Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Slick Famiy on Tour...More Tales from the Road

Well, we’re in the final stretch of the tour and to say I’m homesick is putting it mildly. All I want to do is sleep in my own bed in between my two guys.

Oh wait. That didn’t sound quite right, did it. Oh well, Ha ha, get your minds out of the gutter, I’m talking about dogs. Oh Monty, I miss you so much!

So as I indicated in my last post and as you may have read on my Twitter feed, this marks my swan song as merch woman for the Adrian Belew Power Trio as well as unofficial publicist. I am knee deep in my own writing, and it’s time to focus on my career after three and a half years. It’s been an interesting ride, but it’s time to fly.

But rest assured you haven’t heard the end of me – I am writing a non-fiction book which will address many of the ups and downs of life on the road and my personal behind the scenes account as “groupie mom”. It won’t be a sensational tell-all but it will be a comedy, that is for sure.

Anyway, now that I’ve got that out of the way, I may as well have a last hurrah or two and talk about some of the awesome things that have happened on this tour. For one thing, if you follow us on Facebook, you’ll know that Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton, founders of Pixar Films, are huge Adrian Belew Power Trio fans. So they showed up at our show at Slim’s in San Francisco , were blown away by my brilliant offspring, and invited us for a personal guided tour of Pixar the following day.


What an experience that was. I get the feeling that if you work for Pixar, you wake up each morning and say “Huzzah! I get to go to the office today!” Because dear God, what an “office” it is. Words cannot even begin to describe it. So here’s a few photos to start with:

Our tour started with a private screening in what had to be the most amazing theater ever…the ceiling was a planetarium with shooting stars. Because I no longer have little kiddies, I may have missed the two greatest films in recent history – Up and Partly Cloudy. Got to see trailers for both of them, as well as the trailer for Toy Story 3, coming out in June of 2010. Oh. My.

Eric and I freely admitted we cried during all three screenings. Our eyes filled up – from the sheer genius and pretty much from excitement, too…and maybe even a bittersweet feeling as well.

Instead of cubicles, Andrew and Pete went out and bought a bunch of sheds at Home Depot and each employee has their own shed which they decorated any way they wanted. One guy had a tiki hut with bamboo everywhere; but the absolute best was a guy who didn’t have a shed, but a corner office where he found a crawl space. Holy cow, look what he did…the world's coolest secret room. I don't know about you guys, but a secret room is like number #1 on my top ten list of fantasies.

Here's Adrian, in an extremely fitting photo given his approaching *cough* 60th birthday, using the cane which was a prototype from "Up"...check out the tennis balls...

Here are picture and story boards used for every a writer, this just completely fascinated me.

And get a load of Eric, standing at the very mic used by Ed Asner, Reese Witherspoon, Danny DeVito - well, virtually every star that ever lent his/her voice to a Pixar film. Oh, by the way, that secret room I showed you? The wall is full of autographs...everyone from all of said stars...I saw Robert DeNiro's (I signed next to his signature since we share the same birthday of August 17) and the Obama daughters, who visited just last week!)...

Here's our very reluctant good-bye shots...

In other news, I had a blast yesterday at Redondo Beach. I was feeling really claustrophobic after all the long car rides I’ve endured with the trio these past three weeks so I took off on my own and went for a long walk down by the ocean and then sat down, took huge gulps of the salty air, and read a fantastic book by Richard Russo, "Nobody's Fool", which I picked up at Powell’s when we were in Portland. Oh yeah. Powell’s. Man, I may take a vacation to Portland just so I can spend two weeks in that store. I’d like to buy a sleeping bag and just live there for a while. And that’s not just because they carry all of my books, either. (Though okay, I will admit - what a thrill that was!) Which reminds me…oh hell, I’d better get my ass to the hotel desk or a UPS store because I’ll never get all the books I purchased on the plane with me.. I got over 20 books for the ridiculous sum of $125.00…stuff I didn’t even know existed by my favorite authors (I’m talking to you, Nick Hornby and Mr. Russo and Jane Smiley…oh man, I am set for the winter). Anyway, yeah, I sat on the beach reading all day; then I went off to dinner by myself at a new French/Asian Restaurant on the waterfront called Maison Riz. It seriously may be one of the best meals I’ve ever had anywhere, and to say it was gorgeous…right on the water, the waves crashing literally under my table and next to me, seagulls flying by but on the other side of the glass where they couldn’t hurt me or eat my food (ha)…a cool breeze, a perfect view of the sunset…a salad of white and green asparagus,…oh oh oh. And a green tea tiramisu for dessert that may rank as the most insanely delicious thing I’ve ever eaten.

Hard to believe that I sunned myself yesterday after being in a blizzard in Canada last week but oh joy, I get to relive that in a few days when we go to Aspen and Littleton, Colorado.

And then last night at the show I met Keith Wechsler, sound man/engineer for Keith Emerson and the Beach Boys, to whom I genuflected and also, Doug Lunn, who I already met when he played a gig with Eric and Mike Keneally. What an amazing fucking bass player he is!

Next, Andre introduced me to Carl Restivo, who plays with Perry Farrell and Tom Morello -- just click on that link and sigh like I did. He was totally enamored with Julie and Eric and gave them some interesting incentive to hang out in LA this January. I say GO FOR IT!

I was in freaking groupie heaven.

It was way cool watching Doug and Carl and Andre talk in front of me at the show. Doug and Carl have never met but they’ve played with all the same people so they bonded big time and I just ate that up.

In Seattle, I met Ade’s adult kids Audie (of “Oh Daddy “ fame) and Udo and their significant others, Larry and Autumn respectively. I loved them. Audie is drop dead gorgeous and could be a stand up comedian and Udo is so handsome and sensitive….he also makes music and gave us his CD…amazing, beautiful stuff. I hung out with them after the show and they are just awesome.

Speaking of party girls, I also got to meet long time Belew fan Rena Fay, a/k/a Tickledrop, who came to four of the west coast shows and she came bearing gifts of wonder and delight and let’s leave it at that. Ha! Oh get your minds out of the gutter again – she brought us a basket filled with avocados, fresh fruit, cheese, olive oil, bread, bilanis, apple tartain, really sick cookies…anyway, look what Julie made us for breakfast in our hotel room with the contents two mornings in a row:

Other way cool people I met at Slim’s – Anil Prasad and Barry Cleveland, Mike Molenda, and Jude Gold of Guitar Player Magazine who interviewed Julie and Eric…there’s going to be a video up shortly on their website along with a clip from their show and naturally I’ll post a link as soon as it’s up. Anil took Julie and me out to dinner at an incredible vegan restaurant, Herbivore, but that’s not why I love him. We met on Twitter of all places and it turns out he’s been friendly with Andre for years; anyway, we started an email friendship a couple of months ago and when we met in person, it was as if we’d been friends in real life forever. I suspect we will be hanging out again in the future – at least I hope so!

Also met Gary Platt in San Francisco – he’s the one who mixed “e” – Gary is a character and I understand I blew a chance to hang out with him and Rena after the Slims show, damn it. By the way, we stayed at The Phoenix "How many hotels can claim that Keanu Reeves, Joan Jett, Vincent Gallo and Little Richard have graced their mattresses (no, silly, not all at the same time!)? How many San Francisco hotels are the crash pad and launching pad for world-renowned bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Psychedelic Furs and Pearl Jam; and up-and-comers like The Killers, Bloc Party and The Shins? With so much creative energy swirling around you never know who might be strumming a guitar, posing for a photo shoot or just kicking back by the pool."

Yep – coolest hotel ever – but I’m such an old fuckwit, I was already asleep by the time they arrived.

Oh well. I guess staying up late does not fit in with my new vegetarian lifestyle, anyway. Hey, this may be a coincidence, but I’m no longer huffing and puffing walking up hills or stairs. Could meat, sugar and butter really have been the culprit? Hmmm…I’ll be curious to see what happens when I visit my doctor when I get back and he draws some blood. I know one thing – he’s going to freak when I get on the scale. I haven’t weighed myself but my jeans are falling off me and when I see a photo of myself now, I’ve definitely lost one of my three chins.

Andre told me "Hey, look at you - reversing the aging process!"

As they say out here on the west coast: "RIGHT ON!"

One hilarious incident happened when we walked into this dive for breakfast. It was a place right out of 1950 and there were all these old hobo looking guys at the counter. One was actually named Earl (we heard the waitress say his name). Anyway, we came strolling in and Earl says “Whoa, look at this gang. Must be movie stars. I’ll take the blonde in the dark glasses.”


Yep, that’s what it’s come down to. Me and Earl.

It happened to me again yesterday on the beach. Some guy on a bicycle stopped, screeching in his tracks, to say Hi to me.

“Are you married?"

Erm…I pretended not to have heard him but he was a persistent bugger.

“I’m sixty-six. How old are you?”


Let’s see. What else. I’ve met a ton of fans from one of my cyber hangouts, Progressive Ears so it’s been way cool putting faces to names, or screen names I should say. In Portland I finally got to meet Ade’s brilliant photographer Mark Colman, and I understand congratulations are in order because Mark is getting married to his sweetheart, Amy. According to Twitter, he just proposed to her and she said yes! I’m so happy for them.

Man, in watching/listening to Eric drum solo last night, he just gets better and better and the crowds know it, just as they do with Julie. Bit of a bummer that Ade cut Madness from the set but I guess he has his reasons. Julie really rocked out on that one – there’s going to be some disappointed fans out there but I’m through trying to analyze shit, or run peoples' lives – it’s a liberating feeling and it’s all good. ETA: Eric had a meeting with Adrian post-show last night and Madness is back in. Hurrah! Smart move on a lot of levels and um, no further comment necessary.

You know, I read Amanda Palmer’s blog and Trent Reznor’s manifesto on the state of the music business in 2009 and how you need to be ultra creative and think of different ways to promote yourself but at this point it only frustrates me because it’s not my band and like I said, no sense banging my head against the wall repeatedly. Bottom line is the music is great and if that’s not enough, well, it’s not my job or my place to fix it though I will use their brilliant business models for my own career and I can only assume Julie and Eric will do the same in the future.

Mmm…the trio also did an amazing version of Beatbox. . It takes on a life of its own every single night. Ack, it drives me up a wall that people do not know about this band. We drive for hours and hours to play for rooms that should be sell-outs but…

Okay, I said I would be quiet about all that and now I will forever more.

In my next post, I will be talking food, baby. We’ve had some really memorable meals on the road…I’ve got to do a restaurant travel guide for you in case you visit any of the cities we hit on this tour…even though I’m not quite sure you’ll ever find yourself in Kamloops, British Columbia, but still.

Oh yeah, before I end this post, speaing of Kamloops, to get there, we drove through the most magnificent national park (Jasper) to get to our destination…here are some breathtaking shots

And that's a wrap for today.