Madrid, 2012

Great venue last night in Madrid, the Carcol… Very professional crew, great sound, stage, spirited audience…

However, was very displeased to see that the support band was using my bass amp without my knowledge or permission. This is fucked for a number of reasons, respect being only one of them. In our tech rider, we are to be supplied with two guitar amps at every venue, and the clubs usually avoid rental fees by asking the support band to provide amps. Fair enough. This was also the case last night, so one can easily make the argument that we are using their guitar amps, so why shouldn’t they use our bass amp. If I were the support band I would use the same logic, BUT I would surely ASK before doing so, and not just assume that it is okay to use. I do not blame the bass player, though had it been me, I would’ve at least asked the sound man if it was okay. The promoter however never sent the club the tech rider, and everybody always claims they never got it anyway. In the end I only blame myself for not making it clear to the sound engineers that my bass amp is NOT to be used by support bands, and here is the reason why:

A support band is usually local, and if something goes wrong, they know where to fix it or get another piece of equipment. A touring band that carries their own gear is out in the wilderness with schedules that leave little margin for extra excursions. If a support band spills beer on or blows the speakers of my amp, I am fucked. I have no backup, and it’s not a rental I can just have replaced at the next town. It’s mine, and if it’s out of commission, then it’s an ordeal to wrangle one on foreign territory. If I myself fuck up the amp, then it’s my fault and still my responsibility to get fixed or replaced, but then I at least know how it happened and don’t have to deal with blame and extortion. End of story.

We stayed in a very crappy hotel though with no breakfast, so this morning I made a pilgrimage by public transport to one of the only Taco Bells in Europe… Only to find they open at :30, which is the time I was scheduled to be back at the hotel or at the club loading our gear. Thrilled to know it at least exists.

The tour is going well in most respects, and it’s great to be on the battlefield with the gang. I was never much into camping as a youngster, but touring is very similar in a lot of respects, and for me, this is roughing it. The iPad is an amazing companion when touring with a rock band, I gotta say. All the frustrations and mood swings that are par for the course can be assuaged easily with a game of scrabble or catching up on news feeds. It’s value increases tenfold if you can successfully get your mobile wifi devices working properly. I however am still part caveman.

Today we take a relatively short drive to the city of Valladolid, which I remember being a pretty wild and raucous time when we were there last in 2010. There is a bar called Fuzztones which seems like a lock for the after party…

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I think there are 4 more shows before we head back to headquarters before the brief Greek campaign. I am very much looking forward to the paella and the beach in Valencia this weekend.

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