Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Earth, Milky Way
December 22 2014
Deep into the holidays here in Vancouver. I’m dreaming of a WET Christmas. People complain about the rain but I love it so. It reminds me of a time when I called these streets my very own. I knew every twist and turn of this city but it’s not mine anymore. I’ve quoted it many times before but the Neil Diamond song I Am I Said says it all-
“LA’s find but it ain’t home,
New York’s home but it ain’t mine no more”
Neither of those cities play into my story but I identify so well with those words. I’ve lived so many places in this life and loved each of them but Vancouver is very much where I built the deepest memories. It will always hold a special place in my heart and it will always be this way.
I waited until after my solo appearances here in Vancouver before finishing Part II of the previous blog. Seemed smarter than following up the European tour with just a couple of shows and a Happy Holidays. Or Merry Christmas. However you wanna say it. Now I will cover it all in one gigantic wrap up.
I last left you in one of our European strongholds, Krakow, Poland. Next up was the Zenith in Munich, Germany. We have been to several German stops over the years most especially Berlin. It was nice to stop somewhere new. Germany has been extremely good to us. It was most certainly getting cold over there but nothing I haven’t faced my entire life in Canada. Bundle up. Layer up. You’ll be fine. The Munich show was amazing. Great crowd. So great we decided to stay in Germany another night!
Fast forward to Cologne, Germany! This is one of the first places I played in Europe with Slash in 2010. Before we were even called the Conspirators. So much has transpired since those days. The only people in our camp that are still here are myself, Myles, Slash, Fitz and our security chief, Junior. Every person on our crew has changed yet the heart of the band remains almost five years old now. That’s halfway to a decade. That might be crazy thinking. I’ll be happy if we make it to five years. That’s this march/April. Crazy how fast time can fly. In that time we have been around the world a gazillion times, released Slash’s first solo album, the Made In Stoke live album and dvd, Apocalyptic Love and now World On Fire. One can only venture to guess what the future has in store. One thing is for sure-we will be going around the world a few times more before 2016 Bring it on!
Cologne was amazing. Like I said, Germany is amazing to us. I believe we played a bit of Feel Like Makin’ Love by Bad Company that night. I guess we felt like makin’ love. I guess…
Next up was the legendary city of Amsterdam. We had done early shows there in 2010 at the historical spot, The Paradiso but this time we were back at Heineken Music Hall. Last time we were there we were playing with Halestorm. Lizzy Hale got up and sang Out Ta Get Me with us and blew the roof off the place. They’ve since repaired the roof. Thank goodness.
Another interesting piece of trivia is that this venue is the last place Velvet Revolver ever performed. I did not know that until our Assistant Tour Manager, Sam told me. He had worked for VR back then too. Crazy, huh?
I love Amsterdam. I’m long sober at this point so not for the reasons you might be thinking. It is a very beautiful place with a lot to see. I picked up a couple things for Myles’ birthday which was to follow a few days later. A very nice Miles Davis book was one of them. We both share a love of Miles. Myles and Miles.
For the first time ever we broke out Double Talkin’ Jive from the Use Your Illusion days that night in Amsterdam. I have always loved that song and it is an immense blast to play live. As it stands we have only ever played three songs from the Use Your Illusions albums-Civil War, You Could Be Mine and now Double Talkin’ Jive. There is a wealth of material on those records for us to mine. We have performed the lion’s share of Appetite For Destruction live excluding Think About You and Anything Goes.
The Amsterdam show was amazing. So amazing, in fact, that Myles called out to do Wicked Stone as well as Paradise City for the encore. We all sure love Wicked Stone. It is a pleasure to play live. It is my favorite song from World On Fire. It is a mind blower.
Like I said, it was a pretty intense night. We had a blast.
From there we went on to the amazing city of Brussels in Belgium. Around this time I posted on Twitter-
“I went to Europe and actually lost weight,” said no one. Ever.
Oh, Europe with your delicious cheese, breads and chocolates. How are we to say no? I consider myself pretty lucky in this department but if I head into that late Elvis phase bloat it’s all Europe’s fault. In the best possible way.
Brussels was amazing. Great people out that way. Hope to see y’all again soon!
At this point we had to say goodbye to our good friends, Monster Truck who had been opening for us. These Canadian madmen are an insanely tight band with great catchy songs and meaty riffs. I highly recommend you check these guys oot. They are one of my favorite new bands to come out in a long time.
And then we found ourselves in the UK. It seemed like we’d been in the rest of Europe a long time and yet the blink of an eye at the same time. Time is a funny thing that way.
We celebrated American Thanksgiving on a night off in Manchester. It was also supposed to be Myles’ birthday celebration but the poor little fella was feeling under the weather. Nothing worse than being sick on your birthday. Poor guy.
It was bittersweet being back in England. Sweet because we love England and bitter because we knew the tour was wrapping up.
Joining us at the first stop on the UK tour was our old friends from Australia, Twenty Two Hundred featuring Tony Cardenas on lead vocals. Some of you may remember Tony as standing in for me when I was down and out during my detached retina scare a few years back. Tony admirably played bass in my place for a tour of Asia. He is one talented mofo! Good to have our Aussie friends on board!
Also along with us was California Breed featuring none other than living legend, Glenn Hughes! For the uninitiated Glenn was the bass player/vocalist for Deep Purple along with David Coverdale when they replaced Roger Glover and Ian Gillan respectively. They made some amazing music together.
I have always looked to Glenn in my gig with the Conspirators as I am the bassist and backing vocalist. Glenn is a longtime hero of mine and proved to be a beloved new friend. Also in the California Breed camp is an amazingly talented young man on guitar named, Andrew Watt plus another legend, and one of my favorite drummers, Joey Castillo who you may know from Queens Of The Stone Age, Eagles Of Death Metal and Danzig. An absolute pleasure to get to watch these guys night after night.
Manchester is amazing. I’ve gone on and on in the past about all the amazing music that came from that city. It is an inspiring place for me to be. Our English friends followed us from this point to the end of the tour and we had a nightly get together post show. We are very lucky to have such impassioned friends.
The Manchester show was amazing. English shows are always amazing for us. We get a lot of love there. So we decided to stick around…
…And play Leeds! Live at Leeds by the Who had a major influence on me all my life and now here we are playing in that history of Rock N Roll city again! Once again our friends had followed us to Leeds from Manchester and would on to Birmingham, London and Glasgow. We are very lucky.
Leeds was a blast. A very cool venue.
Got to catch up with Chris Catalyst from the amazing Eureka Machines. When we met he was playing guitar for Ginger Wildheart when touring with us on the Apocalyptic Love UK/Europe Tour. Chris also has played with Sisters Of Mercy. That’s a killer resume. Great to catch up.
From there we were on to the birthplace of METAL, Birmingham. That turned out to be a very special night indeed. Phil Campbell from Motorhead, who has been a long time friend of the band, came up to play guitar with us. Glenn Hughes got up and improved a great blues jam with us that turned into guitarmageddon between Slash and Phil. From there I got to sing Ace Of Spades, Motorhead’s epic anthem, along with Phil and the boys. One of the true thrills of my life. Getting to sing THAT SONG to THAT CROWD with THAT GUY. Just when one thrill has passed another presents itself. Always be sure to hold tight to the good things in your life. There are so many.
Getting to jam with the likes of Glenn and Phil is an honor beyond compare to this boy from the frozen heart of Canada. I am more thankful than any words could express.
The Birmingham show was insane and the crowd, as always, was incredible.
From there we went on to one of the great achievements in the Conspirators journey-headlining Wembley Arena in London, England. I can’t tell you what a thrill that was for us. After watching this band grow upon each visit to the great city of London to arise to the likes of Wembley is awe inspiring.
The legendary photographer, Ross Halfin was there to take photos and yell at us, as he’s known to do which though jarring is always an honor. The man is a legend!
The show was mental. One of the true highlights of the voyage of the USS Conspirator. One I shan’t soon forget. We even busted out Double Talkin’ Jive again for it.
The final show of the UK tour was just where our trip overseas began-Glasgow, Scotland. At the very venue where we had celebrated the MTV EMAs. It was the day before my birthday and what a way to celebrate. Play an incredible show in front of the rowdiest bunch of Scots imaginable then play Burn by Deep Purple with Glenn Fucking Hughes! I distinctly recall the first time my junior high friend, Bill, played me Burn from the Deep Purple record of the same name. It blew my mind and that effect has always stayed with me. For our encore Glenn got up and dueted Burn with Myles. Two amazing singers toe to toe. Best Bday gift I coulda asked for.
The show was absolutely majestic. I, again, was both celebratory and melancholy that things were drawing to a close. At the after party everyone sang me happy birthday and showered me with gifts. It had been my first birthday on the road in all these years. I always managed to be back home by the time my birthday came around. I cannot thank those in attendance enough for such a memorable way to celebrate. Thank you to all my friends who came to the party that night. You are never to be forgotten.
Goodbye Europe. Goodbye UK…
“We come from the land of the ice and snow from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow”
We landed in the beautiful city of Reykjavik, Iceland on my birthday. It was all very familiar to me. Indeed, as the name would suggest, it was icy and covered in snow but so was the land of my birth, Canada. It felt like home to me.
After a quick birthday dinner we went for a tour of the city to take in some of the sights. We looked for the northern lights but it was too foggy. I’d seen the northern lights quite often in my youth. We did manage to see many interesting sights around the city including Bjork’s house. Yes-that Bjork. Reykjavik is a very beautiful city.
The show was a blast. Everyone who attended said we seemed to be having a really good time and I have to admit to having a blast. I knew it was our last night on stage together until 2015 so it was a celebration.
We encored with Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song before Paradise City which seemed apropos. After all that song was written about Iceland.
We had a chance to say hi to friends who had followed from all over-Japan, US, Canada, Norway as well as the locals. So much to celebrate. I was still celebrating my birthday along with the end of the tour.
And with that it was over. We were soon on a plane and found ourselves back on US soil albeit briefly. I landed in Las Vegas for one day before venturing on to Vancouver in Canada. I spend most of my holidays in Vancouver and this year would be no different. This time, though, I also had a show to play. Last year I did a handful of acoustic shows which brought me to the Roxy in Vancouver. This time I would be playing that venue with my old solo band who have dubbed themselves the Gruesome Twosome. They are not so gruesome at all but they are most assuredly a twosome. Back when I put out Go Time! in 2004 I put together a band with Squid on bass and Dayvid Swart on drums and we traveled across Canada countless times. Now we would be playing again for the first time in three years. We did a similar show at the Media Club in 2011.
For the first time in 8 years I jumped on stage with my old friends, The Tea Party, and sang a few songs at the Commodore. The Commodore is a legendary spot where I have played many times. Everyone has played there from KISS to the New York Dolls and beyond. The Tea Party broke up several years ago but then reformed recently to release a new album. Back in the day it was a regular occurrence to appear on stage with them but, of course, I’ve been away and they no longer existed until fairly recently. So I received a message from Stu, the bass player, to come sing again like old times. When I got there and we got caught up it was never quite decided what we would play. When they dragged me up there I was still unsure what they would spring on me but we were soon in the throes of Welcome To The Jungle which morphed into David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel which evolved into Sympathy For The Devil by the Stones. It was a great thrill for me. I only hope everyone else had as much fun as I did. It was truly a great memory. I only wish I could have stuck around for further reconnecting but I had to get my entourage back to their dwellings and prepare for our show the next day.
Myself and the twosome played about 90 minutes at the Roxy. It covered the full catalogue from The Age Of Electric, Static In Stereo, the solo years and even into the Sinners. We had a blast. It is always a joy to play with those guys and as if we never stopped playing together. Two local bands, Strip and Dead City Scandal played with us. They are both great. Check em out. Pigeon Park played with The Tea Party at the Commodore. Another great Vancouver band. Always inspiring to see great music still coming out of the city I love.
Thank you to all that came to the Roxy. It really means a lot to me and I hope you had a blast. We hope to do this every year around this time. It’s a celebratory thing for me. Getting to play the 6 string is a kick. Hope to see you next year!
On Keith Richards’ birthday, Dec 18, I played an acoustic set over at the Prestige Guitars showroom in North Vancouver. I first got acquainted with Prestige Guitars back about ten years ago. I found a small display of them and bought one right on the spot. Shortly after we created the Heritage Deluxe which is my signature model which has been one of the crowning achievements of my life. I’m super proud of that. We have had a long and fruitful relationship and it has been a great joy for me to watch that company grow and grow.
The acoustic set was a blast. Like a campfire sing a long in someone’s living room. It really was a celebration full of requests and again spanning the whole catalogue. I really truly enjoyed myself. Thank you to Mike and Adrian at Prestige for such a good time. Expect more creations from the pairing of Prestige and TK!
So here I sit now. Every day drenched battling the shoppers for gifts for my loved ones and I couldn’t be happier. 2014 comes to a close as one of the best chapters of my life. 2015 sits awaiting an even better chapter yet. I have learned to face each day looking for the silver not the grey. It is something I work hard at every day. I highly recommend you put as much of your energy into the light and not the dark as you can. Life can be beautiful but sometimes you have to make it that way. May take some creative work but even the ugliest situation can beget true beauty.
Two years ago December 15th we lost Greg Verdusco, one of my dearest friends. He was taken from us suddenly and I miss him still. I always will. I have said much about him. There is an entire album dedicated to his memory and his inspiration called Borrowing Trouble. There is nothing new I can say here except that his life and his passing have inspired in me a deep desire to live my life with as much purpose as I possibly can. I want to positively affect those around me as much as I can. I want to live my life as truthfully to myself and those I care about as I can. 2014 was very much a rebuilding year for me. 2015 will be the realization of that rebuilding.
Greg is missed but never forgotten. My life is richer for having known him and his memory gives me strength.
His birthday follows four days later on December 19th. I choose to celebrate his memory. For these four days every year, for the rest of my life, I will celebrate Greg’s life and remember him the rest of the year as well. And all the years that follow.
On January 15th 2015, in the dawn of that new year I want to celebrate life with my friends at Count’s Vamp’d in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will be my last opportunity to do so for a very long time. We are going to sing songs together, celebrate, mourn and rejoice together in the only way I know how-music. My shows at Vamp’d are never about anything but music. They are a ceremony of joy and absolution all in the name of music.
On January 15th I will introduce an artist I care very much about. Emily Wilson is from Vancouver and is living in Las Vegas. She is a talented singer/songwriter and I am providing her a showcase to debut her talent in her new home city. I hope you will come early and support her. Her talent is a gift.
Also on January 15th Vamp’d will be the site of the first absolutely solo acoustic appearance of my dear friend, Zachary Throne. That’s right, Zach will be playing alone before me singing his own songs and a whole lot more. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter. It is the answer to the question-
He’s right here!
Also in attendance will be my original OtherMotherBrother/the Keith to my MIck/the Gene to my Paul, Doctor Ellis. Truly one of the most talented motherfuckers I have ever known. I am in constant awe of him.
Most importantly the voice of the angels as if handed down from on high-Cian Coey will be present to grace us with the golden gift of her voice, her beauty, her talent and her grace. She is the single most gifted ‘star in the making’ I know.
Hopefully some other friends can come jam too.
I am so excited to share this night with the people I care about.
Soon the USS Conspirator will fire back up on to Asia then Australia and New Zealand. From there we will find ourselves in South America again. Me, I can’t wait for all of it. Bring it on! I plan to take a big bite out of this life and my teeth are sharper than ever.
I wish each and every one of you the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of hanukahs and so on and so on.
I hope 2015 will be your happiest year yet. I hope it brings you everything your dreams desire. I hope at the very least you will find within life’s challenges all the good things hidden there in the details.
May your challenges be few and your joys many!
Be sure to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you every single day. May you find strength in that and may your strength be theirs.
Your loyal and humble servant,