There is much snow and small rocks to be seen on Canadian highways in the winter. March is still considered winter when you blast into the prairies. Scott and Dave took the Ferry to Vancouver a day early so I held out for the 8am, on the day we were to leave from Brian’s place in Langley at 2pm. I sat with a friend on the ferry who drives tour busses and talks into a microphone. That sounds like a nice gig.
We arrived at Kamloops and I walked to the big grocery store to find some potato salad. The stupid place was still under construction (despite the light-up sign) so I walked across a wide, dark and dangerous highway to the Safeway. New malls are not made to be walked to. If you don’t drive, you are NOBODY! Their potato salad looked too mayonnaisey, so I walked up the highway to the Overwaitea where the deli is always decent. When I got back to the hotel I discovered that this potato salad was FROZEN!
We has a great show, my favorite part was noticing the two uniformed policemen watching Lance’s drum solo. The next day I ended up at Overwaitea to get some fruit, and I told the deli people that their potato salads were frozen, and that they shouldn’t be. They said that it was probably because it was stored by a freezer element and stopped caring beyond that. The search for the perfect potato salad continues.
THE OK OKANOGAN
We had a terrible smell of burning electronics onstage in Penticton. We still don’t know what it was. Brian’s amp stopped working and Mike brought it to a shop that found nothing wrong with it. We had a lighting tree fall over and our van got paintballed by some looneys. The cops pulled us over and told us that they know who paintballed us.
Ra told the crow that the only time he ever tried to steal anything was in Penticton when he was being a teenage hippy in the 60s. He got caught, arrested, and the squeeze-cheeze returned to its place in the store. Ra said that he had just enough money for some bread, and he thought his friends would be really happy to have some cheese. Brian also tried to be a teenage hippy in Penticton and was charged with vagrancy (not having enough money) and escorted out of town.
I love Penticton. It is the apple, grape and sun belt of Canada; a true year-round summer resort. It is pretty and groovy with a long flowing canal that connects the huge popular swimming lakes. The houses are mostly old and interesting, from big chunky Victorian styles to the many small plastered 1920’s bungalows. I found 2 original paintings from the 1960’s in a flea-market shop (one is a church, the other a lady playing guitar). They were $2.50 each. I have at least 100 paintings by obscure (probably deceased) artists at home. I also went to what is probably the biggest and best of the used bookstore in Canada and bought 2 Mad magazines from the 1970s. It is a good thing that I have a bus from the 1950’s at home to store all of this stuff in.
Our drives were very short between towns on this tour. We played a well-received show in Vernon. I probably always mention the fact that I got a $75 J-walking ticket here when I was poverty stricken while gigging here with ‘Love or Money’ in the 1980’s. I was just a happy kid with no shirt, long hair and cut-offs trying to get across to Safeway for some potato salad. An unreasonable and shitty shitty old cop wrote out my ticket and then had to stop his car as a properly respectable lady J-walked right in front of him as he drove away. He gave me a very knowing and personal look as he waited for her to cross. You actually have to pay these fines you know, or they won’t sell you a drivers licence. Sorry for trying to walk on the Earth.
It is still dangerous to walk around Vernon. Guys with big trucks get some special licence from God (or so they act) to not obey any pedestrian crossing rights. I almost got eaten by three different monster-trucks as I tried to jog back to that same old Safeway store.
MY ‘MOOG SOURCE’ STORY, SAD TALE THAT IT IS
I have purchased 3 analogue synthesizers from my friend Andy Lormer (keys for Simon Kaos and Prism) over the last 10 years. I finally cleaned him out when he handed over his small 4 octave Moog Source. It was the last monophonic synth Moog ever made before they closed down shop. It is like a scaled down Mini Moog with MEMORY (!) and a beautiful aluminum place-face like a McDonalds cash register.
It is the only truly road-worthy Moog synth built (so says I) so I used it as a freak-out machine at Spice Boys gigs last year. Unfortunately, a big doorman sucker-punched it (as a friendly gag) as I walked out of the club after a show with it wrapped in a towel. He thought it was a pillow and almost broke his hand. He did manage to break my beloved Moog Source. He had offered to pay the doctor bill for the thing but hasn’t yet. Perhaps I could go to where he teaches boxing (seriously!) and shake him down, (not seriously!) I have known him for years and like him personally. He was kind to us and pigged us out wonderfully years ago, so whatever.
The Audio Doctor fixed the broken Moog Source and I spent considerable dough getting a real custom-made road case for it (try punching it now…go ahead!) It has since returned to being broken, been fixed again and now I have it with Trooper on this road trip. At the Winnipeg gig both oscillators went hopelessly out-of tune and the top 2 octaves played a whole semi-tone sharp. I am not sharp enough to transpose on the fly like that during mid-improv. I brought it back home and recorded with it. It was fine at home.
Now in the Okanogan the Moog Source either works half-ass or not at all for our shows. It is the wildest, fattest screaming old synth that new tech cannot imitate, so I love playing it LOUD. Oh well, it will back to the doctor for the third time after this tour.
KELOWNA IS THE BIG TOWN OF THE OKANOGAN
Holy strip-mall Batman! What has happened to this town? We went for a band field trip to the malls to find birthday presents for Mike Pacholuk, our excellent soundman/road manager. He started in the biz as a drummer so it was fitting for him to play a tune in what was to prove to be an unusually loose show for us.
I remember playing here before and complimenting the guy who put together the grand deli tray. He out did himself this time (fine by me!) with an amazing selection arranged over 2 huge mirrored trays. If you consider the buns and condiments, the entire ensemble couldn’t fit on the table backstage. Diana Krall (also from Nanaimo) wins Grammy awards, and I get giant deli trays (fine by me!). There was also a gaggle of girls in the hotel who asked Scott and Brian “if they are in the WWF”.
There was a half-hour wait on the highway out-of-town while a crew cleaned up or enticed a rockslide. I walked around and looked at the peaceful reflection of the mountain on the lake when a red car pulled up in line behind a dirty old Camero (the kind Tom-Boy-Women drive). The red car guy flys out of his door in a huff and walks up to the Camero. He knocks on the Camero window until it opens. “Hey! Nice driving! You put a rock in my windshield etc..” followed by swearing, personal insults and a big boot to the Camero door that left a dent. It was a great dramatic redneck exchange. I delight at those wild-west scenes, from a distance, as a spectator.