LAST PART OF THE REPORT
It is now 7am, and we are driving back home; 1135kms from Rimbey Alberta to the coast. The idea is that we get to Smitty’s house by 7pm, enough time for Scott and I to make the 9pm sailing to the Island. Smitty is driving the first shift, Ra is reading, Scott is looking at a map and Frankie is having a rare quiet moment where he is not making us all laugh. I just had a morning shower and used some honey scented shampoo to try to get the smell of the tar shampoo off of my head. I think that I still smell like tar, oh well. I got the smoke from last night’s gig washed away, for sure. Not much I can do about my bedsores.
I think about Lance a lot. For those who just joined us, Lance was drummer before Frankie, who joined the same time that I did, way back in 1996 or whenever. We always update each other whenever one of us talks to him, emails or visits. Lance’s humour is as constant as Frankie’s, but a different brand. Lance is the King of understatement, like making a funny quiet vocal where a yell might be, which has great impact from such a big dude, and is totally as funny as anything. The understatement trait never enters into his music, however. His drum solos shook every stage. Thousands of people think of him quite often, I bet.
So I have Smitty’s wonderful Powerbook cramped onto my lap with the cable plugged into the main truck battery, so lots of time here. I drove the truck back from the gig last night. We did 2 nights in Rimbey, at the Grand Hotel. Frankie drove the 46kms back the first night to the resort community of Sylvan Lake, reaching 140kms, I got up to 130 and slowed down to my regular 90. Right away I just can not drive fast. I offered to do this long drive today, guaranteeing that we would get back in less than a week, in time to go out on tour again. We have about 7 days at home coming up. There are so many things that I want to do, and a few that I really ought to, like taxes, cos it has been a couple of years now, and the man is starting to bark at me.
I was surprised to see the Motel parking lot empty at 7am. When we got back from the gig a few hours ago, the parking lot was full of big-man trucks and I had to park between a couple of huge pick-ups. I felt very industrial and modern. People really get up that early hey? WILD.
I HAD A DREAM THAT MY DAD ORDERED 2 HUGE TRAINS (I hate that stupid caps lock thing) full of concrete to fix the back alley and pathway. It was totally unnecessary and going to cost $10 000. I had no idea how to stop the trains and had no idea how to pay for it, cos he was unable to get out of bed. He just ordered horrible things over the phone by his bed. Totally out of control. Kinda sad that this is the kinda junk buried in my mind. I wish I could dream about stuff like one of the two times it was just my Dad and I walking around through the woods by the river. He said “hey look, there is a bear in a cave!” I looked over and it was my Mom in an outhouse, smiling and waving. Uncle Eddy’s outhouse had no door.
Where did we leave off……………….oh ya, my shopping spree at the Mountain Equipment Co-op. We just looked through their catalogue again here in the truck. You wouldn’t believe how much luggage I have now, and I fit it all into the back of this truck. I don’t think that anyone else believed that it all would fit. Perhaps I am a jerk for hogging so much space again. Oh well. I now have one bag just full of different soups from around the world.
Ok, backtrack……March 25 2005, Good Friday, Holiest day of the year, next to Easter Sunday, in my opinion….we drove 580 kms from Airdrie Alberta to North Battleford Saskatchewan to play the Golden Eagle Casino. The hotel had huge waterslides, as many big Sask hotels do, but I spent the time with headphones on, working up the drum mix for Long-Haired Funky Friends of Jesus. The Hotel was totally full of Natives, which I dig, cos they are always so friendly.
The gig was a smoke-fest. We are not used to all the smoke these days. The place was packed. Looked to me like a huge bingo hall with people right to the back. Everyone went nuts, it was awesome.
Scott, Ra and I went for a walk across the street to the mall that day. It was Smitty’s birthday and we were looking for fun presents to have at a little party for him. Ra and Smitty are always quite generous with each other, which is so cool, and Scott is a master gift giver as well. At the first store, Scott found a DVD of the movie Open Plain. Smitty had tried to watch Ra’s copy of that movie on his computer and for whatever reason, it wouldn’t play past half way. Ra found movies and books, Frankie found Peter Seller’s The Party, and I found a stack of fine chocolates, or at least the best ones I could find, which I figured were quite fine indeed. Mike went out and got a big cake, which was delivered to Smitty onstage along with a bottle of champagne, which he shared with the crowd.
Smitty actually watched the cowboy movie at night, which would freak me out. I have to watch really funny stuff at night, if anything at all, and no ghost stuff.
All this stuff may have happened the next day, 145kms away in Lloydminster. Yes in fact it did. March 26 2005, There was some controversy whether to put Smitty’s guitar cabinet backstage at the Golden Eagle Casino, because we are all using in-ear monitors now anyway, but we figured that it is good to have the guitar speakers onstage anyway, so we are not all sterile-sounding, with no air movement. You can feel the guitar and bass on your feet if you still use the big cabinets, which is nice. There was all Native art backstage there, and great sandwiches.
Some guys came backstage after the show and one told me that Streetheart had kicked him out of their dressing room. I thought that was unlike them and asked him what he did to bring that on. He said that he lit-up a reefer and they kicked him out. Imagine that! A detail of the story that he missed. I can think of only one time when someone sparked up a rocket backstage at one of our shows, and yes he was also ejected. Nobody needs management on their alert about that. Also, nobody in this band or crew smokes grass. In the past, we have had lots of pot smokers in the crew, guys would burn a log here or there, but I don’t think I know any musicians who woft a fattie these days, other than jazz guys (of course) and some local guys at home. Makes you lazy, or so I hear. Also could turn you into a jazz guy. Either way, you get a chance to use some new beatnik terminology.
Lloydminster was where Smitty’s birthday party was, and we stayed around the venue quite late that night. Sure nice people there. I don’t think that I ever get to sleep before 4am these days, and then get up at 9 or 10. I used to sleep waaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I do these days. Dunno.
245km drive to Edmonton, for a day off. Actually it wasn’t a day off because Dr. Brad Basaraba hired us to perform at his promotional party for his new private chiropractor office. He gave away a ton of tickets to potential clients, assured use of a night club, and our crew set the stage up. The venue was called the Starlight Room. WOW is Edmonton set for awesome venues. This one has a total art deco brick face, a gorgeous 1925 building, originally a Salvation Army, then a church, hence the sloped wooden dance floor. Extremely cool building. Great staircases, backstage passages, big stage, big open room, great sound. I would LOVE to go hear a group there. Man, did we make friends that night.
Scott, Frankie and I accepted an invitation to join Dr. Brad Basaraba and his family for Easter Dinner at the Edmonton Petroleum club. This is the same person I had mentioned earlier, ex-college football player, Clark Kent look, and up to this point quite serious. Hard to get him to laugh. I didn’t really quite get what he all about at first. He is serious, cos he is a doctor, and he in fact is quite a gas to hang out with, and yes you can get him laughing.
So Scott, Frankie and I drove about 20 minutes to a private rich person’s club for dinner. There were families all dressed up, with kids in suits and ties. We didn’t exactly bring formal wear on this road trip. I often consider us to be quite regular conservative people, but these situations always remind me that we are rockers, and in this case we looked like rockers, despite my best Jesus pants and yellow long-sleeve shirt. In fact we were starting to feel a bit out-of-place, until the front reception girls showed that they were delighted to have us aboard, and the waitress got us laughing like the fools that we are. We realize that this is a special thing for these proper families, and we don’t want to spoil it for them in any way, you know, show them some respect, so we behaved. Well, Scott dumped my glass of water all over my Jesus outfit, and the Mexican fabric is see-through when it gets wet, cos it is light cotton and dries in the sun quickly, but who’s looking, right?
These people at the Petroleum Club all own professional sports teams, run law firms and stuff. Some of these cats are very rich, or so I hear. We held down our regular ridiculous behavior out of respect for the fact that it is their club, and also it is Easter.
The food was all set up: a table covered in high-end fancy deserts, and another long one with roasts, turkey, Halibut, baked and steamed veggies, and every salad you would ever want. No Miso soup, but what yu gonna do? We waited for a while for Doctor Brad and his entourage to show up, and Scott figured that we should go ahead and start to eat NOW, so we can also go to the hotel and get a nap before the show, which was actually a really good idea. Loaded up on this amazing yam salad, and turkey dinner (no, I am not a vegetarian, if you can’t have turkey, you are just waaaay too serious).
Dr. Brad arrived with his family and some friends, set half of them up at another table. He was a bit nervous about the show, detail, and also about the private practice he was having set up, drywall and stuff. He was happy that we had dug into the growlies, and we all had a great time telling little stories and having a laugh. IT was the BEST meal of the tour, way too much food of course. I was really glad that we attended. I figure that any eccentric doctor who invited a rock band to his old-boys club can’t be all bad. We get invited to a lot of nice things, and it was wonderful to actually have the time to attend one. Dr. Brad is cool.
So it turns out that we were not out of place with that crowd in the end, despite our earlier peaking out of the awkward meter. . Corporate folks love rock and rollers, and we were kinda-like special guests in that way. We left early, went to the venue for Frankie to check his drums (he is obsessed,) back to the hotel where I fell into the deepest sleep of the year. I can’t believe that I actually managed to wake up at all.
I really wanted the gig to be a smash, well, we all did, cos we were warming up to Dr. Brad, who had set his chiropractor table up for us backstage at a couple of shows previously, and was become a bit of a favorite guy with us. We all want him to do well, of course.
Turns out, the venue was totally packed, and the place was definitely ready for a show. There were 3 skeletons set up on the stage, and it was a party, not a concert, and we had agreed to treat it as such, so we played about twice as long as normally do. There was an entourage of ladies with silver glittery Trooper T-shirts who sang back-up vocals, and we had a great jam session that included several Doobie Brother’s songs. Scott and Ra sang Sweet Caroline and I sang Billy Jean with our lighting guy, Dave Hampshire on drums. What a gas. By the end of the night, I had 3 girls with me singing into my mike. They all had wild tattoos. One girl had total chest tattoos, and the girls were pushing theirs boobs up onto each other. Wild stuff, if you don’t see that all the time, and I don’t either, actually. Really nice people, totally fun.
The vibe at that gig was right through the roof. 96 beer got opened backstage. Everyone there was your best friend. The security guys were so cool, total arm tattoo guys that would normally intimidate people in bank line-ups, unintentionally. You gotta hand it to Dr. Brad for hosting such a great evening. He got up and sang a tune and everyone had hugs for everyone. This is the total flip-side of the theatre gig. This is a total party. I sure wish that some of my friends back home could see this type of event, so they know the spectrum of what it is that we do out here on the road.
Ok, 160kms drive to Rimbey Alberta. Lots of short drives, which is unusual for a Western Tour. Ra printed out the CBC top 50 songs, we were all happy to see Raise A Little Hell on it, and Ra played some of the ones that I didn’t know on his Powerbook. I made a little list of songs that I feel should have been included, for fun. These are my essential Canadian songs that were not on the list:
- After The Goldrush ………. Neil Young
- If You Could Read My Mind ………. Lightfoot
- All We Are ………. Kim Mitchell
- Wild Eyes ………. Stampeders
- Fly At Night ………. Chilliwack
- I Just Wanna Stop ………. Gino Vinelli
- I Did It My Way ………. Paul Anka
I left my soy milk, huge chunk of tofu, orange juice and some hot and sour soup in a hotel fridge, which bummed me out a bit. Scott said that you can be happy all the time. He read a few more books, one really good one about vibrating at a higher frequency all the time. Scott said that what you FEEL matters, not what you think, and the yearning focuses on the negative. Being generous is good if it makes you FEEL good, and therefore vibrate at a higher frequency.
In fact, you can even be a jerk and have the universe go your way, if you FEEL good about everything. This is a breakthrough concept for me, and explains several people that I know, who are total pricks, yet never have karma bite their asses off.
I hope that the person who cleaned out the hotel room fridge didn’t throw out the snacks, and had a decent one dish meal out of it. I hate to see good food wasted. I wonder what became of the leftovers from that big fancy club Dr. Brad dinner. There was a ton of gourmet food there. He got some wrapped up for us to go as well, which was very thoughtful, including some more yam salad.
HEY! We just stopped at a doughnut shop, and Smitty is here with dough gods for everyone. I just talked to Tracy for a couple of hours and she is having fun planting more grass on Protection Island. She has to sift a lot of soil to do this. Morgan, our total gay friend is visiting, and he like to help out with the landscaping, so I asked if she was taking the fairy on the ferry, which I thought was really stupid, but she thought was really funny. Silly girl.
We talk about house design a lot, when I am not being super funny (apparently), and I have some decent drawings to show her now. She says that she also has a design, but she hasn’t drawn it out. Oh oh.
So we were to stay in a resort at the next gig, but changed to a different hotel cos it wasn’t so groovy, so we stayed at the Raccoon Lodge, which had no raccoons cos they are bad. Tracy thought that was funny too. I may be funnier than I think, or perhaps I just have a good audience.
For some reason I thought I would be swimming in this lake, because this is a famous resort town (Sylvan Lake), seriously, that was my big plan. I guess I didn’t notice that everything is still frozen, including this huge lake. There was a truck way out there, and Smitty saw people jump skidoos, but I didn’t see any of that because I decided that it would be healthy to get some sleep. I could hear the ATVs outside buzzing around. I went to a grocery store for more crazy soups, worked on audio mixes in the hotel. Flipped around TV channels.
We were there for 2 nights, and the first morning I was raunched out by construction guys renovating rooms downstairs. This was a 3-story motel, and the sound traveled quite well. I heard every song on their radio, including Wheels in The Sky Keep On Turning and Cuts Like a Knife.
I am sure that these are delightful recordings, but I would prefer to hear them at my leisure, and not at 9am with a saw going wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee over top of it when I am trying to get some damn sleep. So, I phoned the hotel front desk to ask when they are going to take a break. I was told “I informed the gentleman who booked the rooms about the renovations.” So, I responded, “So it’s HIS fault then? The guy who booked the rooms? Don’t you think it would be nice to put up a sign or in some way warn guests about this type of thing?” I thought I was being a jerk, cos you can now, you know, according to Scott’s book, and still have the universe go your way.
Scott said that I was way too polite.
So we were asked to stay for one more night at that gig, and couldn’t cos guys gotta get home for what short time off that we have, so Scott and I changed rooms anyway, to a big suite with a kitchen, so I could make soup on the stove, rather than microwave. We had 2 TVs in separate rooms, and Frankie next door had by far the loudest of the 3 TVs.
Scott arranged the room change as a trade off for the rights to watch golf all day.
This gig (Rimbey Alberta, March 28-29 2005), had the best egg salad sandwiched that Ra has ever had, which is saying a lot, cos that is his thing, you know. There were some nice smelly candles backstage that I took with me, in case the manager is wondering, and the place sold out for 2 nights.
Old, old hotel, rooms starting at $19.99. We didn’t stay there, (thank you LORD) but got some nice memories of the ‘80s by hanging out upstairs in the hotel room that served as a backstage. The sandwiches were all individually wrapped and labeled, which I thought was really excellent, genius in fact. Makes for an excellent gig. Great audience, super enthusiastic. Some pretty raunchy girls at the T-Shirt booth, kinda bossy, no big deal, but funny how different towns have their own character. Some really nice quiet people as well, of course, and a cool back-up band, some great gang photos taken.
Should I wrap this up? Smitty and Frankie are eating the crazy doughnuts, Scott is reading his book about how to be a spiritually excellent jerk (if it FEELS good), Frankie is reading a similar one, I am running low on notes scribbled with my pencil, dulled from house design. Ra knows how to sharpen a pencil with a knife, but I don’t know if anyone has one. Ra’s dad was an artist who never used a conventional pencil sharpener.
You know, this tour zipped by, so says everyone. No chamber maids woke me up at crazy hours, which is nice, and I didn’t jog even once. In fact, this is the least exercise I have gotten in years. Years! Ra says that I should roll over once in a while, or get Scott to help me, so that I don’t get bed sores.
This tour’s also had the most free hotel breakfasts that I have ever seen. Quite often we wake up and check out after they have shut down, and the nice front desk lady opens it up again for us. One hotel had all band and crew cooking waffles into the afternoon. Great hotel breakfast parties. I love it. Great rock and roll moments, like when everyone is in one public washroom. Only on the road.
This tour also had the most tattoos that I have ever seen on ladies, ever. Into Saskatchewan it was wild! Also the most boob (bra) signing per capita that I have ever been a part of. Sometimes a girl’s bare chest had such wild tattoo action that the band signatures didn’t really stick out like they normally do. And no butt signing to write about. I am not a boob man, at all, really, but gimme a good butt to sign any day.
Some people get so shy about getting their butts signed, but are totally into signing their boobs. Why? Figure that one out if you will. Good rock and roll mind test.
We got to phone our ex-road manager Mike Pacholuk a couple of times from backstage and all get to have a few laughs with him. We all miss Mike of course. He is doing really well.
New Mike is really good as well, excellent soundman, and total master technician. He rebuilt 4 PAs on this tour, not that that is his job, but it sure makes us sound good.
Scott is saying that he has had dreams where he dies, and now he is asking Frankie about his will. Wow, slow down guys! I never think about that shite. Scott wants to take the titanium out of Frankie’s face and make a golf club out of it. All Scott wants to do is watch golf on TV, most exciting thing he has ever seen. Frankie has so much metal in his body that he makes the detectors go off at the airport.
I should make a will, or so my Mom says. She thinks about that shite a lot because she is an organist that plays at a lot of church funerals. She is also the queen of the funeral deli tray and always brings all the sandwiches back home. Big surprise that my parents are both musician food freaks hey.
Scott died his hair yellow on this tour, then black, and then something that looks like gray hair. He likes the grey one, hated the others, didn’t want to scare his daughter. I think I am going grey, or hopefully white, like my dad, so I can be Santa someday.
It went from way freezing for the bulk of the tour, to plus 5 recently, and now we are in the truck, hitting BC, and it is suddenly 11 degrees again. YAAAAAAAAAAAAA! Snow is gone. I don’t see much of the Rockies this time, cos I am typing out this babble.
I will turn this computer off, and predict that :
1) Scott and I WILL catch the 9pm ferry
2) Tracy’s house design is the same as mine
3) Frankie will stop for ONE more Dairy Queen rampage
4) Heather will make it all the way through this report and post it someday with corrections……
5) I will have 3 big cups of peach tea on the ferry
6) I will plant ivy behind the rock wall and burn myself out on physical labour tomorrow, get my taxes done, computer fixed, mountain taxes paid, Pierre to record on the 3 songs I just edited, get a motor on the Zodiac…………
So, thank you to all who attended these shows, all 10 000kms worth of shows. That’s a lot of people, and a lot of white and yellow lines painted on blacktop. Is it all worth it? To drive around like this and have so much fun?
Hope to see everyone else over the summer.
Life is grand, and I think my dandruff has gone away………
P.S. What Frankie ate on the ride back home:
(1) Blueberry bagel (buttered)
(3) croissants deep glazed
(1) Onion Rings
(1) Large Coke
(1) creamy turkey soup
(1) blueberry fritter