Feb 27: LA; Let’s Get Going

After a not-too-terrible sleep I awoke at 6.30am and tried to nap more, but it was no use. I accepted the near-six hours of slumber, grateful that Valdez the jetlag bunny didn’t cloud my room with even more of his trademark ‘Cra-Z-Sleep’ vapour.

At the end of last night’s rehearsal, Leonard said things were going well and that today’s session would begin a little earlier than usual; he’s aware the crew have to pack everything up and load out into trucks to get this tour under way, and the longer the band take to polish their act, the longer it takes for us to get all the gear out. It sounds like a very logical process, a no-brainer if you will, but you might be surprised how some artists can get a little flustered and forget how time works — it doesn’t bend to anyone’s will, it just keeps going like a beam of light.  As Dan and I stepped out the facility’s door last night, our phones chimed with the news: 27th rehearsal cancelled.

With no band in today, and the trucks coming for the equipment at 6pm, we find plenty of time to do whatever we need to make ourselves useful. I got in early to start packing a few things away and observed some electrical measurements on Javier’s amplifiers. One of the amps was ‘running a little hot’ so I adjusted its bias voltage to bring the unit within spec and both amps are good to go.

Last call...

Last call…

Everyone seems to be coming down with something: sore throats, upset tummies, fevers, and general physical shitness. I’m either the bringer of illness, or just the first victim of a little bug’s disdain for humanity. But most importantly — it seems I’m over the worst of my illness. *I’M* OK, screw everyone else. 😉

Even with all the time in the world today, packing up leisurely, labelling boxes, double-checking the manifest, twiddling thumbs, creating superheroes and counting calories, it’s easy to forget that the hands still spin three-sixty and eventually we must get into gear. The trucks arrived later than their scheduled 6pm, but that wasn’t such a bad thing. It’s much simpler to load a truck on Sunset Blvd than it is on the smaller sidestreet adjacent to the facility, and nothing can park on Sunset until 7pm.

The Sunset option means a quick push out the studio door onto the pavement and into a truck. For the sidestreet option, we must push cases through the facility, out the small dock and onto the street — rather, INTO the street. For some reason, that truck can only park in the middle of the street. People, cases, and cars must all negotiate each other on a Wednesday evening in Hollywood. Thankfully that truck was already half-filled with lighting equipment when it arrived and we filled the remaining space with our wardrobe and production cases in relatively little time. Over on Sunset, with the help of some local muscle, I began loading the truck with backline. The pack itself wasn’t too bad, considering I haven’t done it in months. Thankfully I still had pictures.

The sacred scrolls

The sacred scrolls

When it was time to load the audio equipment, Chris operated the forklift while Benni directed traffic decked in a hi-vis vest, waving a red wand; he reminded me of the automatic traffic wardens you see in Tokyo, simplified human forms of plywood with a mechanically undulating arm punctuated by a red light.

When the trucks were done it was time to scoot back to the hotel and prepare to get out of LA. With a bit more time to kill before the buses left, I was able to do laundry in a nearby coin-op that swallowed too many quarters, but it was still much cheaper than a service wash. Between washing and drying I ate a quick bite and when the entire bubbly event, narrated by a Spanish-speaking TV soap opera was done, I returned to the hotel, packed my bags, and got on the bus shortly before midnight.

At first I thought there was no x-box on the bus and was about to wail like a little baby, but hidden cleverly in a cleverly hidden place, I found the machine; with a bit of gumption I moved the front-lounge operation into the back lounge where Dan and I can kill waves of flesh-eating eyesores. Let’s go to Berkeley.

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5 Responses to Feb 27: LA; Let’s Get Going

  1. ucblue says:

    Berkeley??? are you showing up for the poor folk?

  2. j6ppc says:

    Godspeed LB & UHTC on the new leg of the tour.

    Question- I noticed the other day that a new guitar was purchased for Javier. What’s the deal in cases like this where a new instrument is required on (or almost on) tour. Does the artist pick up the cost or is that considered wear and tear that the production picks up? (if you can answer of course).

    On a semi related note- I’ve made friends with my new guitar and fingers are now hardened enough to begin to make a little progress. Very little progress tho since I’d never played a string instrument before having previously gravitated to the flute.

    Inspired enough though to re-string a classic acoustic guitar tomorrow that I had knocking around in the back room for a couple of years. That will give me a nice adjunct to the steel string acoustic I purchased last month.

    • Leif says:

      Cheers Jon. There’s no hardened rule when it comes to equipment purchase, but I feel I should leave it there. Have you ever seen the film Animal House? (Please say yes.) The scene on the stairs with the acoustic guitar is perhaps one of my favourites. 😉
      Best wishes for yo’ blisters.

      • Jon says:

        Leif- Yes I saw Animal House back in the day when it premiered- been a while need to view it again. I was maybe 17 when I first saw it. The blisters are fine- just put the guitar down for the night in fact.

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