A humble bus driver cruisin the country....enjoying all the music this country has to offer.
MontanaMatt: Queens! An actual borough! The gang has one more show opening for Old Dominion.... tonight at the UBS Arena on Long Island. A very cool arena.... right across the street from Belmont Park..... home of the Belmont Stakes... the third jewel in horse racing's Triple Crown! Pretty easy getting in here this morning....but it was 5:30 AM on a weekend. I expect getting out of here tonight won't be quite as easy. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: My mom and dad took a river boat cruise from Memphis to Nashville. My nephew picked them up this morning and I met them all at the Pancake Pantry! Always great to see the folks! ❤
MontanaMatt: Well that's what's left of my bus. 😢
I did get a little more info. My buddy Ralph was driving the bus in Pennsylvania.... with a band and crew on board. Not sure who it was. But Ralph got the bus parked on the shoulder and got everybody out of the bus with no injuries. Pretty much a band and crew standing on the side of the road nearly naked in the middle of the night... and I'm damn sure they were more than happy to be there! Scary shit right there!
MontanaMatt: So my bus that broke down and got a new generator and a new main engine a couple weeks ago.......burned to the ground yesterday. Don't know where it was or who was on it. I've actually been a little bummed that I wasn't on it with all new noise makers. Still haven't heard if it was actually occupied when it burned. Obviously hoping it was sitting empty in a parking lot somewhere. 😢
MontanaMatt in reply to BugHug: One of the guys that I was on the Megadeath tour with was in the yard picking up his bus to head to Washington DC and overheard the phone call to our 24 hour emergency helpline. But they ushered him out of the room before he could get any other details. 🤷♂️ He remembered that that was supposed to be my bus for this whole season so he called me with what he knew. 😢
MontanaMatt: About 1600 miles in the last 3 all-nighters. We left Chicago at midnight last night and pulled into my parking spot in the bus yard at 8:30 this morning. Beat like a dirty rug hanging on the clothes line. 🤪
Ever since I started driving a truck..... The first thing I do when I get home from a trip is laundry. I NEVER let it wait until tomorrow. Until now. I have nothing else to contribute today. My personal fuel tank is running on fumes. 🥱
MontanaMatt: Wow! Tonight's gig in Bethel New York is on the .....wait for it......site of the Original Woodstock in 1966! 😲 So cool! I can almost smell the unwashed masses! 🤣 Kidding of course. I would have been one of them if I wasn't 8 years old at the time! They've built an extremely modern amphitheater here.... and it's first rate!
Not sure a venue can ever be cooler than this! 😎
MontanaMatt: Tonight's lineup? Thanks for asking!
Lily Rose is the opener.....followed by my buddy Brett Young. And the headliner is Sam Hunt. Not really a fan of his music....but he is a really good dude! 👍
MontanaMatt: Well I just did a thing. 😳
I was just on the road with Jameson Rodgers. Pretty much a weekend warrior in this business.... but at a minimum it's a four day weekend. The bus that had been assigned to me for this entire year was in the shop getting a new motor and a new generator.... so they got me hooked up with Jameson. A seriously good dude.... as is his entire band and crew.
Well they love me! And they called management and begged and pleaded for me to be their bus driver for the rest of this tour season. They are currently booked very solid through the end of October. I told the boss I really didn't want to sound greedy.... but at my advanced age I have a limited number of working years left. So my only real concern is making money. Lots of money! He laughed....and said...of course. I get it. And told me I would be guaranteed to make more money with Jameson versus going back to my bus and picking up whatever came along between now and the end of the season. Obviously the trips that had been scheduled for my bus had to get moved when my bus went in the shop. The other good thing is I'll never be gone more than four or five days in a row. So I'll get to sleep in my own bed a couple nights a week and take care of stuff in Nashville that needs some attention once in awhile.
The only real drawback to working with the same band is it completely limits the variety of people you can meet. The list of people I met working last summer mostly as a co-driver is ridiculous. I'm going to miss that.....a lot!
But I have friends that call me Gumby for a reason! It's all about being flexible! 😎
MontanaMatt: Omaha Nebraska for a show at "Barnado" tonight
This building is called the Bentley. The club shares the building with a Bentley dealership!! Obviously pretty high-end! I didn't know Bentley made an SUV..... and I now have a new dream car! They have a Bentley convertible with a V12 sitting on the showroom floor and it is spectacular! And as soon as we pulled up I realized I've been here before. I was here last summer when I was on the road with Kameron Marlowe.
And I have a little more love for Omaha every time I'm here. This city does not have a reputation for being exciting.... but it's a beautiful city and really exceptionally clean. And it is home to the college baseball World Series every year.... so that's cool.
About midnight tonight we roll for Beaver Dam Wisconsin. Looks to be about 40 miles Northeast of Madison. And then we head to Alexandria Minnesota for a show Saturday night and then 1,000 miles back to Nashville. Zoom freaking zoom! 🙂
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Thosny: Matt - I lived in Omaha for several years and had been to the Bentley several times. The zoo is also one of the best - in the world! And, if you have a hankering for money action, you can just mosey on over across the river and try your hand at the casino's.
Its not a bad place to live until you have to deal with the tornado's.
MontanaMatt: Banger Maine with Jameson Rodgers and his band on the bus! Really nice people! Cool and rainy here today. Messing with the guys golf plans. 😢 Blowing out of here at midnight tonight after the show..... and headed for a show in Albany New York tomorrow evening.... and then back to Nashville. And do it all again next weekend up in Michigan! Zoom-zoom!
So I saw my doctor in Nashville before we left. Just feeling life's aches and pains more than usual. So he prescribed another Medrol pack. A really high dose of oral steroids on day one and then taper down to nothing after 6 days. And after pretty much exactly 24 hours after the first dose.... I'm a new human! I could build a pyramid.... run a marathon.... and throw a no-hitter all before lunch! Completely pain-free from head to toe! 😲 I don't even know how to act. It's a Christmas miracle in August! Two minor drawbacks. I'm guaranteed to put on pretty close to 10 lb in the next two weeks. But since I weighed in at 232 in the doctor's office I can live with that. The other undesirable side effect is remarkable spikes in my blood sugar. But....since my A1C was down to 5.9 in his office.... that's not horrible either. He was actually shocked at that number. I attribute that to the mounjaro.... and the fact that that weekly injection eliminates any desire to eat. I honestly have to force myself to eat. And that has actually given me a new outlook regarding people taking the drug for vanity purposes instead of diabetic needs. (And I'm not sure vanity is the correct word for that. Obviously some people need to lose weight for health reasons that have nothing to do with vanity) But I completely understand why people want to take it to lose some weight even if they're not diabetic. The results are remarkable. Of course the drug should be prescribed only to diabetics until the manufacturer can keep up with increased demand. But now that I've seen how well it really does work I sure understand their motivation to get it. And the word on the streets is that there are several other virtually identical drugs reaching the market before the end of the year. And in pill form instead of an injection. That will enable them to keep the price very reasonable. But it sure works. I'm really quite impressed with my results. 🙂
justme0123: Ive been on Ozempic for a year, my Numbers are steady, I am on it to help regulate my sugars as my pancreas as you know is Fkd. I didn't have any of the side effects that some had, Its a great tool for me,
AutumnButterfly: I was on victoza for a few years, lost some weight ( kinda was stuck, not loosing anymore)sugars were good. Switched to Ozempic, lost a lil more weight( got stuck again) sugars were great! Now on Wegovy sugar is 5.0! Hoping to loose more weight. It does really make you not want to eat. Sometimes I have to force myself. Was on a getaway to cabin with my mom last week, she was on my case to eat🤷🤦
Glad it is working for you Matt. And that you are getting some relief with the steroids.
Kinda a catch 22 with the steroids making you gain n the mounjaro trying to make you lose.
MontanaMatt in reply to justme0123: My older brother is taking the ozempic also. Unfortunately for him he's having all the side effects. Even after 6 weeks of injections he's still seriously nauseated for a couple of days after each injection. But his numbers are falling so he's going to stick with it. I'm not sure I could do that. Nausea is the worst for me! I just can't deal with that. Even a minor form. Being that I have to force myself to eat..... nausea is a cruel joke. 😢
MontanaMatt: Well I'm back in Nashville..... 3 full weeks early. And I've been assigned a new bus ( new to me) and I'm already headed out Wednesday through Saturday this week..... and Wednesday through Saturday next week. After that my bus should have a new generator and a thoroughly reworked air conditioning system.... and be ready for the road again. 😉 😃
So the company wasn't bullshitting when they said they wanted me back on the road as soon as possible. 48 hours is pretty quick!
MontanaMatt: Well I've been caught in a mechanical shitstorm.
All of a sudden my bus is nothing but trouble. The biggest of those troubles being the generator. It's been 3 days of hell. The biggest problem being that without a working generator there's very little chance I can keep the temperature in the sleeping compartment at a reasonable number. I don't know anybody that can sleep in an 85° room! So after 3 days of fighting it..... and not being able to guarantee the band that's paying for the bus a smooth trouble-free ride.... people that make more money than me have decided to replace my bus on this tour. I'm back at my hotel for the night and I've been instructed to head for Nashville tomorrow morning. And promised they will immediately set to work repairing my bus and get me back on the road with somebody else very quickly. I got phone calls from four different executives making sure I knew none of this was my fault. The band was thrilled with me.... and have already expressed a desire to have me drive them around again someday.
But.... between being relieved of Duty on the last tour.... and this tour being cut short by three full weeks.... I've just had $17,000 removed from my wallet. I expect the company will address that in some fashion when I get back to Nashville. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: 6.5 hours later....and my bus is fixed! And the tour manager bumped our departure time to 7 am. So....goodnight! 😴
MontanaMatt: Yes! Although my choice of verbs was considerably more colorful.
The bus is parked right across the street from this pretty cool Hotel in Pittsburgh. So the generator is running. And I get a call a little over an hour ago telling me the generator has stopped running. So I get down here and go through the usual procedures to start it.... and pretty much nothing happens. Sounds like probably a deceased battery. So now I'm running through procedures to see where that gets us as far as a diagnosis. Mainly running the bus to see if that will back charge the batteries for the generator. Should.... but I'm not counting any chickens. And it's kind of important that this gets taken care of immediately. This bus is rolling for Philadelphia at 4:00 a.m. 😳
MontanaMatt: Legally I can only drive 10 hours in a bus. Good thing this venue wasn't half a mile further down the road. I got parked here with 4 minutes on the clock! 😳 Mostly because it took right at 2 hours to get through Detroit. I think Detroit gets a bad rap overall.... but if you feel like ripping them a new one for that traffic mess then feel free! I'm wit ya!
But we are parked right across the street from the Great American Ballpark....home of the Cincinnati Reds. I've always loved this city.... since the first time I drove through here in 2014. It's a really exciting city to drive a truck or a bus through or to. And it's old.... but it's beautiful!
Ok. That's my update. I'm waiting on a call from my Nashville mechanic regarding an air door issue.... and as soon as that comes through I am catching an Uber to the hotel and I am down and out until tomorrow morning. 😴 👋
MontanaMatt: Obviously I would like to be driving for a tour that is gonna have some notable splash. But I'm not sure why. It all pays the same. And I guess I've been a little worried about that for this upcoming tour. I've never heard of the band I'll be driving around.
But.... I should probably do a little more research before I even give that a second thought. Turns out this band I'll be hauling around the country for the next month is the opening act for....PINK! Yay! Playing all huge stadiums! Fenway in Boston....Citi Field in New York City.... Miller Park in Milwaukee...and on and on! And because Pink has such an elaborate stage show.... no back-to-back shows at all. They need a lot of time to set up a stage that elaborate.... so we have at least two days off if not three between each show. So this month is going to be a bunch of fun and really pretty easy for a driver! I'm excited! 😎
MontanaMatt: Well I just got home after my meeting with the boss. And it went very well. He read me the email that he got from the tour manager requesting a replacement driver.... and as soon as he was done reading it he said...." I have absolutely no doubt that at least 90% of that is bullshit. But you know the truth.... and if there's things he mentioned that you can do better.... I expect you to improve"
Of course there are things I can and will do better. Chief among them is better communication with the tour manager.
All in all an extremely productive meeting. He did a great job of making sure I knew that the company will back me 100%. And I very much appreciated hearing that.
So I feel a whole lot better about that mess. And going forward it is behind me.... where it should have been at least a week ago. But until you have that meeting with the boss.... there's obviously some concerns on my mind. All gone now!
Doing a quick co drive tomorrow.... and then headed for Toronto on Saturday. Picking up Grouplove (alt rock group) for another month on the road. 🙂
BugHug: I am so glad you have a great boss and the meeting went well I've never heard of Grouplove but I am 51 and into country so that doesn't surprise me at all lol! You're on the road for a month with them? Any other Canadian stops?
MontanaMatt in reply to BugHug: I actually haven't heard of them myself. Unfortunately the only Canadian stop is the first one in Toronto. Everything else is east and north of Fargo North Dakota.... but in the States.
MontanaMatt: Well that's special!
I was scheduled to fly out of Kalispell Montana to Denver at 2:30 this afternoon.... and then Denver to Nashville arriving at about 9:30 tonight. But United Airlines canceled my Denver to Nashville flight..... and rebooked me on a flight leaving Kalispell late this afternoon and flying to San Francisco.... and after a 5-hour layover in San Francisco a direct flight to Nashville. And that puts me in Nashville at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. YUCK!
The one silver lining is that means an extra days pay for me. I guess that's better than nothing.
MontanaMatt: Well it's been great to have a few days at home! Ive seen my chiropractor twice. Probably at least twice more before I fly on Friday to Boise Idaho to assist the Hank Williams Jr tour move up to Whitefish Montana. I'm looking forward to that trip. It's a very long ways from Whitefish Montana to my hometown in Southeastern Montana.... but just setting foot in Montana should help alleviate some of my homesick feelings.
I have a meeting Thursday morning with the big boss. He wants to hear my side of the story regarding events leading up to me being replaced on the last tour. And I'm looking forward to telling my side of the story. I'm very sure those events were a result of poor communication between myself and the tour manager. He seemed to have constantly changing expectations..... and I certainly could have done a better job making sure we were both on the same page. Lessons learned!
It was very cool to walk into my camper and spend 3 minutes firing up my systems.... and having everything work exactly like it should. I had power and water immediately.... and hot water after the water heater had an hour or so to work its magic. I probably shouldn't put the kiss of death on myself by saying this out loud.... but it appears after a little over a year of frustrating lessons I may finally have this thing dialed in like it should be!
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MontanaMatt: Like everything in this industry....the plan has changed. The boss man had to fly out to get a broken bus back to Nashville. And I had to fly early because there wasn't any flights tomorrow that got me into a hotel room near Boise for the required 10 hours in a hotel before driving. So I'm sitting in the Denver Airport waiting for the 2nd leg of my trip to Idaho.
Probably reschedule our meeting for Monday. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: Well this bus thing has set off a chain of events that have me near tears. Things that are normally very easy are proving to be just about impossible today. It became apparent a few hours ago that I was not gonna be able to rent a car to get back to Nashville. I called my property manager and left a message asking if it would be possible for her to retrieve my new driver's license from my next door neighbor and next day air that to me here in Detroit. I told her whatever it cost I would pay her back double. And not so much as a phone call in return. So that just reinforces my belief that I need to get the fuck out of there soon. So I set my sights on booking a flight from Detroit to Nashville tomorrow evening. Of course my bank chooses that time to put a hold on every debit card transaction I make..... all in the name of fraud prevention. And it's taken two and a half hours to get that squared away. A million fucking apologies and such little action from those idiots. So I think I finally have a flight booked. But go ahead and call any airline just to confirm that. Good luck!
Well I think it's all fixed. And now I'm getting text notices again from my bank. Serenity now! Please?
MontanaMatt: Well that's a cowboy boot kick square to the nuts. 😢
I have been replaced on this tour. The head guy from Nashville called this afternoon.... and did everything he could to let me down easy. Told me several times that my job with NiteTrain is not in any danger at all. My next scheduled trip will happen as planned. But sometimes there's a personality conflict that cannot be resolved. I understand the corporate mumbo jumbo. Basically it means my questioning of location of hotels is still under the tour managers skin. It also means this is the last way he could let me know he's in charge. Whatever!
And it's on me to get myself back to Nashville. So I'm renting a car tomorrow morning and headed that way. Couple of days by myself in a car will give me time to come to grips with this shit. Not happy about it at all....but shit happens. And then you move on. So....time for me to move on. Ugh!
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MontanaMatt in reply to CanadianSporty90: Well luckily I didn't see the tour manager again after I was notified that I was being replaced. And I was told if I did happen to run into him to keep on walking. Don't even acknowledge that I saw him. The company knows nothing good can come of that conversation so they insist that it doesn't even happen.
Unfortunately my issues don't end there. I'm trying to rent a car to get back to Nashville but I don't have a hard copy of a driver's license. I have a new one waiting for me at home.... but when they issue you a temporary paper license they confiscate your old hard copy. Evidently it's very illegal to have both of those documents in your possession at the same time. And nobody will rent you a car without a current hard copy of your driver's license. I'm trying to arrange a flight but I'm probably going to have to pay $200 or $300 because of overweight baggage. Obviously I'd love to avoid that expense.
So I reached out to my employer in Nashville to see if they have any options as a corporation for renting me a vehicle. I still think I can't do that without a hard copy of my driver's license but they are trying. Big fckn UGH! 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: So we are in Royal Oak Michigan ( outside of Detroit) for the next couple of days. I dropped off everybody at the hotel.... and really needed to get this bus washed. There's a bus wash 5 mi from the hotel.... and of course they're closed for the holiday. So now I'm in Ann Arbor. Only a 100 mile round trip from the hotel. Oh well. Not my credit card paying for the fuel in this bus.
And for some stupid reason I expected this place to be slow today and I could get in and out fast. Not so much. I've been here for 45 minutes already and there's two more trucks ahead of me in line. And this happens to be one of the few Blue Beacons in the country that only has one drive-thru lane. Most have at least two so they can be washing two vehicles at the same time. Oh well. I've only been going since 10:30 last night. Who needs sleep? Evidently not this guy! 👋
MontanaMatt: It took a few years but I've managed to successfully weigh a rainbow.
Turns out it was pretty light! 🤣
MontanaMatt: So I gave the tour manager a dirty look as I was dropping off him and the crew at this Sheraton in the middle of downtown Toronto.
A nightmare getting here. He looks at me and says.... you got a fuckin problem? I said.... I just don't understand why we are always staying at hotels in the middle of the largest cities in the country.... even when the venue is out of town a ways. BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO STAY! Loudly! Pretty much yelling at me. I told him he's putting the bus and the rest of this tour at risk every time we have to drive a bus into this kind of nightmare. He continued yelling some bullshit at me.... and I put the bus in gear and released the brake. Pretty much forcing him to step away.
I can put this bus wherever they want it. And I'm not going to hit anything. But there's several hundred thousand people driving around this city and I can't control what they're going to hit. They very well might hit me! Then what? Cancel a few shows while we're waiting for a replacement bus to get here? 🙄
And..... I took the bus to the venue and parked it. And I have to Uber back to the bus in the morning and be back here to pick them up at 7:00 a.m. So flirting with disaster twice!
I'm an unhappy camper this afternoon. 😢
Thanks for listening.
MontanaMatt: If the crew told me that's where they want to stay.... then yeehaw. I'll take them wherever they want to go. But it's all about him. He wants to eat at fancy restaurants.... and he wants to be seen strutting around town like a big man on campus. smh Like anybody in a city this big has a clue who he is. 🤷♂️
MontanaMatt: We pulled in to Madison Wisconsin at about 5:30 this morning. Hung around till about 11:00 a.m. before they finally canceled the show. The air quality is pretty horrific! And the band has deep roots in Madison.... most of them still live here.... so they were fairly well crushed. We are in a suburb in a Marriott Hotel and leaving for Noblesville Indiana at about midnight tonight. And then up to Columbus Ohio for an actual day off! 😯 Cool....and much needed!
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KeithJ: I was from Indiana my family formed the first county "Hendricks" and one made the state flag in the state centennial of 1916,,Stanley's and Hadley's seems most were Quakers
I had to grow up with my Quaker grandfather he was more of my father figure.