"You guys better keep an eye on your van, this part of Fresno at night attracts a lot of crack heads and homeless." And that's how the promoter greeted us at the Fresno, CA show at the Exit! I assured him we knew the drill and we'd make sure to keep an eye on the van. "This is the kind of neighborhood we're pretty used to playing," I told him, "We know when we're getting close to the venue when the houses have iron security bars and there are more homeless people than street lights!"
When they showed us where to set up the merch table, Tiger Army's merch had already arrived before they did. Tiger Army had 23 boxes of shirts waiting for them as they pulled into the parking lot. They had so much merch that at the end of the night, they asked if we could take some of the boxes and a hand truck to the next venue. We were happy we could help. Oh, yeah, by the way...if anyone is needs a Tiger Army shirt we have a few for sale!
Living in the desert, we're usually the last band to complain about heat. Playing shows in Arizona gets you ready for any non-air-conditioned venue but this night was just outright stupid hot. By the end of the show, Davey looked like he just climbed out of the pool after swimming laps. I should have known something was up, when the security guard working the side door in the main room sat in a chair with two fans facing him. Fans that I suspect were meant for the talent on stage, but who am I to question security! I did find a fan backstage, though, to put on the stage while the Memphis Murder Men played, but of course, there weren't enough electrical outlets to plug into. I all could do was hold up the limp electrical cord so the guys in the band could see I made an attempt to bring them some air!
All in all, it was a great show. Tiger Army and their road crew were cool guys. Very professional.
Relaxing in the glamorous backstage area.
I do have one complaint, though. My guitar strap did fall off during the show. It wasn't just the strap, but the screw that held the lock onto the bass. A very annoying situation which caused me not to move, for fear the strap would fall off again. Good thing the heat was keeping me from jumping around anyway. I made sure to duct tape my bass at the end of the show.
We met a lot of great people at the show. Even the fabled Elvis Trooper, made an appearance! We met him at DragonCon last year, and he came out to support the Calabrese Crew.
And no, unfortunately, he was not in uniform.
We were bummed we were only asked to play these two shows, but very grateful they asked. Tiger Army has a really great draw and they do especially well in Phoenix. When we got to the Marquee, I knew it was going to be a good night. The sound board, which is usually in the middle of the floor, was moved to the back of the venue, which meant they expected a lot of people.
Being in a band with your brothers can have it's trouble. Earlier before the show, I got into an argument with Davey and lost my cool. In my rage I decided to go Chuck Norris on the side of the van. I changed my mind mid-kick and tried to correct my aim to hit a tire. I almost hit my target but instead I smashed the top of my foot against the wheel well. F***ing ouch! If you were at the show that night you might have noticed me limping on stage, and well, that's the reason why! In my embarrassment ,I told people that I smashed my foot moving the bass amp but the truth is I'm an asshole!
We arrived extra early at the venue to backline the gear and take our time setting up the merch. I talked to the lighting and sound guy about what we needed. At some venues it's tough to get the attention of the stage hands. Hell, some places we play don't even have a stage! But these guys were attentive and willing to work with us.
The doors opened at 7pm, and a stage hand told us Tiger Army wouldn't arrive till 8pm. Wow, what pompous rock stars I thought! We show up hours before the show and they just stroll in and set up after the doors open. I later found out from the Tiger Army merch guy that the tires on their trailer exploded. They were sitting on the side of the I-10 half the day waiting for the replacements. Crap, I felt like an asshole again!
The crowd was on fire and the adrenalin helped me push through the pain of jumping around on my bruised foot. I almost felt good enough to jump off the drums but I didn't want to push fate. We played for 31 minutes, but it felt like 10. I know it was a good show 'cause people I never met before were buying me drinks and treating me like royalty. When Tiger Army dedicated "American Nightmare" to us during the show our cool points rose +5.
The next day I could barely walk on my foot, so I went to the Emergency Room to get x-rayed. Luckily it wasn't broken, just bruised...like my ego!