Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I didn’t expect to sleep well, but to my surprise I did. The bed was very comfortable, and the blinds were heavy and left the room pitch black. My voice feels good, and felt even better when D Mo called me with great news. His friend Yukkyyy from Frank McComb’s forum lives here and knew where Gatorade was and dropped off a gang of it. More on Yukyyy later.
We had sound check at the Cotton Club. The entire staff was standing there to greet us when we entered. That felt great. They did everything I could to make the stage as comfortable for us as possible. From the drums, to the monitors, the lighting, everything was perfect. This is gonna be a fun couple of days.
We pretty much go back to the hotel to get dressed and head right back to the club. The crazy thing is while standing there about to board our bus, who do we bump into… Chris Potter, the artist we were just talking about the other day. We shared a brief conversation sharing compliments. A band member of his had recently played him some of my music as well. I guess when he saw my name on a bill for the Cotton Club. He was headed to Korea the next day. Man, life on the road is serious…
So when we arrive to the Cotton Club we walk into the dressing room and what do I see waiting for me. A huge box of Gatorade that Rene went out and bought for us. So now we had plenty and I was happy about it. Now onto the shows.
Now I had the pleasure of touring Japan with Amel Larrieux about 3 years ago, so I already know that Japanese crowds for the most part are extremely reserved. The band has been schooled on that but I think they had to see it to believe it. They are use to trading energy with the crowd, but this audience came to watch a show and show their energy later. And it’s a beautiful energy I must say. I so appreciate them, but you almost get to a point where you think your performance is wack. Hahahahaha… The first show is 75 minutes. Anthony doing 20 minutes and me doing 55. I’m so impressed with how the band plays Anthony’s music now. It’s getting better with each show. I was able to sit back and enjoy his set and not think about what I had to do. That was great. So I jumped up there and we had fun. An artist named Crystal Kay that I use to give voice lessons to back at home came to the show with her family and label. I believe she’s a pretty successful artist here in Japan. She’s on album number 9. Guess I got some catching up to do. It was good to see her and her mother. I didn’t know they were coming so that was a pleasant surprise.
So after the show, Anthony and I go to a table to sign cds. Even though there is a language barrier between a lot of us, one thing is clear… They enjoyed the show and we appreciated them for supporting us. Once the line dissipates, the staff informs us our dinner is ready in our dressing room. Time to eat and get ready for show number 2.
The food was very good. The turn around time was quick, so before you could blink we were heading downstairs to perform again. This place had a livelier crowd than earlier, so of course the guys were happy about that. I must admit we are still fine tuning our set list here. Trying to experiment with what will work best. We chickened out on doing Rock With You today but we will see what tomorrow holds.
So we get back to the hotel and I have two things on my mind. Food and sleep. There’s not room for both, so I take my butt to bed.


Okay I promise that I will finish posting all about the UK tour, but let me tell you about what is going on now. The band, Anthony, his woman, Lisa, and I took the 13 hour flight to Tokyo Japan. There’s not much to say about the flight. It’s tough anyway you look at it. We landed on Thursday, and that was pretty much a rest day. Nothing you can really do. Your body and your inner time clock is all twisted up. We were greeted by a cool cat named Rene. It was good to be met with such good energy to start the trip but he soon gave me horrible news. Though I was told Japan had Gatorade, Rene said he’s never seen it there. I didn’t bring Honey Loquat or anything, so doing 6 shows in 3 days was gonna be tough with out my dear Gatorade. Well we had a long bus ride to downtown Tokyo that I got some good sleep on. I put on my ipod and zoned out to a jazz album Ian gave me the other day by this brother named, John Potter. Ian and I shared a brief convoe about this album right before I dozed off. Well I woke up to good and bad news. One the guys spotted Gatorade in a vendor machine, but the bad news was we didn’t stop and buy them all up. All good though. That was the glimmer of hope I was hoping for. So we get to the hotel, and once again are greeted by great smiles and beautiful energies. One thing about Japan I must say is they are the best when it comes to costumer service.
We thought about going to the Cotton Club to see this Japanese pianist perform, but realized we couldn’t handle traveling another second. Plus our rooms were lovely and inviting. And had internet. Hahahahaha… So the Smoke Signals and I left to find some food and the eluding Gatorade. We passed a McDonalds. That may come in handy at some point. Well after walking around for quite sometime we abandoned the Gator hunt and focused on food. We food this sushi spot in the cut. Most of the guys have never tried sushi before. Where better to try sushi than Japan. They couldn’t speak a lick of English but they had pictures so we were straight. I ordered for mostly everyone, but Rashid who I turned onto sushi sometime ago. Took some convincing before the guys accepted the idea of eating an eel roll. “It’s the best tasting thing here”, I said. So raw and boiled shrimp, crab and eel was what we mainly stuck with, until Rashid order the sea orchid thinking it was fried. Clearly it was not, but like the trooper he is that guy took it down. It looked shaky at first but he took it down. So then they ordered me something that I refuse to say what it resembles. I ate it though. Wasn’t that bad. So we left there happy but not exactly full. Told you that McDonalds was gonna come in handy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Well there’s work to be done. I am recording some songs for Mica Paris’s radio show. It’s not the earliest we have to leave, but I could have used some more sleep. I am still feeling horrible. I’m bringing D Mo, Ian and Rashid to play. So my Gatorade showed up thank you JESUS… Didn’t know it would cost 250 dollars to ship, but all is good.
Well the taping went really well. Mica was a sweet heart, and quite funny. The producer was really cool as well. We enjoyed talking with him. Especially when he showed us this new D’Angelo album that was released in the U.K.. Wow talking about getting your juices running. So we did the songs, (Just A Dream, and Pretty Girl) and went back to the hotel.
Peter and Santosh, owners of Dome Records took the band and I out for dinner. The food was good and we had fun. Santosh had us playing games, like if you were on an island and could have a movie, a book, and a cd, which would you chose. Well I picked Purple Rain, so I could have all my palettes filled with one movie. I picked the Koran, cause someone already picked the Bible, and we couldn’t repeat answer. I would need some inspiration if I’m on a deserted island. And for my album I picked Radiohead’s “OK Computer.” If I did it all over I possibly would pick Commissioned’s “Go Tell Somebody.” I would be straight with either one.
I’m noticing that band members are nitpicking with each other, which comes with being on the road together for so long. It was very obvious tonight, so at some point I will have to address it in order to keep everything neutral.


Okay I am sick as a dog. Probably the worst I’ve been all year. God is a comedian, cause he would wait for me to come to one of my favorite places to hit me. But I thank Him for allowing it to happen when I have a few days off to get myself together. Performing on stages all over the world for years has taught me that I can pretty much get thru anything, so I am not that worried. If I stick to my regiment, rest and medicate myself, I feel my voice will be 100 percent by Friday. And it needs to be. Last time we did a concert at Jazz Café we rocked for 3 HOURS. Hahahaha…
So I laid in the bed the entire day. I drank water, apple juice and hot tea mixed with honey loquat til I was about to burst. I also called my father and had him ship me a case of Gatorades. Would you believe they don’t sell it in Europe? Anyone who has been to my show over the last year knows how I need two things on stage with me. Honey loquat and Gatorade in no particular order. So I cut the phone calls to a minimum. Did my vocal exercises every couple of hours, and stood in a steaming hot shower for close to an hour.
I hated I wasn’t able to take the band anywhere. I appreciate the fact that they entertained themselves and worked on music and the show. Let me say this also. I had a conversation with Irv and Rashid some time ago about taking advantage of free time and the opportunities at hand. I like the fact they took that to heart and I’ve seen a difference. One being the fact they packed their whole studio and brought it with them. Speakers and all. They’ve been setting it up in these hotels and rocking out. Having hotel managers come by their room to have them turn it down. Hahahaha.. Hey but you never know. That track you did in the hotel room when you could have went to the club or something, could buy you a house or car. It is the business of music right?


Everybody is hurting today. The guys stayed up all night walking all over Paris. Even though D Mo and I didn’t hang, we got back from the show crazy late and had to stay up checking flights and double checking everything for the next city. So catching a 9am train was tough.
So we have several days off, and as much as we need to sleep, most of us stayed up. We were invited to the Jazz Café for dinner. I can’t tell you how much of a blessing that was. Most of the guys were low on the per dium, and could use a good meal outside of KFC. A legendary bassist and vocalist, named Richard Bona was playing with his band. Ray, my bass player went bookers when he found out. I was actually feeling horrible and could feel a cold coming on, but we trekked (2 blocks) in the rain to go.
It was so good to see the familiar faces of the staff that have taken such good care of me and my team over the years. The food was very good, as usual. Especially the bread. I haven’t done dairy at all, but I had to put some butter on that bread. Anyway on to the show…
I will be honest. I never heard of Richard Bona before, but trust I am a fan from now on. His voice was as pure as the water Jesus was baptized in, and his bass playing was mind blowing. The overall show and band was a clinic for us from start to finish. It was so good for my band and I to see them do their thing. It inspired us, focused us, and brought us even closer together as a band, and a family. My head, nose and throat was hurting so much that if his show was any less than incredible I would have bounced, but it held me to the very end.
We waited after everything was over to meet him, and take some pictures. Ray was especially excited to meet him. He was like a kid in a candy store. I appreciate the fact that Richard Bona took the time to talk with him, and show interest in what Ray was doing. Man this guy was a complete artist and good person. Please google his name, and check him out right now.
So of course we had a band meeting that night to talk about what we experienced and learned from the show. I think we have a great show, and people are always pleased, but there’s always room for improvement. Or shall I say room to add inspiration. There is always room for that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


We had lobby call at 6AM to catch taxis to the train station. Surprisingly the band was on time. My voice was in really bad shape due to jet lag and having to get up so early, but I felt I would be alright as long as I took the proper steps.
This trip to Paris made me realize how much we, (the band and i) sleep in the oddest places. Trains, taxis, dressing room couches, pretty much any where you can get it in. we arrived in Paris at about 2pm. Santosh from Dome Records, the label that licenses my last two albums in Europe, had about 5 interviews set up for me in the hotel lobby. All the interviews went well. Very nice people. I finished up around 6PM, and decided to skip sound check in order to rest my voice. I went to sleep for a couple of hours, which helped a great deal, but when I woke up my voice was still sleep. So I did about an hour of vocal exercises, followed by several liters of water and Gatorade.
When I entered the venue Anthony was still performing. He was tearing up the stage, and the band improved a great deal backing him since the first gig. The place was packed and the crowd was showing a lot of love. That made me very happy. This was my first show in Paris, so I didn’t know what to expect. My voice was still stiff when I went onstage, but I figured I would use the first couple of songs to warm up. My falsetto was fine, but my mid range was raspy due to fatigue. Usually the falsetto is the first to go, so I found that odd. I was fine by Softest Lips, and we did about an hour and a half.
Yo and let me add this. Anthony got behind the lighting controls and ran lights for my show. He pretty much knows my show so he added a lot to it. I really appreciate that, and it just goes to show how good a person he is.
Everything was going smoothly. Anthony and I were at a table greeting people and signing cds. Then I got word that Rashid’s father was taken to the hospital. We were all quite worried, and Rashid handled it the best he could, but was obviously shaken. This is the worst nightmare for us. For something to happen to our family while we are so far from home. Out of respect I wont go into what happen, but it seems his father will be fine. At one point we thought Rashid would have to fly home, which would have been fine with me. He’s the music director of the band, but family is priority number one, so we couldn’t even think about gigs at that point. Needless to say, all seems well but please pray for us, and our love ones.
Paris was beautiful, but clearly this wasn’t the trip I was going to be able to see it. Our train to London left at 9am, so Dmo, my assistant and I went back to the hotel to take care of some business. The rest of the band spent the night walking the streets of Paris. That was great reward after a long day for the band, and for Rashid to help take his mind off of things. They came back in the morning completely in love with Paris. Dmo was disappointed he couldn’t see Paris, but understood the responsibilities that comes with his job.
So the pics I added are from the Paris crowd, and all the guys knocked out on the train. Cheers.


Today has been fairly easy so far. We had lobby call at 12pm, so the band got a lil bit of rest. Plus they had their own rooms so they were happy about that. The new van gave us a little bit of trouble on the ride back but it made it. Thank God. This will be a fairly easy day. I doubt I will meet up with friends or do much. I am pretty much on vocal rest today. I will only speak when I have to. Though Anthony and I had a good conversation in the van about life, music, love, and how us indie artist need to do more together. So now its water, water, water, tea, tea, tea, and some rest. All hell breaks loose in Paris tomorrow.
Wait, there is so much more. Now most know I am a big New York Giants fan, and football fan in general. Well Ian and Dmo hooked it up where I was able to watch the game online. It wasn’t the clearest, and froze from time to time, but I was like a kid in a candy store. Plus my Giants won. *Big Smile* Plus I belong to 3 fantasy football leagues, and won all 3 of my games. Don’t know how that happen, being I couldn’t keep and eye on what was going on in the league. So as much as I needed to goto sleep, I stayed up too late in order to see as much football as I could. I fell asleep on the late night game at around 1am London time.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

DAY 2 – Birmingham Show

2:52PM - So guess what… The van we were all riding in just broke down on the side of the highway. It’s always something, so of course I am far from surprised. The crazy thing is we are only about 5 miles from the venue. If I’ve learned anything from years on the road, it is to not panic. We will be able to work something out, and if we don’t… Oh well at least we tried. So let me get out this van and see what’s going on. I will report more in a minute.

Okay so to give you a recap on the day. We had 3 cars come and pick us up and take us to the venue. The backline company that was hired from London (3 hours away) forgot the power converters, so we couldn’t plug up any of our electrical instruments. We have US plugs… Well we scratched the drum machine, and we bought a million batteries for Ian, the guitar player’s pedal board.
By the time we finished sound checking and the band finally learning all of Anthony’s music, (Sorry Anthony, you know how last minute musicians can be.) we didn’t have time to go check into our hotel rooms and get changed. So we stayed and got changed in the dressing room. Now imagine if you will 6 guys with a ton of wrinkled clothes and no iron. Hahahahaha.. that was a sight to see, but we got thru that too.
They fed us. That’s all I will say about the food. But I will say the entire staff at The Drum was very helpful and nice. I enjoyed them.
The show was sold out, but I feel they could have put a few more people in. they capped it off at 250 cause of the venue size, but I think they just wanted people to be comfortable.
My street team from London came down to support and help us sell cds. I love them. They really have my back.
Anthony ripped it. Yo he didn’t even bring his guitar up there with him. And how often do you hear of an opening act getting an encore. I enjoyed that, and the band seemed to have enjoyed playing with him. Trust me if they didn’t they would’ve let me know.
So I went on around 11:15pm, and the band and I did about 2 hours. The crowd was lovely and energetic. Some more than others. I did a freestyle that included the crowd’s suggestions: constipation, weather, feet, and penicillin. Hahahaha.. it was okay. The crowd enjoyed it, but I know I could have done better. This was Ian’s second gig with us, and he played great. He was uncomfortable in spots, but he will loosen up as we progress. So afterwards I signed CDs and took pictures for about an hour and a half. Met some really nice people. One in particular was a brother named Kenneth, who said he leaned on my album while going thru treatment for cancer last year. It was a blessing to hear his testimony. That’s the kind of stuff that pushes me and keeps me humble and focused.
So before leaving I went back to the dressing room to make sure we didn’t leave anything. We did. Ray, the bass player left a pair of sneakers, and I had a pair of PRPS jeans under the table. I would have been sick if I left those.
Once back at the hotel the band ordered food, I loaded up on waters and juices and went to my room. The jet lag, weather, and long day took a toll on my voice, so it’s all about rebuilding it and getting it ready for Paris on Monday.

Friday, October 5, 2007


So its 1am here. My eyes and body are suffering from jet lag, but my mind is saying its only 8pm. So we arrived in London early this morning and ate the nastiest breakfast ever created. I’ve learned from several trips here that you have to look hard to find good food out here. We were so hungry though the band didn’t complain much about the mushrooms and beans on the plate with their eggs and potatoes.
The band had the day off. Foolishly I paid them a weeks worth of perdium and some of them already spent that on shopping. Hahahaha.. they took a vote and decided they want to be paid the show money once the tour is over. That’s smart really. One our dollar is extremely weak out here. 2 dollars to their 1. Real talk. So they don’t need to be walking around with the temptation to spend all their money in all these cities we will be going to.
I honestly don’t know if I’m even going to make money on this tour. This is the first time I’ve planned a tour of Europe. Usually it’s a city or two and we’re headed back home. The days off are what’s going to kill me though. Just take today for instance. I paid 500 american dollars in hotels today. And that’s us doubling up. I paid each band member 40 dollars a day for perdium. Its 5 of them so that’s 200, plus the 500 for the hotel rooms and that’s 700 dollars on a day I didn’t make a dime. Hahahaha.. “real talk” We go to Birmingham tomorrow, so we’re gonna be hustling these cds something serious. But I have to attempt this tour to lay the foundation for our future tours here. I have a great following in London, Sweden, and Amterdam, but its time to spread it, as well as connect the dots.
Oh not to mention Anthony David is joining me on the tour. I gotta big him up big time, cause he said he would open for me for free. Real Talk. I wouldn’t have been able to afford to bring him, so that truly helps. And I probably am sharing too much info, but I feel some things need to be known. Like the heart of a good genuine brother. He and I are doing a Japan tour at the end of the month too. Okay well stay tuned to the adventure of Erro and the Smoke Signals on tour overseas. Good night. “real talk”.. (okay im tweeking on the “real talk” cause I just watched r kelly’s video on you tube. Hahahahahahahaha..)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


What an amazing 10 days I had surrounding my birthday. From a performance standpoint it was one of the most challenging schedules I’ve faced. The trip to Jena was very inspiring and beautiful. It’s beautiful anytime blacks can get together and its completely peaceful. I appreciate Michael Baisden allowing me to ride and march with him and Rev. Al Sharpton. Most importantly I’m happy Mychal Bell is home with his family right now. But people let’s not relax, because that situation is far from over.
After the rally I drove to Houston for a show. The first show of 7 in 9 days. All the shows came to together, though almost each one had a major obstacle sitting in front of it. In general, there seems to be so much drama surrounding me on the road that most times I’m jumping on stage to escape it. But we will talk about that later. Right now I choose to focus on the positive. So let me briefly mention some of the highlights of my last two weeks.

- standing next to Rev. Al Sharpton
- amazing food at miles jay in Houston
- me having to do an acoustic set there as well.
- Watching the giants beat the redskins, before my LA gig.
- 2 hour plus shows in NY and DC
- my band dressing up in vests for my NY show
- my ny giants cake.
- giving out gifts to everyone who attended my birthday bash in ny
- all the erf fam who traveled in to celebrate
- the video my friends and family made and presented to me.
- doing go go versions of my songs with the lissen’s album release party in dc.
- Peekaso painting a picture of shawn.
- eating 2 turkey burgers from Ben’s Chili Bowl in DC.
- watching the giants beat the eagles with my nephews.
- birthday presents!!!!!
- having my falsetto every night. Trust me that’s not promised
- the smile on my momma’s face as I sang her happy birthday. (I figure since she gave birth to me its her birthday as well.)
- eating a sea bass and sharing desert with Shawn
- spending a few nights in my own bed
So I am headed out of the country on Thursday for the entire month of October. Please say a prayer for me and my band. Im sure I will write again soon.