FINALLY have a solid enough internet connection to do an update, and it’s a BIG one so I’m breaking it up by dates. Photos to follow, too many to sort thru at the moment! Excuse any errors, too tired to edit but wanted to give you guys an update. SLEEP.
10/5/2011 - Singapore:
With the Hard Rock hotel directly next to Universal Studios Singapore, Alice decided to pay them a visit. It was only natural to drop in, seeing that Alice’s Haunted Maze at Universal Hollywood is their most popular attraction right now. In true Alice form, he decided to bring along his road buddy... the lumbering 14 Foot tall FrankenAlice! It took some doing, Frank’s not really used to going out in the daylight. Eventually Alice convinced him it was ok to leave his road case and get out every now and then. Alice even got him his own room in the Hotel. The two spent some time goofing off in front of the Universal Singapore globe, then they waited in line for Universal tickets and were even able to make a few children cry. But suddenly FrankenAlice escaped on a passing golf cart just before they could get in the park - off to harass the Hard Rock Cafe staff it seemed, which was just around the corner.
Frank made quick work of a martini in the Hard Rock bar, made out with a waitress, snapped a few shots with the locals and then stomped off to berate the Hard Rock Hotel’s front desk. Apparently his accommodations weren’t quite up to par... The lights are too bright, the bed is too short and entirely too soft, the shower isn’t quite cold enough, the food is actual FOOD. See, Frank wasn’t used to this stuff. “Frankly”, being a hideously disfigured resurrected monster, and he’s only used to being dead. So anything other than that is particularly unsettling to him.
After having a good yell, he noticed the breathtaking sandy beach/pool area, and thought maybe what he needed was some relaxation. Maybe even a dip. Within a minute he had crushed a deck chair into the sand and made another kid cry. That about did it for him. He’d had enough. He didn’t fit, so he groaned his way back to the backstage area where Alice had found him earlier. Pat, Alice’s prop master, helped him back into his case where he would sleep until showtime. Poor Frank... A monster caught in between two worlds...
The show that night was HOT HOT HOT. I mean REALLY HOT. 90 Degrees F with 100% humidity hot. The show was a normal show, we didn’t have to tweak anything really. The only requests from the local government was that we didn’t use stage blood, and that we didn’t use a flag during Elected. It was another great crowd as usual, and they didn’t seem to be bothered by the heat. It’s funny, when it’s super hot on stage I find that the band usually plays better. I don’t know why, but the heat really brings out the best in them.
Early afternoon flight out the next day to Jakarta. Not a bad travel day time wise, but traveling internationally thru South East Asia takes it’s toll. The amount of hoops and red tape is really staggering. Luckily we had great local people there to help us thru and we made it to Jakarta just in time for Alice to do a local press conference that evening.
We had the following day off, which we spent resting. Days off are rare these days, and when you’re as busy as we are you take a day of rest when you can get it.
10/7/2011 - Jakarta:
The day of the show we made an attempt to get out early and explore the city of Jakarta. It was a fruitless endeavor, the traffic was absolute gridlock all around the city. Apparently, traffic rules don’t exist, stop lights are just decorations and the lanes are merely suggestions. It was every man for himself, amongst a sea of scooters and motorcycles, all swimming thru the streets. Literally, there must be 10 million motorcycles in the city (I think something like 28 Million people live in Jakarta). We made our way slowly to some flea market and street vendor type places, and eventually found a HUGE mall. Let me stop and give you a good indication of how slow and bizarre the traffic is in Jakarta. We saw the mall, this gleaming mall to end all other malls. We passed it and went on for about a mile, came back around the other side, and circled the place something like 3 or 4 times. Not because we couldn’t find the way in. That’s how the roads are made, they are like spirals, with roundabouts everywhere. We could see the mall from the car for the better part of an hour. Coincidentally, it was the same mall that was adjacent to the venue, so when we finally arrived we stopped in to pester the road crew, have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and do a little shopping - one of Alice’s favorite past times. I stopped by the stage to meet our local snake, which turned out to be 14 feet long, WAY too big for Alice to handle on stage while singing. So we asked for a smaller one for the show.
The show itself was definitely interesting. The culture in Indonesia is very different, and they don’t get shows like Alice Cooper there... Ever. When we went out on stage, I think we literally scared the hell out of everyone there. The reaction was actually silence. I’ve never heard anything like it, the band finished Halo Of Flies and you could hear a pin drop. Actually, all you could literally hear were the shutters of the 150 photographers in the barricade. Yes, I said 150. The crowd sort of stood there in awe for about 4 or 5 songs before snapping out of it. By the time Billion Dollar Babies started they were going nuts as usual, grabbing at the $100 bills Alice taunts the crowds with. Speaking of money, $100 US dollars is about 891,000 Indonesian Rupiah. So, if you exchanged $200 bucks, you were a millionaire instantly! Anyway we had a great show, and I think we left a lasting impression on the fans in Jakarta. I think a lot of them were expecting a stripped down basic show, but we delivered exactly what they ordered... A full serving of Alice with all the fixings.
10/8/2011 - Travel to Rome
We spent the entire day on planes. Do the math. Just about 20 hours from hotel room to hotel room. Sleep, movies, food, stretch, movies, plane change, sleep, music, magazines, sleep, food, sleep... then customs, immigration, bus, hotel.
When we finally arrived in Rome it was about 6 in the morning, and we had the rest of the day off. The hotel was pretty far outside of the city of Rome, but they had a shuttle that took you straight into down town right next to the famous Colosseum. Rome is a very touristy place, but there are lots of authentic nooks and neighborhoods. If you are paying over 8 Euros for pasta, you’re in the wrong restaurant. We all took the shuttle into the city and most of us split up, hitting all of the necessary touristy spots. We did the whole Di Vinci Code thing, saw all the big sights. Amazing food, great shopping, lots of really great markets and lots of knock offs.
10/9/2011 - Day off in Rome
This was the day that Alice and Sheryl had a photo shoot for OK Magazine. They are being featured as a couple in an upcoming issue. Originally OK was trying to find a location within the city of Rome for the shoot. That didn’t work out, and they settled on a tiny town about an hour north of the city called Calcata. When we heard “it’s about an hour north”, that’s all we needed to hear. WAY too far... annoyingly far. Booooo. We took bumpy roads, and the majestic city of Rome passed by our windows and faded into the distance. The buildings turned to boring but beautiful fields and hills, and eventually in the distance we saw a town, basically a castle, teetering on top of a cliff. That was Calcata. Amazing. This town has stood atop this cliff for centuries, and has a history that is deeply intertwined with the Catholic Church, and also with a certain religious figure’s foreskin. You can read more about Calcata here - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcata.
The hour long journey was totally worth it, this was a place that was FAR removed from the touristy hustle and bustle of downtown Rome. The place has been around for over 3,000 years. It’s now an amazing artists community, full of the artists who took over the town in the 70’s by squatting after it was condemned. Eventually that condemnation was overruled and the squatters were allowed to purchase their homes. Each day Calcata is visited by about 100 people, and is populated mostly by artists who have shops set up along the tiny cobblestone street that winds it’s way around the entire complex. There’s also a small bar, several tiny restaurants, a church, and even a small night club - all surrounded by spectacular views of the valley below. The whole settlement has a steep cliff face on almost all sides.
We got some fantastic shots for OK Magazine, and hopefully we can share some of them before the issue is published. This place
was REALLY Alice. It’s an ancient castle, mossy stone and all. Quick funny story - Our wardrobe was located outside of the walls of the town, so we went down to change Alice’s wardrobe, and found a large group of “angry townspeople” aka tourists were approaching the entrance. There also happened to be a police car, and a woman in the front of the group with a pitchfork. The only things missing were burning torches. No kidding. We thought about running for a moment, then realized they were harmless and were just as surprised to see us as we were to see them. Alice was doing his shoot in the middle of the town, and several tourists wandered around the corner. Imagine you are walking around this creepy old castle town and you stumble across Alice Cooper,who is walking around in full makeup like it’s no big deal. It was really a surreal experience. I’m also told that it is THE place to be on Halloween, where the entire city is decorated and a party rages. Think Halloween Town from The Nightmare Before
Christmas. This was that town, only on top of a huge cliff, and with Alice Cooper. But without claymation people...
10/10/2011 - Rome Show
We played to a REALLY great crowd last night. Super energetic, classic Italian crowd. The venue was a bit cramped for stage space, we had to send the FrankenAlice monster up and down some stairs which is no easy feat for a huge monster with feet the size of skateboards.
Something interesting also happened before the show... Merch vendors popped up outside in the parking lot. A lot of them. Around 15 of them. And they had more merch than we had, and apparently there wasn’t much we could do to stop them. They were “connected” so to speak. They had street vendors licenses, and apparently it didn’t matter that they are selling illegally produced bootleg merch. So long as they had a license to sell then the cops wouldn’t mess with them. So here’s a message to those Italian fans who are coming to the next few shows - PLEASE DON’T BUY MERCH FROM THESE PEOPLE. These guys take your money and give you cheaply produced shirts, and then when you arrive inside and find the real merch you’ve got no more money to spend. Band’s work hard on tour, and for a lot of bands the only REAL money they are able to make is with their official merch. By buying from criminals, you’re basically taking the sandwiches out of the musicians hands. If a band isn’t able to make money with merch in a particular town, then when it comes time to book the next tour it’s very possible that they may skip that town. This is especially true for young bands, they depend on those t-shirt sales to get them to the next gig. Anywho I’m stepping off of my soap box for now.
We’re playing Padova tomorrow, which is right around the corner from Venice... HOPEFULLY we’ll get down there for some sightseeing. More updates as our sparse internet allows.