November 5 2014
Somewhere in the sky between Newark, New Jersey, USA and Glasgow, Scotland
May not have been planned perfectly but there’s something exciting about writing about the end of the first leg of the World On Fire tour as we slam into the next. I am currently on a United Airline flight heading to Glasgow to begin what will be our first trip over the pond in a too long. There is a great deal of expectation from both audience and band. I have been waiting for this a loooong time.
As you’ve read (or you haven’t in which case you should go back and read earlier entries) we had done a few months touring around the US and Canada with America’s greatest rock band, Aerosmith which was incredibly rewarding. We wrapped all that up appearing on Howard Stern’s show which was beyond surreal to commemorate the official release of World On Fire. Having crashed New York City it was only fitting to go west and make just as big an impression. The decision made was to play not one, not two but three cd release shows in the great city of Los Angeles, California. Each venue as legendary as the next.
First up-The Troubadour. This legendary spot was one of the main stomping grounds of the early days of Guns N Roses. There are a ton of great photos and some video from the pre Appetite For Destruction era on that very stage. I, for one, had never been inside the building. It had never come up as a destination in my adventures in the City of Angels. That said I was more than aware of it’s pedigree. John Lennon had been thrown out of The Troubadour. Look it up. Fact.
There is something really special about playing these intimate venues. We have become very accustomed to and spoiled playing the size of venues we regularly play so the sweaty, intimate shows become very special indeed. There was very definitely a vibe that night at the Troubadour. It felt important. An important night for us. An important night for me. I had seen footage and photos of a thousand bands in that venue. It felt surreal to stare out at it’s wood decor realizing how little it has changed over the years.
The show itself was pretty magical. The forced tightness of the stage plays into the tightness of the band’s performance. We are there in each other’s pocket’s and very nearly under one another’s feet but it created a solid wall of five guys focusing energy in every direction from the stage. There are nights that feel special. This was one.
We played the newly added Bent To Fly that night. That song has become a real stand out in the set. It is a hit on the radio in Australia. Funny how that song really caught on over there. Especially considering that the rest of the world was playing World On Fire on the radio.
There were some awesome guests in attendance. Upon making my way to our designated green room I was met by our pal, Clifton Collins Jr, the actor most recently seen in Pacific Rim and Johnny Depp’s Trancendence*** To my surprise Clifton had brought Mike Judge to the party. For those of you that read these ramblings you will know that I had first met Mr Judge on the Apocalyptic Love tour at the Wiltern Theater in LA. Mike, of course, is the creator and voices of Beavis and Butthead and the writer director of one of my favorite films, Office Space. He currently has the show Silicon Valley on the go but I haven’t had a chance to dig in. I hear good things though.
It was weird to have Mike Judge say, “Hey, Todd.” Super surreal. It was great to catch up with both Mike and Clifton. Cliffy is doing a project with Shia LaBeouf at the moment though I don’t know too much about it. Cliffy is good people.
Also in attendance were my friends from the Butcher Babies. They are starting to blow up in the metal community and have the great designation of being fronted by not one but two powerhouse female vocalists. Proud of that bunch. Doing great work.
Between the Troubadour and the next show we did a photo shoot the legendary photographer, Robert John. Robert was at the scene of the crime during the GNR days. He has a long history with Slash. Google him. I’m sure some great stuff will come up. I like Robert’s work a lot. He did a great job.
Next up we found ourselves at yet another legendary and very important venue, The Roxy. For the initiated you know that The Roxy was the site of the very first performance of Slash and Myles the band before we called ourselves The Conspirators. That was in April of 2010. Almost five years ago. Mind boggling to think about.
I had also played at The Roxy in 1991 with my band, The Age Of Electric so this would be my third time on that stage in 23 years. Seems like a good ratio.
This night was especially crazy because we were filming for a special live concert presentation for Direct TV which airs on November 7th.
It was an elaborate camera set up making the Roxy super hot and uber distracting with all the cameras. It’s always this way with a live shoot. I barely register that there are cameras there because I’m usually so focused on the audience. We have a good time.
I had a crowd of friends at that show who travelled from all over wearing mock ups of the ‘Conspirator’ shirt I wear on stage. Very, very cool. I love my friends. I’m always happy when they can make it out.
There was an endless stream of famous faces at The Roxy that night staring with Gene Simmons and his kids, Nick and Sophie. Fitz and I both played with Nick Simmons at a cd release show for Bruce Kulick’s BK3. I didn’t get a chance to catch up with him and I regret that.
Duff and his beautiful wife, Susan were in attendance, as well. So there I was with two of my favorite bass players watching! No pressure.
Billy Duffy from The Cult was there and I’ve played with him a number of times. Got a chance to catch up briefly after. Great man. I will always be a fan of The Cult. That was an important band for me.
Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme was there. That was surprise. Did you know he is Rhianna’s guitar player these days? It’s a fact. Look it up. He actually got in a little closer when Slash busted into the solo for Sweet Child O’ Mine. Guitar players are an awesome lot. Nuno is a bona fide guitar hero yet still he had to get a closer look at brother Slash. Good man, that Nuno.
At one point I saw a familiar face smiling down at me from the VIP booth so I just smiled back and waved. I had to do a double take. The VIP is reserved for friends and family so at first glance I just assumed she was ‘one of ours’. I was surprised to find that the familiar face looking down at me was the actress, Leslie Mann from so many great movies like This Is 40, Knocked Up, 40 Year Old Virgin and on and on. She is married to Judd Apatow who either directs, produces, writes or all of the above on many projects. He was the mind behind the legendary Freaks And Geeks. He’s responsible for the likes of Seth Rogen and James Franco being who they are today.
This was the show we premiered Automatic Overdrive from World On Fire for the first time live. For some reason I recollect playing it at The Troubadour as well but we have just rehearsed it at soundcheck. It’s all getting to be a bit of a blur.
The show was a blast. It was Africa hot in there but it was really a good time. We went upstairs to On The Rox for a quick hang with friends and well wishers. That particular show will be airing on Direct TV November 7th. If you don’t have Direct TV I’m assuming it will soon surface in some other form shortly thereafter.
The final show of the LA CD release shows was at yet another epic classic venue, The Whisky A Go Go. The Whisky, of course, is the site of so many legendary performances by everyone from the Doors to Van Halen to Zep to Jimi to Motley Crue and more. I had performed on that stage in 1991 with The Age Of Electric. The room really hasn’t changed that much. Some booths have been added at the back that weren’t there back then. There’s a bar off of stage left now as well that has been added since I played there but beyond that very much the same. The upstairs, where the dressing rooms are, has changed though I have little recollection of those days now. It was a very special night for us. After the heightened state of camera awareness at The Roxy it was nice to just focus on the crowd again. I always focus on the crowd. Photographers always complain that I don’t stand still long enough for them to capture a pic. I say I’m not there for photos I’m there to rock and rock with the audience. Anything less is sacrilege. The photogs get lots of good photos anyway.
It was a really special night. It always feels good on the last night of a leg of touring knowing that you are celebrating a great run with your Rock N Roll family. My friends showed up in DAMMIT shirts that night and its always awesome to see friends representing. You have no idea how much I appreciate the support.
I really tried at all three of the Sunset Strip shows to really take in the evening and try and remember that experience. I have to remind myself to do that more often. Time flies sooooo fast. I’ve already booked my flight to see my family for the holidays already. I’m flabbergasted that it’s that time of year already. Mind blowing.
It was great to catch up with friends on all of these LA shows. The CD was released into the world and we had just come off an amazing run with Aerosmith. Life was pretty damned good if I do say so myself.
I want to say thank you to all who came out and supported those three nights in LA as well as the CD release show in NYC the previous week. It was an immense pleasure to share the release of the album with you.
Also thank you to all who came to support us on the Aerosmith run as well as all the SMK&C shows we did in between those dates. See you in 2015 brothers and sister of North America.
November 6 2014
I’m now sitting in my hotel room in the great city of Glasgow, Scotland. It is grey and rainy just the way I like it. A proper Scottish Autumn day. I tell myself to try and stay up through the day upon arrival over here but I was too beat. I awoke at 5pm Glasgow time. I’m going to be a vampire on this tour. I can tell already.
As of the rehearsals we just came out of in North Hollywood, California we have 11 of the 17 songs from World On Fire ready to be performed. That is a high percentage considering how this is really the beginning of supporting the album. World On Fire wasn’t even released during the Aerosmith run. By the end of 2015 every single song off of World On Fire will have been performed live in one way or another. Just as every single song on Apocalyptic Love was performed in 2012/1013. That is almost unheard of in this day and age. I mean a guy like Slash could just show up and play Sweet Child O’ Mine and people would be happy but it is a testament to how strongly he feels about the most recent chapter of his career to be performing such a high volume of the new material. I wouldn’t have it any other way. The new music is too strong to ignore.
Tomorrow night we begin the first World On Fire shows on UK soil. We spend the next month over here ending on my birthday in Iceland. Exciting times, my friends. Exciting times indeed.
Reading Joe Perry’s book and very much enjoying it. It was an honor to be around this man for a few months. He is truly one of the coolest men on the planet. I will never be that cool no matter how hard I try. So I just don’t try.
By the time this gets posted it might be November 7th. We are filming for MTV World Stage in Glasgow. Hopefully that will be shown the world over. I’ll let ya know when that becomes available for your eyes and ears.
Looking forward to catching up with all my friends on this side of the pond. Playing some of the largest venues of the SMK&C chapter. This means a lot. It means we are growing. Our European family is too good to us.
See you out there! Big love
your loyal and humble servant