FOR INFORMATION ABOUT RJ DAVIS SOLO SHOWS CLICK HERE!
...to the new R'jac Webpage! It's hard to believe that after all these years, gigs, miles, guitar strings and late sleepless nights that R'jac is still going as strong as ever. There have been so many adventures and so many faces that we could write more than one book with a great story on every page.
No matter what country we visit there is one thing that remains the same - the love of Rock and Roll. Even people who think they hate rock have accidently found themselves at our shows and been converted. That rhythm and attitude secretly lives in all of us, sometimes at a primeval level that some folks were not aware of. There's a reason they called it "jungle music" in the 50's!
We have had the opportunity to rock everything from festivals to funerals, clubs to castles, bikers to boy scouts. We've played in cow fields, restaurants, churches, zoos, bowling alleys, on beaches and even on the roof of the worlds most expensive public restroom. We've performed The Sweet, Kiss and Green Day to retired purple haired women on cruise ships above the Arctic Circle and had couples almost in their 90's headbanging and giving metal horns to AC/DC at a venue 3000kms away, still standing when everyone else had partied themselves to exhaustion.
We've played 3 different 3 hour shows in one day, 2 countries on the same day and three different countries in 3 days. Performances in living rooms in Michigan USA to backstage with movie stars in Hollywood. We've met rock stars and royalty and can be proud to have some of them as fans.
People have traveled hours by train to get to some gigs and slept at bus stops to take the long trip back home the next day with interesting stories for their bosses as to why they didn't show up for work. We've slept on sofas, in cars, boats, trains and train stations, airports, recording studios, boathouses, warehouse floors, gang areas, office hallways (making sure to be awake each day before the workers arrived), cockroach infested backstage band/store rooms (sharing one with a giant hollow stripper "cake") and 5 star hotels with private room service in the centre of London paid for by radio stations.
We have seen couples meet and get married, including one man who came to a gig with the woman of his dreams but insisted on seeing her reaction to an R'jac show before he could accept her (thankfully she loved it!).
We've witnessed tears, broken bones and concussions (some of them ours). RJ once broke his hand at a gig and kept playing for the rest of the week until he got a few days off - there was never time to go to the hospital so it had to heal itself. He treated a broken foot (injured during a show) the same way until it got so bad that doctors had to operate due to the concern of permanent damage and blood poisoning. No shows cancelled.
Cecilia once performed a biker show with three slipped discs in her spine, we still have the bent out of shape microphone stand from that show. She also filmed a music video with the same slipped discs and 45mins sleep - look for it on the links page.
New Years Eve shows to empty rooms and other gigs where the queue of people stretched for over 100 metres on the street outside. Some shows have needed no security and others didn't have enough. Many times we have had to jump from the stage to do it ourselves! People have started fan clubs and internet forums, buying any piece of R'jac merchandise they can get their hands on. A couple of times people have literally asked to buy the shirts off our backs after a performance. There have been new venues where the audience doesn't have a clue who we are and other places where we have had to be brought in by security through back doors because of the fans. At least once our signature has been seen tattooed on a fans shoulder.
RJ's Mother was almost crushed when she came to see one show - a bar fight turned nasty and an old fashioned billiard table was overturned - Mrs. Davis jumping just in time to avoid being trapped under a couple of hundred kilograms of wood and steel. RJ leapt from the stage and chased the guy out of the venue and halfway up the street before he disappeared in a car.
We have been witnesses to many beatings and suffered a few of our own. We have also seen an audience member have their finger bitten off and others stabbed. RJ was once (accidentally) set on fire. People have gone through glass windows and doors and the show has been stopped by police raids, power shutdowns, bathroom breakdowns at the venue and people falling onto the stage breaking equipment... and on a few occassions teeth.
Many times we have dodged airbourne bottles and flying (as in through the air!) bodies and at one very scary show were outnumbered 25 to 1 - surrounded by drunk/drugged/armed bikers questioning our sexuality in an isolated field at 3am in Australia. We have had gear smashed and stolen along with gig money, a couple of times at knifepoint. We have also been carried triumphantly on the shoulders of audience members in the Netherlands and had somebody in Germany offer to buy an apartment just so we would live in his town.
Sometimes we have had to put cardboard in the soles of our worn out shoes, one time RJ being so broke he had to keep his shoes on with "gaff" (musicians) tape as he could not afford new laces when the old ones broke one too many times. Stage pants have sometimes had to have the same repair. He has also bought two pairs of shoes in one week (first pair stolen!) and we have both been given brand new shoes by people more than once.
Some other things we have been offered - but not always accepted...: free alcohol, drugs, accommodation, tattoos, clothing, concert tickets, paintings, food, fuel, wireless microphones, microphone stands, carpets(!!!), equipment repair, bowling, mini golf, boat trips, sightseeing tours, 9 to 5 employment (ha! ha!), building supplies, car repairs, haircuts, fingernail design, cd's, dvd's, glasses, computers and computer repair, televisions, hi-fi's, taxi fares, cooking hotplates, marriage (once by a bride at her own wedding) and er...personal...er...favours.
Though we have only had about 10% of the help we actually need (and about 5% of what normal people receive) to keep this ship afloat we consider the people that have made an effort for us very special. We have a very long memory when it comes to these rock and roll angels!
We have hit the stage in everything from (only) boxer shorts, womans dresses complete with stuffed bra and combat boots (RJ won THAT bet!), Santa hats, devil horns, holey and torn t-shirts, various unnatural hair colours that would make Green Day look like librarians (Cecilia), plastic garbage bags with holes for arms (that was a hot one!) and custom made pants, jewellery, shirts and jackets worth hundreds of dollars. Our wireless guitar and microphone setup has enabled us to run across tables and completely circumnavigate the external walls of entire venues in one guitar solo. While playing we have chased - and been chased! - by animals and once had a dog casually walk onto the stage and sleep at RJ's feet throughout an entire performance.
Our after show activities have included everything from autograph signings, drinks with fans, illegal swimming in the town fountain (and being chased by police for our efforts - HEY! We had to, it was a very hot gig!) to sleeping in the venue carpark in the car and sitting up all night watching video clips of "Schlager" and polka music on the one non-fuzzy tv channel in cheap hotels wondering what the hell ever happened to rock and roll.
Admission to some gigs has been free, other places we have been the most expensive music the people have ever paid for. Some stages have been huge, built outdoors especially for us with on stage fans (the wind type!) and other times we have had to build the stage ourselves before the show - at our own expense with hammer and nails before we could perform.
We have broken through stages and jumped until we hit our heads on ceilings and lights. A couple of times we have had to play on billiard tables and have performed while dancing along the bar at many venues.
At one show in the Netherlands RJ passed out from the heat and pain of a lost fingernail and woke up lying on the stage looking at Cecilias feet with his trusty guitar Gary still held up and playing! The audience just thought it was part of the act but it's nice to know that we can even play when we are unconscious!
RJ came down to watch the support act at one gig, a contestant from the TV talent show "X-Factor". As a result of the massive exposure he had received through the show he had by that point become quite a star. Because R'JAC had not been in that country for a while RJ was curious about the quality of the X-Factor acts but was a little shocked when he was approached by the young fellow - who was a very sweet and courteous guy - asking if RJ had a music stand so that he could put his papers with lyrics and music on stage! Oh, and could RJ please tune my guitar - I don't know how!
Some venues have asked us to turn the volume down after a few acoustic notes of a Pink Floyd song while another club owner once asked us to make our Metallica louder as he tried to stop the glasses from vibrating off the shelves behind his bar.
We have arrived at shows by car, van, bus, camping car (RV), snowscooter, boat, pushbike, limousine, plane, ferry and even by foot through heatwaves, snowstorms, hail, ice, sand and hurricanes. One trip involved 28 hours on planes and in airports across three continents, 5 hours on a train, 7 hours driving back in the direction we just came from through the night in our car that had been broken into and the window smashed, 2 hours sleep - woken by a phone call to say RJ's father had died, straight to our stage guys place to pick up the equipment (he had disappeared taking us an hour to find him) then another two hour drive to another country for a one hour set up hitting the stage just in time for the 3 hour show.
Once when RJ was on tour with Michael Katon we drove through the night from Eindhoven in The Netherlands to the next show in Salzburg Austria (about 900kms) only to find out that the promotor had not confirmed the gig. The show did not go on as it had not been advertised and nobody knew we were even in town. The fuel, van rental, and rooms in two hotels had to all be paid for out of the musicians pocket. The next day we drove almost 600 kms north again to the next gig. A typical rock and roll "Spinal Tap" moment many bands could relate to.
Occasionally we have had people who have accused us of miming, saying that it is not possible to play or sing so well without some sort of electronic assistance. They mean it as an insult but we always take this as a compliment, especially as it usually comes from fellow musicians - oddly enough it's the audience who always seem to "get it". One of the funniest moments happened at a festival in Danmark when a musician we knew actually refused to come inside out of principal - a principal that must have left him cold and lonely as the audience inside leapt and screamed. And this guy has recorded with rock stars! We laugh about that one to this day...
There is one country where people have shouted for us to stop speaking English and use the native tongue (no, not France!) and others where people have spent months taking English lessons so they can talk with us after a show. And one memorable day in Krakow Poland where a man from Paris got very upset because everyone was speaking Polish instead of French!
Then there was the occassion when RJ got confused about where he was and used the Norwegian greeting "Hei" in Spain when asking for directions, causing the man to get very angry at his rudeness. "Hei" sounds like "Hey" which in English (and apparently Spanish!) is a very disrespectful way to get someones attention! Not our fault, we were in Norway the night before!
From fighting off muggers in London to being handed large sums of money by strangers in America just because they "believe" in us. Cooking noodles alone on a fire at the side of the road to being given free 5 course meals at expensive restaurants by people wanting us to share their anniversary with them. Signing autographs on Route 66 and being ignored by country fans in Norway.
Partying outside arenas in tour buses in France, watching the lights of the Bellagio fountain from our hotel window in Las Vegas and having rock stars give us their beds while they sleep on the floor beside us in hotel rooms in Belgium to sleeping in tents in the rain in Dresden, high stakes late night poker games with gangsters and Singapore businessmen on the lawless back streets of Kuala Lumpur, nights in the forests of Arkansas and lying under the stars on the banks of the Mississippi river as guns fired and police sirens wailed a few blocks away. We have woken up in cars with ice on the inside of the window and slept on the grass under trees outside buildings in our leather jackets all night waiting for the owners to arrive... after 2 train journeys to get there. But Cecilia can still remember being colder - the time she woke to find her blanket had frozen to the wall.
We even played a few gigs in a haunted venue where the sound of invisible footsteps would keep us awake at night as we tried to sleep in the bandroom above the stage. One night Cecilia watched a light float around the room and followed it as it went above RJ's bed then entered his chest as he slept. A few months later one owner drowned herself and the other was beaten to death by the first owners son and a friend who are now both in jail.
Even weirder was being in a club in Spain and seeing Cecilia show up on a karaoke video! (the song is "Hey Ya" by Outkast on the Sunfly label). Still waiting for the royalties...
One time on the Azores Islands we had to convince a doctor to let us onto the plane because RJ had chicken pox, not easy to do in Portuguese! Five days watching a continuous loop of five Alf and Family Ties episodes on tv (also in Portuguese!) from the sofa in the hotel room itching and with a fever was enough! After a few days of "nâo!" from doctors we finally convinced them to let us on the plane just in time to stumble on stage for a series of Christmas shows in Norway, but only after having to drive across the country and sliding off the road in a blizzard in the mountains. Looking horrible with a dangerous temperature the shows still went on - RJ having to constantly remind himself that the giant rats running across the floor were not real.
Schnitzel in Germany, burritos in New Mexico, English breakfast in Soho, moose and whale in Scandinavia, paella in The Canary Islands, curry in Thailand and hamburgers in LA.
Buckingham Palace, Statue of Liberty, Sydney Opera House, Eiffel Tower, Graceland! We've hung out at the houses of Bach and Mozart and played on Lemmys slot machine at his second home. We've been on Broadway in New York watching the Tony awards live, watched the huge spectacle that is the football world cup between sets in small venues on smaller televisions and partied on streets in Olympic cities when the games come to town. Red carpets and velvet ropes, concrete floors and gutters. Some places have not even let us in and others have immediately escorted us to private roped off areas with the best seating and given us a personal waiter while people mingled around staring at us and taking photographs.
On top of mountains, under glaciers, through deserts. Some clubs have named drinks after us and others have not even been able to supply us with water.
Newspapers have devoted entire centrepage spreads to us and paid for our stories. TV station representatives have come to shows looking for an exclusive and then other venues have not even been bothered to advertise or even hang up the posters that were supplied to them resulting in some lonely nights.
Fans have caught (and dropped!) us when we have stage dived and another once held RJ off the floor by his throat before a show because he was upset that the gig would not start before the advertised showtime. RJ's neck was blue that night but the sound of his voice had a cool rock and roll roughness!
Some audiences have not even noticed we were there and others have started to pull the walls down (literally!) when R'jac stopped at 3 encores - leaving broken timber and insulation scattered across the floor.
One night a girl jumped on stage and started to rip off RJ's clothes. When he pulled away the girl simply shrugged her shoulders and headed across the stage, then began to try to rip Cecilia's clothes off instead! (luckily somebody in the audience was filming that one!).
Yes, rock and roll affects people in many different ways - but of all the things we have seen nothing stands out like one particular night in the north...
We had been playing on a ship for 6 days, sometimes having to take turns leaving the stage to vomit due to the rough weather. One night we even had to play some of the show on our knees because the boat was moving so much it was not possible to stand. But still some people made the effort to leave their cabins and catch a few tunes.
On his particular night the weather was a little better and we had more people than we had previously. Everyone was having a great time singing and jumping round except for one table to the left of the room, who seemed to be enjoying themselves very much but would not leave their seats. This is not allowed at an R'jac show, so at the end of the night RJ told everyone that they would only play one more song if those people joined the others at the front of the stage.
The people at the table looked at each other in a very confused way, had a brief discussion then slowly joined the crowd - some leaving their crutches behind. Though they were not very steady on their feet they were very excited to be standing without help for the first time in years - the first time since their multiple sclerosis had sidelined them from society. The happiness and gratitude they showed us after the show is something we will never forget.
Of course we had nothing to do with it, RJ didn't even know they were unwell (their legs were under the table all night). But that night we realised how powerful music can be.
It means different things to different people. For some it's physical. For some it's spiritual. For others it's a life changing revelation. For some it's just an excuse to jump around, be silly and escape their boring 9 to 5 life for a few hours.
If we had to describe this adventure in one word it would be "Extreme". The ups are like nothing you could imagine and the downs will crush you until your desperation makes it hurt when you breathe - if you let it. Our life will probably never be predictable, safe or "in the middle".
Nothing is worse than a life wasted and one thing is for sure - rock and roll is still taking us to new places - physically and emotionally - that we never knew existed. No matter where this leads us or how we finish this life we know at the end we will die with a smile. And for that we thank you.
See you at the show!
RJ and Cecilia.