Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Anniversary

On April 7th 2007 I flew from sleepy Devon, UK to Hollywood, USA to join Steve. We had known each other since 2004 after guitarist Pete Haycock had introduced us to each other. 

I had been trying to sell my house for nearly a year, three times the sale had fallen through and three times I had fallen into despair wishing I could be with the man I loved. 
The house finally sold on April 3rd and I flew out to LA on the 7th!
My mum was overjoyed that I could finally go and on her birthday to boot! (she was living in Spain by then). My children were excited for us, I could not have done it without their blessing. 

On May 31st that year Steve and I got married in Beverly Hills County Court, just me, him and Karo our trusty regular car driver plus the Registrar of course. 

I remember we had gone in a few weeks earlier to register the paperwork, the lady taking our details looked at Steve and said "Are you the Steve Hunter from Alice Cooper" !!!!! She ended up bringing an album in for him to sign on our wedding day!

Poor Steve could not wait to get out of the place on the day, he looked like a deer in the headlights as the photos show. Formal situations are not our thing and Steve even more than me.
We drove to our favorite cafe afterwards for a big fry up then off to LA Zoo for a few hours.
I am living proof that dreams can come true, I finally met a man who would really love me, make me laugh and put up with me! I was 54, he was 59. 

Today is our 4th Anniversary and I am still as happy as a bee in a bunch of roses.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Buenos Aires

The show in Buenos Aires was fantastic, the band were obviously happy to be back onstage and the boss was back to his amazing self after his sickness.
The audience was also energetic, singing loudly ‘as one’ during any brief breaks between songs, and they have great singing voices in Argentina!!
‘Hey Stoopid’ was added to the set that night, a particular favorite in that part of the world, the crowd roared when that started.

I did not get to see any of the city other than during the (long) drive to the show, they are pretty crazy drivers there and that made it an interesting ride to say the least. I saw some pretty cool buildings but other than that I cannot say more.

We were not the only large group staying at the hotel as it turns out. The National football team was also staying there; and were checking out as we waited in the lobby.

They must have all been gathered on a lower floor prior to leaving because they started to appear one by one up a set of steps to my left.
I could not help but notice that they all looked darned hot! As in ‘hot’ not ‘very warm’ hot. All dressed in yellow and blue sports gear, young, tanned, fit, good looking, and feeling very important indeed (:

So, that was Argentina, on to Brazil.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Santiago, Chile

We were all concerned about the boss as we left the hotel for the venue last night, he was in his room resting and drinking liquids, the plan being that he would join us later. 
Sheryl and Kyler were there to look after him.

At the venue the normal wheels went into motion, the hustle and bustle, the guest list, the VIP packages and the soundcheck which is when the band gear up for a show mentally.
It was a big surprise when we got news that he would not make it, we knew our friend had to be really poorly, canceling a show is unheard of for the Lord of Nightmares!

The ride back to the hotel was pretty subdued, not normal for our band of jolly fellows ): 
We were passing fans as we left the area and felt bad for them as well. The fact is that there are times when illness takes over and that was one of them.

The man and I had had a pretty good few days prior that, the hotel was fab! We did walk around the city centre a bit, the weather was bright but a little chilly in Chile...... sorry about that.
We went up to the rooftop pool a couple of times and I took a few pics.

The first time we went up there it was early evening, the pool was under the dark sky and bathed in very dim lights and although that is always tricky for Steve we negotiated our way to the poolside.
There was no one there apart from one lady quietly doing some serious breaststroke in the fairly shallow pool. She offered up a small smile but ignored us mostly, that wouldn't last. 

My man does not swim so on the odd occasion when we do find ourselves in a swimming pool it is always pretty funny. First of all it has to be warm for him to dip even a toe in! Then, it has to only be up to his chest or he will scramble out again. 
So I start swimming about and look behind me to find him walking with a particularly odd stance and a very silly face, I start to laugh, he loves that and acts up even more to the point where the lady trying to get some serious exercise must have thought we were both on drugs!

In England we used to have a TV comedy duo called Morecombe and Wise, long gone now but Eric Morecombe is who springs to mind when my lovely husband decides to be daft. I keep swimming back to him as he strides about the pool (as though that is the only way it should be done).
I say, ok! race you to the other end and swim off, the next minute I realize he is gaining on me and then he overtakes me! He had changed up to fast walking pace, puffed out his chest, elbows out at right angles and looked hilarious! As he passes me he shouts, "I have a new name!" 'Olympic Pool Walker', this was to add to his other 'self appointed' nick names which by the way are 'Blind Lemon Pledge' and 'Scoop Doggie Do'.

So, that was Santiago, on to Argentina.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Band

I want to tell you a little bit about the guys in the AC band; 

Chuck the bass player is a longstanding member of the touring band; he has a lightening fast wit that has me in stitches most of the time. He looks a tad mean with his tattoo's and rough diamond image onstage but don't let that fool you, he is a great guy and a fantastic bass player and singer. Driving the bottom end of this 'top drawer' band could be a daunting feat for some but Chuck eats it up!

Damon is a tall 'dashing' guitarist who has been touring with Alice for a number of years, he not only plays awesome guitar but he is a great singer and is a gentle, generous and funny man. He loves that Steve is in the band and bounds over to his side of the stage a number of times during the show. He and the man spend time talking about gear and tales of the road, I love that.

Tommy is Tommy, you know where you stand from the word go, he does not mince his New York words. He is generous, outspoken, funny and astute. To say he is multi talented is an understatement. Firstly, he is a great songwriter; he is a producer, a singer and an arranger plus on top of that he plays the most solid rhythm guitar I have ever heard.

Glen is like a drum powerhouse; he is so darned skillful and adds that element of showmanship that is so great to watch. Spinning his drum sticks in the middle of the most complicated of passages, waving his arms about like windmills yet still playing stuff that most drummers can only dream of playing. He procrastinates a bit, particularly on deciding what to order for the after show meal (: he is a quiet and thoughtful bloke offstage and I like him loads.
The man: You know a bit about him already of course but I just want to say how proud I am of him. His life is music and I am blessed to be part of that.

The Boss: Is the reason we are doing this tour, he is hugely talented, hardworking, energetic, kind and funny.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The trailer tale

I have another post waiting in the wings but something happened the other night that I have to tell you about.

We left the Casino Rama after the gig and all fell into our bunks on the bus, we knew it might be a short lived sleep because we had a border crossing to do to get back into the US.
As I snuggled up and snoozed I was aware of a bit of unfamiliar movement by the bus but thought nothing of it and drifted off to sleep again. Then I was aware that we had stopped (the bus not moving tends to wake me up) and I sleepily thought, oh must be at a pit stop or maybe the border already. 

I lay there drifting and all seemed very quiet, just a couple of voices talking quietly at the front. After a while I thought I should get up to see what was going on, particularly as I had needed to show my Residents card going into Canada so they might be about to ask for it as I go back into the US. (I am a Brit)

Out I go and there was Toby out tour manager, Bo our driver was outside and I realize that I can see the tour car parked in front of the bus???? It should be on a trailer on the back!
Turns out a trailer wheel had literally busted apart, the bearing shattered, Bo had seen sparks flying behind us and would have had to have taken steps to stop the bus going awal as well.

As Toby filled me in, the boss appeared after also being aware of no motion. We had been on the side of the road not that far from the Casino for 3 hours! 
The boss decided he had had enough sleep to drive and would follow the bus to the place that was replacing the trailer. Bo had joined us by now and we all agreed that I should go in the car to keep the boss company.

So, we drove for about 2 hours chatting about life and although I am not sure we solved all the worlds problems, we gave it a good shot! 
Apparently my gorgeous husband amazed Toby when he got up, there in the dark and despite being nearly blind he knew instantly that I was not in my bunk and the bus was moving!!! Where is Karen!

We got a new trailer and on we went to Sylvania, Toledo, getting in 4 hours later than expected but still with enough time to poke our heads into a hotel room, get some things done in the US before leaving for South America and before leaving for the soundcheck. 
Despite the light rain, the open air show and the audience that night was brilliant, the band were tight and powerful and the boss was as ever fantastic.

A journey I will never forget.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Canadian Shows

The tour bus and I have come to an understanding, the bus whispered "the bunk is your friend" "the bunk is your friend" and low, on the seventh day I SLEPT!!!!!! The Melatonin helped (:

It has been rainy and cold in Canada for most of the time but the shows have had a very warm reception. I am starting to prefer the theaters rather than the sports stadiums, the sound bounces about a bit in those huge concrete boxes.

That may have been partly why Hamilton, Ontario, was such a great show. It was a lovely theatre with good acoustics.  In my opinion that was one of the bands best shows. They are working so well together, listening, watching and responding. Keeping in mind that they have only just begun to settle in with each other as players. Mr Nice Guy is consistently awesome on every show and I look forward to his antics with Ethyl, the band members and the audience every single show night.

Chuck had a birthday and a cake which I forgot to get a piece of, we sang happy birthday to him, everybody joined in, including the crew. It will be Steve's birthday in Bucharest, I had bought him a surprise which is no longer that. It is a really cool leather phone pouch which he is now using to hold his slide on the show, I am well happy that it found it's place though, as he also bought a Blackberry which will not fit in it. 

There have been some experiments with Steve's back line and Hamilton was definitely a good combination, the SG in particular sounded rich but vibrant just as he likes it and when he hears that great sound bouncing back at him from the front of house he lights up like an excited torch.

The guys in the band are adjusting well to having a partially sighted player with them. Damon, Tommy and Chuck plus the boss all join the man on his side of the stage at various times during the show. This is a group of dedicated musicians who are not only at the top of their game they are top men to boot!

I have watched five shows now, I'm enjoying this opportunity as I will be on video screen duty in Europe and will be in a van watching from remote cameras.
Alas, I have not seen much of Canada, that's just the way it is on a tour. We often leave the venue after the show, bus to the next city, getting into a hotel room at 4am, grabbing a few more hours sleep in a bed then off to soundcheck at around 3pm ish.

I want to talk to you about the band next time.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

First show of tour

Oh blimy did I have a busy day!
I prepared the baggage tags and passes for the band, the crew, me and the man. Sorted out the laminate masters for all the different guests and VIP's.
I got the VIP gift bags together and made sure their names and tickets were at the box office.

When the show started I sat on the lighting riser taking notes as I will be directing the video shots when there are screens for the audience. My job is to try to capture the good shots for those people who are a long way back, making sure they see the boss and the band really well at pertinent moments.

The first show was fantastic! The whole band really pulled out all the stops like the great players they are, the boss was fabtastic.
My fav bits were; 
The opening song 'Black Widow' so powerful it gave me goose bumps. The monster is amazing and so effective. The new song 'I'll Bite Your Face Off' was awesome and had the crowd with it from the first chorus, Steve's slide solo in that song was brill and just like the album. 
All eight minutes of 'Halo Of Flies' is fantastic.
The lights in 'Another Brick In The Wall are gorgeous,  but my favorite bit was when Damon and Steve did their blues licks in 'I Love The Dead'. 
What a genius idea to put this line up of great players on one stage, everybody is HOT!!!!!!

Ok, it is not easy sleeping on the tour bus although some people apparently find the motion sends them to sleep, not me!
I don't feel sick but I just cant drift off and get a good nights zzzzzz's.
I had better get used to it, this is only the start.
Our bus driver is so darned good, easy on the brakes, smooth, reliable and a really nice bloke.

On to Canada............ Tonight's gig Quebec City

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Horseshoe Casino Indiana

Well, here we are in the middle of nowhere for rehearsals!

The casino complex is huge and right next to the Ohio river which flooded a few days ago so they are still cleaning up the lobby etc.
It is a bit like an airport with moving sidewalks to get to the different parts of the building.
The first thing that hit us here was the smell of cigarette smoke in the air, smoking is allowed pretty much everywhere and it's pretty grim.

The staff are lovely and all very helpful, making sure we all get fed in between run thru's, one of my jobs is to find out what the band wants to eat and get the meals ordered ahead of time.
I am dressing a bit warmer for run thru's now, they keep the building air conditioned and it's cold!
The man is of course working his socks off (scuse the pun) under stage lights so he is taking things off whilst I am putting on more.
They did some adjustments on his guitar sound yesterday and now I can hear every fab note he is playing. (he says, "what! you are hearing every bad note!" Noooooo, fab note silly)
Thursday is the first gig, cant wait to see an audience here, will let you know how that goes.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

No More Mr Nice Guy Tour and more

I have been so crazy busy that this is my first chance to do a bit of writing.
I am sitting in a huge warehouse sized rehearsal room next to the lighting desk in front of the band going over songs for the tour. I have ear defenders on or would be pretty deaf by now.
This is their second day and they are still working out who will play what parts, the boss will be here day after tomorrow.
There is such camaraderie between these players in only two days, it’s been a joy to watch them bond and they sound amazing!

I will talk more about the band in my next blog.

The man and I had a great trip to LA a few weeks ago; once again the flight was smooth which continues to be a relief to me. I wish I could get used to the idea that a huge chunk of metal and plastic can take you off the ground and keep you up there!

We had not been back to LA for three years; we wanted to go look at our old neighborhood but didn’t get time, maybe just as well.

The first gig was at the Nokia Theatre, the crowd was loud and enthusiastic which really brought out the best in the original AC band, they rocked the place.
I met the snake that night; had a chance to touch this massive python in the changing room before the gig. It was not in the least bit slimy, it felt more like a humongous muscle filled sausage……. steady ladies! or maybe one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arms.
I have to say it did seem rather frisky, waving about above Alice’s head as though trying to find the branch of an invisible tree. I did consider the possibility that this thing could easily strangle him and then I found out that this was his first gig! (the snake not Alice) He may well have got stage fright and squeezed the breathe out of the dark lord of rock!

After the gig we all went to what is regarded as one of the best restaurants in the US where I was treated to lobster for the first time in ten years, it was so yummy.

The next day we were up early to get to the film studio in Hollywood for the filming of the 4D holographic performance. The band had to have missed having an audience after the encouraging crowd from the night before but after a few run thru’s they were all fired up and the director was very happy.

The red suit was fun to do, I took off the extra buttons on Steve's old double breasted suit and added some fabric and things, it turned out pretty well.
There will be 800 people in the UK who get to see the showing of the hologram; I will be interested to see what they think of a virtual show.

That’s about it at the moment, I must away to do our final packing and check my ‘to do’ list before we leave for Indiana and the warm up gig before Canada’s dates.
I have no idea what this experience will be like, I toured for just three weeks with Gary Numan in 84 and 85 doing BV's but that will not even touch all the dates and countries I will be going to in the next few months.