Archive for April, 2016

April 25th – May 3



RANDOM PIC OF THE WEEK

All these years I thought Jim Davis was lying to us…but cats really DO eat lasagna!!

ww_20160425_00

After seeing Sir Paul McCartney perform “Birthday” four days before my own birthday from a fourth row center seat in Sioux Falls on May 2nd, I will be probably singing this song for the next month!

Monday the 25th – ON A RAINY MONDAY! – In the early afternoon I packed a huge box fill of things I’ll need for my upcoming trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  I got it to UPS by 5 and all was good.   I like to ship stuff ahead to meet me at a destination so I have to take less with me on the plane.  Plus if my luggage gets lost I know I’ll have supplies already waiting for me on the other end.  I treated myself to a Roundtable pizza, and as I was coming out of the restaurant with it the weather got very rainy and windy.  It was actually kind of nice!  I know that it’s dangerous to drive and eat at the same time, but eating and driving in the rain is really stupid.  However the pizza smelled so good I just couldn’t resist!  Luckily I arrived home alright and relaxed.  The previous week was nuts and I really needed to decompress!  I grabbed a nap and then got up later for my auditions.  I recorded them in my home studio and e-mailed them into my agents.  I wrote Wally’s Week, went through my bank statements and got everything reconciled and then hit the hay!

Tuesday the 26th – AUDITION ADDICTION! – Just before noon I woke up and found some last-minute auditions in my inbox.  I recorded those and then headed over to DG Entertainment to do another audition.  I saw my old pal Gregg Berger there and he seemed to be doing well. (I really miss the old Garfield gang!)  I stopped by Michael’s Crafts to pick up some supplies, got a few grocery items, and then stopped by Jersey Mike’s to get a #13 on white!  I went back home to do some work and relax.  My masseuse came over to give me a much-needed massage and it was amazing.  Then she followed me over to the Ford dealer so I could get my car in for Early Bird Service first thing Wednesday morning.  It was time for my Mustang to get the standard maintenance package again.  I dropped off the car and she took me back home.  I grabbed a short nap and then got up later to do a ton of auditions.  Then it was time for bed.

Wednesday the 27th – THE BIKE BEAT! – At 10am sharp I woke up, hopped on my bike and drove over to Voice Trax West to do a quick session.  Then I biked back home to do a few auditions at home and have some lunch.  Then it was back on the bike and over to Floyd’s for a hair appointment.  My regular stylist was absent that day because she was getting some last-minute medical tests done. (I hope she’s OK!)  So I had to have some magic done by a substitute stylist, since I was traveling on Friday and time was running out.  I biked back home, fed the pets, and then got BACK on the bike and drove over to Ford to pick up my Mustang.  It needed some new front brakes, new windshield wipers and a few more odds and ends, but it’s running like a champ!  I dropped the top and put my bike in the back and drove home.  But the day’s outdoor activities had made my allergies rear their ugly head, and my eyes were itchy and my nose was stuffy.  My pal Brittney Powell came over later to hang out for a while, but I wasn’t very good company.  So I laid down for a bit.  I got up later and did an audition, got some checks ready for deposit, prepped some items to pack for my upcoming trip, made a Tombstone pizza and watched a few episodes of “The Munsters” before bed.

Thursday the 28th – READY FOR BLAST OFF! – I got to sleep in until noon and boy did it feel good. My allergies had subsided.  I checked on-line and my box had arrived safely at the hotel in Sioux Falls.  I called my alarm company with a few questions, checked in to my flight on-line and printed my boarding passes, and drove over to Chin Chin to meet my assistant Sara for lunch.  Then I went next door and worked with Evan the engineer on the final mix for our new song we’re doing.  He made a few tweaks and it was finished!  It sounded great.  It’ll be ready for unveiling here soon, complete with a fabulous video to go along with it!  I walked next door to the bank to make a deposit, and then went over to the UPS store to get something notarized.  But their notary had left already. So I went down the street to another place to get a document notarized for my insurance company regarding information about my stolen Gran Torino.  By the way, the car is coming along and should be ready for its glorious return in the next few weeks!  I got home and did some work, and then my pal Jasmine stopped over to see me before I left for my trip.  I took a short nap, and then spent the rest of the evening packing my luggage and doing my nightly auditions.  I made some food and watched a few episodes of “The Munsters” before bed.  One of them was the episode where Herman turns human.  It’s one of my favorites called “Just Another Pretty Face.”

Friday the 29th – FRIDAY FLIGHT! – Sara came over around 11 and started housesitting for the duration of my vacation.  By noon I was out the door and by 12:30 I was at the airport.  In case you didn’t know, for my upcoming 55th birthday, I treated myself to a trip back home to see my family in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Not only was I due for a trip back (I hadn’t been there since the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame event in April of 2015) but Paul McCartney was playing a concert four days before my birthday.  I bought myself a VIP package which included a fourth row center seat!  I was going to do this right!  I checked in and had lunch, but there was a slight delay of the flight leaving for Denver.  This was due to lousy, snowy weather in Denver.  The plane had to be “rebalanced” for its flight into Denver in order to contend with the snowy weather.  Since my connection layover in Denver was short, I was getting nervous that I would miss my connection.  But it landed about 20 minutes late and I was able to make my connecting gates just as they were finishing boarding the flight to Sioux Falls. Whew!  The flight was very nice once we got out of Denver.  The weather was very nice the rest of the way.  In fact, about 10 minutes outside of Sioux Falls, we witnessed a gorgeous sunset happening as we were flying above the cloud cover.  The people on the ground had no idea what they were missing because from their vantage point, it was all overcast.  Oddly enough, as I was looking out the window at this amazing visual, the song “Baby I Love Your Way” by Peter Frampton just happened to come up on my iPod.  The lyrics “I can see the sunset in your eyes. Brown and grey. Blue besides. Clouds are stalking islands in the sun” came up just as I was witnessing this environmental marvel.  I couldn’t have scored it better myself if I had tried! I love moments like that!  We landed in Sioux Falls on time, and after getting my luggage I got my rental car and headed to the Fry’n Pan for dinner with my family.  Fun times.  I got to my hotel, got my UPS box, unpacked in my room and passed out.

Saturday the 30th – NO RAINBOW AT RAINBOW! – When I woke up I threw the curtains open in my room to see a windy, rainy South Dakota morning. But it was nice. I put on my “Rainy Day” playlist on my iPod and got ready. I was scheduled to do an in-store signing at Rainbow Comics and Cards at 1, and I was convinced that nobody would show up because it was so nasty out. My first stop was over to B&G Milky Way, a local ice cream stand I love, to get a few of their delicious sloppy joes! YUM! Remember what I said about eating and driving? But luckily I made it to Rainbow with no trouble. The signing was fun and people actually showed up. We sat around and they asked questions about what it was like to work on the Batman Arkham series, and other cartoons and voice-over projects. It was nice of them to come out on such a blustery day. I saw my old pal Bob from the radio station days. My pal Dave, a former Sioux Falls police officer came over to say hi and snap some pictures too. An old friend named Tom from the Community Playhouse days stopped by to say hi and catch me up on what was going on in his life. He reminded me about the time when we were in our mid 20’s, and “Spider-Man” had come to a local store to do an appearance. It was obviously a guy in a professional Marvel costume doing a merchandise tie-in of some sort. So I figured he’d love to meet Batman and Superman, right? I donned my Adam West Batman costume, and I had Tom suit up in my Superman costume. We both waltzed into the store like nobody’s business. The handlers with Spider-Man were beside themselves with angst. Here were two DC characters essentially crashing a Marvel event. They were acting like they wanted to throw us out, but in my best Adam West voice I just explained that we came to welcome our “brother crimefighter” to town and we wanted to get a photo taken. They got us right up there to get a picture with “Spidey” and get us the heck out of there. Tom said, “I would have liked to have seen the look on the guy’s face underneath that Spider-Man mask when WE walked in!” We laughed long and hard about that memory. Sure enough, as soon as we got our photo we were escorted from the store. The Marvel people may not have enjoyed it, but the kids at the event thought that seeing 3 super-heroes together was awesome! I’ve just GOT to find that picture and post it! My buddy Dave and his daughter Molly came by to say hi and we all bought comics together! Fun way to spend a rainy afternoon! When Dave and I started going to Rainbow Comics back in the early 80’s it was in a little hole-in-the-wall place. After a few years it moved to a better location, and now they have their own compound. They’ve really made a wonderful niche for themselves! Shopping around the store with Dave for comics was like old times, and it was really enjoyable. Especially when I found the “classic” Lynda Carter-themed Wonder Woman comics. Molly loved those! I had bought her a DVD set of the old “Wonder Woman” TV series several years ago and she really loved it. So she added the comics to Dave’s stack and we kept on shopping. Fun times! Then a few of us met with my friend Scott for a quick lunch, and then it was back on the highway to a pizza place near my sister’s house for an early birthday party. My birthday is on May 6th, and hers’ is on May 8th, so while I was in town a bunch of friends and family got together to celebrate the two birthdays jointly, and early. My old buddy Steve “Hutch” Hatt came by, and my brother-in-law had his Gran Torino there. It was the first one I bought, which I then gave to my contractor Terry so he could work on it. But when Terry passed away last August I sent it to Roger in South Dakota to work on it. He had it running pretty well! “Hutch” and I had fun looking it over, but it was much too cold to hang around outside for too long. The rain had stopped for the most part, but it was still cold and windy. After the party I stopped at Walmart to get some supplies and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing in my room. The recent heavy rains in Sioux Falls had created a lot of new ponding around the area. Just right outside my hotel was a big one that played host to a certain type of frog. It was WONDERFUL to throw open the window just before bed and listen to the frogs lull me to sleep with their gentle croaking. Loved it!

Sunday the 1st – TURNABOUT’S FAIR PLAY! – My pal Scott and his wife Patti joined my buddy Dave Rowe and me for brunch at the All Day Café in Sioux Falls.  When we finished we went next door to Shekel’s to do some shopping.  Shekel’s has a lot of great handguns for sale, so Scott and I looked over a few models he was interested in.  But the store also plays a lot of “dead animal” videos in the store for hunters.  That’s not too appealing, so I tried to avert my eyes whenever possible.  I love target shooting, but I could never shoot a living thing.  Unless it was coming to kill me, of course.  After all that I was pretty tired, so I went back to my room to get a few hours of sleep before my family met at the movie theatre to see “Jungle Book.”  I had a two-fold reason I wanted to see the movie.  Firstly, the animated “Jungle Book” from 1965 was most likely the first “in theatre” movie I had ever seen in my life. My folks would drag me along to the drive-in movies when I was a baby, but this was the first movie I remember seeing in the theatre.  I remember my dad and I sitting in the theatre watching what is now my favorite animated film, and then rushing out to buy the soundtrack album immediately after.  (I still have that album to this day in a frame)  I remember the album folded open and it featured pictures of the animated stars from the film posing next to their Voice Actor counterparts.  My little 4 year old brain was wrapping around the concept of how humans provided voices for animated characters that I loved.  I don’t doubt that studying that album art for hours on end as a kid helped to form my eventual career path.  So to return the favor to my dad, I decided to take him and my mom to the new “Jungle Book” which has elements of the old animated film cleverly worked into the new format.  In addition to my folks, my two sisters were there with the husbands, and two of my nieces were there.  The movie is stunningly gorgeous.  In fact, it was so stunning that I actually got quite emotional at its beauty.  I can’t wait to see it again, but this movie is pure genius!  After the film we all went to Ruby Tuesday’s for a big family dinner.  We had lots of fun conversation and laughs.  Then I went back to my room to turn in for the night. The BIG day was yet to come!

Monday the 2nd – McCARTNEY MONDAY! – Today was the day I had been waiting for!  It started with lunch at Chili’s with my pal Scott, my friend Beth from the old radio days, and my folks.  I tried to concentrate on the conversation, but my mind was on what was about to happen…Paul McCartney in concert from the vantage point of a fourth row center seat!  And in a venue that was right next door to the arena where I saw Elvis in June of 1977!  After lunch I got back to the room to get ready.  The VIP ticket I had said we had to check in between 4 and 4:30 and I was NOT going to be late!  I checked in around 3:30 and got my laminate and wristband.  This would get me appetizers, attendance at Sir Paul’s private soundcheck, dinner, and my fourth row/center seat for the concert.  A gal named Paula came up to me and asked if I was Wally.  I said I was, and she said she used to work with my sister at Home Federal Bank all those years ago.  We chatted for quite a while, and it was good to have somebody there I knew that I could hang with.  There were 110 VIP packages sold, so it was really a very small group.  We were taken very good care of by the staff at the Denny Sanford Premiere Center, and it was a great group of people.  We enjoyed a few appetizers and then we were ushered into the hall around 5:30 to see Paul McCartney’s soundcheck.  We had to stand 24 rows back because that’s where the sound was the best in an empty hall.  We all had hoped to get up close to the stage to see Paul, but without any bodies in the arena the sound wouldn’t have been any good.  Nobody in the group cared much about the sound, frankly.  We were there to see Sir Paul.  The best part about this soundcheck package is…he plays 10 songs for about an hour.  And the 10 songs he plays may or may NOT be in the actual show later that night!  He played “Blue Suede Shoes,” “C Moon,” “Let ‘Em In” (one of my personal favorites), “Lady Madonna,” and “Coming Up” (another one of my personal favorites).  My friend Scott (who hadn’t bought a VIP seat) was regretting it as I sent him up to the minute texts with the titles of songs Paul was performing for me and 109 of my closest friends.  It. Was. Amazing!  Somebody in our group yelled out “Rocky Raccoon!”  Paul looked up from his guitar and said, “Rocky Raccoon. He’s from around these parts.”  Brilliant. Genius.  When the soundcheck was over we were ushered back into the banquet room for dinner.  On my way back to the banquet room I spoke to a few of the people waiting in line to get into the arena to get seated.  They were very fired up.  I got several texts that I was just on the evening news!  WHAT THE WHAT?! Apparently they had a camera set up in the hallway and the local evening news was doing a live shot at the very moment I walked by to go get dinner.  Of all the weird things!  The dinner featured a nice vegan menu of tortellini, potatoes, yams, rice and lots and lots of lettuce.  I respect Sir Paul’s dietary choice, but it’s simply not for me.  Many of the other Midwesterners there were puzzled by it as well, but we managed.  However, I did enjoy a few of the items, and the salad was amazing.  I purposely didn’t drink very much water so I wouldn’t have to leave the concert for a bathroom visit during the 3 hour show.  It was a good idea too, as I made it through the full concert without leaving once!  Many old friends were coming up to me to say hi and relive the old days.  It was a lot of fun, but I’m not quite sure how they recognized me.  I’ve changed considerably since those days.  I took my seat at 7:45, and the arena was absolutely packed and electric.  Much in the same way the Elvis concert that I attended back in 1977 was.  Since I was up at the front many old friends spotted me from their seats and came down to say hi.  My old radio pal Warren West came over to say hi.  As did my friend Andrea.  This was an awesome night!  Sir Paul took the stage at 8:15 and played until 11pm without stopping.  He didn’t take a drink of water, he didn’t leave the stage (until the encore) and he didn’t even sit down (except at the piano).  The show was utterly astounding and worth every penny I spent for the VIP experience.  When the flashpots went off during “Live and Let Die” the heat I felt was considerable.  During the encore Sir Paul said, “I heard there are some birthdays here tonight!”  Even though mine was still four days away I yelled and screamed anyway.  He played “Birthday” and rocked the house.  I had abided by the rules of not shooting any video up to that point.  But hey…it was almost my birthday, Sir Paul was performing “Birthday” in honor of my birthday (and the rest of the 18,000 people there with me) and it was the encore.  What were they going to do, kick me out?  I’m glad I got a short amount of video of that because it’ll live on forever!  After the show was over I ran into the minister who married my ex-wife and me back in 1982, Dennis Thum.  It was great seeing him.  I walked back to my car with my old pal Bob and headed back to my hotel room.  I was so excited about the experience I stood at the front desk and told tales of the show to Samantha, the cute front desk girl.  Since the vegan menu hadn’t stuck with me very well, I ordered a Boss’ Pizza (I wholeheartedly recommend them when you’re in Sioux Falls!).  It arrived and Samantha and I stood at the front desk eating pizza and chatting.  Come to find out she is a huge “Invader Zim” fan!  Many of the hotel guests were just returning from the concert as well, so I had fun showing them the pictures I had taken on my camera.  I went to the business office and checked in to my flight on-line, printed my boarding passes, and went upstairs to get packed for my return trip home.  What a weekend!

Tuesday the 3rd – THE PARTY’S OVER! – Though I had intended to sleep until noon, my eyes shot open at 10am and I was ready for the day.  I was excited to get back home and see the pets.  I got all packed up and was praying all the flights would be on time.  I had a VERY short 52 minute connection layover in Denver, and if I didn’t make it I’d be spending the night in the inhospitable Denver airport. Not fun.  My pal Scott and I had lunch at Starz, stopped by his radio station to download my McCartney photos for his station’s website, and then I headed to my parents’ house to drop off some stuff they keep for me.  They showed me my “accidental walkthrough” on the previous night’s evening news on their DVR.  For some reason that made me laugh. What are the odds?!  I took my big box of stuff over to Fed Ex to ship home, and since I had some time to kill before my flight I stopped by B&G Milky Way for one final sloppy joe.  Then I stopped out at Badlands Pawn to check out their facility.  My friend Bruce Kulick had played there with Grand Funk a few weeks ago and raved about it.  It really is quite a place!  I got to the airport around 4, checked in to my flight, returned my rental car, and hopped on the plane home at 5:30.  I slept the entire way to Denver, made my connection easily, and got back to Burbank right on time.  It couldn’t have gone more smoothly.  I got some nice hugs from the pets and unloaded my luggage.  I did a few things around the house, but since I had an early session scheduled for the next morning, I hit the hay!

And how was YOUR week??!!

PIX FROM THE WEEK

ww_20160425_01

ww_20160425_02

It's always good to see an old friends when visiting home. (I'm talking about the car. I have no idea who that other guy is!)

It’s always good to see an old friends when visiting home. (I’m talking about the car. I have no idea who that other guy is!)

A lovely South Dakota sunset!

A lovely South Dakota sunset!

To prove that I was indeed on the evening news' live-shot from the concert, my buddy Dave texted me this screenshot. Too funny!

To prove that I was indeed on the evening news’ live-shot from the concert, my buddy Dave texted me this screenshot. Too funny!

Young artist Ezra Red Earth and I enjoy some fun at the signing at Rainbow Comics and Cards.

Young artist Ezra Red Earth and I enjoy some fun at the signing at Rainbow Comics and Cards.

Having fun with great folks at the Rainbow Comics and Cards signing!

Having fun with great folks at the Rainbow Comics and Cards signing!

ww_20160425_11
ww_20160425_12
ww_20160425_13
ww_20160425_14
ww_20160425_15

As the signing concludes, my pal Dave Rowe and I bid a fond farewell.

As the signing concludes, my pal Dave Rowe and I bid a fond farewell.

My sister Bonnie and I, born exactly 10 years and 2 days apart, share a birthday cake.

My sister Bonnie and I, born exactly 10 years and 2 days apart, share a birthday cake.

And here are some videos from the week

Sunday afternoon was a blustery, cold South Dakota day. Quite moody!

They told us not to record any video of the concert, but heck! My birthday was four days away and here was the greatest living rockstar singing “Birthday” to me! (and 18,000 of my closest friends!) I just couldn’t resist getting a LITTLE bit of video for posterity!

It was nice opening up my hotel room window each night and being lulled to sleep by the neighborhood frogs in a nearby pond.

One of the local TV stations had a camera locked down on a tripod to show the crowd who were waiting to get into the concert. I walked by and talked to the people waiting to get in after the soundcheck. I told them Paul sounded awesome and they were going to have a great time. I saw the camera out of the corner of my eye, but since nobody was standing next to it I figured the camera wasn’t even on. Surprise surprise! Come to find out it was a live-shot for the evening news! Who knew?

One thing about South Dakota weather…if you don’t like it wait 10 minutes. One day it’s blustery and cold, the next day you see a gorgeous sunset!

Here’s a gallery of the shots I took of Paul McCartney at the concert.
Click of any image to see the full picture.