Meatball is the name of the guy at Jaxx rock club helping us to load our gear. He wears an Alice Cooper shirt from the greatest concert he ever saw. Later in the evening when the roadcases are back in the trailer and Phil and I are stoned, Meatball will demonstrate how he can jump from the stage to the railing of the balcony, executing a perfect sprite-like toe tap in mid air. It is breathtaking. The three Ukranian women working the bar at Jaxx moved to Virginia three months ago. "It's too conservative here," the bartender with the see-thru shirt says, smoking her cigarette. "We're going to Hollywood."
After our sound check Rowdy the tour manager/roadie for The Showdown asks if we'll move our gear back to make room for their amps. Rowdy gets shit done and seems to be the backbone of the hard working The Showdown who have played almost ever night for year and are on Ozzfest this summer. In St. Pete, Rowdy arrived before we did and left a carpet for me to put my drums on so I could slide them out of the way for his boys. They have no problem asking the headliner to move their shit, which deserves respect even if it's a little chafing.
Tonight I've added to my drum kit the Pioneer subwoofer from the van which I am playing like a cajon. My kit is getting harder to move, so I meet Rowdy's request halfway and strike a few pieces. (Strike is stage lingo for "remove") Rowdy asks Malcolm if his bass amp could be moved. Malcolm says, "No. Sorry bro."
Major Dan Eagan of the U.S. Coast Guard comes to the show and brings his step daughter and two friends. Dan used to handle the financial books for Days Of the New and is offering assistance as Travis gets business started up again. His 16 year old step daughter is hot and excited to braid my beard, which makes me uncomfortable, but I let her do it anyway. Anything for Dan's family.
Before the show, Travis suggests we try "Orch(estration) of the Medium" in the set. This is kind of a big deal. Firstly, the piece is a heavily thought-out, intricate instrumental opus straight out of Travis' genius brain. And second: we've never rehearsed it. Malcolm's never even heard it. The gauntlet has been thrown.
After such a great show in St. Petes, I don't expect to achieve such splendor, but the sound onstage is especially difficult for us. In the end, Orch of The Medium not part of the set.
After the set Malcolm walks out the door of the club and disappears. Travis and I talk in the parking lot for 45 minutes about the new sound the band must achieve. It's a breakthrough conversation during which Travis' arms flail with every point he makes, his Einstein hair wild in the wind. He looks like a mad composer. Or Dr. Frankenstein. Malcolm calls and tells us where to pick him up.
We pick Malcolm up on the side of the highway and head back to the hotel. Phil and I sit up talking about what the future might hold. Before we pass out, Phil says, "We ain't got shit to do tomorrow and we can do it at anytime."