Monday, January 30, 2012

DEEtroit Rock City!!!!!!

First off, I have to say that Detroit gets a bad rap.  Look, I get it; Detroit is dangerous.  It was once an industrial metropolis, and now it's fallen to ruin.  But, I'll tell ya, it's pretty awesome.  We've been here a  week, and we have one more to go.  It's been a fun, eventful week, even though it's snowed quite a bit, and has been quite cold. 

The week started off strong, as I got to open the show here as Sam Phillips!  The Fisher is a great old theatre; it's what I always picture when I think of Broadway theatres; backstage, that is.  It was an amazing experience to open the show here, and I hope I'll get to do it again!

On Wednesday, Steve, Lee, John Michael and I headed to "Hitsville USA", better known to most as the home of MOTOWN records.  A truly eye-opening experience.  I love the MOTOWN sound and almost all music from that era, but I had no idea how many of the best artists of all time recorded there.  Breathtaking.  It comes in a close second as the best museum I've ever been to, second only to Sun Studios, and just squeaking by the Booth Western Art Museum in Georgia. 

Following our great time at MOTOWN, we visited a landmark of feuding foods in downtown; Lafayette Coney's and American Coney Island.  John Michael and I got coney's at each to compare...he liked the dog better at American, but I didn't like their chili.  So, as far as I'm concerned, Lafayette is the winner!!!!!!!!!

On Friday, John Michael (whom I have given a new nickname...I will now refer to him only as THE JAM) visited The Henry Ford  So much stuff to look at, I could've gotten lost for days.  The highlights were seeing JFK's limosine (the one he was assassinated in), The Rosa Park's Bus, and the chair from the Presidential Box at Ford's Theatre that President Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth.  So cool.  I got a little more than weepy as I entered a special exhibit about our founding fathers and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

Today a bunch of us went to a really cute, hip part of town and visited a great vintage clothing store (I got one of the EXACT shirts I wore for 200 shows of Ring of Fire, and a western jacket that is pretty close) and a great record store.  What a great day!

It was a bit of a sad week in that Billy ended his month-long run as Elvis, and we bid adieu to Steve Benoit.  A great guy, an amazing musician, and a fantastic Elvis.  He will be missed, but I'm sure we'll see him again soon.  However, we DO welcome Cody Slaughter back to the show, so the original tour group is back intact!

Tomorrow I'll be heading to my (7th, I think?) Hard Rock Cafe here in Detroit before I head to the theatre.  So, here's hoping week 2 here is even better than the first!  Stayed tuned for more news!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's cold, y'all.....

Well, we're here in Grand Rapids, MI, and let me tell is COLD.  Now, I'm from Maine, so I am used to cold, but -5 with the wind chill for 4 straight days is a little much.  So, most of the cast has been staying inside and catching up on Netflix, songwriting, etc.  I used the last two days to go to the museums that are very close to our hotel; the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and the Gerald Ford Presedential Musem, both of which were well worth the price of admission, and very informative.  Right now it is a veritable blizzard outside, so I've spent the day uploading new pictures and videos, and....playing with my new iPhone!  Ya know, I had resisted getting one for so long, and had never really wanted to admit how cool they are.  Now, I am a true believer. 

We head to Detroit on Monday for two weeks, and I'm hoping the cold will let up a smidge, but I'm not optimistic.  I am however looking forward to opening the show in Detroit as Sam Phillips!  It's only the first performance in DEEE-troit, Rock City, but I'm stoked! 

I have neglected to post new videos for a bit, and totally forgot I had some that I hadn't uploaded.  So, below you will find a video from Tampa on our 100th performance, a backstage video from the Thunderstudies venture to Dallas, and me in my hotel room here in Grand Rapids.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dallas, Michigan and SNOW!!!!!!!

Hope everybody is doing well!!!  It's been an eventful few days here in East Lansing, MI.  The Thunderstudies and I ventured to Dallas to do a couple of promos at the Hard Rock Cafe and the American Bus Association.  Pretty awesome experience, even if we didn't get to see a whole lot of Dallas. 

Then, we met up with the rest of the cast here in East Lansing, and it's been a pretty great week!  Last night it started to snow, and we probably got about 4 inches.  I can't remember the last time I saw snowfall....I know, I'm from Maine so that sounds silly.....but, it really has been a while.  It made me feel very at home, and homesick at the same time. 

Today John Michael and I went to a legendary music store, Elderly Music here in East Lansing.  One of the best guitar shops I've ever been to....AND, I played a 1957 and 1965 Martin......I can't imagine paying $7,000 for a guitar, but getting to play a piece of history was pretty awesome. 

Well, that's it from the road for now, but we'll be heading to Grand Rapids next week, and then on to Detroit for two weeks after that.  So, stay tuned for more news!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tampa, Fluke's return, and "Come in, stranger'

We are nearing the end of our week here in Tampa, but it's been a pretty eventful stop on the tour. 

We welcomed a new member into the MDQ Tour family: Steve Benoit.  He is understudying Elvis/Cash for the next few weeks, but is not stranger to MDQ or Cash or Elvis.  He was an understudy on Broadway and at New World Stages for MDQ, and was on the 1st National Tour of Ring of Fire, playing Man 2 or "Steve" (named for him, and the role I played when I did the show).  We had a couple of great Thunderstudy rehearsals to get Steve acclimated to the show, and to get us ready for a series of promos we are doing in Dallas early next week. 

Last night we were priveleged enough to be visited yet again by the legendary W.S. "Fluke" Holland.  I will never get tired of watching him play the kit, nor will I tire of his amazing stories of Cash, Elvis and his days on the road. 

So, the next few days will get busy as the Thunderstudies and I head to Dallas, and then re-join the cast in East Lansing for a cold month in the midwest.  I'll be back with more news from the road. 

P.S., I just wanna say that one of the best parts of being on this tour is being surrounded by amazing musicians and songwriters.  Our nightly guitar checks often become impromptu jam sessions, and a time for our cast to try out new songs.  Hope you enjoy these videos of Fluke playing Matchbox, and Lee singing a song he's working on. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year, everyone! And thank you for everything!!!

Just thought it was only appropriate to post a little something to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and to thank my cast for not only being AWESOME, but being so supportive of me going on as Sam Phillips this past week. 

Miami closed well, and Rachael and I had a GREAT New Year's Eve at the Hard Rock Cafe.  The cast is now in Tampa, and there's a lot to look forward to this month, and especially this week.

My boy Billy will be going on for quite a while, so we've welcomed a new guy to the MDQ Thunderstudy family; Steve Benoit.  He toured with the 1st National of Ring of Fire, and I actually met him a few years ago when the tour came to Ft. Myers with an old buddy of mine, Woody. 

The Thunderstudies and I will be heading to Dallas at the end of this week to promote the show in anticipation of the show being there in a couple months.  It'll be a whirlwind, but we will give it all we've got.  Stay tuned for pictures, video and news from Tampa and Dallas!!!!!