The Sights Tour Diary No. 26: Mr. Late Plate

Jul 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm
Mr. Late Plate...

Here I am, looking out the window in the catering room backstage at the Brady Theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The band Live is playing on the local rock radio station and it brings to mind our old manager-- he used to manage Live. I have lost touch with him, but he was great to us. I hope he's doing alright.

Again, I am away from the band as they sit in a room all together... Again. The guy on the radio said it will be in "the mid-100s all week" and that's not surprising. I've learned how to handle the heat and not complain, and I think I learned that from landscaping with my father. I remember when I was about 15 and my dad and I were working with two other guys he employed, Drew and Jason, on a hot Michigan summer day. We were on Dean Lane in Grosse Pointe, and these two candyasses sat down while my father and I kept working. It's not that we had to prove anything, it's just who we were (or are), I guess. As I get older I learn that my father wasn't the best at communicating verbally, but maybe he was teaching me by showing. I think about work ethic a lot when I'm touring, and it brings me to think about my parents and how hard they busted to make a good life for my sisters and me.

We played Austin with the D, the first night of the third leg with them. I love Austin, and Austin loved us. We were on fire, and I think we were eager to slaughter the crowd. Just before we were to go on, oh about seven minutes before, Jarrod was nowhere to be found. Andy, the stage manager for the D, said "Jarrod? Yeah, I just saw him putting dinner on his plate." Shades rushed upstairs to find Mr. Late Plate filling up his namesake. We made it onstage within the time we were supposed to. I lost a few pounds in the week I was home and I was quicker on my feet-- it was strange to feel. Dean's good friend Greg Boyer missed our set but decided he'd come to Dallas with us for the next gig. So Dean, Greg, and I piled into his A/C sedan and made the journey back to Dean and Susie Tarpley's (my School of Rock bosses) lovely place.

The next morning Shades and I had coffee in the War Room and got to work. The clown car (with Greg as chauffeur) went to the Grassy Knoll; Shades & I would meet them at the venue. It was nice to get some work done and do the usual with Shades: talk about life, make fun of almost everything we talk about, and just be close friends. We got to the Palladium Ballroom, which I'm told is an old slaughterhouse, and began our soundcheck. A few of the guys in the band want to play a Sights' oldie, "I Can't Stand You" so we started rehearsing it during soundcheck.

As we're checking, Jack Black was running around the floor dancing with sunglasses making me laugh into the mic. It's a snotty punkish song, but the dude's funny and so here is my summer: this yin and yang of dark and light, heavy and soft... It can be surreal at times but I try to embrace every moment. I know how to keep it light and laugh at everything, because I have to. Luckily, there have been no disasters or traumatic experiences.

We played Dallas and while it is another great set, it wasn't as good as the night before and I know it. That bothers me and pushes me to do better tonight. We're operating on a new level of onstage chemistry, and I feel it my responsibility to take the lead with that to make sure we stay there.

After the show we hung with Marty Morris and his beautiful wife Mayuko. They are former Detroiters, having been in the Cyril Lords. It's so nice to see them, and they said they miss Detroit a lot. I mss Detroit, too, and when I saw them it reminded me of home. Marty and I both work at the School of Rock, and our other boss and his wife came too: Terry and Mysti. I was glad Terry & Dean (my bosses) got to see me in my element, doing my thing. I thought it was important for them to hear and see me play, and it was nice to just chill and hang with them, for they are really cool people.

Also in our afterglow was Jason Cienkus and his wife from L.A. Cienkus is an old Scratchie/New Line Records dude, part of the Sights' family past and a big fan. We all went back to Dean & Susie's for a small gathering and I was exhausted. I made a couple phone calls home and called it night.

The catering guy just put on a Smashing Pumpkins CD, another part of my past. James Iha was their guitarist, and he signed us to his record label back in the day. Oh, Shades just came in and told me it's time to soundcheck. Dude here. Soundcheck. See ya. Later.

All the best,


Today's high according to Jerry Sprinter's thermometer: 101


Photos by Shades