Backstage with Baldy
Arras – July 3rd
When you generally get to sleep around 3:00 A.M. each morning, a surefire way to start your day off poorly is to be awakened at 6:12 A.M. by a flurry of text messages from Jerry Cantrell.
But that’s how my day started in Arras, France.
Jerry wanted to go golfing and was wondering where the bus was, since that’s where his clubs were.
I gave him the information he was looking for and attempted to go back to sleep, but it was too late.
It was light outside, I had woken up, and I decided to do what I do best in the early morning; hate.
So I spent the next hour or so hating Jerry and hating my job and hating the game of golf and just basically not liking anything.
Even though we’ve come thousands of miles around the world and had our internal clocks readjusted in the process, mornings are still tough at times, especially when you have to wake up and operate on three hours of sleep.
But I soon leveled off and remembered that I love Jerry and I love my job (I remain ambivalent toward the game of golf), and my good mood returned as we arrived at the site of the Main Square Festival.
It’s held on the grounds of an old citadel in the city, which is a cool site for a concert.
However, the Vauban Citadel in Arras, France was constructed in the 1600’s, and if you’re a student of old abandoned French citadels like I am, you know the terrifying word that comes next – cobblestones.
I’m not sure what the members of the French army were doing back in the 1600’s, but it wasn’t running Mike Inez’s wristbands from the production office to the dressing room in low top Adidas.
Cobblestone’s are basically nature’s way of saying, “I’m going to twist your ankle for you, but I’m just not going to say when.”
For me, it was right before Alice’s set, after I’d been running around all day long and had gotten a false sense of confidence.
Fortunately it wasn’t bad though, so after limping it off for a minute, I was right back to work.
Part of that work was helping Jerry put together the set list for the show.
If you hang around Jerry Cantrell long enough, he’ll occasionally hit you with a quality quote to put in your blog.
We were putting the finishing touches on the set list for Arras when he said, “A good set list has to have artistic fury, with just a sliver of sensitivity.”
I thought to myself, “Damn, he just described the band, not the set list.
So as I wrap up this French flavored version of the blog, I think there are three valuable lessons to be gleaned from it:
Waking up at six A.M. is a guaranteed way to start your day off poorly.
Walking rapidly from the dressing room to the stage on cobblestones is a guaranteed way to twist your ankle.
And coming out to see Alice In Chains in concert is a guaranteed way to be slapped in the eardrums with artistic fury, mingled with a slight sliver of sensitivity.