As I stated last week, my band Loaded is back on tour and back in the UK, where we have been reasonably well received this year. We have a new drummer, Isaac Carpenter, who has never been to Europe or the UK...cool.
Justin Dylan Renney New Loaded drummer Isaac Carpenter. Duff McKagan's column runs every Thursday on Reverb. McKagan writes about what's circulating through his iPod every Monday.
I knew there was something I liked about Isaac other than his incredible musicianship. I flew here from L.A. while the rest of the band flew in from Seattle. (I arrived hours after them.) I asked Isaac how his first transatlantic flight was, and he replied that he was teary the whole flight because he watched It's a Wonderful Life and Good Will Hunting on the trip. It's a Wonderful Life is my all-time favorite movie, which in itself probably speaks volumes about my imagined romantic ideals. We are on a ferry now from Scotland to Northern Ireland, and Isaac and I are unashamedly discussing the pros of The Notebook.
On Isaac's first morning in London, he noticed a naked and blanketed drunk man falling off a tour bus down near where our gear was to be picked up (a semi-famous rehearsal and storage facility named John Henry's). The naked man then got into a cab with two ladies. Isaac realized it was none other than Pete Doherty. A good first day in England, I would say. Definitely something to write home about.Because I am such a romantic, it makes it that much harder, I suppose, for me to be away from my family. My daughters understand and are used to it, and also know how hard it is for me. The day before I left, they were extra-clingy to me because they know that my heart aches. Our dog, Buckley, always tries to sneak into my bag.
I left notes this time for my girls. In these notes are a series of geographical questions that they must answer back to me via e-mail. These questions will, I hope, give them a sense of where on this planet I am, and therefore help quell the mystery of where I am calling from at odd hours. The extra bonus on these questions is that they will receive hidden presents that are stashed around the house. They are super-excited, and my wife says it's a BIG hit. I slept better last night knowing that they are thinking about where I am.
I always have a book with me, and I just started Jon Krakauer's new book, Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillman. Krakauer has thankfully filled the shoes of the late and amazing fiction writer Stephen Ambrose, at least in my humble opinion. I just love how this guy writes and the depth to which he probes his subject matter.
Last week, I finished Dexter Filkins' The Forever War, an amazing and dismal look at the problems that are now facing the people of Iraq and our U.S. forces there. It's a perfect companion book to Thomas Friedman's Longitudes and Attitudes.
Well, we just finished our first show of the trip here in Belfast, Ireland (or United Kingdom, which is officially what it is called). This town holds a special place in Loaded's heart, as this town has seemed to really hoist our band upon their collective shoulders over the past year. I marvel at the history of the troubles that went on here until just a few years ago. Some of the neighborhoods' curbs are still painted either blue or red to signify the religious dividing line that until recently cast a deadly pall over this area. A bit like Iraq right now, as a matter of fact. Isn't it funny how our leaders fail so miserably to learn from so recent a history lesson?
A strange new attitude has seemed to arise since I was here last year. At our meet-and-greet after our show last night, I got into a conversation with some people that turned somewhat sociopolitical. Compared to the worldwide euphoria of last year's hopes about where the U.S. was heading with President Obama at the helm, there is now a palpable sneer, at least with the people I spoke to here in Belfast. Interesting.
My daughters called me tonight, and are getting mani/pedis with their mom. It feels real nice to be needed by my three women. My dog, Buckley, had a play date with two other dogs today. I played a gig and slept in the bus bunk. 19 days 'til home. 19 days of pure rock and humor with the fellas. Life is definitely an adventure.