July 20 2014
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
My first check in from the road on this journey known as Let Rock Rule. And what a journey it has been thus far, brothers and sisters.
We started in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire at the legendary Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom doing our own two hour headlining set. None of us could possibly have known what to expect. We hadn’t collectively been on stage together in some time. I can say that we locked into a familiar groove that created a slip stream of effortless chemistry for the next two hours. Those opening nights can be trouble. Kinks to be worked out both musically and technically. There was the odd technical snafu but to me it felt as if we had played the House Of Blues in Las Vegas the night before. Truth be told that gig in Las Vegas was almost a year ago. That monumentous night was the final night of the Apocalyptic Love (or as I affectionately called it the Apocalyptic LIVE) tour. Oh, how time flies.
Of course in the interim we had impregnated the world with a bouncing baby boy named World On Fire and it was to be delivered in it’s entirety in September. The single of the same title is out there in the mainstream consciousness as I write this. That song is an animal. It is unrelenting. It is angry and. pardon the obvious pun, fiery. Some time ago I had mentioned that the new album sounded sleazy, dangerous and this is one of the songs I was referring to. It grabs you hard and doesn’t let go for about 4 minutes. I’m proud of that one. You can hear me shouting along with Mr Kennedy at full volume. Loud and ever so proud!
Needless to say that opening show was a triumph. I felt very good about it. I was a shattered mess afterward but I still made a point of saying hello to as many people as possible. Thanks to all who came to crash that bottle over the hull of the good ship SMK&C.
We got to play some, as of yet, unreleased songs from the new album. The aforementioned World On Fire as well as Stone Blind and 30 Years To Life. That’s 3. There are still 14, that’s right, 14 more songs to hear on the new album. We’ve also added You Could Be Mine from the Use Your Illusions GNR days. The Conspirators have been lobbying for that one for a while. I consider it’s inclusion a victory.
Things have panned from very relaxed to completely surreal since then. The very next day we found ourselves from one beach scene to another. Jones Beach, New York looks and feels a lot like the town in the film Jaws. I suppose Hampton Beach did too. I have stated before that I’m not much of a beach guy but if there were a killer shark about I’d be up for it. As a spectator.
I wasn’t here to put zinc oxide on my nose and burn anyway in the warm…New York sun. I was here to do my part in our portion of the Let Rock Rule tour with America’s greatest Rock N Roll band, Aerosmith. What a trip.
Not enough great things can be said about Aerosmith. They truly are outstanding considering how long they’ve been around. Steven Tyler hasn’t missed a step. His voice is impeccable. A lot of the older guys lose a bit here and there. Not Steven. In fact from the audience he looks exactly the same as he ever did. Actually in person too. It’s astounding. I will never have his energy. Ever.
Our set in Jones Beach was great. It’s always weird readjusting to the opening slot but at sound-check it was extremely cool to see Brad Whitford side stage with legendary producer, Jack Douglas. Jack, of course, produced everything from Rocks and Toys In The Attic by Aerosmith to Double Fantasy by John Lennon and even the second Snakepit album. Brad Whitford is the coolest dude ever. I hope I’m half as cool as him as an elder statesman of rock.
During our set it was hard not to notice Steven Tyler way off on stage left bopping along to Da Conspirators. A younger me would have been completely distracted by that. The NOW me has a job to do and I did it to the best of my ability. It was fun tearing up the stage for the second night in a row. Our set was shorter than our headlining show but that Jones Beach air was humid and heavy. We were drenched with sweat as if we’d played twice as long.
After our show I got taken to school watching Aerosmith for the first time in a long while. Damn they sound good. Though Steven and Joe get most of the love the initiated know that not one member of that band is replaceable. It’s fair to point out that Aerosmith is one of the only heritage bands out there with full original lineup. I can’t think of many others…ZZ Top? I’ll have to think on that.
Absolutely genius show. Apparently Liv Tyler was there though I didn’t see her. I hung out with Gav and Victoria from the Ginger Wildheart camp. Amazing to catch up.
The man himself, Eddie Trunk, had made his way to the beach for some Rock N Roll and the gem that he is chose to wear his DAMMIT shirt. What a sweetheart. Supporting the home team! Good man! Always a pleasure to hang with the only man more knowledgeable than me about the most trivial things possible. And I say that with the utmost respect.
EDDIE TRUNK AND THE CONSPIRATORS (avec DAMMIT shirt!
Our good friend, Jimmy Webb, from Trash And Vaudeville in St Marks Place, New York City made the trip to Hampton Beach AND Jones Beach with us. He is part of the family. When you are next in NYC tell Jimmy Dammit sentcha!
We were back on the steel horse to the Motherland, the great white north, Canada directly after the show to make the Bluesfest in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, the next day. That show featured Canadian legends, the Barenaked Ladies. It’s always good to be back in the land of my birth. The show was HUGE. The audience was especially voracious. It was an amazing show. We really had a great time. The band was truly gelling like we’d never been away.
From Ottawa we were back on the bus for a day off in Toronto where I caught up with my brother, John, from AOE and SIS. Always good to see him and his Missus.
Watched Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which was pretty damned awesome if I do say so myself. I’m a huge fan of the franchise. They are doing this 21st century version correctly. It was about 30 minutes too long for me but it was really great.
Then we were off to Kitchener for the Big Music Festival with Aerosmith, Kim Mitchell and Big Wreck. I stood side stage to watch my friends in Kim Mitchell’s band. Some of you may remember that Fitz and I both sat in with Kim years ago. This time I was approached while watching the band and asked if I wanted to sing Battlescar. For the uninitiated Battlescar is the greatest song you’ve never heard. It is the clashing of two titan bands in the most glorious way ever. Rush VS Max Webster and the listener is the winner. I didn’t hesitate and ran out to sing the Geddy Lee part as loud as I could. It was truly EPIC! These are the dreams of small town Canadian boys come to life.
Sure enough Steven Tyler showed up side stage to say hello to Kim. I’m sure Max Webster, Kim’s old band, probably opened for Aerosmith back in the day.
I said hello to Joey Kramer in Slash’s trailer. He’s the legendary drummer from the Let Rock Rule tour headliner. Good man.
Afterwards as I was digging through my wardrobe case a voice came from behind me, “Hey man, is Slash around here?”
I spun around and was standing toe to toe with Steven Tyler. You just kinda KNOW that voice. We hugged and said hello and I directed him to Slash. It is not lost on me for an instant that Steven feels we are on a man hug basis of intimacy. Hey, I’ll take it. I’ve been imitating all aspects of Aerosmith since as far back as I can remember. A real trip.
Our show was amazing in Kitchener. The crowd was huge and very into it. Oh, Canada. We stand on guard for thee!
From there we were off to the birthplace of Aerosmith, Boston. Truly one of the great American cities. So much history. The architecture alone is breathtaking. Took advantage of some downtime to really walk around and take in some history in Beacon Hill and beyond. And sure I returned to my fave spot, Newbury Comics.
Even went to Cheers, the inspiration for the NBC sitcom.
Nobody knew my name.
The homecoming show for the ‘Bad Boys From Boston’ was to be at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. That was a great night. The people of Boston were especially good to us. It’s truly awesome to see people singing along with World On Fire. It only just came out! Very exciting!
Backstage was homecoming mayhem for Aerosmith. The lovely, Mia Tyler, was in attendance as well as the families of virtually every member of the band. The unassuming guy in the corner in the blue glasses looked familiar. Oh shit, Edward Scissorhands/Jack Sparrow himself, Johnny Depp, is in the house. what a trip. I’m a fan but I wasn’t gonna nerd him out. He was too jump up on stage with ‘the boys’ later but we’d already be back on the bus.
Also to join the lads on stage would be our fearless leader, Slash. He asked me for a DAMMIT shirt so I gave it to him. Seeing him performing with Aerosmith was a trip. Seeing him do so while wearing my shirt was beyond surreal. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is seeing Slash play with those guys. When Slash was a boy he drew impressive pictures of Aerosmith. They were HIS band. The band he was obsessed with and inspired by. Seeing him share the mic on Mama Kin with Tyler/Perry was a thing of Rock N Roll beauty. It was a real thrill.
BROTHER STEVEN, BROTHER SLASH and THE shirt!
So then we spent another day off in the amazing city of Boston. Went to Fenway Park to watch the Sox and the Kansas City, Royals with my co-Conspirators. Amazing experience. Serious history in that building. We actually got to witness two home runs by Boston. Pretty impressive.
Here I am now in another great Rock N Roll city, Cleveland, Ohio. Tonight we finally play another headlining set at Hard Rock Live. We are so due for a full 2 hour show. Can’t wait. Tomorrow we will attend the AP Awards at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame where Slash was inducted as part of some band he used to play with…That should be a blast. Some very cool people performing and appearing there. I’ll report on that later.
I have been obsessed with some crazy documentaries that I have to recommend on Netflix.
The Impostor will blow your mind.
The Woman Who Wasn’t There will have you going ‘whaaaa?’
Dear Zachary is almost un-recommendable as it is so troubling but it is truly brilliantly done and a crushing story.
I am currently obsessed (again) with the bizarre life of Michael Jackson. Ever since the 5 year anniversary of his death I’ve been back to being fascinated by the genius of his music and the madness of his life. It is truly unfortunate how his life turned out because he was so unimaginably talented. His grasp on reality clearly slipped far out of reach. Really a shame. A shame for so many affected.
I’m reading Untouchable-The Strange Life And Tragic Death Of Michael Jackson by Randall Sullivan and I cannot put it down. It is like 700 pages or something. It is the most in depth account of his life I’ve ever read.
It’s one of those things about THAT kind of fame that I have no interest in. Not like it’s really a choice. People get a certain level of power and just lose touch with reality. Being a musician is a very unrealistic life in the first place. We are all dreamers and not the most reliable people on the planet but I’m happy with my coffee and vinyl shops. I don’t want to collect actual Batmobiles and build my house to look like the bridge of the Enterprise (because you know that’s exactly what I would do with unlimited wealth). It’s good to always have something to reach for.
People are always telling me make DAMMIT lunch boxes or DAMMIT travel mugs. I’m not interested. I’m happy that people wanna wear the shirt. It really touches me to see the shirt from Atlanta to Australia and all points between. Hey, I’ve gotten to see Eddie Trunk and Slash in ‘em lately.
Funny story-Slash was looking at photos from a performance we did at the Wiltern Theater we did in LA some time ago. He was casually flipping through pictures on an iPad when he said, “wait a minute. Go back.” So someone scrolled back and Slash said, “Look at all the DAMMIT shirts in the audience.” We all laughed. It was a pretty amazing feeling to have all those people representing. Many in from Vegas. That is a gesture not lost on me in the least. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU!
If you’re interested please check out the merch page-
Even the cds are on there. More to come on that soon…
I’ve had a couple people tell me recently that I need a hair cut. Let me reply with-absolutely not. I am one of the lucky people that doesn’t have to do a damn thing anyone tells me to do and it would be a real lack of faith in myself and how I wanna display my freedom to feel I have to look, dress or act a certain way other than exactly how I wanna.
And that’s just what I’m gonna do, thank you very much.
It’s funny cuz a friend was saying to me not that long ago how tired she was of people staring at her because of all her tattoos and punk hair and crazy clothing and I was like ‘what are you talking about?’
We all dress this way or get tattoos or wear makeup or wear our hair crazy to be different from everyone else (and yes, like each other). Getting looked at is part of the deal. You have no idea how crazy it was to wear your hair long or have a mohawk or even have an earring at one time for a guy. I had become so accustomed to rednecks calling me ‘faggot’ that I accepted it as a badge of honor to not be anything like them. Being different is to be celebrated. Sure I could cut my hair, throw on a casual outfit and blend in but I choose to appear this way. People who are born different have no choice. They should be free to be themselves too. Unfortunately it is some kind of primal thing to lash out at something different or something you don’t understand but we are not simple animals. We have the power of judgement and reason and logic. Why on earth would I want to live on a planet where everyone looks just like me? What a boring place that would be.
You will see. Someday aliens are gonna come down and say ‘all humans are alike’. They come in different colors or whatever but they’re basically all the same. Bipeds. Some are male, some are female but essentially the same. Then we’ll feel pretty stupid for all these ‘differences’ we’ve found in one another.
I like all my different friends. Keeps life interesting.
So to summarize I’m gonna wear my hair the way I wanna. So should you.
Tommy Ramone died. The last of the original Ramones to go. All so young. All too young. I cannot stress the impact The Ramones have had on my life. They are the reason I play music. The reason I started and the reason I continue to. I had the audacity to say aloud that I liked The Ramones more than Led Zeppelin in my youth and it was heresy until I found like minded cretins. To be fair I love Zeppelin I just adore The Ramones. They speak to ME. The me inside of me. The Ramones have always been my argument when people ask me why I don’t have punk rock hair since I love punk rock so much. Joey Ramone always had long hair. Iggy Pop too. And the Dolls. And the MC5. Music is in you not the clothes you wear and not in the way you wear your hair.
The Ramones taught you that with three chords and the truth you could take over the world one city at a time but you gotta love to work. The Ramones weren’t ‘American Idol’. They were 4 kids who made a horrible racket together until it was a pretty damned good racket and then a majestic and life changing one. There are 4 kids somewhere right now making a horrible racket in a basement or a garage that will one day take over the world while you’re watching ‘stars’ on TV. We have The Ramones to thank for that.
There are some incredible reunion shows going on in Rock N Roll Heaven right now.
God bless Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy. The greatest Rock N Roll band in the world.
Big love to Marky, CJ and Richie too.
My Mother says I’m wearing too much eye makeup these days and that I look like Alice Cooper. I take that as a giant compliment (insert devilish grin)
Alright, I’ve rambled enough.
See you tomorrow night, Cleveland!
Big love, brothers and sisters!
Your loyal and humble servant