Sunday, September 16, 2012

West Coast Whole Foods Tour

 I've been home for two weeks and still have not written a word about the west coast tour til now.
Life has been too busy and awesome to sit around writing blogs, that's what long hours in the van are for.
But we leave on Friday for the next leg of the tour and I don't want to get behind.
 So, we flew into Seattle and played The Stillaguamish River Festival, also playing that weekend were, Dr.John, Mickey Hart, and Los Lonely Boys. I got some good running in the morning of the show, which was wonderfully catered and we played, hit the sack, a headed for Canada. We took the ferry to Victoria,BC, a beautiful journey and a great gig. The crowd had not seen Alejandro in a few years and were very excited. We had dinner at Rebar, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant near the club. I had the Quinoa, black beans and avocado salad. my "go to" meal at home.

A ferry ride back, and a long ride to Portland the next day, where we played a new venue for us, The Doug Fir. A really cool place, I've always loved Portland and this visit was a good as the rest. Local openers Divers were cool and Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5, The Baseball Project, and REM got up with us on encores of "Hurricane" Waiting for the Man" etc. Big fun. The next morning I got in a session at Burnside Skatepark had breakfast at The Doug Fir restaurant with friends and hit the road for San Francisco.

I had a free morning in San Francisco and was able to get a 14 miler to the beach and back, the hills are tough but the temps are so nice it feels like you could run forever. The gig at Bimbo's was fun, my Dad was in town visiting my sister so it was a bit of a family reunion. I had some great food in San Francisco, stand outs were Thai Idea and The Loving Hut. From this point on we make a habit of hitting the local Whole Foods on the way out of town. This works well as you get to the smaller towns and your not sure whats gonna be around the hotel or club. The next few shows are good, San Louis Obispo, San Juan Capistrano, Hermosa Beach(have to mention The Spot great vegan enchiladas). The morning after Hermosa Beach we have to be up early and at NBC studios for the Jay Leno taping. This is always a long but exciting day. The taping went well and we drive straight to soundcheck at The Mint in LA. They say there is no such thing as a good LA crowd but we had one. I love playing a small room and it was packed, and lots of "Rock Royalty" in the crowd always ups the energy.
 The next and last California show is San Diego, strange bar gig but nice hotel and I experienced my first earthquake though I didn't feel it. (read about it later that day, Chris felt it ) .
 Next stop Flagstaff, AZ.
 An old friend from Alabama picked me up at the hotel and took me for a ride up in the mountains. Flagstaff is beautiful and its always nice to get away from the hotel/van/venue, thanks Kelly. The show that night at The Orpheum Theater was fun, a great juice stand on the corner didn't hurt. The next day we drive like 11 hours straight into soundcheck in Denver, CO at The Bluebird Theater. By this point we're so close to heading home you can feel it and you don't really mind that you haven't slept in days because soon you'll sleep in your own bed. Last night of tour shows are always special and we got Jesse Malin and Derek Cruz (our tourmates) up with us on the encore, (we always do but it seems bigger on the last show). We also managed to get Mark their soundman up there as well on "Beast Of Burden"
 The next day it's 18 hours to Austin. We made a couple of Whole Foods stops and the next thing I know I'm home at 8am. Thanks Eric Carter.
 Til next time
 I'll be in the greenbelt or at the soccer field or.... 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Home again, gone again

We finished out the tour with a week or so in Italy. Beautiful country, beautiful people, just don't get caught up with punctuality, or details. Everything went well, the shows were great, got to run in some amazing places, and survived the redundancy of the Italian diet. Truthfully, a lot of people went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care amidst all the meat and cheese insanity. Thank you Jean Franco, for ordering for me every day. The final three days of the tour were insane. Milan to NYC to Edmonton back to NYC to DC then home. I had a great 10 days at home with the family and now we're back out for 3 weeks on the west coast. Just played the first show here in Arlington, Washington, just outside of Seattle and in the morning we head to Victoria,BC.
Plenty of good eating, running, and music ahead. Maybe a little skateboarding and beach time coming too. BD

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

...London & Oxford . France & Austria

Our show in London on Friday had been sold out for weeks. So we knew it would be a good one, also, with The Boss headlining Hard Rock Calling festival in Hyde Park, there were the usual rumors. The Borderline is a great club, but not a place where you could easily get Bruce Springsteen in without a lot of hoopla. So no guest appearances but a great "SRO" show. The next day we are off to Oxford, which was fine, raining and bittersweet, as we were leaving for Italy in morning,But a fine show none the less.
The drive from Oxford, England to Pavia, Italy takes us back to the Euro-tunnel (marvel that it is) and through France, Germany,and Austria. All this to avoid Switzerland (they will supposedly tax on us all our merchandise even if just passing through. We spent last night in Reims, France. A beautiful city where we had a nice dinner(where I successfully expressed my need for there to be no animal products in my meal) at Pain & Cie, got some sleep, and a run through the park. Then off to Feldkirch, Austria via Freiburg and Friedrichshafen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Ireland, Scotland, England. So far...

The past two weeks have been a blur of long van rides, ferries, gigs, hotels,etc. So I'll try to hit the high points and spare you the details. After Paris ( now in the care of our tour manager Mike Allen) we had two days to get to Dublin. One overnight stay in Folkstone and another in Valley. The morning we woke in Valley I enjoyed a morning run along a rocky beach (photo below)(closest thing to running the greenbelt since I left Austin in May).
Many of these nice English and Irish Inns have breakfast in the morning. I did not fair well, Muesli,muesli ,muesli !
On all the Ireland dates we were joined by Dublin band, The Mighty Stef. They were a great band and real nice guys, I wish them the best. So, the longest day ever came after our gig in Galway. We played, packed up and went back to the hotel just to clean up then on the road to Suffolk, England..
Which means we have to catch the ferry in Dublin at Six am. Once on land again it's still another 6 hours to the gig.All in all a 14 hr drive straight to the Maverick festival. Which turned out to be a really great show. Basically it's old castle, old church everywhere you turn. So eventually you get a little numb to it all. But, pictured below is Kilkenny Castle, the only one I did go into. In Winchester we stayed with the promoter Oliver Gray, his wife Birgit and daughter Lucy were very gracious with us as we invaded their home. Oliver does this all the time so they knew what they where getting into. I really enjoyed our time there, so nice to not be in a hotel. Oliver gave me a copy of his book Volume as we left, I'm about half way through it and really enjoying it, thanks Oliver. From Winchester we go to Kendall, van ride,load in,soundcheck,dinner,gig,load out,hotel,repeat. This is the deal.
But, we have the 4th of July off in Glasgow, so, being our tour manager's home town he has arranged a cook out for us at his home. Complete with veggie burgers,veggie kebobs and fruit salad. Thanks Mike and Linda.
Up to this point, the winner of "best in house meal" is The Grey Eagle in Ashille,NC. But Stereo Bar in Glasgow made a strong showing, we'll have to wait to the end of the tour to find out, but as of now it's between these two. Totally Vegan restaurant "Stereo" is street level and "Stereo Bar" the live music venue is below. What a perfect scenario. Next to Newcastle Upon Tyne, rained all day and all night. On to Leicester, where I got in a great long run, all over the town and through Abbey Park (pictured below). York was beautiful, "hey look! Old church, old castle!" though I did get to run atop the Wall of York. Which caused me to wonder about walls in general. They're all over Europe , somebody built a wall to keep somebody else out, they're all really old , didn't work, and are now tourist attractions. So the idea back home that some people have about building walls/fences etc... Is approx. 800 year old thinking and should be laughed at.
We had a travel day to Bristol, Alejandro and Billy took the train to London to do radio promo. Another long run in Bristol, my new,"least favorite running surface" is cobblestone . Lots of good vegan restaurants and organic grocers in Bristol. I must mention Earthbound as my favorite. Very nice, had everything I was looking for. I should have enough supplies to make to Italy. But first, tonight we're in Nottingham. More later.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spain 2 France 0

We flew from New York to San Sebastian, Spain arriving at 10:30am.
I vowed to stay up all day and go to sleep at a normal time for my new time zone. We checked in and hit the streets looking for lunch which proved tough for me. Tapas bar after tapas bar. Meat, cheese and bread. I did find small market named "Organics" and stocked up enough supplies to carry me through. I spent the rest of the day at the beach and managed stay up (36hrs) at this point til about 9:30.
The next morning I went out for a 5 mile run along the canal and then went back to hotel to get Alejandro, and we went to the beach and stand up paddle boarded for a while. On to the gig, it was at Teatro Eugenia Victoria a beautiful old theatre. The crowd was a bit reserved but we had good show.
Next day, on to Barcelona with our driver Danny. We are immediately greeted by Juan and Marjan (wonderful friends of Alejandro )who take us to lunch at this beautiful restaurant where they prepare a beautiful salad for me (not on the menu, but come think of it there was no menu) several courses were served and it all looked great. The gig in Barcelona was a rock club and it went off like rock show should. Loud, hot and sweaty. After the show I went with everyone for a bit down to La Rambla, the main entertainment district , with late night Cafes. I went for a run to the beach the next morning and a quick swim then off to Madrid. In Madrid we're playing the Dia De la Musica festival and we check in to a really nice hotel downtown. Complimentary breakfast is awesome with fresh fruit and cereals with soy milk. The gig was great and the catering was wonderful, palm tree plates and flatware (compostable) plenty of vegan options . All in all Spain is a really tough place to be a vegan.
But I have to say I loved it there regardless. The people are so nice and beautiful. Great attention is paid to the design of everything , from the ceiling of the airport to the most common dentist office on the corner. Great design. The night that we play, Spain is playing France about a block from our hotel and the air is electric. After Spain wins the town goes nuts and I go to sleep to the sound of car horns and victorious screams. On to Paris.
We get in town with time to check in to the hotel before we have to be at the venue, so I head out to find lunch. Indian food is always a pretty safe bet.
The crew at LĂȘ Divan De Monde was so helpful and the room was cool. We had great show and I walked around Paris for a while as we would be leaving in the morning, spending a grand total of about 19 hrs in Paris . It ain't vacation, contrary to what some may think. It the morning we head toward the U.K. And take the Euro tunnel under the English Channel what a trip that was. Right now I'm writing this from the deck of a ferry which has our sprinter van in the bottom of it in route to Dublin where we play tonight.
More to come. Keep cool Austin.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last week of first leg of u.s tour

This last week was tough. Don't get me wrong, it ain't roofing houses, but , it can be hard out here.
Sunday was the Big Apple Bar b que Block party in Madison Square Park.
Great show, a light rain shower during "San Antonio Rain" and a big sing along on "Chelsea Hotel 78" just blocks from The Chelsea. It was a barbque scene but backstage catering had portobello wraps and humus with celery. That night was no sleep and a 2am load in to the Fox News building.
We did the Don Imus show (don't ask me). I got a short nap before load in to Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. At Maxwells I always get the " health bowl" salad( pic below). The Ghost Wolves opened the show and we had a great show.
The next morning we had a 9am load in to "30 rock" for The Jimmy Fallon Show. Doing T.V is always a long day and then you're on, 3:30 of rock and roll and then you're back in the van headed toward Philly. No sleep so it goes without saying , no running for a couple of days. In Philly we do WXPN World Cafe Live radio show and have a great curry lentil soup and fruit bowl from a place near the studio called Pic-nic. Back in the van and on to Wilmington , DE. For World Cafe music venue show. A beautiful venue and a good show. After the gig we drive 3hrs to Albany, NY where we have a day off . I got some sleep and a nice 10 mile run through Albany. Played at the Egg performing arts center. Then on to Boston , played at Brighton Music Hall. I received a FedEx package with Fathers Day cards from home (thanks Greta, Isabel, and Nancy). 6 hrs sleep and on to Croton on the Hudson, NY. For the Clearwater Festival. Tomorrow were off to Spain. Now it gets really interesting. Happy Fathers day ! Got in one last run in Queens just now. Now, Off to JFK. Also thanks to Healthy Weight Food Co-op in Albany, NY for the fresh juices and getting me through the last couple of days. Great store.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Big Station release day

Mountain Stage (NPR) was fun, shared the stage with Justin Townes Earle, Elizabeth Cook, and others. Catering was institutional. Hotel was right on the river where there is a nice bike/ run path, got few mile in the day we left.
On to NYC for the "Big Station" record release show at the Bowery Ballroom. Got into the city with enough time to head over to Caravan of Dreams for a "Superfood smoothie #1" and a "raw omega salad". The show was great, big crowd, lots of fun.
On to Amagansett, NY.
I found the "1%" they're in Amagansett. I had a nice run on a day off in Farmingville, NY , managed to get in 7 miles without getting run over ( serious lack of sidewalks).
Next we were in Northampton, MA.
I've always had a good time here. Great running trail along the river, and great restaurants.We always head straight to Alejandro's friend Martin's restaurant ( Veracruz Mexican food) .
Our guitar player Billy "Blanco" White had some friends come see us who own a raw food business, Kurt's Cuisine. They brought a box full of food for us. Kale wraps , chia pudding and a few other creations I can't really describe except to say it was all wonderful . Thanks Kurt and Rachel.
Now, back to NYC for barbecue block party of all things. The coming week is a sleepless four days of press and gigs.
But I will mention we'll be on Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night. See ya!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yard bird and the blue ridge parkway

In Nashville we played a (new) old time stage show, Music City Roots. Normally hosted by Jim Lauderdale, tonight Chuck Mead (BR 549) was hosting. It takes place at a roadside B&B known as The Loveless Cafe. Catered dinner was their famous fried chicken, green beans (cooked in bacon), mashed potatoes (butter).
On this day I survived on peanut butter , rice cakes and bananas. I got in a decent run through a neighborhood in Brentwood the next morning and set out for Ashville,NC.
I love Ashville. We arrived in the evening and I immediately started plotting how I was going to run the trails of the blue ridge parkway. I called a outdoors shop I saw, named Black Dome outfitters( I think). They were very helpful in advising me on where to find the trail head and best trails to take. In the morning Chris Searles ( our drummer) got up early with me and drove me a few miles out to the Folk Art Center on the parkway. I caught the Mountain to Sea Trail here and went north . It was pretty steep climbing and started to drizzle rain , at 4.5 miles I turned and headed south, super fast descent. Great 9 mile trail run and Chris picked me back up.
The show was at The Grey Eagle , a great club I had played before. They have a little kitchen and dinner was amazing. I had a vegetable curry with tempeh and a kale salad with green apples and maple vinegrette. We played a solid two hour show ending the night our tour mates Jesse Malin and Derek Cruz on stage with us for a rowdy version of "Rock the Casbah" and "Beast of Burden".
The next stop was Roanoke for a small festival. I really like this town, one street actually. Kirk Avenue holds a great restaurant , Lucky,were we had dinner, a great coffee shop and the Kirk ave Music Hall. Everyone ate weird cheeses, cured meats and fried chicken, but the chef prepared a great vegan dish of veggies and cous cous with spring greens salad for me. (thank you). Off to Morgantown ,WV for Mountain Stage.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Louisville, Lexington , memorial day.

The show in Louisville, KY was great, Headliners club is always fun and I had dinner at Kashmir an Indian restaurant I've been to before. On to Lexington , got in a great 8 mile run at University of Kentucky. I set out from our downtown hotel toward campus when I remembered The Arboretum at UK. A great protected greenway with a running trail. I had run here before.
The show was "Wood Songs"a PBS stage show. Dinner was catered and I lost big time. Bar b que ! Pork, at that.
Also, all of downtown Lexington was closed for Memorial Day. After sound check I walked around til I found " Shorty's"urban market , jackpot!
I scored a bunch of local grown spinach, some hummus, tortilla chips and an apple. Went back to the theatre and did the show, which went fine, and then to my hotel to enjoy my makeshift dinner. Tuesday , and it's an 9 am lobby call and 8 hour drive to Memphis. Living the dream.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chicago , Milwaukee," running around lake michigan "

We drove into Chicago, dropped our bags at the "2x Tree" and proceeded to Lincoln Hall, a great old theatre venue . Dinner was provided by in house restaurant and had a very standard spinach, hummus wrap.
The show was great we had a local horn section and Susan Voelz on violin.
By the end of the night there way mor people on stage than I would have guessed could fit.
As a trail runner, I really hate running on concrete, but you gotta take what you get out here on the road , and it could (and will be) a lot worse than Chicago's running path at Navy Pier.
If you look for it you'll find many a path in the grass to give yourself a break from the concrete.
In Milwaukee we played at Turner Hall,
A great, old building. I remembered from the last time I was here that the catering is always top notch . I'm posting a picture of the menu, if you enlarge it you should be able to read it.
This morning I went out for another run by the water, very similar to the Chicago running path. I love the Milwuakee Art Museum building.
On to Indianapolis for night off.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leaving Des Moines

8am lobby call to drive to Chicago, nice breakfast in the room. Had dinner at a fusion restaurant last night. I love when I find a Tom Kah soup made with veggie stock.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First night of the tour in NYC !

NYC is always easy for vegans, vegetarians, or just heathy eaters. Good show and off to Des Moines, Ia.
I had some fresh fruit and sunflower seeds at the airport , we'll see what dinner looks like. The Midwest is tough.