|Road Reports By Steven Sweet|
Road Reports from the mind of Steven.
El Paso, TX
What the Fuuuuuuuhhhhh… I mean, Wow – what an awesome trip this one was! Now before I even get into details, don’t misunderstand me, the show in El Paso was great fun, the El Paso-ites were the best of-the-best people this side of Juarez and beyond! The story must be told from the beginning and with as much pleasantly worded tact as I can muster.
YES I SAID AAAAREEEEEENAAAAAAA!!!
Wow, it's been a long time kiddies... I'm not sure I can accurately recount this trip without some major brain strain or trauma... oh yeah! AAAAREEEEEENAAAAAA!!! The David S. Palmer Arena to be more specific, in Danville, Illinois (say - ILL-ANNOY - not "Noise" although who am I to tell you what to do, right? I don't want anyone to go NUKE-YEE-LUR on me). The David S. Palmer Arena, named after... anyone, anyone??? Huh, huh? THAT'S RIGHT - David S. Palmer - who was in fact the Mayor of this fine city from 1975 all the way up until 1985 where he was impeached for improper use of hand gestures at a Bris (just kidding, he was a fine upstanding pillar of the community who had an AAAAREEEENAAAA named after him for God's sake).
As I said, it has been over a month and my memories are a bit cloudy although I do distinctly remember how friggin' cold it was - I woke up day of show, no not from a coma or religious trip but from a lovely nights rest, to go forage for food - something we do when the hotel restaurant sucks. I walked at least a mile over a bridge which spanned a freezing river, while Diesel puking Semis barreled past me kicking up all kinds of roadside debris, including but not limited to... old fast food wrappers, discarded and smashed energy drink bottles, I think I even saw a dirty diaper or two whirl around in the gusting after draft. As I walked with the determinant stride of the Terminator towards the Arby's sign yet all too far ahead, I had fleeting thoughts of being thrown over the low profile railing that remained all that was separating me from hypothermia (and a warm meal of Beef-like sandwich filling).
Road Report by Steven Sweet, Jan. 31st, Clinton, OK "Lucky Star Casino".
Okay so right away I lied, this really isn't a road report at all but rather a... I have been extremely slammed getting things ready for the impending doom... er, I mean holidays. Since you're sitting there (wherever "there" may be, home office, away from home office "yuck", in your car (keep your eyes on the road - fool), or sitting on the toilet with your iPhone (who am I to judge) I will indulge you with a few details about why I am slammed. I just finished painting a pet portrait for my brother's brother in-law to give to my brother's wife, my brother's brother in-law's sister, who is in fact my sister in-law - this was a huge undertaking as I had just finished painting a portrait for someone else just days earlier all of whom, wanted to give these paintings as Christmas gifts which meant they needed to be completed before I could (selfishly) leave with my family (daughter and wife) to visit my wife's sister and brother in-law, who incidentally also happen to be my brother in-law and sister in-law, NOT my sister... of which I have none - only two brothers, one of which you just heard of (remember the painting I just finished which is also to be delivered to my brother's brother in-law's home so that he may give it to his sister, my brother's wife/my sister in-law, for Christmas) All of this has been somewhat difficult to orchestrate since my brother's brother in-law (from now on I'll just call him B.B.I.L. = brother's brother in-law) lives the opposite direction from where my wife, daughter and I will be headed for our Christmas vacation, which as I continue to type gets farther away since this year in review road report is just one of the things to get done, on my things to get done list before I can leave town. My B.B.I.L. lives not only in the opposite direction from where I am eventually headed, but is also out of town. This all means nothing to you I am sure, in fact I hate to bore you all with these little annoyances of mine, except that it is again, one of the things I have to get done before I can leave town ("type this" I mean, not bore you with little annoyances). My B.B.I.L. needs to approve my final work before I can even deliver this completed portrait/Christmas gift to his house (is there even anyone home to take delivery, I have asked myself over and over again). I also just finished recording some radio station I.D.'s and liner's (no, this doesn't have anything to do with illegal substance abuse) for Indiana's Y106 who is having a year end countdown of the top 106 Rock songs of all time - Cherry Pie is #91 incidentally, which is why I was asked to record a short introduction (liner) for their countdown. Anyone in the Y106 listening range be sure to tune in and hear me say... " Hey this is Steven Sweet from Warrant, let's end the year on a hard note shall we? You're listening to Indiana's Rock station, Y106 where we're counting down the top 106 songs of all time... now coming in at number 91 is a tasty little track called Cherry Pie... eat it up!" I thought I'd share that with you now, just in case you are nowhere near the Y106 listening area when the countdown reaches 91, or any other number (see, I STILL have time to give a little extra!).
Additionally, my parents are coming into town 2 days AFTER Christmas when I will still be out of town, they will be staying at our house which means the place needs to be cleaned up a bit, because let's face it, neither my wife or I like cleaning, in fact, if I could just take a hose and a leaf blower to my living room I'd be satisfied. (Okay, that is a gross exaggeration, I don't want anyone thinking I live in a pig stye, except maybe a pig because after all, I imagine a pig considers his stye quite a nice place to live and therefor would think that by my calling my home a stye, pigs the world over would be inclined to make a pilgrimage from the farthest reaches of the earth just to see such a sight, humans dwelling in a traditional Pig domicile. And maybe, just maybe these would be well to do pigs, or pigs of some higher stature within the pig culture, who might also be inclined to bring us gifts of great worth just to be in the presence of such humans.) Or maybe, now that I am out of that side note, none of that would happen at all. Life lesson: you should never do anything with the hopes of material reward - because you might wind up being disappointed that no pigs came bearing gifts and riches beyond your wildest dreams, but only mud and flies and a bit of a lingering after smell that takes forever to get out of the drapes... not a good thing when your parents are coming to visit, I'll tell you that much!
I do believe I have completely lost my train of thought, if there really was one to begin with. I'd like to close by saying that I wish each and everyone of you a safe, happy and healthy new year to come, together we can move mountains and... (what the... I just turned into Oprah - sorry) Thanks to all of you who have stuck with us and continue to stick with us as we chug along - I promise good things to come from Warrant, better than ever things, in the year to come.
Happy New Year,
(Oh crap, I just realized I spilled the beans about my Sister in-law's Christmas gift from her brother... oh well, too late to go back now, cuz then I'd have to think of something else to ramble on about and I quite frankly don't have the time, as I am already one day past my intended departure date... see ya!)
Okay, okay so I'm playing "Catch-up" a little here being that it's now a couple of weeks later - fact is I am finding myself challenged more and more by the prospect of keeping the reading interesting (and fresh - after all who wants stale text). Happy 4th of July everyone! (I know it's a little late but better little than not at all, er, something along those lines). The two hundred and thirty third birthday of our great nation was in full swing at the Toyota Park outside of Chicago, IL on the 4th this year where we actually played at a professional Soccer Arena (NOT a giant parking structure full of Japan's favorite import automobile, I agree the name is a little misleading). The line-up ranged from Tracy Guns' L.A. Guns to Adler's Appetite (which seems quite healthy these days - the appetite that is), to Lita Ford (who went to a party last Saturday nigh..... you know the rest), not sure if she got in a fight but I'm pretty sure she got the other thing as her husband, Jim, joined her onstage for a healthy portion of the show (I really don't know where I was going with that one).
The night before (July 3rd - you know, when the country is all a-buzz with anticipation of the big B-Day bash!!!!... no?) I was told that Billy Squire played on the same stage (no not with Lita Ford's husband, Jim) but at the Toyota Park, again reminding you it's a soccer arena, not a parking garage. He was said to have spent a good amount of time skipping, yes "skipping" backstage during the show when ever he wasn't needed on stage to sing or something Billy Squier-ey. Now this isn't particularly strange if you know anything about Billy Squire (and I think most folks do) but what was most entertaining about this little anecdote was the manner in which it was relayed to me. Here I am behind the stage rigging where they stage all the gear that's not yet ready to be brought to stage, it's sort of the first stage of staging the gear before it hits the main stage (how many ways can one use the word stage in one sentence?). So I'm doing my little tweaking of drum gear and there are about 4 or 5 stage riggers (no that's not any kind of insult or slur) standing around idly shooting the breeze about the show the night before. Now bear in mind these guys are kinda big, kinda hairy, maybe kinda in need of a shower and a good night's rest since they've been working long hours to pull everything together so that the audience can enjoy a pleasant concert going experience. So they're all standing in this group of 4 or 5 right in front of me when one of these fine (although kinda big, kinda hairy, decidedly in need of a shower, now that he's right up close and personal like) gentlemen approaches to relay the 411 that Billy Squire played last night. One of the other kinda big, kinda hairy, more in need of a shave and a good brushing, guys chimes in with "yeah! he would leave the stage and skip from stage left aaallllll the way around the back of the stage and across the rear staging area and back across stage right and back on stage to sing again". Now you're asking what's so funny about any of this "Steven"? If there were ever a moment where "you had to be there" were more true, I can't think of one because the guy took off skipping across the rear staging area to demonstrate how Billy Squire "skips". This guy was about 6'3" and 280 if not more.... and ya know what, he actually looked quite natural as he skipped "heel to toe" across the cement, not even spilling a drop of his coffee, or ashing the cigarette that hung from his furry lip, while his "buddies" watched in awe. I of course buried my head in my work hoping not to make eye contact for fear of what might come next, jumping jacks, high kicks, moon-walking?
After all was said and done, the rain that had threatened most of the day relented to the evening where the sky cleared just enough for us to rip through our set to one of the most spectacular finale's I think I have ever seen. Just as we trashed the last chords of Cherry Pie the fire works began - for a moment it reminded me of the old days where we would blow up about $5,000 of pyro every night... were we stupid??? NOPE, just having some fun while the opportunity presented itself. As I close for now, I'll leave you with just that thought - have fun when the opportunity presents itself, skip if you feel like skipping, it ain't no big thing!
THE SWEET SPOT" Steven Sweet Road Report: Comanche Nation Casino, Lawton, OK.
This was a strange trip to say the least. As a band, you become accustomed to traveling together which equates to spending time together in close quarters most of the time. Four of us live in the "Greater" Los Angeles area; one in the San Fernando Valley, one in the Foothills between the valley and Pasadena, one in the Hills of Anaheim and one in the lovely wine country a little further South (okay two of us live in the "Greater" Los Angeles - not sure why they refer to it as "Greater" because I've been to many places on this globe and L.A. is not necessarily what I would call "Greater" than any place else, maybe "Bigger", or "Stranger" or full of more "Fake-pretenders" - yes).
Let's begin again... two of us live around L.A. and two of us live in the O.C. (Orange County - and yes, they are rich and fabulous beyond all comprehension - the television show is spot-on!). Now the fifth of Warrant and quite possibly the most travel savvy of us all is a desert dweller - Arizona to be more specific. Why am I telling you this, well, because there are occasions when we don't all fly out of the same airport (LAX = "Los Angeles Xairport"). For this particular Warrant outing we came in from three different locales which meant we were.... "dun, dun DUUUUUUUU"... traveling separately, not only were we traveling from different ports of air, we were flying into different cities all together. I KNOW - WTF Right?! Jerry and I flew from Burbank's Bob Hope Airport ( "let me tell ya something..." that was my Bob Hope impression... loses something in translation, not to mention when it's only written word without audio, sorry) directly into Lawton, out-ternational airport (since it's a small airport not sure what to call it when it's not International). Joey and Erik flew from Ontario (California, NOT Canada - that would be stupid since Ontario Canada, albeit the most populous and second-largest province of Canada, is in no way near Southern California let alone the O.C. - NOT an acronym for Ontario Canada) into Oklahoma City (or the O.C., not Orange County or even Ontario Canada, that would be really, I MEAN REALLY stupid because then they would have to get to Lawton Oklahoma by show time the next day which would be a pain, not to mention horrible travel planning). Robert travelled by Camel to Oklahoma City, which is what Desert-dwellers do. (Sure, I made that last part up because I'm sure you know that Robert doesn't even own a Camel - it's an Alpaca Llama, which as we all know don't take kindly to people jumping on their backs, as I found out the hard way once - they're cute, but really quite nasty when provoked). So, there we all are in different Oklahoma cities (not that there are more than one city in Oklahoma named Oklahoma City, but different cities in Oklahoma) the night before the show at the Comanche Nation Casino in Lawton, Oklahoma - which turns out, you don't even need a passport to get into, just a willingness to throw your money away in exchange for some free drinks... "ca-chingg" (cash register sound)... "burp" (free drink sound).
Another fun detail about this particular trip was that we were accompanied by the Brown brothers, Ryan and Joe. Ryan is our fearless get'er done guy who handles various duties like production detail, travel detail, food detail, drink detail, merchandise detail, can I get some duct tape please detail, etc. (fun fact: Ryan did a summer tour of duty with the "Girls Gone Wild" party bus - woo hoo, which doesn't explain at all why he came back to Warrant - or DOES it????). Joe is Ryan's brother who is an accomplished sound engineer, currently taking a break from Extreme travel (not "extreme" extreme, as in "Man VS Wild" stuff where he has to find his way back from the wilds of South America with only a pair of socks and some swizzle sticks). What I mean to say is that he's usually out on the road with the band Extreme (incidentally, Joe is a man of few words, ironic considering.... never mind, you see where I was going?). So here we are with Ryan and Joe, "The Brown Brothers" (they are both White Italian boys from Boston - NOT actually Brown-Brothers which would be a redundant nick name anyhow) they are quite something to witness, they aren't twins, there is an age difference of about 3 years but there remains something eerily twin-like about them nonetheless. Their mannerisms and their pattern of speech are incredibly similar as is the way that the lights glint off their neatly polished heads - though they have two distinctly different physical appearances from the cranium down. Ryan bears the appearance of a man who might dabble in Cage Fighting now and then (does one really "dabble" in things like Cage Fighting? Dabbling is better suited to activities like baking and needlepoint, even pharmacology but not mashing someone else's face into a bloody chain-link cage while twisting their arm behind their back with a forearm-breaking knee-drop maneuver), while Joe looks as though he has run the Boston Marathon, more than once in his lifetime (which spanned the mark of 40 years on this exact weekend) or perhaps more than once in the same day even. Great guys to be around and to work with, I consider myself blessed that even with all our differences as a band and as a people we manage to pull together to bring the Warrant show to life each chance we get, even if it means dealing with sometimes difficult travel arrangements (referring to our 6 hours of missed flights and delays returning home from this weekend) Note to self: avoid out-ternational airports if given the choice!
I realize I haven't even mentioned the show. Here I am babbling on about different O.C. locations, airports and Brown brothers and haven't even mentioned the show... it was fun, great crowd - thank you Comanche Nation and all your Comanche nationals (no passport needed), and of course all you Warrant fans, for without you... I'd have no one to purge my writing upon. Gotta go for now - I am expecting a case of O.C.D. shortly (no, not Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - I am expecting a delivery of Orange Crush Diet - it's very hard to come by, most stores don't stock it anymore, you have to special order online). Okay, that was really dumb I realize that, and my apologies go out to each and everyone of you who spent all this time reading through my aimless text only to be whapped with something like that at the end. So I will leave you with this... a little something in honor of Father's Day:
The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me and have informed who I am today. I remember we'd all pile into the car (I forget what kind it was) and drive and drive. I'm not sure where we'd go, but I think there were some trees there, maybe some water too. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called "Dad". We'd eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home at some point. I guess some things never leave you.
Happy Father's Day Dad's - you know who you are (or maybe you don't?)
"THE SWEET SPOT"
Steven Sweet Road Report: 7 Clans Paradise Casino, Red Rock, OK.
The date? I don't remember and really don't feel like retracing my mental steps at this point to write it down here. Because after all, in the grand scheme of things does it really matter what number the calendar read when the happenings of this report took place - or is it enough to just sit back, relax (perhaps with your favorite hot tea, ice cream... jerky? my favorite's "Bridgeford Farms" Smoked Squirrel, 'case you're wondering) and read on in sublime leisure.
Oh yes, welcome back for another fresh-steamed literary platter of random imaginings from my personal recollective experiences of Rock N Roll travelogging with Warrant. This time the big jet bird took us to Oklahoma (... again) to a wonderfully rain-soaked suburb of Oklahoma City, called Red Rock, where, once again, they've erected a casino seemingly in the middle of this great Country of ours (ha, some of you might have thought I was going to say "nowhere" as in the middle of...). (Strange, that last sentence was randomly placed in the middle of parenthesis brackets... as was this one!?) NO, I would never refer to any locale in all of these United States as the middle of nowhere because that would be like proclaiming that all of us in the good ole U. S. of (freakin') A actually live IN "Nowhere". As a proud native United States-ian, (NOT Native American) I will tell you that the Natives are ALWAYS restless and this evening I am about to tell you of was no exception. Now let me set the mood for you, after a 1 plus something hour drive from our home-base in Oklahoma City, we arrive at the "7 Clans Paradise Casino" (Not to be confused with the 7 CLAMS Paradise Casino on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, next to but enormously overshadowed by, Trumps). The casino is nothing to sneeze at unless of course, you happen to be suffering from a nasty head cold and facing in the general direction of the casino, then there' s just not a whole lot else that you can do. Full of the usual smoking, gambling, drinking, buffet-eating (tonight was "Sea food" buffet night - just like "7 Clams", come to think of it), ATM-bleeding, risk-taking, casino-thrill-seekers (and a whole slew of other un-mentional hyphenates)- but with one added twist... they were drawn out into the elements by a common primal need to hear some good old fashioned, melodic rock. Tonight's bill consisted of Great White (Unfortunately it WASN'T Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, but damned if we didn't all just want to pretend anyways), and Skid Row making a Rock and Roll sandwich with Warrant as the meat in the middle ("... did he really say "meat in the middle"?) YES HE DID (er, I did!) and He's (I mean I'm) not afraid to say it again, don't temp me (HIM!!!) I mean ME!!!
The big problem as I saw it, and anyone who was there feel free to write in and add your 2 cents (Actually, I'm just saying that, don't write in because what's done is done, and there's no fooling mother nature)... yeah, the big problem was that the skies loomed heavy with storm clouds as the evening sun set nearing show time. There's no way to predict the weather no matter how we try, with our Doppler forecasts, Uncle's trick Knee that aches when the weather changes, watching the mating pattern of fire ants on the prairie kick into overdrive (just my little forecasting trick) to tell us whether a tent is going to leak or not. (WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN... you ask). I'll tell ya, I downed a 2 liter bottle of Niquil about a half an hour ago (it's Monday evening so what the hell right?) and I'm waxing prophetic (or as I once said many, many years ago when responding to something Jani Lane said) feeling "Full-a-Shitacle". The rain just came anyway, as if to say, here's what you get for making fun of our Rain Dancing, and our Casinos in the middle of no..., I mean, EVERYwhere, and for bringing your Devil's music to our sacred lands and corrupting the people with your messages of "Swinging it to the left, and swinging it to the right". As the slot machines poured out their war cries and the roulette table rattled it's hypnotic, red, black, red, black, red, black,... occasional green, then red, black, red, black again all the while pretending to be our friend - When all along you could have just gone to Best Buy and purchased a Plasma instead of second-hand smoking for hours on end only to wind up penniless and Plasma-less. Why is that? (Rhetorical question, don't answer, don't write back, just ponder)
Meanwhile back at the tent-site... (oh yeah, they had erected a giant Circus tent - see road report about "Lucky Star Casino" - I just wanted to type Circus tent again) it was raining like cats and dogs but not just any ordinary cats and dogs like people always say, but like big genetically mutated, perhaps by gestating in close proximity to a nuclear (NOT Nuke-you-ler) reactor and overgrown, Saber-toothed uber-cats. I'm talkin' hard rain. It was also a little cold, so cold even the toughest nipples stood at attention for fear of being told to "drop and give me twenty" by a manicly overbearing drill sergeant. The entire set I felt like I was being subjected to some sort of Chinese Water Torture because there was this ONE DRIP of water coming through a pin hole in the tent roof above that kept hitting me square on the right shoulder - no matter how I shifted on my drum seat, it kept pelting me insistently in the same place at about a 30 second interval. DROP, DROP, DROP... for a half an hour I was poked by drops of water. Now you might think that this is no big deal, "what are you complaining about, you're sweating anyway, aren't you"? Yeah, but the difference is (well, there are several) that my sweat is warm, for one, and two, it doesn't hit me in the same place like a poking finger for a half an hour straight as if to say, "HEY YOU... you're not busy are ya? you don't mind my reminding you that it's raining outside, oh, let's say... every thirty seconds??? DO YA! HUH, HUH, HUUUUHHHHHH????!!! Besides, I'm made of water soluble material and might be reduced to nothing more than a pool of ectoplasm on the drum stool if subjected to too much rain water, as in this case. ( I know that's all B.S. - I'm actually made up of mostly water as are all of you - don't be scared it's perfectly normal, this is a well established biological fact - look it up).
Sorry to do this to you, but my daughter is looming about and it's her "Shower" time, I think she just read this last bit and got a little worried (no, not about dissolving in the shower) but that her dad might be a little crazy, so I must see to it that I confirm this fact with her (no, not that I'm crazy) but that it's time for her to take her shower - so, gotta go - thanks for reading and look forward to our next story time!
Nite, nite - Steven
Road Report by Steven Sweet, Jan. 31st, Clinton, OK "Lucky Star Casino".
Grizzly Rose , Denver, C0
Hey friends, I trust that each and everyone of you is up and running head first into a great new year - although it IS a little early to tell where the road will ultimately lead it's safe enough to say that with each new year there is renewed hope for positive change and chance. Cheers to that!