May 1, 2004
I'm on a very long plane flight right now. For some reason, I haven't been able to find much time to write any e mails. This tour leg has been busier than the written schedule of gigs would suggest. As usual, there are ten times the hours of details and travel compared to actually playing music.
But speaking of music, we have just had a very good, consistent tour. Along the way, I also was able to play a couple of gigs with Living Loud, the group that I wrote and recorded an album with. In case you don't know about this, here's the deal: Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake played bass and drums with Ozzy back when Randy Rhoads did the classic albums with them. Songs like Crazy Train, Mr. Crowley, I Don't Know, Over the Mountain, were written and recorded by all of them. And a certain keyboard player who now plays with Deep Purple.........Don Airey.
Anyway, there were some disputes and a falling out between Ozzy and Bob & Lee, the end result that they never played in that band after that. Also, their parts were rerecorded and replaced on Ozzy's albums. (!?)
So many years later, they wanted to put together a band to rerecord some of the songs they co wrote, plus some new, original material. Bob lives in Australia, and so does Jimmy Barnes. Jimmy is sort of a living legend down under and a bona fide rock star. He agreed to do the project, which meant him singing some Ozzy tracks, of course, as well as the new material, which all 4 of us would contribute.
I got onboard when they graciously agreed to come all the way to Florida to my place to work on the album, saving me from losing any more days from my family. We all clicked easily on the writing and arranging, and all went home feeling that we had done a worthwhile album.
So, our DP tour leg was going through Australia after Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia. That gave us a slight possibility of playing a couple of shows together while I was in the neighborhood. Since Don would also be there, he might agree to sit in and play keyboards on many of the tunes that he used to perform with Randy Rhoads and the rest. The catch was that we wouldn't know if we could do the gigs until the last minute, which made some major constraints on advertising. The reason for this was that it's unfair to the DP promoter as well as the band to advertise gigs that might dilute the attendance at the scheduled DP concerts, until the seats are basically sold out.
DP shows were added and seats were sold, and we finally had the OK to do a couple shows. Quick rehearsals showed everybody knew the basic songs, just some ever changing ending ideas on each song kept everybody wondering which version of the ending would be next. Bottom line was that we had a great couple of shows, which began just minutes after the DP shows finished in Sydney and Melbourne. Reminded me of the old days when some of us worked two gigs to try to make ends meet. Rather than try to describe the way the gigs went, I will only say they were great and hope that they sound as good on the DVD coming up.
The DP shows in China were basically a success. The weird part was that they didn't really have much reaction until we played the most classical sounding improvisations, and during Contact Lost. I guess they just liked the idea that we apparently had spent time practicing, so after that, they were much looser. The security had pushed the crowd line so far back that we might have needed night vision binoculars to see them. The good news was that the security guys were very restrained, and there were no problems. I think they figured out pretty quickly that we were just there to play music, not to cause problems. At the end of the tour, we all felt like we had broken new ground. In fact, that was the case, since the SARS scare had stopped even the Rolling Stones from becoming the first to try these same venues.
Incidentally, there was quite an effective way to police possible SARS carriers at every airport, coming and going. Thermal scanners with the color sensitivity set at average human temperature would show in an instant anyone with a fever. At that point, they would be taken to the medical staff at that station for further examination. I took the time to look at the monitors, and they were incredibly sensitive to temperature. I guess measures like that really helped slow down the SARS outbreak.
Back to music.....I think things are at a very enjoyable place for everybody in the band. We all got along the whole time, played with smiles and energy, and had a great time musically. Our last show just finished, and I think it could have been one of our best ever. A wonderful place, New Zealand, and a wonderful way to end the tour leg.
Next stop......Iceland and Europe.
© stevemorse.com 2004