Behind the Tour: Vengeance For BLOOD 3 Part 2 - Mexico City and The Band for First Timers
The day started when I picked up BLOOD's agents Shelly and Leslie. They are way way cool people who don't live that far from me and I was glad they were letting me travel with them. We went to the Philadelphia Airport where we were to be bussed over to Chicago. We took seperate flights, so they took off first, with me an hour behind. It was my first time flying by myself, let alone in nearly a decade, so I was a bit nervous. The flight wasn't too long, just a little over an hour. As we were landing, the plane went into some clouds. When it emerged, I was met with a breath taking view of downtown Chicago as we pulled a 90 degree turn around it. I had never been to Chicago, so I was kinda like "wow" (not to mention I've had a life long interest in tall man-made structures).
When I got into the terminal, I quickly met up with the two girls and we waited around for an hour for our flight. It wasn't that long before we were in the air again and on the way to Mexico City. This was the big one though, somewhere around 4 hours. Good thing the movie wasn't too bad (Ocean's Twelve) and the meal was pretty good too. I dunno why people always bust on airline food. Mine wasn't too bad at all! After the movie was over, Shelly and I did some talking, some planning, and she told me some stories about the band. Next thing I knew, we started decending into Mexico City. I went over to the window seat (the flight was only half full), hoping to catch a glimpse of the city. I was really interested in seeing it from high up, since it's one of the largest cities in the world. However, all I saw were hills, desert, and a few small towns. I started thinking we were farther than I thought until the plane made a slight turn and BAM! City as far as the eye could see.
Soon, we were on the ground. We arrived at about 2 or 3 pm local time, and the band would be arriving between 5 and 6. We went through customes and security then sat in front of the international terminal, waiting for our escort, who is also the man incharge of this whole trip, Andres. However, he was no where to be found. So, we decided to wait in the area so we would be easy to find. A half hour passes, nothing. Then an hour. Nothing. I start to get a bit adgitated and so do the girls. Finally, after sitting in one spot for almost 2 hours, he finally shows up with a small entourage. He introduces us two girls who's names escape me, our "bodyguard" Daniell, and one of the coolest mofo's I've ever met, our interrpretor Antonio. This guy was gifted! Not only could he speak Spanish and English fluently, but Japanese as well! He kinda became our "go-to" guy. They took us to our ride where we unloaded our luggage. The 3 men went off to do something, leaving the 2 girls to entertain us. We decide to go get drinks and Leslie, Shelly, and I decided on Powerade. We try to make conversation with our 2 escourts, but our Spanish is limited. They spoke English better though, but not by much.
Finally, it gets to be about time for the band to arrive. We go back to the area we waited at for so long to once again do some waiting. This wait wasn't too long though. Within a few minutes, the band showed up: Kiwamu, Fu~ki, NoA, and Yuu. Kaede had to come a day late because he had certain obligations in Osaka. My first impression of Kiwamu and Fu~ki was "Wait... these guys are Japanese... why am I looking up?" Granted the were both wearing platform shoes, but I was still shocked at how tall they were! With the shoes off, they could have only been a few inches smaller than me, and I'm 6'3!! After everyone greeted eachother, we grabbed their luggage and went over to our ride. I was a bit shy, so when everyone was saying hi, I stayed quiet. So, when we got to the garage, I introduce myself. I said hi to Kiwamu first, who had no clue who I was (which was obvious by the look on his face). I told him I was Roger and he goes "Aaaaahhhhhhhh". He turns to Fu~ki and says something to him in Japanese (I assume he was introducing me), and Fu~ki repeats Kiwamu's "Aaaaahhhhhhhh" and shakes my hand. Kiwamu then asks "How is the re-mix?" (reffering to the Under The Sensual Moon Remix Raven-sama and I are working on for him). I told him it was comming along, but our conversation was short lived as Andres and Antonio pull him aside to talk to him. We get to the ride, drop off their luggage... but then we go back to the airport? This begins a trend that lasted the entire trip where stuff would happen, and no one knew why. I find out a bit later we are waiting on a girl who works for Andres who could speak English and Spanish.
So, we hang out in the airport a bit. Leslie and Shelly start talking to Fu~ki a bit, kinda playing around with him, Kiwamu, Antonio, and Andres seem to be discussing business, NoA and Yuu must not have been able to smoke on the flight as it seemed they were making up for lost time, and I just kinda take in what's going on around me. We eventually sit down in a food court area after walking around a bit, and this is where I begin talking to NoA and Yuu. They grab my attention at first by whipping out a portable ash tray! We then begin talking... well, trying to talk about the bands we like. The first I say is "X".. but they were a bit confused, so I said "X-u" and crossed my arms in the form of an X. They get very excited and ask me some other bands I like. This is when I start talking to them not only in really broken English, but accented as well. I dunno if it was nessecary, but it seemed they understood me better when I spoke in accent, so I continued that throughout the trip when I spoke to the guys. It was kinda weird not pronouncing my G's and saying my S's as SH's, but it grew on me quick. NoA's English was alot better than Yuu's, though he got confused sometimes, but we managed to talk for a good while with the help of Charades. I had my headphones around my neck and they asked what I was listening to. I handed them the head phones and played Finger Eleven's "Quicksand" for them which they liked! Soon, we started walking again, not knowing what was going on, assuming we were getting this staffer. Well, we go to another part of the airport... and just stand there for a while. This is where I get to meet Fu~ki, a HUGE fellow HIM fan (Just like me, they are his favorite band). Shelly and Leslie were huge HIM fans too and got him to start singing some HIM songs! As soon as I noticed Fu~ki singing "Join Me" aboslutely perfectly, I spun around (as I was talking to NoA at the time) and took full notice. We all took turns naming songs for him to sing, and damn did he do a good job! We got him to sing Right Here In My Arms, The Sacrament, and Your Sweet 666. BLOOD really needs to cover a HIM song coz Fu~ki can pull of Valo really well. This is also when I notice that Kiwamu pulled Antonio aside and asked him to teach him some Spanish profanity!
Finally, the girl, Janine showed up (we were picking her up from her plane) and we went to our ride... and we hit a problem. There was no way we could all fit comfortably in there... at all. So, once again, we start waiting around and I have no clue why. I talk to NoA and Yuu some more, when Fu~ki comes by to smoke with them. He notices my headphones and repeats Yuu's question from earlier. I hand him the headphones, play the same song, and he liked it too! I then tell him what Finger Eleven means (if you don't know, ask a fan of the band) and he thinks it's the greatest thing in the world! He then goes off and asks Antonio a question in Japanese. When he comes back, he teaches me to say "I fucked your mom" in his language! Well, what I think finally happened was we had no other choice with our ride, so we all crammed in there, with many people winding up sitting on top of eachother. We were not on our way to the hotel yet though. BLOOD had to be at a press confrence across town where they were to be on national TV!
When we get there, Kiwamu hands me a camera and says "I want to test your skills for tomorrow". Tomorrow was to be the big PV shoot. So I take Kiwmau's camera and go up stairs to set up. It was a bit intimidating with all of the people with huge, proffesional camera, but I figured I would manage. Well, the MC introduces BLOOD, and I'm all set up to record their entrance, and I KNOW the damn camera said "FUCK YOU!" in Japanese and shut off. I was like "Oh shit!" so I start playing with the thing from memory, coz all of the buttons are labled with Kanji. Well, I figured it was something wrong with the tape, so I take it back to Leslie to see if she could figure it out, but the camera keep ejecting the tape. I start to get scared coz I'm like "Kiwamu's gonna rip my head off!". Then, one of us remembers that he has another camera, so we rush down to see if it's the camera or the tape that's messing up. It was the camera. We rush upstairs with the new camera and I get Kiwamu his shots.
Luckily, we didn't miss too much. I didn't understand much of what was going on as Spanish and Japanese were being flung everywhere, but it didn't really matter. All I needed to do was film.
Afterwards, they do a photo-op and mini-signing session. They were bonafide celebrities here in Mexico, as even hardcore press members lined up to get anything with BLOOD's logo on it signed and have their photo taken with the band. After this was done, the band had their photo taken with a Korean band called LARKSPUR (Thanx Calla!).
After the confrence was over, Andres pulls me aside and introduces me to 3 people who were going to help with the PV. All of the sudden I am bombarded with technical questions left and right. I was way overwhelmed because, to be honest, I never thought of the importance of this job until now. Everytime I've directed something, it has been with friends who have always advised me and was done on a more casual level. But now I meet these guys, who are talking to me in English, and are being very proffesional. This is when realized that I'm the boss. I'm the director. I need to tell them what is happening. So, I kinda snap back to reality, and start answering their questions. We had a location, an old museum that used to be a fortress, lights, and crew. Now all we needed to do was solidify the concept. Up until now, I had not much of a chance to talk about the concept to Kiwamu, just ideas on the style because of his schedual. I spoke to him, and we decided to work on that tomorrow, coz now, we were all very very hungry.
We drive around town some more and end up at a small taco shack at a small intersection in a dark part of town. Almost immediately, a cop car rolls up with its lights on, but I get the feeling we are not being pulled over. We exit the car and head for the taco shack, and the cop gets out and does the same. Andres orders some food for us, when the cop starts talking to the owner. This is when I realize he is holding sub-machine gun in his hand, with his finger on the trigger, and the safety off!!! I don't know if anyone else realized this, but I was a bit shocked. I wasn't that scared, since it was obvious he had no interest in us... dut daaaaaaaaamn! Anyway, the band takes right to the food faster than us Americans do. I was worried about paying for it, but when Andres asked me why I didn't order any tacos, and I told him, he just patted me on the back and said that it was on him. So, I ordered some and dug in. I can honestly say, the real thing is MUCH better than the Taco Bell stuff, though a bit more bite size. Atleast that was the way this guy made them. I also tried some of the drinks at the fruit drink stand next to us. Fu~ki tried something and I had a Orange/Watermelon blend. It would have tasted better cold, but I asked for no ice. I was well warned about the water.
It got to be about 2 am local time, which meant that Shelly, Leslie, and I had pulled a 24 hour day at this point, and I dunno about the band, but that's a big time change they had to get used to, so we were ALL zonked. We all waddled up to our rooms like zombies driven by one thought, BED! We all get situated and say good night to eachother.
(This post was personally approved by Shelly Lefferts and Kiwamu)