Hello big world.
We’ve been conquering this continent continuously for close to a month. In fact, it will be a month exactly on friday at noon (or 2:21pm, according to Stu’s impeccable minutes kept). Our journey started out in western Canada, where we sweated for lots of familiar and new faces, playing 5 amazing shows in a row, and really feeling good about the whole thing. As we continued east, the country flattened out and the bus was finally allowed to get up to full speed (98kmh) on the flat. Really bumpy in the back, like, extremely bumpy. You are lying there in that familiar tour-limbo mode between reality and melatonia, just fearing the bumps. When they come, they come suddenly, and your body is thrown upward, sometimes as much as 13 or 14 inches. Then BAM, back down. So this keeps us awake more often than not, riding in the spacious front cabin together and swapping stories, reading great books (we have over 60 books in the shelf) and tossing around song bits. And driving. We played some great shows in Toronto and Montreal, thanks to everyone at the Horseshoe Tavern and L’esco especially for throwing down so hard with us and for us. HYPE! (below photo by Micheal Wheatley)
Then we crossed into the USA. Border was a breeze! Rolled in at around 3am, stuck the nose of the bus into the gate and happily presented our P1 Performance Visas to Mr. Border Guard, who asked us some basic questions and then had us go inside. Now we’ve had some long ordeals at borders, just because we’re a bunch of musicians, but this experience was pleasant and entertaining. We were sitting there as buddy punched in our info inside, cracking jokes, and this second border guard sauntered slowly into the room, coffee mug in hand, and stood there for a beat, then asked the first guy “anything I can do?” in a slow, careful drawl… And when guy number one responded “No”, he waited a moment, looked at us, and said dryly: “That’s what you call timing”. And on and on…
“Ask that guy out there, he plays a mean Banjo”
“Do you really play banjo?”
“Naw, they just makin’ fun of me cuz’ I’m from the South”
So we cleared through and parked behind a diner, between the back exit and the river. Portland was a rainy drive away the next day. Vermont slogan is “Live Free or Die”. Listened to The Fugees extensively. Fall exploding still, through the rain, bright reds and oranges. Tons of rain. Storm Of Swords filled my entire brain, and all I want to do is talk about it, but only Sean has read it so I am forced into silence. We play at the Flask Lounge, and despite the rain we get a good crowd who enjoy the show, including a lady who was in the marines in BC for 10 years, and also served in Jamaica, asking us the three languages they sing Reggae in (for the record, English, French, Patois). We decided to drive to Boston that night, rolling in at around 3am and parking in the outskirts of town at a Wal-Mart, where we got a nutritional breakfast of Mcmuffins and coffee in the crisp morning sunshine before heading down into the commercial-drive esque area. Found a great little italian bakery and ate some wicked soup and did some online work. Found a Brazilian Cafe!! Bought cokes and spoke portuguese and purchased a samba DVD and felt a little strange, and a lot of happy. Ripped up Boston opening for Assembly Of Dust and hung out with the band upstairs, swapping stories about Vancouver. I got on stage to encourage the crowd to call an encore and was nearly dragged out of the venue by a seething crew of security, who Theo managed to diffuse JUST in time by saying “it’s ok, he’s in the opening band!!” Hung out in the bus out front of the venue into the wee hours, entertaining a revolving door of characters off the street. Drove to NYC in the morning.
What a crazy city. We are tiny little bugs here! Teeny tiny little molecules bumping into other molecules to create the constant hum and rush of NYC. We followed the GPS (which is a frikkin miracle worker, by the waaay) into industrial Brooklyn to the “house” of good pal Baba Brinkman, who wasn’t home… and things started to get fishy when the street in question turned out to be a long industrial row of workshops. Turned out we were on the wrong side of town entirely. But we were welcomed in by total strangers and ended up on the second floor of a large building in a shop, overlooking a sunset and the statue of liberty with a beer in hand. Not bad at all! Helped start an old motorbike. Wound up downtown and walked around and danced for a while. Vamos a la Calle!
Woke up and found Baba’s pad after, and I don’t use this word too often, but truly f**king around with parking: we tried to get the bus into the alley behind baba’s from many different angles, but it wasn’t going. So we drove around to find a spot in Queens, tails of cars stacking up behind us and honking with EVERY turn, and it took well over an hour of this to find a spot. Richie and I nearly lost our minds. You know that point where your brain turns to this basic system of cogs and kind of shuts down and begins to hate everything? That place.
Went downtown on the subway with all our gear and showed up at Piano’s after a long mission.
Walked in the door, through a crowd of about 30-40 people, and into the back room where the stage is. On stage is a 3-piece band: drums, cello and guitar/singer. They are making their way through soundcheck with some beautiful, mellow acoustic music. They see us come in and say “you’re in the wrong room!” and we say “thanks!” and head upstairs. But once we get up there, we see only benches… no backline drums, no PA… so we head back down and drop our stuff. We sort out that we are indeed playing there, and that we’ll be on stage before the doors even open (for an acoustic show to boot!). And here we are with our congas and our electric pagan music, eh? So we open the show. And we let everyone in the bar outside in for free. Turns into a pretty good night! NYC resident and reggae kingpin Taj Weekes stopped in (we met him at the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues this year) with his lovely wife Angela. We wind up at this wicked jazz bar/pool hall (and I mean with balls, not diving boards, but wouldn’t that be cool!) at 4 in the morning, watching these amazing musicians play… Awesome. Our second show in NYC sees Actor/Musician and uncle Bruce Greenwood stop by and hang out, and we close out our last show in the big apple with a particularly rousing “to the left, to the left!” and Theo sneaks up through the crowd like a ninja for the big BUUUUUMMMMMMM – BUM! at the end. Watch some killer freestyle downtown and wind our way back for sleep. Last night we played Philly and it was awesome. Joe at the North Star Bar did a great job mixing and we really appreciate that. Nice to meet you Philadelphia.
Here is the future of our band in the next little bit here, share this around with anyone you know in the big USA and help fuel our journey! I think you should do it.
ok! thanks for tuning in
spread the boom boom gospel and we’ll love you forever. See you soon america. stay classy.