Sonic Temple

Week One USA June/July 2001

June/July With Monster Magnet and Stabbing Westwood

Reno, San Fransisco, Santa Barbara, and Sacremento

Hmmm… interesting week, I think. Sunshine, concussions, rock stars and barbeques all played an integral part in this first week of our two month US jaunt with Monster Magnet and Stabbing Westwood. But let me start at the beginning….

We left LA at around midnight, and did an overnight drive to Reno, to start the next leg of the tour. I woke up the next morning to find the bus parked in yet another car park – this time next to the Reno Hilton. We had rooms, so of course I checked in, showered, drank ten cups of coffee and smoked thirty cigarettes to get a personality, and made straight for the pool. Matt and Billy D were already sunning themselves, a couple of the Stabbing guys were there, and we just lazed about, catching fierce desert sun for a few hours.

Later on, I checked out both Stabbing and Monster Magnet sets, and although Ive seen both bands before, I decide that it’s a great bill, and the tour is gonna ROCK!! They both do well, and leave the place warmed up nicely for The Cult. Our set is good – Take The Power gets added and feels cool. Its great to have a bunch of new Cult songs to play. And after eight days break, its good to be playing again.

The next day is San Fransisco – actually it’s the Shoreline Amphitheatre which is a little way out of town, and it’s a big radio show, with Staind, The Disturbed, Blink 182 and a bunch of other new bands. It’s nice to know that with this new album, The Cult are still a current band. We wonder how we are going to be received by all the kids out there, but we have a great show – any worries are unfounded, as we get all Punk Rock and train wreck through the set. Its good rock and roll and we go down really well. The sun is in our eyes the whole way through the set, and it makes finesse and technique almost impossible. So the raw energy of the band shows through, and everyone leaves the stage happy. We hang around the rest of the evening in the guest area, listening to the rest of the bands. I watch Staind from out front and think theyre alright. Bob Rock, the guy who produced Beyond Good And Evil is at the gig and hanging out with us. He’s a nice guy and it’s a pleasure to have him around. But I lose my favourite Gucci sunglasses so I’m pissed when the bus pulls out!!

All I can hear is laughter – I’m in my bunk on the bus, and fast asleep, and suddenly I wake up and sit bolt upright (always a silly thing to do in a bunk compartment that is three feet high!!) to the sound of Matt, Billy and Tony, our assistant telling war stories in the front lounge and laughing…..loudly!!. This is confusing as I am ALWAYS the first to wake up. Stumbling out of bed, and into the lounge I see a fantastic view out of the bus window of the ocean, and the Marina as we pull into Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful towns Ive seen so far. What the guys are doing up at eight oclock, I don’t know!! But I don’t ask, I make my coffee, smoke my cigarettes and once we find the venue, I go for a shower and a look around. Its great – built on top of a hill, overlooking the town, the view is awesome, the sun is shining and catering have a barbeque going – it’s like being on holiday!! I chill out on the bus for most of the day, playing guitar and playstation 2 (Ive gotta get some decent games!) until my buddy Jason shows up from Santa Monica. Jason is friends with Monster Magnet, so I get introductions to the guys who all seem really nice people and we hang out until its time to go on. The gig is good, and the audience go crazy, until our encore. During the break in Love Removal Machine, we bring out Billy Gibbons from Z.Z.Top, to play guitar with us. What an honour – the guy is a genius! He’s a fan of the band and showed up earlier on to watch the show. So when he walks out onto the stage, Santa Barbara goes mad, and we finish the set with three guitarists!!! What a great end to a great day.

The Sacremento show is my Nemesis. Anyone who has seen the band play knows that Ian does this ‘Rodger Daltrey, swing the mic around his head’ type thing, which looks great from front of house. Up onstage, Im having a great gig, playing well, feeling good, and we are coming to the end of Peace Dog ( I think – I don’t remember much) and Im by the drum riser, looking at Matt and getting into the song, when suddenly everything goes black, my face explodes with pain, and I fall into my cabinets, holding on and trying to stay conscious. I find out later that Ian has swung the mic as normal, but misjudged the distance and hit me in the face with it!!! I spit out some blood, shake my head and everything seems ok, and when Ian asks me if Im alright, I say yes. Carry on with the show. OH MY GOD!! Two songs later, my head is spinning and I cant look up, for fear of blacking out. Leaning against my cabs seems to be the way to get through the show, and as long as I don’t move, it’s not too bad. But I have to walk to the front to sing backing vocals, and every time I do this, the whole venue starts spinning and I feel like throwing up/fainting – I’m not sure which! Somehow, I get through the main set, and as I walk off, my legs turn to jelly and I collapse. Suddenly there’s a medic making me breath oxygen, and asking me stupid questions like ‘do you know where you are?’ and ‘what day is it?’ “Fucking hell, mate – Im on tour. How the hell do I know?” is my reply!!! I do the encore, and get helped off to have medic man repeat his inane ramblings and nurse takes my temp, blood pressure etc and generally does nurse-like things (Very Nice!!) I fall asleep on the bus that night with the worlds biggest headache, and a jaw that feels very disconnected from the rest of the world!! I will watch him very closely from now on!! So while the jaw heals, the bruising goes down and my head stops spinning, Im going to say, take care people, and Ill catch up with evryone next week, for the ‘desert leg’ of the tour, including Phoenix and Vegas. I’m topping up the sun tan and recovering until then.


Billy Morrison