Wednesday, November 06, 2002

From James Graham, tour assistant: For those three or four devoted followers still tuning in, Shane and I have finally faced up to reality...the tour is over. After our unexpected stopover in Hawaii we're back in L.A and thoroughly broke. If anyone has any work for either of us you can reach us through Kat's site. Thanks for reading. It was fun.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Well we made it back!! BARELY! I'm glad James and Shane are alive in Hawaii (talk about a spur-of-the-moment decision)...actually, I wish I could have stayed with them. But alas, KC, my boxer pup, and all the responsiblity with the gear, etc, called --and I had to see it through to the end. James-- please keep us updated with the "Extended James and Shane USO Tour" from Hawaii. It was a frantic last few minutes getting on our last flight home....James, if you're reading you would have LOVED getting this on camera.....Ray actually missed the flight, we had a big delay at the counter with our final excess baggage ticket, which was written out to Continental but we were flying on United. Hence the $1500.oo extra charge had to be paid by MY credit card, after much back and forth discussions with the supervisor and being left at the counter for 20 minutes by the first counter person who just didn't feel like handling it...since I was not taking no for an answer.... Anyway, the security line was excruciatingly long and slow and I ran up to the gate AS they were closing the door to the plane, I was able to hold them off until Brian and Geoff rounded the corner after running after what seemed like miles thru the terminal. But, Ray was nowhere to be seen. Like you were saying James, you weren't there to watch him! I'm standing at the door outside the plane saying "...you have to wait two more minutes...he's with our group...he's right behind us...I just left him at security..they were going thru his bags"......they looked at me and said, "You can either stay on the ground and wait for him or you can get on the plane and come with us, we are GOING to have an "on time" departure no matter what he does" I couldn't believe it! (I was not missing that plane home and, frankly, was pretty tired of waiting around and babysitting Ray) so I stepped back to my seat, mumbling how ridiculous it was that we had been at the airport since 2:30am for a 7am flight and STILL practically missed it! They closed the door, started playing the security video, seemed to pull back from the ramp, I sat there stunned thinking how ironic we had made it thru 6 1/2 weeks of traveling without any real travel mishaps and on the last flight home--we lose someone. Then I see the flight attendant looking out the view hole of the door, waving and motioning to someone, and unbelievably --she pushes back the door and in walks Ray, afro flying around, sweating bullets, panting. It turns out since our excess baggage made it on the plane--for security reasons--they have to keep the person with their luggage, so they explained, after apologizing to everyone on the flight for the delay. Anyway all is well after the slow trip home in the van on the 405. I slept for 14 hours but it feels like 4, how long does it take to get over traveling BACK in time? I can't believe I was snorkeling yesterday morning in the beautiful Pacific Ocean in 85 degree water. The last show was really awesome, the open air stage with the ocean as the backdrop was spectacular. If not for the minor detail of my guitar getting completely broken in HALF during the Halloween Costume Contest, it was a perfect end to this tour. Ironically it wasn't an airline mishandling or a guitar smashing fit on stage that did it but it was knocked off it's guitar stand by a huge guy dressed as "gondor", (I have no idea how to spell it)-- huge robes and a big pointy hat--from the Hobbit movies. I was busy sigining CDs down at the merch table during the break for most of the contest while all the contestants where parading ON stage in front of where all our gear was set up. I came up for the final contest "Best Overall Costume" and just as they named the Gondor character WINNER!!!! he knocked the guitar over! Geoff went to pick it up and goes, "Kat, you don't wanna look. You don't wanna see this" , He picked up the body of the guitar and the complete headstock and neck lay on the ground, severed completely in half, the only thing connecting the two was the strings, it was a sad sight. Any guitar player knows this is irrepairable damage. All I can say is I'm glad it was the last show, AND I'm glad I brought my Takamine guitar on the road and not my vintage '57 Martin. We made it thru the last set despite-- and had everyone dancing to "I Will Survive" for the last song, including Brian, our sound engineer singing the last verse, and James dancing with camera in hand and Steve and Ellen, our local coordinators singing along on stage, it was a proper ending for the tour in the most beautiful of settings!! I just want to THANK YOU to Kara Soules, David Mills, and ARMED FORCES ENTERTAINMENT in Virginia for sending me out on this tour. I believe we made it thru with flying red, white, and blue colors!! It is an experience I will remember forever, not only for discovering new cultures and countries and meeting new people, but for making a difference, if not just for a night, to those brave people overseas away from home defending our country.

Friday, November 01, 2002

From James Graham, tour assistant: Unable to cope with the thought of living in L.A again, Shane and I have gone AWOL in Hawaii. Kat, if you're reading this, we're doing fine but it feels weird not having to look over my shoulder to make sure Ray is keeping up. Oh, and having to pay for your food again sucks. Aloha.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

I can't believe it's the last day of the tour, we're waiting for the first of three flights taking us back to LA, we actually arrive(after 18 hrs of traveling) at about the time it actually is to me now....2:30 on Fri afternoon (we pass the international dateline, so LA is a day behind us) Kwajalien is just the most beautiful tropical island, I believe we are really close to Figi, and that is what it most reminds me of, that, and Gilligan's Island. We've been snorkeling almost every day in between gigs. They really are treating us right here. Steve Snider and Ellen Smith..."We Luv You!!!, ThankYOU!", I knew things were going to go well when the first thing Ellen did was hand me the keys to a four seater golf cart and said "Here's your ride for the week". WEEE HEEE (I love golf carts) Most everyone rides a bike around the island, the only big vehicles are Army sponsored trucks and...planes and helicopters. No one is allowed to own a car. It's a town of about 2500 people, mostly contract workers for Rayothen, who is contracted by the US government to run this missile launch and missile tracking site. I haven't seen a military uniform since Guam--the security onto this island is unreal--we were met with bomb and narcotic sniffing dogs. They seemed to really like my small roller case and Brian's backpack....after searching and not finding anything but extra strong ibuprofen we were allowed thru! No one gets off the plane here unless you're invited. There are several WWII Japanese bunkers still standing, standing inside these bunkers was really creepy, I can almost hear the lost souls of all those who lost their lives when the US invaded and took over the island from the Japanese. Supposedly over 3000 soldiers died here. The Marshallese people are the native islanders that the US government is "renting" this group of islands from. From what I can tell, the king seems to get all the rent money, because the islands that the natives enhabit are very poor and overcrowded, and some have no running water, electricity, or modern plumbing. They take a boat in the morning to work the few jobs there are over here on Kwajalein and Roi-Namur. Just a word about Roi-Namur--Hey guys, I DO know how to spell it! These people know how to party! Christy was awesome as our host. A really National Geographic moment happened on our way back from a snorkel boat ride--we were able to stop at one of the native islands, after being invited (only becuz Simon, our driver and captain, knew the family on the island-otherwise your not allowed to go on the islands, they are private property) we came upon a preparation for a funeral celebration, the women were cooking over open fires, boiling crab and cooking the meat of coconuts into a pudding-like state, I can't recall the name of it but it was very sweet! I must write more later, We are expected at the airport in minutes and I'm the golf cart driver!!
later,
Kat
From James Graham, tour assistant: We've finished - damn it, now I have to face up to the real world and things like a job, a place to live and a car. Why can't this thing just keep going for a couple more months? I'm going to try and land a last minute gig at the local rag on Kwajalein or in the bar. There's got to be something going here. I can't face L.A anymore. Help! Oh, you probably want to know about the show last night as well, huh? It was probably the most perfect setting you could ever get for a show, half the island turned up and for the most part the rain stayed away. Unfortunately Kat got her guitar broken during the Halloween costume judging but I guess insurance will cover that. Brian, our sound guy, topped off the tour perfectly by throwing off his headphones and charging up on stage for a boogie and a guitar solo. Too bad you guys couldn't have seen that. Actually, maybe you can. Stay posted on this site for details on how you can get hold of behind the scenes tour footage.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

From James Graham, tour assistant: Back on Kwajalein now tweeking final stage prep before tonight's big Halloween tour finale. Another awesome day yesterday on a tiny atoll called Roi-Namur, about a 15 minute flight from here. Big thanks to our host Christy. She really knows how to make a road-weary band feel rejuvenated. Also want to thank Chuck Smith for showing the band through the missile tracking systems. Take it from me, there's no chance of a stray bomb sneaking under the guard of these guys any time soon. I felt like writing more but the space bar on this keyboard is totally shot and it's really annoying me. I'm going for a swim....again.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

From James Graham, tour assistant: If today was any guide, Kwajalein may actually make up for Korea. A big call, I know, but after zapping around the Marshall Islands on a boat tour (thanks Les) snorkelling around a shipwreck and finishing off with a BBQ hosted by resident entertainment guru Steve Snider it's hard to imagine a more blissful day exists. I just wish we could post some pics up right now so you could see what I was talking about; at this time of the night my words ain't going to do this place justice. Another early rise tomorrow because we're off to play a show on a neighbouring island so again, I'm afraid, this is just a short diary note (sorry Kandis, I'll write soon). Steve tells us the residents at tomorrow's gig (sorry again, I've come out without the name of the place) really know how to lay out the red carpet, so much so, he's made us promise to pack up the gear before we start drinking all the shots they will undoubtedly want to buy us. I like this place already.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Wow, a week, and no internet access!! Guam was rough on the internet access but one of the highlights for the tour for me! I got to SUBA DIVE for the first time, it is the coolest thing, to be actually breathing underwater! I went 30 or 40 ft down for my intro. lesson, so awesomely provided by James Sprouse, my new scuba teacher, his website is: www.guam.net/home/jambit86 and you will see pictures as soon as I get home. If you're ever in Guam, HE is the man to take Scuba diving from. Thanks so much to James for taking time out from his class to fit my intro dive in, I was also able to help his Rescue Class by...get this...."playing dead" for him and the class...on my FIRST ascent up from diving!! He wanted to surprise his class with a possible real life situation, so I had to roll over and act like I passed out, they did the CPR action, pulled me to shore, etc. The did a great job. Underwater--I saw an octopus, and a million different fish, all kinds of things on the reef...wild..... I can't wait to do it again. I highly recommend it if you've never done it before. I just wish we had several more days there in Guam. The shows were....different....than the typical, that's for sure. A Halloween Party for kids--- A cocktail party for Officers--anyway I have to go tour this island of Kwajalein and see what we're in for here!
Kat
From James Graham, tour assistant: After most of the day island-hopping through the Marshalls - it took four flights to get here - we've arrived safely in Kwajalein, the U.S missile base in the Pacific. We've only been here for a few short hours but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this leg is going to be the tour highight. I can't really say why just yet, it's just a feeling. Okay, it may have something to do with the 50m salt water pool bordering the ocean, the free food and our very own golf cart to zap around the atoll on. And the rooms are pretty awesome too. I gotta go now cos they're closing up the rec room. Will check in again after our boat tour tomorrow. This is the payoff for Korea.