As most of you must know by now, we went on tour with a bunch of Newfies who go by the name of Long Distance Runners. We somehow tricked these guys into thinking a tour of Atlantic Canada was a good idea and like any young musicians, they agreed because they had nothing better to do. Turns out it wasn’t such a bad idea.
Thursday June 6th
Day 1 for me (Dave D) at least started out like any other “1st day of tour”; sweating profusely in my chair at work just waiting to get the fuck out of there. Eventually 3:30pm came and I ducked out to pack my things, hop in the van and head to Moncton. Before we left, we stopped in to grab some beer at the NSLC. We managed to get the tour sponsored by Molson who kindly gave us enough free beer for two bands to last the tour. Although, they don’t show up in a golden truck and dump a pallet in your driveway, they give you chits that you can redeem at the LC. For some reason the guy ringing us through got in to a fluster because he had to do them one case at a time. He huffed and puffed and complained the whole time but eventually we were on our way. You can only imagine what Keddy had to say about his customer service! Anyway, we arrived in Moncton about 3 hours later and headed to meet LDR at Plan B. We hung out for a bit then headed down to catch the opening act and Moncton local, Danger Cat, who were fucking awesome! It was Plan B’s fourth birthday, and the place was packed in no time. LDR then went on and played a great set which opened our eyes and ears and indicated this tour might just be as enjoyable as we daydreamed about. They were a man short this time around, with guitarist Dicky Strickland leaving the band shortly before tour but it didn’t seem to affect their sound (think Kinks, Stones, Beatles, Wilco, pre-Kid A-Radiohead) as Ryan Kennedy stepped up on both guitar and keys. We then took the stage and had a great set as well. The boys in Gloryhound and Poor Young Things were playing down the street that night and all came up to party near the end of the night. It was probably it the best show we’ve had in Moncton in about a year so thanks for showing up if any of you readers happen to be Monctonian.
Friday June 7th
We woke up, loaded out and went to catch our first double band breakfast as Plan B had since gotten rid of their Cafe menu (ugh). After breakfast we drove to Fredericton to do an interview & performance with Bondo at CHSR. We each played some original tunes then played a Stones cover together and did what was probably CHSR’s first and likely last 9 person interview. As we left the station we noticed that our driver’s side door would no longer latch, forcing us to drive to Saint John with one person holding the door shut. Because we’re stoners, it took us about a day and a half to figure out a better solution to our little problem. We headed to meet Cody from Verse the Sun (SJ opener), who was offering up his place for the bands to stay (Nice guy!). We had a few hours to kill before load in/sound check so we exchanged stories and got to know the Runners a little better. Apparently Matt Hender (bassist) had played upright bass on Amelia Curran’s Juno winning album which is pretty cool! Ryan Kennedy also apparently has a deadly Beach Boys tribute band back in St. John’s NL called…….. The Beach By’s (Ha!).
We headed to Pepper’s Pub, set up, and waited for people to slowly trickle in. Eventually there was a pretty good crowd in there peppered (bad pun intended) with members of the Halifamous, Mellotones, who were playing a corporate gig down the street. All three bands had great sets and we celebrated by hitting the most disgusting Subway in the world which happened to be the only place open at 3am. Cold Sweat Combo
Saturday June 8th
It pretty much poured for the next 18 hours. We woke up around noon to head to Charlottetown, but not before making a pit stop at Kent to get some rope and duct tape to tie the door shut, which had been swinging open every time we rounded a bend. We eventually got to the bridge and reluctantly crossed it while trying not to get blown off by the fierce winds (perhaps a slight exaggeration). We stopped in to Lidstone’s mom’s place for a delicious ham dinner as soon as we landed on the Island.
We headed to Fishbones to load in then snuck off to meet our friend Leah Kays (Designed this website!) for drinks. We headed back to the bar after a few beers to catch the first band’s set. Banokkburn was the band’s name and their set was pretty good from what I heard. Ked and I skipped off 10 mins into LDR’s set to buy some smokes and by the time we returned there were a few less people in the bar which had been slowly filling up. We took the stage thinking it would be a slightly less than average night. We were delightedly wrong, as about 170 people piled in the venue within the first two songs! We had probably our best headlining show in Charlottetown yet! We partied a bit then went home to Halifax the next day.
Monday June 10th
Codapop Studios, B-Rad Media Services and Thunder Thief Productions were also proud sponsors of the tour so we went into Codapop on Quinpool Road to film and record a live video of one of our new songs. It was an eight hour process, setting up sound, lights, smoke breaks, 1 take, 2 take etc…. but much to our surprise we… coughs** (Erien, Brad, Mat and Ian) had the song recorded, mixed, filmed and edited in less than 24 hours! We ate some dirty pizza and drank some beers to celebrate. Here’s a link to the video:
Tuesday June 11th
Tuesday was LDR’s turn to make a video. Most of the Stogies have day jobs so we snuck in a day or two of work while we were in Halifax. I stopped by the studio after work to see how they were doing. They were just finishing up their new song “Dive” which wasn’t on their 2012 record, “Tracks”. Their video was also mixed and edited in about a day and came out looking great. Here’s a link to the video:
Wednesday June 12th
Sackville, New Brunswick. Lovely place, but we weren’t expecting much as it’s a pretty small town and we’d only played there once or twice before. We got in the van and drove the short two hours to arrive at our colossal complex of a venue….. the Legion. We knew it wasn’t going to be a big show but not all good shows are big. Being in a relatively unknown independent band isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be but there are a few mental tools musicians use to ease the burden that is reality. Some choose denial and blame their lack of success or at least commercial success on nearly everything in their environment other than themselves. Perhaps a better but probably equally unhealthy way though, is to forfeit ALL of your expectations before joining a band which tends to work really well because in this cognitive schema, anything other than van breakdowns, getting arrested at the U.S. border, fighting to the point of complete silence on 20 hour drives, getting gear stolen is all gravy. Thankfully those things only usually happen once per tour…. Anyway, we set up to play an easy Wednesday night and that’s what we got. We played for about 20 people who were all very nice and some were even generally interested in the music. The promoter Rob was in the first band the Kavorkas (kudos to the Seinfeld reference). The highlight of the night though is when Josh, the drummer in LDR won about $500 on the slot machines which was at least five times the revenue made on the entire show. Bastard. Anyway, we loaded out and set sail for Fredericton as we had a cool place to stay there. Obviously we stopped at McDick’s which added at least an hour to our trip. The thing about drive-thru McDonald’s is that when you pull up they’ll give you any amount of food you want as long as it’s one bill but most McDick’s only allow you to have 2 or maybe 3 separate orders. We’re always traveling with at least 5 or 6 people so you know what that means. Sometimes we’ll be sneaky and just back up and go through again but most drive-thru trips for us are at least three orbits around the greasy glowing fry depot at 3:00am.
Thursday June 13th
Fredericton….fucking Fredericton. We’ve been to Freddy many times and know a surprising amount of kind people there but for whatever reason that place is a bad omen for us. This was our second time playing Nicky Zee’s (or Lava Vodka Bar). The venue is a decent room with a way better sound system than it needs and a nice big stage. You’d think this would make it much more attractive than the Capital but for whatever reason people cringe when you mention Nicky Zee’s or Lava. Anyway, there were a few people who showed up and everything sounded good. We’re nearing the end of the set at which point we had planned to have LDR come up and run a few tunes with us. We couldn’t find them anywhere in the venue. The bastards were obviously disrespectful douche bags out to buy smokes right? WRONG. They were actually outside RUNNING after the real douche bags that had just broken into our van out back. I couldn’t think of a more fitting band to be chasing after those hoodlums however they did get away. Luckily, we were supplying the backline so all of our gear was on stage at the time. Anyway, after all of that and some difficulty getting paid we chose to forget that night and headed back to Elizabeth’s for sleep.
Friday June 14th
After a rather disappointing time in Freddy we were excited to head to Halifax to play our favorite venue, the Seahorse Tavern. We left at about 11am but low and behold, like clockwork, as soon as we pass Oromocto (30 mins outside Freddy) our van bearing breaks. This time we had enough sense not to keep driving like we did on the last tour. We called a tow truck and a lovely French guy by the name of Jean was on his way to save us. This is the third time in less than a year that we’ve broken down in the exact same spot and the third time we’ve met Jean ( He must be getting sick of us by now). Anyway, he towed us to J&P Auto who obviously recognized us and was able to get the van fixed up in about two hours. We got back to Halifax and headed straight to the Seahorse to drop off our gear. It was a truly amazing show with a great turn out. About 300 people showed up and rocked the entire night. So thank for showing us and more importantly our new found (land) friends a great time.
Saturday June 15th
Off to Truro. Truro is a shit hole but we’ve had some interesting times there. We played the Loft this time, which was a nice step up from the Split Crow but it’s one of those venues that turns into the Dome after your show and while there were about 60 people in the room watching & enjoying us, there were 200 people in the next room waiting for Katie Perry covers. The people that were there did enjoy it though which was all we could ask for. It was a pretty good but sappy night as the Runners were headed back to NL the next day. One particularly interesting character was the photographer that showed up. Most photographers will show up and simply take pictures of you playing live. They might introduce themselves after then typically leave. This guy wanted us to do an entire photo shoot with both bands. We graciously accepted in the spirit of hangin’ with LDR one more time. First we did one outside which is pretty normal I guess. Then we did one in the bathroom? I’m sure you can imagine nine musicians and a photographer standing on the counter of the only bathroom in a multi level bar, holding up lines of steroid stuffed jocks trying to take a piss for the third time in ten minutes. I’m surprised we didn’t get beat up. Anyway, neither of the press shots turned out great (obviously) but the live photos were spot on. Lesson learned: Politely decline all public washroom photo shoots.
Thursday July 11th
So like clockwork, two days prior to the start of Runnin on Fumes Tour part 2, our van decided not to start (typical). We couldn’t get it fixed in time so we decided to do the northern Nova Scotia shows and cancel the west coast NL shows and fly in to St. John’s the following week. We loaded up the Highlander and headed for Split Crow Antigonish. We weren’t expecting that much of a crowd because it was Thursday but we were expecting to see Croucher (Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!) . See….. the last time we had gone to Antigonish Croucher had hitched a ride with us but never returned to Halifax and everyone was wondering where he was. He basically stayed there for 8 months and when we asked him why he never went back, he said “ You guys never came to pick me up!” True enough I guess haha.
Friday July 12th
We spent Thursday night at Andre’s (The Odd Bit) parents’ place and were scheduled to play the Carriage House in Port Hawkesbury. Juanita, Andre’s mom, made us a delicious breakfast then we headed to Andre’s Uncle’s for a dip in the pool and some sweet tunes. It was a beautiful day and upon our return, we had a BBQ with the Pettipas. We made a few friends in Port Hawkesbury the last time we played there and the Odd Bit has a pretty cool home town crowd so it made for a great show. Lidstone and Sean headed to a trailer park after party and Blake and I headed back home to the Pettipas for left over cheeseburgers.
Saturday July 13th
Again the Pettipas made us breakfast and we left shortly after to head to Sydney to tag up with Alert the Medic and Like a Motorcycle at Governor’s Pub. We were on first a few show-goers trickled in as we played our set. We watched great sets by LAM and ATM and met a few girls who took us back over the bridge to what can only be described as the CatShitKingdom. To be fair, one of the girls warned us of the foul smell but we thought “Meh, can it really be that bad?” Uhh yeah it can. Not to mention these girls didn’t smoke weed like normal people. They did “Poppers” which is essentially just putting a tiny amount of weed and twice as much tobacco into the spout of a homemade bong. The idea is to draw hard enough to bring the whole load down into the bottle. (doesn’t really make much sense does it?) Anyway, after a few attempts Blake and I gave up, rolled a joint like normal stoners and headed back to Whitney Peer where we were staying. Overall, it was a pretty “routine” weekend of shows.
Wednesday July 17th
We packed our bags and headed to the airport, that’s right, the airport. Yes, yes we are a rock n’ roll band and love being on the road. But being airborne is obviously way cooler. It turned an 18 hour moose watching safari on the one road to St. John’s into a 1 hour magic carpet ride with movies and food at least equivalent to what you’d find at an Irving gas station (Okay so it’s not THAT glamorous). Chris Picco from LDR picked us up from the airport and we headed downtown to George St. to see what all of the fuss was about. Basically for those of you that have never been it’s essentially a small section of street littered with live music bars and venues. All of them play a loud speaker of their musical offerings out into the street which made it quite overwhelming at first. We heard one guy covering a Tom Petty song in one bar and another guy covering the same song at the same time at another bar two doors over.
Blake and I eventually went back to Chris’s place which was a sweet little house at the top of Hamilton avenue equipped with retro style fittings, a piano, a jam space, a 2 year old and Chris’s wife, Paula. They were great hosts and made us feel at home.
Thursday July 18th
I woke up bright and early as always and headed into town to get something to eat and wander around. A few people recommended the Ship Pub, so that’s where I went. I sat down at the bar which is also an awesome venue and was greeted by a nice bartender by the name of Sayde. I ordered a Black Horse because all of the beer in Newfoundland is different so I really didn’t know any better. I also ordered some Fish & Chips and chatted with the bartender for a while. Turns out she was also a musician and hosts an open mic at another bar up the road. Anyway, as I finished, I managed to let her know this was my first time in St. John’s and apparently over there that’s enough to have your meals and drinks bought for you! She pointed me towards Fred’s Records where I spent most of the afternoon. I heard this store was really awesome because Matt Hender (LDR Bassist) works there. Sure enough I was able to find a sweet vinyl copy of Wilco’s “Sky Blue Sky” and another cool little album on their feature wall:
We were set to play the Levee that night. We headed down to George St. to check it out and load our gear in. The Levee is the place to be on Thursday nights. 3 beer for $5! Needless to say I don’t remember much from that night other than the cool smoking patio that joined three different venues. The Levee is in a complex with two other bars; Distortions which hosts metal and other heavy music and CBTG’s which hosts mostly punk bands. It was really nice to see a complex style bar made up of live music venues rather than Dome 1, Dome 2 Dome 3 etc. I do remember he bar manager Gene was an awesome dude and so was the sound guy. They filmed and recorded this sloppy performance of a new tune:
Friday July 18th
After a pretty chill day we were set to play the Rock House with LDR and the Pathological Lovers. We loaded in around supper time and were stoked once we saw the venue. It was a real music venue. Not just some bar that stuffs a local band in the corner and tells them to turn down all night. The promoter/ manager, Tony, was really nice and very professional. Told us everything we could possibly need to know / expect from the crowd that night and gave us a comprehensive sound check before shipping us off to the green room. It’s no secret that the time you have to kill between sound check and actually performing is the absolute worst and most anxious part of most struggling musicians’ day. You start to wonder….Will anyone even show up? Looks pretty empty in here right now….. Of course it does dummy, the bar isn’t even open yet. Anyway, we took the stage around 11:00 and by this time people had started to show up. Trying not to sound too cocky here, but we pulled out a deadly set and the great light and smoke show and growing crowd made it feel all warm and fuzzy. That or the beer… We have a few friends living in Newfoundland who were competing to buy us drinks which is always a good thing. Personally, I only bought two beer the entire trip, but surprisingly enough I’m pretty sure none of us actually got “Screeched In”. LDR was up next and played an amazing set but by this time that didn’t surprise us because we’d all fallen in love with that band and their tunes by now. The Pathological Lovers closed the night. I had heard a lot of hype and the word legendary being thrown around a lot so I was quite interested in hearing/ seeing what they had to offer. Not too sure what the rest of the boys thought, but they blew my fucking mind. Great seasoned musicians, good songs and best of all great stage presence made for the best possible closing band that night. I think by the end of the night though we were all headed separate ways. I met up with a friend and somehow ended up at a party with NHL star Michael Ryder and the rest of the night was quite foggy.
Saturday July 19th
This was our last day in St. John’s and we had yet to check out even half of the cool sights this city had to offer. Chris and Josh from LDR took us up to CapeSpear and showed us around the most eastern point in North America. We listen to the Hip a lot when we tour because it’s the best driving music and Gord Downie likes to include various Canadian cities, remote locations land marks, etc. in his lyrics. Needless to say, I had Silver Jet playing over and over again in my head for hours. After a few doobies we headed back to Chris’s with a bunch of meat and had a big ol’ BBQ bro-down with the LDR boys. Definitely a relaxing Saturday before our flight home
We’ve had some time off now and I can tell you we can’t wait to get back out on the road, but not without a new record of some sort. We’re working on that and hopefully will have some good news for you over the next few months. For now though while we’re spinning our wheels we’ve put together a super special show for you guys. A long time ago we decided it would be a great idea to do a full on tribute to the Rolling Stones. Low and behold 3 years later, here it is! We’re playing a tribute to the Rolling Stones vs. the Beatles rivalry along with our old Friends Floodland (the Beatles) and YoungRiver (opening tribute to CCR). It’d this Friday night November 22 at the Marquee Ballroom presented by Q104. For details, tickets etc. check out the links below!