ONTARIO FOR A WHILE
We took a few days off and met again at the airport. A few hours later we were a few hours earlier. The Essex Park hotel in Toronto was ready for us, so I took the old elevator to the 10th floor and called it a day. I was too tired to join Ra and Chuck as guests at the Fastball concert.
The elevator was getting weird to the point where it wasn’t working very well at all. I chose to take the stairs. Scott and Ra did the same and almost wiped each other out.
We played a show where a guitar company had 2 reps backstage offering Scott and Brian endorsements. Brian is to receive 2 guitars, a 6 and a 12 string, Ra gets a 12, and Scott gets a bass. I got lots of rest.
The next town had a bizarre elevator as well. We all got on, and off together, on the wrong floor.
We had some time off in Toronto. I spent much time listening to sample disks at a shop called Saved by Technology. This is the 4th largest city in North America now, and it is showing some signs of holding such a title. There are a lot of street people, and they have nowhere to go to the bathroom. Being in this town is like being in a big Canadian movie, if that makes any sense.
Smitty looked out the window of his hotel room, right towards the next building, where two men were naked, one already in bed, and the other one checking him out. Smitty closed his curtain. There were also about 5 tour busses and more semis in the neighbourhood as Metallica, Dave Mathews Band, Earth Wind and Fire and whoever else maneuvered for space. Plenty of bands stay in this hotel, “one too many,” as Lance had said after been kept up by a parting group next door.
There have been a considerable amount of hotel saunas to consider over the years. Considering that it takes awhile to stoke some of these units up, I gave our Toronto steam room to percolate. I will tell the world right now that this sauna was very hot. The metal door could burn your hand. If you passed out there, you would be cooked alive. Unbelievable. We have stayed at this hotel a dozen times and I did not even know this killer sauna was there. That’s probably why I’m still here. Yes, this is the absolute BEST sauna in Canada, so far.
Some audience members are telling me that my road reports are out-of-date. Its true; it has been a busy year, and a very good one. We played Lulus in Kitchener one more time, this time to about 3500 people, which is very good. Lance and Scott are marathon joggers now; I could never try to keep up to them any more.
Lance’s Mom shows up in more towns than any Mom I have ever heard of. She travels frequently with her work so we get to chat- her-up a lot. She is very nice, and Lance’s brother is very (and nice too). Ra treated the band to take-out Wok-In restaurant curried Vietnamese rice dishes as we split Kingston. Once again, we experienced a beautiful town of splendid stone mansions and great chow.
The only time I ever watch TV is on these road trips. I convinced Scott to become a Waltons fan on the last trip. This position comes naturally to me. My family saw every early first-run episode together in the 70. As a kid, I was amazed at the parallels the 2 families shared. We also had lots of kids, all close in age. We had a huge table to eat at, church junk, old truck, and although we were certainly not rich, we owned a mountain named after us.
The entire series was aired in the mid 80s again, this time at 3am, as a bottom of the barrel broadcast. My band would watch it every night after our gigs. Wild boys we were not. Now Scott and I laugh and make rude comments as we totally enjoy the afternoon reruns.
I did not see any episodes between our last tour and this Ontario jaunt. Jim Bob has a jukebox, and he fell in love, Grandma had a stroke, Ike has a pool and tearoom and Grandpa is gone. The whole thing is a mess at this point. Daddy was offered an executive job and turned it down because he would have to leave the mountain. Man, if someone would have filmed the Gogos in the 1970s, we could have provided some REAL entertainment.
WINE DISASTER AND SIGN OFF
I tried to rescue a wayward bottle of wine from a show, and it got buried in my suitcase. Scott was nice enough to unload my bags from the van one-day. He has tended bar and he knows the sound of a bottle breaking. I have a waterproof duffle bag, so liquids can not enter, nor can they escape.
Scott was also nice enough to help rescue all my junk and wash out my bag. As it turned out, the whole thing was a breeze. I have a couple groovy tie-dyed shirts now. My flashy new shiny stage shirts and jackets that I just picked up on Queen Street were spared, as was the Victorian Golly doll (it’s a Christmas present). I needed to do some laundry one of these times anyway.
We have a day off in Toronto before our last show and flight home. I woke up to bad news about a leaky roof back home and cheered up at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I can loose my mind at this one; every exhibit was remarkable. A special showing of Van Gogh and his contemporaries included Piet Mondrian, my favorite Dutch landscape artist turned neo-placisist. I bought a couple books on the subject and will get to them as soon as I finish the Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies hard cover I scored for $3. I have always been a huge fan of the early Cooper band. It is both exciting and sad to read a reporters report of their road life. They had much more booze and boredom then we presently do.
Mike, Chuck and Smitty were the only ones to miss out on the last pilgrimage to Mr. Jerk. The “small” curried beans and rice, at $1.50 blows the doors off of anything I can find commercially at home. Bigger towns can have advantages I guess.
Our last show of the tour was in a sold out town hall. Many people from Mount Forest came out to participate in a benefit show for a family whose 2 children have cerebral palsy. The parents were visibly moved by the experience of receiving so much love and support. We had our own private hotel party on this night, the last one of our tour. Stray partiers kept me awake until I stopped answering the door and Scott unplugged the phone.
Our motel rooms took awhile to warm up. It is getting a wee-bit cool out lately. There is a large grass courtyard to avoid in this complex. The same dog that barks our arrival, and wakes up all the guests with the same sound, managed to poop-out the entire lawn. Perhaps the proprietors forget that the rest of the world is not like that.
Well, if that’s all I have to worry about after another year on the road, I must say that things are OK. We are about to hop in the big red van and drive back to the Toronto international airport. This van had 32 kms on it when we picked it up. I thought it smelled like burnt tires, but I guess it was just new. Thank you once again to everyone who made this tour much fun. The vibes are good. The marimba, excellent.
All I can tell you, is that if Trooper had played Altamont, no one would have died.