There’s usually an event or two scheduled during the week of an album’s release to help get the word out and celebrate the occasion, but this past week was off the charts.
The release of the new album Rainier Fog coincided with the start of the latest leg of the tour, so the week began with rehearsals at the Moore Theater in Seattle.
No big deal.
We rehearse before tours all of the time.
But this was basically only two days of rehearsal, the second of which was cut short because our first event of release week cut into the second day of rehearsal.
Alice In Chains Night at Safeco Field as the Mariners played the Houston Astros.
I could go into a lot of detail about how cool it was for the Mariners to do this for the band, and how many fans bought the special AIC package and filled an entire section in the stadium, and how the band took the field and stood behind Jerry as he threw a perfect strike for the first pitch.
But what no one knows is that I played a role in this, so you’d better believe I want my credit.
Because unlike when he did it 20 years ago, Jerry actually practiced for this pitch.
And I brought my mitt to the stadium and caught for Jerry in the warm-up area underneath the stands.
Bear in mind that I haven’t played baseball or even thrown a ball in years.
Jerry was throwing pretty consistently in the strike zone, but he also threw a few wild ones.
Unfortunately one of those was a low one that I completely misjudged, and it missed my mitt entirely and nailed me directly in the knee.
So if you were at the game and saw a bald guy in a Mariner jersey hobbling to keep up with the band, that was me.
My knee swelled up and turned a weird shade of greenish-yellow, and I limped for a few days, but Jerry threw a strike, and that’s what’s important.
Plus the Mariners won, so it was a great night.
On to Tuesday, and EVENT #2
Alice In Chains became the first band to play the new revolving glass floor at the Space Needle.
Take an iconic Seattle band, put them in an iconic Seattle landmark, add four acoustic songs, record it for broadcast on Sirius/XM radio, and what do you get?
A stressful day if you’re a crew member, but a really cool event if you’re one of the lucky ones to be in attendance.
And kudos to everyone for not puking.
The floor didn’t revolve during the actual show, but it was definitely revolving as we were loading in, and more than a couple crew members were not enjoying it.
But everyone made it through the day vomit-free, so event #2 was another success.
This led us to the first actual show (SHOW #1) of the new tour, so we loaded up the bus and drove to Vancouver.
So Far Under joined the set list.
Never Fade joined the set list.
And I joined a large group of band and crew members who are starting to get bags under their eyes from lack of sleep.
It was a great show and an amazing Vancouver audience.
Meanwhile, Sean & Mike once again outdid themselves in their ongoing personal assault on me.
I walked into the dressing room before the show and said something to them as they were sitting across from each other on couches.
Both of them had their phones out and were texting.
Neither of them even looked up to face me.
And they both continued texting while simultaneously insulting me.
It was the most impressive display of merciless multi-tasking I’ve ever seen.
I don’t even remember what they said, I was just in awe of their ability to casually rip me to shreds, all while never actually acknowledging my presence.
So with a killer show and some fresh insults in the book, we boarded the bus and made the drive back to Seattle.
Which brings us to Thursday and EVENT #3.
The pop-up store and band retrospective at the Crocodile.
The retrospective was a really cool look back at the band’s career and history, with all kinds of memorabilia, gear, instruments, & clothing from all eras (and specially made Alice In Chains urinal cakes in the men’s room!).
It took a ton of work on the part of a lot of people to pull this thing off, but it was an absolute labor of love, and totally worth all of the hours and stress.
I’m really hoping that this can be displayed for a longer period of time somewhere down the line, because I think it’s something a lot of fans would appreciate seeing.
SHOWS #2, 3, & 4.
With all of the other events in the books, it was finally record release day, and there was no better way to celebrate than by the band playing a short, intimate show at the Crocodile.
It was cool to watch the band smooshed onto a teeny stage in a small club, packed with a bunch of hot, sweaty, fanatical fans going nuts, just like the old days.
The following two nights were headliner gigs at the White River and Sunlight Supply Amphitheaters outside of Seattle and Portland.
The fans were great, the new songs were going over really well, and it was a solid way to cap off an unforgettable week.
So the new album is out, people are digging it, we can finally get back to the business of touring, and I can concentrate on important things like updating Larry!’s wardrobe…