John B's News From The Road

Back in the Saddle

Hey folks, itís been a while.  Welcome to my weekly update that will take you through from the first days of rehearsals to the final note in Canton, Ohio.

Letís start with rehearsals. As the crew guys and girls started arriving into the bandís studio, it was beginning to look like something old, something new, something borrowed and something Blue Army. (Sorry I couldnít resist) My meaning of that is the crew. We are welcoming back some familiar faces and except for the brand new keyboard tech Matt everyone has been with the band in the past and are coming back for their second and in some cases third call of duty. Itís great to see those guys behind the firing lines. They are some of the best in the business. 

Joe was the first one in checking out his new rig that is going to blow you away. Heís got some real vintage stuff out there and he took a day to dust them off and get them road ready.  Joey came in bright and early the next day to check out his new kit. This has to be one of the classiest kits the Krame Dog has had in recent memory. He took to the traps like he was slipping on an old pair of Converse All Stars. Joey recently celebrated a Birthday and this tour shows no signs of slowing down. 

Once the guys said their hellos it was down to business. They dusted off some old chestnuts and tightened up songs that are main stays in the set.  Last tour the guys played Kings and Queens and kept it in the set for the whole tour and this tour look for them to delve back into their massive catalog and pull out some tunes that havenít been played in years or not that often. I can hear all of you whisper as you read this ďIíll believe it when I hear itĒ.  

If you look at the tour dates you can see that the guys are going to cities they have never been to or havenít been to in years. 

First up was a show in San Diego for Cisco Live. The guys blew through a 15-song set to the delight of the 20,000 Cisco Live employees. 

Next up was the first show of the tour in Phoenix. It has been 9 years since the guys have played in the Grand Canyon State and they didnít disappoint the crowd at Gila River Arena. Monkey on my Back was in the set and it was just a glimpse of what is yet to come on this tour.

As I write this, the band and crew are heading to Evansville Indiana. If my calculation are right it is the bandís 10th time in their career playing ďRiver CityĒ. The first time was at Roberts Municipal Stadium in 1974 and the last time was at that same venue in 2004. The Stadium was demolished a few years back. The guys will be playing the Ford Center for the first time and it will no doubt be rocking Wednesday night. 

After that the bandwill be breaking in the new Choctaw Event Center in Durant, OK. This venue is going to be one of the more intimate shows the band has done in a long time with a capacity of just under 2,800 people.

We have our fingers crossed that the paint will be dry by the time the band hits the stage on Saturday night.

Guys get to the show early because you are in for a real treat. Living Colour is opening on this tour and if Phoenix was any indication this is going to be a real rock and roll party.  They are one of those bands were you go, oh shit I know this one and that one and this one. 

Back again on this tour is ace photographer Zack Whitford who will be bringing you some killer pictures by way of every social media outlet known to man. Zackís pictures can be seen in person this month. To view Zack's Aerosmith and travel photos, visit The Hilton Asmus Gallery website, which highlights their new photography division, Hilton Asmus Foto, or visit the gallery in person at 716 N. Wells in Chicago during the month of June. As always itís a pleasure having this talented guy on the road with us.

Be sure to come back next week when I review the first few shows and also I will be doing a pod cast of sorts in the coming weeks with some band members and people associated with the band to give you guys a deeper insight to the workings of Americaís greatest rock band on tour this summer.

Before I go I must hand out the employee of the week honors. 

This week the honor goes to touring keyboard and background vocalist Buck Johnson. Buck comes from the back roads of Shady Grove Alabama and his connection with Steven Tyler came about 8 years before he started tickling the ivories with the bad boys. Buck co-wrote the song ďJust Feel BetterĒ that Steven sang with Carlos Santana in 2005.  Buck is no stranger to the charts himself. As a member of the band Whiskey Falls scored 2 top 40-country singles that were released from their 2007 debut album.  He will continue to bring his professionalism to the big stage along with his boyish good looks. Heís a great player and even greater guy so for that he earns Employee of the Week!

See you on the road!

-John B.