RON KEEL TOUR DIARY
Parts Six & Seven
Ron Keel is on the road with his "Acoustic Outlaws" tour, featuring himself and other players that we all know and love. Whenever Mr. Keel has an update from the road, we’ll post it here for all to see.
This will be a chronicle of my activities for the next month – two weeks with my new Acoustic Outcasts project, and then two weeks on tour with IronHorse. Thanks to all the sites that are including this tour diary and to all the fans for hanging out with us on-line and at the shows.
The Acoustic Outcasts Tour is a collection of some of my good friends, and some of – in my opinion – the best voices in Rock, banded together to create an acoustic format in which we can showcase those voices and our songs. In addition to myself, the cast includes Terry Ilous (XYZ), Kelly Keeling (Baton Rouge, Michel Schenker, George Lynch, Blue Murder), Charlie Wayne (Keel & Wayne), and guitarist JK Northrup (XYZ, King Kobra, etc). During the course of the show, everyone will be performing solo, and in various combinations, and ultimately all together as a group. The first show, in Nashville Tennessee, also features vocalist Danny Vaughn (Tyketto, Waysted).
The tour kicks off in Nashville on Thursday July 28, and the first leg is concentrated in Ohio July 29-August 6. All the dates can be found at http://acousticoutcasts.com
Acoustic Outcasts Tour Diary:
Day 18: Sunday August 14 2005 – 10:24 pm Central Standard Time
Home at last….slept all day…
Rewind to my last entry, just before heading out to do double-duty – two shows in two venues on the same day, the first one being the Metal Sludge Xtravaganza II in at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.
The Alrosa is the venue where Dimebag Darrel was murdered earlier this year, and for me and many others who would attend the Sludgefest, this would be the first time back there since the shooting. There would no doubt be mixed emotions, memories, and apprehensions…just walking up to the door and seeing the spray-painted epitaphs to Dime raised the hairs on my arms.
But upon entering, it was like coming home to a family reunion – I was warmly greeted by some old friends, Stevie Rachelle from Tuff/Sludge, Billy Morris, Billy Carri, and the club owner Rick Cautela, who has struggled to maintain the Alrosa as Columbus’ rock n roll capitol in spite of the recent tragedy that occurred on stage there. It was a great vibe as we all caught up over pizza and cocktails while the crew set the stage, and it was good to meet the other guys in all the bands who were playing that night. We were treated very well, and I gotta thank Billy Morris, Billy Carri, and the guys in their bands for letting us use their gear (ours was already set up at our other gig, about 40 miles away).
The fact that we had a 10 pm show elsewhere forced us to take the Metal Sludge stage at 8 pm, when the crowd was still sparse and the sound was not quite yet dialed in, but it was just cool to be a part of it, see everyone, and rock the house. Thanks to Stevie and Rick for inviting me to participate, and to the guys in my band – Geno Arce, Jay Rusnak, and Gaetano Nicolosi. Our only regret was that we could not stick around for the rest of the festivities and see the other acts, hopefully there will be a next time and we can make up for it then.
It was off the stage, out the door, and into the vehicles in a hurry. Luckily, Geno was driving and got us lost on the way to the next gig, allowing me to get a little shut-eye in the passenger seat on the way – recharging my batteries and allowing the first layer of sweat to dry.
Upon arriving at our show in Marysville at LeeDog’s, I was revived by Jack Daniels’ and Budweiser…and though we hit the stage about 15 minutes late, nobody seemed to mind. They also didn’t seem to mind the intense heat – it was about 150 in there, and even hotter on stage under the lights. Sweat poured off of us in buckets – I’ve done a lot of sweaty gigs in my time, but this had to be near the top of the list. But the music, my band, and our fans made it worth every drop. And at the end of our 3+ hours of performing, I was not exhausted but energized by the show and the people that made it a very special night.
There was not much time to celebrate, unfortunately – I had a plane to catch. I let Chris Wicks off the hook regarding my ride – he is a true warrior, and a great friend and fan, but the weekend had taken its’ toll on him as well, and he still had a long drive to Cleveland ahead of him – so I thank my swag crew/Ohio family Mark & Joy Hypes and Bud Eichells for ferrying me to Port Columbus Airport. First there was a mandatory pit stop at the hotel, I’m sure they would not have let me on the plane looking and smelling like I did after this show…and then another quick stop at one of my favorite restaurants, White Castle. Finally at 5-something am, I poured myself into my seat on the plane and immediately passed out for the 56-minute flight to Chicago.
When the plane landed, it was all I could do to wake up, stand up, and disembark, only to see on the monitor that my connecting flight to Nashville was already BOARDING and the gate was a couple of miles away…if you’ve ever been to the Chicago O’Hare airport, I landed at gate B4 and had only minutes to make it to gate F11 or be stranded at the airport. These gates are in completely different zip codes, but thanks to my long legs and my determination to get home I made it by the sweat of my brow and the skin of my teeth and was the last man on the plane, where I again passed out at once.
Finally at 8:30 am CST, I stepped off the plane in Nashville. My wife was there to greet me with a smile and a kiss, but she was at work (she works for the airline) and thus my rock n roll brother Charlie Wayne was kind enough to be there to drive me the 60+ miles home from the airport. I of course fell asleep in his car, and luckily woke up just before we got to Alabama to let him know he’d passed my exit…
Finally at about 11 am I made it through my front door and onto my couch, and passed out for the last time with NFL preseason football on the tube. I love the road and I love my life, but there’s nothing like coming home, and each time I put myself through these ordeals I learn to appreciate it a little more…
But there won’t be much time to recuperate – I’m leaving again in a couple days, IronHorse is headlining the Back To Basics Bike Rally in Concord Vermont this week….
Day 19: Monday August 15 2005 – 1:36 pm Central Standard Time
Though I am home, and not technically on the road (I have a 2-day break before heading to Vermont with IronHorse), I thought some of you would be entertained by what hit me when I got here.
Almost 100 phone messages. Many of them angry: “Why aren’t you returning my calls, asshole,” – “Ron, I’ve left 7 messages,” and on and on.
Over 1000 emails unanswered. Many of them pissed off. Like the following journalist, who’s been waiting on an interview for the past month:
—– Original Message —–
From: "Adam Israel" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: [email protected]
Subject: Last CALL
Date: Sat, 13 Aug 2005 17:26:15 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Ron, this is the last time I will attempt to
contact you. I had no idea you would let me down,
after spending valuable time writing an interview you
agreed to do. If you change your mind in the next
week, please let me know, otherwise forget it. Also,
it is just good business to at least reply to my
attempts to contact you, which I have sent two other
emails the last two weeks with no response. I have
dealt with clients constantly, for years, so my
patience has all but evaporated for people who don’t
make an effort. Still, I hope you are doing well.
Adam – yesterday I returned home from a particularly brutal 3-week
road trip. During times like this, there is rarely time to grab a
sandwich or a couple hours’ sleep, sometimes you don’t even get a
shower before you go on stage, and you certainly don’t have the
luxury of talking to your wife and children on the phone – or answering emails. I have
hundreds of unanswered emails and over 50 phone calls that have not
been returned. Many times just achieving Internet access is a
challenge unto itself – I have a choice: I can either plug the
laptop in, turn it on, establish an Internet connection, and open
Pandora’s box, or I can get a quick bite to eat and wash last night’s sweat off my ass. Which would you choose? What would you do with your ‘valuable time’?
I HAVE chipped away at the interview a couple questions at a time
(I will attach what I’ve done so far), but this is an unusually
extensive and time-consuming interview. I can either give quick
boring simple answers or I can go into depth and tell some
entertaining stories, which is what I thought you wanted. I do not
deserve to be lumped into the category of clients who ‘do not make
an effort’. Your lack of patience and other people’s shortcomings are not my fault or my problem.
I was not aware I was under a deadline, and I was also unaware of
the unusually difficult circumstances I was to encounter on this
I have a couple days off to catch up on things before my next road
trip, to Vermont with IronHorse. I committed to doing the
interview, and have every intention of doing so, so let me know if
you’re still interested in me finishing it.
That’s just one of hundreds. It seems that for every 500 fans I win over, I piss off 500 friends and business contacts….
So I will spend two relaxing days at home in a hopeless attempt to catch up. Sometimes I wish I could ‘clock out’ and leave my work on the job, but this is my job and this is the life I chose.
Thanks for reading this and hanging with me on-line, I’ll be back…RK