It’s been an insane month, so we might as well start at the beginning. On March 1st we kicked off 2013 with a tour fundraiser at Michael’s in Halifax. It was a great show with killer sets from the Odd Bit, Jessie Brown and Like a Motorcycle who we had not seen live yet, despite being new friends and competitors for Big Mike’s time in the studio. We’d like to thank all of our fans and their fans for lining our pockets with enough flow to get through our eleven shows surrounding our showcases at East Coast Music Week (ECMW) and Canadian Music Fest/Week (CMF). What the hell do they call it anyway? Is it CMW or CMF? Who knows, who cares, it was a blast none the less. Here are the shenanigans that made this one hell of an interesting month.
Artists currently on rotation in our band van:
The Scoop Outs - http://music.scoopouts.com/
Babyshambles - http://www.babyshambles.net/
Josh Ritter - http://www.joshritter.com/
Tragically Hip - http://thehip.com/
The Raconteurs - http://www.theraconteurs.com/
March 7th – ECMW Showcase
So the bulk of the ECMW showcases were held at the Casino this year. There are a few good rooms in that place, but man loading into that place takes some serious cheeseburger power. Unless someone else knows a better way, the only way is to walk in the front entrance, weave through the crowd of angry old gamblers, lights, bells and whistles while trying not to have a seizure. We played NSCC Stage at the Compass Room (Keddy is a former student) along with some other NSCC acts. It was a pretty fun night and a good excuse to check out the other showcases since we were down there.
March 8th – JJ Bookings Showcase
So our booking agent, JMAC, had this crazy idea about a week and a half out from ECMW to have a JJ Bookings roster showcase at Michael’s. His plan was to get a bunch of sponsors, a luxury party bus for industry and bands, have every band on his roster play the showcase and make it a free event for ECMA delegates. Man oh man….daunting task given the time frame and the hype surrounding the other showcases that were closer to the downtown core and promoted for months. He delivered none the less…… He managed to get something like twelve sponsors on board in just under a week, do all the promotion online, posters etc. and secure this backstage party bus/ mobile green room. The venue for one was PACKED, and so was the bus. Personally, I don’t remember much other than having one of the best times I’ve had in a year. Secondly, I don’t remember paying for a drink the entire night… even the after party was sponsored by Molson. JMac is probably way too modest to admit this, but it was definitely one of, if not the best show all around that week and it was technically not even part of ECMW. We’re proud and glad to be working with such an awesome dude and group of bands.
March 14th – Plan B Moncton, NB
If you’ve ever toured the east coast, then you’ve probably run into the kind folk who make Plan B one of the best venues around the Maritimes. It’s admittedly small, but has a big heart. The show went well and both the Stogies and Jessie Brown were very well received. Plan B is very hospitable and put us up in the apartment upstairs and even went to the extent of making some breakfast burritos in advance, because we had to leave for Ottawa before the bar opened the next day. Thanks Tracy, Meadow, Cody and friends!
March 15th – Mavericks Ottawa, ON
We must have the worst luck with the Moncton-Ottawa jaunt because, like clock work our van broke down just outside of Moncton AGAIN. Didn’t this shit happen last tour? Anyway, after our now personal tow truck driver, Jean took the van to Oromocto and we hopped in a $70 cab, we all converged at NAPA who couldn’t look at the van for another two hours. This simply was not good enough and we took the van two doors down where they were able to fix it, giving us a new ignition coil and getting us back on the road within about an hour. Even though we were now about 3 hours behind schedule it was looking like we’d still make the show. No van breaks down twice in a 10 hour period right? WRONG! Just outside of Montreal and about two hours east of Ottawa, our van started making these pops and grinds. We pulled over to check it out, but of course we’re like children trying to fix the Tonka truck they just smashed when it comes to making a sound mechanical diagnosis of our vehicle. Even if we could figure out what was wrong, what the hell were we gonna do about it? So we did what any sensible, young & dumb Canadian would do. We decided there was nothing really wrong and barreled through to Ottawa just barely making our set at Mavericks. We came to a screeching halt (literally) just around the corner and loaded in as the first band was half way through its set. Once we got on stage though, we let it all out! We played with more drive (ha!) and conviction than we had in the last six months, trying desperately to forget, for at least the next 40 minutes, the conundrum we’d managed to find ourselves. Anyway, the show went great and we had a great crowd that was peppered with a few familiar faces. Alix Gray saved the day by offering us a place to stay, as we were previously scheduled to head to Kingston and stay with our friend Jesse Gilroy and his mom after the show. Jesse drove all the way from Kingston to see us, which was awesome of him. The next day we limped the van over to Crappy Tire to get her fixed up. We had broken a bearing, but not only had we broken a bearing, we also wore down and melted the spindle, for which they couldn’t find a suitable replacement and literally had to “make” us a new one. Sketchy eh? The mechanic was literally astonished we were even alive…… Apparently if a bearing breaks, you’re likely to have the wheel fall off, crash, roll and die if you’re on the highway. Thanking the rock n’ roll gods for throwing us a bone on that one…..
March 16 – 17th The Atria Oshawa, ON
We hopped in the “no guarantees” shit-storm of a van, and headed to Jesse’s place where we ate a delicious homemade meal prepared by his wonderful mother. We all passed out around 8PM and slept for 13 to 15 hours……yeah we’re party animals….. We then ate breakfast and headed to Oshawa for our St. Paddy’s day show. This one was a bit of an odd show. It was one of those shows where everyone sits at the bar and seemingly doesn’t pay attention to you, then when you go to tear your stuff down and pick your dignity up off the floor, everyone comes and tells you how great you were and that they were there the last time you played, want a CD and want to know when you’re coming back?? Really?? You liked it? Not the usual way of you know…..clapping or even acknowledging the band on stage, but we’ll take it!! It should also be known that we made the true mistake of eating at Pizza Pizza right before this show. Blake started to get sick before the set, but we thought he was just being his usual wimpy self.
March 18th to 19th Coach and Horses Lindsay, ON
We arrived late night in Brantford and went straight to sleep (again party animals). From the corner of my eye at about 6am I saw Sean get up and run to the bathroom in the most “I’m going to fucking hurl” way possible. I dream-laughed my ass off at him thinking, “what a chump”. This whole scenario repeated it self three or four times throughout the morning until we all finally woke up. We were greeted by good friends, Benny and Sam from the Ascot Royals, had some breakfast, did some laundry and then I passed out for four hours on the floor. I woke up and didn’t feel right, light headed, everything was hot and all menopause-like.I ran out on to the deck in a T-shirt and boxers trying to cool off in the snow. I was huddled for a minute then…… dun, dun, dun! That feeling came….. you know the one… where you realize you’re going to puke, there’s no looking back, it’s like the worst realization next to a family member dying, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it, you’re just going to throw up, that’s it. It’s going to be horrible, the worst ever, when in reality it’s not really that bad, you’re just for some reason embarrassed of the whole situation. What if they laugh at me??? Of course they’re going to laugh, that shit is fucking hilarious when it happens to….well anyone but you.
Not too mention having to take a shit as well, and not being able to decide between the two. Which is the lesser evil? There’s only one bowl and there’s no smoking your way out of this one…. They need to invent “motorcycle toilettes” for these exact situations, where there is a bowl where you’d normally plant your ass, a bucket up by the handle bars for when you’re keeled over and a four stroke engine you can rev that will massage your belly through the “extraction???” Whatever….. at least I only puked once. Lidstone was next, then Keddy (as meticulous about germs as he is) got the worst of it and puked for pretty much the whole day/evening. Grossed out yet? You’re welcome .
Side note: I guess Japan already thought of this one
“Poo Bike kicking up a stink in Japan”
We headed off to Lindsay to play the Coach and Horses. It was s small place, so we decided to play an acoustic set, which went over pretty well with the few that saw us. They did have a super awesome wing-beer special and honestly I think we were all happy just to be out. Our friends in the DGB let us stay at their wicked awesome home, before we headed to Toronto the next day.
CMW: March 20th to 21st El Mocambo and the Underground Garage Toronto, ON
We were as happy as a bunch of rug rats (Keddy = Chucky) to roll in to Toronto. We pulled up to the hotel which hosted the registration for the festival and went inside to grab our passes. On the way out, we were stopped by a guy with a camera wanting to do a cameo. We had just smoked a joint and reluctantly agreed. It was simple, all we had to say was “Hey we’re the Stogies and we’re showcasing at Canadian Music Fest /Week 2013”. HOWEVER, he wanted us to say it all at the same time….. Now you’d think that being in a band would give us an impeccable sense of fusion, timing and rhythm, but we tried like 5 times to say it all at the same time and just couldn’t. We finally escaped with a half assed take and headed to meet Scott Blackburn who was also in Toronto for the week. We walked to Kensington Market and did some shopping while scoping out some places to take a new press shot. We found the perfect place after a bit in the alley next to the leather store. We did a quick and easy shoot and came out with this gem:
Photo Credit: Scott Blackburn
We loaded our gear into the El Mocambo and watched a bit of the Stanfields’ sound check and some of us went to get food. Fast forward a few boring hours…. The band playing before us was a good band, can’t remember the name, but they were all good players. The only thing was all of their songs were quite slow. The crowd was getting bigger, but everyone was seated. We set up quickly and were ready to go, but before we started Blake took the mic and said “this is a fucking festival, you don’t sit down at a festival so come up and join us near the stage”. It should be noted that coaxing people to the front of the stage is a daunting task, you can only say it once without coming off as arrogant, but this time it worked and they all seemed generally happy and curious about what we were going to sound like. Thirty seconds into the first tune I think they all realized what they were in for, and they loved it. It’s normally quite hard to have a such a responsive crowd in Toronto, especially for a relatively unknown band. Anyway, we played a great set and definitely turned every head in that room. Scroll down to the reviews at the bottom to see what we mean.
The Stanfields were up next, and like always, rocked the sox off a near sold out joint. Fuck I love that band, we love that band. After the set we headed to the Horseshoe and then to various places to lay our heads for the night. I woke up to a text from Blake saying “rise and shine…..the van got towed” seriously??? It was true, our van got towed along with our friend, Vanessa’s car. Blake and Vanessa had to cab it all the way to Scarborough to get the van out of the impound lot.
We were all set to play the last slot at the Underground later that night. The bar was packed with drunks and fake smoke. Seriously it’s hard to breathe in there with all of that smoke billowing in (yeah….coming from a band called the Stogies), but it made for a good atmosphere and the show went well. I must say the last two trips to Toronto have been amazing show-wise, so thanks for coming out!
March 22 The Foxx Lounge Barrie, ON
We went to find some lunch and met with a couple of unnamed industry folks in Toronto, then headed up to Barrie. After hanging out for a while, we loaded into the venue and were greeted by Shane, the promoter/sound guy/all around awesome dude. We were set to play first around 10:30 and even by that time, we had a great crowd. The venue looked amazing, had a great stage, and an amazing sound system. Again, we put on a great set and got to talk to some of the locals after the show. We will definitely be back there next tour. After a couple of dirty-burgs we made the trek through the snow to Brantford to stay the night.
March 23 Two Doors Down Brantford, ON
Everyone thinks Brantford is a shit hole…and well it kind of is, but it just so happens that a small cluster of awesome friends and music lovers live in said shit hole. We hung out for the day and loaded into the bar. Upon loading into the bar we were greeted by “that drunk asshole at every bar”. She was hanging off of everyone, not making any sense and probably looking for a fight. In fact she was so drunk, that after load in, she wandered out by our van ripped her pants down and took a leak on the side walk. She left before the show even started. Anyway, like always, Brantford was a shit show. Amazing crowd for such a small bar and we hung out and got hammered with a bunch of new and old friends. James’ teeth were fixed this time (see Indie Week tour blog) and even Jimmy made an appearance, looking dapper as ever.
The next day we said our goodbyes and headed home. It was a long drive, but we made it in one piece. I know this blog was more of a rant or bitch, but all mishaps aside, this tour was better than any other tour we’ve done. Canadian Music Fest/ Week was an absolute blast and we couldn’t have asked for better showcases. It’s nice to see the audience growing, every show was packed, or at least a lot of fun and we couldn’t have done it without the help of our friends, families and fans.
CMW Reviews + Interviews:
We’re working hard (at a medium pace) on this new record. Please be patient, it just might be worth the wait. We’ll keep you up to date on our next tour plans, which will be announced by the end of this month.
Peace & Love,