June 15th, 2005 Oshawa, ON The Big Sexy 60km
June 16th, 2005 Acton, ON Manny’s Roadhouse 115km
June 17th, 2005 Ottawa, ON Lonestar Cafe 460km
June 18th, 2005 Innisfil, ON Summerfest 430km
June 22nd, 2005 Cambridge, ON Little Big Horn 151km
I think we flew here again. And my notes say “embarassing anon cement”. Unless I figure out what that means by the time we post this, I will leave it like that, cos I can not think of what could possibly be embarrassing.
Oh, I know, the announcer at the airport made an “embarrassing announcement” inviting members of Trooper to breeze past everyone else. People were Ok with it, and we took some photos and signed things at security. A lady told me all about how cheezies are made, so I made a friend out of the deal.
We hoteled beside the GM car plants, a metal magazine asked us about DEEP PURPLE, I wish I knew more (you gotta ask NAZARETH that one!)
Some of these gigs have already melded together for me. We played a wild old airplane hanger, turned night club, with a rounded metal roof, and an owner who has a great history with the unique building. Our soundman said he had a hard time with the sound, and I detected that he wasn’t completely happy with the tour in general. Just my feeling, dunno. We drove 20 minutes from one town to another, stayed, played, ate a stack of fried sandwiches upstairs in a house next to the wild airplane dome club. We signed some butts, and the pictures that ended up in the big 2-page GLOBE AND MAIL article were taken at this gig, the least attended of the entire summer, ironically enough. The GLOBE photographer came out for the show and we all had some laughs and songs at the hotel Karaoke bar afterwards. Great brotherhood.
We did another outdoor show where the Canadian great singer, Keith Hampshire showed up with his daughter, also a friend of ours. I hope I properly expressed my respect to this dynamite singer. He is the DAYTIME- NIGHTTIME guy, (walking down the street everyone I meet says she’s fine….) and I think he caught me singing it to the cop outside the dressing room door. Ya, I think he knows I am a fan. My notes say “cops/handcuffs/hold/Scott beer/ Golf car smash/ girls arguing yelling”…. meaning I gotta keep better notes. I do remember girls yelling and generally berating some poor shmucks, and I also recall trying to smash a golf car into a wall, which I quite enjoy. A couple of years ago, a promoter mentioned that that was not a good sport, but I have fun with it. The gig was also a smash.
We stayed somewhere in a hotel that had 2 swimming pools, the outdoor one not yet inspected, so Scott and Smitty were not allowed to sit next to it. I spent a lot of time in the indoor pool, walking around and playing with my little hotel room studio. This was the first day of summer, and I am getting a bit nostalgic here thinking about it. I love summer, love being on the road, love life. There was a restaurant here that I avoided. Everyone told me that there was every type of food available at a buffet, which I don’t need. I walked illegally under an bridge to get to a grocery store, tried to read a really stupid, boring and irritating book about KEITH MOON, had a 4-day juice fast, and was verbally bull-shitted to at a bike store when I tried to talk about 1970s mustang bikes. Some clown told me that I will never find one, and that he sold his for $8 000 each. As I write this, I have 8 of them under restoration, 4 running. Must be worth a FORTUNE! WOW! Why are guys at bicycle stores so weird to me? This happens a lot (guys being weird to me in bike shops). Maybe I am not high-tech enough.
We all brainstormed and made the ultimate campfire song list in the van one day, I wrote it all down put the paper with the road report notes and lost some pages, including the ultimate campfire song list. I later recreated the list of 50 songs at home from memory (I DO remember SOME things!) and printed booklets to play on a 6-string banjo around a fake light bulb campfire for special needs people in my hometown.
Frankie ripped the crotch out of his stage pants, and gaffed-taped them back together, and it being summer, when a lot of guys don’t wear underwear, he had a hard time getting undressed. In fact he skinned his nuts. Poor guy. He zipped his dick on the last tour, I do recall. My notes also say ‘Scott pee picture/ Lebanese food guy/ met the road hammers/ long-time fans/4th day juice fast” These notes are never as bad as they sound. Oh ya, Scott took a pee outside of a dressing room door and a girl tried to take picture of him. Don’t know how the picture turned out, probably didn’t cos it was night time. We have noticed some people at gigs who have been to well over 100 of our shows, and my juice fast made me feel alive, not hungry or angry. I decided to cut the fast short cos I AM on the road, and I shouldn’t be experimenting with crazy spiritual diets when I have shows to play.
June 23rd, 2005 Toronto, ON Hard Rock Cafe
Broke my juice fast with a wonderful veggie burger while sitting on the sidewalk cafe portion of the hard rock cafe downtown Toronto. I couldn’t resist that, and it doesn’t burn a hole in my magical aura either. Lots of ketchup. Ate on the street listening to Kim Mitchell spin old Max Webster songs on site in a glass booth on Young Street from his radio DJ gig. I had a salad as well. Delicious. I paid my Visa bill off in town, and went shopping with Scott. Ra saw everyone in the band during his walk around town, which is remarkable for a huge city like that. I guess we all go to the same type of places. This is where I bought the ultra-cool black cowboy shirt. I tried 3 different frilly leather jackets (all brown) but nothing really fit. Kinda hot out to be looking for the ultimate cool jacket, but the search continues year in and out.) Frankie saw a mob of neo-hippy people all walk into a park and pee into the fountain at the same time, protesting something, until the cops chased them away. Frankie said that it was bizarre and not good dinner entertainment.
Our hotel was right downtown, overlooking Saint Michaels music academy and school. I went to see the Saint Michaels Choir when I was a kid and dreamed about going to a school like that. I had a piano teacher once who went to that school, and he happened to be the greatest musician I have ever met. I stood in the hotel hallway looking out a window overlooking the uniformed music students playing basketball, thinking how strange, varied and wonderful life is. There were beggars outside of the hotel door, and here we are being treated like kings in that city.
My fave Canadian comedian friend Harry Doupe was backstage at the Hard Rock Cafe gig, as was the woman (Shauna MacDonald) who plays Erica Miller, Julian’s cop girlfriend on The Trailer Park Boys. She has been recording CBC radio stuff with Ra, and is a totally talented and genuinely nice person. Her friends were also a gas backstage, and I didn’t have the nerve to be a shmoe and ask her for a photo of me being arrested, as Julian was at the end of the (3rd) TPB season. Every so often I try to be cool. I have seen every episode of TPB several times. I think it is really funny, and original.
We had a smashing gig, a total excellent city crowd at the t-shirt booth, and as divine luck would prevail, Erica Miller asked me if I would like to have me picture taken being arrested. Neat hey? Peter Cheney had finished his assigned tour with the band and took his wife to this gig, we got him up to sing, and we kept them up near 5am, Trooper style. Toronto is a great party town.
I got up early enough the next day to find one of those hot dog cats with the big veggie dogs that I love so much, and stood around waiting for Ukrainian Dancers to dance, but had to go before I got to see that part of the ethnic food festival (and tupperware!) that I cruised. I walked up and down Young Street and donated $ to a big black man in a beautiful suit who was handing out a 4-page booklet listing invention by black people, celebrating black month. The idea being to create more understanding. Later in the van, while Smitty kept up with the WILD Toronto highway traffic, I read the list in the van and we all delighted at the booklet. All inventions: Keyboard stand, kitchen table, folding kitchen table, motor……….The cool stuff you find traveling! Meanwhile I am making peace signs at kids in school buses. They go crazy for that, you know.
June 24th, 2005 Trenton, ON Ride for Sight 430km
1000 motorbikes, big huge guy backstage. The PA snake was patched wrong and we found this out right before we went on. Big outdoor stage. I remember this one very well. We were delayed going on while that OA problem was fixed. Frankie discovered it. It was actually a bit of a bad vibe. The gig went well, people were great, but too far back from the stage. Before we left, Ra had a talk with the crew, and I talked to a guy who said that he bought a bike at walmart, had one little bump with the thing and the forks are all bent to hell. I say get a REALLY good new one, or an old one and restore it. Better yet, restore a bunch of them. What the hell. I can sure change subjects well, can’t I?
Somewhere about this time we had a day off and had a family bar-b-que at Peter Cheney’s house, which turned into a late-night fun party. They live in a quiet neighborhood right downtown Toronto, where kids can leave their bikes at the park overnight. Peter bar-b-ques peppers and asparagus, which we all do at home now, telling each other that we had a Cheney Bar-B-Que. He also has the lightest and fastest bicycle I have ever tried.
June 25th, 2005 Lucknow, ON Strawberry Summerfest 386km
I slept all day. Don’t know what was so tired. Lots and lots of going up and down these huge Toronto highways. There is nowhere to pull over sometimes, and although this is a bit personal, I came as close as I ever plan to peeing my pants. Actually this is quite serious. We spend HOURS in these vans. If we are at a stop, and I think I even may have to go at all, I will. Go when you can, not always when you need to. I drink a TON of water on the road. It keeps me awake healthy and in good spirits.
We played a packed-out sports complex, and the ZOMBIE fan club arrived with a big sign. (ZOMBIE is a set of 2 purple push mowers I restored last year.) I wanna post the picture of these guys, if I can get Craig to send it to me in time. Craig has THOUSANDS of pictures on file. This crowd was like a huge theatre crowd, meaning that they really LISTEN, making me play better, I know that much. Our new road manager is ready to quit the tour, I feel.
We had more than our share of laughs in the van, and went 3am shopping at an all-night grocery store. I got cans of peas, salmon cream cheese, asparagus and stoned wheat crackers. Ra got the hugest bag of fake cheezies that I have ever seen. Really funny. The people at the front desk didn’t want any fake cheezies. They were more like cheese puffs, really.
Tracy phoned me at 5am, telling me that my brother Tommy fell off a ladder, needs shoulder and hand surgery, not good for a fabulous musician. He can play any instrument, but has taken up big man work lately, I guess. He had to play one hand gigs for a while. The doctors did an amazing job. I have have always been really careful on ladders (other than 4 years ago when KEVIN and I tried to winterize my mountain house, and my ladder fell over while he dropped a big piece of plywood ). My brother and I were brought up to be in the performing art more than so than the industrial arts. I CAN build things, but slowly with no power tools or ladders. Funny that I should have a massive collection of aluminum ladders. Comes with having several cabins, I guess………
ANYWAY……………….Ra is really good at naming and putting years to cars on the highway, like “hey, 1963 Pontiac.” I believe he has a brother who builds hot rods. When I was a kid I could name every car. Not so much these days.
June 28th, 2005 Moncton, NB Rockin’ Rodeo 245km
I think this was the one where a ton of teenagers surrounded our van outside. Wow, what a great crowd in Glace Bay, wild theatre crowd, always a delight to meet these folks at the T-shirt booth, different from any others in the country. Genuine! We stay at a luxury waterfront hotel in Sydney. I space out watching the boats at sea, and always jog the wooden walkway along the waterfront. I also check house prices at the local real estate office. Wow. $25 000 big houses. Wacky. A bit cheaper than Vancouver.
June 30th, 2005 Halifax, NS Casino Nova Scotia485km
Smallest washroom I have ever seen on the airplane. Went to the maritimes, hung out with Jim Clench, APRIL WINE bass player, at the historic Halifax waterfront. I run into him quite a bit these days in different towns, including my hometown where he put my friends on a guest list at the Cowichan Theatre. I am the dink that yells FREEBIRD when the quiet moment happens. Jim is a nice guy, gentle soul.
I have a nice collection of canned food with me at this point. Swam all day at an outdoor pool in Moncton. Smitty had the WORST mexican food. Had a nice turkey buffet at the casino in Halifax. A bit of a seniors, cruise ship type menu. The cast of the Trailer Park Boys were out of town shooting their movie, so no run ins there, stayed at the finest waterfront hotel in Halifax, walked the waterfront, listened to ALBERTA BOUND performed by a real live maritime band. I love it. Love Halifax, always have. Occasional smell of bad sewer from the harbour. I read about someone who dove in to save a tourist who fell into the sea and had to be treated for possible infections after being in the water. Come on you guys. I swim in the Nanaimo harbour every day in the summer, just dive off the zodiac, it is beautiful, and natural, cos we have a state-of-the-art sewer processing plant. Cost a huge $$$$$$$, but we did it., and so can others, including VICTORIA British Columbia. Ok there is my rant.
Played a packed-out full house gig right on the Halifax waterfront (Loverboy the next day) and Ra said something funny to the kids who sat on a hill overlooking the stage. 6am leave. Don’t think our crew got to see much of Halifax. Both flights 1st class that day. Quieter engine noise up there, better magazines, and great food! A special vegi lunch was made on the spot for Dave. People in the cheap seats eat pretzels. One more flight to Grande Prairie Alberta on a small prop plane. Must be why we left so early.