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Number of posts : 758
Age : 48
Location : Paris, France
Registration date : 2007-01-02

PostSubject: Jeff's blog   Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:10 am

From Jeff's myspace blog...

It's been a while since I've done a tour blog, I really enjoyed sharing the day to day experiences with those interested since the Soul SirkUS tour but stopped as an individual I was involved with during that time didn't 'dig it', me not wanting to make waves put the whole idea on ice but now that I don't ever have to worry about working with this person again, I'll do as I always have, note to self, lesson learned ?

I'm starting this a bit late as I have done quite a bit thusfar, but have to start somewhere so why not on the long flight home from Europe…oops, going ahead of myself, rewinding now…..

It's hard to know where to start here as my '2nd half of 2007 – No Rest Till XMAS' ordeal began before hitting the road. Since the Brazilian run with Talisman, I've been in full recording mode for the new JSS creations, at about 15 choice cuts completed & another 5-9 in the works. It's the 1st time I've ever worked on so many songs for an album but this is different, this must hit the mark like nothing else I've ever done. The stakes are higher than before, the level of expectation is far greater & stepping down from fronting one of America's legend bands, I have to make sure this material displays who & what I am unlike anything I've done to date.

That being said, the end of that spurt was met with the live aspect, 1st singing 2 songs, 2 nights with the legendary Uli Jon Roth at his annual Sky Academy showcases on Aug 24-25. I love the Scorpions songs I got to do with him & the band & the audience were very warm & accepting of me which shows even in 1 year how my name has carried over to another audience.

The next morning on Sun, I fed the wife & kissed the dogs (come on, work with me, it's humour!) & started my journey to Bulgaria to do some last minute booked shows covering for an artist I've been asked to leave nameless, who had to pull out of some dates himself. I knew nothing of this country, it's culture or it's people….hell, I didn't even know if I had any fans there but was pleasantly surprised when I arrived on the reception. It took me nearly 22 hours to get there, LA to London Heathrow, transfer to London Gatwick airport via 1 ? hour bus, then flight to Bourgas, the 4th largest city in Bulgaria, where I was met by my new good friend & promoter Peter.

Before I go on, I have to add I didn't have the luxury of bringing my own band which petrifies me to no end, I am a creature of perfection, not so much in accuracy of performance but the entertainment end of the performance. It could easily go 2 ways in working with people you've never met from if they can play well, learn your material right, have some sort of stage presence, etc., To my contentment & satisfaction, I knew all would be ok after the 1st song at rehearsal! 3 of the guys in the band are in a group called GRAS (named after each of their 1st initials) & the keyboardist is in many popular bands in his community. Just to credit each guy (don't even ask me how to spell their real names, I'm going on what I could pronounce/spell!) on guitar was Svet, bass was George, drums was Nasko & keys was Yassen.

The 1st gig was the following night, a big open air stage that was actually as big as some of the Journey stages I did last year. This night was opening for one of Bulgaria's biggest rock bands, AXAT (pronounced A-HAT) who were very cool & accommodating to me having been long time fans of my past with Yngwie & the slew of other metal things I've done in my life. The show went great, my band smoked & the audience gobbled it up like any other JSS Band show, success!

The next night we had an acoustic set booked in a great club called K-Bar, short for Karaoke Bar….sounds cheesy but this place had quite the vibe, sound system, bar, etc., This is the kind of place I would hang out at all the time if I lived close to it, just a cool vibe overall. Once again, we killed to the full crowd & pulled off a lot of the songs from the night before stripped down on the small stage.

Sat was when things got interesting. I was told about the 3rd & last show in Kavarna, a small village just 30 minutes past the big city of Varna, pretty much the furthest point northeast of Bulgaria before there's nothing but ocean from that point to Turkey. Apparently, the mayor there of 4 years is a HUGE metal fan, only 40 years old himself, & has converted this poor, sleepy little village into the rock capital of Bulgaria. Without getting ahead of myself here, I have to share the bit of history or rather, education I got of this once communist country. Until recently, rock music, posters, even buttons were banned, a male could get arrested for even having long hair! My last night there, I sat with one of the locals who is now a journalist & he enlightened me with so many things I had been in the dark about communism & the lack of freedoms I have come to take for granted simply as 'life'. It choked me up to hear the 'prison' these people lived in for so long, being told what they could & couldn't do, being denied of their own free will. I felt a sense of ignorance during the whole conversation, realizing I had so much to learn about the world outside my own backyard!

Back to Mayor Metal!! This guy is fucking cool!!! He is so hip, young & free thinking but more so, has converted his little town in Metal-ville! IN pulling into the city, I was told to look at some of the HUGE murals drawn on the sides of some of the apartment buildings we passed….1st was Ian Gillan of Deep Purple, next building was Ronnie James Dio….then there's David Coverdale! I was dreaming, I couldn't believe this but it only got better ? We met the mayor, his name Tzonko (pronounced'tonko') for coffee by the big open air stage we being set up all the while fearing the massive gray clouds we were warned the day before could screw things up for us. Soon after, the skies opened & down came the rain! Shit!

We had other things to do anyway so up we went to the local municipal hall where there was an international martial arts exhibition taking place & Tzonko was supposed to make an appearance. He asked that I come along as it was planned ahead I would be announced as the city's guest as well I would be presenting some medals to some of the of the competition winners…WTF! We enter the building as usual, one would expect to see the traditional center used for conventions or even indoor concerts…well imagine seeing folks from ages 7-60 dressed in their karate suits & surrounding us on the walls are MASSIVE banners of WASP, Dio, Whitesnake, AC/DC, etc., They were the size of the banners one would see in an arena of their local team's championship accomplishments, I felt as I were in some new Christopher Guest movie (Spinal Tap, Best In Show) waiting for the punchline!

Soon after the presentation of the competitors & me handing out awards, we make our way back to the soundcheck only to find the sound company have packed all the gear, the weather report called for more rain around the time we were to start & there was no way they were gonna risk it. The mayor then asked if we would consider staying over & doing the show on Sunday, no prob as I wasn't leaving till Monday night & how could I say no to this guy? He was so inspiring & the more I got to learn about him, the more I realized how good he was for this city….this COUNTRY!

We ended staying an extra day & were able to do the show the following night, again, outdoors in the town square, big stage & open to the public. It was quite packed & many thoughts were later passed to me it was the best show they'd seen all year there, the band were on fire & apparently the sound was killer!!!

Next up was a trip to Gothenburg, Sweden to work with my partner, Paulo Mendonça, on some new tunes. He has his own studio there which I basically lived at the 5 days I was there so we could get a lot done…as we did! I wish there was a site that had samples for how talented this man is, aside of the songs on his Myspace page , of which not all are him singing on, it was his earlier CD's (available only in Europe, out of print now) that made me a huge fan of Paulo's. Every time I heard his albums, I thought to myself 'this is what I wanna be doing musically'! It was towards the end of my '05 European tour I gathered some mutual friends numbers who eventually helped me contact him to see if he might be interested in collaborating on new solo material with me…we've been working together since!

Sept 9, left Europe & headed straight to Tampa for the next 10 days (where I sit now completing this part 1 of a blog) to work with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It's been a grueling run so far, mainly because of travel, but it's only beginning. In about a week begins the 1st JSS US solo run which will give me a little indication on what my name means back here at home. Yes, I'm playing it safe by doing small venues & clubs but it's the best way to test the waters. I'm mostly looking forward to meeting up with the many new friends I've made through my short tenure with Journey, many of who are part of the family. More blogging to come, thanks for reading!


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