Mannheim, Germany -Show Day

Up around 8:30am, go down to breakfast, no one else from our group is in attendance. Eat breakfast and am back in the room by 9:30. Fall back to sleep till 2pm. Get up and walk around shooting a few photos here and there. Alot of shops are closed on Saturday, so I don't do more than window shop.

Back down to the gig at 5:30. Show goes live at 8:15pm. Madonna, Santana, and Shakira are also on the bill, but we are first. Pass Madonna twice in the hallway, notice she was talking with her 'English' accent. Isn't she from Detroit?

We go live right on time and we follow a stunt involving 6 or so guys putting a bunch (8 or so) drum kits in a van in under 4 minutes. They make it with 10 seconds to spare. We rock our song and it looks and sounds great, with a giant picture frame set and full pyro. We load out right after playing and then it's off to the airport and our charter to London.

It takes about an hour to get to the Frankfurt airport, we board the same plane we came in. Our drummer has bought an accordion and serenades everyone on the plane with a fake French mustache drawn on (don't ask). Fall asleep on the plane as normal and wake up as we are descending. We land in Luton, UK we're met by my buddy Sean and his crew of drivers for another hour ride to the hotel in London. It's Saturday night after midnight and there's traffic. Only in London and LA is there always traffic. get to the hotel around 1:30am. Amazing hotel and I eventually get to sleep after 3:30am. Tired...

Mannheim, Germany Rehearsal Day

I end up in a van with a few of the band guys and we get on the autobahn. We are really flying at 170km/hr or about 105mph in the rain. We all buckle up and hope we make it to the hotel alive.

It's 7:30 by the time we get checked in, I decide to grab the free Euro breakfast with Reid, one of the pyro guys. By the time we finish eating and talking it's past 9am and we have a 10:30 lobby call. Oh well, I'll have to go on the two and a half hours sleep I got on the plane. Joy!

Get to the gig, it's a giant TV studio (warehouse) with 3 stages set-up and lots of room to work. Yay!! It's a 'B' rig day, but we're only doing one song so it should be fine. The show we are doing is called "Wetten, dass?" and is the biggest TV show in Germany. I'm told it's only done 6 times a year, it involves celebrities and musical guests as well as betting on various stunts. Weird, huh?

Set-up by 11:30, we don't actually get the stage till after 3pm. Great. Hang out in our crew/production room, but don't get a nap in. Do our run-through at 4 then have to wait around till 8 to do another runthrough. Will this day never end. Finally get done and back to the hotel by 9:30. Fall asleep reading at 10:30pm.

Lisbon Mtv Europe Awards -Show Day

Wake up around 9:30, lobby call at 10am. We're all here today, off we go on yet another route to the gig. We pass the airport this time and notice a 'Showgirls' strip club in an old airliner parked across the street from the airport. Wish I could have gotten a picture (priceless).

Arrive at the gig, run through is not till 1pm. Do a little work, but mostly hang around and hit catering (which is staffed by the 'Eat Your Heart Out' caterers from our American tour). Yummy as usual. Being an awards show, I run into a lot of old roadie friends, Bash from Coldplay, Ian and Nathan from Foo Fighters, Andy, Pooch and Mike from System of a Down, etc. Always a good time catching up with old friends.

Watch some of the early acts on the dress rehearsal, Madonna looks amazing for 47. The cartoon band 'Gorillaz' will be performing before us in a CGI generated 3D form. Amazing technology that looks straight out of Disney World. Finally it's our turn, rehearsal goes well. And after striking the stage we now have many hours to kill. Hang in the dressing room for a bit, then out by the gear, then dinner, then more hanging out by the gear. Finally I take a power nap on the key riser just before the show.

Wake up just in time to go out front for Madonna, and end up standing 4 feet away from her as she exits the stage. Wow, she does look (and sound) great.

Watch the Pussycat Dolls next, kinda the new Spice Girls, but with even less talent (at least Mel C was a good singer).

Next tour bands wins the award for Best Album. Congrats!!

Next up are Gorillaz, a band who only ever appear as a cartoon. They have figured out how to create a 3D cartoon image on the stage and they perform 'LIVE' with the guys from De La Soul backing them up. I'll try to post a photo of the Gorillaz on stage.

Right before we go on, the band wins for Best Rock Act too. they end up winning 2 of 3 awards.

We go on, but are introduced as 'Coldplay', which I think was a joke by the fake Russian host. Song goes well, with lots of pyro, which rains down on me as I'm doing my cues.

We load out as fast as we can, eventually ending up outside and we finish loading the truck just as the show ends. We also load a couple of vans with gear for our 'fly show' tomorrow in Germany.

Now it's off to the hotel for an hour, then the airport to fly to Germany on a private charter. Grab a shower at the hotel and arrive at the airport around 2am. We end up being early, so we wait around and our singer cracks every one up by wearing a Darth Vader mask and dancing around. Finally we take everything through security and board a bus out to the plane. We attempt to help the guy load all the gear and luggage, but he wants to do it himself. Eventually, we end up putting some of the bags on some empty seats in the front of the plane. I fall asleep listening to my ipod shortly after we takeoff.

I wake up as we are descending, because 'Baby Got Back' by Sir Mixalot is blasting in my ears. I open my eyes to see our singer and keyboard player howling with laughter, as they hooked up one of their ipod to my headphones... We land about 6am and get into some vans for the 45min ride to the hotel. Ugh.

Lisbon Mtv Europe Awards -Rehearsal Day

10:00 lobby call. Our monitor engineer (Beau) is missing, so he gets left or 'oil spotted' at the hotel. We take the van to the gig, our driver doesn't know how to get to where we need to go to get in the gig. We arrive and Beau has beat us there in a taxi.

Go in and setup, do a few runthroughs for the cameras and we're off back to the hotel around 3pm. Driver taking us back goes a completely different way (this will soon become the norm here). Get back to the room and take a 2 hour nap, then watch a movie on TV (there are at least two english movie channels here).

Get a call around 8pm to go have dinner with a few of the crew guys. We meet in the lobby, two of the guys went to a great italian pizzeria last night and we want to go there. Unfortunately the van driver who took them there was actually supposed to take them somewhere else according to the concierge. So, now we don't know the name of where we want to go, so they are having trouble directing us. One of the guys mentions it is next to a place called 'Crazy Nuts'. I passed this place on my walk yesterday and it is only a block away (why did they take a van there?). We find out the place is called 'La Campania'. So off we go on foot to the restaurant. Sure enough, it is where I said it was.

Most places here have just opened for dinner, and we are the first seated in the place. We order pasta, the service is excellent, far exceeding American standards. Micah and Kenny join us just as we order dessert. We all hang around talking as they eat their meals and we collectively walk back, all full of pasta and tiramisu.

Back in the room around 10pm, 'West Side Story' is just coming on the movie channel, I decide to watch it, as I've never seen the whole thing. The pasta hits me about half way through and I fall asleep, waking up about 15 minutes from the end. Oh well, I saw most of it.

Now I'm awake and don't end up going back to sleep till 6am. It has been raining since midnight and will continue into tomorrow.

Lisbon Arrival Day / Day Off

Arrive in Lisbon at 8:15am, grab my luggage (yeah) and breeze through customs. Get to the hotel (Ritz-Four Seasons) by 9am (4am EST). Have a massive headache, decide to sleep for a couple of hours. Wake up around 1:30pm, watch a little Mtv and decide to walk around.

It's some kind of holiday, so not much is open. Luckily I find a cafe and get a water. I walk past a convienence store, make a note to stop and stock up on the way back. Sit in a park for a while, it's cloudy, but in the 60's, so not too bad. There's a crazy Asian guy yelling at noone outside the park gates and a few people walking their dogs. I should have brought my camera, but wasn't sure what kind of neighborhood we were in... Walk back to the hotel, stopping to get snacks and water at the convenience store and take a nap. Wake up and watch TV then read before falling asleep.

RDU to Lisbon

Leave for Lisbon today (Halloween). Before I left we dressed up Sophie and Cleo in their Halloween costumes and took pictures (see sidebar at right). paige took me to the airport around 3pm for a 5pm flight, no line (GASP) at the Continental counter and I breeze right through security too, weird. Get on my flight from RDU to Newark, we arrive in Newark ahead of schedule and have to taxi for 30min because our gate is occupied. Finally disembark, I have at least an hour before my flight to Lisbon leaves, but I have to walk two terminals over to the gate. See our production manager Greg Dean in the food court and I join him with bad chinese food. Not a good idea...

Just as we are about to board the plane, the others from LA and SF arrive. We are only missing Big Kevin, our FOH engineer. He is stuck elsewhere and misses the flight. We find out later that he got to the gate just as we were pulling away. Bummer. He doesn't end up in Lisbon till just before the first rehearsal for Mtv. Flight to Lisbon is only 6 hours, I think it's 8 going back from here. I don't sleep much on the flight, watch 'Monster In Law', pretty good and read my book.

1976 Les Paul Deluxe, originally uploaded by guitartech.

Yesterday I got my '76 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe back from Jack at Briggs Guitars. This guitar was in terrible shape when I bought it a little over a year ago, it was routed for humbuckers, painted with Red Krylon spray paint and boogered up in a few other ways.

Jack and I intended to refinish it and just replace the fingerboard (which was gouged). We ended up taking the entire neck off and Jack hand built a new neck, plugged the humbucker routs, rebound the whole guitar, and refinished it in a beutiful goldtop. It now looks like the original, but plays way better. Thanks Jack.

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