March 16 2015
It’s one of those nights where the rest of the gang went out to eat but I decided to hang back and catch up with y’all. We have been at it hard since February 9th in Osaka, Japan. This is one of the longest runs we’ve done in a while. All told this will be about two months straight by the time we get to Mexico. Of course we’ve been out since the summer when we toured with Aerosmith. World On Fire didn’t even come out ’til September. That said these are still early days. I have a feeling that we have a long way to go before Team Conspirators comes off the road in any real sense. Me? I’m totally fine with that.
When last I joined you we had only just arrived in Chile on the eve of the South American tour. Upon our arrival a Chilean volcano erupted. Coincidence? I think not. I think Mother Nature shares as much flair for the dramatic as we do. We’ve had a lot of experience with weird phenomena following us. Bombings in Turkey, Meteors in Russia. These sorts of occurrences barely faze me anymore. I only hope no one is harmed by these bizarre phenomenon that seem to follow us.
Upon our arrival in the beautiful city of Santiago, Chile we came to learn that none other than Ringo Starr would be playing the night before our gig and since we had the night off we had to go! Ringo has been touring for years with his ‘All Star Band’. The lineup changes all the time but always features some legend of Rock N Roll.
On this particular run Ringo’s band featured Steve Lukather from Toto who is a monster guitar player, Todd Rundgren who I had met at the Kerry Simon benefit we had done in Vegas last year, Richard Page from Mr Mister, Greg Rollie from Journey and Greg Bisonette from David Lee Roth’s Eat Em And Smile era band. This lineup has apparently been together for a few years.
So we made our way down to the venue and got to hang out with the guys sans Ringo who is a Beatle and was being pulled this way and that. I’m sure had Slash come with us Ringo would have had to come say hi but we had just come off a skull crushing flight from Australia so Slash opted out. I almost did so myself but how often do you get to rub shoulders with a Beatle?
Ringo went by on his way to the stage and said a quick hello which was mind blowing. I could spent this entire time telling you how fully invested I am in the Fab Four but let it be said that it was a great thrill.
The show was a blast. The band played a bunch of Ringo’s best plus hits from each of their own careers. Myles and The Conspirators had a great time singing along to all those great songs of yesteryear.
The next night was our show. This was our second or third time at Teatro Caupolican in Santiago, Chile. I lose track of how many times yet it seems so familiar. All the seats are red which adds to the sense of heat and fury that the Chilean audience permeates. There couldn’t be a better place to kick off our South American run than the great city of Santiago. Such a beautiful city and one of the best audiences in the entire world. They were waiting for us at the airport and they hung out at the hotel the whole time we were there. An incredible show and an incredible time. A Chilean DAMMIT flag even made an appearance. It always warms my heart to see the shirts and flags and PEACELOVEMETAL signs everywhere. Such a gigantic thrill for me. See you soon, brothers and sisters of Chile!
That very day the new DAMMIT shirts went on sale from Agent Royale and DAMMITWEAR which managed to sell out dizzyingly quick. I was pretty shocked by that. Doc Ellis made me a DAMMIT shirt five years ago for my birthday. I wore it on the Made In Stoke DVD and people started asking where to get it. We started selling a simple DAMMIT design on my website and it has grown into a whole other thing. Thank you to all of you who snapped one up. More are being made available as I write this at agentroyaleonline.com
Next up was the amazing city of Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires, of course, is one of those dream destinations people always talk about it and we have been there multiple times. It’s the kind of thing you try not to take for granted.
That day I got to catch up with the boys from Loaded. Duff McKagan and his boys. They along with Gilby Clarke were to be playing the following night’s show with us. What a dream lineup for the lucky people of Buenos Aires.
The first show was our own show at Teatro Vorterix. Pretty much considered a warm up show for the big outdoor event the next night. I can’t tell you how unnerving it is to turn around and see Duff McKagan sitting behind your amp while you’re trying to replicate his bass lines. Kind of a trip. He is a lovely guy and I think the world of him.
That night we added Welcome To The Jungle to the set and it has pretty much remained for the remainder of the South American shows. I screamed my head off to that song with Duff McKagan standing right behind me. For the encore we played both It’s So Easy and Paradise City with Brother Duff on bass while I played guitar. I know I say it every time Duff gets up with us but I really do look up to the guy. He is a bona fide legend. A real honor and a real thrill to share the stage with him.
As always Buenos Aires does not disappoint. Epic audiences that literally follow us from the airport to the hotel to the venue and back again. And when I say follow I mean literally follow. There is a convoy of vehicles following us from place to place. One old car had the World On Fire face painted onto its hood.
The next morning I had breakfast with brother Duff and Jeff Rouse from the Loaded camp. Duff was complimentary on my voice which made me feel pretty dammed good if I may say so myself. I’ve always felt a great connection to the Seattle guys as I spent so much time in Vancouver. There is a similar state of mind in that part of the world. Mike Squires, guitar player for Loaded, came down eventually as did Myles and the rest of the Conspirators and we broke bread as one big happy family. I’m looking forward to Duff’s new book coming out in May. He is one talented man.
The show that night was completely insane. It was streamed online so it was enjoyed by gazillions of people. Like I said the Buenos Aires audiences never disappoint and this night was them at their most powerful. There had to be somewhere in the area of 10,000 people out there. It was a huge crowd. Randomly Slash asked if I wanted to sing We’re All Gonna Die for a change. Hell yea! I’m always keen to change things up.
Gilby Clarke opened the show and was followed by Duff and the Loaded boys. I didn’t get to see Gilby until he was standing side stage during our show. When I was guzzling water before Anastasia I got to say a quick hello before running back onstage. Duff came out and did It’s So Easy with us again and then Gilby came out and did Paradise City with all of us. Seven of us on stage together. What a massive thrill. As always this stuff is never lost on me. I was a fan before, I’m a fan now and I will be a fan when I’m old and grey. Rock And Roll is my lifeblood and these men are all a part of a great chapter in that book’s history. A true honor.
As mentioned the show was completely mental. You should Google it right now and watch the entire two plus hours.
Not one person in our entourage had been to the next stop-Lima, Peru. Slash has always made it a point to try and hit as many places that he has never been to as possible. Surprisingly there are still a few out there. Peru has now been checked off of our list. I have to admit it was one of my favorite stops on the entire trip. I really had no idea what to expect but the people were lovely and the food amazing. As always and ever the audience was on fire. Peru is one of those places that I hope to get a chance to get back to and see a lot more of. When we travel we see a lot of airports, hotels and venues. We see a lot of great sights through the windows of vehicles moving from A to B. That said the show in Lima was insane. Great audience. Great people.
Next up was where the title of this blog comes from (see above). On most tours we travel by bus but in South America the great distances can only be covered by plane. We have been in and out of every airport imaginable from Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia to South America. There are pluses and minuses to each of these scenarios. On the one hand if you have a bus you finish a show and get on a bus to ride all night to your next destination which sometimes doesn’t make for the best night’s sleep. In the other circumstance you go back to your hotel bed and crash then get up to catch a plane which may actually sound better except for the fact that you are in an airport every single day. Clearing customs, security check and all the other things we love to hate about flying. It’s hard to complain about it and I really don’t. It’s just the reality of the situation while touring in certain regions.
So the next day after our show in Peru we were flying into yet another place none of us had ever been before-Quito, Ecuador. Business as usual. Same old airport situation. On the plane, nothing out of the ordinary but then upon landing in Quito the plane starts to shake like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Enough so that you can’t help but make eye contact with your fellow travelers as if to say, ‘that’s not right’. That seemed to go on for way too long. I half expected the breathing apparatus to drop down in front of me and then to be cursing myself for not listening all those times to the nice people telling me what to do with the dammed thing once I had it in my hands. Place over nose and mouth I believe is the standard procedure. I can do that.
Just as the plane is sure to shake itself to pieces the pilot takes the plane back up. I immediately knew that this means we are being relocated to a different place due to weather. As soon as they pull back up due to weather you are being redirected. So we ended up someplace called Guayaquil and sat on the tarmac for what seemed an eternity but I suppose the other option of plummeting in a fiery plane crash was less appetizing. Our sound guy, Quake has survived two plane crashes. Now THAT is impressive but that’s a whole other story.
So long story short we eventually made our way to Quito safe and sound though maybe a little rattled. Like Peru, Ecuador is another place I wish we’d had more time to explore. With the delayed arrival we’d basically missed any opportunity to see much but what I did see seemed lovely.
The show was yet another insane evening. The audience was too far away. They were so great but the building had one of those barricades where the audience is a world away. It’s really hard to make a strong connection that way but it was a great show nonetheless.
From there off to another dream destination for anyone-Rio de Janeiro. Again, another place I do my best not to take for granted. Brazil is a stunning country with glorious beaches and beautiful people. As anyone and everyone knows I am NOT a beach guy but I did manage to get my toes in the sand just a bit to say I did. We stayed at the very same hotel we did back on our first trip there. It was a bit surreal. That was almost five years ago.
The Rio show was the hottest show of the tour by far. Like pass out, out of body experience, delirium hot! I have played some hot shows in my life but I think that was the most punishing one I’ve ever experienced. It was hard to catch my breath and as usual I’m never very good at pacing myself so I completely overdid it. Sometimes I think I’m an athlete. I’m so not. I’m not even a mathlete (yes, I’ve used that joke before). That said it was an amazing show. I can go on and on about the audiences down here but I will never be able to illustrate the immensity of it until you experience it first hand. It is the best of the best.
Rio was so great they got Communication Breakdown by Zep as well as Paradise City for the encore. Then I believe we all fell into sweaty, crumpled heaps. Some of our American friends have materialized in Brazil. Our friends are crazy!
Last night we played in yet another city we had never played before-Belo Horizonte. We have 6 shows in total in Brazil. That’s mental. What a great night. Lots of PEACELOVEMETAL signs everywhere, yet another DAMMIT flag. I have a collection of them now. Those and DAMMIT shirts with different flags on them. I appreciate that stuff so much. I even got DAMMIT flip flops! How awesome is that? So awesome.
The show was yet another monster. I mentally prepared myself for the heat this time. Breathed as calmly as possible. Dave Lombardo from Slayer once told me it’s all about your breathing. I took his word to heart and had a much less delirious show. It was truly a great show. Nice and up close and personal with the audience the way I like it. Looking forward to getting know Belo Horizonte a little better in the future.
Today we woke up and got on a plane to Brasilia, Brazil for what feels like the first day off in a while. Technically it’s a travel day. We only call it a day off if there is no travel and no show. Either way I’m taking advantage of some me time (or some T time, if you will) and writing to y’all.
Tomorrow is St Patrick’s day and show day in the beautiful city of Brasilia with our dear friend Gilby Clarke. He is family and it’s going to be an amazing night. I’m sure you’ll see Brother Gilby on stage with the lads so be sure to tune in. The excitement continues.
I will probably wrap up the entire tour at the end of the upcoming seven shows. Then the Conspirators will be noodling around with the first inklings of new material for whatever the future may hold. Brother Slash is a machine and he is determined to make some new music wayyyyy ahead of the curve. He is an inspiration. I’m excited for yet another chapter forthcoming while the current one is still playing itself out. Exciting times, brothers and sisters. Exciting times.
In a couple more days it will be the third anniversary of this thing officially being called Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. On March 19th 2012 we played our first appearance under that title at Guitar Center in Hollywood for an unplugged special that aired later on. On March 23rd 2012it will be the 3rd anniversary of us playing our first full live electric show under that name in Toronto at the Phoenix Theater. These were the first shows with our little brother Frank Sidoris. He has been an indispensable part of the heart and soul of this thing ever since and hopefully ever shall be. He is one of my favorite humans as is everyone else in this band.
April will see the official fifth anniversary of Slash, Myles, Fitz and I playing together. That’s half a decade. That’s a good chunk of time. I will be tweeting about all these days in history as they arrive. Stay tuned.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from this Black Irish Devil!
Get ready Brasilia. We’re coming for you.
Your loyal and humble servant