Former the Academy Is... frontman William Beckett is currently on his first solo tour of North America in support of the Walk The Talk EP. He'll be sending AltPress.com sporadic updates from the road; the first update can be seen below. For Beckett's tour dates, head here.
I woke up at 7 a.m. this morning for the first day of the Walk The Talk tour. My new tour manager, Dennis, was waiting outside by our newly rented van that we've since given the moniker Black Bessie. With two huge merch bins, a stage bin, two guitars, CD, poster and playbill boxes, we were already jamming twelve pounds of shit into an eight pound bag. We made a stop and discovered a hidden storage compartment in the back that we celebrated over, re-packed Black Bessie and went on our way. At the venue during soundcheck I finally met Cara Salimando, who is opening the majority of the dates on the tour. My old friend Pat Brown, formerly of the band Sing It Loud, was also slated to open the tour kickoff show, and by the time everyone was through sound-checking I was backstage working on a set list. I also noticed that I am the only one with a huge luggage bag. Even the lovely Cara has a small, carry-on-sized bag for her clothes, shoes and whatnot. From that moment on, it would be known as the "Diva Bag."
The show itself was a great way to kick off the tour—although I played right through curfew and had to cut two songs from Walk The Talk I was saving for the end. Not too bright, I know. I guess that within my stage banter pinning a hypothetical to-the-death cage match between a drunk Steven Segal and a stoned Jean-Claude Van Damme, I lost track of time.
Cinco De Mayo. Little did we know, Madison throws an annual party on Cinco De Mayo called the "Mifflin March" or something of the like. Translation: thousands of blackout drunk 20-year-olds filling the streets of downtown Madison, chained arm-to-arm, stumbling this way and that. Oh, and it's only 2 p.m. Thankfully, we were playing this little second-floor coffee shop/cafe, putting us well out of reach and nearly out of danger. Looking down from the second-floor balcony, I felt like I was a survivor in The Walking Dead, gazing down at the huddled, staggering mass of zombies.
The show was a lot of fun, and three people had birthdays they were celebrating. After I got off stage, I organized a "Happy Birthday" singalong in which the whole room participated, honoring the birthday girls and boy. They seemed happy with it. It was also prom night for a bunch of high school people so I took some prom-inspired photos with them at the end of the night. We left around 1 a.m. after everything was loaded out and I was dead tired.
Grand Rapids, MI
The third show of the tour. We played at this really amazing venue called Pyramid Scheme, which has a full arcade attached to the entrance of the venue. It was free pinball night, but I didn't get a chance to play. A couple friends from Chicago were up in Grand Rapids visiting and they came out to the show, which was nice. My cousins who I haven't seen in years also came out. We used to spend summer vacations at their house in Grand Rapids when we were little, so it was amazing to see them again.
The show was one of my favorites up to this point. My voice was starting to feel a bit fatigued, and I was particularly pumped to have a day off tomorrow. During soundcheck, I noticed that the wooden stage was perfect for stompin', so I opened the show with a cover of Jeff Buckley's "Be Your Husband." My friend Adam was in town, and came by to take some candid photos of me backstage. Super-talented guy. All in all, great time.
(Day off/Stageit show)
The first day off of the tour and instead of vocal rest, I played an "On the Road" Stageit.com session! I've decided to do a Stageit show on every day off to share a bit of what it's like out on the tour. Cara stopped in and we sang Ryan Adams's "Come Pick Me Up," which is always a pleasure. We then went to see St. Vincent at Newport Music Hall, which was incredible. Quite inspiring. Quite inspiring, indeed.
On the way to the show, we witnessed a seriously disturbing sight. Standing out in front of a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combo restaurant, a man was facing the road, legs about shoulder-width apart, urinating in broad day light. Now this usually wouldn't be so alarming, but in this case, he was facing the general public in heavy traffic without hesitation or second thought. Yikes. Honestly, everything else is kind of a blur. I wish I could make like a Mac and drag and drop that memory into the Trash bin. Delete forever. alt