South Carolina, y’all!
Just home from a long day of planes, trains, and automobiles after a successful “fly weekend” to Gamecock Country.
We spent last Wednesday flying to Charleston, through ATL, and worked our way via two rental vehicles to our favorite beach club, the Windjammer. Spent the evening reacquainting ourselves with the restaurant’s fine quality fried food menu (hey, everything in moderation, right?). Oh, and Coronas and margs may have played a part in the festivities. The entire band and crew met at the bar after we checked in to our neighboring hotel. It’s nice to not have to drive while in the Isle of Palms….. A special shout out to Bobby, Brett, Jack, Teddy, Rex, Rachel and the rest of the gang for treating us like family when we roll in to town. If you are ever in IOP, be sure to visit the Windjammer. Bikinis are encouraged.
We knocked out two spirited shows on THU and FRI night. In between those two shows, band and crew did a little beach time, a little golfing, a little napping, and the wings and margs were always on tap.
SAT morning, we set out from IOP and made our way north and west to Columbia. We made our semi-annual stop at a Cracker Barrel for a big family breakfast. 6 orders of truly gluttonous breakfasty items, one yogurty health meal, and an apple pie a la mode for a Bass player who shall remain nameless.
Then, onwards to Columbia. Past the Gamecocks football stadium, and up Rosewood Ave to the backstage area, where we prepped for our first ever Crawfish Festival. Turned out to be a HUGE gathering, and we had a great evening. The show finished before 8PM, so after we loaded up the rental vehicles, we headed back down I-26, and after taking a democratic vote, we decided to stop for a meal. Ruby Tuesday was right off the highway, in Orangeburg, SC, so we made the call, pulled in, and put our name on the list for a table for 8. After a few minutes, we settled for two four-tops, and we were in business. It would be the first good looking vegetables we had seen in days. This was my first trip to a Ruby Tuesday ever, and I really have no idea why….. Just never stumbled in to one in all my days. Well, the best part of our SC weekend was our Ruby Tuesday waitress. She was doing a great job taking care of us, and as a result of some idle chit chat, she asked the name of our band. We told her, and she began to shake and tear up and was beside herself. We never know if people have heard of us, so it’s nice when someone in Orangeburg, SC tells you that they love your music. Her name was Rachel. She gathered herself enough to ask for some autographs, we told her Manager that she is the best waitress we have had anywhere in years, we implored him to give her a raise, we told her we would stop in next time we were in the neighborhood, and then we made our way back to a hotel near CHS airport.
After a 5 hour overnight nap, we headed to the airport, and spent the day getting back to Colorado. Feels good to get our job done, and to get home safe.
Thanks to all of you fans for making it worth our while.
See you out there.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Flew from Denver to LAX to start two consecutive weekends of shows in April. Our flight went off without a hitch, but Todd, who was coming out of Chicago, was delayed big time. He had to switch planes, so that cost him about two hours. Since I had already planned for the tour bus to pick us up, we loaded up our people and merch supplies and rolled south for 4 miles on Sepulveda to a shopping area with a Chili’s, ate some dinner and waited for Todd to land, catch a cab, and then catch up with us.
San Juan Cap - what a time capsule of a venue…. Old school roadhousey/”steakhousey”/”rusticky”, charming music club, family owned and operated by a great group of folks. Sonically, the place needs a ton of work. Not sure if they have been told that by any traveling bands, and I didn’t dare tell them either. I figure they must know. Their audio team must let them in on the fact that they need a new PA that can provide proper coverage for the entire room. I hope they ask us back when they find out I spilled the beans on their sound system.
Headed down the road to Solana Beach, stopping a few miles short of San Diego. Boy, I would have to rank this part of the country right up there with Boulder, CO, where I called home for over 20 years. That SD weather, the beach factor, the marina vibe that I have longed for now for quite some time, the consistent good weather….. No family out there, and as I learn about the importance of being close to family, all those attributes won’t be enough to get me out there permanently. But it’s sure I nice place to visit. Just to be sure, though, I DID venture down to the ocean, which was a few blocks from the Belly Up. Nice, but I’ll take South Jersey when the time comes.
The third night of the SOCAL weekend had us rolling back north to the House of Blues in Hollywood. I had us depart early in the morning rather than immediately after the Belly Up show for several reasons. The most comical one is that when we park the bus at the HOB, it’s on a very steep hill on a side street off of Sunset Blvd. The first time we woke up in our bunks with all the blood drained from our heads, it became clear that we need to be cognizant of our arrival time. On a less comical note, they don’t let us run our generator there, so it gets mighty warm in the ole coach, even with the windows open. Though I do like the fresh air…..
After that show we did a late night drive back to a hotel down the street from LAX. Sleeping on the bus ahead of a morning flight back to DEN. Home just in time to witness a 24 snowfall worth over 12 inches of powder. Fortunately, most of it melted before I broke out the shovel. Colorado in Spring can be an adventure. Snow, sun, melt, repeat.
Y’all know how much of a drag it can be to fly. But we have been doing a ton of it this winter, meeting up with the bus for mini tours in different pockets of the country. The day before our Texas run, we arrived at DIA (DEN airport) for a flight to Houston. Delayed 2 hours. Ostensibly not a big deal, but the trickle down effects can be just a real pain. Death by a thousand cuts….
Our hotel shuttle in Houston only ran until 10PM. Our Guitar tech landed on time and had to spend money on a taxi to the bus. I had to call a hotel that we weren’t staying at and convince them to pick us up and deliver us to the bus, which I had to have moved from our original hotel to this other property. The shuttle driver asked me what name our reservation was under, so I had to tell him we had no rooms, and were planning on getting some when we arrived (I lied). He responded that the hotel was sold out. Quick… Plan B. I told him we would pay him to stake us to his hotel and we would walk across the street to the adjacent hotel and seek out rooms there. He bought it. We got out of the shuttle, walked to the bus, and pulled away, heading for our original hotel, the one whose shuttle stops 90 minutes before delayed flights land. And the TGIFriday’s was open until 1AM, but we couldn’t walk from the hotel across the 8 lane highway to get there, so we drank a few beers and ate Cheetos, then fell asleep… in Humble TX.
The Houston HOB is a rather peculiar venue from the outside (up 3 floors in an elevator OR up tons of stairs), which does burn some serious calories ahead of the Lobster Mac and Cheese I had for dinner off their menu. But a pretty cool gig once you get inside and loaded in. We had another in a long list of successful VIP Meet and Greets, where fans who purchased premium tickets were able to come in to the venue before doors and meet the band, mingle, get photos and autographs, etc. And Houston was rocking that night.
Actually, all three Texas shows did well yet again. The band is always happy with the turnouts in Houston, Austin, and Dallas. The Austin show on FRI night was at the outdoor venue downtown called Stubbs. It’s the place to play. And the P.A. is among the best sounding rigs in the country. And the food is really good, too.
In Dallas, we had another HOB, and that classic “artist menu” from which to choose lunch and dinner. They make a pretty good Island Turkey Burger. Spicy! But I have to cut down on the fries. Great crowd in Dallas helped finish off a very productive and successful Texas weekend.
We flew out of DFW the next morning, and though we were delayed from landing at DEN due to some white knuckling high winds, I was home in time to see the back nine at the Masters. Well done, Adam Scott.
Headed to the Reno airport APR 25 for a fun weekend at Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks. If you are anywhere near there and want to have a great weekend of fun, we are playing two nights, and staying up late after the first night since we are staying at the hotel. And let us not forget to mention where we will be for lunch on that SAT. I forget the name of the restaurant inside the casino/hotel, but they serve what they call a PAN ROAST, and it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Along with some oyster shots and Coronas, this is the biggest reason we do these shows!
See you there!
Big Head Todd Band
Have any of you been to a BHTM show this winter? I’m sure many of you have. We have been seeing some really good crowds lately, and we appreciate your enthusiasm.
We have made a habit this winter of playing shows on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, to make it easier for fans to get out of the house to see the band. We hope this is working for you.
After our New Year’s show, we chilled for a few weeks before flying to Florida to meet up with the bus in Orlando. We hit the House of Blues at Disney, and I swear it always seems to be raining when we go there. Sunny Florida? After that show we rolled to Ft Lauderdale. There is a funky club in a bit of a strip mall shopping center area called the Culture Club. Chinese food, barber shop, Irish Pub, and a South Florida club. It’s a small place to play, but since we don’t have a ton of fans coming out to see us there, we are content to play at this venue. It has a pretty cool vibe, with a patio area, a small but good sounding stage, and an owner who is there all day long programming his new lighting rig.
After playing Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, we rolled in to Port Everglades and loaded on to the Niew Amsterdam (a Holland America ship) for a week at sea as part of the Blues Cruise 2013. We have become good friends with the people who run these cruises, and they are fans of the band. And ever since the band did the Robert Johnson blues tribute record, the band has had the opportunity to play some blues festivals, and most incredibly, two blues cruises. So this was our second, and we brought along our Denver-based horn section to put the band over the top. We have made lots of new fans as a result of becoming entrenched in the live blues scene. These folks really run a great trip for blues fans, and it’s great that they can find a spot for us on their roster. We hope to be invited back in the next year or two. We played 3 shows over the course of the week, and Todd played a few impromptu late night sets , which at first came as a complete shock, until the reality set in that he really does have the blues these days.
We cruised the Caribbean, stopping at the Holland America private island of Half Moon Cay, then on to the British Virgin Island of Tortola (this is where you will find me if I am ever on the run or just want to go somewhere to die alone), and then we sailed to St. Kitts. Then a solid two day straight shot return to Ft. Lauderdale. I do love the water.
The tour bus picked us up back at Port Everglades, and our driver was kind enough to drive us to the airport to fly home for a few days before we turned around and flew back to the east coast to pick up the winter tour. After some bad weather derailed my original flight plan and ground transportation coordination, we made our way to Charlotte, Asheville, and Atlanta for three great shows to some solid crowds. The morning after the Atlanta show, I had us on an early flight to be sure we would all be back in Denver in time for some serious Super Bowl pre-game. It should be noted that not only did I pick the Ravens, but I also nailed the EXACT score. That safety was a piece of brilliance!
Our next weekend trip started by flying in to Boston, avoiding more bad weather just by a few days, and playing at the House of Blues. Another solid crowd here at a great venue. This HOB used to be called The Avalon, back in the day. I always loved that name. Reminded me of going to the Jersey shore each summer when I was a kid. I still like going there to this day, and hope I can get there more and more as time goes by. Perfect place to become a first time boat owner. The dream lives on. Just need a place, a companion, and a vessel……
We had to drive down I-95 to get to Baltimore. Those of you who know the eastern seaboard know how lame that I-95 can be. It can be one bumpy ride. And trying to sleep on the tour bus while being inflicted with that annoying cadence of concrete control joints, bouncing in time, up and down, can be a real drag, leaving a traveling soul weary the next morning.
This next morning found us in Baltimore. We were doing a great job of maneuvering the bus through the somewhat narrow streets, until the last turn. We could see our parking spot, but were blocked by an illegally parked POLICE CAR. Can you imagine? After a few tense moments we got around him. And honestly, we didn’t really fee like we would have been bummed if we had just clipped his bumper enough to pull it off. It’s not like they were around to see it happen. We like the Ram’s Head venue. Good people, good room. And for the most part, a good solid crowd. We DID have one guy who got the party started a bit early on this particular FRI night. Two songs in to the band’s first set, he had his head in is hands on the edge of the stage right in front of Rob, our Bass Player. By the third song, he had deposited his last meal on the floor adjacent to the stage. Yuk. By the fourth song, he was gone. I told security not to kick him out of the venue on account of the band, but he may have been removed by security for his own good. I’ll tell you, though….. we got the most responsible fans in the business. Pro drinkers, but with class and designated drivers, and all the wait staffs always let me know that you guys treat them well.
We finished up the weekend in NYC. Had to wait a while to get our parking spot out front of Irving Plaza. The venue can’t “hold” spots for us, so each time we go there it is a crap shoot on parking. Not fun with 70 feet of bus and trailer. After this show, Jeremy and I and some female friends headed out for a late drink at a fancy hotel bar. We were underdressed and underfunded. Welcome to NYC. We DID enjoy making fun of the crowd at this snooty bar, however.
I abandoned the band and crew for their flight home, and headed to my original home, in West Chester PA, to visit my Mom for a week or so. Visited with some friends, determined that I was most likely going to die alone, then headed back to Colorado. Nuff said there.
The band had some solid shows in the midwest a few weeks later. Milwaukee has always been a tough town for us to fill a venue, but Turner Hall is a great place to play, if for no other reason than they have one of the best catering companies in the country. We look forward to our next visit there to eat and rock.
The Pageant in STL was another fantastic show. Cold and snowy, but great. It’s been a while since I have written, of course, and because not many exciting things happen to us on the road, it becomes difficult to relate amusing or interesting anecdotes to you guys. Though for lunch in STL we did walk way too far to a Subway sandwich shop. After putting our 4 orders in, some old man came in, walked right up to the glass, and started giving the poor employee a hard time by ordering items that weren’t actually on the menu. We felt bad for the employee, and he handled it very well. The old man troublemaker finally got it as close to “his way” as Subway ingredients would allow.
And then the band kicked ass at the Pageant.
Same went for HOB in Chicago. Waking up on the bus under the city is a bit scary, but the venue is like a home away from home for us. It was great to pack the place out in a town where the band has been coming for over 20 years.
Our next weekend of shows featured a shortened work day in Seattle, (where we are not allowed to sound check until 5PM because of the potential to bother the local businesses nearby), the spring loaded floor of The Crystal Ballroom in Portland, and a 12 hour monster drive direct to the Fillmore in San Fran. All three shows ended up doing really well, wrapping up another successful winter weekend.
Starting to warm up in Colorado and we look forward to finishing up our winter tour in Southern California and Texas in the coming weeks.
Big Head Todd Band
The summer of 2012 went better than we could have imagined. We played some incredible venues in some incredible locations, and made some lasting friendships with three other bands and crews. A bit of a slower Fall gives us the opportunity to catch up on some paperwork, and to begin the process of putting together our Winter 2013 dates.
It was billed as the Last Summer on Earth Tour, 2012. Apparently the Mayans decided to set an End Date for their calendar, which turns out to be DEC 21, 2012. We should let Santa know there is no reason to fire up the sleight this year.
We started in Toledo, on what ended up being the hottest day of our summer. It was over 100 degrees (where is the degree symbol on this keyboard?) and so stink in humid that we were drenched by the end of load in. Soaked a bit more by the end of sound check. Had to do a wardrobe change for show time, by which time the temp had dropped to a chilling 95º (is that the symbol? Hah! Found it)
We spent the rest of the summer meandering about the USA, and had some warm days, and some cool days. Mostly warm, though nothing as smoking thermo hot as that Toledo show.
We traveled with Cracker, who opened each show, and also Blues Traveler (old friends) and Barenaked Ladies. Canadiens. The audio and lighting crews… also Canadiens. For the most part, we all got along just great and it made for a good, easy summer. We really appreciated our fans’ willingness to come to see us, even though they would have to pay a bit more for their tickets than a typical BHTM show.
The tour included over 30 dates, with just enough days off along the way to get some competitive rounds of Band Golf happening. So, July and August went by quickly, and the dates were a lot of fun.
That tour ended just in time for us to get our tour bus back to Denver, load up band and crew (we had flown home after the final tour date on the east coast), and drive south to Telluride for the First Annual Ride Fest, sponsored in part by BHTM. We played on both days, closing the show on SUN night. The moment that show ended, we hustled up and did a super quick load out, then began the 8 hour drive to the Denver airport, in hopes we would make our flight to Florida to play a private function that MON night. As it happened, we shared the stage (and gear) with our old friends, Blues Traveler. Had a few laughs, rocked out, and by 2PM the next day we were finally back home. Grocery shopping, laundry, watering plants, cutting lawns, pulling weeds…. time to catch up on ALL of those things that you guys do each weekend. Man, that was a lot of laundry.
Then, in September, we made our first trip in many years to Canada. It was just for one show, so we flew to New Brunswick (WAYYY on the east coast, east of Maine!) the night before the show, did the show the next day, then had to spend another night before we could fly home, due to the distance from there to Denver.
We snuck in a few more fly date shows on the east coast, including the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, about three and a half weeks before Hurricane Sandy landed a direct hit on the Jersey Shore. I spent my whole childhood going to Ocean City NJ each summer for family vacation, so it sure hit home. And I know people with homes down the shore who I was very concerned about. The water and sand were everywhere, but the folks I know did not lose their homes.
Trying to get a bit of golf and tennis and fishing in before the weather turns too cold here in Colorado. It’s November, which means we can have 70 and sunny or 20 and snowy. We still have a few Colorado shows before the new year, and we look forward to Todd doing a solo gig in Denver on DEC 6. Other dates should be announced soon.
And to finish up 2012, we will not actually be in Denver, but have decided to fly to Minneapolis to do a NYE show at Mill City Nights. Meet us in the historic warehouse district downtown, and ring in 2013 with BHTM.
2013 is starting to shape up, and the tour dates are coming in already. Looks like we will be making our normal tour stops throughout the winter, and we hope you will go to bigheadtodd.com to purchase your tickets beginning this week.
LET ME REPEAT!!!! »»»> bigheadtodd.com is the place to go to get your tickets for 2013 Big Head Todd tour dates that are set to be announced within the next 10 days!!! Keep and eye out and thanks so much for this support. You may not think purchasing your tickets early at our web site is a big deal, but trust us, IT IS A BIG DEAL!
One more important note — This winter tour will be what we call “AN EVENING WITH…”, meaning that the band will play two sets instead of having an opening act. We feel that fans who are willing to purchase tickets to our shows should get maximum Monster Music. Also, we will be doing our best to start and finish our shows within a decent time frame, so that you have time for an early dinner out, and can get home at a reasonable hour to tuck in your kids or enjoy a nightcap before bedtime!
Thanks again for all of your support and we will see you in a few months.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters
Well, looks like Tumblr is the new post area for my BHTM blog, which I thought no one would miss, but clearly I was wrong! I guess if I post to Tumblr, it will be shot over to the band web site, and while I’m not really sure how this will work, I felt it was time to say Hello to the fans again and get you all caught up on how things are going.
I can’t believe how busy the winter of 2012 has been, and how quickly it has come and gone. We certainly had a busy first three months of the year. After a phenomenal night at the House of Blues in Chicago on New Year’s Eve, we geared up for a tour that began with a sellout in Atlanta. What a great start! We worked our way north, stopping near my home town in Pennsylvania for a day off near the largest mall on the east coast, the King of Prussia Mall. Met up with some friends and made up for some lost time. We had shows all over the northeast, and after a short break at home we worked the midwest, including a super show in Indy the week of the Super Bowl. We pulled up to this gig the day before our show. The hotel was close to the venue (a downtown street stage type set up), so I worked a deal where I could get our bus “in the hole” the day before, and not have to worry about manuevering in the next morning, when the streets would be filled with football fans looking for beer and chicken wings days ahead of the big game. That evening, on our night off, we were invited to see the Indiana Pacers play a home game. Since the bus was parked right outside the arena, it was a short walk from the bus to the game. We had killer seats. 2nd row on the floor. We sat behind several of the Patriot players, who had the first row. Who the hell do they think they are? We had a blast, thanks to the fact that one of the owners of the team is a big fan of the band. Man, those kids on the court sure are big.
After the midwest weekend, which included Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and St Louis, we flew home on Super Sunday for a few days off, but made it in time to watch the big game. I lost all of my prop bets.
A few days later, we began a run to the west coast, by flying in to Reno and working our way to the shores of Lake Tahoe. We have made the Crystal Bay Casino a regular stop for us. Nice small room, and we fill it up every time. I don’t know where everyone comes from, but we are thankful they find this place and treat us well.
The next night, we sold out the Fillmore in San Fran. Always a fun time there. Then we headed south towards LA, but instead of doing the House of Blues, we did 3 smaller clubs outside the city over four days. (Hermosa Beach, San Juan Capistrano, Agoura Hills). Turns out we were right down the road from the foothills where M*A*S*H was filmed. That was my favorite 30 minute sit-com growing up. After those three, we rolled back north, stopping in Reading CA for a day off. First time there. We were walking to dinner and saw a girl sitting on the curb with her bicycle, in tears. She was in no apparent danger, and she was on the phone, so we let her be. when the restaurant we went to was too crowded, we turned back to find another one, and came across this gal again. This time I had to ask if she was OK. Turns out she had been attacked by some young boys for no other reason than to knock her off her bike. She was still shaken up, but had called her father, who was on his way. I didn’t want her to feel afraid of US, so we moved on after determining she was safe and that her Dad was only minutes away.
Portland was up next. Roger Clyne, who was traveling with us in a support role, had a good following here, and was definitely responsible for selling some tickets. He is a good guy, and we hope to be able to share the stage with he and his band sometime soon.
Next up was Saturday night in Seattle in a venue we had never been to. It was called the Neptune Theater, and for the life of me, I can’t remember a thing about this place as I type (at 30000 feet on a flight home to DEN). Oh well, I’m sure we had a good time and I’m sure the crowd had fun. Don’t you always?
We finished up the west coast leg in Spokane. Another good crowd, especially for a Sunday night. After this show, the bus needed to head south towards Texas, where we would have our next batch of shows. So, we drove overnight to Bozeman MT, where we caught a flight home for a quick break while the bus rolled south. A few days later, we flew again, this time to Dallas, to begin the best three day stretch of the winter.
Texas continues to impress us with the fan base coming out to see the band live. It’s really incredible. Also, we signed autographs in Dallas and Houston (and many of the dates on this winter tour), and broke records for our merchandise sales for the winter. Texas can party, and can really support a band when we need it most. I may never choose to live there, but the Big Head Todd band will always rock Dallas, Houston and Austin as long as they are still a band. Thanks to nearly 4000 of you who supported us down there at the beginning of March.
Next up was the deep south. We flew in to Orlando, and spent the night near the home of our bus driver, saving us the cost of a hotel room. (we really ARE running a business). His home town was not exactly on the way to Tampa, our first Florida show on the trip, but it was close enough to make it worth it. TPA was too expensive to fly in to, so it worked out well. St Petersburg was our target the next morning, and going over that bay bridge in to the city was a pretty cool site. If I had time, I would have liked to go to a Phillies Grapefruit league game, but there is never enough time to do many of the things we would like to do. Traveling is fun, but not being able to see ALL the sites this country has to offer can be a bummer when you have to work most days out on the road.
The State Theatre is a classic Florida hard rock club, or so it appeared to have been at one time. It was dark, and our shoes stuck to the floor a bit. But we had a good day and a good crowd. We were helped in part by a large contingent of Brian’s Mom’s friends and family. We set them up as best we could with chairs in a roped off section of the club, where they could watch the drummer do his thing. In our world, parents have top priority. When we are in Philly, MY MOM gets the best seat in the house. We are fortunate to get to see family when we travel. Something I would not be able to do as much if I was trapped in a cubicle with only two weeks of vacation time per year.
The House of Blues in Orlando was our next stop. This is a great room, with great crew and good logistics, and we only wish we could have sold more tickets to fill this enormous venue. But we had a great crowd on hand, including John and Sandy and their NASA team out in full force. We treated them to a private sound check party, complete with a pre-show warm up of Blue Sky.
We woke up the next morning in Ft Lauderdale. We were back at the Culture Room. A strip mall-y shopping center place where the bus took up seemingly half of the parking lot. Here we ran in to some truly hard core old friends from back in the days of Boulder, CO, when the band used to play at McCabes all the time, and everybody I knew either worked there or drank there. Roger, Paul, Trevor, and “Chicken” Rich set off the “way back machine” and we did get a chance to say Hi for a while. This club is interesting. The sound system is decent, but the owner decided to invest primarily in the lighting design. LED walls, fully programmable intelligent lighting and tons of haze fill this room. He is so committed to his club that he can be found there from 3PM until the joint shuts down well after we are loaded out. If only he could have put some of those lights on our drummer……
We made our first trip to the Florida Theater in Jacksonville the next day. Again, weak ticket sales were a bit of a disappointment, but we are looking forward to being invited back because of the quality of the venue. Great staff and crew, great audio and lights, etc.
Our largest disappointment with regard to ticket sales, however, was not in Florida, but in Mobile, AL. Not sure if we had ever been there, and not sure if we will every be going back. This part of the country just never had the radio support we would have needed years ago to establish the band and get some long term footing with fans. We somehow survived the Soul Kitchen venue, which, while staffed by a good group of people, was truly a scary building. We were shocked that this place had not been condemned, and can’t’ imagine a building inspector would not demand upgrades and improvements. Again, we were OK with the hard working folks who ran the place, and if invited back I’m sure we would play there. But with the lack of radio support we don’t anticipate being back. But if we do go back, I hope they pick up the garbage off the floor that has been there since the turn of the century — the LAST century.
Northbound, to the Carolinas… a beautiful part of the country. Started this run with a sellout at the Handlebar in Greenville, SC. Nice folks, and they clean the floors after every show. We would love to visit again. We left a box of CD’s there, and they emailed me and then shipped them home for us. People are nice….
The next night we were in Charleston, at the Music Farm. Another old building, but a decent venue all in all. Apparently it used to be the largest train station in the country. If this is not the case, don’t’ harm the messenger. We did a “brush with greatness” on this night. Our merchandise guy reported to me that Bill Murray was in the house. Sure enough, I spotted him in the 3rd row near the end of the night, and after buying a bunch of shirts and music, he was rocking out all the way to the end of the show. Afterwards, we coordinated a quick meet and greet outside in the alley of the club, and we learned that he is truly a fan. This was his first BHTM show, and we hope to see him again. We plan on emailing him the next time we are in the area (he splits time in South Carolina and…. New England somewhere). And of course we’ll be writing the sound track to his next movie, right? We’ll see….
Our second Fillmore of the year was in Charlotte the next night. Great room, good crowd, and even though it rained, we had a good day. We recommend the diner across the street for an awesome (not necessarily healthy) meal. Had a bit of a birthday meet and greet after the show for our friend Bobby, organized buy our biggest Carolina fans, the Harrills. Another close friend of ours (Bobby R.) stopped by the bus early in the afternoon before load in, and we caught up for a good while. He runs another venue on the beach that we love to play at, the Windjammer. We hope to be there again some time in 2012. Why? Because “the boat’s in the water”.
Now for the crazy routing of the week award.
After the Charlotte show, we loaded out (in the rain, ahem….) and rolled overnight to ATL (that’s the Atlanta airport, for you non-fliers). We jumped off the bus in the pre-dawn hours, and worked our way to check in for a flight to Denver. Made the flight, touching down before noon. From there, I pulled up the Tundra (perfect ride for these fly dates we do with limited gear), we loaded up our guitars, pedals, in ear monitor cases, and instead of going home, we drove right by home on our way to Crested Butte. Look it up. Beautiful part of the state, near Gunnison, CO (you could boat the Blue Mesa Reservoir for weeks). It was quite a long day, and we actually had multiple vehicles driving. As large as the Tundra is, we could fit the whole team in there. As I and my group got hungry, we started looking for some food near South Park. We stumbled in to a bowling alley with a restaurant attached, and actually had a pretty dang good meal. My chorizo burrito hit the spot. From there we got to within 15 minutes of Gunnison when we hit a speed trap. I was dead to rights, coming over the hill at 77 in a 65. But the Man was sympathetic to our trying 18 hour trip, so let me off with a warning. From there, we puttered up the hill to the resort just ahead of nightfall. there was no snow on the ground, and not much to speak of on the hill. Same story all over the country the way I have heard it.
No snow at all, until….
The next morning, it was chilly but not too much so for a Colorado band. We set up and line checked our gear, then made room for Guster to set up. They would play first, after a 30 minute set from our friend Zach Heckendorf, and then we would hit late afternoon.
Well, the snow came. By the time we were doing our changeover, it was falling at a pretty good clip. While the audio consoles were freezing up in the wind and snow, the band members were scaring up ski goggles to wear for the show. I’m not kidding. Rob put on his ski helmet and goggles, and the other three had the goggles alone. The snow fell harder, the wind blew wilder, and the consoles were still broken. The PA worked, so the crowd could hear the band, but the Monitor console was down, so the band could not hear itself play. I hope it was OK out front for the fans. After each song, I went out on to the stage to squeegee off some of the snow that would collect the previous 5 minutes. The keyboards were soaked, and Jeremy had to play with a towel covering the keys. Both pedal boards were covered in snow, as they were downstage where most of the snow collected. The lap steel guitar ceased to work, and I am awaiting an update on its condition. I rebuilt the guitar pedal board, and it all seems to be working. Better snow than rain I suppose. The wind blew the snow sideways, and it engulfed everything we own. But after drying it all out at our office in Golden the next 5 days, it seems to all be OK now.
We are off the tour bus now for a while, but if you look at our schedule, you will see that we are flying in for some “one-offs as spring thaws the remaining snow at elevations we will see in Vermont and New Hampshire.
After that, a few more single dates as we close in on our yearly Red Rocks date in June. It will sell out this year, thanks to some ticket sales to Barenaked Ladies fans, who will open the show for us. And when summer hits, so will BNL and BHTM, along with Blues Traveler and Cracker for a SIX WEEK tour that we look forward to. Should be a blast, and we hope that our fans will see the value of the show and support us as well as the other bands. More info at our web site.
Sorry for the long “catch up” blog. I know I owed you.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters
As you may have seen, we have done a bit of a revamp of our web site. As a result, I have just figured out how to post my periodic updates from the road for your eternal enjoyment. Sorry I have not done this sooner. I’m not too techie, but still no excuse for the laziness.
Hope the BHTM nation is in high spirits at this time of year. Our band and crew is feeling pretty good. We had a memorable 2011, and have some time off for the holiday season, which does include my January 7 birthday (jawbreakers still make a great gift), and most importantly, my inbox is being crammed daily with new tour dates for 2012. Most of you are checking updates at the new web site, and the rest of you can find the new dates with ease.
We knocked out a few shows in November. Our last show with the John Hiatt guys was in Indy on NOV 18, and then we somehow managed to fly our asses down to Phoenix to do a Big Head Blues Club “alter ego” gig with Tedeski and Trucks Band. The other night we played a taping of eTown at the Boulder Theater in our home town, and we have ONE MORE 2011 SHOW to rock out: NEW YEARS EVE AT THE HOUSE OF BLUES IN CHICAGO. I wonder if it will be windy or cold there?
One more item before I get back to work, preparing for 2012: This year, we toured as the Big Head Blues Club to celebrate the works of Robert Johnson. And as of yesterday, we had lost two of the legends that joined us on our tour bus for the trip. David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the last living link to Robert Johnson, left us a few months ago. And Hubert Sumlin, our dear friend and Howlin Wolf’s guitar player for 24 years, lost his battle with a multitude of illnesses just yesterday. We are sad to hear of his passing, but happier for having known him. Peace be with Honeyboy, Hubert, and you and yours.
Jeff, Tour Manager
So, we winged it again last week, both literally and figuratively (too clever for my own good). We flew early last FRI morning to the east coast, landing at BOS (horrible airport) early in the afternoon, so we could roll south on 95 in a major downpour to Providence, RI. We loaded in to Lupo’s, where it was kinda dark and clammy. Ended up having a strong crowd who seemed very appreciative. Spent the night down the street at an amazing hotel, the Providence Biltmore. Couldn’t stay more than one night though, as we had to ramble down the highway again to Bridgeport, CT (my Dad grew up in West Hartford, CT). We actually were playing second on this night, after John Hiatt, so we set up, sound checked, then the jumped in the van and drove down to Central Park, NYC to do a quick opening set ahead of Grace Potter. Not often that we do TWO shows in one day, but with some good logistical planning, we were able to pull it off. Then, back to the Klein Auditorium in Bridgeport just in time to do the headlining spot. And if that was not a long enough day, we rolled even further south after the show to the LaGuardia airport area, got a hotel for the night, and flew out the next morning to get home by noon the next day! Crazy weekend.
All of a sudden, I’m busy! What happened? 4 weeks ago I was picking lettuce, tomatoes and carrots out of my brand new vegetable garden, perimetered by the first 4 sunflowers I’ve ever planted. Next thing you know, my phone is ringing and buzzing, I’m in the middle of Tennessee, and I’m tired because I’m not getting enough shut-eye.
Heck, two weeks ago I was sitting on a beach with some of my best West Chester friends, looking around at each other stunned as the ground shook beneath us, knowing nothing of the earthquake that had occurred a few hours down the shore line in Virginia. Was it just that overweight man running after a Kadima Ball? NO! And later, word spread on the beach, thanks to cellular tech.
But now, we are in the midst of an Autumn run, which has included a festival in Montana (where we froze our butts off in sub-freezing temps), a private event in Texas (where we sweated our butts off in 90+ degree heat), 5 Frontier flights, a tour bus airport pickup, an overpriced meal at Legal Seafood, a man who wandered on to the wrong tour bus… ours (John Hiatt) and various venues that we have never (and many never again) been to.
Flying can take it out of you, especially those early, predawn lobby calls. We DO love Frontier though. A whole different animal…… I’ve never been proficient at sleeping on planes. I have that mindset that something may go wrong if I am not awake. Perhaps the pilot will need me to take over for some reason….
Flying in to Reagan International is kinda cool. I happened to be on the Right side of the plane, so took in an impressive view of the Pentagon. I understand it is the largest building in the world. I have not yet Googled it though.
At the Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA, we had one of our better autograph signings, with some great fans who withstood some very threatening weather to say Hi. And the new tee shirts flew off the shelves.
We’re rolling with John Hiatt and the Combo band this week. Crew guys are pretty nice. Friendly, accommodating. They remind me of us. hah. Our tour busses look very similar. Both have the same style detailing, and both are pulling white trailers in tow. JH walked on to our bus the first day, started to ask us what we were doing on his bus, then stopped and decided to introduce himself, shake hands, then retreat, perhaps with a stitch of humility. Seems like a nice chap, though.
Tonight we are in Nashville. There IS a certain vibe in this town regarding the history of music, and it seems to ooze from the walls and pews of the Ryman Theatre, sight of this evenings show. We understand that this venue has its place in history. Hank Williams and Johnny and June Carter Cash have been memorialized on the walls with some very intriguing photos of their visits to the Ryman. Kinda cool.
We are having a pretty happening summer so far.
After flying in to Minneapolis (MSP) on Aug 4, we somehow found the Zoo in Apple Valley. The tough part was working our way around to the employee gate and meandering down the narrow one way road to the backstage area of the amphitheater. Big lake right behind the stage, which I thought would be cool, but it was pretty stagnate and “buggy”. By the time we started to play around dark, the mosquitoes were threatening. We kept them at bay and rocked a sell out crowd though, and that made it a great night.
Thanks to the young man who was kind enough (via his Mom) to bring us a bag of Starburst Fruit Chews. Tangy…..
The next morning we rolled south to Mankato, MN for our first Rib Fest of the summer. After we got settled in and got our sound check done, they venue brought us a bunch of ribs, corn, slaw, beans, and rolls for us to dine on. Good times. And a good crowd as well. We guessed the crowd to be about 4000 folks, and we thank you. I think it was our first time to Mankato. I guess after 20 years, we still have not been quite everywhere. There sure are a lot of cities and towns in this country, and you never do quite grasp the enormity of the USA until you get a chance to visit it by way of driving.
Speaking of driving, we did a ton last weekend. We flew in to Milwaukee, but we weren’t to the gig yet. We had to get some vehicles and roll north and west to Oshkosh, WI, another town I am certain we had not visited. Was a bit put off (OK, a LOT put off) by the dam road construction in Wisconsin. Very frustrating when you are trying to read road signs, follow your GPS, AND negotiate the construction that the GPS girl (we call her Pat) is not hip too. I know, there are GPS units that can deal with construction….. Well, not Pat. And I just downloaded all new maps last week, too. Once we managed to get to Oshkosh, we found our way to the Waterfest grounds. Nice place. And another good crowd. I sold some merchandise early on, before handing off the chore to Mary, who did a great job and had the classic midwest accent, right out of Fargo…..
Due to some ambitious routing, we needed to get to Duluth MN the next day for a show, so after the Oshkosh show, we had to get headed north and put some miles behind us so the drive the next day would not be too long. We somehow got through some more PIA construction and made our way to Wausau WI, where I had booked us some rooms for the night. The next morning, we were back on the road in our two SUV’s, headed north to Duluth. Fortunately, due to the nature of the Blues Festival in Duluth, we did not have to be there until 5PM, so we rolled at noon for nearly 5 hours and found our way, got settled in and prepared to “get the Blues”. Sadly, the local doppler radar seemed to be caught up with it’s own case of the Blues, and the weather was threatening the whole evening. By the time we took the stage (with a special appearance from Joe Louis Walker) the rain was falling. We saw some people head for the exits, so we truly appreciate those who stuck by us and rode our the storm along with us (it was raining on us and all of our gear on the stage due to the wind). We thank you.
Next weekend, we are doing another crazy fly/drive trip that will take us to Arnolds Park at Lake Okoboji in Iowa on SAT, and then over to the Peace, Love, Music and Art Festival in Freeport IL on SUN. Hope you guys can make it if you are within driving distance.
Until then, have a great week and we look forward to seeing you all before the end of 2011.
Last weekend, we had a show in Squaw Valley. It was a mini whirlwind trip, as we only had the one show to fly to. I loaded up our flight gear, drove to Boulder to pick up Rob K and Matt (audio guys) and headed to DIA to meet up with band guys. We had to fly in to Reno, where we were met by a nice guy name Tae, holding a sign with my name on it. That always makes me feel special for about 2 seconds. Tae would be the one transporting us up the hill one hour to what he called the Tahoe Basin. It’s really beautiful up there. On the way, I got a call from the CEO of Squaw Valley. He was welcoming us to his world, and offering us anything we needed during our stay. I got the guys all checked in to their condos, and then headed to the stage with our flight gear. The location of the stage was quite breathtaking. facing the mountain, under a gondola, adjacent to the pond where the pond skimming contest would later take place. Sure enough, dozens of contestants took part in the contest, and most struggled to get across the pond, but it was fun to watch a few of the runs while we set up for our show. After dinner, and as dusk fell, we worked our way to the stage to find several thousand people awaiting our set, which would be followed by a fireworks display.
For me, the memorable part of my day would happen after the show, after the fireworks, and after the load out.
I was able to find an employee with access to a big golf cart with space on the back for transporting our ten flight cases. Jeremy and I loaded up and were being delivered to the front lobby of our condo when we heard a gal yelling and running at us. I told the driver to slow down so we could sense this person’s issue or motive, and when we came to a complete stop, she was upon us quickly, and winded. She went on in some detail about her as yet unsuccessful effort to find her dog, missing from her vehicle somewhere in the massive parking lots that surround the Squaw Valley resort. I offered to help her look, explaining that after I put our gear away, I would extract my large Mag Lite from one of the cases and help her search for Stoli, the large black lab. The girls name was Laura. A bit nebulous at first, she explained that she was actually dog sitting for a friend, so she was quite despondent about the prospect of not tracking Stoli down before leaving. The parking lots were huge (think ski resort), but we worked in concentric circles for a while, before moving the next lots in search. Sadly, I was no help to Laura, and had to abandon my assistance after about 90 minutes, as I had a 4AM lobby call to be transported to the Reno airport for an early flight. I told the gal who I was, after she asked why I had all the gear in the cart, and I asked her to email the band web site when the dog was found, so that I could publish the good news here of Stoli’s return. As of this post, however, I have not received word about Stoli’s recovery. If anyone hears, please let me know.
See you this summer.