• Lived Long and Prospered

    March 3rd 2015
    Santiago, Chile

    Just survived 13 hours in the air from Sydney, Australia to Santiago, Chile. I really should have slept but the plane had an amazing selection of movies. I hosted my own Martin Scorsese retrospective Film Fest at my seat. Now it’s almost one am and I’m not acclimated to the new time zone so I shall put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) ’til the Sandman comes.
    When last I left you we had landed in the mythical land of New Zealand. It doubles for Middle Earth on film which gives it a whole other level of wonderment. The entire trip went by without getting a chance to see any Tolkien points of interest. One of these days I must see Hobbiton. But not on this trip.

    If only New Zealand weren’t on the absolute other side of the planet we would come over a lot more often. Coming to this part of the world makes hitting Asia, New Zealand AND Australia possible all in one stretch of dates. It really is a beautiful place. The people are extremely kind and love the rock and roll.

    We did two shows in New Zealand. Hamilton and Wellington. Last time we did Christchurch and Auckland. Always cool to do new places. Hamilton was the last time we did Battleground from World On Fire live. It will make it’s way back into the set but the live festivals in Australia were slightly shorter sets so some songs sat on the bench.
    The airports in New Zealand are loaded with Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit paraphernalia. The Peter Jackson/Tolkien franchise has become their calling card and I, for one, love it.
    The shows were amazing. Can’t wait to go back.

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    A wrapped car to welcome us to Wellington

    Wellington felt like San Diego. Beautiful, coastal city. In a country this beautiful no wonder everyone seems so happy all the time. If only we’d had more time to see your beautiful country. Next time!

    Our sound engineer, Quake, had to be left behind for medical reasons which have turned out to be fine as he is with us now but at the time was disconcerting. Scary being in the hospital in a strange land even if it is as kind as New Zealand. Glad he’s better. Glad he’s back with us.
    From New Zealand we made our way to the mighty Soundwave Festival in Australia featuring such bands as Judas Priest, Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, Steel Panther and so on and so on. A crazy amount of bands over the span of several days crisscrossing the country. It has to be logistically challenging to pull off with that many bands when it comes to flights and hotels. I can’t imagine. Luckily all I do is show up and rock.

    We have a long history with Australia. One of the first things we ever did was come to Melbourne to play an MTV launch of Slash’s solo album back in April of 2010. That’s almost five years ago for those of you keeping track. It has been an ongoing love affair ever since. Australia is extremely kind to us. They greet us at the airport and a lot of them follow from town to town kinda like the UK and European audiences do. Very cool.

    First up was Melbourne which is one of the cities I’m most familiar with in Oz. While sitting backstage I was immediately made aware of how immense this particular traveling festival is when Rob Halford walked into our dressing room. The METAL GOD himself. What a trip. Myles and I both exchanged that ‘I’m 14 years old right now’ glance. You never really lose that awe of your heroes. Priest, and especially Rob, was and ever shall be a God among us.
    Every day before we went on stage we got to watch Manson on the stage beside ours which was always a trip. I’ll hand it to Manson he never phones in a performance. It was hot and humid and he was out there in full leather and overcoat regalia. He must have been a dehydrated disaster after those performances.

    It was always an absolute pleasure to play for the great people of Melbourne. A super sweaty and intense experience I can assure you. The Dissident is a single over in that neck of the woods and Bent To Fly preceded it. The new album is very well received and the audience singing along was proof of that.

    On the flight from Melbourne to Adelaide the next day I got to witness one of the most entertaining sights ever. Myles Kennedy and Marilyn Manson sitting together on the plane. Side by side. Flight buddies. What any of us would have given to be a fly on that wall. Meeting of the minds. They should make a sitcom.

    Adelaide is another stunning city. My ongoing joke is that I wanna get a place in each city we are in. While in Australia it’s no joke.

    I got to know Twiggy Ramirez/Jeordie White from Manson a bit on the trip. I’ve always respected the man and all the work he’s done from Manson to NIN to A Perfect Circle. We caught up here and there during the festival. It’s a weird thing that festival vibe. You look over and see guys from Godsmack or Fall Out Boy all sitting in our little cliques. Very strange.
    I ran into Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy at breakfast. Just a quick hello. He was a perfectly nice guy. It seems between Pete and Jeordie I was only talking to bass players. That wasn’t my intention.

    I had breakfast with Michael Starr in Adelaide at Starbucks though I know him by his given/real/street name. His band, Steel Panther, is gigantic over there. I’ve known those guys for years from the Vegas scene and it is with great pride that I get to watch these guys take it to a whole other level. I wish I could tell you that I was having breakfast with Michael Starr at a strip club at 3 in the afternoon with a bunch of strippers but it wasn’t like that at all. Quite the opposite but I wouldn’t want to spoil your perception of those guys. They are all amazing guys and are a show not to be missed.
    The Adelaide Soundwave show was incredible. Got to watch some more Manson before taking the stage. As we left in a sweaty heap we watched the Slipknot guys make their way to the stage in full jumpsuits and latex masks. Made me want to pass out just looking at that. It was THAT hot. I don’t know how they do it.

    From Adelaide we did two ‘Sidewave’ shows with our pals, Steel Panther. During the Soundwave Festival some of the acts will put on their own ‘Sidewave’ shows independent of the festival. For these it was just Panther and us. The first one being in Sydney.
    Panther were on fire as usual. Even their soundcheck is hysterical. Satchel is an amazing guitar player. He really nails all the right metal notes and flair.

    We got to play our full two hour show which is always a pleasure. This show was indoors too so no fear of this homeless vampire bursting into flames.
    Then we did the very same thing all over again back in Melbourne. Getting to play Melbourne twice was awesome. Panther, of course, were incredible. I was happy to get to spend a few days with those guys as the festival itself was so impossible have any sort of social interaction.
    Got to see a bunch of the Butcher Babies on Soundwave though never their show. Just getting to say hi in passing. They came to our Melbourne side wave show and hung out side stage. Those guys are family.

    This night was one of my favorites of the tour. We had so much fun that we broke out Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song for the encore which is always a treat.

    The next day we were off to Brisbane. That morning I awoke at 5 am for no reason at all. Upon awaking I’d learned that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. I was aware he’d been taken to hospital with some kind of chest pains. It really knocked me for a loop. A few years back Fitz and I went to one of Leonard’s last speaking engagement. I was so happy I took that in. I could write a story twice as long as the one you are reading about Leonard and the effect he has had on my life but suffice it to say that his influence on me is as important as John Lennon, Gene Simmons or Joey Ramone.
    I 100% believe in the ideal that Gene Roddenberry created. That in the future we will have gotten past all the foolish things that separate us-imaginary borders, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender issues, war, poverty, disease-and be one. I know many a cynic who will never believe we will achieve such a zion but I truly do. Not in my lifetime and maybe not in my children’s but I believe someday people will look back on us the way we all look back on slavery or the holocaust and wonder how we could have allowed that to happen. In a hundred years from now our reality will seem as antiquated as what a hundred years ago seems like to us now.

    I love dark sci-fi about a dystopian future but I don’t really believe it. I believe that as time goes by we will grow more and more tolerant and the world will get smaller and smaller and all that divides us will fall away to unite us.
    A lot of people would think I’m talking a bunch of hippy nonsense and that’s perfectly ok because I won’t be here in 100 years to prove or disprove it but my great great grandchildren will be and they will know. It is my hope anyway. I look at life with endless wonderment how could i not look at our future the same way?

    Here is some wisdom from a prophet named Bill Hicks. He was a hyper intelligent comedian who died before he reached the mainstream but for those of us ‘in the know’ he was the man.
    “Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace”

    Now I don’t believe we are even close to ready for any of that but I believe it’s coming and when it does it is going to be by a united planet that is looking to be even further united. That’s my dream anyway. It’s easy to look at the world through eyes of subjective darkness. I choose to open mine wide with hope.
    Leonard was part of that opening of my mind from the time I was a little boy. Maybe i wasn’t supposed to have read so far into the future presented to me on that show. Maybe it was just supposed to be a show about guys flying around banging green chicks. But it wasn’t. At least not for me.

    Leonard lived long and he prospered. We should all be so lucky to have had a life full of such purpose and meaning and to have brought that much joy to so many people. I’m sad but thankful for the impact he has had on me.

    Brisbane is another amazing Australian city. At the festival site they brought a bunch of local wildlife for us to check out. That’s one of our favorite things about getting to Brisbane is that they always bring the animals out. There was a baby crocodile and a plethora of snakes. As always Slash was happy to play with and handle the most venomous and dangerous of the lot. the man is fearless. I got to hang out with a very friendly and curious olive python who I never wanted to give back. She was beautiful.

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    The Brisbane show was another epic evening. I got to sing Welcome To The Jungle which was as intense as it always is. It is never lost on me how much of an honor it is to sing that song.
    After the show we watched Slipknot side stage which is always insane. I don’t know how they do it. It is so hot and muggy doing the festival but those guys are out there in their full gear with fire tearing the place up. It’s mind boggling. Those guys have the most intense audience. It’s a bit of an education getting to watch those guys take it up a notch.

    Then we were on our way to the final Soundwave festival show in Sydney. We had already been there with Steel Panther on a Sidewave show but now it was time to shut it all down.
    I got to hang with Tyler Bates who is playing guitar for Manson at the moment. He produced the new Manson album, the Pale Emperor. Tyler is a renowned soundtrack guy for films like 300 and Guardians Of The Galaxy. He seemed surprised that i knew this but I’m that kind of attention to detail guy. It was great to get to talk to him. I’m a fan. Always good to make new friends.

    The Sydney show was crazy because in the morning we were flying in from Brisbane. All the reports were that Sydney was the hottest day of the tour. Oh boy. But upon reaching Sydney it was ominously grey with foreboding cloud coverage. By the time we were in the van to the festival site the rain was pummeling down in giant sheets. Oh boy. The rain subsided a bit here and there but opened up during our show to great effect. Standing In The Sun refers to rain and Bent To Fly refers to a storm. These seemed all perfectly placed within context of the setting.
    I got to bellow Welcome To The Jungle to the fine citizens of Sydney in the pissing rain which was good fun and then as quickly as it had begun it was over. It felt as though we had been in Australia for about a year and five minutes at the same time. Strange that.

    Australia had been such an amazing experience. I saw more DAMMIT shirts than I had in a long time. I personally get a great deal of support down there. It’s heart warming.
    See-

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    Jacqui, Jaleel and Kath with the DAMMIT Australian flag. Jodie should be in there too! Flag by Jaleel

    Speaking of DAMMIT shirts Agent Royale will be releasing their line of DAMMIT shirts march 4th. Keep an eye open for that. I’ve been wearing mine for a while now and everyone’s been asking where they can find one. Now you can!

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    All in all this has been an amazing trip. As this band turns 5 years old soon it is important to have returned to Australia to see how far we’ve come in that time. The band is bigger, better and stronger than ever and only continues to grow. 2015 is shaping up to be one of the most important of our lives.

    Now here we are about to start a 4 week South American tour. While all the other Soundwave bands were making their way back to their cozy lives back home we were about to do another 4 weeks in the rowdiest, Rock N Roll corner of the world. This is gonna be awesome!

    Well, it’s now 3am in Santiago so I should try and think about getting some form of shut eye. We are talking about going to see Ringo Starr’s All Star band tomorrow. That sounds super exciting. Count me IN!
    Life is good. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
    The biggest love to all o’ y’all

    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit



  • Turning Japanese To A Land Down Under (Two 80s songs in one title)

    February 16 2015

    Auckland, New Zealand

    I sure managed to go a long time since last checking in. Part of that is me slacking off and part of it is sometimes just not feeling like there is a whole lot to say.

    I spent the holidays with my family in Vancouver which was glorious. I spent the better part of three weeks just floating around like a vagabond drinking coffee and wandering the familiar streets meeting with friends here and there when I could. As always Vancouver has been very good to me. It will always be home. One of my many homes.

    Upon returning to Las Vegas I played the first show of 2015 at Count’s Vamp’d. Another acoustic solo show which was extremely enjoyable. Emily Wilson from Vancouver opened the show and was amazing. Zachary Throne did his first solo show that night which was incredibly well received. Zach is a crazy talented individual. I’m happy to have been a part of showcasing him out as a solo artist.

    I played my set to all the familiar faces of my amazing Dammed family. What an amazing lot they are. They come from all over to sing along with us and we have the best time. Well, at least I do. It’s like a big campfire sing along. Doc Ellis and the amazing Cian Coey joined me on stage along with Zach to complete the evening. I enjoy getting to play those shows so much. You write some songs and the next thing you know people are singing them back to you. It is the greatest gift anyone could give me. Thank you to all who come to these nights. You have no idea what it means to me.

    The craziest thing is that the night of my solo show at Vamp’d my Co-Conspirator, Brent Fitz, went under the knife for the very same operation I had endured 4 years earlier for a detached retina. About a week before Brent had called me asking a bunch of questions about seeing a lot of odd floaters (those weird floaty things you can see in your eye sometimes) and some flashing lights. I told him he should call an eye specialist right away as those are common signs of retinal issues. He went in that day but they could find no tear in his retina and was sent home to keep an eye (pun intended) on it. Then about a week later his retina detached and he was under the knife on the spot. It seems odd that the two of us would both have the same issue but in fact retinal detachment is more common than I thought. I’d never even heard of it before it happened to me but since then I’ve met many people who’ve endured it. Carla from Butcher Babies just recovered from the very same thing.

    Fitzy had to endure all the hassle I did but for not quite as long. There have been advancements since it happened to me and I guess I had a more extensive surgical procedure than he endured. It was touch and go for a bit there but he’s here with us now on the road and nothing can keep a good man down. It would have been a real drag if he couldn’t make it out here. I can’t imagine this band without him even for a stretch. It just wouldn’t be the same.
    I’m happy he’s healing well and will be right as rain in no time. Send Fitzy all your love. He is one tough, Canadian son of a gun!

    January proved to be a high profile time for the bass player in me. I managed to be covered by Bass Player Magazine which is always an honor AND was nominated for Best Bassplayer by Loudwire.com. I never for a second assumed I’d win. I thought I’d do ok. I was up against some heavy hitters, great players and legends. Right off the bat I couldn’t believe that I was running second to Nikki Sixx. Regardless of whatever contest pits us against one another Nikki will always be a hero of mine. So it was ultimately beyond a pleasant surprise to have won! Most of that credit goes to a loyal ‘fan base’ known as ‘Co-Conspirators’ and a loyal ‘friend base’ known as ‘the Dammed’ or ‘The Army Of The Dammed’ or ‘The Family Of The Dammed’. That one kinda sounds like the Manson family. That might be a little too scary. Either way it is the people who voted who deserve the award. You are all far too kind to me and my Co-Conspirators. We all did amazingly well in our perspective categories. It is really and truly an honor to call you guys my friends. My family. The Dammed.

    During my time in Vegas pre tour rehearsals I managed to see a number of shows. I saw Tenacious D do a private event in Vegas. Slash, Fitz, Frankie and I had a blast watching the guys and then had a late night meal with Jack Black himself. He was incredibly engaging and unbelievably, naturally funny. I’ve always been a fan of the D and watching Jack go on to become a very respected and successful actor has been most enjoyable and deserving. I gained a whole new respect for Jack by his just being a regular dude with us, hanging and joking around. He was big on the hugs as we said goodbye and left him as he was swallowed by a group of tourists for photos as he tried to escape to his room.

    Fitz and I went to see KISS play a corporate event which was a blast and surreal at the same time. It was at the Joint in the Hard Rock Casino where they had only recently been holding a residency. I did not get to see the residency as we were on tour in Europe at the time. It was surreal because it was a corporate event so not the usual KISS mayhem but more of a buttoned down, loose tie, office make out, tie as a headband, drunk co workers kinda party. We definitely stuck out. Always a pleasure to watch KISS though. Even at this kind of event KISS brings their A game. Pyro, FIRE FIRE FIRE!

    I finally got to see Elton John and was blown away by how sharp Elton’s voice was. His piano playing was more than I expected too. I guess I didn’t expect him to be shredding like that. A really amazing show. The man is a legend. Hit after hit after hit.

    Soon enough it was time for we Conspirators to make it back to the good ship Slash in North Hollywood, California. It always feels good to get back into rehearsal mode with the home team. Back when we were rehearsing for the European tour last year Slash was getting a computer rendering of himself for an action figure made at rehearsal. As an afterthought, they asked us if we wanted to get some made. Yea sure! Sounds fun. Of course! I’ve always wanted to be an action figure. To be honest they are more statues than action figures.

    So we all ran out and had them done. This is why in my figure I’m wearing just whatever I was rehearsing in which happened to be a Sex Panther tee shirt. Sex Panther as in the cologne from the first Anchor Man movie. Like I said this was kind of sprung on me last minute. I just went in and got scanned in what I was wearing. Turned out great!

    Well, now THOSE figures will be available to the public soon. Apparently as a set or individually. Very surreal like I said. I’m gonna have to order the set myself. They are a little eerie as the computer simply takes a rendering and prints out a figure that is a direct representation. Kinda bizarrely accurate. I’ll let y’all know when they are available and where to get ‘em.
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    We played Conan on TBS on February 6th 2015 and it was a blast to be back on the Warner Brothers lot. It’s always a trip to me to be standing there on such a lot. I grew up in Smallville, Canada. Hollywood TV studios may as well be Mars.

    Between soundcheck (which is ridiculously early by the way) and our performance we wandered the Warner Brothers lot and eventually ended up at the Warner Brothers Museum which had a 75th anniversary of Batman exhibit. So awesome. They had actual costumes and props from all of the films from Tim Burtons Batman right up to Dark Knight Rises. Completely insane for a nerdy fan like me.

    Jeff Bridges was the lead guest on Conan that night and what a trip that is. Even Slash was star struck. Jeff is beyond awesome. He is THE DUDE after all for anyone who is aware of The Big Lebowski and if you’re not you should be.

    Our performance went great though it is weird enough hurrying up and waiting for a two hour show let alone hurrying up and waiting to play for four minutes. All that and it’s over in the blink of an eye. We played Bent To Fly the new single off of World On Fire. Bent To Fly has been a single in Australia for a while now but is now a single everywhere.

    I got to shake Jeff Bridges’ hand and we talked briefly about guitars. I own the same model, Gibson J-45, that he was playing on the show. Lily Collins the second guest was adorable and lovely. She is Phil Collins’ daughter. How crazy is that? I spoke briefly with Andy Richter about a possible 5th season of Arrested Development. Looks promising. Hell yes!
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    With that we were on the punishing flight to Osaka, Japan. We hadn’t been to Japan in some time. It was good to get back. There is a great deal we could learn from the Japanese. Their kindness a respectfulness is beyond compare. They make Canadians look downright rude. The people were so friendly and warm I never wanted to leave.

    Our first show was in Osaka and we started the tour with a bang! At rehearsals we had worked up three new songs for the tour. Normally we introduce one then another as the tour goes on etc but Slash loaded up that first set list with all three songs so Osaka was not only the first night of the 2015 tour it was also the first night we ever played Dirty Girl, The Dissident and Battleground live. All of which are a pleasure to play live. I have to admit I think this band is getting tighter and tighter every tour. Osaka was an amazing night. Great to be back in Japan.

    The next day we was my first trip on the bullet train. Very exciting. There were many there to say goodbye to us in Osaka and many there to greet us in Tokyo. The Japanese fans are great. Some had shirts made, some had Kit Kat candy bars made of us. What a trip. So cool. I may have to get an extra suitcase to get all of this awesome stuff home!
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    On the bullet train we got to see Mt Fuji which was a real trip. Like I said, I came from a little town in the middle of Canada. Getting to see Mt Fuji is something I never expected in this life. I’m a lucky, lucky man.

    The next night we played Shinkiba Studio Coast in Tokyo, Japan. All three new songs remained in the set as we want to get comfortable playing them in a live setting. I think these three are highlights at the moment. The whole audience sings The Dissident every night. That night was incredible and so much fun to get to say hi to friends after.

    The next day the Conspirators roamed the streets of Tokyo on our day off. We took the train to Harajuku and shopped to our hearts’ delight. I picked up a jacket at a cool punk rock shop called Jim Sinn. Kinda like Trash And Vaudeville East. Very far East! We stopped at Airs video store and I picked up a bunch of awesome bootleg videos of the New York Dolls, Michael Monroe, Wildhearts and a Motley show from Montreal, Canada in 1984. I love watching these kinds of shows. They are so inspiring. Before the internet these were especially hot commodities. Now bootlegging is the norm, really.
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    Then it was back to work the next day but still in the great city of Tokyo. This time at Tsutaya O-East. On this night The Dissident was the only one of the new three to stay in the set but we did break out Welcome To The Jungle in a long time. Slash likes to keep things fresh night for night knowing that in a country like Japan a lot of people are traveling to all the shows. Pulling Jungle out of the air was a lot of fun. I get to sing that song and it always tears the roof off the place.

    I was sad to leave Japan. The people there are always so good to us. We have come to make great friends there and they have gone out of their way to make us feel more than at home. Thank you to all who came and shared their time with us. The honor is all ours.

    The following day was Friday the 13th. Friday the 13th and we were about to board a Malaysian Air flight. Wait a second! Didn’t they lose a plane or something? The only thing crazier would be boarding an Oceanic flight over the Bermuda Triangle on Friday the 13th. Regardless we reached Kuala Lumpur safe and sound. No problems there at all other than the flight being seven hours long. Ugh. 13 hours from LA to Korea then another 90 minutes to Osaka, hang for a few days then 7 hours to Kuala Lumpur then 10 hours to Auckland, New Zealand. Whew! Tell me to shut up. There is nothing bad about any of that. Especially when the destination is somewhere as awesome as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    Kuala Lumpur is exotically beautiful. Those who know me know I’m what Jim Gaffigan would call ‘indoorsy’. This remains true even in places like Kuala Lumpur but that doesn’t mean for a second that I don’t appreciate its beauty. We stayed at the lovely Sunway Resort which has an amazing water park which was absolutely not enjoyed by yours truly though it looked like it might have been a great deal of fun. We wandered a mall taking in all the crazy sights that an asian mall has to offer. It was gigantic and had all the craziest amenities imaginable. I would need 5 new suitcases were I to buy all the things I wanted only to bring them home to prove they exist.

    The show was outdoors in the punishing heat and humidity. The crowd was amazing and never seemed affected by any of the oppressiveness of the air around them. We were drenched with sweat from song one as if we’d jumped fully clothed into the adjacent water park. All good Rock N Roll should be sweaty says I.

    Again The Dissident was the only remaining new song in the set to make room for such numbers as 30 Years To Life or Wicked Stone. We are currently playing 14 of the 17 songs live from World On Fire. The only three we haven’t played live yet are Iris Of The Storm, Safari Inn and The Unholy all of which I assure you will find their way into the set before the end of 2015. Slash is one of the only heritage artists with the balls to play every song from his latest album live. Most play the new single then cherry pick all the hits. Slash expects our audience to be invested in the ENTIRE catalog and I think that is extremely courageous. One of the many things I respect about the man.

    The Kuala Lumpur show was intense. Hot, sweaty and heavy. I had a blast though I always have a blast. I missed Kuala Lumpur the first time because I was laid up, or more laid down, with a detached retina. I’m very happy I got to see it this time. I look forward to returning one day.

    With that we found ourselves on a plane to Auckland, New Zealand. Every time I’m in New Zealand I want to go to the sights from the Lord Of The Rings movies but there simply isn’t enough time. It’s a bit of a bummer. It would be so awesome to see. One of these times hopefully!

    So after a day of sight seeing a bit I sit in my room a tap tap tapping on my lap top for you. Speaking of which I am finally starting to formulate the release of two books coming later this year and early next. Volume one will be 2010-2013 and Volume two will be 2013-2016. They will be comprised of blogs since the very beginning of my time here with Brother Slash. It should be noted that as of next month Slash and I will have been playing together for five years. Slash, Myles, Fitz and I as a cohesive unit for five whole years. That’s a long time. By the time we come off the World On Fire Tour that will be close to six years. SIX YEARS! That’s mental.

    So I’m going through old blogs enjoying the ride as much as if I hadn’t written them myself. A lot has happened in all that time. Detached retinas, gold records, losing friends, recording Apocalyptic Love as well as World On Fire, releasing my solo album, Borrowing Trouble along with it’s sister EP, Near Life Experience and the list goes on and on. When I started writing these I had no intention of doing much with them. Just ‘The Ramblings Of The Mentally Ill’ I called them. Now I’d like to compile as much as I can with rare pictures and memorabilia from the tours and recording sessions etc to share with all of you.

    It’s working title is Todd Dammit’s DIARY OF A DAM MAN (see how clever that is? It’s like Diary Of A Mad Man except Mad is backwards) Volume I:2010-2013 and Volume II:2013-2016. I’m excited about that. Gonna try and have the first one ready by Christmas. We’ll see. God knows I’ve been trying to get this off the ground for years. This will probably be handled as a campaign with Pledge Music so you guys can be as involved as possible. We are going to be looking for pictures of yourselves with me and in your Dammit wear. Stay tuned.

    Speaking of Dammitwear we are co-releasing a very limited run of the one of a kind Bat-Dammit-Devil In You shirt you have seen me wear courtesy of a partnership with Agent Royale on March 4th 2015. I will keep you posted on all the links etc as that gets closer. Exciting times on Planet Dammit.
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    Also coming soon is the first line of DaRnit wear. My friends always tell me that they wanna give their kids Dammit shirts but their kids can’t wear them to school so the DaRnit line was born. We are starting with baby onesies. These things always start as a laugh and then the next thing you know they are real. Life is so fun that way. Down the line there will be bigger children’s DaRnit shirts available. We figured we should start at the beginning.
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    Also coming in 2015 will be the rerelease of my 2004 solo album Go Time! with unreleased material from those recording sessions over ten years ago including an awesome cover of the Billy Squire song The Stroke. Probably this summer GO TIME! COMPLETE will be released with a CD Rerelease party at Count’s Vamp’d. Still in the formative stages. I’m super excited about that. Stay tuned for all this information.

    2015 is shaping up to be an amazing year. I hope you all can find some inspiration in all of these crazy things I get myself wrapped up in. I figure I only get one go round and I wanna do as much as possible. I envy the Hindu. They get multiple go rounds.

    Alright, my pretties. Thanks for being there for me, for us. Thank you for the votes. Thank you for your voices, ears and eyes. New Zealand, Australia, South America-see you very soon! The rest of the world we are coming! Be prepared!

    Big love
    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • European Invasion Part II

    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…

    Hello ICELAND!
    “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!

    http://www.prestigeguitars.com

    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.

    Greg

    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-
    Where’s Zach?
    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.

    Jan_Vamp_final

    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.

    Big Love
    PEACELOVEMETAL
    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • European Invasion Part 1

    Manchester, England
    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.

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    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.

    photo 2

    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.

    photo3

    SMK&C&Simon

    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!

    1526856_713771878718136_335909916871987432_n

    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?

    photo4

    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.
    Big Love.
    PEACELOVEMETAL
    See you on part 2
    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • Sunset Strip Takeover

    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.

    conspirators

    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
    Glasgow, Scotland
    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
    Todd Dammit



  • Rock? Ruled! World? On Fire! Part I

    October 23 2014
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

    Yesterday a man died doing his job in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. A man trained for battle but not for anything as cowardly as the act that would claim his life. How does anyone prepare for that? Sadly this stuff shouldn’t be happening anywhere. Especially in one of the most peaceful places in the world. Cpl Nathan Cirillo died today in some insane act of terrorism but accomplished nothing but taking a father from his child and a son from his family. The country still stands strong as ever with ever more determination and resolve in memory of a fallen soldier who had given his life to protect the rest of us.

    In a bizarre twist of fate I write this from Hamilton, Ontario the very city Nathan had once called home. It has been especially affecting to be so close to the story geographically. I could have been in Vegas or LA or Tokyo but by chance I am here and the grief is palpable. But it is grief supported by strength and purpose to look forward to a time when this kind of senselessness will be a thing of the past. When the inhabitants in this world can look past our differences and find comfort in our unavoidable similarities.

    I can only pass on condolences to Nathan’s family and thank Nathan for looking out for people like me so we may live the life we have.
    Thank you, Nathan. You will never be forgotten.

    What a nasty way to wrap an otherwise glorious trip to my Motherland. I have been to many stops like a Canadian Gypsy. I found myself in Vegas for two days before vanishing north. I have come to the realization that as of this month I have lived in Vegas for eight years. eight years is a long time. Especially considering I had no intention of staying upon my arrival. I came down to work with my friends, Kurt and D from the Underground Rebels. I had reached a fork in my road and it took me south. I told myself I’d stay till the holidays then make my way home. One thing led to another and you probably know how the rest goes. I found a new life for myself playing music with my friends. What more could I ask for? It was anything but an easy transition but nothing worth doing ever is. Shortly after my arrival I was off to Europe with Brent Muscat’s Faster Pussycat. I had never been to Europe until 2006. How could this be? All these years playing music and this was my first time. We came back and put together the Sin City Sinners which really sealed my long term Las Vegas plans. Life with Slash started almost five years ago now. Time has and continues to race by. I have a birthday coming then a new year will be on our calendars. We will be halfway through the decade they call the 2010s. Never had a ring to it did it? Neither did the 2000s. In just over five years from now we will be living in the ‘Twenties’. What a weird concept.

    I am thankful for all that has come my way these past eight years. It is unbelievable to me that this much time has passed. It will be ten years before I know it. That will be a landmark.
    Of course there is still so much to come…

    My blogs usually come much more succinctly but my gypsy ways get in the way of productivity sometimes. So much time has passed since I last checked in that the tour has ended, the album has been released and another tour is less than two weeks away. A tour to see some of my favorite people in the world. In the UK. In Europe. We have been woodshedding under the tutelage of the mighty Aerosmith. We come to you with blades sharpened and a lust for blood. Of the Rock And Roll kind anyway.

    Funny thing, the road. Looking back on our first show of 2014 at Hampton Beach July 9th it seems like a year ago and a week ago at the same time. I told myself at the beginning of the tour that it would be September before I knew it and sure enough I remember looking at my phone one day and seeing September 1. Midway through the tour everything seems to be moving at a pretty good rate. Not too fast. Able to take all of it in. Then BAM it’s 2 months later.
    I had every intention of doing a kind of wrap up blog when we ended the Let Rock Rule tour with Aerosmith but with the enormity of what is left this will be coming in two parts. Last time, I wrote my song by song guide to the new album, World On Fire. Hope you enjoyed.
    This one is gonna be a biggie. Get comfortable. You have been warned.

    When last I checked in I was in the Garden State getting ready to play the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey in support of the mighty Aerosmith. This was a very cool show. A lot of the New York City people came out for it making it even more of an event. A long list of people showed up. Everyone from Donald Trump to our pals from That Metal Show. I never saw Trump but I did spend a lot of time with Don Jamieson and, of course, Eddie Trunk. I hadn’t had a whole lot of time in the past to chat with Don so it was cool to get to hang. Jim Florentine was not there. Not sure what he was up to.
    For the rock nerd in me there were some exciting people. The amazing, Jack Douglas, producer of many Aerosmith records was on hand. He’s also done a myriad of other legendary work including Double Fantasy, John Lennon’s last album. That’s a big deal. He, of course, worked with Slash in the Snakepit days.
    Also there was Bob Gruen, the legendary New York photographer. He’s photographed everybody, Lennon, New York Dolls, KISS, Aerosmith etc. The man is a legend. These are the kinds of people I get excited about.
    Blasko from Ozzy’s band was there with some of the Black Veil Brides. Like I said it was one of those nights. I still have to ask myself what Donald Trump was doing there. I guess he either- A-knows Steven as a fellow reality TV competition guy or B-has good taste in music.
    Who knows?
    Newark was a great show. New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Utah, these are the states that are renowned for having very loyal rock fans. There’s lots of others too but I have always had a good time in Jersey.

    From there we were off to play the Fox Theater in the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. This was one of our own 2 hour shows which is always a pleasure after rocking the one hour mini sets with Aerosmith. I know I’ve said it a thousand times but it’s always weird being in a casino when not in Vegas. For us Vegas folk casinos are just such a big part of our lifestyle that to see them anywhere else is a little bizarre. For a moment you feel like you’re at the Golden Gate downtown or maybe the Four Queens but no you’re somewhere in Connecticut. Very surreal. Our crew guys were floating through the casino like smoking and drinking ghosts throwing money in machine after machine. But, of course, that’s just what casinos are built for.
    I did an interview with Bass Player magazine while in Connecticut that should be in the January issue. Look for that.
    The show was a real blast. We powered through our two hours. It never feels that long. It cranks along. Good people in Connecticut.

    Our next show was in Bristow, Virginia back in the company of Aerosmith. It’s funny how tight the two camps had become on the tour. We really did enjoy the company of their crew. In the catering area there were not two divided camps. We sat together and enjoyed one another’s company. The Aerosmith crew would jam Aerosmith songs and we’d all be there to cheer them on. Frank jammed a couple times. They kept wanting me to sing but that never happened. Good buncha people.
    The show was a blast. After the show we got to meet producer, Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette’s family and they were delightful. Elvis had told a story of how he and his brother had gotten Slash’s autograph when they were young. Elvis’ brother verified that tale. I’ll leave that story for him to tell at his leisure. Feel free to ask him all about it. He goes by the name of Elvis Liberace on Twitter. Tell him Todd Dammit sent you.
    The Bristow show was outstanding. It was always a bit sad having to get on the bus while Aerosmith was still playing. Driving off into the night to the strains of Walk This Wayyyyyyyy…

    Next up we found ourselves in one of the great Rock And Roll states, Michigan. Clarkston, Michigan to be exact. This was a big night. It was Joe Perry’s birthday. There is a true bond between Slash and the gang called Aerosmith. Slash and Joe have an especially close bond. Slash once purchased an invaluable guitar that once belonged to Joe. Joe parted with the guitar during hard times. For Joe’s 50th birthday Slash returned that guitar to him as a gift. I think that seals a bond that will never break.
    That night Slash joined the guys on stage again but this time a gigantic cake was wheeled out for Joe as well. It was awesome to be a part of such a special day. Slash is a kid in a candy store up there with his childhood heroes. It puts a big smile on my face to get to watch him live that dream again and again.
    Our set was amazing but I have to admit to a bittersweet melancholia creeping up on me as the tour was starting to close in on itself. We were kids at summer camp and we never wanted it to end.

    Now we was back the Motherland. Crossing the border into Canada for the third time of the tour. We immediately pulled the bus over and got our fill of Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts. Welcome to Canada!
    We spent the night in Toronto then flew on to Sydney, Nova Scotia. I’d never been to Sydney, Nova Scotia before. In fact, for a Canadian I really haven’t gotten back east nearly enough.
    Oddly enough We were flying into Nova Scotia on the 13th anniversary of 9/11. The strange thing is that on that actual day in 2001 I was eerily in eastern Canada. Moncton, New Brunswick to be exact. Not exactly a return to the scene of the crime but enough of a ‘too close for comfort’ coincidence for me. It is a heavy day no matter what. Never to be forgotten.
    Our final show of the Let Rock Rule 2014 AeroSlash tour was September 12th in Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was a both momentous and ‘just another day’ at the same time. I never saw any of the Aerosmith guys that day at all. I never got my chance to thank them for their courtesy, hospitality and the great reward of getting to watch them night after night. We played then they played and then we were gone. I got to watch them for a time from the side of the stage and I tried to drink as much down as I could of the experience. It has been one of the great joys of my life being able to be a part of this past summer with a band I have idolized all my life. I could die tomorrow and feel completely fulfilled. Though I say that at the end of almost every tour. At the end of almost every day.
    The Trews played earlier in the day and absolutely killed. I never got to say hi to any of the guys but John Angus, the guitar player, played with Fitz and I at one of our all Canadian music benefit shows in Winnipeg once. He is a monster of a player. I highly recommend you check them out.

    Looking back on the Let Rock Rule tour so much of it stands out. One day at soundcheck Brad Whitford was standing down on the floor in front of me watching us play. Being a cheeky bastard I threw Brad one of my guitar picks like he was an audience member. He feigned enthusiasm and ran to pick it up like the most highly invested fan. Part of me was thinking he was gonna punch me in the nose but he laughed and so did we.
    We got to spend some time as an apostle to the great Steven Tyler. He would just appear and commandeer the room. I’m not sure where he is at this moment but I know he is commandeering the room that he is in. He is one of the greats in the history of music. Not just Rock And Roll but music. Up there with Elvis and Lennon and Michael Jackson and Miles Davis or whoever your immortals are. Steven is a legend. 100% Getting to shake hands with Joe Perry here and there is more than a thrill. There is Keith Richards and then there is Joe. I am currently reading his book. I just can’t get enough of these guys.
    We had played with Brad once before back in 2011, I believe. He is the true gentleman and music fan of the bunch. Always at soundcheck. Always talking guitars. More than once in the catering room Brad came and sat at our table. This bunch of knuckleheads talking about Robocop (or something just as relevant) and suddenly Brad Whitford. That’s the kinda guy he is. Just a good dude. There is a lot to learn from Mr Whitford.
    It was great to be a part of watching Joey Kramer’s triumphant return to the stage after a two show sabbatical. I’ve read his book, too. Can’t knock him down. Lots to be learned there too.
    Tom Hamilton is one of my bass player heroes. He is untouchable in so many ways. He is rock solid and unflappable. A true honor to get to shake his hand and say hello. As much of an honor to get to be taken to school nightly watching him play.
    Ladies and gentlemen, America’s greatest Rock And Roll band-Aerosmith.
    Also-all original members. Think about that. Who else can say that?
    …and discuss…

    So then we were suddenly in New York City again. It was a repeat of 2012 where we played the record release party for Apocalyptic Love. two years later here we are with a new bouncing baby boy named World On Fire.
    With some time off in NYC our good friend and tour guide, Joe Fahmy, took us around to what seemed like every pizza joint in town. We even went out to Brooklyn for pizza. It’s NYC. Best pizza ever. It must be done.
    Frank had never been to the Dakota building before so we had to take him there. John Lennon was shot there almost 34 years ago. How shocking is that? It hardly seems that long ago. It’s a dark thing to take in but as a fan it is a must see. It was night by the time we got there and would have looked not unlike the night it happened. It’s an eerie and dark experience to be sure. We worked our way back to Central Park to look at Strawberry Fields as Frank had not seen that either. It is good to get as close to your heroes as you can. As a firm believer in the magic or music these are holy grounds for me.

    Our cd release show was to be aired live over Sirius radio. The show itself took place at Santos Party House. Our next four shows would all be on some of the smallest stages this band had ever performed. The cd release show was great fun. We played Bent To Fly from the new record for the first time and it came off strong. It really felt good. All in all I think the show went really well. I haven’t listened to the recording. I tend to not listen to recordings of what we’ve done. I tend to look forward not back. I think that’s good advice in most things, brothers and sisters.
    Of course that very day was September 15th, the day our new album, World On Fire was officially released. What better way to celebrate it’s birth than to play a Rock show?

    There was no time to celebrate too much as we had to be up beyond reason early to appear on Howard Stern’s show. To be honest when it first came up I assumed Slash was going to go in and do his usual rap with Howard. Then someone said, ‘No. You’re all going in and you’re going to play.’ That didn’t make any sense. It’s a radio station. There’s nowhere to set up and play. Sure enough that was exactly what was about to happen.
    Everything had happened so fast that there was little time to mentally prepare for Howard. Aerosmith, travel, cd release. I think we were all so mentally focused on being up that early, playing that early, being able to SING that early that I think the fact that we were going to be performing 5 feet from the ‘King Of All Media’ had kinda escaped us.
    That morning I dragged myself out of bed and as always was the first one downstairs in the lobby. Punctuality is key. Lesson two today. I was caffeinating heavily as we drove over to the station. I was so delirious that I still had no concept of the gravity of the situation. Suddenly we were being ushered into the green room and it all started to hit me. I’m a fan. I follow Howard. i recognize this green room and hallway from the videos I’ve watched of Howard.
    Then Gary Dell’Abate walked in and shit got real. ‘Wait a second. I’m at the Howard Stern show,’ my fatigued brain thought. Wow. This is for real. A quick hello from Gary with some prep then I made my way to the studio.
    As I walked into the studio Howard was speaking into his microphone. That’s what he does. He was actually on air as I walked by him. He waved at me like ‘Hey’. I waved back. What a trip. That’s Howard Stern and I’m in his dojo. He is the best in the world at what he does and I am on the bridge of his Enterprise.
    If you’ve not listened to our segment on the show you should. It is yet another beyond surreal moment in this career for me.

    First things first we are playing on rented gear. Always a crap shoot. On top of that we are playing at a comparatively low volume to how we play in our environment. There was the plexi glass shield around the drums to stop the bleed of the drums and cymbals into our microphones. Beyond that I couldn’t hear my voice at all. I was so wrapped up in the moment that I didn’t put my headphones on. Myles had his on so he could hear himself sing. Me? I was flying blind. I just started shouting and hoped for the best. I have played in Vegas for years in every type of circumstance. Before that I had played in every type of live set up imaginable. I am well prepared for any such situation. Rented gear and no monitors doesn’t faze me at all. Let’s do this!
    It was a blast to play. Howard was all smiles ear to ear as we were playing getting his own little private concert. We all know he loves Rock N Roll and that had to have been a blast for him.
    After we played Howard was very complimentary on many things including Myles and I singing together which was an exceptional thing to hear. It is rewarding when someone acknowledges your hard work. Especially someone like Howard.
    The interview was a blast and one for the history books. I did not expect Howard to speak to any of us directly so to hear Howard Stern’s voice say my name was beyond surreal. It was downright weird.
    It was an amazing experience as are most on the USS Conspirator. We took some pictures and exchanged a few words and then we were all on a plane to a couple days at home before the next chapter began.
    The Takeover Of Los Angeles!
    But I’m going to save that tale for my next blog. Expect it much sooner than it took for this one to come around.

    Brothers and sisters, The Walking Dead is back! Hell yes! Boardwalk Empire finale this Sunday. Double hell yes! It’s a great time to be alive!
    You should all read Questlove’s book, Mo’ Meta Blues. If you’re a music fan like me you will love it. That book has opened up a whole other world for me musically. I am enjoying digging into things beyond my comfort zone as a player. Things like funk, blues and even jazz. That’s right-Todd Dammit is diggin’ on jazz. Who knew? That’s the beautiful thing about music. It’s always growing and changing and if you can’t find anything new you like there is a wealth of music behind you to explore. It is a journey I have spent my life enjoying. Thanks Quest for showing me even more.
    Grab brother Joe Perry’s book. He is the pinnacle of cool!

    Stay tuned for Part II coming soon. Until then remember the things that are important. Hold on to the things that make you happy. Let go of the things that make you anything but. Love and be loved.

    Thank you, Nathan Cirillo. You will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, little brother.

    Big love, brothers and sisters.
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit



  • Todd Dammit’s Song By Song Guide To World On Fire

    September 20, 2014
    Las Vegas, NV

    I am certainly not the authoritative voice on the recording, producing, mixing, master and release of World On Fire. I am but one tiny cog in a much bigger wheel. This is just the reflections of a guy who was there…as best he can remember. Some of this will be illuminating, some redundant. Either way it’s how I saw it go down. Hope you get something out of it!
    Strap in!
    Horns up!
    PEACELOVEMETAL!

    1. World On Fire
    Woking title-I Wanna Pull Your Hair
    Slash came up with that working title. I always thought that title sounded like a more extreme I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Way more extreme!
    There were several riffs that we had jammed on the road. If memory serves me this was one of them. I immediately locked on to this one. It is a jaunty little ditty which is a fancy way of saying it rocks. It is the perfect song to open the record and the perfect song to carry the spirit of the album as the title track. If World On Fire were a country this would be it’s national anthem.
    All of the songs were rehearsed at Mates rehearsal studio in North Hollywood for several months before relocating to NRG which is about five minutes away from Mates. There we focused on drums and bass then went off to producer, Michael Elvis Baskette’s studio in Orlando, Florida. That’s where guitars and vocals were completed. The change of venue was fun. Never enough time to get too bored of any particular place.
    This song is a perfect example of what has become a very signature sound for our band not only with Slash’s guitar playing and Myles’ vocal but the harmonies we have gotten very comfortable crafting. I had initially gone in singing harmonies for the choruses on the title track then Elvis wanted to play with some call and answer type vocals in the chorus. Hence my tag vocal that follows Myles’ chorus vocal. It is an honor to get to sing with Myles. In my opinion he is the best modern rock singer on the planet. Our guitar player is pretty damned good too.
    This song rips and is an absolute pleasure to play live. I foresee it being a big part of the live set for years to come. We have been playing it since day one of the Let Rock Rule tour with Aerosmith and it has been euphoric watching people react to it.

    2. Shadow Life
    Working Title-You’re The Truth
    It’s funny looking at that title because whenever I went into the vocal booth to sing harmonies on a new song that was the first time I’d see the new title for that particular song. I distinctly remember saying how it sounded like a movie title.
    Shadow Life starring Nicolas Cage and Olvia Wilde. Just kidding. That film doesn’t exist…yet.
    This song is interesting because it began its life back on the Apocalyptic Love album as part of that album’s first single You’re A Lie. So, in jest, when we started working on this song again we used the working title You’re The Truth.
    The main riff of the original version of You’re A Lie was plucked out and replaced with it’s existing chorus. That left this very snaky, very Slashy (if you will) riff orphaned. We couldn’t let that happen.
    I remember it as one of the earliest riffs Slash, Fitz and I jammed in the earliest stages of the World On Fire writing sessions. This song was in a constant state of change even later when Elvis showed up. I remember playing a few different chord inversions of the chorus which eventually settled where it is.
    I came up with the broken up riff that makes up the verses. That comes together really effectively when played as tightly as we played it.
    It took a village to bring this song to life but it turned out great. It really is the sister song to You’re A Lie to me. I don’t know that anyone else would hear it that way.

    3. Automatic Overdrive
    Working Title-Manual Automation
    Not sure if the final title was at all inspired by the working title or not. Slash came up with the working title which I thought was pretty clever.
    This one starts with a tension building chugging that reminds me of The Who before going into the main part of the song. I was trying my best to channel Paul Simonon of The Clash on this song. Gene Simmons is in there a little too with the descending, walking bass in the pre choruses. Elvis caught that reference right away. We speak the same language, he and I.
    Slash is the king of coming up with great, catchy riffs. The above two songs are good examples of that as is this one.
    Fitzy came up with the idea to modulate at the end for the outro choruses. Definitely gives it a cool lift.
    How awesome is Myles’ bluesy vocal lilt at the end of the song? Damn that kid can sing.

    4. Wicked Stone
    Working Title-F# You
    Once I had finished the harmony vocals on this song Elvis and I listened back to it and I said, ‘If I had one song to play to someone from this album this would be the one.’
    If you’re lucky when you make an album there are moments when all the hairs on your arms go up. This song did that for me when I listened to it completed.
    I came up with the working title. The song is in the key of F# (or F sharp) and it was so aggressive it felt like a big middle finger. A big F You. Hence the title F# You.
    This song feels the most like it could have come off of Appetite For Destruction. It feels legitimately heavy, greasy and swampy in all the right ways.
    Before the album was ever released I was quoted as calling the album sleazy, aggressive and dangerous. This is one of the songs that made me say that. There were definitely songs that felt like they were written and performed to be played at the Whiskey A Go Go (oddly enough they will be next week). World On Fire, Stone Blind, Withered Delilah all feel this way to me. As does Wicked Stone.
    In many ways I felt it should have been a single but I think it may stand to be like a Rocket Queen where it is one of the most important songs on the album but not relegated to a radio friendly status. That’s fine.
    Oddly enough in the chorus I found myself playing 16th notes on the bass like Peter Hook from Joy Division and New Order, one of my left field influences. Adam from U2 does this a lot too. Those may be bizarre references for a song like this but it’s funny where you find inspiration in the heat of the moment.
    Brent Fitz absolutely kills the little turn around after the second chorus before the breakdown into the bridge. Fitz has chops galore but rarely breaks them out. He’s gotta be proud of that one. He always does an amazing job of servicing the song.
    I knew the first time I heard Slash play the main riff to this song that it was going to be a monster and it is. It remains my favorite song on the album by a very narrow margin.
    Any of you lucky enough to be attending any of the Sunset Strip takeover shows next week might just get a chance to hear some new songs live. For the first time ever. On the stages that inspired this album in my opinion.
    This song was intended to be the only fade out but Slash’s soloing at the end was so great that we just ended it properly. I’m glad we did.

    5. 30 Years To Life
    Working Title-Fast Gee Rocks
    Another Slash working title. The song is in the key of G and it’s fast AND it rocks.
    This song was originally up tempo from the top before Elvis came along and we started experimenting with the slide guitar, half time intro section. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that addition until Myles put his vocal on it. I think it really adds to the song now. You have to trust the people you are working with. Sometimes they can see the bigger picture better than you can when you’ve been immersed in it for so long.
    This song as much as any other is a good example of the raucous bass tone we were going for. The second verse is just Myles’ voice, a kick drum and the bass. You can hear how gnarly the bass is. We were truly inspired by the great one himself on this album, Lemmy. The tone is the most aggressive I’ve ever had.
    I have to admit that I was drawing on a little Paul Simonon from the Clash on this one too. I’m a huge Clash fan but was going through a serious resurgence around the time of this recording. There is a certain punky pulse that I think carries that aesthetic through the heart of this song.
    We’ve been playing this song at our own shows between the Let Rock Rule dates opening for Aerosmith and it’s been awesome laying new music on people.

    6. Bent To Fly
    Working Title-NoHo Blues
    Another Slash working title. The entire birth of the album was in North Hollywood, California hence the title NoHo (North Hollywood) Blues. Blues I guess cuz it’s kind of a bluesy number.
    This song happened very fast. I don’t remember making too many changes from the first time we put it together.
    This song is challenging for me to play and sing at the same time. Often the harmony vocals come up after the fact so one isn’t thinking about how to play and sing it months down the line. As a bass player/vocalist I got pretty good at being able to play parts and sing vocals that aren’t necessarily in tandem with one another. The chorus in this song is the proverbial patting my head and rubbing my stomach at the same time. I like a challenge though.
    We played this song for the first time ever on September 16 2014 at the cd release party at Santos Party Haus in New York City. It was aired by Sirius radio. You can find it on Youtube. So far we’ve only played this song once on stage. I look forward to doing so again and again.

    7. Stone Blind
    Working Title-Cheap Thrills
    I haven’t a clue where that working title came from. I’m not sure if Slash was referencing Cheap Trick at all when he started calling it that. I’ll have to ask him some time…
    This is another one of those songs that I felt like we should be playing in the clubs in the underbelly of Hollywood. The initial riff carried the whole song in it’s original form. One day Slash walked in and had the verses move up from the main riff in the key of A to B which created an interesting urgency before working our way back to A for the choruses.
    Great Gene Simmons bass slide at the halfway point in verse 2. Pretty proud of that one.
    We’ve been playing this baby on the road for the last 2 months before the album was released. It cooks.

    8. Too Far Gone
    Working Title-Presents
    I came up with that working title when Slash asked what we should call this one. I said, ‘It sounds like sometime off of Presence’ The Led Zeppelin album. We wrote the homonym and it stuck for the interim.
    Great Zeppeliny riff and intro off the top. The pausing intro giving it just a hint of 2112.
    The verses for me on this song lends to a reoccurring Bob Daisley reference for me. Bob was the bass player on Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman by (do I even have to say it?) Ozzy Osbourne. He also plays on Bark At The Moon but the first two albums are always my reference points. As it turns out Elvis is also a massive fan of Bob’s parts as well. Elvis is a huge Randy Rhoads era Ozzy fan. Who isn’t? Those albums are genius. On Apocalyptic Love there are all kinds of Daisley influenced bass lines as well.
    I suppose Gene Simmons’ influence could be there in those walking bass lines in the verses but Daisley was my touchstone.
    I really dig the breakdown in this song after the second chorus before the solo.
    Myles really built a great chorus for this song. That kid’s got skills.

    9. Beneath The Savage Sun
    Working Title-Elephantosaurus
    Working title by Slash. The riff sounds like the marching of gigantic prehistoric elephant like creature.
    My bass line is pounding in the verses while Slash plays that dark, dirty Aerosmithy riff. Great Gene Simmons bass slides in this song. In fact one opens the song.
    The up tempo riffs later almost nods to Metallica a little. Especially at the end. A little double kick drum by Mr Fitz in there.
    The second verse is rad when we all just hit that E chord over and over pulsing. Initially that was just me pulsing but Elvis thought it would be effective to all do it off the top of that 2nd verse. He was right. He often is.
    The middle section is one of those epic Slash moments. There are certain songs you just know are gonna be classic once you hear a certain section. Anastasia from the last album was like that and this song is another. Slash’s guitar playing on this song is testament to a man who has nothing to prove yet continues to grow and grow and grow as a player. This song shows why he is my favorite guitar player on the planet.
    Again that Metallica-esque ending coulda went on for another 5 minutes if it were up to me.

    10. Withered Delilah
    Working title-Severe Road Riff
    Great working title from Slash. It is certainly severe.
    Another riff that was jammed on the road at sound checks that grew and grew to the monster it is. These kinds of riffs just fall out of Slash. Legendary, killer, classic riffs. His forte, really.
    This is another Bob Daisley bass song for me. Somewhere between I Don’t Know and Crazy Train verse bass lines. Elvis pushed for even more of that business for the pre choruses. If you listen close you can hear me getting up there on the neck.
    The big riff is a little classic rock and a little Rage Against The Machine to me. That’s at least where it was coming from for me.
    In the bridge Myles and I sing together and it is so super classic KISS or something. It is one of my favorite moments on the record. That guy is always a pleasure to sing with. I can’t say that enough.
    This is another song that smells like cigarettes and stale beer in a dark Hollywood club.

    11. Battleground
    Working title-Gardener Street
    Gardener Street is a street in LA. I have no idea where that came from but that’s what Slash called it.
    Probably one of the biggest departures on the record but still very much in the same cannon as the rest of World On Fire. Myles does an extraordinary job on songs like this. He has a versatility that most singers dream of. I know I do.
    This song stayed pretty much to the arrangement you hear on the final version except for the outro that Myles came up with which we added choosing to forego doing another chorus. It really creates an epic Hey Jude type of euphoria at the end.
    We really had a lot of fun coming up with almost Jimi Hendrix type rolling riffs over top of the outro as it built.
    One of Slash’s most hair raising solos since November Rain.

    12. Dirty Girl
    Working title-Dirty Girl
    That’s right. As far as I remember this song was always called Dirty Girl. We had worked on a version of this song for Apocalyptic Love but couldn’t get it to feel right.
    This song not only sounds like the underbelly of Hollywood it sounds like a whole other type of club in that underbelly. We did the photo shoot for the album at a notorious place called Jumbo’s Clown Room, a kitschy little strip club in Hollywood and this song is the inspiration for that and vice versa.
    Myles tells me this song is about webcam girls. That’s a very 21st century take on the ladies of the sex industry.
    Fitz locks in that Joey Kramer booty shakin’ groove off the top and it just gets naughtier groove wise from there.
    It took a bit of work to get this song in shape. To be honest I believe we had almost let go of it a few times. I remember Elvis really championing it and rallying the troops to take another swing at it. Once we locked into the right groove it all made sense. It would have been a real shame to have let this one get away.

    13. Iris Of The Storm
    Working Title-Rhapsody In B
    A Slash working title that refers to the opening key of the song. We start with that hypnotizing guitar line in the key of B. Often the keys of the song are in the working titles to differentiate them from the others and to remind us what key it’s in.
    Another amazing Myles performance. I love the harmonies on the B part of the verses. Very unexpected and unusual. Elvis and I worked very hard on those.
    The bridge is so cool. Descending Kashmir-esque line. We really fought with that part to get it right. I’m speaking of the section before the solo. Coulda made a whole other song outta that riff.
    The solo section is surprisingly gnarly for such a initially pretty song. Coulda made a whole other song outta the riff we are playing under the solo too. Great.
    There is a second bridge that happens after the solo that is almost Queen-esque with a touch of The Who.
    Elvis puts that great sweeping phaser over the whole mix at the end of the song like it’s something off of Electric Ladyland. Awesome. Elvis manages to speak the same language that we do.

    14. Avalon
    Working title-Guinness Stomp
    Slash dubbed it this as it felt like a Celtic party song in instrumental form.
    This song really surprised me. At first I didn’t take it all that seriously because it was so simplistic and crazy. As we jammed it more and more it started to come together. Then, of course, Myles did what he do on top of it all and it turned out to be a surprisingly standout track.
    It’s brief and full of boundless energy. A little Zeppeliny and for me a little Iron Maiden (but that’s probably just for me).
    Myles and I sing the choruses with all we got. Myles really brought this song to life.

    15. The Dissident
    Working Title-It Puts The Lotion On Its Skynyrd Slash just casually asked, ‘ok Todd. What do we call this one?’ Without hesitation I said, ‘It Puts The Lotion On Its Skynyrd’ I have no idea where that came from. Of course it’s a play on Buffalo Bill’s line ‘It puts the lotion on its skin’ from Silence Of The Lambs. I must have found something in the song that reminded me of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
    This is another song that really jumped out and surprised the hell out of me. You can never judge a song until it is in its final form. I never knew how I felt about it until I was singing harmonies to it.
    This is another example of when I didn’t know what title Myles had come up with until I walked into the vocal booth to sing my harmonies. Myles had chosen his own working title, Conscientious Objector, which inspired some of the most fun on the record. While singing harmonies once in a while I’d pick up an acoustic guitar that was just sitting there and I’d make up songs to make Elvis and engineer, Jef Moll, laugh. Usually based on the titles or lyrics of the songs I was singing. That’s exactly what happened at the beginning of this song. I saw the working title Conscientious Objector and I started singing a silly song right there and then rhyming tractor with objector. Jef did some digital magic to make me sound like I was on helium and made it all scratchy like it was an old 78” record and that’s what you’re hearing at the beginning of the song.
    This song feels like the sister song to We Will Roam from Apocalyptic Love to me. Another song that is a pleasure to sing with Myles.
    There’s a little pre chorus that Fitz plays on the snare drum that always reminds me of the intro to King Of The Nighttime World by KISS. Fitz plays his ass off on this record.
    I can already hear the South American audiences singing the whoooaaaahhh chorus at full volume. Mark my words that’s coming.
    The bridge is another great vocal harmony moment. Really turned out great. Gonna be fun and challenging to do live but I’m always up for a challenge.
    Great Slash solo. Very melodic moving in and out of major and minor.
    This song will have a whole new life in front of the more vocal audiences around the world. Mark my words.

    16. Safari Inn
    Working title-Safari Inn
    There is a hotel in Burbank, California called the Safari Inn that we would drive by. I think it’s no coincidence that title made it’s way onto the album.
    This one started with a much more structured arrangement until it was decided to be an instrumental rather than to put a vocal on it. I believe Slash had every intention of saving this song as a bonus for some international release but he made the bold decision to release every song on one album. Bold and wise.
    Slash plays his ass off on this song. Proving again and again why he is the best. It sounds like a perfect soundtrack song.

    17. The Unholy
    Working title-Music To Murder Your Girlfriend By I had suggested it sounded like ‘music to murder your family to’ as it sounded so scary but Slash changed it to girlfriend. Horror movie style.
    As it turned out Myles’ subject matter was just as dark as our campy horror movie title could possibly invoke but I’l leave him to enlighten.
    This has a dark early Alice Cooper vibe to it. When Slash first started playing it it sounded so dark and disjointed I never would have guessed Myles could put a melody to it but he once again proved me wrong and pulled this gem out of the ether.
    There’s a little I Want You by the Beatles style in the ending refrain for me. I was definitely channeling some of that Paul McCartney style on this one.
    At the end of the song I built some 3 part harmonies to work around the melody. We wouldn’t normally go there but for a song like this it seemed there were no limits to what we could do. I think this is a very important song in the catalogue.

    There you go. Just some thoughts on the 17 songs that make up the World On Fire album. Hope you are enjoying listening as much as we enjoyed making.
    Next stop-Hollywood, California. Three times!
    See you…OUT THERE!
    Big love,
    Your loyal and humble servant,
    Todd Dammit



  • Let Rock Rule-The Home Stretch

    Secaucus, New Jersey
    September 2nd 2014

    A day off in Jersey. Gotta love it. Just took myself to see Jon Favreau’s beautiful film, Chef. Great low budget affair with a lot of heart. Great cast. Favreau and John Leguizamo carry most of the film but the spicy, Sofia Vergara was ever present as well. Lots of great cameos from the likes of Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman and even Favreau’s Iron Man compatriot, Robert Downy Jr. Favreau took a big risk on hiring proven handful, Downey, for Iron Man (Favreau also directed Iron Man 2) which essentially kickstarted the whole Marvel empire film franchise that is growing to this day.
    Like most people I first found Favreau in Swingers with Vince Vaughn. That movie is one of my all time faves and I’ve seen it countless times. Jon even directed the Will Ferrell gem, Elf.
    It was cool to see Canadian comedian, Russell Peters have a cameo in Chef. Home team.
    It’s a tiny little feel good movie with a great little message to it. Check it out.

    It’s been a couple of weeks since I last checked in. We were just on our way into the country of my birth, Canada, when I last wrote. It was all too brief. Wayyyyyy too brief, in fact. I had so many people I should have seen but had to cut it all down to just my family which is far from a consolation.
    The show was a blast in the only recently opened Hard Rock Casino out there in Coquitlam. Always good to dig into the two hour leviathan of a set we unleash when not under the thumb of Aerosmith.
    This was the first night we did It’s So Easy which was in fact in preparation for the following night in which an old friend was going to be joining us on stage for that song. It was fun to do It’s So Easy with Myles. He had not done it before. I’ve been playing that song as long as Appetite For Destruction has been released in one form or another. On vocals, guitar or bass.
    All in all I think we killed in Vancouver. It will be nice to come back and do it all over again on our own tour probably in the new year.

    From there we were crossing the border for the second time in 24 hours from Vancouver, Canada to the Gorge in Washington state to meet back up with Aerosmith on the Let Rock Rule tour. The Gorge is stunning. Looks like an incredible movie set or perhaps a breathtaking visual effect by Industrial Light and Magic but no it’s all Mother nature’s doing. Amazing.
    And the old friend to be joining us on stage as mentioned above? None other than the amazing, Duff McKagan of the original five. Duff is such an amazing dude. He is one of the most gracious people I know. He’s a real, genuine guy. His wife, Suzan is one of the most beautiful souls imaginable. Physically beautiful, yes, but just a glowing, warm spirit beyond the visual. They are an inspiration to behold. This love things seems really workable by their example.
    Duff got up and tore the roof off the place with us doing It’s So Easy from Appetite. Anyone in the know is aware that Duff is singing the high part of the verse while Axl is singing the baritone. We had a blast. I got to play some guitar with the guys. Too much fun.
    The Gorge was on my bucket list. While living in Vancouver I’d heard so much about it but never got there till Let Rock Rule. Truly worth the wait.
    Aerosmith did their first show of the Let Rock Rule tour without Joey Kramer who had left the tour to have a stint put into his heart. His son, Jesse, sat in for his father and did an admirable job covering the parts. I kept thinking how weird that would be. The other guys would have known Jesse since he was a baby. I suppose it’s not unlike the Zeppelin guys playing with Jason Bonham. It was awesome to get to see the band in such unique circumstances. As always they brought it.

    The next day was a travel day off in Bozeman, Montana where we got to go to the Gibson acoustic guitar factory. Jeremy took us on a tour of the whole facility seeing how the whole thing comes together. It was a Sunday so the factory was closed which made it kinda even more awesome being our own private tour. These are the kinds of things I have to remind myself not to take for granted. There was a time when this would have felt like touring Willy Wonka’s. It was a real treat and honor getting to take it all in. As an owner of multiple Gibson guitars it’s always a trip.

    That night I went with Slash, Cheryl and Junior to see the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie as part of Junior’s early birthday celebrating. During the previews they played the new Spongebob movie trailer where lo and behold in the middle of it who should appear but Slash playing guitar on the beach. All this to the throes of Welcome To The Jungle raging on the soundtrack. Junior and I just looked at each other and started laughing. Here we are in a theater full of people sitting with the guy who is on the big screen, playing guitar on the song they are hearing and they are completely unaware. So surreal.
    This is life on Planet Slash.
    Cut and paste this and you’ll see for yourself-

    The movie was fun. I certainly can’t imagine what anyone could expect. Everything to expect from the film is within it’s title. They are Turtles. They are teenagers. They are trained ninjas who have been mutated to human size. Rinse repeat. Green light. Junior and I had a laugh.

    So then there we were in Denver, Colorado for our first indoor show of the Aerosmith shows. Everything up to that point had been some kind of outdoor, open shed except for our own shows. The setting in Denver is the Pepsi Center which is home to the Colorado Avalanche. Even though I don’t follow hockey religiously it is still a trip to see the hockey presence in the US. It has always been such a uniquely Canadian experience for me but there from the stage hangs the Canadian flag right along side Old Glory. That’s a pretty awesome sight if you ask me. I’m proud to be where I’m from and I’m proud to be where I am.
    There were a few signs in the audience dedicated to yours truly which is a surreal experience I can assure you. I will never get accustomed to that. Denver seems a gazillion miles from the reality of where I grew up but it reminds me how small our planet is and how unifying the power of Rock N Roll can be! Thank you to those who showed their love.
    Our set there was awesome. It’s always a blast playing in hockey arenas. They always remind me of running full tilt to stand in front of KISS or any number of other bands when I was a kid. I never take that for granted.
    Joey Kramer actually came and played the encore with Aerosmith that night making him in actuality only missing 3 shows (Concord, the Gorge and Denver) in the face of such a serious situation. Though he has since bounced back in full swing I can’t imagine tampering with the heart could be a minor thing. I’m just glad to see him back and at full strength. I told him the same thing when I saw him upon his return.

    In Dallas we saw Sin City: A Dame To Kill For which I had been highly anticipating. I get a little concerned when I am looking too forward to a movie. Sometimes it can’t help but disappoint. I’m not only a huge fan of the original Sin City film but I am also a huge fan of the director, Robert Rodriguez. Not to mention writer and co-director Frank Miller.
    The sequel does not disappoint. Familiar faces, new faces and that classic look that I loved so much from the first film. Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Bruce Willis, Powers Booth and Rosario Dawson all return from the first one plus the addition of new arrivals Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Josh Brolin and even Dennis Haysbert, or as most of us know him-the All State guy.
    I’m looking forward to seeing that again.

    The Dallas show was awesome. Another hockey arena. Another Canadian flag hanging from the ceiling right above me. Feels like home. We had a blast.
    This was Joey Kramer’s full return to the Let Rock Rule tour. It is a pleasure getting to watch the great Aerosmith night after night and we do take full advantage of that privilege. That privilege is diminishing by the day so I’m trying to get my fill.
    The great city of Dallas is a pleasure to visit and play. See you in 2015!

    Then off to Houston. You always forget how big Texas is until you are driving through it. It is seemingly endless. Our hotel was attached to another abandoned mall which always reminds me of Dawn Of The Dead. If you understand that reference we can hang out. Some people don’t know what the hell I’m talking about when I say that. I call those people ‘uninformed’. If you’re not hip to it I highly recommend you get down with said film. The remake is great too.
    It seemed for a stretch there our hotels were all connected to malls so we found ourselves forever wandering them. We dubbed that portion the ‘Tiffany Tour’.
    We played the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, Woodlands, Texas. Was a great night. It’s been great watching World On Fire become a key part of our set right up there with Sweet Child O’ Mine and Paradise City. That’s a good feeling.

    Around this time there was a very convincing post about a 6th season of Breaking Bad which I was suspicious about but had to retweet. I thought that would be a terrible mistake as it had ended so beautifully but I’m a fan and would have welcomed those characters back with open arms. Turned out to be completely untrue so my initial take stays undisturbed. It’s ending will remain beautiful.

    The other announcement was that my new hometown of Las Vegas may be getting it’s own NHL hockey team. That is very exciting. It would be great for the city of Las Vegas and great for the game of hockey. I’d love to go support whatever that team might be. Could suddenly feel very much like home. We’ll see though…

    Next up was Atlanta where Steven Tyler shaved off his facial hair he’s been sporting this entire tour. I had grown so accustomed to it that it took me a second to figure out what was different about him. We run into Steven in elevators sometimes with his dogs and all and it’s never a dull moment. The man is larger than the largest life. He’s always witty and quick.

    All this time before Atlanta we were excited as we had heard that some of the cast of the Walking Dead would be joining us at the show. Norman Reedus at the very least but then when it all went down they ran late and couldn’t make it to the show. Damn. That woulda been a trip. I’m so stoked for the new season I’m on pins and needles.

    Atlanta was another amazing show. Hockey arena. Canadian flag. All the good stuff.
    We alter our set night for night. Sometimes you’ll get Mr Brownstone. Sometimes you’ll get Halo. Sometimes you’ll get Standing In The Sun. Sometimes By The Sword. Just depends which box of chocolates of ROCK you open.
    Atlants got Halo and By The Sword in amongst the rest of our set.
    See you in 2015, Atlanta.

    If it feels like it was high time for a headlining show you got that right. Which way to Hollywood, Florida? We got to burn down the Hard Rock for 2 hours in Hollywood East with a cast of friends who came out of the woodwork including Eddie Trunk who was hosting the night as well as introducing us before our set. Always good to hang with Mr Trunk. Stories stories stories. Laughs laughs laughs. Good times.
    Matt from Trivium came out. I’d not met him before. A nicer guy there could not be. Such a great band. Looking forward to crossing paths with him again.
    World On Fire family was in the house too. Producer of the album, Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette and engineer, Jef Moll were on hand for the evening’s festivities. Assistant engineer, Kevin was along as well.
    Last minute addition of Out Ta Get Me from Appetite to that nighs set was imminent and we tore that one up. I threw the mic stand in a fit of rock fever that may or may not have scared the Hell out of the nice people of Hollywood East. These little voices in my head tell me to break things. In Static In Stereo we had a saying-
    If it ain’t broke-break it.
    We broke everything. In the Conspirators I try to keep such voices at bay but once in a while they come out and cannot be silenced. If the odd microphone or guitar need be sacrificed then so be it for the greater good of Rock N Roll.
    Great show. Sorry microphone.

    From there we were on to Sin City East, Atlantic City. I’ve always enjoyed AC for it’s bizarre familiarity to Las Vegas. There are casinos with the same names and everything seems familiar yet strange. Like a Bizzaro Vegas, really. I get a kick out of that.
    The show was a great deal of fun. People keep telling me I look like I’m having fun up there. I’m not acting. I really am having the time of my life. You should try it some time.
    Our pal, Jimmy Webb from Trash and Vaudeville came for a hang as well as fellow Canadian, Matt Wexler who will be with us for the better part of a week.
    Aerosmith were devastatingly good that night. Steven is on fire. I think he really might be at the peak of his ability. This late in the game that is beyond impressive.

    From there we landed where I am now-Secaucus, New Jersey. Yesterday the Conspirators took a trip into New York City, one of my favorite places on the planet. Anyone who knows me knows that.
    Here’s the crazy thing. We decided to take a bus from Secausus into the Port Authority there in the heart of Manhattan. Easy enough, right? So once exiting the bus which was a fun ride with Mark Kuntz, drum tech and Matt Wexler, Canadian compatriot along for the ride we made our way out to the street right across from the New York Times building. Cool. I gotta take a picture of that. I…hang on…where? Oh boy. I left my phone on the bus.
    Great.
    So there was a harried panic that went on for the better part of 30 minutes while we ran from customer service to gate to attendant to other gate from bus to bus. Fitz, ever the efficient boy scout used the ‘find your phone’ app and we learned it was somewhere in the building. Then after running from floor to floor Fitz just walked onto a bus and walked right back out with my phone.
    Thank you to Mark Kuntz for being the grown up there to sort that all out. Thank you to Brent Fitz for ultimately locating my damned phone. It takes a village…to find a phone left behind by an absent minded fool.
    Wow. What a way to start my trip to the greatest city in the world. From total drag to utter euphoria. I was already making peace with the idea that maybe I didn’t need that damn phone anyway but in retrospect it’s always good to have it back.
    With phone retrieved we ran the length of Manhattan a thousand times over as we usually do. We went to Lombardis which is apparently NYC’s oldest pizzeria. Who knew? Delicious!
    Along the way we had to visit CBGB’s (I have a hard time calling it John Varvattos. Sorry, John) at 315 Bowery street. As I’ve mentioned a thousand times I played there back in the early 90s. Fitz has played there and so has Myles. It was a right of passage in those days. I never, ever thought it would close but it has been for some time now. Very surreal to walk through that store knowing what it once was. Let’s just pray the Whiskey A Go Go doesn’t turn into an Urban Outfitters someday or the Roxy a Gap. Shudder…
    We got our pal, Joe Fahmy, to take some pix of us by the pole where the Ramones were posed back in the day. I do that same photo almost every time I’m there but this time it was just the Conspirators so I went home and made this.

    ramones

    New York City is hallowed ground for me. I only wish I’d been born 20 years earlier in Queens. Though all the original Ramones are gone they live on in my heart and this photo is a sign of my love and respect.
    Hey Ho Let’s Go Forever

    We went by Trash and Vaudeville and loitered for the better part of the day distracting Jimmy from his work. We are jerks. Always an utter joy to see Jimmy. The man is a glowing ball of positivity. Next time you’re in NYC go to St Marks and see Jimmy at Trash and Vaudeville. Tell him Todd Dammit sentcha. I know some of you have done that. He’s told me. I think that’s the most awesome thing ever.
    So then after eating, eating and eating then drinking coffee, coffee and even more coffee we hobbled back to our little safe haven in Jersey.
    Which leads us to today. I saw a movie and then joined Slash and crew on the buses for our driver, Chris’, barbecue. Funny ol’ world, innit?
    And tonight? Well, none other than Eddie Trunk will be here to do a quick podcast with Slash then I believe it will be hang and talk rock time with his pal, Todd Dammit.

    Speaking of music nerds (no offense, Eddie, though I think he’s more than comfortable with that handle. As am I) Ive been reading Questlove’s book, Mo’ Meta Blues and it is amazing. For those in the know Questlove, or ?uestlove, is the incredible drummer for the Roots. You would know them as Jimmy Fallon’s house band previously on Late Night now on the Tonight Show. The Roots, of course, had been around for years prior to ever being NBC employees.
    I have to acquiesce to Quest’s knowledge on all things music. He leaves the likes of me and Eddie in the dust. His knowledge is sprawling, sweeping and wide spread. From rock to pop to funk to soul to hip hop and all points in between. Not only that but he was hip to rock journalists and all. I certainly was hip to the ones I was told to be hip to- Lester Bangs, Ben Fong-Torres, even a young Cameron Crowe but nothing like what Quest retained. Later on I became enamored with Chuck Klosterman when he wrote for Spin before he went on to write some of my favorite novels. I like David Fricke from Rolling Stone very much as well as Peter Travers, the movie guy. Quest makes me look like an amateur.
    We met Quest and the Roots when we did Jimmy Fallon’s show when he was still at Late Night. What a trip that experience was. Frank and I saw Quest just walking down the hallway and he was super friendly and super cool. Those guys sure love Slash. Slash has sat in with them a number of times. After we played on the show Quest brought his drumsticks over and asked us to sign them for him. Frank brought them to me telling me this story. I looked at him questioningly like, ‘Seriously? Quest wants more than just Slash to sign these?’ He did so I did. That stayed with me. What an amazing guy. He loves music so much that he’s obviously been documenting every musical guest that’s been on the show. I think that’s amazing.
    I highly recommend his book if you are as much of a music lover as I am. I’m an even bigger fan of Questlove and the Roots than I was because of it.
    I can’t imagine how much deeper my experience of music would have been had I grown up in Philly or NYC or Detroit. Not just rock but soul, funk, R&B eventually hip hop. Growing up where I did these things just didn’t exist. I mean they did but we were largely unaware. Obviously things like Thriller opened a whole world to R&B and dance music that may not have translated prior. Michael did that as James had before him. Stevie and every other Motown artist in history were part of that.
    The book has inspired me to take a closer look at those things I’m only familiar with. I’ve been on a Motown kick for a long time now so this has me digging deeper. Quest mentions an act and I Spotify it right away. It has really opened up a whole other side of things for me. That’s the exciting thing about music. That journey never really ends.

    I find the news so depressing lately. There are such terrible things going on in the world. I changed my Facebook settings so it won’t just play video unless prompted. People post the most heinous things that will ruin your day if you look at them. It’s hard to remind yourself how wonderful the world can be or what limitless potential we humans can have when you watch bullies beating handicapped children or ISIS shooting defenceless people on the street or adults beating children or humans beating animals.
    Kindness. Compassion. These are the things I strive for. I personally continue to strive towards things like honor, nobility. Big words with even bigger meaning.
    There is no me. There is no you. There is US. The sooner we all understand that the sooner those bigs are more easily understood.

    I just took a break from writing this to sit in the hotel restaurant and talk music with Eddie Trunk for about three hours. It’s not easy to just do that with anyone. When you find someone who can hang like that you make the most of it. Ed is a good man and a good friend. He will be at our show in Newark tomorrow. The conversation continues.
    Tonight’s topics-
    Why is Deep Purple not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? When they DO get inducted which members will be included?
    This same discussion happened about Foreigner and Journey as well.
    Plenty about KISS, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, AC/DC (the big 4).
    Best singer for Rainbow? Slash prefers Graham Bonnet. Controversial answer maybe but bold.
    This and more will continue tomorrow.

    The Let Rock Rule tour is ending soon. I told myself it would be September before I knew it and guess what? It’s September. As soon as we are into the ‘embers (September/October/November/December-admittedly October is an ‘ober but you see my point) I am thinking towards the holidays. Flights, gifts, destinations, family…all the important things.
    Life goes so fast. Yesterday it was July and we were doing our first date with Aerosmith. Actually yesterday we were just sitting down to write songs for World On Fire. No-yesterday we had just put out Apocalyptic Love. Nah-yesterday I just started playing with Slash, before it was called the Conspirators, before there was an Apocalyptic Love or even a World On Fire.
    Speaking of which we are less than two weeks away from the release of said album, World On Fire. We will wrap up the Let Rock Rule tour then find ourselves back in New York City promoting the album release. Then on to Los Angeles for three club shows to promote the release of the album-the Troubadour, the Whiskey A Go Go and The Roxy. This is going to be a huge achievement for us and I say that even as we are touring with Aerosmith which is one of the grandest achievements imaginable.
    Exciting times ahead, brothers and sisters. Exciting times indeed.

    You are loved now pass that on.
    Take my message to your brother and tell him twice.

    Big love.
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit



  • Vancouver to Vancouver

    August 14 2014
    Vancouver, Washington

    Sitting here on a ‘travel day’ in Vancouver, Washington which is
    bizarre as our eventual destination is Vancouver, Canada. The thing is that a trip from San Francisco to Vancouver, Canada requires a break for our bus drivers. I’m sure back in the day, before pesky safety regulations, groups traveled through the night and day and night again fueled by whatever got you there.
    These days there is a system put in place to make sure we all arrive safely at our eventual destination. I for one would rather arrive alive.

    Just two days ago The Conspirators were wandering the streets of the
    great city of San Francisco when we were informed of Robin Williams passing mere miles from where we were standing. It was a surreal moment for had it occurred a day or two before or after we would have been anywhere else. The fact that it happened so close to us touched us more than I can say.

    As a kid I first found Robin, like most, as Mork from Ork on Happy
    Days before that character was spun off into his own series. His true
    genius shone in his stand up appearances. He could flail from the
    insane to the intimate in the same breath. It was never a surprise that he would go on to be an accomplished actor. My favorite of his films was the Fisher King as directed by the great Terry Gilliam. His filmography is loaded with great work- The World According To Garp, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting for which he won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar and on and on.

    It is a heartbreaking loss made all the more shocking to learn it was
    by his own hand. Nothing makes me angrier than those who pass
    judgement upon others. Especially in circumstances like this. Mental illness is rarely understood even by those who consider it their field. Not understanding clinical depression leaves no one any right to comment on it. God forbid anyone should have such tragedy touch their own lives. Robin was a great man plagued by his own illness just as many others have their own. His just happened to have a much more dire effect than others.

    Unfortunately problems of this nature are not uncommon among creative
    people. It is part of the madness than can spawn genius. Feeling the
    dizzying highs and dark lows is part of what makes writers put pen to
    paper, singers put voice to song and painters put brush to canvas. It
    can be a terrifying ride or a blissful journey often at the same time.
    It is each of our personal trip through this thing called life and we
    are all headed in the same direction. We will all arrive eventually at the exact same destination. What are you gonna do with your one chance on this planet? Are you going to make a difference? Doesn’t have to be something spectacular like cure a disease. Could be as simple as being your child’s hero. To me that is pretty spectacular. Live your life as you choose to but live it spectacularly. Make a difference. To your special someone or your child. To your dog, maybe. To yourself.
    God knows Robin did. His life was a big shining light. He made a difference. He made people he would never ever meet laugh or cry or think. What more could one ask for?
    My only brush with the man was to be standing ahead of him on the
    escalator in the Virgin Megastore in Vancouver several years ago. It
    might have been an HMV by then. I’m not sure. My friend nudged me to look behind me and there was Robin Williams. Wow. Crazy. I hadn’t the nerve to say anything. I rarely do in such situations but it is now an experience, as fleeting as it was, I cherish. I saw him just casually chatting with his companion. Just like you or me. He was a man. He was also a legend and I choose to remember him as such.
    Thank you, Robin, for all the years of joy you brought to me and my family and friends. You will never, ever be forgotten.

    Wow. That was harder to write than I expected. It is never easy to
    face these kinds of things. It’s strange as the older I get the more
    bizarre life seems. I’ve been watching Cosmos of late and it has been
    blowing my mind. If anything I feel it has been stretching my mind. Making me think in ways I am not all that comfortable in thinking. The universe is so grand and endless how can I bother wasting one second on the inconsequential minutiae of regular life. Traffic, the long line at the bank, someone’s negative rant on Facebook. All completely meaningless in the endless scope of our universe.

    We are mere ants fighting over anthills. Someday we will all realize this.
    My lack of significance in the grand scheme of things is my
    significance. It makes me want to make the best of this little tiny
    life I have. Sometimes it makes you feel like what’s the point of
    doing anything? What difference would it make? To me it levels the playing field. We are all the same. From space Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Barrack Obama, Michael Jackson appear the same as the guy who works as the janitor at your kid’s school. To me it makes me realize, more than ever, that we are one and the same. None better than the other.
    In the past I’ve had friends drop out of music to become regular folk.
    To the pirates and outlaws out here on the great perimeter of reality
    we call the music business watching a talented guy throw in the towel can be seen as a traitorous offense. To turn your back on your God given talent is shameful and inexcusable. But not to me. I have seen potential ‘rockstars’ go on to be amazing parents and have a very loving, fulfilling life that they may never have experienced had they stayed out here on the perimeter. To me that makes them ‘rockstars’ all the same. For the rest of us, the blessed or the cursed, depending on your interpretation, there is no option. We live, we breathe, we play music. We act. We paint. Whatever the muse or demon.

    There is one major difference to me. As a working musician in Vegas
    for the
    4 years before I became a Conspirator I noticed a great discrepancy. My working musician friends would say, ‘I gotta work tonight’ or ‘I’m working Thursday’. That terminology never sat well with me. It was never work to me.
    Musicians shouldn’t work.
    To quote David Johansen from the New York Dolls ‘They go to work, we
    go to play’

    That’s how I think. Playing music is the greatest gift and honor in
    the world. I didn’t ‘work’ last night at the Filmore in San Francisco
    but I sure as hell PLAYed there! That’s just me though. However my friends wanna categorize what it is they do that’s fine. I think they might get a lot more joy out of ‘playing’ rather than ‘working’. There are musicians out there who would love to be making their living ‘playing’ music and they KNOW what work is. I KNOW what work is. It is NOT for me. I highly recommend all of us start working less and start playing a whole lot more. Even if playing is just goofing off on weekends. Take full advantage. This ride is not permanent. It’s wayyyyyy too short. Why spend it all working? Shudder…

    So anyway-
    When last I joined you we were in Denver, Colorado for a travel day
    before getting to the Forum in Los Angeles, California. In many ways
    there are two places in the US where musicians want to be at their
    best. New York City and Los Angeles. I don’t prescribe to that rule. I gave 100% to 100 people at the Dive Bar in Vegas on a Tuesday back in the day. I know no other way. I hurt myself just as bad in Kansas City as LA. I leave blood on stages all over the planet. That said artists always wanna have their best food forward in those centers because of the watchful eye of the industry be that press or otherwise.

    The thing I like about being a Conspirator is the bare bones, meat and
    potatoes attitude of our presentation. We require no screens and pyro
    to kick your ass. We do it with skin, bone, blood and rock n roll.
    None of that changes whether it’s LA (Los Angeles) or LA (Lethbridge, Alberta…that’s in Canada but LA nonetheless…never mind.) The LA Forum is a legendary spot. Historic shows have happened there. I have bootlegs recorded there in my collection. The show was pretty amazing. I didn’t know but apparently Jm Carrey was standing side stage watching us play. It would have been rad to have noticed him there. He is a fellow Canadian transplant and one of my faves. The successor to the crazy that Robin Williams first laid out. That woulda been a cool pairing. Robin and Jim. Too bad I’ll never see that.
    But I digress.LA was amazing. Aerosmith were on fire. They did Dream On with a Children’s choir which was pretty epic. We got to watch Steven direct the entire thing during rehearsal and he was every bit as attention to detail as he is with everything else. Very impressive.
    Apparently Sir Jonathan Depp was sitting in with the Bad Boys From Boston again but we weren’t around long enough to watch. We had to bring the rock to the good people of Scottsdale, Arizona.

    All in all playing the Forum was an amazing experience. Looking forward to checking off more LA venues on my checklist.

    Got to catch our second Major League baseball game in Phoenix. The
    Conspirators (and Scott Uchida) tagged along with some Canadian friends to watch Phoenix play Pittsburgh. That was a great deal of fun. Watch some baseball, eat some ballpark food, hang with friends-good times.
    The show in Scottsdale was pretty awesome. It, again, was another
    headlining two hour set for us. We got to add You’re Crazy back into the set which was great for me getting to sing that AND Dr Alibi. I’m very fortunate to get to sing as much as I do. You can even hear me screaming along with Brother Myles all over World On Fire.
    The Scottsdale show was a blast. People came from Canada, Vegas and beyond.
    Good sweaty fun.

    Then it was on the bus to…home. It’s always weird when you’re in
    ‘road’ mode to find yourself at home. You feel a need to put on your
    ‘home’ face but you’re still on the road. Home just happens to be a stop on the road. If that makes any sense.
    Anyway, we were on our way to play the MGM with the mighty Aerosmith.
    That’s a big deal for any Vegas resident. A big homecoming for lil’
    Frankie Sidoris who happened to be gracing the pages of Las Vegas Weekly as the hometown hero returning home. For Fitz and I Vegas is also home so getting to play in such a grand setting was a wonderful homecoming indeed.
    The show was awesome. I’ve seen a number of great shows in that venue and that was not lost on me. At the last minute my parents decided to come to the show from Canada so they were in attendance as well as a few thousand friends.
    After the show we got to catch up with some friends, some family and
    then we were on our way to the first real break on the tour. I spent a
    couple of days in Vegas entertaining my parents. I took them to the Philip Seymour Hoffman film, A Very Wanted Man which was very good but very talky. It was very real-ish in that it was not action packed at all considering the subject of the film. It was very well acted and directed just very thinky and watchy. Not a summer popcorn blockbuster. Directed by the amazing photographer, Anton Corbijn who is responsible for some amazing photos of Depeche Mode, U2 and many others. He’s also responsible for one of my favorite concert films, Devotional by Depeche Mode.

    Without my parents I went to Guardians Of The Galaxy which I have
    every intention of seeing again. Marvel just nails it almost every
    time. That was a lot of fun. I’ve been resisting filling my house with GOTG action figures and nonsense as I have enough junk to rival Neverland Ranch. I do fully intend to put GOTG in the regular cannon of repeated viewings.

    From there we headed to lovely Lake Tahoe to meet back up with Aerosmith.
    Playing places like Tahoe seems so strange as it is a lovely touristy spot.
    Reminds me of Banff or Jasper in Canada. Maybe Whistler a bit. A little Aspen in there too. Adorable little community. Not the kinda place you expect to see a rock and roll show.
    The show turned out to be killer. Shook hands with Joe Perry before taking the stage. That guy is an honest to goodness Rock Star. No two ways about it.
    Part way through the show I look over and see a familiar face behind
    the monitor board. Hey, that’s David Coverdale! Wow! What a trip. He turned out to be a true gentleman and a gigantic sweetheart. That was a real trip. Mass respect for David. Not only Whitesnake but some epic moments within the Deep Purple chapter. He’s a legend.
    The Tahoe show was amazing. I saw some Dammit shirts out there. Saw some in LA too. Always a thrill for me no matter how long I’ve been doing this.
    Looking forward to the next trip to Tahoe.

    Then we were back to California at Pechanga Casino in Temecula. This
    was our own show again so we got to dig deep into our 2 hour show.
    These are my favorite sets. As much as touring with Aerosmith is a gigantic thrill getting to play the two hour show is infinitely more satisfying.
    Being so close to LA a lot of friends came up for it. Got to catch up
    with friends and family before screaming off into the night for another adventure.

    Here’s where things get a little wacky. A little wacky because the scheduled show at Conchord, California did not end up happening at all.
    But first-
    We had a day off and went to see the new James Brown bio-pic, Get On
    Up which I loved. Not enough can be said about the Godfather of Soul. He literally invented a form of music. Soul, R&B, Funk all changed by his hand.
    Funk basically created by him. All of this from a man with no musical
    training. No dance training either. Just 100% pure natural talent and ability. THAT is inspiring. He was beyond determined. He worked harder than anyone. Talent plus hard work might get you somewhere. Push, push, push, fight, fight, fight, dig, dig, dig. It was inspiring.
    The man had no shortage of demons and down sides. His behavior could
    be down right deplorable. He was a force to be reckoned with.
    The film was a joy. Non linear, which is always a challenge, and the 4th wall is repeatedly broken which can also be risky but it all works here.
    Musicians can be hard on music films but we unanimously dug it. I plan
    to see that again before it’s out of theaters as well.

    Back to the wacky-
    So the morning of the show I hear rumblings of cancellations. Uh oh.
    Apparently Mr Kramer has some kind of health issue and tonight’s
    performance is going to have to be scrapped. Slash, to his credit, is insistent that OUR show must go on. I was skeptical. How can we possibly pull off a show tonight? At breakfast I listened to Cheryl, our tour manager, and Slash in and out of phone calls, “that venue is too small. We’ll never fit on that stage” “that one’s not available. It woulda been perfect.” All very bleak as far as I was concerned. But I should have known better. When Slash puts his mind to something. Something happens. Something awesome.
    Out of nowhere we WERE in fact going to play. And not only had we
    found a venue that venue was one of San Francisco’s most legendary spots, the Fillmore. Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane etc etc etc had all played this legendary hall. I was shocked it was happening at all.

    So just like that it was announced that the AeroSlash show was
    cancelled BUT the Fillmore show was ON! We didn’t even show up at the venue til like 7:30pm for soundcheck. We were on stage 2 hours later to play a full, celebratory 2 hours. We had lost a show but built a triumphant show nonetheless. We giveth what they hath tried to taketh away!
    It was a very victorious show as we had fully expected to be riding the bus to Vancouver rather than playing a show. It was a really special show and I was very happy to be a part of it. Thank you to everyone who helped to make it happen. Thank you to all who attended and made it such a good time.

    So now here I am in Vancouver, Washington on the dreaded travel day
    waiting for the bus driver to get enough sleep so we can ride on to
    Vancouver, BC, Canada so I can finally see my family. I always love
    going to the Motherland. It’s a heartbreaker to have such a brief time in Vancouver. We are literally there for ONE day. I will wedge my family into one day before we return to the US to play the Gorge in Washington state.
    Yes, that’s right we ARE playing the Gorge. The Let Rock Rule tour has
    NOT been cancelled as reported on TMZ. Surprise surprise TMZ has reported something inaccurate. Tabloid nation.
    Joey is getting sorted but the tour will carry on. The show MUST go on.
    Slash proved that by making the Fillmore show happen. This tour
    continues as scheduled. Conchord being the only unfortunate hiccup.
    Get well soon, Joey Kramer, one of the greatest drummers in Rock N Roll history. He’ll be back stronger than ever. Wait and see!

    Well, I guess I better get myself on the bus to Vancouver from
    Vancouver so I can be rested enough to spend the day with family. By the time anyone reads this it will probably be show day in Vancouver, BC. I’m really looking forward to it though I always look forward to the Motherland.
    TRUE
    STONG
    FREE

    Some Todd Dammit for your ears and your body-

    http://tinmanmerchandising.com/index.php?cPath=612_613&sort=3a&gridlist=grid&tplDir=ToddKerns

    “I can’t stop those tongues a-flappin’ so I just keep my toes a-tappin’
    Put the bullshit in the lost and found and never let the bastards drag
    me down”

    PEACELOVEMETAL
    Your loyal and humble servant
    Todd Dammit=



  • World (Tour) On Fire

    July 27 2014
    Denver, Colorado

    A day off in Denver. Last time we were here it was Slash’s birthday. This is what they call in the touring biz a ‘travel day’. We have to get all the way from Kansas City to Los Angeles so scheduled travel stops have been made along the way. Today’s stop being the great city of Denver, Coloarado. We got in this morning and we will be back on the bus at around 1am tonight. If you don’t sleep well on a moving vehicle then this may not be the life for you. I don’t sleep either way so it’s all the same to me.

    I forgot to mention in my last ‘Catpain’s Log’ that the Conspirators got to take in America’s past time at the legendary Fenway Park in Boston. As is no secret I’m not much of a sports guy but I love the spectacle of seeing a game live. Especially in a town like Boston that is so devoted to it’s team(s). I really enjoyed that. I should do that kinda thing more often.

    I also didn’t mention that while the Conspirators were doing all that Boston stuff our pal, Slash, ran off to Atlanta to hang out with the cast of the Walking Dead. Whaaaaat? So rad. He told me all about getting to hang at the set. Norman Reedus and he are boyz. I love that show. Season 5 is on it’s way. When we get to Atlanta I’m told that members of the cast will be coming to the show. Damnnnnnn! That is super crazy. Being Slash is pretty rad.

    When I last joined you we were about to take the stage at Hard Rock Live in Northfield, Ohio. It was our own headlining show for a change so that was nice. We tore up 2 hours for the fine folks of the Cleveland area. Frank Sidoris’ family was in full effect. Frank’s dad, Frank Sr or Frank 1.0 as I call him, flew out to take in the show with an abundance of Sidori (plural for Sidoris). Awesome people. Killer show.

    The next day was a trip. Slash was getting a ‘Guitar Icon’ award at the first annual AP Music Awards. AP is otherwise known as Alternative Press. It was being held at the ever so cool Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame right there in the heart of Cleveland.

    I was stoked to shake hands with Joan Jett for the first time in my life. I am an embarrassingly huge fan of the diminutive Godmother of Punk. She was a doll. Slash would be sitting in with her later that night.

    There was an insane red carpet to endure that was pretty much chaos. I was happy to get inside the building in the relative calm of the green room. Eventually Slash was gathered his award from guest presenter and guitar God in his own right, Joe ‘Effing’ Perry. That had to have been a huge honor for Slash. He never lets too much of his emotions be seen but I know that had to feel pretty damned good. Especially getting such an award from his boyhood hero, Joe.

    After that Slash played Star Star by the Stones with Joanie but not before we watched the Misfits play. What a trip. I wanted so badly to go get my pic with Jerry Only but thought better of it. I didn’t wanna be ‘that’ guy. It’s funny that his bobble head has been riding on my amp for the better part of 4 years.

    It was amazing to watch Joan. As I mentioned I am a massive fan. I have now met 3 of the original Runaways who have always been very dear to my heart. I’ve even played on stage with two of them, Cherie and Lita.

    After all that we rode the bus back to our hotel with none other than Joe Perry. Sitting there with him is almost terrible for your ego. The man is just effortlessly cool. I may have thrown myself together pretty well (well, I really didn’t…) but I will never, ever be as cool as Joe Perry. Joe is old enough to be my father but couldn’t be cooler. I mean The Fonz cool. It’s inspiring.

    From there we overnighted to the great city of Cincinnati, Ohio. I believe this was the first night we started opening the set with You’re A Lie. That has been our opener ever since which I think is a good, bold opener. It was our first single from Apocalyptic Love and did very well for us. Up to that point we had been alternating between Hard And Fast from Apocalyptic Love or Ghost from the previous solo album. I think You’re A Lie is the best so far until World On Fire comes out. Then we’ll have a plethora of things to choose from the 17 songs on that. Oh, I can’t wait for y’all to hear that!

    Cincinnati was another opening show with Aerosmith. It is always a sobering honor to get to watch Aerosmith every night. Steven brings it night after night. Again, very inspiring.

    Cincinnati rocked. See you in 2015, brothers and sisters

    Then we had some time off in the great city of Chicago which ended up being an amazing time.

    Day one was Slash’s birthday which was a blast. We just kicked it at a restaurant and showered the man in gifts. Steven was in attendance and as on fire as ever. The man is a super nova of energy. He’s my parents’ age but wears me out!

    John Douglas, or JD as he’s better known, was Brent Fitz’s drum tech on our first tour back in 2010/2011 but he now works for Joey Kramer of Aerosmith. He’s a member of OUR family! For those that don’t know back when I was shipped home from Moscow with a detached retina it was JD who played drums in Moscow and St Petersburg while Fitz played bass. JD had been a Conspirator for one night albeit before we were actually known as The Conspirators. JD attended Slash’s birthday dinner and regaled us with tales of those doomed rehearsals with Michael Jackson that were captured in the documentary This Is It. A must see. JD was at that time working for Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffat, Michael’s drummer. JD was there for the sad story of Michael’s demise. We had just watched the documentary the night before and were full of questions. JD is such a great dude and it’s nice to see him on a daily basis on the Let Rock Rule tour.

    Slash’s was spoiled well as he should be. We are a tight knit family out here and we take care of one another. More than ever this team feels strong and very caring. From the crew to the band. I care about each and every one of these people. There is no drama, no dark negativity. Just a true pleasure to be around these people. I feel very, very fortunate.

    The next day Frank, Ace (Slash’s guitar tech) and I went to see Jack White put on an amazing show at a theater I never retained the name of. Jack was on fire. Jack is one of my favorite artists. Whenever I see him I think of how I should have done things differently in my career. I admire the fact that he had a vision and stuck to it. I certainly believe there were people who would have told him that he should do this or that but he stuck to his guns and has managed to create his own little world. I should have listened to my own instincts more and to the opinions of people ‘in the know’ less. I don’t say this out of any dark regret. Moreso I say it out of a confirming rightness and a sense of ‘it’s never to late’. Life is funny that way. You never know what’s coming. I’m excited about that.

    Jack was amazing. Jack was inspiring. The audience knew every word. It was a disparate collection of humans there. I expected it to be the hippest of the hipsters but there was every walk of Chicagoan from Led Zeppelin t-shirt and Budweiser in hand guy to Nickelback/Bon Jovi concert attendee cougars.

    Ace said it best. He said the audience looked like a group of people you might see at a train station. Just a random collection of humans. I think that says something about Jack’s appeal. We had a blast. Stayed right through the 2 and a half hour show and I never tend to stay at any show that long anymore.

    The next day we were back playing with our pals in Aerosmith. It is never lost on me how awesome it is to look over during our soundcheck to see Brad Whitford standing side stage watching. He’s always there. He loves music. He is genuinely excited when he gets a new guitar. I love that about him. That’s a true musician. We in Conspirators land are very much the same way.

    The show in Chicago was awesome. We’ve been playing mostly outdoor sheds with Aerosmith which means we go on to pretty much daylight but that can be a lot of fun. Hey, I’ve never complained about any gig. I love to play, but getting to play to a crowd that size AND getting to watch Aerosmith on a nightly basis? It doesn’t get much better than that! Nothing I will ever take for granted.

    Last night we found ourselves in Kansas City, MO at Harrah’s casino in the Voodoo Lounge which is bizarre to a Vegas resident as we are more than familiar with Harrah’s there. I even played a Voodoo Lounge in the Rio every Tuesday night for a long time before becoming a Conspirator.

    This was another headliner show for us so that meant the full 2 hour show. Sweeeet! The show was amazing. I was instrumental in having a 1st rate, 4th grade dropout, jag-off removed because he was a little too free with his middle finger. There he was right in the middle of the crowd. For the first song or so I’m thinking, ‘Is he trying to express himself somehow? Is he handicapped and doesn’t know any better? Has he had the other 3 fingers of each hand removed in some industrial accident?’ Once I’m satisfied with a NO on all 3 of those questions I am left with the only option-This guy is a jag-off. I quickly nod to head of security and the guy is removed. I hope he spent $100 on scalper tickets only to be asked to leave after 3 songs. That would bring me great joy.

    I completely forgot about that guy until just now. That’s the lasting effect that moron had on us. The night was amazing. One of the best crowds we’ve played to yet.

    Then it was onto the bus and off to where I sit right now writing this. Denver, Colorado.

    We’ve been having some issues with www.toddkerns.com so you may not get to see this blog for a day or two after it’s been written but I wanted to make sure I wrote one before heading back to the coast where life will inevitably be moving pretty damned fast. It’s moving pretty damned fast as is. I knew before even starting the tour that it would go fast. The tour wraps in September upon which time we will begin a flurry of activity based around the World On Fire album release in both LA and New York. By the time we take any sort of break it will be October at which point I’ll be planning Xmas holidays. In my head it’s already that time. Time to prepare for the onslaught of 2015. It’s only July and this is where my head is at. Slow down, brain.

    As mentioned above I have no idea when this blog will be posted but we will get it up asap. By the time that happens it will give the illusion that the next one won’t have taken too long. It’s only been a week since the last one. That’s pretty good by my standards.

    Alright, I gotta get ready to get back on the Enterprize to take me wesssssssst!

    Big love

    Your loyal and humble servant

    Todd Dammit