Sonic Temple

Week Two USA June/July 2001

June/July With Monster Magnet and Stabbing Westward

Phoenix, Las Vegas, Irvine and Salt Lake City

As I do more shows with this band, meet more of the fans, and talk more and more about this website, I realise just how important it is to keep everything updated, to keep the diary current, and to let everyone know whats going on. This is where the whole thing becomes a family. Ive met people who have driven halfway across the States to see us play at a show, and who tell me that the site has made them feel part of a huge family. That is SO fucking cool!! When I was a kid, back in England, I used to travel all over Europe to see my favourite bands. I would spend every penny I had on tee-shirts, records, posters etc and I would spend every waking hour in school, hanging on until I could get in my friends car and we would be able to get out to somewhere to see those bands play. I thought that mentality had died, but I was wrong. Cult fans are insane, and I love them for it!! And every one of them that tells me they read this rubbish that I try to write makes me feel more a part of it all, just like it does them. Long Live The Cult!!

The Desert…….OH MY GOD!! Its all about the heat….. the very ‘dry’ heat. Phoenix and the show at the Web Theatre was so hot, the guitars just would not stay in tune. I spent a lot of the pre-show time talking with the guys from Fender who very kindly provide me with the basses that I use. They came down to say hi, and we did a photo shoot with all my guitars. We talked about a “Chaos” bass, like the tee-shirt that I wear onstage sometimes. It will be very cool if that comes off.

The actual performance was so hot, I must have lost ten pounds in sweat!! Take The Power (one of my favourites from the new record) has made it into the set properly now, and as far as I could tell, all the guys had a good show.

The drive from Phoenix to Vegas was amazing – a desert sky full of stars like Ive never seen before. I chilled out in the back lounge of the bus and fell asleep watching the sky. Altogether now…….”aaahhhh!!!!!”

Ladies and gentlemen, ‘Welcome To Las Vegas’!!

The town is just not real. Volcanoes, Pirate Ships….I mean, there’s even a mini Eiffel Tower in the bloody street! Its all going on, all day and all night in Vegas. So we checked in to The Mandalay Bay hotel, and we all split up for the day, just relaxing and taking some well earned rest. I spent a few hours in the hotel spa, with euchalyptus steam rooms, hot and cold plunge pools, and mini blueberry muffins!! Very relaxing and very necessary. Any one of you guys who owns a spa in Los Angeles, please contact me at Complimentary Towers, Freebie Avenue, NoCostVille!!!

The gig was in the House Of Blues, right next to the hotel casino. Before we had to play, I was sitting at a machine with a friend, telling him how I don’t gamble because I work too hard to get the money I have. I stuck my hand in my pocket and found two quarters. So, I figured I should at least lose them in the slot machine in front of me….(when in Vegas etc). One pull on the machine and I win FIFTY BUCKS!!! I like this shit!!! I walk away and get my winnings changed up and suddenly feel a big surge of love for this casino!!

The show is cool, but we struggle with the monitor system. We are so loud onstage that I think the system is unable to compete with the outfront sound and our backline. We turn into a garage punk band again and power through the set. All good fun, but we all feel that the monitor problems need to be overcome in order for us to move to the next level.

Nigel from the Quireboys has got married and has his whole wedding party on our guest list, so we have a ‘gathering’ in the Foundation Rooms at the top of the hotel – what a view of Vegas from the roof! We also change busses AGAIN after the party – it seems like we change our bus every two days! – so we don’t leave Vegas until five thirty in the morning. While we wait for our new driver to show up, a girl appears, sits on the sidewalk and bursts into tears. So I get off the bus to go and see if she is alright, or if we can help. It turns out that someone from Stabbing Westward (sorry about the previous weeks spelling, guys) has forgotten to put her on the guest list, and she has been wandering around the streets of Vegas for hours. We give her a drink and some money for a taxi, and send her back to her hotel. Note To Self – always remember to put the names on the list!!!

The KROQ Weenie Roast at Irvine, was total, unadulterated PUNK ROCK. We were on at five oclock in the afternoon, with the sun in our eyes, and a whole heap of bands ahead of us still to play. So we opened with Sanctuary, closed with Love Removal, and played nothing but new songs inbetween. Ian sang a fantastic show, running into the audience during the last song. But on the way back, he got into an ‘altercation’ with a cameraman, and started to drag cameras, monitors and anything else he can find, into the pit. The cameraman gets up onstage, I look over and see Tony, our assistant, heave the guy straight back off the stage and into the pit, so I run over to give Tony a hand in, er…..”calming the guy down”, Tony grabs me and gets me off the stage. Ian finishes trashing everything, the whole thing is straight out of 1977 and we have to hide certain people, while our management flex their damage limitation skills and put Operation Clean Up into effect. By the end of the day, apologies are made, no harm done, we watch Stone Temple Pilots, and then we leave. Day Over.

Our flight to Salt Lake is quick and easy, and we arrive at the venue on time, to find a huge arena waiting for us. Now I’m just a poor little London boy and have no experience of Utah, Mormons or anything else, other than The Osmonds!! So I’m astounded at the amount of beautiful women walking around. The show is another monitor mess, so although we play well, and the audience goes absolutely mad, we come offstage knowing that things have to change up there. We are not The Clash, and we need certain things in order to give the Arena Rock Performance that you guys deserve. Other than that, the show is one of my favourites. Stage divers, a real moshpit, kids singing every word, and a bunch of gorgeous women in the front row – what more could a boy ask for!!! After we come off, I sign some autographs and meet a few diehards who refuse to leave until we have signed their stuff. I love these people. And we make our way towards Denver, and week three of this leg of our tour. Its hard work and gruelling, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love this stuff more than anything. Thanks for making me feel welcome in this band.


Billy Morrison