ROCKIN’ At 40,000 Feet (PART ii)
Bringing Home SweetKiss Momma From Their European Tour
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, plug the cord into my turntable…..
I drop the needle and…aaaahhh. Off to imagination land I go. Some of my favorite ‘music to imagine by’ was Southern Rock. And the 1970’s was PACKED with incredible Southern Rock bands! Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers, The Allman Brothers Band, Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Alabama, just to name a few. I had never been to the South, but I sure loved their music!
If I could go back and talk to that dreamy eyed, teenage girl though, I would tell her this: “Your journey in life is about to get really tough. Don’t despair. Keep your head and heart up. You just gotta keep listening to the music. ..Whoa whoa, listen to the music..all the time.”
A music pledge drive was going on to help raise support for a local band’s upcoming European Tour. The name of that band was SweetKiss Momma. The lead song they released from their upcoming EP was titled ‘What You’ve Got’. I heard it and said I’m IN! I loved the sound. That whole Southern Rock Grit. I just don’t hear that anymore in local bands. And those guitar riffs. YES! You have my money and I will be there for the European Tour Send Off Party! During the time between the pledge drive and the sendoff party, I found out two cool things. The first was, that 3 members of the Europe Touring band, also played in Jessica Lynne and The Cousins. The band that I sell merchandise for, and had just gone on a road trip with to the INB Performing Arts Center in Spokane! The second cool thing I found out, was that they would be traveling to and from Amsterdam, on the airline I work for! Working the Seattle-Amsterdam is my regular route. My mind started spinning. This was going to be FUN!
The night of the European Tour sendoff party arrived. It was at Louie G’s Pizza in Fife, WA. It isn’t located near me, so I hadn’t been there before. DANG! What a great venue for live music! It was amazing to see all the support the band had from their family and friends. Packed house. And what I love about attending these local shows, is the variety of musicians that show up to jam. They aren’t in competition. They are there to all support each other’s music. In this dog eat dog world, it is SO refreshing. What an amazing new concept, right?!
It was great to hear them perform their new EP live. And, The Moss Brothers joined them onstage, just tearing up the guitar solos. Awesome! I was psyched!
The day of their departure to Europe arrived. Although I was not working their flight over to Amsterdam, the crew members on that flight were my friends. I alerted them, and asked that they look out for ‘my guys’. Traveling to Europe can be stressful enough. But when you are a musician, traveling with your instruments, that adds extra stress. Your instruments are your livelihood, and if they get damaged, broken or lost, the ability to earn income has been compromised. Plus, an instrument is like your favorite pair of jeans. Hard to find, but once you do, you LOVE them. They mold and fit perfectly to your body. You dread the day when you must replace them, because you have developed such a special relationship. Saying ‘I’m sorry. We lost and damaged your favorite instrument. Here is some cash to replace it.’ NO! It’s not that easy. So, PLEASE do not be annoyed when you see a musician traveling with an instrument. That’s their best friend.
And I also alerted the band. BRING CHOCOLATES/TREATS FOR THE CREW. Seriously. You bring us a treat, we’ll make sure to and try and find a way to make your flight more enjoyable. When you spend a 10-hour flight being ignored by people wearing headsets, a kind recognition of thanks means a lot to us.
Anyway, I anxiously watched Facebook to make sure SweetKiss Momma got settled onto the flight. Cymbals, guitars, keyboards and musicians were all secured safely onboard. Bon Voyage!
It was fun to watch their tour for the next month. All over Switzerland, France, Germany, Holland and Spain. I think they had about 21 shows in a month. Plus, traveling. EXHAUSTING! Set up, perform, tear down, socialize, sleep, pack up, drive and repeat. What an amazing experience for all them. They used the Black Pike Favorites Agency to navigate their way through Europe.
The tour was ending its completion, and it was time to leave Seattle, to bring them back from Amsterdam. I was really excited to be able to do this. And, I had another fantastic crew ready to take care of them. We all wished, though, that they had been performing in Amsterdam the night we were there (they were in Spain). That would have been a blast.
It’s morning and time to check in for the flight from Amsterdam to Seattle. I look around, and there they are! Jeff, Ray, Paul, Kubby and Skyler. Lots of hugs and smiles. I’m one lucky woman, to be working their flight home.
As airline destiny would have it, they ended up sitting in the section of the aircraft that I was working. Back section of coach. On a full flight. For 10 hours. Yippee for them. However, it was probably one of the more fun flights I have ever worked. It was great to stand in the galley and hear their stories, fresh off the tour.
The crew loved them. We had a blast talking and it made a 10-hour transatlantic flight go by quickly. Pictures, laughing and some awesome treats that we fought over in the back galley. We all loved the SKM guitar picks!
And then we landed in Seattle, and it was time to go home. Well, at least for me. I have a rollaboard suitcase.
UHM…yeah, well you know how retrieving checked luggage can be sometimes. It always goes a little smoother when the baggage carousel works. However, they were finally released from airport prison. And could meet up with their wives and girlfriends and families. A month is a long time to be touring and away from the ones you love.
Make sure and check out Jeff Hamel and SweetKiss Momma on FB, ITUNES and Spotify.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
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