dj​phillips

July 16th, 2014

Monte Carlo: Days 12 - 15

Sooo… I am now in Monte Carlo, Monaco until the middle of August. I’m performing in the house band of the Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting Festival. We’ll be opening for an unbelievable slew of artists like: Lana Del Rey, Kevin Costner, Robin Thicke, Paolo Nutini, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Marcus Miller & Joe Satriani, The Jacksons, Elton John, Paul Anka, Boy George, Bryan Adams, Gipsy Kings, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Tom Jones and more! I’ll be chronicling the adventures here when I can! The band is: me (guitar), Justin Caldwell (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Erin McCarley (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Ian Miller (keyboards), Taylor Jones (bass) and Lee Holland (drums, percussion, guitar).

Day 12

On Sunday, we came down from our celebrity high and took a hike! Taylor, Justin and I walked pretty much straight up into the sky to a small French village north of Monaco called La Turbie. Taylor calculated our ascent at 1,380 feet in 1.6 miles! It was basically a staircase that never ended.

(Pretty sweet view at the top though… pant… pant… pant…)

(The quaint historic streets of La Turbie)

(Tropaeum Alpium, “Victory Monument of the Alps,” which was “built by the Romans for the emperor Augustus to celebrate his definitive victory over the ancient tribes which populated the Alps.” Or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me. We had no idea it was going to be there, La Turbie just looked like a good destination!)


(La Turbie? More like La Burpie! From… eating… the pastry…)

The descent was much easier. We also met a couple of very nice Irish gentlemen on the way down that kept us company until we parted ways in Monaco. After a little rest and showering, the rest of the group joined us and we went to dinner. I had a surprisingly good hamburger (we haven’t been overly impressed with the food here yet, I know… boohoo) at a place called Mozza. Definitely in favor of a return trip there down the line.

Day 13



Daytime on Monday was pretty uneventful for me. I slept in and then we worked on set lists for this week, then it was time for the show. We played to another polite audience and did a pretty good job! The show is starting to feel a little better in general. Some of it, I’m sure, is that we know what to expect from the gig now.

For this entire week, we are opening for a Beatles music revue called Let It Be. We stayed and watched the show on the first night and it was very good! They dressed and performed as the Fab Four throughout different eras of their career.



(Buncha goobers preparing for the curtain to rise.)


(Taylor’s cool photo collage of the different costumes)


(“Help!” from the Shea Stadium set)

Laundromats are hard to come by around here, so I hand-washed a bunch of necessaries in the bathtub with some Tide pods I brought from home. It was actually kind of fun until the hand-wringing part. I strung up clothes all over the hotel room to let them dry and it’s not going very well. Did you know that dryers are awesome? Dryers are awesome.

Day 14

Beach day part deux! Tuesday was the bossman Justin’s birthday, so we took the train across the border into Italy! About a 30-45 minute train ride and we were in the small town of Ventimiglia. We then took a cab (surprisingly difficult with six people) down to a beach resort where we rented chairs on the deck in full view of the Mediterranean. Turns out things are quite a bit cheaper in Italy too, so it was a good day.




(Sometimes you’ve got to protect the face, you know?)

The show went really well that night. The rest of the crew did some late night hanging after the show, but my lameness took over and I went home after a very tasty but ridiculously overpriced Caprese Salad. C'est la vie.

UPDATE: Clothes still not dry.

Day 15



Not much to report today. I decided to take a day off from the sun and stay inside and get a little work done. Not the kind of thing that makes for an exciting blog post, but it was good. The show was weird but fine. We had a couple of technical issues and it seemed to make it feel a little off, but we recovered!

UPDATE: Clothes about 50% dry.

NEXT: More birthday and Beatles!

July 14th, 2014

Monte Carlo: Days 10 & 11

Sooo… I am now in Monte Carlo, Monaco until the middle of August. I’m performing in the house band of the Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting Festival. We’ll be opening for an unbelievable slew of artists like: Lana Del Rey, Kevin Costner, Robin Thicke, Paolo Nutini, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Marcus Miller & Joe Satriani, The Jacksons, Elton John, Paul Anka, Boy George, Bryan Adams, Gipsy Kings, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Tom Jones and more! I’ll be chronicling the adventures here when I can! The band is: me (guitar), Justin Caldwell (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Erin McCarley (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Ian Miller (keyboards), Taylor Jones (bass) and Lee Holland (drums, percussion, guitar).

Day 10

These last few days have been so ridiculous. I am starting to feel bad just sharing photos and videos with everyone back home because I didn’t do anything to make this happen, it’s just happening and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

On Friday we had the day off, so we went to the Jazz à Juan festival in Juan-les-Pins, a beach town about 45 minutes west of here. Before that I took a quick walk to the local music store to get some picks. (My big box of picks was the one thing – so far – that I forgot to pack, so I consider that pretty lucky.) It was an interesting exchange I had with the guy who worked there.

It began with some French pleasantries but then I quickly devolved into FrEnglish trying to describe that I wanted guitar picks. He asked me a question in French and I said “euh… heavy…” not knowing if it was an answer to what he asked at all. He laughed and then guided me back to the selection. We had a pleasant stop-and-go half French exchange and I eventually got what I wanted (overpriced picks). As he is ringing me up, he starts speaking in perfect English about how French is the official language of Monaco and he wants to preserve it so that everyone doesn’t just speak English. It was a very respectable and very French exchange. I threw in a couple of choice French phrases though, so I think he was satisfied. Plus he got to sell me picks at quadruple price, so why not?

That evening we got a ride from the transportation company to the festival (we are so important!). We walked around Juan-les-Pins and grabbed some food before the concert.

(The beach at Juan-les-Pins)

We then settled into our 2nd row seats and watched The Family Stone rock out. They had 3 original members with them. It’s incredible to think that they’ve been playing these songs for something like 40-45 years!

Then came the incredible Chic featuring Nile Rodgers! The band was ridiculous, the singers were incredible and they even brought everybody up onstage to end the show. It made us really look forward to opening for them the following day.





## Day 11

I don’t even remember what we did during the day on Saturday because the night was so incredible. (I’m sure it was some combination of eating, walking around and maybe swimming.) We played our set to a crowd of polite but indifferent patrons. The larger crowds actually seem less interested in hearing us, so that’s something we have to figure out. We played well though for the most part. We are working on getting a recording of our actual set, so I’ll share that soon hopefully. Part of the reason we may have been a little nervous is that a little birdie told us that Bono was going to be in the audience. WHAT. Nile Rodgers blew us out of the water again. It was the same show as the night before, but no less enjoyable.

(Nasty.)

Taylor, Justin, Ian and I jumped onstage for the crowd participation finale we knew was coming. Sometimes you’ve just got to be a fan.





Afterwards we hung out backstage hoping to say hello to the band. We ended up posing for pictures with them and Bono, the Edge and Larry Mullen, Jr. from U2. GAHHH! Bono and Nile were both pretty bum-rushed the whole time, but we ended up having lovely conversations with Bono’s wife Ali, plus The Edge and his wife gave us a bunch of great advice on things to visit in the area and I can’t believe I just typed that.

As we were standing around talking, another gentleman came up and started talking with me and Ian. He had a somewhat expectant look on his face but I had no idea who he was. Turns out I had a very nice conversation with Julian Lennon for several minutes. What. He said he’ll be back for other shows this summer, so we are probably going to be best friends.

We chatted with Jerry, Nile’s bass player, Russell the keyboard player and Ralph, the drummer, showering them with compliments for a good long while before dispersing for the night.

After we got back to the hotel we all gathered in a room and just looked at each other’s pictures and freaked out about what had just happened. I’m generally not a celebrity-chaser or anything, but this is pretty ridiculous. Everyone we’ve met has been so gracious and seemingly genuine too that it’s crushing my illusion of everyone famous being a douche.

NEXT: A beautiful hike into France with absolutely zero famous people involved

July 11th, 2014

Monte Carlo: Day 9

Sooo… I am now in Monte Carlo, Monaco until the middle of August. I’m performing in the house band of the Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting Festival. We’ll be opening for an unbelievable slew of artists like: Lana Del Rey, Kevin Costner, Robin Thicke, Paolo Nutini, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Marcus Miller & Joe Satriani, The Jacksons, Elton John, Paul Anka, Boy George, Bryan Adams, Gipsy Kings, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Tom Jones and more! I’ll be chronicling the adventures here when I can! The band is: me (guitar), Justin Caldwell (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Erin McCarley (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Ian Miller (keyboards), Taylor Jones (bass) and Lee Holland (drums, percussion, guitar).

Day 9

After breakfast, Erin and I took a walk around to get a little exercise. We ventured up into the France side of things and discovered a couple cheaper restaurants that I’m sure will come in handy.

(I also encountered some stairs.)

The audience for the Paolo Nutini show was intimate but mighty. They listened. They clapped. We didn’t have to turn down. It was like a real-life music show! Paolo and his band were incredible. He’s such an amazing singer and the band songs were all well arranged and interesting. Really a top-notch performance! Afterwards we got to hang out with Paolo and the crew. They were all very nice and fun people. I took a nice walk home when I had reached my socializing quotient.

(Waxing gibbous moon over Monaco – ooh la la!)

NEXT: Day off at the Antibes Jazz Festival!

July 9th, 2014

Monte Carlo: Days 7 & 8

Sooo… I am now in Monte Carlo, Monaco until the middle of August. I’m performing in the house band of the Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting Festival. We’ll be opening for an unbelievable slew of artists like: Lana Del Rey, Kevin Costner, Robin Thicke, Paolo Nutini, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Marcus Miller & Joe Satriani, The Jacksons, Elton John, Paul Anka, Boy George, Bryan Adams, Gipsy Kings, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Tom Jones and more! I’ll be chronicling the adventures here when I can! The band is: me (guitar), Justin Caldwell (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Erin McCarley (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Ian Miller (keyboards), Taylor Jones (bass) and Lee Holland (drums, percussion, guitar).

Day 7

Double Day off, like whoa!

We pretty much stayed at the pool for the bulk of the morning. (I utilized the shade this time.) After that, Mr. Caldwell and I had a little “office time.” We’re at the point now where things are settled in, so there’s no longer a great excuse to let other obligations slip by, so a few hours of emailing and such isn’t too bad.

For dinner, we planned to head up to the open air cinema where they were showing the World Cup semifinals. Except they weren’t. They seats were all set up, but apparently something was amiss and they couldn’t show it. (We didn’t quite understand what the woman was saying but the gist was clear.) The vistas on the way up the bluff were good regardless.


(Overlooking Port Hercule)


(Cliff underneath the science museum)

We went to a Thai restaurant for dinner and enjoyed a delicious meal while patrons, passersby and citizens of the world gasped in unison as Germany scored many, many, many goals. Apparently, that doesn’t normally happen.

Day 8

Beach day! We took a quick jaunt to Plage Mala (Mala Beach) just down the coast in France. It was a pleasant (if rocky!) beach with clear blue water and a just-hot-enough-day under which to enjoy it. We did the normal beachy things - ate, drank (Coca-Cola, merci beaucoup!), laid around, read, swam, all that.


(Plage Mala)

The skies began to darken and the rain started pouring just as we rounded the corner back to the hotel. Pretty good timing!

We hit the town for some tasty pizza after some respective nap & shower time then came back to watch the exact opposite kind of World Cup game. Finally they just made them kick the ball straight at those poor goalies and the people for Argentina were happy.

NEXT: Paolo Nutini!

July 8th, 2014

Monte Carlo: Days 5 & 6

Sooo… I am now in Monte Carlo, Monaco until the middle of August. I’m performing in the house band of the Monte-Carlo Summer Sporting Festival. We’ll be opening for an unbelievable slew of artists like: Lana Del Rey, Kevin Costner, Robin Thicke, Paolo Nutini, Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, Marcus Miller & Joe Satriani, The Jacksons, Elton John, Paul Anka, Boy George, Bryan Adams, Gipsy Kings, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Tom Jones and more! I’ll be chronicling the adventures here when I can! The band is: me (guitar), Justin Caldwell (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Erin McCarley (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), Ian Miller (keyboards), Taylor Jones (bass) and Lee Holland (drums, percussion, guitar).

Day 5

Day off! Woop woop! Even though we only played two shows before this, it seemed like a good time for a day off. (I probably could have slept for a whole day just after the flight alone!)

I did very little. Lots of pool time. I got a sunburn because I’m stupid. We walked to Fontvielle, which is the westernmost district of Monaco– the only one we hadn’t visited yet. It was nice (of course it was)! We even ventured across the “border” into a little bit of France.




(Fontveille)

(Sculpture garden in Fontveille. Hulk smash.)

Then we came back to meet the rest of the group for dinner. We had sushi. It was decent.


(Pre-sushi)

We had gelato. It was great.


(So romantic!)

Day 6

I have to be honest with you, the days here are already starting to blend together. Especially since during the day I have tended to do some combination of breakfast-pool-walk around town-eat dinner at the venue. I’m definitely not complaining but it’s a good reminder why I should post these journals more regularly rather than trying to remember more than a day or two back!

The crowd for Robin Thicke was more like the first night: very polite but not particularly enthusiastic. We are still honing what we can play to get their attention in an enjoyable way without disturbing their dinner.

I know he’s got a bad rap but Robin Thicke was incredible. Funky grooves. Great drummer. He’s a hell of a singer too. It was a really good show. Plus CONFETTI CANNONS!

NEXT: Double dang, it’s a double day off!