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Letters Home – Notes From The Road 003

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Thursday, 21 October 2010

[Editor's Note: Most fans think that the life of a touring band is a strange existance, and they're right – but not always in the way they might think. Sure – there are strange scenes and moments to experience, but sometimes touring can be a more personal journey. In Alain Johannes' case, he's already been around the world as the bassist in Queens Of The Stone Age and as the guitarist in Eleven – but his current tour through South America is a different excursion entirely. This time, Johannes is touring in support of his debut solo LP Spark and, not just that, he's currently touring South America; where the guitarist has not been since childhood. It's an exciting time for Johannes that only he could capture best so Ground Control has offered him the platform to share it. The following is an account of Johannes' journey and his raw impressions of it in his own words.]

Letters Home – Notes From The Road With Alain Johannes, Part Three of Four.

Decide to stay up a bit hang out at the hotel bar. Met some great people. Discussing I wanted to do a free show when I return from Buenos Aires. Acsa and Paola call their friend Dino who owns Rock Y Guitarras and it's done. Friday the 15th at midnight.

Very little sleep off to the airport.

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Sao Paolo is massive. It feels quite electric with all those peeps hanging out doing their thing. From shacks by the side of the road to modern corporate buildings, it's quite a spread they got going.

At the hotel we have quite a nice sushi meal and I retire early 'cause I'm leaving early with the crew to get to the SWU festival.

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It's a ninety minute drive and having a great time chatting it up with the boys and girl. The driver is obviously into a weird combination of NASCAR and ignoring lanes. Happy and surprised we make it in one piece to the SWU festival.

The site is awesome. A lot of recycled materials used. Very Eco conscious and the message of the festival is "Starts With U". Really sweet warm folks. I set up shop in the QOTSA backstage tent and play my cigfiddle while sipping on a Cortado cuppa joe.

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I play early in the afternoon and the crowd is attentive and interested. I win them over bit by bit except for the ones who knew of me already who were in from the first note.

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After my show the heavy guitars sling wildly for hours. Different bands from different countries but all sharing the same idea. Destroy and pummel. Sometimes pummel and then destroy.

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The generators take a shit and there's an uncomfortable wait time before Queens hit the stage as they bring in spares. The second that happens though, it all starts flowing as they get a generous dose of what a real band sounds like, with endless great songs and impeccable delivery. What a great treat for the kids.

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