November 30th 2014
Oh, the glorious blur that is Europe. The food, the coffee, the incredible audiences. Oh, how we have missed you.
A fitting way to round out the great year of 2014. With the release of World On Fire and all the accolades it has acquired, the Aerosmith tour, the Howard Stern show, the Sunset Strip takeover and now to head into the holidays with European soil on the soles of my Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars is poetically perfect.
We started by filming a 60 minute plus show for MTV World Stage in the great city of Glasgow, Scotland. This will air somewhere down the road. I’m assuming in the new year. These things always show up on Palladia for me. Or VH1 Classic. MTV as well I assume.
Our new friends, Biffy Clyro, appeared as part of the same filming. Great buncha lads. Great band.
The show was amazing. Brutally hot. When filming there are always more lights than usual so it makes it unexpectedly hot. The Roxy in LA was the same thing but a much smaller affair. Brother Brent suffered from it the most post show. Playing drums is such a physical gig. I can’t imagine doing that for 2 hours straight. I’d be dead. I am not good at pacing or restraining myself. I kinda just go for it and realize all too late that I may have overdone it but I’ve never regretted that.
SMK&C with Biffy Clyro MTV World Stage taping Glasgow, Scotland
The next day we appeared at the MTV European Music Awards at the Hydro Arena in Glasgow. Hosted by Nikki Minaj. It was a major event complete with all the chaos such an experience brings. When Slash went out to present Ozzy with a lifetime achievement he passed the lads from U2 in the corridor as they were exiting the stage. Apparently the U2 guys applauded Slash as they passed. Quite a sign of respect coming from such a renowned group. I am always reminded how iconic Brother Slash is. He has becoming a bro. An iconic one, none the less.
During the course of our evening we crossed paths with the likes of Royal Blood (who are amazing btw), Ariana Grande and even David Hasselhoff. Twice! Apparently Enrique Iglesias was there as well but I didn’t see him.
SMK&C and Royal Blood at MTV EMAs 2014 Glasgow, Scotland
Speaking of Ozzy, we played Crazy Train with Simon from Biffy Clyro as Ozzy and Sharon watched from the audience no less. The pyro was insane. I kept thinking if I go too far left or right I’m going to be burned alive. A whole new level of respect for the boys in KISS. That is a perilous stage show. It was an incredible experience and a fine welcome to the European leg of the World On Fire Tour.
Next we went on to Dublin, Ireland. We’d been to Dublin many times but to be playing the arena was staggering. After doing the Aerosmith tour we became accustomed to playing arenas and amphitheaters but this time there was no Aerosmith following us. It was just us.
It has been one of the great pleasures of my life watching this thing grow over the past almost 5 years. From modest venues to full blown arenas. One has to be thankful.
Joining us in Dublin was one of our favorite bands, Monster Truck from Canada. These guys are truly remarkable and on a serious upward swing. Catch ‘em when they’re in your area. Great people. Great band.
In Dublin U2 sent over a welcome basket of alcohol that was an amazingly kind gesture that is hard to imagine. Slash of course tweeted his thanks saying he wished he could indulge but he’s sober now. The media of course blew this completely out of proportion as if U2 were knocking Slash off the wagon. So ridiculous. Typical media, slow news day, twisted reporting. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Slash has the strongest resolve imaginable. He has never really removed himself from an atmosphere of indulgence yet walks unaffected like Kilgore in Apocalypse Now. It’s pretty impressive. Most newly sober people treat life like a mine field. Slash is not newly sober mind you. He has been for years. A great achievement for a man who nearly died from his indulgences. You think you party hard? Not even close. Slash, Duff AND Steven Adler. All still alive. Now THAT is constitution.
We debuted not one but TWO new additions to the set in Dublin. From World On Fire we played Avalon AND Beneath A Savage Sun for the first time ever. They have both remained pretty much within the framework of the set ever since. It is always a delight to see the new songs so well received. Always an amazing crowd in Dublin.
From there we went on to a two night stand at the mighty Zenith in Paris, France. Did a lot in Paris. Some of the things I’ve done before-Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe and some new. I’d been to Notre Dame and the Louvre before but never set foot inside. This time I ventured in and was happy I did. In a marathon Louvre viewing we saw a great deal including Venus De Milo AND the Mona Lisa. It takes a minute to register that these ARE the pieces you’ve been made aware of your whole life. Not replicas but the REAL DEAL. That is a mind blower.
I went, for the first time, to the Shakespeare & Company bookstore by the Notre Dame cathedral which is heaven for a book nerd like me. I bought Jimmy Page’s new photo book for Frank as I had missed his birthday. I gotta get that book for myself. It is beautiful. Paris is one of those places where you could stay for months and find something new every day. Love it there.
The shows were absolutely epic. The first night we played the Snakepit classic, Mean Bone, for the first time in a loooong time. We also added the VR hit, Fall To Pieces. A massive night.
The second night was almost a 2 and a half hour show featuring an almost 30 minute version of Rocket Queen! That must have freaked some people out. It was a major musical journey for us. It is a wondrous thing to get to watch Slash weave and conjure magic from his Les Paul. Though sometimes long it is one of those things that people will be able to say they once watched Slash jam and jam and jam to Rocket Queen way back in the mid 2010s. I, for one, wish I would have been able to witness a long John Bonham drum solo or an extended Miles Davis jam. These kinds of jams are the closest I feel to a jazz musician. Keeping it interesting for ourselves and the audience while bouncing off of one another up and down, backwards and forwards and side to side. That’s the magic of music.
Ghost opened the show the second night and found it’s way into the regular set from here on out. Shadow Life from World On Fire was played for the first time this second night in Paris. The World On Fire songs are some of the most challenging for me having to play and sing my parts at the same time. Luckily I pride myself on being pretty good at such things. I may not be Geddy Lee but i can hold my own.
Slash busted into Feel Like Making Love by Bad Company during our intro to Slither and that has bubbled up now and again from show to show.
Paris has always been amazing for us. I look forward to Hell Fest in the summer.
Next up was Basel, Switzerland. Switzerland is so beautiful. The people kind and very ready to rock. The Basel show saw the premiere of the World On Fire track, Withered Delilah which has become one of my favorite tracks to play live.
Back home the filmed show we did at the Roxy in Hollywood had aired on Direct TV as well as the documentary about Slash’s life, Raised On The Sunset Strip. Surreal to see ourselves being interviewed then edited together with interviews with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry. Very surreal. Awkwardly so.
Switzerland was amazing. Looking forward to next time.
Off to Italy. First stop Turin! Italy has always been amazing for us. I have no explanation for this. I’m assuming it’s just cuz they rock. After an amazing show we got to catch up with some amazing people including Attila, the 4th Conspirator and Thomas who painted some amazing portraits of myself and my co-Conspirators. That is always a trip. An amazing show as always.
Off to Florence, which none of us had been to. I’m not sure about Myles or Slash but it was new to the Conspirators. Got to wander around the city a little bit. People think that traveling like we do must be so awesome to see all the sights etc but it’s a lot more difficult than you think. Especially when trying to get acclimated to new time zones and retaining energy for the shows. As often as possible I drag myself from the web of a comfortable bed into the streets of whichever city I find myself in and see some sights. Florence is extraordinarily beautiful and the hotel was right on the river. Which river? I’m not sure. I should probably research that before commenting on it but it was lovely.
The show was incredible as all Italian shows are for us. Great to catch up with some people. By this point we had people attending multiple shows as will happen in Europe. Everything is so close people can travel to shows quite often.
Next we found ourselves in Vienna, Austria which is a stunning city. We took in some amazing sights including Mozart’s Apartment. That may sound like some hipster pub but it is actually an apartment that the composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived in for a few years. It was a fascinating place to take in as a musician.
Vienna saw the live premiere of the song Too Far Gone from the World On Fire album which has gone on to be one of my favorites to play live. I’m told we did a little Feel Like Making Love by Bad Company again during the Slither intro as well. Vienna was an awesome experience.
Part one of this blog will end in the amazing city of Krakow, Poland. Usually I catch up to where I am in the present but I plan on presenting this entire blog in a two part overview. The next blog will follow Munich to Iceland. Maybe even to the first of my solo shows-Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada December 11th at the Roxy with my full solo band. That promises to be a blast. I always like to play a Christmas charity every year. The only thing I really have to give is music so being a part of something to give back a little is extremely rewarding. Since I will be spending the holidays in Vancouver I figure what better way to celebrate than to play a show locally. It promises to be an amazing time and we will be playing music that I haven’t played in a long time. Since 3 years ago, the last time we played together! Everything from the entire catalogue-Go Time, Borrowing Trouble, Near Life Experience, Bootleg Confessional, Static In Stereo, Age Of Electric, Sin City Sinners and on and on and on. What a blast. Hope to see you there!
So, to finish in Krakow. What an amazing city. I only wish we could have seen more of it. So much history. I hope to see as much as possible next time but we got to walk around a bit and the people were amazingly friendly. Lots of concertgoers grabbing photos and saying hello.
That night we had a gigantic after show party with lots of friends and well wishers. Miss Janette from Todd Kerns USA organized a group of friends to come by for photos and hellos in person. Was an amazing night. I don’t know why but Poland is massive for us. There is a gold album on my wall at home for Apocalyptic Love from Poland. I hope one for World On Fire will be coming. I truly look forward to returning to Poland. See you next time.
So that’s that for now. Part 2 will be coming upon completion of the tour. We are in the middle of an amazing UK run at the moment. Lots of friends with an exhausting amount of social time which is most enjoyable. We wrap this all up in Iceland which none of us expected but are all excited about. I will be celebrating my birthday there. How cool is that? I’m excited.
Here’s a tidbit for you. People ask me what this hand signal means?
Gang sign? No. I have so much time on my hands I invented my own hand signal. It is peace plus the sign language symbol for love plus the devil horns/metal and/or rock symbol all in one hand. I call it PEACELOVEMETAL. If you flash it at me I’ll know you are part of a very exclusive club of lunatics. A club I call Todd Dammit’s ‘DAMMED’.
Reading-Russell Brand’s Revolution. I like Russell. I like his brain. I don’t agree with everything he says in this book but he definitely gets me thinking and that’s never a bad thing!
Right, off you go! I’m off to dinner with my family of misfits here on the Island of Broken Toys we call the Conspirators.
See you on part 2
Your loyal and humble servant,