February 22, 2006

It's been a long, long tour leg, and there's still almost two weeks to go before a little break. The music is going excellent, it seems to be a good time for the band, performing-wise. Right now we're in a crowded bus lumbering along at an average of about 40mph, including lots of stops. Just last week, I was able to travel in a diesel powered Audi that would easily reach 140-150 mph, and feel solid as a rock. For a dose of reality, those speeds are almost always shortly followed by an adrenaline spewing 4g deceleration as some slow car pulls out into the passing lane in front of us. But the German autobahn is behind us, and I reluctantly board the subsonic travel lifestyle of the bus. In this part of the world, our driver, who is a fantastically smooth driver, has his speed recorded for every moment of the journey. If he ever goes over 62mph. it's there in easily proven form for the officials to check and prosecute. And they do check, so we NEVER go faster than that, and usually, a margin below. So, I've got to get used to going slow again!

We really had a great tour of Germany with Alice Cooper. His band apparently were all hired for their good personalities as well as performing abilities. They were so easy to hang out with, sang and played great, and we're looking forward to touring some more in the future. Alice has his daughter dancing and performing onstage, where she can occasionally show some of her 'legit' dancing skills born from many years of ballet, I imagine. They get along fantastic, and are completely unaffected by the mythical rock and roll lifestyle.

Did a couple of guitar clinics for Ernie Ball/Musicman dealers in Germany. The audience understood everything I said in English, which is a real indicator of the effectiveness of getting a second language taught at a young age in school. Both days the clinics were on show days with multiple appointments at the concert backstage for interviews, meet and greet, etc. so I had very little time to sign and meet people after the clinics. That resulted in some of the worst looking signatures I've ever made, but there sure were a lot of people there, and especially young players. Everywhere we play, there seem to be lots of young people getting into the music, which is always nice to see, since they have absolutely unbridled energy to send back to the stage, and ensure the future of rock music!

I think most of you reading this are in the USA, but I'm not sure. Assuming you are, it is still a constant shock to my system to travel outside of my home Country. Even though I know what to expect, I am still in awe of the incredibly high priced hotel internet that can easily cost over $35 per 'day' and be slower than any dial up back home. If you actually do try to use the telephone for ANYTHING, you will be greeted by some of the most insane charges, such as $2 a minute for local access to a internet dial up. In the less technologically advanced places, though, you often find that the staff at the hotel will bend over backwards to try to make you feel at home, even though there's no internet, english t.v., heat, quiet, normal pillows, sheets, or less than R140 blankets. Sometimes even offering to let you use the hotel's computer to send a quick e mail or something like that. In fact, almost universally, the staff at these European and Eastern bloc hotels seem to be more service oriented than we get used to in the States. I continue to recommend traveling abroad for everyone that can make it happen, because it is a fantastic way to gain perspective. For the first time, we've seen a couple of our hotels offer free WiFi internet, much like the reasonable places to in the U.S., so things are slowly changing on that front, I hope.

Our set list is very long right now, since we're doing 5 songs from the new album, "Rapture of the Deep". Somehow, we're getting away with putting all the super recognizable classic tunes at the end of the set, and offering almost an hour of semi-new or weird music up front. So, the show is very fun and gives us a decent workout. Of course, when I think that, I just remembered how I felt playing the opening set with the Steve Morse Band, the next set with the Dregs, and then repeating both of those for the second show of the night! Anyway, people are really turning up for the shows on this tour, and we're really noticing that we're in front of the largest audiences ever, in most cities. If any of you reading this have made the trip to any of these gigs, thanks!

See you on tour now!

stevemorse.com 2006