What does a full day look like on board ShipRocked, the world’s greatest rock & Roll vacation at sea?
Here is the short version of what Thursday, January 22nd was like for me:
8am – Turn the phone alarm off and find a few articles of clothing nearby as Gina and I scramble up to deck 12 to the Garden Café for a quick breakfast.
8:15am – it is back to the 5th floor, trading stories of last night’s Halestorm, Avatar and Seether concerts with the friendly ShipRockers in the elevator as we make our way to our room to get showered and properly dressed for work.
9:30am – Arrive at the Spinnaker Lounge, on deck 13, and get my mobile studio set up to start recording the days interviews. Gina takes care of everything for me, except the interviews, so I can focus on the task at hand.
From 10am to 1pm - Guitar players and bands from all parts of the ship begin to arrive in stages for both their interviews and their meet & greet with the ShipRockers from around the world.
For me the 3 hour time period raced by as I recorded conversations with, in order of appearance JR from Islander who was awake too early, but excited for the final day of the cruise, Jonas & Tim from Avatar, and discovered that Tim, may or may not be my son. Then Dale Stewart from Seether came by to talk about music, the voyage and our off-time spent in Mexico.
After talking to Dale, I may have taken a quick cat nap on some road cases, I don’t recall it, but the photographic evidence says that I did.
Either way, around noon, Zoltan Bathory of Five Finger Death Punch joined me in the back-stage area near the road cases on a comfortable couch to talk shop for 20 minutes. I was having entirely too much fun and lost track of time, when Gina came to get me as both Bumblefoot, and Oli Herbert from All That Remains were waiting for me at my temporary Chop Shop Lounge set up. Just a few minutes into the conversation Marcos Curiel of P.O.D. joined us, and it became more of an unplanned roundtable discussion. I realized this was a really rare moment, so I tried to stay quiet as much as possible and just let Bummblefoot, Oli and Marcus talk among themselves.
Just as the roundtable broke up, Page Hamilton from Helmet was stopping over to say hello and all 5 of us jumped into a photo.
After interviewing Page, about music, art and poetry, my old friend Rasheed Thomas of Nonpoint was next. We caught up on old times and traded ShipRocked stories from previous years, then talked about the band’s upcoming tour with Disturbed.
Soon I would talk shop with Ryan “Tater” Johnson of 10 Years, Meta Dead and Beatty Dead of the Dead Deads, and my new friends in the band Stitched up Heart, who we had spent a lot of time with on the first 3 days of the voyage.
1:15pm – Due to gale force winds, it was announced that all the outside performances were being moved inside for the day and evening, so we would have to be flexible and fit in as many of the re-located and in some cases rescheduled shows.
1:30pm – Gina and I had packed up the equipment and traveled to the rear of the Norwegian Pearl for lunch. In line we met up with Brett Emmons the front man for The Glorious Sons, who we had befriended on the first day of the cruise. I told him I was “blown away by their performance”, and had told Lzzy Hale to “Try hard to see their next show”. Brett told us it had been moved and was coming up in a couple of hours.
2pm – It was back to the room on the 5th floor to edit audio, as I still had a 2-Hour show to record later that night. I also worked on editing photos, and making notes.
I don’t recall the exact time but a couple of hours later we made our way to the stage on deck 13 inside the Spinnaker Lounge to see Red Sun Rising, and parts of Like A Storm and The Glorious Sons. I was thrilled to see Lzzy Hale, her mother (who I had been calling ‘Mama Hale’) and Joe Hottenger sitting in a prime spot. I’m glad she took my advice and made the show, and I hope she liked it as much as I did.
7:30pm – During a break in the action Gina and I went back to the Garden Café for a light dinner where we were joined by Oli Herbert of All That Remains. I had interview Oli a couple of times in the past, usually with his band-mate Mike Martin, but I had never really gotten more than a few minutes with him. The 3 of us had a great conversation while eating, and then decided as a group to go down to the Crystal Atrium to see The Dead Deads show.
8pm – we ran into Shaun and Dale from Seether at the bar near the stage and the 3 of us joined them for drinks as we waited for the show to start.
9pm – Hellyeah was playing in the Stardust Theater, and we needed to get some photos of Vinnie Paul and the band, so we made our way to the photo pit as the band took the stage.
10pm – Gina and I originally agreed to be in bed by 10pm, as the next day would be a long travel day, but the evening never grew tiring, so we went to deck 12 for an ice cream and sat next to another member of the media, Amy Harris.
10:20pm – just as we said our goodbye’s to Amy, as I still had a full show to record, we ran into David Z from Rubix Cube, Soto and the band I’ve known him from for the last 15 or 20 years, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, so we sat down with him and his crew to talk and laugh until the final show for us was about to start.
11pm – We ventured back to the Spinnaker to say hello and our goodbyes to Jeff George and We Are Harlot. After a few songs, I had to start recording my show.
11:30pm – I took my recording gear up to the outside deck 13 bar. It was pretty windy, but I decided the elements would just make the recording of the “live” from ShipRocked edition of The Chop Shop sound natural, so I opened up the mic and hit the magic red button.
Sleep would eventually find me late into the 1am hour.
Feel free to look through the photos and listen to all the interviews here:
It sounds like a sales pitch to say that ShipRocked is the ultimate vacation, but how else can you describe seeing so many outstanding bands, taking in once in a lifetime all-star jams, sunshine, the ocean, good food, drinks with friends and this time around, even a tour of the ancient Mayan Ruins. Maybe instead of ultimate, I’ll call it a perfect vacation.
Here is the full recap with photos, interviews and the full 2-Hour Chop Shop that was recorded on the ship! Check it all out below, and check out ShipRocked's website here.