Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mike's Photos

Mike is the Clair Brother's systems tech that helps us set up every day. He has been taking great photos for the tour, here are some samples from the entire tour.

David Sets Up

Jerry Sets Up

Les Sets Up

Jake Sets Up

Albert and David Hang The Drops

Jerry Tunes The Custom

Restringing Billy's Gretsch

Moe Hangs the Legs

"Legs" are added to the sides of the drops to extend them the length of the stage.

Bob and the Pop Out Bus

Tour buses have been given the RV treatment lately.

Les in Monitor World

David and Tim at FOH


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Meet Virginia Beach

A day off in Virginia Beach. Sounds like fun, but no rooms today until 3:00. After a lunch at McDonald's (once in a while, it is truly delicious), we started walking to the beach but decided it was too hot. Back to the room until dinner.

Off to Dinner

Bob and Billy practice being snooty.

No Cursing

Local ordinance, I guess. We did our best.

On The Boardwalk

I have not been here since the '70's, when my Dad was in military school in Richmond for a couple of weeks for a few years. We used to stay in Colonial Heights.

Margaritas Before Dinner

We went to Rockfish, a seafood joint on the beach. Lots of fake Beatle memorabilia, with signs reading "John's Practice Guitar"... John who, it does not say. It was a Tesico, something Lennon certainly never played. Hmmmm.

Calling His Agent

After dinner, we sat on the patio to hang out until bed time.

Bob Is Happy

We had a bottle or two of an Australian merlot called Penfolds...very tasty.

George Joined Us

George came over late, he found a sushi place, but had a cocktail with us. During the evening's conversations, I learned that he was the guy that arranged and sang (with Kenny Loggins) the accapella intro to "Whenever I Call You Friend". Wow.

Lindsay Opens a Penfolds

Fireworks on the Beach

Every Wednesday and Friday, they shoot off fireworks. Goes well with the firewater.

Full Moon Fever

Billy reminds us that it is a full moon. Which explains everything.

Hilarity Ensues, Again

I've forgotten what it was he said, but Billy made my gut hurt with laughter.

After we left the restaurant, we went back to the bus to watch "Concert For George", the tribute to George Harrison that Clapton, McCartney, Starr and frineds put on at the Royal Albert Hall. It's great to hear players of that caliber play the songs of GH. McCartney's "Something" is my favorite.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bristow Moonlight

Yes, it rained. It has to rain, but only for a little while in the morning. The rest of the day was hot and humid. Great venue - nice rooms, big stage, spacious loading dock.

Stoll Vaughn

Stoll has been the opening act for the entire tour. He plays guitar and harmonica and has a Dylan/Springsteen flair. I like his songs and he's a nice guy. It takes a lot of guts to stand in front of a crowd, who probably didn't know you were on the bill, some of whom are still finding their seats, and play a solo acoustic set.

Greetings to all of the John Mellencamp and John Fogerty fans who heard about this blog. As you may have noticed, it's NOT about either of them, frankly it's about ME, and what I happen to be doing at the present time. You will see posts about other tours and artists, music news and pictures of trips and vacations, and lots of guitar-related stuff. I write it as a personal diary, as well as to keep the folks back home informed about my well-being. Since I can't always call or send photos to everyone in my extended network of family and friends, this blog is how I let them know what I'm up to. While you are certainly welcome to check it out, please note I won't be talking to, interviewing or passing any messages or requests on to either. If you are interested in my very normal life, that's great.

Thanks to all for the kind words of encouragement, I am glad you are enjoying Caught Up In The Fable.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Hershey's About A Mover

Joe Dougherty

Joe is Mellencamp's system tech. Great guy.

Jerry Linechecks the Goldtop

Smilin' John Molo

There's the Roland pad that makes the handclap sound for "Centerfield".

Curious George Rocks Bob

Walter Rates the Haircut

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Major Harrisburg

It's raining, of course. The rooms are not ready yet, and it's 9:00 a.m., so we wait on the bus and drink coffee and watch the Weather Channel. I guess there's a top-notch Civil War museum here, but I'm not much into it. Think I'll take it easy today and read my book...

Well, I moved into the lobby for a while and finally got a room at 11:45. Nothing like wasting the entire morning waiting for a shower. We're usually at the mercy of how busy the hotel is and how fast housekeeping gets the rooms cleaned, and on days like today, it takes a long time. The showers at the venue last night were rather nasty, and I prefer to be cleaner after a shower than before, so I planned on taking one this morning. This is the unglamorous side of the business we call "Livin' the Dream".

The good news is that it stopped raining (woo hoo!) and the wireless internet access in the room is free and much faster than the bus internet. The room is fine, nice king-sized bed, large desk and the usual Crowne Plaza ammenities. They are offering a Sony Dream Machine radio/CD player, earplugs, eye mask, lavender armotherapy spray and a "sleep CD" full of relaxing sounds and whatnot, so I'm burning it on to my MP3 player to use it on the bus. That's kinda neat, though I usually don't need too much help getting to sleep after a show. Maybe I can use it on airplanes.

I was talking yesterday about how much of the everyday physical space is shared by my crewmates, and it brought to mind my theory of why it's nice to spend a day off away from the pack. Every experience is shared out here - the weather, the food, the gig, the TV shows, the movies - everything. Sometimes there is simply nothing to talk about because everybody in the potential listening audience was witness to the topic at hand. It does make for the opportunity to tell more "war stories" and tales from other tours and and provides a forum to discuss different artists, musicians, crew guys and their quirks, but recapping the current day's events is almost pointless. It's good to spend a day off in small groups or alone. There are eight of us living in a 45-foot long metal tube, we need to get away from each other on a regular basis.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Holmdel Sweet Holmdel

A show photo-free entry tonight. I didn't need any distractions during the show, since we had a tough day due to the fact that we have seven trucks and only two could dump at a time at the dock. We had to hurry to get soundcheck happening. That kind of puts me up against it, and I worry a bit more about gear failure. There is peace and comfort in having a well-paced day that somehow seems to keep gear gremlins at bay. Besides, I thought I might have lost my camera (again) yesterday, but I found it on the bus in the front lounge this morning.

That's one of the problems out here. There's no reliable permanent place to keep your stuff. Everyday is a new bed - or no bed at all, and a new shower-or no shower at all, and all of the space (save your actual bunk) is shared space - the lounges, kitchen, junk bunks, crew rooms, stages, wings.

There's not much to call your own, so it's easy to misplace something. I am trying to use my duffle bag as a catch-all, and in Philadelphia I failed to take my camera from the bus (which was parked in a city lot, a $10 cab ride from the hotel).

Bob managed to remember his and took this photo.

That's me in front of Independence Hall. I find the colonial era very interesting, and have read a few books on it. "John Adams" is an excellent read, as is "Founding Brothers". There is a three-volume set by Daniel J. Boorstin called "The Americans" that is superb. I'm a Boorstin fan - his series on History, Philosophy and Art (The Discoverers, The Seekers, and The Creators, respectively) is a must.

I am working my way throught the Edward Rutherfurd "historical novel" books at present. I finished "Sarum" yesterday and started "London". Good stuff.

I am travel blogging again, we are cruising down the road this very minute, headed for a day off in Harrisburg, PA.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Jersey Whirl

Pre-show crowd

Nice day, a bit muggy and the usual rain shower before show time.

Star Spangled Fan

Hippie chicks in funny clothes permeate the crowd.

Caught Up In The Fable

Bob plays a tasty guitar line in "Who'll Stop The Rain" on the big orange Gretsch 6120.


George got a new Music Man Stingray bass a week or two ago. It has been extremely popular with everyone...better tone and more presence. He sounds better than ever.

A Boy and His Guitar

Sweet Hitchiker gets zesty guitar fills from the ES-345.

Trucks at Load Out

A row of Peterbilts at the Tweeter Center, ready to roll on to Holmdel...

As you can see by the time stamp on this post, I am blogging as we roll down the road thanks to our new WiFi hookup on the tour bus. That's pretty amazing. Really amazing, actually.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Ring My Bell

Took a little time off from the blog. Plenty of nice weather lately and the shows have been rockin', so there's not much new to tell and besides, I was feeling a little sick the past few days, too. We have the day off today in Philadelphia. I have never been here with any extra time to kill, so Bob and I went walking, looking for a place to eat. We ended up down on 2nd Ave., near Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. Very cool.

Campos was highly recommended for cheesesteaks, so we ate lunch there. Delicious. We kept walking after lunch and went through the Gallery Mall. I bought a used Bowie DVD and a pair of gig shorts at Old Navy, neither of which I needed, but a sale is a sale, clearance is clearance. I feel obligated. We stopped in a tourist store where I found a Liberty Bell refigerator magnet, the souvenier of choice at Chez Spaulding.

I typically get the girl a Hard Rock t-shirt, but after Amsterdam, the Hard Rock Philadelphia shirt just wasn't as impressive. The Amsterdam T has a bit more cachet, I guess. I'm sure travelling Amsterdam guitar techs feel the opposite.

Tomorrow's show is across the river in Camden, NJ. Afterwards, we will drive to Holmdel and do a show, then have a day off in Harrisburg.

Monday, July 11, 2005

With Every Beat of My Hartford

A day off in Hartford, CT. Not much to do, so I worked on the computer and finally got the valuable info from the old Vaio to the new Dell. I ended up using my Dell DJ MP3 player as an external harddrive and transferred from Vaio to DJ to Laptop. Cool.

Had lunch with Bob Britt at Max Bibo's deli. Good sandwiches. I had a roast beef wrap, and Bob opted for the liverwurst, which back home (Iowa for him, Wisconsin for me) used to be called braunschweiger. My parents used to eat it too, I think. Ugh.

Met up with Jerry and Bob for dinner at City Steam Brew Pub.

Dinner at City Steam Brew pub

The beer was good. The "Naughty Nurse"(wasn't that an Ursula Andress movie?) was their amber, and I had one of those and an IPA, which I liked quite a bit.

Bob had the Pot Roast

Pot Roast is something you don't usually order in a restaurant. As Bob observed, it's just something you relate to your mom making, not something you leave the house to get. It looked pretty good...

Mellencamp Soundcheck

The Hartford gig was great. Sunshine. Vitamin D. Warm and dry. John M. does not usually attend his soundchecks.

Bob Britt's Oafers

Boorsheim, Tom McJoad, Hillbilly Blass, Kenneth Dolt...whatever and whoever made these goofy shoes deserves a medal. A wardrobe favorite...

...I'm Ready to Play

The Strat speaks on "Centerfield". I think it and the ES-345 sound the best through the new amp, but nothing sounds bad.

George and Lisa

To cap off this heretofore Britt-centric post, a touching and unretouched photo of George and his fiancee Lisa. Ain't they cute?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Me and Mists at Jones...

...we got a thing going on. More rain. Jones Beach is an historic old-school venue situated on the ocean on Long Island. I had never gigged there before, but nearly everyone else on both of the crews were familiar with it's particulars. I was warned.

Jones Beach Load In

It was a downpour virtually all day. High winds. Swells splashing over the barricade. Cold and wet.

Tim, David and Albert

A brief moment out of the rain.

Jake Asks The Eternal Question...

Squeeging the Deck

It just kept raining all day until around 4:00, right before our soundcheck. The rubber/plastic flooring that Mellencamp uses proved to be too slick, so they rolled it back up and went with the wooden deck.

Dane Clark and his drum tech Walter

Walter, Jerry and I almost got to play together last week. JF and the band were delayed by traffic and as soon as John arrived, we were recruited to play behind him for soundcheck. Just as he was counting off "Run Through The Jungle", the band showed up. Dang.

Post gig Cheese and Crackers

Following a tradition I began years ago with the Warren Brothers, I usually prepare a plate of summer sausage, cheese and Ritz crackers for the crew bus after every gig. The trick is to get the runner to buy the right sausage. We were doubly blessed in Wisconsin with excellent cheese and meat. The new batch of Armour summer sausage is pretty good, too.

The bright spot for me was meeting Steve Lobmeier from D'Addario. D'Addario makes my favorite guitar strings, and Billy, Bob and Matt's guitars get strung with them daily. Steve is the Artist Relations contact for the strings and also Evans drum heads and Planet Waves accessories. I use the Planet Waves cables for all of my critical runs, and re-wired Billy and Matt's pedal boards with it as well. Steve's a big fan of JF, and it was nice to be able to introduce them to each other.

I did not take any photos of the show, since I was being pelted with rain and wind for most of it. JF and the band stood out in the rain and did the entire show as planned. All of the guitars got soaking wet, and I suspect I will have a lot of string changing and fret polishing to do at the next show, tomorrow at the Meadows Music Center in Hartford, CT.

A Day Off in the Life

We had the day off in Mansfield, MA, not too far from Boston. We stayed in a hotel in the middle of nowhere, as far as diversions go, so Jerry and I (and others, separately) paid $25.00 for a car ride to the nearest mall.

It had the usual stuff, and a cool store that sold portable speaker systems for the iPod and it's clones like my Dell DJ. I think it was called Cambridge Soundworks. I bought a "system-in-a-bag" for $115.00 out the door. It sounds amazing, with two small satellite speakers and a sub-woofer. Mellencamp's stage right guitar tech, Rip, has one installed in his workbox, and our FOH, Tim Holder, has one out here as well.

Of course, it was rainy and overcast all day.

Not Impressed

We ate lunch at a Japanese fast food joint in the mall's food court, and having decided against any further transportation expenditures that evening, we had dinner at the hotel in the "Pike's Peak Saloon", oddly enough not a historic Boston landmark .

In the dining room (aka "bar"), we finally got to spend some time with the Mellencamp crew, who had so far been staying in different hotels than the Fogerty crew. Jerry did a tour as a Mellencamp tech a few years back and has gigged with several of the current bunch.

Dinner at the Hotel

A Sabatino-inspired tourist pose. "I don't know what it is, but take a picture of me standing next to it."


Mellencamp's stage right tech, he takes care of Andy's guitars, plus the fiddle and keyboards.

Dottie, Wardrobe for Mellencamp

Dottie has the formidable task of getting all of the Mellencamp tour wardrobe ready each day, from laundry to dry cleaning to setting up the dressing rooms. Thankfully, she has found time to let me get a few loads of laundry done, which saves me money that I can later spend at nameless malls across America.

JR, FOH for Mellencamp

JR is a great FOH (Front of House or "sound guy" to the uninitiated) engineer who makes the crack and boom of Mellencamp's band rock the house every night.

Rip, Scooter and Mark

Another Pike's Peak adventure shot of Rip, Scooter (stage left guitar tech for Mel), and Mellencamp monitor engineer Mark. Scot and Mark share the same side of the stage, and have always been accomodating to me as far as leaving room for my world. Cool guys to work and hang with.

Me and Jerry

No doubt discussing the finer points of something...the local lager, probably.

Mike Wanchic and Bob Britt

Long-time Mellencamp guitarist Mike Wanchic and the self-stunted Bob Britt backstage in Boston at the Tweeter Center

Les in Monitor World

Boston gig. Les and Tim have switched FOH and Monitor positions.