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Rick Cutler: Journal

June 24, 2009

Transmitting From Amsterdam, The Netherlands...
I love this place! We arrived here yesterday after almost 10 hours on the bus. It's the 1st city on this tour that caused a little smile to cross my face as we drove into town. Our hotel is centrally located in the extreme, also a 1st for this trip, which makes getting around a breeze. My bathroom here is a little odd in that the toilet is located in its own little room separate from the rest of the facilities. It's a VERY small space. I'm getting by without any problem but if the room were just a couple of inches smaller, it would be an issue.
We partook of some of the cities' nightlife after our arrival & have a show tonight.
The tour is slowly winding down & we venture on to our last stop, Paris, tomorrow. More from there...

June 21, 2009

Transmitting From Berlin, Germany...
We just arrived here after a 7 1/2 hr. bus ride.
The shows in Bielefeld & Dusseldorf went well. The hall in Dusseldorf was quite unique & beautiful. It's called Tonhalle & used to be a planetarium. The lobby featured a series of oddly shaped paintings that Hitler supposedly banned for being inappropriate. Hard to see why by looking at them. The concert hall featured an extremely high domed ceiling that must've been perfect for planetarium shows.
The pace is picking up as we have a show here tomorrow & then off to Amsterdam on Tues. Another bright spot is that the remaining cities each have their own special style of cool which, as a native New Yorker, makes it feel that much more like home. More coming from Amsterdam...

June 16, 2009

Transmitting From Dusseldorf, Germany...
We arrived here tonight after a 9 1/2 hr. bus ride that was listed in the tour book as being 6. Oh well, the bus is really nice so it wasn't really too bad. We're parked in this hotel (a nice one) for the next 5 nights. We're off tomorrow (I know, it's rough out here) & then have a 4 hr. roundtrip on Thurs. for a show in what I assume is a smaller town named Bielefeld.
The only other news of note is that I had a small computer problem that I was able to fix with a paper clip. I won't bore you with the details.
OK, it's starting to get late & I will, once again, make an attempt at a normal night's sleep. Goodnite.

June 14, 2009

Transmitting From Munich, Germany...
Our show in Frankfurt went well & we arrived here yesterday where we have a show tonight. Had a nice Thai meal last night but not much else of note to report.
Our hotel is one those off the proverbial beaten path of activity so, with a day off tomorrow, we'll have to do a bit of local travel navigation to find our way to anything of interest. The weather forecast predicts rain so it might just be a day to hang in & catch up on my gym routine as well as some reading. A lazy day. We'll see. More soon...

June 11, 2009

Transmitting From Frankfurt, Germany...
Greetings!! It's been awhile!!
We just arrived here this morning for the start of a 2 1/2 week tour, mostly in Germany with the last stops being Amsterdam & Paris. Today is some kind of holiday so almost all of the stores were closed. We had to walk a ways to find a town square where there were some options as far as places to eat. The weather is a bit chillier than NY but still spring-like. The flight was uneventful but, thankfully, I was able to grab some sleep which is not usually the case with me. It's now around 10:20PM & my last real goal for the day is to try & stay awake until a more normal time to sleep comes around.
Tomorrow is a gig day followed by travel on Sat. to Munich. We're very lucky in that the bus that we'll be doing all of our local travelling in is really nice. We're not on a plane again until the flight home. Also, we'll be re-united with our European crew from the last couple of tours who are excellent. A good crew makes things so much more pleasant as everything flows that much more effortlessly.
Over the past few weeks at home I've worked on some music for a possible children's TV project, rehearsed playing drums with a guitar power trio (in the jazz-blues-rock-funk zone) that will have its 1st gig in NYC at the end of July & have been practicing the solo piano pieces I've chosen for the next CD as well as doing some writing for that project.
As I always do, I'll try to give updates from each city so, stay tuned.
PS- There's a new photo at the top of the photo page that's pretty freaky! Check it out!
PPS- Oh yeah, the show we did on Broadway last Dec. won a Tony award last weekend. Congrats to us!

April 24, 2009

Transmitting From Norfolk, VA...
I was just about ready to call it a night when I realized that here I am on the road (if only for a day) & hadn't posted an update. (I try to write from every city).
Well, we flew into Norfolk this morning, soundchecked this afternoon & did a show tonight. It's now about 1:40AM & I have a 6AM wake-up call to get ready for the flight home. And there you have it. Not much else to say.
This might be the last update for awhile as we're coming into a bit of a slow period as far as travel. I'll be spending time at home practicing pieces for the next CD & hopefully writing some new ones as well.
We're doing a private show in NYC next week & word has it that Elton John will be singing a tune or 2 with us. If there's anything to report from there, you'll hear it here. Otherwise, we'll be back on the road in June for a European tour where I'll be keeping you informed of anything noteworthy. Also, I've recently become a fan of Twitter where I've been posting Tweets of varying degrees of coherence. I find it a kinda fun mental excercise to write a short sentence every now & then that involves some creative energy. If you're a Twitter-er, follow me if you like. There's a link to my page there on the Links page here. Enjoy your Spring!

April 10, 2009

Transmitting From Vancouver, B.C...
Lo & behold, there's more to report! Yesterday, when we visited with master drum builder Ron Dunnett, we were able to see him pretty much build a snare drum from scratch in a little under an hour's time! It was quite amazing to watch. All he had was a circular piece of titanium on his work bench &, while he entertained us with stories of his travels, he slowly did a bunch of drilling, fastening screws, attaching a snare drum strainer & putting 2 drum heads on &...Voila!...a beautiful drum was born! It was quite something! Our percussionist Dave Nyberg is the proud owner of the newly hatched drum, which is named after his wife, by the way. A very cool experience!
I'd also like to recommend to anyone traveling to these parts to check out a great Japanese restaurant named Guu (exact pronunciation unkown) which is located in the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond, B.C. We had dinner there last night & it was some of the best sushi I've had in ages. Well worth the trip if you find yourself in the area.
And now, on to the show tonight & the flight home tomorrow.

April 9, 2009

Transmitting From Vancouver, B.C...
It's 6:30AM here on the west coast of Canada. I'm writing so early being the product of jet lag. Once again, there's not much of interest to say so, my apologies. I can tell you that I had a great meal last night in one of the restaurants in the hotel. Really excellent Italian food. We're in a casino & our show is tomorrow. It's rare to rave about any food in a casino but last night's meal was a very pleasant exception.
A few of us will be visiting with master drum craftsman Ron Dunnett today. He built a beautiful snare drum for me a couple of years ago & it'll be fun to see his latest creations. There's a photo from my 1st visit with him on the photo page if you're interested.
I suppose I could tell you that I'm very pleased with my hotel room. Once again, I don't equate casinos with especially nice rooms so this was a very pleasant surpise.
And there you have it. Sorry this isn't more exciting but road life certainly doesn't guarantee thrills at every turn. If anything special occurrs, I'll surely give you a report otherwise, till next time...

April 7, 2009

Transmitting From Toronto, Ontario...
A quick note from a quick gig. Just arrived here &...boom!...it's winter again! Snow on the ground & a bit windy with temps in the 20s & 30s. A long cry from summery South America. Was it only 10 days or so since we were there? Oh well...We're just here for a day before moving on to Vancouver where it looks like the temperatures will be a bit more moderate. I certainly hope something exciting happens because I just realized that I'm sitting here writing about the weather! Boring!! Hopefully there'll be more interesting stuff soon.

March 26, 2009

Transmitting From Cordoba, Argentina...
Well, here we are at the last stop on this tour. All in all, even though it seemed gruelling while looking at the itinerary before we left, because of the great work of the local crews, it's been pretty much of a breeze logistically.
The highlight I'd have to say would have been our day off in Rio which I'll describe a bit here:
I surely heard some of the best Brazilian music of my life in a very small club in the middle of a section called Lapa, which appears to be the area with the most to offer as far as music, nightlife, etc. As cool as the arera was, it did have a little bit of a seamy side to it with a lot of what looked to be homeless people hanging outside. When the cab driver dropped us off, he told us to watch our things (wallets, watches, rings, etc.). It didn't look like an area where it'd be easy to find a cab late at night. Luckily, when we finally left, there was a cab right there waiting for a fare.....problem solved. To add to the adventure, I was also told to try to avoid Copacabana beach as there was some violence going on between 2 rival drug lords & the police. Many stray bullets had been reported. Luckily, we only drove through Copacabana & didn't spend any time there.
The other highlight was going up to the Cristo Redentor statue at Corcovado (the famous huge statue of Jesus that overlooks Rio). We were able to hire a driver at an hourly rate who added a drive through the rain forest on our way there. It was really something. I should be better about taking photos on these trips. Luckily a couple of the other guys said that they would send me theirs so, hopefully, I'll have some visuals to back up the narrative here. I did, however, take the promised photo of the view from my hotel room in Rio which is now on the photo page.
And there you have it. Don't know if I'll write any more from this trip. If not, there'll be more in not too long. Happy Spring from South America where it's Happy Summer!

March 22, 2009

Transmitting From Rio De Janeiro, Brazil...
What a beautiful place this is!! We arrived here today & are staying on a more remote beach than last time. I have an absolutely gorgeous view out of my hotel window which I'll capture & post before we leave. Not much to do within walking distance, it seems. We'll see what our day off tomorrow brings as far as exploring. Also, there are now a couple of shots on the photo page from the Iron Maiden concert the other night for your viewing pleasure. More soon...

March 21, 2009

Transmitting From Brasilia, Brazil...
Well, last night I was Maiden-ized. I was able to catch the Iron Maiden show here & it was really something. It was in a 20,000 seat soccer stadium & our Brazilian tour manager managed to swing a couple of comped VIP tickets. Sweet! Even though I'm not any kind of a metal-head, I actually enjoyed the show. They were extremely tight & all played their instruments very well. Of course, there was also a lot of pyro-technics to add to the fun. In a nutshell, it was as though Spinal Tap came to life in front of our eyes only these guys were real. They mentioned Liza a few times during the show as they knew she was sharing the same hotel. The funniest reference was when the lead singer spotted a fight in the crowd & said, "Hey guys, stop fighting! This is an Iron Maiden show. Save that for the Liza Minnelli show tomorrow!" All in all, a very fun night & way more enjoyable than I'd ever imagined it would be. I ran into a couple of the guys in the band at breakfast this morning & we had a chuckle over their Liza references. Can't say I'm a fan of the music but I give them much respect & admiration for keeping their vision going for over 30 years.

March 20, 2009

Transmitting From Brasilia, Brazil...
A city so nice they named it twice...well kinda. This is the capital of Brazil, a fact I found out on the ride in from the airport. Having just arrived it's hard to tell what's going on here, really. Some sections of the town we passed on the way in reminded me of ceratin parts of Florida, actually. (Sarasota, maybe?).
One thing I can say for sure is that heavy metal monsters Iron Maiden are performing here tonight and are staying at our hotel. We saw their private plane parked at the airport (a full-sized jet, no little boutique job, I might add). There's a chance we may catch their show as our tour managers will also be working parts of their tour after we leave. I'm no metal head, really, but am very willing to experience almost anything once, especially musically. We'll see.

March 18, 2009

Transmitting From Sao Paulo, Brazil...
First I must say that, if any of you ever travel to Brazil & are looking for a decent hotel, I'd recommend the Blue Tree Towers. This is our 2nd consecutive Blue Tree & both are clean, modern & well maintained. Both of my rooms have had a slightly boutique-y feel which I enjoy. It's not the grand, royal 10-star luxury route, but extremely pleasant. OK, enough of my hotel commercial.
Last night's show in Porto Alegre was a more low key affair than our 6,000 seat extravaganza in Buenos Aires. Still, all went well. I did see Liza on the front page of the local paper this morning so I assume there was good news to report. Too bad I don't read Portuguese otherwise I could go into more detail.
Today being a travel day means there's no show tonight so it looks like Brazilian beef will be calling my name in a few hours. (There's a lot of beef eating in S. America...a LOT!!).
And there you have the latest. There'll be more coming soon.

March 16, 2009

Transmitting From Porto Alegre, Brazil...
My nicest hotel room thus far! On a higher floor as well giving me a nice view. I've never been to Porto Alegre & don't know how much of it I'll see in the 2 days we're here as this hotel, as was the one in Uruguay, is located in the middle of a residential area. Not much within walking distance from what I can tell. We'll see how things develop.
Last night we played to around 6,000 fans in Buenos Aires who just loved Liza to death. It was a good show & it's always great to have an extra enthusiastic crowd. We'll be in Brazil for a little over a week, playing 4 cities. I'll surely keep my eyes & ears open for any excitement to report.

March 15, 2009

Transmitting from Buenos Aires, Argentina...
Here we are in the land of the tango. Last night we were treated to a very nice dinner & then were taken to something resembling a VFW hall where the locals go to tango their hearts away. It was quite a sight. When we were here a couple of years ago, we saw a very professional tango show featuring many masters of the art. Last night seemed to be the complete opposite but definitely had its own charm in its simplicity. Rumor has it that the actor Robert Duvall, who's supposed to be quite a tango lover, frequents this place. Not something you see everyday, that's for sure.
We have a show here tonight & then on to Brazil tomorrow. More soon...

March 12, 2009

Transmitting From Punta del Este, Uruguay...
Sitting here in the hotel lobby after about 22 hours door-to-door for the start of this 2+ week tour of South America. There's no internet in the room but, here in the lobby, it works fine. Go figure...
We were in Punta, at the same hotel, about 2 years ago. It's a nice little resort town. I do remember the location of the hotel kind of prohibits any serious exploring as it's located smack dab in the middle of what appears to be an upper middle class neighborhood. I seem to remember that, on the last trip, we were able to find someone with a car to give us a mini-tour. As this tour will be more in the "hit & split" zone, there probably won't be as much time to venture around. We'll see. We'll be in 7 cities over the next 2 weeks so there should be more to report soon.

February 28, 2009

Transmitting From NYC...
Just added a fun photo at the bottom of the photo page giving you a small glimpse of life in NYC. Check it out!

February 25, 2009

Transmitting From Key Largo, FL...
Didn't think I'd post another update so soon, did you?
Ok, so after a 3+ hour bus ride, we arrived at this exclusive gated community a few hours ago. Don't get me wrong, it's very nice, but it's just filled with things that don't really interest me. Cases in point:
-There's tons of golf courses (not into golf)
-There are many harbor areas with boats of all sizes & shapes galore (not into boating)
-Lots of opportunities to fish (not into fishing)
-Men must wear collared shirts in all eating facilities (not into collared shirts, didn't have one & had to go out & buy one)
-There are some private beach areas (not really a water guy in general)
You get the idea. As I said, it's very pretty, very well maintained &, for some, I'm sure it'd get close to a definition of heaven on earth. Not me, though. I'm way happier trudging through the wintry streets of NYC on my way to see a new film or hear some music. Still, I'm a lucky guy. There are way harder ways to make a living than having to endure this for a day or 2. More news to come in March...

February 25, 2009

Transmitting From Naples, FL...
We arrived here on Monday, did a show last night & are headed for Key Largo, Fla. in about 1/2 hr.
I must admit that it's nice to be in some summery weather, even if it's only for a few days.
It's nice to re-connect with all of my fellow road warrior friends after a few weeks off. Bittersweet, though, as we're also exchanging stories & memories of our fallen comrade Gerry Niewood.
It was a bit funny doing the small bit of wiring that's needed to complete my keyboard setup. As I can't duplicate the exact setup at home, I had to rely on my memory to get it all done &, lo & behold, my 1st couple of attempts left a bit to be desired. Luckily, being the slight tech head that I am, I was able to logically solve the problem & everything worked fine after a few minutes.
Nothing much more of note to report but, it anything changes, I'll let you know.

February 13, 2009

Transmitting From NYC....
It's with extreme sadness & disbelief that I report the passing of the great reed player Gerry Niewood who died in the plane crash that occured near Buffalo, NY last night. We were road warriors together on the Liza gig over the past few years. His musicianship & consistency (especially as a jazz soloist) were always amazing. I feel so fortunate to have been able to share some moments with him, both on & off stage. I extend my deepest, most heartfelt condolences to his family.

February 10, 2009

Transmitting From NYC...
Greetings! It's been awhile. The last month or so has been a bit on the quiet side. The major highlight would have to be the 1st recording session for the next CD which occurred at the end of Jan. It was a small band setting & we worked on 4 tunes. When I started thinking about this project I was convinced that I wanted to move on from solo piano into something more. Although there was a lot of worthwhile stuff recorded that day, when returning to the proverbial drawing board & looking at what music I had to work with, my instincts seem to be pulling me back into the solo zone. As a result, the next chapters in the recording process will almost surely be a session or 2 of solo piano music. The process of giving birth to this next CD will continue to be an adventure & I greatly look forward to seeing where the music takes me.
Another highlight of Jan. was spending a day in the studio with my old buddy Lee Musiker (musical director for Tony Bennett) playing drums on a new CD for singer Ashley Brown (who recently starred as Mary Poppins on Broadway). Lee is truly one of the unsung greats & his playing always inspires.
I head back out on the road with Liza in a couple of weeks. These will be the 1st shows since the run at the Palace & it'll be fun to see everyone again. As always, if there's any news of note, I'll faithfully report here.

January 5, 2009

Transmitting From NYC...
Happy New Year! It's been a really nice 5 weeks doing the Palace on Broadway. The audiences were great, the band sounded great, Liza sounded great & the reviews were great.
Now, it's really nice to have a bit of a break. There are all sorts of gig rumors floating around but, as of yet, nothing's been confirmed. In the meantime, I'll be gearing up for the 1st recording session for my new CD project at the end of the month. This one looks to be a combination of some band material along with some solo piano pieces. So, to all who read these entries: Have a great 2009! More news from all fronts as things develop.

December 4, 2008

Transmitting From NYC...
Last night was the opening of a month-long run we're doing at the Palace Theatre here. I must say that it's really nice to just head home & not to have to wait for everyone to finish packing up & make their way to the bus to the hotel.
I thought the show went really well with Liza being in amazing form. From the few reviews I've read so far, it seems as though there's some agreement there. Liza's really an amazing performer....worth every penny for any aspiring singer or actor. There's much to learn from someone with such a depth of experience from so many angles. Her energy, dedication & stamina are second to none. I usually find things to report on that are more surrounding the show than the show itself but, here, I must give major props to our boss. She's really something!
OK...here's a little additional story coming more from my usual place of behind-the-scenes reporting: On Tuesday, after our dress rehearsal, I made my way down to the band dressing room (more of a locker room, really) to change & who should come walking out of the bathroom but Joe Pesci! It was fun to say hi & shake his hand. Luckily I was fully clothed!
It's a very busy month for me including some free-lance studio things as well as being in charge of moving my 85 year-old mom from upstate NY to NYC. Almost all of my days off are filled! It'll be nice to relax a bit at the end of Dec.
Coming in Jan: The start of recording for my 2nd CD. There'll definitely be much more news about that in 2009.

November 23, 2008

Transmitting From Woonsocket, RI...
One more cool thing from this trip to report. Last night, after our soundcheck, (thanks to Chuck Wilson, one of our woodwind players), we were able to run out to the parking lot behind the theatre to catch a glimpse of the International Space Station streaking across the sky. Very cool! Chuck is a space/astronomy buff & mentioned that, if the night was clear, we'd be able to see it at around 5:30PM. Well, it was & we did! It appeared as a brightly lit, but moving, star...about the size of Venus in the night sky. I've always been a fan of NASA, the space program & astronomy in general, although not to Chuck's level. I will tell you that my name is on Mars. Maybe someday I'll go into the details of that but, I assure you, it's true! And now, 1 more show & home to NYC....YES!!
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