It's Feb. 19th, 1:57pm
I'm at the airport. Louie is meeting me here. I believe we're on the same flight.
Over 30 years in this business, this is my first time going to Tel Aviv. For me, this is a big deal. I'm excited. God is good. Usually when I tell someone that I'm headed to Tel Aviv, they say "Be Careful!!!" with great concern. But honestly, I don't know anyone in my circle that has been. I have a weekly Internet Show. And at the end of the first half I recite my favorite quote by William Wallace in the movie Braveheart. He says "Every man must die, but not all men truly live". For me, part of living is experiencing WORLDS outside of your own. God has afforded this opportunity to me through Louie Vega and I'm grateful. Very very grateful. Thank you Father.
I'm on the plane. I think the reality of "Tel Aviv" is starting to set in. Everybody on this plane is wearing a Yamaka or a head covering. No disrespect, but seriously,
I suddenly have a craving for some smothered pork chops. Man!! What is wrong with me?!
Feb 20th 12:07am
We've been in the air for 8 hours or so. I slept for the most part of this flight. The moment I decide to wake up I see most of the men standing in the aisles with some sort of shawl over their heads, a leather strap thing wrapped around their arm, and little box looking thing strapped around their heads. Some are reading out of a book. Others are bobbing back and forth in some sort of prayer position. Interesting to say the least. I do believe that cultures, faiths, and religions should be able to coexist. So this doesn't bother me. It's just interesting to see. The feeling that I'm getting is that this is some sort of custom. Something like a recital. Almost like a ritual. Hmmm.
I wonder if this bearded man put his little book down and prayed a prayer that came from his own heart and mind would he be breaking any laws.
And do they do this daily?
There are Black people here!! LOL. Oh my goodness. I couldn't believe it. There's a lot of different ethnic groups here. Vietnamese, African, some people from the Philippines. It's amazing. And please understand, I live in America. When we see Tel Aviv on TV, we see the guns, the blood shed, political wars, and such. But to see Black people there working and seemingly running barbershops and things I'm a little blown away. I thought I'd only see Caucasians.
When we arrived for the sound check, I noticed instantaneously that the sound was out of this world. That alone let me know that we're going to have a good night. Amichay is part of this club. He's a DJ/Promotor/and all around good dude. He showed me around the club and there is another club within this club. It's called the Squat. It was smaller and more intimate. "This area is my baby" Amichay says to me. The sound was just as good as the main room. But entirely intimate. Jam packed, this area could hold maybe 120 people. I'm blown away. This is where I need to be. They informed me that this club is heavily NY influenced. And it really did remind me of the original Shelter. The barely painted black walls, the big sound but factory feeling, NY all the way!!
I didn't bring the clothes I wanted to wear tonight. So now I'm feeling slightly nervous and insecure about how I will look. But I should be fine. We'll see.
Feb. 21st 5:02am
The club was just as I thought. Amazing. The people were into underground soulful house music. I missed Amichay's set. But I heard he killed. And they say he kills regularly. This guy is young, I'm not sure if he's even 30 yet. Louie was awesome and had the crowd amped. They were ready to see me. I have to get sharper on keys. I could feel my rustiness. But the show was cool. We all enjoyed it. The sound was kicking!!! Yuron is the club owner. He was there at Cielo to hear me DJ for the first time ever! That was my first set in a club. And that opportunity set me off to start a career in DJing. Another branch to what I already do musically. Glad to know he was there that night. Yuron and Amichay were very generous host. They treated me well. And Amichay makes the best Arabian coffee in the world. It doesn't look pretty, but it tasted like God put his finger in it and stirred it.
Well, Brussels here I come.
OK. Guess where I am. The driver took me and Moises(Louie's assistant) back to the club because Louie is still playing! It's 7am!!!
My flight is in 2 hours!!
I think I'll be ok. Louie doesn't mind cutting it close. But I'm a worry wart with this stuff.
Waiting in a cab for Louie. Crazy thing. I just saw a random soldier walking around with a really huge rifle sticking out of his bag. It wasn't like he was patrolling the area. He was on his way somewhere. It looks so strange to see a gun that size protruding out of a duffle bag. As I'm staring at the guy, the cab driver asked me am I a muslim. Now this is awkward. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or not. He seemed agitated.
And he's getting impatient. Louie and Moises are taking a while. Now I'm getting uncomfortable.
I made it to the gate. Thank God. Let me tell y'all what happened on the way here. When we got to the airport, the cab had to go through security, which was very similar to going through a toll booth. The guard came to the window and made eye contact with each of us and wanted to see our passports. Louie and I had our passport in the back of the car in our bags. Moises handed his over. I just so happen to look a few cars away and there were guards making a family open their luggage on the street with a rifle in his hand! Now is definitely not a time to get tough. I started to say "I don't feel like getting my Passport! It's packed, you idiot!"
But seeing the guns convinced me that this isn't the time.
"I need to see your ID" the guard repeated to me and Louie. Now this is feeling slightly tense. We get our passports for the guy and he let's us pass. As soon as he said "have a good flight" we see another guard holding a huge sniper rifle with his finger on the trigger. Louie asked the cab driver do they really shoot. The cab driver said they shoot without thought. And we all felt an emptiness in our stomachs. Because you can sense that there is a detachment in these guards. They look like they've used that rifle plenty of times. Now there's a definite chill in my bones I've not felt this whole trip. At the same time, I do appreciate security. These guys are here to protect us. Having said that, it was worth the slight discomfort.
I've got a two lay over in Istanbul Turkey. But on the way here, while in the air, I was really uncomfortable. Sitting in this tight seat. My knees were grinding in the chair in front of me. I felt very annoyed. I thought to myself, "Try to relax. This is a short flight. Maybe if you think about your musical plans and fall asleep, all of your discomfort will go away." And it was working. I have a few new artist that I'm working with. Lamone, Crystal Johnson, Dawn, even T'Zelle and I have been talking about working again. Sandra has a remix I'm about to drop. Yea. OK. I'm getting sleepy all of a sudden. Perfect.
But then, just as I feel my mind about to travel to some distant euphoric, land of sleep, I'm harshly awakened by a toxic, poisonous smell. It seemed to grow. If I'm not mistaken, there's a slight burning in my eyes. Everyone was complaining. My sleep was traveling at a rapid pace away from me. WHAT IS THAT?!? I'll be honest. At first, I thought I farted in my sleep. I've done that. So I was acting like I didn't smell anything. But then when the smell started to really thicken, I knew it wasn't me. I was still dry. I'm just sayin.
Anyway, after my neighbor sprayed one third of his cologne on the both of us, the plane smelled like somebody poured some cologne on some doodoo. This is becoming a nightmare. I look a little to the right in front of me, and there it was. A young couple and their baby. The mother was changing the child. RIGHT THERE ON THE PLANE! This kid was huge!!! At least 3!!!!!!! I'm thinking "why doesn't she take the child to the bathroom?" It smelled like he just got finished eating Thanksgiving dinner twice. This child needs to see a Dr. There's no way anyone can convince me that the child isn't sick or dying of internal damnation. Why did it smell like that. And isn't it appropriate to change a child in the bathroom? Well anyway, I got off of the plane and I had to go through a transfer gate. The TSA guy asked me who was the person on my shirt. I was wearing a Donna Summer Tee. The guy didn't know her. Can you believe that? Apparently it was a question all of the TSA workers wanted to know. They were all saying it with their accent. Donna Summer. LOL.
I've landed safely in Brussels. My friend Nick Blow brought me here to help him celebrate his birthday. Gloria is meeting me there. Nick was gracious enough to purchase a ticket for her as well. But let me tell something very embarrassing that happened before I landed. I was sleeping on the plane. And when I woke up the people around me were staring at me with contempt in their eyes. Again I thought I farted. But I didn't smell anything so hey. No harm no foul. But the stares weren't going away. I almost said something. But an older gentleman offered me a pillow. I humbly declined his offer. "But sir, you're snoring." And he said it so gently. It was as though he was my guardian angel. I took the pillow. But now I can't sleep. I'm too afraid that I may snore. And I snore really loudly. I have sleep apnea. Give me a break.
Feb 22nd 6:19pm
Nick and his wife are super gracious host. They invited Gloria and myself over for a dinner gathering at their place. We arrive and the first thing I noticed is that Nick has the ultimate man cave. Nice console, all the vinyl that any collector would die for, cool knick knacks everywhere. And seating!!! I was in heaven. The ceiling is at least 18ft. high. At least. They ordered a bunch of Lebanese food which was really delightful. The whole thing was just more than what I could ever imagine and then we went to the local bar which was like a mini club. Very nice. Martin Lodge, Dr. Bob, Ket, Patrick, and a few amazing DJ's were there and ready to play. I saw some of my Facebook Londoners there. Drinks were off the chain. Nicks wife Claudia and I had a beer together. That was sweet. It was getting late and I was getting tired. So we left around 1:30. Nick wouldn't stop doing things for us.
The next morning I couldn't get out of bed. I must have gotten up around 2-2:30. Nick sent a car for us around 3:10. So I was a little behind. He spent the day showing us around Brussels. We loved it but Gloria was in H-He-Hea-Heaven. All of the European architecture was beautiful! The history and the stories were all overwhelming. The boy statue taking a piss, was interesting. The Louboutin shoe store was sexy to look at, but we didn't go in. LOL! Nick bought Gloria some chocolates. That's all she talked about for a good while. The sound check was ok. I think tonight will be good.
Feb 23rd 4:02am
Ok. I'm not drunk. But let's just say this is my third time writing this sentence. LOL!!!!!!!!! This party is awesome. I'm having the best time. I must apologize to you(the reader) because I'm going to stop blogging to finish partying. Good times.
Last night was off the chain. I had a great time. My performance was cool. The people enjoyed it. Nick was happy. Martin, Steve, Trevor, and Nick all played wonderfully. The drinks were beautiful. I discovered a new Tequila that was A FRIGGIN MAZING. So life is good.
Things are winding down. We're going over to Nick and Claudia's place to have a bite and just chill. I'm going to enjoy his man cave again with all of that vinyl. Sweet!!
Feb 24th 5:02am
Nick and his lovely wife were yet again super gracious host. Nick turned me on to some music that I really should have known about. Teddy Douglas produced a vocalist named Marcell Russell who has some real gems that I can't wait to purchase. It's this kind of music that I want to record. I'm very much inspired.
OK. You know the saying "___t happens. Well it's happening. Originally I was supposed to fly to Belgium.. Yada Yada, the opportunity to do Tel Aviv popped up. So we took it, of course. We figured we got the ticket to Belgium sorted. All we have to do is purchase a ticket to Tel Aviv and then to Belgium. The return should be the same. But when the airline saw that I wasn't on the flight going to Belgium, they canceled my ticket altogether. And it's a non-refundable ticket. Isn't that just perfect?!?!? What this means is, I HAVE NO TICKET TO GO HOME. If I want to go home, I'd have to purchase a new ticket altogether!!! The only available seat is first class. And that's a $4000 ticket. How's that for you? Sometimes you have to bite the bullet. Things happen. There's nothing you can do sometimes. I'll be on the same flight tomorrow. Gloria had to go home without me, but whatcha gone do. None of us knew. I'm back at Nicks house with all of his vinyl. All good. God is so good.
See you all the next blog. Or this Monday coming at Noon EST.