report filed 8/12/99 Monkey Biz #5

It's been a very hectic week since the last journal entry. Got back to Vegas last night and now it's time to get caught up...

Picking up where we left off- The last two shows of the tour (Monsoons in Flagstaff and the Green Room in Tempe) were both outstanding. Playing to packed houses in both AZ cities, the monkeys mixed up the set lists with new stuff, old tunes that haven't been played much, as well as a generous helping of material from "Make Believe," and "Pathways."

While both shows were on a par with each other, the accommodations we had in the two towns were night and day. Up in Flag on Friday night we were the victims of NFL pre-season madness with the AZ Cardinals in town.

We paid out the yin-yang for a way small room with three twin beds and a bathroom. Considering that there were seven of us staying there, you could say it was a bit cramped. It's times like this that my air mattress comes in handy...

Saturday was Ed's 30th birthday! During the couple hour drive down to Phoenix, we ate at McDonalds and Ed got the last piece to Inspector Gadget... how 'bout that for a neato B-day present!

We checked into our plush digs at the Embassy Suites sometime in the early afternoon. Man what a contrast from the night before. Big rooms, big beds, a pool/spa, and separate desk/phone line for internet and computer work in the room... simply a joy for the road weary music journalist.

Reed and Chad's folks live in the Scottsdale area and they invited everybody over for a pre-show pool party/bbq in honor of Ed's b-day.

It was a wonderful afternoon sitting by the pool, munching on high grade gourmet burgers, drinking properly chilled Heinies and hanging with the very cool and extremely hospitable Stewarts!

The gig at the Green Room seemed like more of party than a show. After all, Tempe is WMO's old stomping ground and there were lots of old friends in attendance. In addition to old school monkey junkies, James' parents and sister came out. Everybody had a great time and the band was simply on fire. Ripping it up 'til closing time, the monkey finished up the tour with an exclamation point!

The band left for San Diego on Sunday, but Reed and I stayed in Scottsdale for a couple of days. During that time we me with Mark McDowell, the artist who painted the last four WMO album covers. We met to discuss ideas for WMO's next release, which is tentatively scheduled for release next spring.

It was alot of fun brainstorming with Mark, he's so creative and irie... very kind vibes in his home and studio. Unfortunately I've been sworn to secrecy and am not at liberty to divulge the concepts behind the images we developed, but it should be epic. In fact, once we get a few details worked out, we'll starting posting pictures of the work in process here on the site. Until then, let your imagination run wild!