Australian rockers THEART kick off their U.S. tour in Las Vegas, N.V. with Faster Pussycat, and check in with Naked to let us know that, yes, they’re still alive, and yes, this shit is about to get crazy.
Ronnie Simmons: As the bus has just pulled into Florida for a motorcycle festival, and people scatter to find bathrooms and coffee, I stop to reflect for the first time since… Well my last entry really.
A lot has happened, Santa Fe, Oklahoma City, Texas, New Orleans, Atlanta… It all becomes a blur after a while. Load in, play the show, load out, drink until the sun is coming up, pass out, wake up, crawl out of our bunks and repeat.
Santa Fe was fun, we rolled into town the night before the show and it was cold, real cold. The venue owners welcomed us into the downstairs bar for rounds of drinks and I was exposed to Danny and Chad’s side project Motochrist. Danny told tales of co-writing “every day is a holiday without you” with Joey Ramone, very cool. The next day was show time, but not until after a local restaurant, who were big Faster Pussycat fans, insisted on feeding us. I had Foie Gras served on a scallop as an entree, then lobster tails as a main with plenty of margaritas to wash it all down. Most others ordered the cowboy steak, I must state this is rare for life on the road for us, so when the opportunity arises – you take it. So $2000 worth of food later we headed to the venue and it was show time. It was a small packed club show with a bar that ran the length of the room. Good vibes, I got up on the bar during the drum/guitar solo in the middle of our set, that was fun.
Oklahoma City was next, the venue was a big, neon lit room that looked like a strip club meets a cocktail bar. With a nice big stage too. The promoter put us on a tight schedule of a 20 minute set (which we weren’t too happy about) however a big shout out to our tech Drew, who made the night run so smoothly we were ahead of time and got to play a full set. Halfway thru I managed to break my Les Paul I was giving it such a beating the jack input completely broke off inside the guitar. In fight or flight mode, thinking it was my amp, I quickly ran over to Ace’s side of the stage where he and Drew plugged me into his rig, then both realizing it was guitar based, Ace threw one of his Gibsons on me and we finished our set sans FX. Touring is very different to being in your home town and playing, you constantly have to be quick on your feet when troubleshooting because not only do you have limited gear at your fingertips to what you’re used to, the next day might have a schedule that can’t be broken or the town may not have a guitar store.
Texas was next, we got into Houston and I had my first Waffle House experience for breakfast, then off to the venue for load in. Xristian is one of the most prepared guitarists I’ve met, so repairing my guitar was a breeze. In the limbo between sound check and show time Ace serenaded us with his renditions of “the most annoying riffs I know” he managed to slip some of ours in there which was amusing, cheeky bastard. I sewed together back patches for a new stage vest. I took our Here Comes The War, Faster Pussycat and 2 Kill City shirts and arranged “Here Comes The Faster Pussycat Kill Kill City War”. Putting the Russ Meyers reference was irresistible. The show went well. Afterwards I decided to put on a bandanna to fuck with Ace because we already look similar enough, he found it amusing and thus we became ‘Color Brothers’ (named after the fact we both have really vibrant color tattoos), while meanwhile Danny was convincing people at the bar I was his son. Good times.
San Antonio next with Y&T, this venue really epitomized the saying “everything’s bigger in Texas”, the place was massive, with a crowd right to the front of the barriers. I still can’t decide what I like playing more: a small club with a vibe is great, however being able to plug in the wireless, make the most of the space and run around is great too. The crowd were really responsive in Dallas, I got stopped to pose for 6 different photos just walking off the stage. With Y&T headlining this show we had to clear the stage quickly and be ready to help Faster Pussycat do the same, in the chaos my Midi cable went AWOL – again, another tour variable. Not every guitarist uses Midi so it’s not like I can just borrow one. Luckily we’ve had a friend Pablo following us around the country filming and documenting the process. He picked one up for me for the next day’s show. Thanks Pablo! Y&T were great too, as Chad describes “Dave Meniketti is like an American Gary Moore” and he’s spot on. Damn can that guy play!
Dallas was great fun, tattoo shops and bars. After loading in, Chad, Danny, Jordan and myself headed in to the nearest bar and Jordan and I had ‘Diablo 6’ tequila shots, the spiciest on the menu. It was wicked! Then came the onslaught of dirty jokes from Danny. I went for a walk to get pizza and returned to Danny saying “get in here!” urgently. “What’s up?” I asked “A midget didn’t pay his bar tab so the bartender punched him in the face! Then helped him up and punched him in the face again!” The wild west was living up to its reputation. The show kicked ass, Azaria split his lip smashing the microphone into his mouth, so there was blood all over his teeth which looked cool. Then during Faster Pussycat’s set Danny insisted Azaria and I get up onstage during Bathroom wall and their cover of the Supersuckers “Pretty Fucked up”. Danny sings “I used to be pretty, now I’m pretty fucked up.” Definitely a relatable sentiment throughout this tour. Again repeat the process of signing merch and girls before loading out, getting loaded and passing out.
The next day was Corpus Christi, as I woke up the bus was at the promoters house, so I walked into a room full of a BBQ feast, drinks and the one thing on everyone’s mind when they’ve just woken up on the bus – a toilet. In the back yard the promoter insisted on showing Jordan footage of the pig being slaughtered, I think he’s still a little scarred from it. The show was a small bar, lots of Kiss fans which was cool, signed Merch, posed for photos, signed some cleavage then back on the bus.
DAY OFF! In New Orleans too! Everyone let their hair down and got written off. That place is so cool, a real pirate town. The only place in the world I could compare it to would be St. Pauli in Hamburg but even then they are both so different. Why? Voodoo! I got a voodoo doll with long black hair that has become my new tour mascot. It’s tag read “Indio, powerful house blessing, prosperity and protection, hang over main entrance of home or business.” Taime suggested I give it bangs and Jordan who is very superstitious chimed in no!!! Cut that things hair and we’ll all wake up with crew cuts! Funny. We went bar hopping all day, drinking hand grenades (these green drinks that have like 8 shots in them), hurricanes (fruity red drinks) and even ran into Y&T who had a day off too. Small world eh? As the sun went down it was absinthe time. Ace and I were so gone and in conversation we managed to get lost half a block from where everyone was, we finally found Chad, Jordan and Jen (the fabulous merch girl) at a bar looking impatient and I was handed a glass of murky liquid. I drank the whole thing in one go and everyone was like “…dude.” I was confused, then I found out it was absinthe. Shit got real, or real weird rather. My vision became like a camera zooming in and out in 60s music videos. Even recalling that is hard for me, but the night continued at the Abbey, this cool little pirate bar. I was later found passed out back at the bus.
Very hungover the next day we arrived in Atlanta, gathered what marbles we hadn’t lost in New Orleans and got to work. My voodoo doll has taken residence living in the front pocket of my vest when I’m not onstage. Onstage he hangs out on my mic stand below my picks. After the show was all wrapped up and we loaded out, I crashed out.
Which brings us here, to where I sit now in Daytona Florida at the motorcycle show. The suns out, good tunes are playing and there’s an abundance of nice motorcycles. I just went for a walk and got to witness “The Wall Of Death” which involves a rider on vintage Harley and Indian motorcycles, with no helmet riding at 90 degrees in a circle. Very cool. Playing an outdoor stage tonight, should be a good one!