Don’t Pray For Us tour with Whitechapel and many more!

WHEW! That was awesome! Not too long ago, i got back from filling in playing guitar for Whitechapel on the “Don’t Pray for Us” tour. The tour featured I Killed the Prom Queen, Chimaera, Motionless in White, and Asking Alexandria. As i said before, this wasn’t my first time touring, but it was the biggest thing i’ve done so far. I knew i was going to have fun, but i don’t think i knew what a blast it was going to be. I truly had a ball.
For starters, touring in a bus with a full crew HAS to be the easiest job on the planet. Every day, all i was obligated to do was wake up, look at the day sheet and see what time we played, and make sure i was at the venue and ready to slay at that time. The rest of the day, i was free to walk around whatever town we were in, read books, set up my trusty Roland MicroCube in the dressing room and practice, jam with the guys in the other bands, or whatever else i wanted. Too cool.
Most days, i would wander around towns, primarily with the objective of finding some good food native to the area. I ate some KILLER stuff, too! The Acropolis in Tampa, Los Portales in Omaha, Zen Zero in Lawrence Kansas, and Vincent’s in Pittsburg all come to mind… great stuff. Once a week we would make a run to Wal Mart, and stock the bus’ pantry and fridge with whatever we wanted. I never went hungry, that’s for sure. We had a couple of days off on the tour, and we spent a couple of those at KOA campgrounds, grilling burgers, brats, chicken, and veggie options (all our crew were vegetarians) all day and knocking down beers. I think i also consumed a year’s worth of whisky and Cokes while i was out hahaha.
ALl the bands and their crews were fantastic too! Everyone worked hard and got along well. The guys in Motionless are actually pretty reserved, but super nice. I spent the most time with their keyboardist, Balz, who was a great guy. The Asking guys were super cool, always inviting people to come party on their bus and hang out. The Prom Queen guys were a real hoot. Super laid back and hilarious, and extremely nice. Of course all the Whitechapel guys are great, as are their crew. It was a real pleasure getting to know all of them! I really loved hanging out with the Chimaera crew! I knew of Emil Werstler going into the tour and was very excited to get to know him and hopefully absorb some of his powers. In addition to being unquestionably one of the best guitarists i have ever played with, he is also an extremely great guy to be around! Super high energy, always laughing and smiling. The Whitechapel guys told me before tour that i would hit it off instantly with Matt Szlachta, Chimaera’s other guitarist. They weren’t kidding! He and i hit it off right away and spent most all of the tour hanging out talking about teaching, Vai, Zappa, Satriani, jazz, and geeking out over all things guitar-related. As it turns out, Matt is ALSO one of the best guitarists i have ever jammed with in my life! The current Chimaera lineup is damn inhuman. I got to listen through their upcoming album Crown of Phantoms, and it is really going to blow people away. Fantastic stuff!
In addition to all the great people on the tour package that i met, i also got to spend time with a number of of awesome folks i met along the way… i met Vinnie Paul in Dallas, which was pretty much surreal. He was very cool. My longtime friend Nate came and picked me up after our show in Wichita and took me to the incredible Italian restaurant he works at, Luca. Incredible food! I met Jeff Loomis in Lubbock at a festival show, it was fantastic getting to talk with him! Met the Soilwork guys at that same fest, too. In Houston Texas, Travis LeVrier of Scale the Summit and former STS bassist Jordan Eberhardt came and hung out with me. We got burgers with their friend Matt, had a couple beers, and then listened to the new STS album, which was fantastic! HUGE step forward for them. If you like their old stuff, just wait till you hear this. Epic! I also met a handful of people on tour that already knew me from message boards, my guitar swirls, or my Youtube channel.
I took two Ibanez RG7’s out with me. My purple/green/black swirled RG7620, and my blue/orange/yellow swirled RG7621. Dimarzio hooked me up with incredible pickups for the tour to keep me sounding epic, and D’Addario provided all the strings we used. And let me tell you, not ONE string was broken the entire tour! Amazing! I played through the Chapel-guys’ gear. For amplification, i was using the Kemper Profiler. After spending a month with one, i can say that i definitely need one of these in my life. Incredible piece of gear.
I had never been to many of the cities we went to on tour, so the travel aspect was one of my favorite parts of being out. Cool thing was, too, most all of the driving was done during the night while we all slept on the bus, so we’d literally just wake up and be in a new town. Some of my favorite new places were Pittsburg, Lawrence, Tampa, Iowa City, Dallas, Pensacola, Long Island, Richmond, and Norfolk. Saint Louis was awesome too!
We played a couple of festival shows, which were a ton of fun. I got to see a ton of bands. Alice in Chains, Stone Sour, Soilwork, Jeff Loomis, Tesla, Filter, Powerman 5000, Bush, Papa Roach, Black Guard, Nonpoint, Limp Bizkit, Bullet for my Valentine, In This Moment, Falling in Reverse, Corrosion of Conformity, Hollywood Undead, Theory of a Deadman, Taproot, Blackguard, Escape the Fate, Three Days Grace, and so many more! As you may have noticed, they were some pretty, uh, diverse lineups, but it was all a ton of fun.

Overall, the entire experience was fantastic, and i can’t recall a single day where i didn’t have fun and do something cool. Its hard to have a bad time when you’re surrounded so many excellent folks, getting to play in front of 3000+ crowds, eating good food, getting inspired by killer musicians, and being in a new town every day.

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~ by ben eller guitars on 06/13/2013.

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