Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Iceman Cometh to MATS … Again

Sometimes I feel like a newly adopted child at a huge family reunion.

This is my fourth pilgrimage to “Louahvulle” with my Land Line Now family. I guess I shouldn't be surprised when I pick up my step as I recognize a friend from 15 or 20 feet away. These are people, friends and acquaintances that I truly enjoy hanging out with and listening to their stories. What a colorful profession I have discovered. To drive truck, who woulda thunk it?

The best people, the biggest machines, some of the coolest stuff anywhere. I spent the day recording press conferences, learning about the weird and wonderful and building a recording studio in a truck. Again, who woulda thunk it?

I won’t dwell on having met some of the most interesting convention AV staff everrrrrr. I mean how difficult is it to turn up a microphone or ask a presenter with a wireless mic to turn it on? Can you say “add a certain flavor to a presentation?” ’Nuff said ...

In between running from one meeting room to another I learned a few things. Fun things. Like how Bendix drag races city buses to demonstrate their new air-powered whoop ass. If you want to race brother trucker on the salt flats, they’ve got your ticket to ride. And of course, stop, too.

And speaking of stop, Mack wants your truck to stop for you. You guys are gonna love this one: While Bendix throws bus passengers out the back window at green lights, Mack throws you and anybody else in the cab out the front window if its new automated truck system thinks you’re not stopping fast enough. I bet this one goes over great with owner-operators.

I want a set of TruckLite’s new LED headlights for my ’62 Dodge Ramcharger. I'll be the first on my block to have headlights that can take a bullet!

And speaking of bullet ... what audio engineer wouldn’t want to put a bullet in both an earthquake-generating APU and the thundering electrified pork chop generator that seemed to be laughing at the very thought of my building a recording studio out at the OOIDA show truck? I, for one, would be happy to pull the plugs on those gen sets, but then Land Line Now wouldn’t have any power to produce the show either.

After slight panic and much deliberation with Howard Hart, the calmest human being on the planet (why don’t ya stop by and say hi to Howard when you get a chance?), we decided the best place for Mark Reddig to ply his trade was the back 10 feet of our esteemed 53-foot trailer.

So from my 7-foot high perch I get the pleasure of watching happy truckers and their families parade in and out of the South Hall for the next three days. People like Ron Terry, and his wife from Nashville, TN, who I had just talked to the week before as I was recording the Exit 24 Chorus for Howard Salmon’s new album. And not five minutes later here comes Leland Martin with a warm friendly smile and a firm handshake.

As we all stand around talking recording studios and live music at Papa John’s parking lot, we all turned to wave at Arrow Truck's Back on the Road 2008 winner, Don Turkelson. Don stops his rig right there, gets out with another friendly handshake and a proud look on his face as he exclaims to me that he’s had a nearly 100,000-mile year and is looking forward to the 2009 giveaway coming up in a day or two.

These are the ramblings and pleasures of a four-year newbie to the trucking business. Crazy but true, and I think I like the ride.

Barry “The Iceman” Spillman

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic "I am there" feeling after reading what you wrote.

    The show, the show, it's the people, as we can see from what you wrote. How else could a nomadic industry connect but at an event like this - an event that you can 'hang your hat on' (and set your brakes at).

    Keep on writin'!

    Danny Schnautz
    out of Pasadena, TX