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Roadie #3

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Posts posted by Roadie #3

  1. I can't say that I enjoy the snow like I used to. After living in San Antonio for 15 years I got used to the warm weather and was glad that I only spent about 2 weeks during the winter holidays in Cleveland, that was more than enough snow to keep me happy for another year.

    As far as being on the road with the crew "cold weather sucks" You get out of a warm truck and unload road cases that are frozen, everything needs to thaw before you can start to work. Then when it comes time to load out you are nice and warm and you have to fight cold once again. I really don't mind the cold, but when the wind is blowing there is nothing worse.

    But as Eric said "I'm not in it for the money"

  2. A quick story about the old days; We played at JB's in Kent quite often (the band was showcased here by Jimmy Inner and then signed by Capitol)This venue had the stage located in the lower level of the club and we had 2 choices for bringing the equipment in and out of the club. Either unload on street level and carry everything down 2 flights of stairs or drive around the back of the building and onto the railroad tracks and play hide and seek with trains while unloading. Being smarter than stronger we chose the railroad tracks. Many times we would have to move the truck in a hurry as not to be hit by a train (we never shut off the engine). The thought of carrying the piano down 2 flights of stairs made this crazy idea worth it. The trains ran on these tracks about every 15 minutes so it was always an interesting time. Ah, the old days!!!!

  3. Ah, the old days. Yes at times it was wild. From the days of the small Econoline van to the custom designed Raspberries Red truck. However, we should finish the reunion tour stories. As far as the old days I will try to remember some of the more memorable tales and let everyone know. But back to 2005;

    The 4th show was in Waukesha which developed into a strange trip for the crew. I was in Florida working and flew in the morning of the show. Dugan had a prior commitment and he was unavailable and Pete Keppler (FOH sound) developed an ear infection and could not travel or mix. We asked Ray Jesionoski an old friend of ours (ex secret roadie) if could help out and that took care of the Dugan spot.

    We brought in Dennis "the fly" Ferrante (engineer for Raspberries albums) to mix sound. Rusty flew with the band and Ray and the Goose drove the truck. Apparently the ride was quite interesting and they almost died a couple of times and as I understand that one time when they stopped for fuel they got turned around and headed back towards Cleveland. Sunday morning of the show was a warm spectacular day and we headed from the hotel to the outdoor show. This was to change!! We got to the venue and had no problems with the set up and everything seemed to work as planned. Morning turned into afternoon as it usually does and the weather began to change. The temperature started dropping quickly, humidity started going crazy and the sky started to turn dark.

    The weather played havoc on the guitars and keeping them in tune became virtually impossible. Other than me going crazy and Wally being very patient the show went off without a hitch. However, about half way through the show very black clouds began to roll in quickly. I wasn't sure we would get the complete set in but we beat the rain. As soon as the guy left the stage we began to tear down and got everything off the stage (about 25 ft above the ground). We all ran around putting equipment into road cases covering them with plastic and started pushing them under the stage. The sky opened up and it poured for 3 hours straight. Bowling for Soup, the closing act never got to play due to the thunderstorms. We finally were able to load out and headed back to the hotel where the guys were waiting for us to eat. A corporate decision was made and half the group headed out across the parking lot for the “Buttaburger†hamburger place, a true experience. To this day Jennifer is still looking for her next "Buttaburger."

    As I understand the trip home was uneventful (I flew) and we started looking forward to the show in Denver. Just a short 25 hour drive from Cleveland.

  4. Yes, Baby Sister is my younger sister and has always loved the band and wanted to help out. I told her she didn't know what she was getting into, long hours and really hard work. The first task we gave her was to paint the logos on the road cases and she did a great job. The only thing that she said that we all had a laugh over was when we were loading out the equipment and she yelled "be careful and don't scratch the paint on those cases" FAT CHANCE, thats why they are called road cases. I think Rusty and I saw a tear come to her eye as the cases were loaded into the truck and paint flecks fell to the floor of the truck. After working with us over the last 7 shows she has really become an asset to the crew and appreciated by the band. From RIT to RITWBT to learning the ins and outs of lighting. She has learned to produce detailed lighting schemes that have improved every show. I don't know what we would do without her. She has found the downside, that the equipment is heavy, the hours are long, sleep is a luxury and you should never leave the venue to go take a shower because you might miss the band/crew group picture.

  5. One story at a time, and I think I stick to the reunion tour: First show just a short ride from rehearsal hall to HOB. Nothing funny or crazy except for the 2 scent machines we carried in the truck, the smell of Raspberries was on everything. Show 2, New Years Eve - smooth no problems or fun since we were so close to home. Show 3 Chicago; I think I have written about this eventful trip before but for those that have not seen the posts here goes. When we loaded out of Cleveland it was fairly warm and sunny, if I remember about 50 degrees.

    The truck crew, Rusty riding shotgun and Goose sitting on the drum seat between Rusty and I hunched over (seat was to tall for the cab of the truck)left Cleveland around noon figuring to get to Chicago around 6pm. Once we got to Western Ohio it began to snow and the wind picked up (about 40 mph) which was making the drive somewhat interesting. First fuel stop near Toledo we find that there is something wrong with the fill tube on the truck and we can only fill the tank at about 1 penny at a time. The three of us took about 1 dollar shifts filling the tank (wind was blowing, snow was falling, temperature about 10 degrees F with wind chill of about 20 below). Finally got the tank full after 45 minutes. Time to eat and Rusty and I found out that Goose (all 100 lbs. of him) ate like we have never seen. How one person spends $15.00 at McDonald's just amazed us.

    One more fuel stop before Chicago and of course same problem with filling the tank. Upon arriving at the HOB Chicago we found that we could not unload the now frozen equipment until the next morning and there was no way we were to leave the drum set and guitars in the truck overnight so we unloaded 30+ guitars and the drum kit at the hotel and had them put into my room (I drew the short straw)The rooms were not big and I banged my toes and knees more than once on equipment. An eventful day had come to an end. Saturday morning we take all the guitars and drum kit from my room and reload the truck which is colder than #*!$%# and drive around to the HOB loading dock which in fact is not a dock but an elevator located in an underground garage. The elevator was not that large and it took 5 or 6 trips to get everything to the stage. All the time the wind was unbelievable where we were unloading and it had to be 20 below.

    The show was fantastic, Rusty called the truck rental company who sent someone over to fix the fill hose on the gas tank and it was time to load everything back up. We did not leave to go back to Cleveland until Sunday morning so the load out went the same as the load in. Cold, slow and once again my room full of equipment. We did leave early Sunday morning and beat the storm that hit Chicago mid-day which stranded the band with Jim, Barb, Denise and Al having to stay overnight (but that is their story). Looking forward to the trip home with the truck fixed we stopped to fuel up and low and behold SAME PROBLEM!! This turned the trip home into a long one. One other thing; I never mentioned Dugan, oh thats right he flew in from LA and then flew back to LA. I think he said something about 35 years on the road, he has paid his dues.

    Just a note; the HOB crews in Cleveland and Chicago were fantastic.

    More stories to come and some ar quite funny.


  6. I have to tell everyone that the whole experience at VH1 was unbelievable. The band did 5 songs basically unplugged, although we had the keyboard and Billy playing his Line 6 (acoustic mode). Dave had just purchased the acoustic bass and it sounded awesome. Jim playing congas was certainly a change. All 5 songs were fantastic and I am really glad the the band was able to offer the montage of these songs on the upcoming CD/DVD special package. I hope one day VH1 will play some of the other songs that were performed that day. One other thing is that the crew at VH1 was really good. From the moment we arrived with the equipment until the time we left they took very care of the band and crew. Although it was a very long day it started out a great weekend in NYC that I personally will never forget. The only thing that I would change for that weekend would be that we could have had the time to attend WAB.

  7. Something about drinking to much, climbing a flagpole trying to own a Holiday Inn flag and getting caught. Then there were the stack of borrowed towels in the truck from various hotels that were used to wipe down equipment, etc..

    Boy those were fun days - young and stupid

    Which brings me to my wifes favorite saying "You can't fix stupid"

  8. JohnO

    When we played Chicago a couple of years ago I was invited to visit the Parker factory. It was great timing because we needed some electronics work done on Wally's Parker which they did the minute we walked through the door. During the tour we were shown how the Parkers were manufactured and I was amazed. The artist rep that I was working with showed us how the body and neck were covered with a composite material that is basically unbreakable. He took a guitar of the finish line and leaned it up on a stool and told me to jump on the neck. I asked him if he was nuts and he did the jumping. I was really impressed and now know that is one less thing that I am capable of breaking. The rep brought 2 new models down to the sound check for Wally to try. In addition he brought a bass for Dave to experiment with. Dave just did not have enough time to play with the bass so he could not make a judgment. Wally really liked one of new models and was planning on playing it in the show. However, things got a little hectic and I got sidetracked and never knew which song he wanted to play the new Parker on so it never happened. Somewhere there is a picture with Wally and me holding his Parker and the two new models. Maybe Gene can dig it up and post it.

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  9. Now wait one minute austinberries; I lived in San Antonio and Austin for 15 years and I know how the weather can be. In fact, just this past weekend I was at a conference in San Antonio and when I arrived on Friday it was about 50 degrees, come Saturday morning the temperature dropped and it started raining, all the way through Tuesday when I left the high temp was about 30 degrees. Say goodbye to the pool, say goodbye to golf. All I can say is thanks for the great food in SA or I would have been in a really bad mood. I am on my way to Dallas at the end of next week and I am praying for better weather.

    I would love nothing more to see the band schedule some dates in Texas. I remember in the early days we had some success playing in Texas. However, I do remember an incident at a Holiday Inn, awe I just should forget about it.

  10. I have been out of town and not had a chance to check the board but I will agree on a few things about the Chicago show.

    Great show one of the best

    Cold - we loaded the truck in Cleveland and when we started it was about 55 and by the time we were ready to go it was snowing. The ride to Chicago with Rusty riding shotgun and Goose sitting on a drum stool was a blast. Both Rusty and I were amazed on how much food the Goose could eat and he brought along a giant bag of candy as well. A small problem with the truck during refueling - the fill hose on the truck was bad and it took 45 minutes to put 30 gallon of gas in at a penny at a time in near blizzard conditions, we all took 3 minute fill-r-up shifts. Finally go to Chicago and it was soooo cold. Couldn't leave guitars or drums in the truck so had to unload them and take them up to my hotel room. 1 drum set and 35+ guitars left little room to move. Banged my toes more than once. First thing in the morning reload the truck, not an easy task, and then drive to the underground HOB loading elevator which does not hold a lot of the equipment at one time. About 15 trips on the elevator. Wind in the underground unloading area was ripping at about 30 mph creating a wind chill in the minus range. However, once everything was in the HOB crew treated all of us like royalty. From set up to show, to tear down a smooth great time. Loading back up we experienced the same cold and painstakingly slow elevator. As for the ride home to Cleveland, better weather but still fueling problems (the rental company supposedly fixed the problem during the show, NOT).

    Would I do it again in January?

    You bet, January, February whenever, I am ready to go as well as the whole crew. Even though for the most part we are an older and wider crew the trips have been a blast and having the chance to share the excitement of touring again with Wally, Eric, Jim, Dave and the Overdubs on stage is the best.

  11. I am sure Dugie has an idea of what's going on and we will hear something soon from the Mike Anthony camp. I spoke with Dugie a couple of weeks ago and he did not mention anything other than he had lost about 30 pounds and was pretty busy with Mike doing appearances with Sammy and other friends.

  12. My take of the LA gremlins:

    First the DVD fails - yes it did work in the sound check - the guys just shook their heads and Eric counted off and the show goes on. Next; first song that Jennifer is at the keys, the sustain pedal fails, I changed it and the show goes on. The shaker explodes; Wally gets pitted with little beads, I notice the cap to the shaker hit Wally’s Diet Coke and spills it on the amp and all over the floor, no damage but it could have been bad with the wireless system located right next to where the Diet Coke used to be. The keys on both Jennifer’s and Paul’s keyboards are sticking down with every note they play. Using compressed air, toothpicks and anything else we could find to clean the keys as best we can as they continure to play. Late in the show Jennifer comes around to play keys once again and the sharp edge of the riser catches her ankle. She plays the song and then comes off stage where Rusty and I try to clean up her ankle and put on a bandage. The band begins to play I Don’t Know What I Want and Jennifer goes to walk back onto the stage where her heel finds a 3 inch hole in the floor and almost breaks her ankle. This was not a good night physically for the cutest member of the band, but as always she just continued to be the best. The LA stage was small and I had to post myself in the hallway leading off the stage with guitar world positioned at the end of the hallway about 25 ft off stage. One other problem, the smoke machine was malfunctioning all night and the hallway was filled with smoke making it virtually impossible to see guitar world and therefore having to relocate all of Wally’s guitars to the stage making guitar changes a little harder since they were located on the keyboard riser which usually had either Paul or Jennifer entering or exiting. After the show we took the two keyboards and turned them over when it seemed like a thousand more little shaker balls fell to the ground.

    And yes, the road crew had plenty of gremlins on our ride out to and back from LA, another story, another time.

    With all of these things happening I can say that this was one of the best shows of the tour and I am so glad that I was able to be part of it.

  13. Yes, this Saturday, Rusty Pitrone the one, the only Tour Road Manager will tie the knot. Rusty and as he always refers to her as "girlfriend" (Jerry) finally make it legal.

    One funny story is that during the practices for the Choir reunion, Rusty told girlfriend that he was going to Choir practice and for some strange reason she thought he meant at church (Jerry is not a Clevelander and does not know the music history). This worked for two days until she put some thought behind it and figured out - - Rusty - Church - "I think not"

    Best wishes to Rusty and Girlfriend (Jerry)

  14. I was talking with Rusty and we were wondering why are we just sitting around this summer. It sure would be nice to be on the road. Let's all hope that something happens soon. "I was just starting to figure out how to tune all those guitars after a 30 year layoff."

  15. While touring with the Berries early in the 70’s one of our favorite groups to play with was Brownsville Station. A Detroit-area rock & roll band formed in 1969 by guitarist Cub Koda. Original members also included Mike Lutz (guitar), T.J. Cronley (drums), and Tony Driggins (bass). Cub passed away in July of 2000 and I don’t know what happened to the rest of the group after it broke up in the late 70’s. These guys really rocked and put on a great show. We had a great relationship with these guys both band and crew.

    I would never knock Detroit music as it has brought so many great artists and writers to music. However, Cleveland IS the rock and roll capitol of the world. To break out of Cleveland in the 70’s was very tough and the quality of musicians was and still is incredible. Just the list of players that came through bands with Raspberries personnel is mind boggling. It is inconceivable for anyone outside of the community to understand and have the opportunity like myself to see bands performing British rock, Motown, Horn bands, and every type of music you could think of during the 70’s and early 80’s. There was not a night that went by in Metro Cleveland where you could go and hear top quality music.

    The only downside of Detroit music is that if my memory is correct (age you know), the top AM station in Detroit CKLW sort of blackballed GATW for a short while due to the lyrics. Boy, have times have changed

  16. Don't forget that Raspberries Overdub "Billy Sullivan" is playing drums for Gary. He told me it is a lot easier carrying drumsticks on planes to get to the gigs when compared to a couple of guitars. We saw them when we were all on the same bill in Denver. They are great to watch and liten to.

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