Monday, August 20, 2007

Life, Commodities and Todd in general

Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was typing my tour diary blog, and now that I look at it, that was more than 2 weeks ago. Come to think of it though, absolutely everything in my life has been moving this fast lately. 2007 has been a huge year. More has happened this year than the last 5 years put together and I've still got nearly 1/3rd of it left to go.

I doubt there will be much of a point to this blog other than it's helping me take my mind off studying for a couple minutes. While on tour a couple weeks ago I got a call from work, and the promotion I had interviewed for actually came through. It was a good feeling, but it came with several large books and a difficult test to pass. I've made it through the books at this point, and about 10 practice tests, now I'm just re-reading and re-testing. The real test is on Wednesday. Once passed I'll be a licensed Commodities Broker. I know, it sounds boring, and trust me it is compared to playing music and touring, but in a strange way I love it. I imagine there's a good reason I'm working so hard at this on top of working so hard with the band and working so hard to maintain my relationship with my fiance'. It's daunting, but there's a purpose.

The days are counting down until the wedding. We stressed all this weekend that Hurricane Dean was going to destroy Jamaica before we were able to visit, but it seems that everything should be ok. The island is still intact. I can't imagine the amount of stress relief it will be to finally be finished with this test and then finally finished with the wedding. I probably won't know what to do with myself, but you know what that leads to... lots and lots of writing.

The band finally secured a new lead singer. I don't think it was ever officially announced that Jared was leaving the band, but that's ok. We didn't really want to make a big deal of it. I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish with Jared these last 4 years. We wouldn't be here without him. He's a good friend and a good person and he will be missed. I'm happy that he's following his calling, even though it is calling him away from the band.

Todd Laird is going to be stepping up to the mic for us from now on.
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I'm very excited about this. Todd was actually one of my guitar heroes in the early days of playing and really inspired me to be the player that I am today. I saw him in the band "Simple Truth" when I was a sophomore in high school and thought he was amazing. Somehow through God's devine intervention, nearly 10 years later, we happened to meet at a church service. From there things progressed and when the lead singer position opened up, Todd was interested. I see great potential in this pairing and I think huge things are ahead for Fate of Angels. Who'd have thought God would make our paths cross again all these years later. I've got to believe that it's for a greater purpose. I just can't wait to see what that higher purpose is.

Thanks for reading.

Next time, I'll make the blog worth your while...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A week late... (tour diary)

It was exactly one week ago that I was laying in my bed in North Carolina, realizing that today was the end of one of the greatest experiences of my life. Soon after I would fall asleep. When I awoke, there would be one last show, one last chance to hang out with the kids and then it was time to pack up and head home, back to a life of schedules, money making and chores. But what an amazing trip it had been.

It started late on a Tuesday night. The guys were supposed to be at my place around 10:00 pm, but as it typically goes, they didn't get there till about midnight. I had planned in advance though for this to happen, and took the extra 2 hours to take one last nap on my couch. Eventually they showed up, we loaded up, and we were off.

I drove the first shift, and slept as soon as I was done. Later I was woken up just outside Chicago. We'd already driven through Iowa (so I didn't miss much while I was asleep). We ate a quick breakfast and set out to finish off Illinois. Soon we found ourselves in Indiana, and then thanks to a wrong turn by Anthony, in Michigan. The detour only cost us about 10 minutes and we were back on track and cruising through Ohio. Before we knew it we were driving through Pennsylvania. I woke up to see Philidelphia and then our first destination, New Jersey, 26 hours later. After a stop for directions at the nearest Wawa (go to New Jersey, you'll understand quickly) we found ourselves at Mt. Misery, in the very woods where the legend of the New Jersey Devil originated. We didn't let this bother us though and we were soon fast asleep...

...for a couple hours at least. We woke up early the next morning so that we could take a field trip to Surf City, New Jersey and for a couple of us including myself, see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. The day couldn't have been much better. The water was cold, but the experience was unforgettable. After three hours in the drink we headed to Boulevard Clams, soggy and sunburnt, for a seafood lunch. Later that night was the first night of work.

After the show we slept another night at Mt. Misery and soon headed out on our next quest; to see the Statue of Liberty. I can now officially tell you from experience that driving a 15 passenger van while pulling a 6x12 trailer through the busy streets of Newark, New Jersey is not something I want to do again. We did accomplish our goal and got a good look at Lady Liberty, but only from the back. Since we were running out of time, we decided to come back the next day for a better view. It was off to our next show. Luckily we left early. The trip to the next destination, which was supposed to take an hour ended up taking 3 because we were fortunate enough to hit New York City, Friday afternoon rush hour. We made it just in time and the show went off without a hitch.

The next morning it was time to get to the meat and potatoes of this journey; New York City. We were going to do it all and do it quick cause we had to play another show that night. We started out at the World Trade Center. It was a very humbling experience to stand in the crater of the buildings I watched fall on TV 6 years ago. Why they haven't been rebuilt yet I still don't fully understand. After that it was off to Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange, then to Broadway, 5th Avenue, Times Square, the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty again. We hit it all in 6 hours, and then it was off to pick up John at the airport before we headed of to the next show.

We played that night knowing full well what lay ahead for us. The next show was the next evening, and we were 12 hours away from it. After we loaded up that night it was back to the hotel for showers and then on the road one more time, this time to North Carolina. On the way we hit Delaware, Maryland, Viriginia and decided it would be fun to tour Washington DC at 5 am. We took in all the sights, The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Monument, The White House, The Capital building. Another thing that I can now say from experience is that Washington DC police don't like a 15 passenger van pulling a 6x12 trailer around the city at 5 am. After a couple verbal warnings that we were not where we were supposed to be, we decided it best to simply move along.

By the next afternoon we were at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places in the US). This is where we would spend the rest of the tour, playing twice a day for groups of kids from all of the South Eastern parts of the US and playing volleyball, basketball, and ping pong in the free time between sets. This turned into the highlight of the trip. The kids at these camps were amazing. We felt so welcomed and appreciated. We even had the opportunity to write a song with a group of kids. It ended up practically turning into a camp anthem and we played it every session after it was written. We may even have the opportunity to record it for the next album. We'll just have to see.

And this is where I was, one week ago this evening, laying in bed, thinking about heading home, looking forward to seeing my fiance again, and my doggie Henry, but knowing that one of my biggest adventures to date was drawing to an end. The next day we played on last time and loaded up. We headed off into Tennessee and made a quick stop in Nashville to meet with our manager. Then it was off through Kentucky, where we watched a semi truck blow a tire at 75 mph and later a car full of teen-agers race past us only to lose control and do a 360 into the ditch. Soon it was Illinois again and then Missouri, and finally back home at 8 am, just in time to make it to work at 9 am.

In the 2 weeks we were on tour I had the opportunity to see 8 new states, swim in the ocean for the first time, tour New York City and Washigton DC within a 24 hour period, and play music for hundreds of kids. There was one point on stage where I remember just looking out at everything and saying to God, Thank you. Thank you for all of this. Who would have ever thought I'd be able to come this far. I still think he's got a lot in store for me. The next adventure starts next month when I do another couple things for the first time. I'll tell you more on that when the time comes.