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Backstage with Baldy

Manchester – November 11th

We had a relatively short drive from Leeds to Manchester, and when we arrived there were two bellmen waiting to help us with our luggage.
I was talking to one of them as we were on our way inside the hotel and he asked me what time the band played the next day.
“9:15” I said
“In the morning or night?” he replied.
Wow.
I wasn’t sure if he was just sweetly naïve or actually kind of dim, so I simply replied with a straight answer and told him that they played at night.
I can’t imagine this band doing anything at 9:15 in the morning other than drooling lightly into their pillows.
Which is what we all went off to do.

The next day began with a trip to the venue, which thankfully had far less stairs than the O2 in Leeds.
Once we were settled in, we sent the runner on a shopping spree to collect up a few cold and flu remedies, among other things.
Why?

Well, if you do a Google search and type in the words Jerry Cantrell, Manchester, and November, the results will probably be multiple links to chest colds and sore throats.
Yep, we’re in the UK in late autumn again, which means the temperature is dropping, the leaves are falling, and Jerry’s immune system is failing.
This is nothing new, but I like to add to his legend whenever I can, and the fact that year after year he consistently gets sick on tour, and show after show he continues to play and sing like nothing’s wrong is pretty amazing.
Manchester was no different, as Jerry spent the better part of the day feeling like complete crap, then ate his spinach, climbed into a phone booth, changed into his tights and cape, and made his way onstage.
(By the way, if you got both the Popeye & Superman references, congratulations. That counts towards 10% of your final grade)

It was a steamy sweatbox up on stage, and the stage smoke was so thick at times that I wondered how they could even breathe up there.
I personally hate stage smoke. It smells funny and it interferes with my filming and photography.
It accentuates the lighting though, and helps create an ambience I guess, so I’ve learned to live with it.
You know what else creates an ambience? People.
Last night’s ambience was enhanced by a handful of Ghost fans who dressed up for the occasion.
They may look a bit out of place once Ghost’s set is over, but who doesn’t enjoy looking out in the crowd and seeing a couple of zombied-out nuns and a white-faced ghoulish Pope?
Actually I would guess that a lot of Catholics might not enjoy it, but hey, it’s rock ‘n roll. It’s meant to offend.

Speaking of offensive, one of my beloved teammates on the crew decided to take advantage of my severe hatred of cucumbers by placing a bowl of them on my computer while I was out of the room.
This is the one mistake a person should never make on tour: allowing everyone to know what you hate.
Picking on one another is the absolute number one pastime of everyone out here, so exposing weakness will just lead to Mike Inez putting cucumbers in your pillow, which has happened to me a few times as well.

So there you go. A few random ramblings that made up my Manchester experience this time around.
Where else can you read about zombie nuns, stage smoke, and cucumbers all in one sitting?

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Backstage with Baldy

Yokohama – March 9th

Sometimes you just never know what you’re gonna get on a day off. We had our final day off on this leg of the tour in Tokyo, and band and crew teamed up, paired up, or split up and went...

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