SUMMER 2012 – WEEK ONE
We’re back – the Tour Diary returns!! And it was like we never stopped. From the moment I walked back into the same room over at Mates Rehearsals in North Hollywood, it felt like we’d been doing it for a year. All the empty flight-cases were in the exact same places that they were last year, the same crew were standing around cracking the same jokes (and some even wearing the same tee shirts!), Derek was making extremely loud noises from his ridiculously large keyboard rig, and Jimbo (my guitar tech) was nowhere to be found. Nothing changes! Except that it turns out Jimbo is sick and I was to spend the first full week of Billy Idol rehearsals without a guitar tech. At first, it didn’t phase me – I mean how hard can it be to tune a guitar, right? But as the week progressed and I found myself needing multiple guitars, running into wireless dropout problems, being asked “so…. What gear do you need to itemize for the carnet for Europe”…. Things got a little more hectic without him.
But the crew on a Billy Idol tour is like a family….tons of inappropriate wisecracks and you only see them on birthdays and holidays….but they all step up when you need them. So Dave, Matt, Steve and Charles all threw down for me during Jimbo’s absence and things got done. Much respect, guys – remind me to buy you socks and $25 Starbux gift cards this Christmas!! The rest of the band were on top form pretty much from day one. Blow the cobwebs out with a quick run through the greatest hits and we were back sounding as tight and together as we were at the end of the last run. McG is using a new bass that sounds SO cool – I think it’s a Warwick but it’s fitted with EMG’s and it provides a killer bottom end that fills it all out nicely. Jeremy is hitting as hard as always and nailing everything. And over on stage right, Steve Stevens is on fire – crazy raygun sounds and space tones and all those signature riffs you wanna hear. So it’s business as usual for the Billy Idol band.
After a couple of days (to let the band get the gear tweaked and their fingers warmed up), Billy came down to run some of the newer or less rehearsed songs and immediately got into the vibe. It’s crazy how singers that are the Real Deal just add so much to the vibe and feeling – I mean, we all ran everything instrumentally for the first two days and it sounded just fine. But when you throw in Billy Idol in fine form on top of that music, things just come alive. We ran Postcards From The Past, Too Far To Fall, Love Like Fire, a new addition (it’s an old Gen X song but I don’t want to spoil the surprise just yet) and Kings And Queens…. All of them sounded great. A quick journey through LA Woman and Blue Highway and we were done for the day.
Part of tour preparations involves all the things that are NOT music but just as important – all the shit you want with you on the road and have to think about two weeks before you leave (in my high-maintenance state, that involves a military like operation including CVS trips, tee shirt printers and loading my laptop and I-Pad with a TON of movies and TV shows. I went with two seasons of Covert Affairs, The Killing and two seasons of Game Of Thrones. But I made the mistake of watching the Game Of Thrones pilot to see if I liked it and have now watched all two seasons!! Well that defeated the object. Never mind – that’s what I-Tunes is for – I’m a season behind on Dexter and I think I’ll check out True Blood as well. I’m also taking a PS3 with me this year so I think I’ll have enough technology to keep me amused. We have some motorcycles arranged for the Spanish part of the tour, the Russians are always good hosts, Portugal’s beaches are calling me, and no doubt I’ll take in a bunch of the museums and art while we run around Europe for a few weeks. I believe I am ready ☺ See you all out there. One more week of rehearsals and then Steve and I are off to Italy for a one-off show before joining up with the behemoth that is the Billy Idol Summer 2012 European Tour in Moscow. I’ll be back next week – have a good one.