Friday, May 4, 2012

Five Finger Death Punch, Soulfly, Windowpane Tour 2012

We're back... and FINALLY, just now,  feeling back to normal! This was our first international arena sized tour and I think we would all agree when I say this was one of the most exciting, yet 'trying' experiences we've had thus far. Seven guys in a van = little to NO sleep. At least on the last tour we had beds for two people while the other two drove and could take shifts, etc. We decided to leave the RV at home for this one as that saved us over $4k in gas... which we ended up paying in health and at times sanity instead, lol. We ALL caught the crud that came complete with cough within the first week of the tour and hung on for all of us, all the way through (I STILL cant shake mine, lol)... BUT... despite the serious sleep deprivation and less than desirable health... it was FANTASTIC!

   Every day we'd wake up from one to four hours of sleep, either at a hotel that we'd have time to stay in for a few hours or in the pig-pile of the van, all feeling like there was no way that we'd be able to give the energy required to project to an arena that night. We'd load in our gear & merch, set-up, sound-check, shower, eat, do an on-site radio interview, change guitar strings, etc, etc... all feeling like death warmed over... and yet every single night when those lights went out... and that massive crowd filled the arena with a deafening roar... the hair would stand up on the back of our necks and the energy would flow into us like a spirit possession. Every night, at that moment, we'd remember that we had something to say... and on these thunderous sound systems, we got to say it loud and strong! It was the same as it was on the last tour in that each night the crowd didn't know what to expect from an opening band that they had never heard of... and every time we'd watch those skeptical faces turn, fists come into the air, "horns" dance with the beat, people start to sing along... followed by the sound of thousands of people screaming with passion... it felt amazing! Hell, there were many times where the crowd was louder than WE were! It was a real connection, and this happened at every single show. Needless to say, we felt, once again, a feeling of validation for our life's work thus far. There's something here, it's real... and we're going to do everything we can to keep on climbing for it~

 The dual guitar outro that we added to the end of "The Number 28"
At the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, Canada 4-5-12

The break in the middle of "Alive & Well"
At the Shaw Conference Center in Edmonton, Canada 4-5-12

   As mentioned in the previous post, we had a crew with us this time. Our tour manager Aaron Greenreich, who took fantastic care of us. He really took a lot of the excess weight off of our shoulders and helped us through the temporary moments of insanity :) Our good friend Jesse Akins (not in this photo as we met him in Vegas) would grab bags of CDs and T-shirts and walk the venue, losing his voice every night working the crowd. My cousin Nate Kellum worked our merch booth, handled the crowds beautifully and took care of the venue count outs each night, etc... everyone worked their butts off and was a pleasure to have along.

About to hit the road (that's Aaron's cute little man-child btw)

  Honestly... we were a little nervous before we took the stage that first night in Vegas... we were not sure of how 5FDP fans would take to us...

Las Vegas, NV
Was a sold out show at the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel

  We walked out to skeptical faces, but were pleasantly surprised in HOW MUCH they all embraced us! We walked off stage that night to the sounds of a roaring crowd. It was a feeling of relief that blossomed into excitement... that lead us right back to the beginning of- "we have a job to do." Any initial concerns were erased and we we're simply excited for the rest of the tour!

At the end of our set, Kevin pulled his girlfriend Rachelle on stage and in front of 4,600 people asked her to marry him ...this show happened to fall on her birthday, good stuff~

 Ran into some friends we made in Montana on the Queensryche tour! This is the second time
these guys have made a long trip out to see us! I saw them in the from row as we took the stage, was awesome =P

We were invited to do a showcase at the Gibson room Vegas that aired on Fox 5 that night. EVERYONE we've met from Gibson are... well... the kind of people you'd expect to be working for the most "rock n roll" guitar company in the world... good, genuine people that have a real love for fine instruments, our American rock heritage and the art of music in general. There were some beautiful acoustics there that we had a hard time putting down!

Taking photo's for the Gibson showcase... as you can see, I was coughing already! lol
You can see our performance & interview here-

We stayed the night at the Hard Rock Hotel and hit the road in the morning (never did get to hang by that beautiful pool at the Hard Rock). We pulled up to the Fox Theater that sunny day a bit early, sat on the curb and made peanut butter sandwiches and took our time loading in. After load in Aaron, Nate, Jesse and I went to get some Pho across the street from the venue... it was good ;)

We were feeling recovered from our initial non-stop drive from Seattle to Vegas (hit a snow storm at 5000 feet, etc... lol... the usual "drive from hell" that we seem to so often have) and had shed our pre-tour concerns. There was an edge that night... we were feeling good and had our full confidence. We had a few pre show vodkas, hit the stage and went nuts... was one of those nights where everything was alined... awesome crowd~

Pomona, CA
 A fan video zoomed in from the balcony at the Fox Theater in Pomona
"Alive & Well"

A fan video zoomed in from the balcony at the Fox Theater in Pomona

Ivan, the singer of Five Finger Death Punch, had watched quite a bit of our set from the side of the stage that night. He approached us later on, introduced himself and had nothing but good things to say... he's a genuine guy... was a cool moment~

Frenso, CA
We had our first night off between Pomona & Fresno. We had driven half way that night after the show and got a hotel in Fresno the next afternoon. 

  Nate decided to catch a cab to the mall to get some new shoes... as he was exiting the cab, Ivan was waiting to get in it! lol... They recognized each other, Ivan told him that the mall had just closed and invited all of us for a drink by the hotel they were staying at. Most of the band and their crew were there, in this small bar, just outside a hotel. We received a warm welcome... and the conversation's ran everything from some of the successful business moves that they have made... to the personal stuff that makes us all do what we do. Hours later, most of us had had a bit to much to good times :) Ivan bought us a couple rooms at that hotel so we didn't have to mess with heading back to ours, was very cool of him :) 

The next day, Nate & I had a good breakfast and we all rolled to the venue a little hung over. We heard that a couple of the 5FDP guys had kept the party going long after we had called it a night... ahhh, the luxury of being able to sleep in a tour bus eh? We had a great show! In a conversation the night before "covers" were brought up, so we played our cover of  AC/DC's "Let Me Put My Love Into You" for them that night ;)

(So far, we don't seem to have any photos from the Fresno show, I'll post some here later if some show up)

Modesto, CA
We loaded in that day, got some coffee and Kevin walked up and said "Dude, there are people taking lots of photos of your cabs" lol... I went over and met the guys and as it turns out they are from the Realta Entertainment group and are working on a new video game that is already endorsed by Slash & Zakk Wylde! This game is going to be similar to guitar hero but with REAL guitars! You are going to be able to "advance" in the game... and as you do they are going to have it to where you can up-grade your gear... and your gear will get more and more beat up as the game goes on, etc. They were drawn to my '74 Marshall cabs because they are pretty darn beat up, lol. I set up my full stack and they took a ton of 3-D footage of it... so when the game comes out, and Slash selects "Vintage Marshall stack" it'll be a virtual recreation of mine =D
We talked with these guys for a while! All fantastic people. As soon as they told us what they were doing we went on to tell them our on-going joke of how the we always felt that the game "rock band" should have driving levels... with snow storms, ice, fog, cliffs, etc... and shared a bunch of our crazy sleep deprived driving stories from the road, lol. The group is led by Troy Dunniway, who I discovered in talking with, was one of the creators of X-box, the creative director for the games Fabel, Halo 2 and a bunch of other famous games, etc... very impressive accomplishments.
These guys took some fantastic photos for us and placed them on a share site a while ago, unfortunately we were unable to download from the road (as we are NOT as tech friendly as they are, lol)... I've asked them if they can place them there again for us :)

To read more about this up-coming game, click here;
Rock Legends

 Glenn writing a blog
 Aaron working up the crowd ;)

Jim & Carol from WCR pickups came out to the Modesto show! They brought us a poster I had asked for that we could display at our merch booth... and we had a chance to hang with them a for a while :)
We had an awesome show! Very receptive crowd... what can I say, fantastic day!

We stayed the night at Kevin's now fiancee's parent's house close by that night. They had chicken, chili and all kinds of good stuff waiting for us! Was quite the treat ;)

 Redding, CA
Redding... another kick ass, sold out show (ya seeing the trend here? lol). My amp blew up at the beginning of  "The Number 28" though (2nd to last song of the set)... Aaron and I popped in a new fuse and it worked, just in time for the dual guitar outro that we added to the end of the song! Was quite the moment... It came on right as Glenn & I go into harmony, some may even have thought we planned it that way! was good, until it blew again at the beginning of "Underfoot" sigh... this time, I knew, it was a power tube and it was toast, lol. Our back up head was on Glenn's side as his was acting odd the night before, Aaron was on it as I just more less "air-guitar-ed" the rest of the song, lol... most of the crowd probably didn't even know, lol... was still an awesome show :)

...and I do have to add that the catering on this tour was fantastic!! lol... This night they had spinach and cheese stuffed portobello mushrooms! Hell, every night had salmon, steak, you name it... EVERY show! We are still in debate on whether the food was best in Redding, CA or Edmonton, CA...??? ...but there was no starving going on ;)

Road trippin'
We had a day off to get from Redding to Yakima. We took shifts and drove through the night to arrive at Jesse's father's place in Oregon at around 7am. We piled in with our sleeping bags and CRASHED!! It was so beautiful out there that Aaron slept on the porch... other than a tree branch hitting him in the face, he said it was nice, lol :)

We then stopped at Jesse's Mom's house for some fantastic food and company a little farther up the road on our way North. They had made an amazing Gumbo and had some really tasty beers, it was heaven!

(Going to add more to the story later guys... I need a break! Check back tomorrow ;)

 Our first "Dome" =)
 Aaron working up the crowd ;)

Seattle, WA
To see more of Mike Savoia's fantastic photos from the Paramount follow this link-

 Was nice to see friends and fam :)

 Dawson Creek, Canada
 Was a long, cold yet beautiful trip all the way North
Can you guess which one is ours? ;)
The tour was joined by the Canadian rock band Persist to open all the Canadian Dates, great guys... we had a good time :)
 Our axl had some serious issues, we had to have it replaced
 Aaron working up the crowd... these guys are crazy! =P Awesome show! Tons of crowd surfing, pits, unfortunately a few people were carried out on stretchers (heard there was no permanent injuries though ;)
 Drove from Dawson's Creek to stay with Aaron's in-laws for the next three days that happen to live within 3 to 4 hours of the next couple venues. Fantastic people! They really took care of us.
 This part of the tour was ALL snow
 Catching up on some sleep ;)

...I don't think we got any photos from that show??? lol wtf??
Kenny, a tech for Soulfly and a great guy! Always in good spirits :) We got to know most of the crew pretty well... awesome people. 
Aaron working up the crowd ;) He'd occasionally flip them off, scream at them... followed by big smiles, lol... it became a tradition!

Edmonton, Canada

The outro to "Alive & Well"

 The dual guitar outro to "The Number 28"

Saskatoon, Canada
Played a show with Just Soulfly & Persist at a smaller venue... since it was Soulfly's show, it was a bit of a "heavier" crowd, lol... we were a little nervous at first... just kept our set to the heavier stuff and completely won them over with our cover of "War Pigs" ;P ...ended up being a really fun night!

On a side note, even though Soulfly is pretty damn HEAVY... we were surprised to see a ton of people in Soulfly shirts at our merch both on the tour EVERY night! I feel that's because the majority of Soulfly's fan base were Sepultura fans (the singer of Soulfly, Max Cavalera, used to sing for Supultura)... and people who have been into rock for a decent amount of time are usually not limited to liking only one style of it... I bet their fans all own AC/DC's Back in Black album as well, you know? It was really quite cool to see that we connected with their fan base as well... as we started the tour not knowing how that would go :)

Regina, Canada an after hours at a near by club, good times!

Winnipeg, Canada
...I don't think we got any photos from that show??? lol... wtf ...again??
We had a "miss-hap" with the Easter Bunny... sorry kids, Windowpane owes you chocolate and colored eggs!

Rapid City, SD
...back in the U.S.A.
 Darren with Jason's arsenal

 The stage right Soulfly arsenal

Got Gibson? The Windowpane arsenal 


Casper City, WY
...last show of the tour. We were properly "hazed by the guys in Five Finger (a tradition to do with opening acts), lol... they got us with $100 of silly spay about 10 seconds into our first song! We were covered! Good stuff :)
 Pre-show interview

The "hazing" ;)

We hung with the guys after the show for a bit... and then parted ways.
Aaron was tired, lol

Much love guys~