Wednesday, October 6, 2010 - Quito, Ecuador
Another early lobby call in Santiago... We left our hotel at 6:00 am for the airport, headed to our last stop in Quito, Ecuador. Tonight’s clinic was hosted by the Pearl distributor, not the Zildjian distributor. In the interest of full disclosure, it was the least together clinic of the entire tour. Mike and I later learned this was the first drum clinic they had ever done and apparently didn’t put much credence into adhering to Mike’s rider. Never a good idea. I should back up a minute and say that less than a week before, we weren’t even sure we were going to Quito. There were some serious problems with their local government and it didn’t look like it was safe to go there. In fact, the distributors in other countries were warning us that it might not be safe. However, by Monday (two days before) we felt sufficiently satisfied that it was safe to travel to Quito, so the clinic was on! When Mike and I arrived, the first thing we noticed as we were going through Customs & Immigration was a loud noise coming from outside the building. At first we thought it was a radio or TV, but soon realized it was a huge crowd outside protesting the President! We went directly to the venue to set up due to it being late in the afternoon. The gear that was provided presented many “challenges” for Mike. We found out that a number of pieces of hardware had been ordered, but were held up at Customs due to the airport being closed , which was due to the political protests. The “trickledown effect” at its best (or worst!). On top of that, having 4 hours of sleep for the past 2 nights was taking its toll on Mike and he was physically exhausted... Somehow we pieced it all together and Mike being a true professional, and powered by pure adrenaline, put on a truly sensational clinic! The crowd was in awe of Mike’s incredible technical abilities and musicality, as he played along to various tracks he’s recorded.
Although the clinic tour was only one week, we covered a lot of ground (5 countries to be exact!) and packed a lot into a short period. In other words: we were ready to go home and looked forward to relaxing on our long flight back to Boston... I want to thank all the distributors and dealers for their wonderful hospitality, all the fans that came out to the clinics and for making us feel so welcome and most of all, to Mike Mangini for always giving 200% to representing Zildjian! We love you, Mike!
Until next time...
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 - Santiago, Chile
Last night’s clinic in Santiago, Chile was spectacular. We arrived from Buenos Aires mid-afternoon and had 20 minutes at our hotel – basically enough time to put our bags in our rooms, then head to venue for set up and sound check... We’ve learned to always expect delayed flights and to never count on having that 1-2 hours that you thought you’d have at the hotel! Cristobal and Juan Carlos from Audiomusica were absolutely fabulous and they had a great team helping us with set up. After sound check, Mike did a few interviews with local Santiago TV and newspapers, then Cristobal (or Cris) took Mike and I for dinner in a very cool part of Santiago that had to be the inspiration for Austin, TX. You’d swear we were on 3rd Street. When in Chile, you must have the Chilean Sea Bass... and we did! Then back to the venue, which had a Rock & Roll club vibe to it and was completely packed. We arrived just as the first artist, Gonzalo Muga began his performance. Gonzalo played with a band and sounded great – he had a great Rock feel and a nice groove. Next up was Marco Cerda and this young man was amazing! He had it all going on; groove, chops, musicality... I haven’t been knocked out like that in a long time! He played with a conga player, then with a band that played everything from Hard Rock/Metal, to Latin and Jazz... I found out that although he was using Zildjian cymbals, he was not yet signed as an official Zildjian Artist – well that changed immediately after his performance when Cris and Juan Carlos introduced me to him. I told him he reminded me of Horacio Hernandez and he gave me a giant hug. Mike took the stage just after 9:30 PM (we actually started on time!) and once again took his playing to another level. The audience was completely spellbound watching him play. After a 30 minute solo, he took questions from the audience for another 40 minutes, then played to 3 songs that showcased his creativity and musicality and brought the house down. Another early lobby call this morning with 4 hours sleep and we’re on our way to Quito, Ecuador for the last clinic! Mike is a total professional and we really appreciate the incredible job he’s doing for Zildjian....
Monday, October 4, 2010 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
After our wonderful dinner and evening Sunday night, Mike and I were really looking forward to tonight’s clinic. I found a nice running route near the hotel this morning and since it’s spring in Argentina, the weather was perfect! Ash Zeballos picked us up at our hotel at 11:30 am and we headed to Todomusica’s new office complex which was incredible. It’s like a city within Buenos Aires! It was great to meet the other staff members and put a face with e-mail addresses. After a nice lunch in their commissary, we made our way to tonight’s venue, the famous Teatro Astral – a beautiful 1,200 seat theater. The set up and sound check went smoothly thanks to the professional production staff and we were able to have a couple of hours back at the hotel before the clinic. Also on tonight’s bill were Topo Espindola, Pipi Piazolla and my old friend, Waldo Madera (Ricky Martin and may others). All the guys played beautifully – some incredible talent and the audience of over 1,000 thoroughly enjoyed them. At 9:30 PM, I introduced Mike to a rousing applause and he came out with all four guns blazing! All the clinics have been great, but tonight was special and Mike was definitely feeding off the audience’ energy. He was playing things I would’ve bet my life were not possible. After finishing the Q&A portion, he remained on stage to hand out door prizes and then played two more songs much to the enjoyment of the audience! And as a bonus, several of our Argentinean artists were in the audience and came backstage afterward to say hello – it was great to visit with Marcelo Mira, Gustavo Meli, Marcelo Hernandez our translator, Sebastian Cavalletti and of course Waldo Madera. Truly a highpoint of the tour! Another big thanks to Ash Zeballos, Marcelo Pedace, Juan Cruz, Oscar Hails and the entire Todomusica staff. It’s off to Santiago, Chile tomorrow morning... two more clinics to go!
Sunday, October 3, 2010 - Travel Day to Buenos Aires
Today was a travel day with no clinic and even better, we had a direct flight from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires... that certainly helps! The guys from Pride brought us to the airport and Mike and I relaxed on the 2 ½ hour flight... We arrived late afternoon and my good friend Ash Zeballos from our distributor in Argentina, Todomusica was there to meet us and take us to our hotel in the heart of Buenos Aires. Mike and I had an hour or so at the hotel to freshen up before heading to dinner at a fantastic Seafood restaurant where we were joined by Zildjian artist Sebastian Cavalletti and Pearl Brand Manager for Todomusica, Gustavo Miri. A warm welcome to Buenos Aires for sure! Tomorrow, we’ll visit Todomusica’s new offices and Mike will perform at Buenos Aires’ famous Teatro Astral, along with my good friend Waldo Madera. I’m looking forward to exploring the city further during my run tomorrow morning...
More to come,
Saturday, October 2, 2010 - Sao Paulo, Brazil
3:30 AM wakeup call and a 4:00 AM lobby call! This is the part about being on the road that most people don’t ever think about... We had a 6:00 AM flight out of Maracaibo with a connection in Caracas, then on the Sao Paulo. Our host Jesus, being the great guy he is, picked us up at the hotel at 4:00 AM and brought us to the airport and even waited with us until we were able to go to the gate at 5:30 AM. We arrived in Caracas at 7:00 AM and our connecting flight was supposed to leave at 9:00 AM and arrive in Sao Paulo at 4:30 PM, but of course we were delayed leaving and didn’t arrive until 5:30 PM! Luckily, we were able to get a little sleep on the plane... we’d had only a few hours the night before. By the time we got our bags and made it through Immigration in Sao Paulo, it was after 6:00 PM and the clinic was scheduled to start at 8:00 PM, so we hauled it to the venue! The guys at Pride Music, our distributor in Brazil, are amazing and had Mike’s kit in excellent shape when we got there. Incredibly, Mike started just a few minutes after 8:00 PM and we had a completely sold out crowd! The team at Pride is top notch and very professional and we owe them a giant thanks for their incredible hospitality. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner hosted by our friends at Pride Music and by the time Mike and I checked into our hotel at 2:00 AM, we had been up almost 24 hours... and we looked like it too! On to Buenos Aires...
Friday, October 1, 2010 - Maracaibo, Venezuela
After a run on the track behind the hotel, Mike and I headed to World Music where he had an interview and press conference scheduled. If you know Mike, you know he is hilarious and loves to laugh! He had everyone laughing during the press conference, then off to lunch and back to the store for set up and sound check. By 4:00 PM, there was a line of people down the street and around the corner and by the time Mike hit the stage at 5:30 PM, the audience of nearly 500 was in an absolute frenzy! Mike opened his clinic with a 30 minute solo that built from the ground up and pulled out all the stops! By the time he finished, the audience was left with their jaws on the floor. He got some great questions from the audience and finished the clinic with a jam session with some great local musicians. A late dinner with Jesus and our translator, Oscar, then back to the hotel... Off to Sao Paulo, Brazil tomorrow!
Thursday, September 30, 2010 - Travel Day to Maracaibo, Venezuela
Boston to Maracaibo, Venezuela...
I’ve been looking forward to traveling with my longtime friend Mike Mangini for many months... His South American tour comes on the heels of three weeks in Europe with Steve Gadd on “Mission From Gadd Europe” but it’s been a long time since Mike and I hit the road together and this is sure to be a memorable trip. Today was a travel day and we left Boston around 12 pm headed for Maracaibo, Venezuela with a 2 hr layover in Miami... A smooth trip overall other than the usual delays in Miami airport and we arrived in Maracaibo around 8:00 pm local time (which is between US Central and East Coast time zones – that took some getting used to!). After getting our bags and clearing immigration (now past 9:00 PM local time), we were greeted by our host and owner of World Music, Jesus Arellano. Jesus is a great guy and took excellent care of us. Mike and I were pretty beat from a long day of traveling, but thought it would be downright rude to refuse our host’s offer to go out for a quick beer at a local bar... And quick it was... it’s all about pacing yourself when you get to a certain age.