Summerland has finally begun! This is to be our last U.S. tour on our "Sparkle and Fade" record and we decided to go out with a bang. Hence the stage palm trees and Hawaiian shirts and the big light show. Yesterday in "Nehalem Times," Alex's great newsletter, someone in Chicago didn't like the show although they had seen us eight times before. But other then their apparent dislike of Spacehog (who kicked ass that night) and our Hawaiian shirts (where is their sense of humor?) they didn't give a reason why they didn't have any fun. We decided to put on a show because we have toured so much in the last two years that on this, our last tour, we wanted to do something different especially for the fans who have seen us eight times and hopefully get the audience to laugh along with us.
Great, having said that, let's get into all the shows so far where all I saw was people going crazy! The tour started in Salt Lake City at the great but stinky Saltair palace. We are always excited to play there because the fans are great and because of the go cart track out front that we always ride for hours and then complain the next day of whiplash and the inevitible comparison of bruises to argue who's is bigger. However we were in for a special treat because earlier in the day we went to a local amusement park for a radio promotion and hung out and met some kids in the hot sun and then we all raced go carts together, and I'm sure you all know I won everytime. :) So the show that night was a little rough around the edges because we are playing the songs in a different order than we have done in the past and it felt weird. The crowd was one of the roughest they have had at the venue and I heard that two kids were taken to the hospital. I hope they are okay. We don't want anyone to get hurt at a rock show. It's not worth it. Enjoy it and have fun but look out for each other. I watched the whole show to see all the bands and they are all great. 7 Year Bitch are rad and the nicest people. Tracy Bonham packs a lot of punch in her little frame and the crowd tears it up during her hit song "Mother Mother." Now I heard all the grumblings about Spacehog being on the tour but they kick ass and put on a helluva show so please check them out. Their drummer Johnny is a mother fucker on them drums!
Next was Denver and I started to get my strength back and started to attack the drums again and it felt great. Afterwards we hung out in the alley and talked with everyone and it was cool. Another great thing about this tour is that all the personnel in the bands and in their crew are all great people and are fun to hang and talk shop with.
We then rolled into Minneapolis and the land of the Scandinavians -- Minnesota has a big Scandinavian population, so I felt right at home. Everyone looks like me -- just kidding! I also got to see and hang with a long lost cousin of mine and his lovely girlfriend. Once again we hung out in the alley, lots of that going on, and I met a girl who had driven 7+ hours to see us and had to be at work the next morning. I hope she made it. From there we went to Chicago and had the Fourth of July of and had a nice dinner and then went to the Double Door Club to see Jeff Ament's (the bass player for Pearl Jam) new side project play, but I didn't see Vedder anywhere, although he was rumored to show. The next night we had a fantastic show in Chicago which is one of our favorite places to play because of all the support we have gotten these last couple of years before MTV and everything else. Everyone in the crowd was in rare form. I haven't heard anyone mention the star of our tour, Arthur Nacane. He puts on one helluva show.
Finally yesterday we played in Milwaukee at Summerfest and it was crazy and we felt terrible about what happened at the signings after the show. This was put on the by the Summerfest people and really wasn't our show so we didn't really have any control over the workings of the festival. After the show we went to the Best Buy booth to sign stuff and were escorted over there in a tight circle of security guys. It was so weird! It felt silly but our safety was their responsiblity and they took it very seriously. Then we started signing stuff for people who had missed the show so that they could save a place in line, and after half an hour they cut it off because of the curfew for the parade grounds. It had nothing to do with us and we felt terrible that we couldn't stay and sign everybody's stuff, which we always do. I can't remember a time when we left before we signed stuff for everybody. It's one part of what we do that I really enjoy. So again I'm sorry about it -- we will make it up to you all somehow. Tonight we hit Ohio so see ya all there. -GREG
Hey it's me again,
We are in L.A., the town of rock-n-roll. I'm sitting here in my hotel room pondering the end of the Summerland tour and it being our last tour here in the U.S. till next year. Thanks for everyone who came out on this tour and every other tour before and I hope too see ya all next year after the new record comes out. Now having said that, let me share my awe at all the rock stars I've seen in the last two days. As we left to go to soundcheck at the Santa Monica Civic Center, I walked by Slash, who was tanning at our pool. Wow! Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that yesterday in Phoniex I worked out with Gloria Estefan in the hotel gym. Or should I say she was working out with her 300-pound buff trainer -- but we still sweated together. So last night backstage -- it being LA and all -- stars were everywhere. All the members except Love of Hole were hanging out, the drummer for Rage Against the Machine was hanging too. We met for drinks at our hotel bar after the show and sat amoung the "beautiful" people, including Mickey Rourke. Then this morning, our first chance to sleep in on this tour I might add, there was a knock on my door, disregarding my "Do Not Disturb" sign. It was the geeky hotel manager informing me of a bomb threat at the hotel. I threw on some clothes and left the hotel to sit on the curb across the street with all the other guests. Looking around at all of us sitting in the bright sun, I was surprised to see both Jerry Cantrell (guitar player for Alice in Chains) and Morrissey (formerly of the Smiths) looking put out waiting for the all clear sign from the L.A. cops and bomb squads. I still can't figure out why someone would want to hurt the "beautiful people," but it ended up being a prank I guess. Tonight we are on the radio program Love Line where we will give people advice on their love lives. Scary huh? L.A. is a scary town. -GREG
Hi Mom and all those cyber rockers,
Well we are across the "big pond" again and for the first time its warm! We always seem to tour Europe in the winter and it's so much more beautiful in the sunlight. As anyone who actually ever reads these wordy tour reports knows, we always have the worst luck on our flights to Europe and we still upheld that tradition. I'll keep it short, but it basicaly involved sitting on the tarmac in Washington, D.C., for two hours waiting for them to fix those always-scary-before-a-seven-hour-Atlantic-flight... mechanical difficulties. This caused us to miss our connection in London and sent us into a course of events that only seems to consistantly happen to us. Suffice it to say, we made it into Cologne, Germany, and rested up for our two shows the next day. We woke up early and went to play The Bizarre festival. We were only the second band on that day, so we played in front of three thousand. We were also interviewed on Euro MTV, who were camping out at all the festivals, and were asked to cook an omelette on camera for their van driver. I jokingly cut up the mushrooms while Art showed the VJ how to crack an egg with one hand (I guess he worked at a diner at some time in the past) and we jokingly added Jaegermeister and some rum to "flavor" the whole thing. The driver actually ate it on camera and said it was really good. After they turned off the camera we thought he would throw it away but he kept on eating it till was all gone saying it was the best he had in a long time. So I'm sorry I don't have a recipe -- we made it up as we went -- but you all can experiment and make your own Everclear omelettes. So anyway, we played and then packed up, said hello to our friends in Tracy Bonham's band, who was playing later in the day, and then drove to a private rented 12 seater plane and flew across the channel to play at Donnington Festival with KISS and Ozzy. We drove straight from the airport to the stage -- our gear was rented and already set up -- and walked right onstage, and two chords into "Electra," Art's amp blew up. Now this left us in front of 3000 scary English metal heads screaming, "Play some fooking music." We borrowed Korn's amp and proceeded to rock. "Sin City" was never recieved so well than with these metal heads with bags of beer and Motorhead shirts. We stayed all day to see Ozzy and Kiss and even talked with Kiss, in full makeup straight from a press conference, outside our dressing room after they said "Hey it's the Everclear guys, what's up," and so forth. Not a big deal to me really but a big deal for our Kiss crazy crew and manager. So after a day off in London where all the shops were closed (BUMMER!), we flew into Stockholm, Sweden, and had a great show with 250 crazy everclear fans, most seeing their first Everclear show ever. Then tonight we played Lund, Sweden, and again rocked out with 200+ fans and had a great time. I'm sort of a curiousity here because of my Swedish ancestory, although I didn't once do the Scandinavian oak tree dance here, but that's fine with me. So I'm going to bed, still suffering from jet lag, so good night sleep tight and don't let those American bed bugs bite. --GREG
Well I think I've found the best way to see Vienna, other than the horse drawn carriages by the old, old St. Stevens cathedral in the center of town. Today in my early morning walk around the city with our guitar tech Sean, I found a pair of old aviator goggles ala Snoopy, and having to have them bought and wore them all day. Now when our record guy from Austria (yes there is such a person) showed up to take us to the venue, I was still wearing them and rolled down the window and stuck out as much of my body as I could and saw Vienna with the wind in my hair. Now I know why dogs enjoy it so much, and I even howled at some of the startled locals. I also wore them during Electra at the show, which was an awesome show -- the best by far here in Europe. Some local fans told me that the Viennese never show rock 'n' roll emotion or excitement, but they went crazy for us. Also there was tons of stage diving -- apparently another rarity here in Austria. Now keep in mind that even though this was our biggest show on this tour, there were only about 600 people there, so not everyone got caught who dove, but nobody got hurt thankfully. So that was the best show; now for the worst... Nuremburg, Germany. There were only 40 people there and it was perhaps the hardest show for me to play in a long while. But what was cool was that the club was a block away from the huge parade grounds where Hitler would hold his propoganda rallies and book burnings in front of hundreds of thousands. It still exists today and will give you a very big chill to walk up the main stairs and stand on the very platform that Hitler stood on and looked out over his hate army, many thousands strong. What was somewhat settling was the fact that most of it was turned into many many soccer fields and athletic facilities. It is also the meeting place for all of Germany's roller bladers because of its flat cement. So being the history buff I am, it was quite an experience. So back to today: Sean and I visted on our walk the home of Mozart here in Vienna. It was pretty cool. They turned his second floor apartment into a museum with artifacts and such. To get to it you walked into a very tight courtyard with many apartments still in use today. Now I wonder why there wasn't a museum dedicated to the guy or woman on the third floor who used to yell down and say that if Mozart didn't stop pounding on that damn harpsichord that they would call the cops. You know they must have existed and I thought it would've been cool to live in the apartment above the world's greatest composer back in that time or even live there today. Then after that we climbed to the top of St. Steven's Catheral's bell tower, all the while singing all the songs in Disney's Hunchback movie, to look down on Vienna from up above. Now these things always seem like a good idea at the time on street level, but 1200 tight monk spiral stairs later we really didn't care what Vienna looked like from above but rather how to catch our breath. Of course the view was beautiful, although there was grafitti etched in the stone. Who cares if the names written were follwed by the years 1740 and 1892 and 1903 and so on, it's disgraceful. Just kidding, the grafitti was history in itself and we ended up spending more time reading the names and years than looking out at Venice. Funny how history works. Now coming down these tight stairs was way easier than coming up. You just kinda let gravity pull you and you gain speed until you hit a Japanese tourist coming up and that would slow you down until next time when you hit an Italian tourist and so forth and so forth. You could always tell when the next tourist was coming because you could hear their wheezing and heavy breathing 30 seconds before you hit 'em.
So when you are next in Vienna, do as I do and ride around in open cars like Snoopy, party at Mozart's place and hit foriegn tourist as you fly down ancient church towers singing Disney tunes. Finish that up with a rock show and a quick stop at McDonald's for a Big Mac and you'll have a great time -- trust me. -GREG
Bonjourno from the home of tortellini and fine wine and bella regatzi (beautiful women)! Well, right now we are flying home to the beautiful USA. We will be getting into NYC after 11 hours of flying. We are going to the MTV video awards on the 4th. We are not going to win because of some other nominees (namely Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, and Bush) but I look forward to hanging out with famous rock stars at the cermeony and aftershow party. I would like to also congradulate Matt, the old drummer from Filter, on joining Smashing Pumpkins as Jimmy Chamberlin's replacement. He is truy one of the nicest guys I have met in rock 'n' roll and I wish him and his wife and family truly all the best in music and life.
Now our last two European shows were in Italy. They just happened to be both at different Communist fairs that they hold every fall. Both were in big top tents much like the old circuses. Now once again we didn't expect anyone to come, but they did and I think we made some new fans. That is really all we've ever done is play shows and slowly win people over one at a time. Next time we come back maybe we will have more people and then more people after that. We are all really ready to get home to the USA, home of the cups of ice in drinks and refrigerators that work and phone jacks I can actually plug into for a online fix. Euorpe is beautiful and it was fun but we really are in the frame of mind to start on our new record after our Australian tour. Two nights ago in Belogna we played for the first time in public a new song off the new record called "The Swing." The new record is going to be great and I just can't wait to finish it and then take some time off and then come out swinging with touring again next summer.
So watch for us on MTV; we'll be the ones asleep and drooling from jet lag in the 10th row. Also one last US date which will be in East Troy, WI, on the 7th. Come out and say hey even though we'll still be whacked out from jet lag. You know it's the third day of jet lag that kills you -- you feel great the first two days. Its sneaky. -GREG
"And the winner of the MTV award for Best Alternative Video is..." not us!!!!!!
Well, like I said, we didn't even begin to think that we might win, but being there at the show was a kick in the pants. I had never been to the Radio City Music Hall and it really is an amazing place. There is so much music history that has taken place in that hall, and I found myself thinking of all the stories the building contains in the slow and boring parts of the MTV awards. It was so cool to be picked up by our limo and driven down the blocked street in front of hundreds of people who had camped there to see the stars. Now when we pulled up our manager and A&R guy got out first and everyone was screaming and straining to see who was in the darkened limo. As we got out, everyone asked people standing next to them "who are those guys?" Never mind that we were soon to be blinded by hundreds of flashbulbs as we "greeted" the press, which really means 500 photographers yelling look this way please! We were then escorted in and did some interviews and said hello to our good friends No Doubt who performed on the roof. The Foo Fighters came in after us and it was good to hang out and talk with Dave Grohl again. Once inside we were surprised to find out that our good friend Tracy Bonham was seated behind us and Hole was in front of us. Butch Vig and Garbage were next to me and it was cool to see Vig again as well. I thought the highlight of the show was the opening song by the Pumpkins with the orchestra. It was great fun to be amoung all these famous people, and I must admit I was a tad bit starstruck. Here's a little secret: there are several hundred people who are "sitters" who when someone famous gets up to leave come down and sit in thier seat until they return. When Art got up to use the bathroom I ended up sitting next to some strange woman for two segments who didn't seem to be as excited as I was to be there. I stayed for the whole show, a big no no I later found out because when I went to the party afterwards I had to wait in line for half an hour while all the "people in the know" had left the show 30 minutes before it ended. Everyone made fun of me for being so naive to the whole awards show thing. Well excuse me! I guess I'll know better next time. What was i thinking! Wel at the party I hung out with the drummer for Hootie. It's funny how at these things you hang out with people just to hang out and tell stories. All the food and drink for 5000+ people at the party were all free so everyone was going crazy! Needless to say I didn't get into the hotel until 3 a.m. but only slept until 8 a.m. All in all it was fun and I hope one day to do it again. Having said that I'm really looking forward to going home and relax. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ... -GREG