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Diary of a Drum Tech Pt. 14

Gadd's KitSorry everyone but I am a bit behind at present with Part 14. In February we began preparing for the Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck Tour of the UK and US.

Rehearsals started with our usual tech day to set up the stage and soundcheck the PA and monitors so that the band fired up upon arrival the following day. We were using the UK kit that I keep for Steve Gadd for his work in Europe.

The band includes Walt Richmond on keys and Hammond who collaborates with JJ Cale, Willie Weeks on bass with Chris Stainton on piano to complete the line up.

No SmokingJeff Beck was due in later in the week so we left a gap for his equipment on stage right. As most will know EC and Jeff have been friends since the early ‘60’s along with Jimmy Page as they replaced each other as guitar players for The Yardbirds (I take no credit for the band name!).

I cannot stress highly enough what a nice atmosphere there is when working for talent that has no ego. As most will know, Jeff can play a bit! JBs guitar tech Steve Pryor dropped in to set up Jeff’s gear in readiness. EC’s guitar tech Dan Dearnley was Jeff’s guy before Steve. Dan and I were with ‘FM’ and ‘Romeos Daughter’ 20 years ago and have worked neck and neck with most bands ever since.

JBs band has Narada Michael Walden drums, Randy Hope-Taylor bass with Jason Rebello on keys along with a string section.

The tour took in two nights at the O2 and then straight over to New York for two shows at Madison Square Garden, followed by Toronto and Montreal where Jeff departed for his own tour. Roger Daltrey joined us in Pittsburgh to start the US run of dates.

No TippingCrew chief at ‘The Garden’, Russell, was Gadd’s man in New York during the early ‘80’s; running around crazily setting up from studio to studio along with the legendary Artie Smith for numerous recording sessions.

Having Roger Daltrey with us was home from home as most of ECs crew were with The Who for many years… 30+ for some! Roy Lamb is Roger’s Production Manager along with his job for The Who, Bryan Adams, and Page & Plant etc. The crew, apart from my son Martin, came straight from the Superbowl gig. Guitar tech Binky and I grew up in Notting Hill, yards from each other as kids. Drum tech Hagar was tech for the late Michael Lee with Page/Plant along with Mickey Currie for Bryan Adams. He started out with the late great Mick Tucker with The Sweet.

Simon Townsend, Pete’s brother is on guitar for Roger who has picked up a good band from LA. Scott Deviour on drums is a good friend of Skin drummer Dicki Fliszar with whom I worked as both drum tech and Production Manager.

Nashville was our next stop and it’s good to be in the warm finally. We had a day off so Dan and I strolled down to an all day breakfast café for egg and chips followed by a visit to Gruhnes Guitars to check them out. This is the no.1 Vintage guitar shop. Main St has a drum kit in every window and some good bands in every bar. The evening was spent in a restaurant bar next to the Union Hotel which was the former railway station. The huge metal signs detailing train times to Chattanooga are still on the wall.

BoatOur gig was at the Sommet Center which was called the Gaylord Center previously… I wonder why it was changed?! Straight after the show we headed overnight to Birmingham, Alabama.

Tulsa, Oklahoma was our next destination for another day off. Our keyboard player Walt is from Tulsa along with Jim Keltner. It’s the first time I have got to a town and it was shut, it was like a ghost town, not a soul in sight. We finally found a restaurant to eat in and were joined by Roger Daltrey and his band to celebrate his 66th birthday.

Kansas Sprint Center was next and then onto Memphis TN, the home of Elvis. The FedEx Forum was opposite our hotel as is the Gibson Guitars building and Beale Street is one block away, so it is all on the doorstep. Beale Street is the main music and bar area.

After the show we headed for New Orleans or ‘Norluns’ as it is known. We struck lucky as there was a Home Depot across the railway tracks. We were in and straight out so no visit to the French Quarter downtown.

Onto Raleigh NC followed by Atlanta GA home of the fabulous Black Crowes.

YachtFt Lauderdale was next and a room with a sea view is right handy Harry! One of our crew lives there so we arranged our usual day trip out on his boat to see boats and homes that we’ll never afford! A great day out finished in a local restaurant.

Orlando was our final stop where I met up with my brother and his wife who have a holiday home in Sarasota to get away from the Winter cold of Canada. Tom Morrongiello, currently with Cheap Trick and formerly with Def Leppard, and Bob Dylan flew down from New York to join us before we left the US for home. Tom also played guitar for the Ian Hunter Band.

We spent the next day at the Amway Arena labelling the equipment so that it returns to the right place and head for our hotel for a return to the UK.

Upon my return I spent a day at home before returning to Heathrow for a flight to Vienna for four shows with Charlie Watts and the ‘A,B,C & D of Boogie Woogie’.

Well, more of that next month!

See ya!


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