I finally have some time to catch up and thank you all for acknowledging my birthday a couple weeks back. It was nice to hear from you!
I decided to make this a blog post because I had trouble embedding pictures in the right spot.
Background: 7 Seconds is one of my favorite bands, and I have been following them around with a video camera since 1988. I have been fortunate to get to know them and become friends with the band. Kevin told me in Fall of 2016 that 7 Seconds may not be playing much longer due to some health issues in the band. They had a southern California run booked in Winter of 2016, so I booked a vacation to Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County, etc. to see the band. They canceled the dates before the shows, but the vacation was still nice. Santa Barbara is a nice place.
So I figured I had seen/filmed the last 7 seconds show ever at Thee Parkside in April of 2016. Then the announcement came out that they were opening for Circle Jerks on a US tour in 2022. I was so excited that I planned to go to the first 5 shows, from Salt Lake City to St. Louis. Well, work and family stuff got in the way and I could not make that run- I gifted my non-cancelable rooms to the band, so at least I felt a little better about it… and that was “Strike 2” on travel plans to see them not working out.
In April of this year, the big family vacation was going to Washington D.C. and New York City. I had tickets to the CJ/7 Seconds shows in those cities along with Philadelphia. Well, Keith caught COVID and the shows I had planned to see were canceled. 7 Seconds scheduled one-off make up shows in the region, but this vacation was one of the rare ones where we did not have a rental car.. so I was screwed. Strike 3.
After failing to see the band SO MANY times and blowing a massive amount of money out of my ass in the process, I checked the tour schedule one last time and saw that they had 5 shows in 6 nights in Texas. There was an absence of Live Nation venues on the itinerary there (they tend to shut video guys like me down). So, what the hell. Let’s try one more time!
I left on my birthday to see the Circle Jerks/7 Seconds/Negative Approach tour across Texas for a week. It was a lot of fun and everyone associated with the tour was super cool to me. The venues were amazingly kind with me running around with my cameras. Out of the 5, I was OK to video them all and only 1 did not turn out very well.
I underestimated the size of Texas. I was trying to work during the day and go to the shows at night, but there was a 6 hour drive between Dallas and San Antonio. Who booked that on the Friday before Labor Day? Haha.
Anyway, here are some quick notes about the tour:
Night 1 was Dallas and I got to have a nice chat with John Brannon while seeking refuge from the rain. He lit up when I asked about the old Detroit scene (and the Russ Gibb videos from them), and gave me some nice hints about some DVDs that NA released. Thanks John! BTW, they were AMAZING the entire tour. When you get to see them 5 times in a row, you appreciate what they are doing. That bass tone is insane and bass/drums are tight as hell.
I also got to hang out and catch up with my friend Jack who I met at the Centro-Matic shows in June- he helped me film Dallas. Thank goodness he was there because that theater is huge and there would have been no way to film from the balcony without him!
I was late to night 2 in San Antonio because I worked until noon in Dallas, then tried to get to SA on the Friday before the holiday. I showed up during 7 Seconds soundcheck. Google Maps was the savior here, as it had me going down crazy backroads to avoid traffic. Lots of nothing in between big cities in Texas btw. I had to drive right by Lockhart (IYKYK) to get there on time. Ouch.
San Antonio was a cool city- much more down to earth than others. The Paper Tiger venue had rollup doors on the sides that they would open so you could sit outside and still see the bands. Really cool and I had the best tacos of my life there. I also had the shittiest service at the Westin- no wonder why it was only $89/night! After getting permission from management to film CJ in Dallas, it was taken away by the other management in SA. Who the hell has 2 managers anyway? It’s cool, I was exhausted so I went to the hotel and conked out hard.
PS: I have never heard of renting tires until I came to San Antonio. PPS: Thanks to Paper Tiger San Antonio for requiring me to have credentials- first “real” laminated backstage pass I received to film, ever!
Next day was Houston, and same drill- Work until early afternoon in SA, drive to Houston. Unfortunately, there was a monsoon-like storm that hit us in between and I had to drive in near-zero visibility conditions for about an hour. I now know that Texans turn on their emergency flashers when driving in this crap. I made it even later this time, during Negative Approach’s soundcheck. No earplugs- ouch. This was probably the nicest venue of the tour! Excellent sound system and they have posts to mount a camera- awesome! Well, it was awesome until I realized my pole mount disappeared in either Dallas or San Antonio. Shit. I tried to dummy up a solution with my monopod and bungee cords and it just didn’t work. This one may or may not ever get edited- nothing worked. There are no pictures of the drive because I thought I was gonna die.
Finally, after 3 shows in 3 nights, driving 600+ miles while working in between, we finally have a day off and the rest of the time in beloved Austin, Tx for 2 shows at The Mohawk. I get to my hotel and I immediately realize that it is shitty and unsafe. I sign a waiver that says hotel is not responsible for break-ins, AND my room is not visible from the front office. People are just hanging out in the middle of the day doing nothing. It’s not feeling good. I get to my room and it’s pretty clear that the door had been kicked off the hinges at least once. I stay in the room one night and opt to eat the $ and move over to the Hilton Garden Inn. Much nicer and my cameras (and work laptop) are safe. I am attaching some pictures of the daily process of recharging batteries and moving files over to the Lacie hard drive, while working. Lots of moving parts at once.
After work, I head over to Precision Camera in Austin to attempt to replace my pole mount. The guy helping me not only immediately understood what I needed, but he even knew then venue. He set me up with this mini clamp that seemed to be designed for the Mohawk’s metal balcony lip- it worked amazingly well. Kudos to that shop for saving my ass. Also, The Mohawk is THE BEST venue I have ever filmed. Such a great place with a warm and welcoming staff AND the promoter was incredibly cool as well. It sounded amazing there too. I wish I could take it and plop it right in Sacramento…
I also had the joyful experience of a gopro crapping out/being unreliable in Houston so I bought another one off a guy on FB marketplace. Nothing like meeting up with a stranger for a cash deal, a couple thousand miles away from home. I lived and the new gopro works great. Plus, the extra/unreliable gopro made a great pit camera (which Sammy/7 seconds requested)!
Thanks to 7 Seconds and NA for being so kind and putting up with all of the cameras. Edits coming soon.