So in the first hour of the first day of the third month of this year, I found myself heading east. Towards Canton. Michigan, not China, heading to a turn on a road just past the Arctic Edge ice arena, home of the Olympic champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
I could swear that wasn't there back in the 90s when I had friends who lived in Canton, and I used to head down Michigan ave on a semi regular basis. There was a lot less other stuff (stores, restaurants, etc) out that way, too. (Just looked it up, the ice arena opened up in 2001).
The reason for the late night foray came from a text I received at about 6:15 pm Friday evening, asking if I was available late night to pick up the guitar I'd won a few weeks ago, since at the time I'd said I could wait until Battlecross (the band that gave it away at the concert I went to see) came back from their European tour (so I could get to say hi and stuff, as I hadn't had the opportunity to meet them before). I had nothing planned for the evening so I agreed, even after the texter (the band manager) said it could be as late as 1 AM.
It turned out to be 1 AM, since, as I found out when I got to the manager's house (about a half hour drive from where I live), Battlecross were gathering for a meeting with their manager to get the tour merch all straightened out and finances all discussed before the boys headed out for their next tour. Which was to say, before they started driving, at 3 AM, to go to Buffalo for the first show of that next jaunt. So the 1 AM time made a tiny bit more sense.
It was interesting to see the manager in action, she had a nice spread laid out for the guys, including plenty of options for the two vegan eaters. She had kind of mother hen thing going on. Interesting, too, to get a peek behind the curtains of an operation like a band on the verge of heading off across the country, counting and folding the t-shirts, signing the CDs that would be on the merch table. I know a few musicians, including a few who have been fortunate enough to get signed to a label, or to get to go on a real tour, but I've never been privy to witness some of those last minute preparations (like the merch guy lamenting having left his good neck pillow at home). A bit ironic this was happening with a band whose members I'd never really met before, and had only seen play once.
The guys in the band were disgustingly normal (not that I expected anything different - like I said, I know a few heavy metal types). Had to decide, when I got there, whether I could address someone I'd never met before as Gumby (singer's nickname), but he shrugged it off. Probably used to it, half the people approaching at the merch tables after shows probably call him that.
I was at the manager's house for about an hour, indulging in a bit of the grub laid out (a few raspberries, a piece of the brisket, a bit of the seitan, and olives), shooting the breeze, getting a pic taken with the band, in which I'm sure I'll stick out horribly for having worn a bright yellow sweatshirt, when they were all wearing metal appropriate black sweatshirts, and then I left them to their business, wandering off into the night with my shiny green guitar.
Battlecross: Push, Pull, Destroy