Sonic Temple

Week Two USA May 2001

Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Little Rock.

So I wake up in a hotel room in New Orleans, trying to get my head around the previous evening, which consisted of bars, strip clubs, lapdances and slices of pizza! All I know is that it had been very late when my head finally hit the pillow, and I had watched a lot of very beautiful women take their clothes off!

I wake up starving hungry, and Mike, Phil (one of our managers) and I wander off into the French Quarter to have coffee and ‘beniers”, a very scary hot doughnut type affair at the world famous Café Du Monde. The drama begins to follow us around already, as a waitress has a heart attack right there in the café while we are sitting having breakfast. She turns out to be ok after the paramedics arrive and look after her, and the three of us decide that we should go and check out Bourbon Street – the home of most of the strip joints and bars in the quarter. But as we walk up from the café, Phil gets accosted by a dubious looking woman, dressed in some kind of shiny gold robe,  who wants to read his cards, and to my utter amazement…..he agrees!!! So we hang around while he gets told that ‘he’s going to travel’, ‘he doesn’t use all his creativity’, ‘love is in the air’ etc etc and finally, ‘Mystic Meg’ finishes her predictions and we are on our way.

Late afternoon and we get on the busses to drive the hour and a half to Baton Rouge for the next show. It’s a club gig, about 900 people, and the soundcheck is good. By the time we get to the venue, everything has been sorted out, and it all sounds good already. The crew we have with us are definitely working hard to make it all right, and we are lucky to have them with us. Soundcheck, therefore, lasts ten minutes and I get off to go and eat as much as I can find, drink gallons of coffee and smoke a pack of cigarettes before onstage time. ( hey, everyone has their pre-show rituals!)

The gig is a very hot and sweaty affair, and we experiment with the set, dropping In The Clouds and putting Firewoman second. It seems to work and an hour later, nine hundred people are leaving the club covered in sweat, and we are back on the bus. Another day at the office!!

New Orleans show day is a very relaxed affair for the most part. Everyone gets to sleep late, have a nice lunch and wander around. Matt and myself go over to Trent Reznor’s studio complex to say hi and check out the building. Its an old funeral home that the NIN crew have converted into a nice studio/office/apartment complex, from where Trent can run his empire. He’s pleased to see us, and we hang out for a short while, leave some laminates for him and his staff to use at the show later, and get on back into town for the gig. The record label and the promoters for the House Of Blues are all at the show tonight, and we don’t disappoint them. Its one of the best shows so far. Matt and me get the rhythem section right in the pocket and Billy throws just about every guitar hero shape in the book.  Ian is every inch the front man rock and roll star –  all Jesus poses and wild tambourine shakes. The crowd loves it all, and the aftershow is, lets just say……very rock and roll!

The following day is a day off, which I spend sleeping, and working on my laptop, replying to emails, editing video footage etc and in the evening, I go out for a very nice italien meal down in the Quarter. Its an overnight drive to Little Rock and I want to eat well before the long drive.

The show at Little Rock is ok – it’s a long day sitting in a parking lot at the venue, waiting to go on, and by the time we do the show, everyone is so wound up, that we just pummel through the set. No dynamics tonight, boys and girls – just very loud, aggressive rock and roll. We get the show done, and get on our way to Dallas, and the 25,000 capacity Edgefest.

We do press and interviews, meet and greets, shake lots of hands, and hit the stage on time, and ready to do some damage. It’s a good show, and Ian works the audience perfectly. By the time the encore of Love Removal Machine rolls around, most people are going crazy. Another day over with and the tour rolls onwards to Tulsa, Oaklahoma. See y’all next week, when Matt is threatening to write the diary.