October 24, 2000
Well, there are a lot of miles, I mean kilometers, being put away on this tour leg. Yesterday, in Spain, we played outdoors in a bullfighting arena. It was a very dry part of Spain, with the parched look that much of California has in the Summer. Oh, did I mention that it was raining? Not too bad, actually, since the orchestra was entirely covered, and light rain was all we had. Still, Jon Lord decided that we would only do the first movement of the concerto. Why?
Well, there was a very big soccer match being played up until 11:30 pm. Oh yeah, and the whole audience was watching it on a big screen on stage. That was the opening act, a t.v. A giant t.v., but a t.v. So, upon seeing our start time creep closer and closer to Midnight, and realizing that they must be selling alcohol out there, we started finding ways to shorten the show. Actually, it worked out pretty well.
The Transylvanian/Romanian Orchestra has so much strength and endurance, it is amazing. They were booked as a separate entity, to do their own travel arrangements. They are all travelling in regular 45 seat buses where you sleep sitting upright, if at all. We recently were able to get them excused from soundcheck so they would have a little more time to go to whatever hotels they stay at for at least a few hours before the show. No matter how many millions of miles they have travelled, most of them appear with smiles and enthusiasm for the show. Still, I sure wish the routing had worked out better for all involved. Problems with routing usually have to do with the agent suggesting logical routing, then the promoter finding no hall availability on those particular nights, then a process of travel compromises begins.
One of the things that is different about travel outside the U.S. is that the only English programs you will find is usually the news loops from CNN or BBC. And with all this violence in the Middle East, you will never turn on the t.v. in your room and see anything but conflict or flooding aftermath. So, imagine my surprise when Ian Paice walks up to me with a video walkman that has 4 Simpsons episodes on it, and say "Here you go, enjoy it." He could have asked, "What's it worth?" and been in the price range of a month's pay, but he just let me have it to watch. Actually, he knew from my many Simpson quotes, such as Homer's, "What could possibly go wrong?" that I was a big fan. Ian won't put up with certain things like no entertainment. So, he always gets a south facing room and carries a European digital satellite dish and receiver and sets it up in his room. If someone in the band or crew wants to see some English soccer, er, I mean, Football, match, they better be nice to Ian. He has all the Formula 1 results and highlights, all the soccer scores and details in his immediate memory as the British crew casually ask about it as he strolls in to the gig.
When I go to my mailbox at home, it's full of generally bad news, like how much this or that bill is, or some new clever way that my family's medical bills are not covered by out of state insurance, or how much of a penalty has been assessed because of non payment of a surprise bill that came while I was gone. But, the e mail has provided a new mail concept for me: positive feedback. Yes, many of you have written with interesting comments and suggestions, and reviews. Positive stuff, in nearly all cases.
I would like to let everyone know that I appreciate everything that has been written, and especially supporting underground music.
I just got an e mail from Manuel Barrueco, the most brillian classical guitarist that I got to tour with a few years ago, and he has accepted my parts to be on his solo album. We did a tune for a Christmas CD on Windham Hill that turned out really nice, with a very liberal interpretation that showed me how easy it was for him to record, and how many more takes I would use. He is such an immaculate player.
Before I left on this trip, I recorded my parts of these duets we had played together, and had to send them to him with no idea if he could work with them or not, whether the tempo was good or not, if I played too stiff, too weird, etc. So, I'm glad to know that we will have some tunes together. A long time ago, he mentioned Andy Timmons, and Andy Summers being on this CD also, although I don't know for sure since he didn't update me on that. Like I said, thanks for all the support, everyone.
From the road,
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