Backstage with Baldy
Melbourne – February 28th
Occasionally I use the band’s popularity and the forum they’ve given me to do a bit of narcissistic chest thumping, and today is another one of those days.
First off, lets discuss power.
I’ve been around this band long enough to recognize the fact that I carry a little bit of power within the organization.
How and when I choose to exercise this power is left solely to my discretion, and I’d like to think that I use it sparingly.
When I say I have power, I don’t really mean professionally, I’m talking more about the ability to manipulate the personal relationships I have with the band members to attain my goals and achieve my aspirations.
That’s basically a long-winded way of saying I know these guys well enough to get them to do my bidding.
And today was really no different than last spring when I introduced an ear worm into the dressing room before the show and got an old Chicago tune stuck in their collective heads.
Today I did it again.
The guys had recently moved a few songs around and settled on a set list, when I mentioned that I thought it would be an unexpected move to open with a cover song instead of We Die Young.
What cover song? “I Can’t Tell You Why” by the Eagles.
Yep, when I introduce an ear worm, you’d better believe I’m digging up some serious old school 70’s AM radio pabulum.
And just like I knew it would, it hit the bullseye.
The second I started singing it, Mike & Sean joined in and we hit the chorus like a three man Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Then William entered the dressing room shortly after that and I got him singing it too, and later Jerry was ensnared as well.
Jerry even tried to one-up me about 20 minutes later with some Captain & Tennille, but c’mon man, once “I Can’t Tell You Why” has been injected in your ear holes, there’s no room for anything else.
Secondly, let’s talk about ingenuity.
Our production manager carries a single golf club in his road case. I don’t golf so I’m not sure, but I think it’s a pitching wedge.
Anyway, Jerry saw the club, and since there was still an hour or so before show time, he wanted to hit some balls.
Unfortunately there were no balls to be found. We looked around, asked around, and thought about sending the runner out, but there just wasn’t enough time.
And that’s when I really earned my paycheck for the week and leaped into action.
Most people would look at our dressing room rider laid out on a table and see snacks and drinks.
I see opportunity.
So I grabbed a bag of grapes and brought them out to Jerry in the compound area, and within a few seconds he was hitting grapes at a garbage can I set up in front of Rob Zombie’s trailer.
But wait, it gets better.
The dressing room compound is a busy area. People are coming and going all over the place, so at times it looked like a shooting gallery, with people walking in the line of fire and nearly getting graped in the process.
Then John 5 from Rob Zombie’s band came out and bent over the garbage can, and Jerry tried hitting grapes at his ass for a few swings.
This is the kind of pre-gig warm-up that I think is unique to Alice In Chains.
While other bands at this festival are applying their eye liner, cinching up their leather pants, and generally making sure that they’ve properly ramped up their evil to its highest level, my guys are crooning an Eagles ballad and hitting grapes with a golf club.
This is the role I play in Aliceville.
In our tour itinerary, I’m listed as the Assistant Tour Manager.
I’m not sure what other assistant tour managers do, but I coerce my band into singing sappy songs, and I enable my band members to play golf with fruit.
And I get paid to travel the world doing it.
Not a bad life…
Sign up to the Alice In Chains Mailing List:
Backstage With Baldy
Who knows where Thomas Edison was when he invented the phonograph? Or where Leonard Rivkin was when he invented the child safety seat? All I know is that Sean Kinney & Jerry Cantrell were backstage at the Ilosaarirock Festival in...