U.S.A. Tour Diary – Somewhere in California…

TTMTOUR DIARY5 Comments

As we discovered in San Diego, when you lose all front of house sound and lights halfway through a show, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. We were performing at a listeners party for KPRI. The venue was a room that reminded me a little of my old school assembly hall except that my old school assembly hall didn’t have a courtyard outside with a fountain in the middle and hummingbirds busying themselves around hibiscus blossoms, drinking their sweet nectar. Anyway, we were two verses into “Midnight Black” when suddenly, out went the lights and the p.a. fell silent. The backline was still working so we ploughed on, hoping for power to be restored. It wasn’t and, strangely enough, the more we carried on regardless, the more the crowd went crazy. All we could really do next was to attempt an off-mic version of Chinese Lanterns. This went down a storm and as if on cue, the power was restored just before we reached the middle eight, allowing us to finish the song full band. The place went mental. It couldn’t have gone any better if we’d planned it and, once the crowd were on our side, the rest of the show was amazing. There’s nothing like it when you’re playing a gig and you feel like the crowd are right there with you. It’s like crack. Every show we play, we’re trying to arrive at that point so we can get our fix. We definitely got our fix in San Diego.

Los Angeles seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. We arrived around lunchtime on Wednesday and by early Thursday evening we were on the road again. Our first port of call was the Sixx Sense radio show. Nikki wasn’t actually there due to tour commitments but we spent an hour or so with his lovely co-host Jenn. The studio was much as you’d expect from a Motley Crüe member. Large throne-like chairs, lots of leopard print, photos of Nikki with people such as Slash and Lemmy and a reception desk bell labelled “ring for sex” – I rang it but disappointingly it didn’t appear to be working. The building we were in was also home to several other radio shows. As we were shown along the corridor to the Sixx Sense studio, we wandered past windows looking in on the other shows being broadcast. It was a bit like visiting an aquarium but with radio presenters instead of tropical fish to look at.
The show in Los Angeles was a lot of fun. The venue was strangely laid out with the mixing desk way above our heads and to the side. This dictated that Iain Graham had to mix the sound remotely using an iPad – something that caused him great pains. You could almost see him wincing with embarrassment as he pushed virtual faders up and down whilst standing in the crowd. I guess it’s the engineer equivalent of playing guitar hero on a playstation instead of the real thing.
After we successfully blew up the room, we spent some time hanging out and drinking delicious tequila that had kindly been smuggled into the venue for us. We had a great night and the Los Angeles box was firmly ticked.
We had a couple of bits of promo to do the next day. The first, a photoshoot and interview out in the desert. The weather was uncharacteristically cold and wet for mid may in Los Angeles and, as we stood in the drizzle looking out across the rolling Valencia hills, it felt more like Scotland than California. The photographer was a nice guy and took some great snaps. We held the interview in our increasingly crammed van. We seem to have acquired an awful lot of stuff on this tour. Getting it all home should prove interesting.
As I write this diary entry, I’m sitting in a roadside restaurant somewhere in California. We left Los Angeles yesterday evening after our second bit of promo and drove for 3 or four hours before stopping in a comfort inn to sleep. I just woke up, showered and came outside to find breakfast. There’s not a lot around here – wherever here may be. As the rest of the world marched forwards towards the twenty first century, this little pocket of California appears to have been left behind in the early eighties. There’s an original PAC-MAN arcade game as you enter the restaurant and mounted all around the ceiling beams are children’s lunch tins. It’s an impressive collection. As I scan around, I see E.T., The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and other films and T.V. shows from that golden era. Paul has just joined me for a quick omelette before we head for San Francisco so sign off now but will return with more thrilling tales of sitting in a van!