west coast land in Baltimore with another set of our gear.
1940hrs. we race down the stairs of the Letterman show and out the back door, through the mess of journalists and photographers into a single black van, which begins to weave us through New York City traffic to Penn Station. Here we ran through the terminal of the station with all of our instruments and board a high-speed acela train to the city of Baltimore... but we are not going to make it due to train delays.
2100hrs. frantic calls in front of us and Travis Barker and Matt from the band +44 being nice enough to cut their set down now buys us a 20 minute set. We run from the train into another van and speed down a 10 block hill to the back door of Rams Head Auditorium in Baltimore. Out of the van we run through the door, down the hallway, up a ramp and onto stage to a sold out show….
2330hrs. sleep. our flight is at 6am to the equally sold out San Diego show with the Sounds the next day.
1200hrs. land in San Diego .. a bit behind schedule because yet again a blizzard shuts down 800 flights and we had to reroute ourselves to warmer airports in connection to California. Into cabs and off to our hotels, where we arrive at exactly the same time as our tour trucks from Colorado. Our crew from Baltimore lands as well.
1530hrs. sound check, then oil change time in one of the RVs. DJ Tommie Sunshine joins us from New York and we talk about how we have no idea where we are or what day it is.
2030hrs. showtime. the crowd was amazing : ) San Diego is loaded with people who are mad for music. The Sounds return fire after us with a perfect show and then its off to the after party ..
2330hrs. together Tommie Sunshine, Jesper, Felix and Johann from The Sounds and myself proceed to level the Beauty Bar Lounge DJ wise .. completely packed to the gills with indie-hipster clubbers. It was a welcome relax moment for sure.
0230hrs. both bands sit in The Sounds tour bus and make fun of each other and have drinks.
0300hrs. sleep : )
the wiltern show los angeles. home at last. oversold like an airplane, destined for some unhappy kids who bought tickets and will never make it through the line which started at 6:30am with people in lawn chairs waiting for the doors to open 13 hours later.
1530hrs. the interviews begin, divided evenly between the green room downstairs and our RVs. In-between we have to explain to every one of our personal friends and family members that there is nothing we can do to get them in the show. Because people think that for some reason we can magically make tickets appear to a venue an hour before the concert simply because we are playing. Then the tedious process of protecting our contest winners and making sure they get to come backstage and hang out with us. Venues detest this and fight us to the bitter end every single night about it.
Meanwhile our east coast road crew flies from Orlando and New York City to Tampa Bay and stands by at hotels.
2000hrs. last interview is cut short because we have to go on stage right away … the crowd of nearly 3,000 was perfectly beautiful. This night for the first time we debuted our new song “Chemistry of a Car Crash” live.
2115hrs. we finish the set..run out the back door, say goodbye to friends and family and rush by van to the LAX airport.
2245hrs we sleep on the plane en route to an afternoon show in Tampa, Florida with My Chemical Romance and Angels and Airwaves.
1130hrs. we arrive in Tampa, and are driven straight to our dressing room, we are on in one hour. Our crew is already set up and waiting for us in the heat.
1300hrs. our very first time in this city was the best it could have been, outdoors in the 80 degree humidity…nothing but sweat and thousands of people.
1400hrs. we spend an hour and a half doing meet and greets…being that we’ve never been here it was mind boggling how many people had such amazing stories, new journeys… it was incredible.
1700hrs. spent lots of time in discussion about music, people, and life with the other bands and their members that were also playing the festival. It was good to put real faces to the names and share war memories and future goals and sounds.
2200hrs. multiple botched attempts at finding anything to do nightlife wise on a Sunday night in Tampa, quite possibly we just did not know where to look. Sleep time: Tomorrow is our flight to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
1300hrs. we land in myrtle beach and go direct to the venue for sound check.
1430hrs. we receive word that oen of our synthesizers which was shipped ahead via UPS was lost, and would not make it to the Myrtle Beach show. Myrtle Beach is known for a lot of amazing things, but a surplus of rare Roland keyboards and rack modules for rent is not one of them.
1500hrs. we find exactly what I need for the show, at a music store called Edwards Music. Actually the only music store in town; and the manager agreed to rent the gear.
And then recalculated his thoughts after realizing our predicament.
1730hrs. we arrive at the store to rent the synth, where we are met with a pair of cold southern eyes with a sly grin.
Meanwhile part of our east coast crew leaves early to arrive in New York and begin setting up for the next day.
1800hrs. I leave the store in Myrtle Beach, with the keyboard. Way over a thousand dollars later as I now owned the machine. It baffles me how a human could think like that. I’m sure he went home… and never thought twice about it again.
Meanwhile our tour trucks arrive safely in Spokane, Washington, posting up at hotels for the night. hen later at Casinos playing Texas hold ‘em and losing ALL of their food money in a few hours.
2015hrs. a packed house of over a thousand kids in South Carolina at the House Of Blues bounce in rhythm to a medley of sounds from Plain White T’s, Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Buck Cherry and Shiny Toy Guns.
2200hrs. sleep. tomorrow is another 6 am flight back to Manhattan.
1000hrs. we arrive at Newark Airport in New Jersey, into a van and off to MTV studios to record a session for "Discover and Download."
1330hrs. sound check and rehearsal. Using different rental gear every night confuses the brain, its not sane to have to constantly readjust to smaller and larger souding amplifiers, drum kits and mics. But its what we have to do as we cannot afford to ship our personal gear in front of us without risk of damage or loss.
1630hrs. we record 4 songs, “You Are The One”, “Le Disko”, “Don’t Cry Out” and “Starts With One” in an studio empty of fans and full of lighting and cameras.
2030hrs. load out, and then our main sound engineer Daniel Supergrass cabs it over to producer Mark Saunders’ studio to continue dialing in our new HD24 machines we are about to start using with our live performances.
2100hrs. rest of crew goes to hotel, while band and our 2 managers go to dinner with a good portion of our video/radio department heads from Universal and some MTV executives.
2300hrs. I’m in a cab talking to Chad, marveling at how in an hour and a half nearly $2,000 was spent at a dinner when we would have been perfectly content with McDonalds and used the extra money to produce thousands of additional tour posters and fliers that we desperately need on the road for the rest of December.
0100hrs. sleep. because again, our flight to Spokane, Washington is at the crack of dawn.
1230hrs. we land in the sleepy, snow-covered town of Spokane in eastern Washington State. And no, a lot of bands don’t play here. That’s really too bad as well, because the scene here is vibrant, educated, and they would die for their local music and culture.
1300hrs. we meet with our interim tour manager, Adam Arnkoff and discuss the interviews of the day and battle plans for our new UK campaigns coming up next year.
1530hrs. load in and sound check. The room is called “The Big Easy”; its an old theater, a 700 seater with nice people and amazing food. The line out of the door stretches into the ice and snow...
2015hrs. we perform a full hour of music for the first time in a while. Our fifth time in this little forest city was met with a crowd three times the size we had ever seen, completely full and a mirror image of a show in a city 10 times its size.
2200 hrs. The show was perfect... but I walked from the venue in confusion and heartache. As we stood behind the merch table signing things and talking to our friends a girl who was one of our voices in the area came up and said hi. She was the primary reason how most of the secondary audiences school wise knew who we were in Spokane, a perfect street team leader and word of mouth person. But tonight she just looked at her shoes... and after asking what was wrong we find out that her single parent situation at home had moved into a step-dad situation, one she could not get along with. So her mother then kicked her out of the house onto the street, with nowhere to live except couches and no money. The girl had just turned fifteen.
Mothers and Fathers if you are too much of a coward to be a parent then wear condoms or tie your tubes. But don’t take your flesh and blood and set them out in the freezing cold in the middle of their school year that is shaping them into what they will be for the rest of their lives.
And then this inspiration of the moment .. hoping lyrically down the road to recapture.