19. Tuesday, January 31st

The Hawthorne Theatre

Portland, Oregon

We miss breakfast. Portland is close. So we wake up late. I’m severely hungover but on the move to get some food. One thing fuels my desire. I hurry everyone out of the room and get directions to the 12 coins. Superb and expensive breakfast. Just awesome.

Back on the road. And it’s a few short, beautiful hours to Portland. We stop in at the venue, cold again, and decide to go across the way to the big supermarket. The land of plenty. Portland is amazing, full of beer and one of those sushi conveyor belts. R. comes with us and I buy some blue cheese.

We go for a walk down the strip hitting up the knick-knack stores and indulging in the record stores. We head back for sound check.

“Hi, I’m Rumble, I’ll be doing your sound for you.”

Number 6.

The venue is all right. ANother one of those segregated venues, though the restricted area is upfront and the booze area in the back so both sections have a relatively good view of the stage. Although is only has one bathroom for the enitre place. I mean, like one toilet. It’s retarded. The “Backstage area” is tiny and hardly equipped to handle the Ghouls.

Once we are finished checking we are invited to Nathan of Witch Mountain’s place. He’s got a really awesome spot up on the moutain. We have a cool time hanging with him and eat some cookies, then back to the venue.

At Pepito’s, yet another burrito joint, I meet up with Natassja, a friend from my days at Northern and probably one of the only people I know in the states that I’ve actually met (aside from the McMani).

There’s not really a good place to hang, but as we take the stage, we feel the enrgy of the crowd who are porbably the most intense we had the whole time. Wild.

We have such a long drive tomorrow, about 1000km so we leave pretty well straight away. Stopping in some town, somewhere and only sleep a little bit.

18. Monday, January 30th

El Corazon

Seattle, Washington

We get up and drive.

Drive. Drive. Drive.

All day, through some beautiful scenery, I mean, really beautiful. Mountains. Then, Iowa, which was by far the most beautiful and also the only state in the midwest to have a salad bar with something other than lettuce. Delicious natch!

Coming into Washington is wonderful. Treed mountains as we blast Drudkh. Truly black metal.

We stop at Zillah Washington at a cute little hotel. Forrest Gump and then sleep.

In the morning we’re having a nice breakfast in the presence of two girls under 8 who are named Kia an Mercedes. We may be in Washington, but we’re still in America.

The hostess comes up to ask us how we’re doing.

“Great! We’re from Canada, we’re on tour with a heavy metal band called Blood Ceremony!”

“Oh, wow, my son does sound for a heavy metal band. Have you heard of them, they’re called “The Children of Bodom?”

Whoah, she’s a really nice lady and we give her our sticker. We get moving again we’re only a little ways out of Seattle, maybe two hours or so.

When we arrive at the venue, we are too early and decide to go grab something at the local Reuben place, best reubens in town. Well, I’m down. We still ahve a few hours to kill so we decide to look for a hotel in the city. Depsite the recommendation of the friendly staff at Motore Cafe (where I got a beer for 3 dollars!) the Rock and Roll hotel is expensive. Depsite Sean’s fears we find a nice Best WEstern just about a ten minute walk away from the venue. Sean haggles down which is amazing. They also have cookies!

We come back to the venue to help load in. The place is cool, if a bit small and our dressing rooms are sorta crappy, but Seattle is really nice. After we sort everything out, we go for a walk with R and Sikander and BC to find a drink. It is Monday, so the town is dead. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get a good drink at a place called Whiskey bar. On the way back, they grab McDonald’s, I hold out for a delicious burrito made by a tiny Mexican dude.

Despite how much fun we are having, the crowd doesn’t seem to feel the same way. They’re a bit stiff. Maybe it’s because Duff didn’t show up. I spend Ghost’s set at the bar, hanging with the Ghost haters, which is always funny. I talk vikings with a dude for a while, a favourite pass time of mine.

After the show, I’m in full party mode and I decide that we’re going to go to find a bar with girls. When you’re on tour with like twenty dudes and a girl who’s pratically you’re sister, you crave female company even if it is just to talk with.

I get directions to where the bars are and then proceed to rile every one up. At one point I actually have a smoky room full of 20 dudes chanting the word “Sluts! Sluts! Sluts!”

Flash to ten minutes later as we are sitting at a gay karaoke bar.

“Do you want to sing Bohmeian Rhapsody,” R. asks.

“Yes, yes I do.”

It wouldn’t be tour without an embarrassing video of me singing karaoke.

“This is so different, you guys with your tattoos and leather jackets. I like it,” our quite gay host says.

The dude sat the bar invite us back to a party. We go, have a boring time, and peel out. Back to the hotel in a cheap cab.

17. Saturday, January 28th

The Complex

Salt Lake City, Utah

Waking up in Cheyenne. Go down for breakfast with some foul mouthed old ladies. We get on the road fairly quick, Sean is still feeling a little hairy. It’s a long drive to the mountains. We are going to be driving a long way today. 700 km across the prairie where the speed limit is 75 mph.

Our first stop is at Elk Mountain, a place we dreamed about reaching the night before. It’s a little gas station beside a lonely mountain in the badlands. The dudes there are hard. I mean, six pack of Miller before you get in your truck and go hunting. The wind is blasting, the landscape is daunting. This is awesome.

We get into the mountains and I’m blown away, they just keep getting bigger and bigger. Even though we get thrown on a detour, I am dwarfed by the immense size of everything.

Reaching the venue after the set up is done, we find a similar situation – cold and empty. The town is abuzz due to a UTah jazz game, but the sales are the most dismal for this one. After our soundcheck (and a shower! Yes!) We head with Patrick to find a Wal-mart, but fail to find it due to construction. Sean and I have Subway while the rest go to some burger joint. We decide that because tomorrow is an off day, we will get a room in the city, leave the car there and walk back.

On our walk back we spy A. and M. and Niels in the American Eagle. It’s all I can do to stop laughing.

Back in the venue we just hang out and Transam works on getting us beer (which he does, 24 Heinekin).

Taking the stage to a smallish crowd, we play well. I’m perplexed by the one girl in the crowd who looks ridiculously “of the time.” Like, how are you that contemporary in SLC?

After the show I hang out with some Navajo dudes who drove up from Nevada. Then when everything is quiet, around 12:30 we ask where the local cool bar is.

“Well, you better hurry because everything pretty well shuts down around 1. The only 24 hour place is Alberto’s burritos.”

What? But he ain’t kidding, Mike and I find that the streets are dead. We make it to Alberto’s and have the worst burritos we’ve ver had and spend most of our time chatting with the folks next to us who came form the fetish ball.

A silent cab ride back and then to sleep.

16. Friday, January 27th

The Marquis Theatre

Denver, Colorado

Mike Carillo is standing at the semi-crummy “continental breakfast” at the Super 8 in Albert Lea. A tiny Indian lady approaches him.

“Everything OK?”

“Just great. But could I get another bagel.”

“OK, but first, you help me.”

She brings him to a laundry chute.

“I lock my keys in the office, this is the only way down. You go down.”

Mike crosses his arms across his 190 pound frame and looks at the tiny hole.

“No, here’s what’s going to happen your going to hold onto the sheet and I’m going to lower you down.”

She positions herself, feet against the lip of the chute.

“Ready?”

“OK.”

Wooooomp!

“You alright?!”

“Yes! Through mem my slippers.”

And that’s how Mike through a little Indian lady down a laundry chute and got a muffin.

We have the day off today to get across the midwest, across the prairie. We will drive through Iowa and most of Nebraska, our destination is Grande Platte, NB.

Drive and drive and it is this day that begins the biggest part of our tour story. Driving. Driving. Driving.

We stop in a little rest stop in Avoca, Iowa.

“How’s it going today?”

“Another day in Paradise,” our waitress replies.

Jeez. We watch one super fat dude come in, sit down, order a huge meal and leave and then, not two minutes later, another gigantic dude come in, sit down in the exact some place and order a huge meal. It’s amazing. The little complex is littered with patriotic and super right wing flags. Don’t tread on them, they want you to know that.

We drive through Nebraska and eventually pull into grand Platte which actually has the biggest railyard in the world. We are a little late getting to food and go to, like Applebee’s or somwething, but our waitress is nice despite the fact that we’re the last customers.

In the morning I grab breakfast in our huge hotel and then have a dip in the warm tup. Not hot, warm, terrible.

Now we drive again until we start to see some mountains, far off in the distance. This is the only time, also that we get snow and bad winds.

We pull into Denver in the mid afternoon. Everyone arrives roughly at the same time. We get onto the bus and invite R. for a hot dog.

Coming back we run into AVV. They want some green, seeing as the venue is right beside a troubled youth centre, that shouldn’t be hard.

“We gotta find some green.”

A dude with an orange backpack approaches us.

“Hey dudes, my name’s Turtle. You need a hookup?”

Number 4.

Back inside the again cold venue, spirits are a little low. On every one’s part. It’s cold and the sound guy is having a bit of trouble. He’s reluctant and already drinking. The place is freezing so we just kind of hang around and don’t do much. That is until we get our pizza which is delicious.

But everything turns around the moment we hit the stage. The place is rammed and everyone is in really high spirits. The crowd is insane, they headband like crazy. It’s amazing. I am completely revitalized. This is why I do this. This is why I cram myself in a car for hours on end and live off of terrible food.

After the gig, we stick around and I drink a bit too much. I’m hanging with locals and having a great time. Sean is not. He started feeling the Swedish plague the day before. And he volunteered to drive. We only manage to drive for about an hour before we have to stop. I honestly don’t remember much of this. WE stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming and pass out.

15. Wednesday, January 25

Station 4

St. Paul, Minnesota

We have a big drive ahead of us seeing as we didn’t drive too far the night before. Part of the way along, we stop at a Famous Dave’s barbecue. Its big and quirky and vacant and it’s also delicious. Wisconsin is cool, but with weird laws. I bought a six in the local liquor store and then am told that it’s illegal to not have a bag over it. Stupid.

We arrive in St. Paul which a big flat town with nice downtown and once again are confronted with a freezing cold venue. This is the first venue that the sales aren’t too promising. It’s a weird room. Patrons enter from the corner and are admitted to the concert room, then you must come around another corner in order to access the bar area and show your ID. Also there is no beer allowed on stage. Huh?

“Is there a backstage?” I ask during sound check.

“Yeah, but it’s terrible, it’s really dirty, I mean, just awful.”

What?

We gather around the pinball machine, which Brad is destroying, I mean, he’s killing it.

“Yeah, at one point, I lived down the street from a pinball speakeasy, and it actually got to be kind of a problem, you know what I mean, like I need to stop.”

LA is a weird place. But St. Paul, despite being a little shitty, is not short on hospitality. One of the guys that works at the bar, for no reason, invites us to try some of his tequila, the skull brand, Dan Aykroyd’s very own.

It should be noted that more people have caught the Swedish plague, Greyum in particular and the hypochondriacs are freaking out.

We drive through the city and point out a little diner. Mickey’s Dine which is a beautiful old fashioned little dining car with retro stylings and inoperable jukeboxes at every table.

Can I get a hamburger, but instead of fries can I get a salad?”

She thinks for a moment.

“Yeah, I can do that.”

I get a hamburger with iceberg lettuce and tomato on it. And then beside it is a bowl with large pieces of iceberg lettuce and a tomato. Fresh bowl of hamburger topping.

We get back and the place is still cold and we also find that the bathrooms don’t have doors on the shitter. Barbaric. We just hang out with AVV while people slowly trickle in. It’s my turn to drive so I have nothing to drink, I don’t mind because we’ve only been given 24 cans of Pabst. barbaric.

The show, truth be told, goes really well. The room slightly heats up as we play to the not so full crowd. The saving grace comes when we hang out with the guys from Discland, the cool record shop in Minneapolis. These guys are full of life and just awesome. We chill with them all night.

Eventually I have to round everybody up and get on the road. We make for Albert Lea due south of St. Paul. We made vague plans with AVV to meet up somewhere but I’m trying not to use up texts.

We wake a very sleepy small Indian woman to book into the super 8 in Albert Lea. As we settle into our room I get a text from Ribs.

“Hey dudes, we just got in to the Albert Lea Super 8, room 323.”

Mike and I walk up.

“You Mother ^&%(*!!!!”

We hang for a good portion of the night and then crash out. The butter Spindles really hit us hard.

14. Tuesday, January 24th

The Bottom Lounge

Chicago, Illinois

This is our day off. AVV left and slept near the border and are head off to… somewhere… to play a show. Ghost left at 4 in the morning and are spending their day off in Detroit. For us, it is time to pack, relax and, oddly be on tour, at home.

I am not woken by Mike who I think, heard late I got in last night. This is the day for the final “skit” recordings of the upcoming Vince Lombarrdi EP. I have to go in and do my parts at Juhas studios. Mike has left a not on an amp in front of my door telling me to sleep in a bit. As I read this he comes in the door to grab me and take me over. A little hasty, but I manage to put on my best David Attenborough and not die of laughter at Josh’s reading of “Yeeeaaaahhh! Get some more beeeer!” Rat boy voice.

After this, I have to go and get a haircut. A nice trim I want, prim and proper, not this fake bald ass long hair I’ve been trying to rock. If you’re losing your hair, it’s best to just own it, cut it short and not try to hide it. Which is exactly the opposite of what my barber at Hollow ground wants to do.

“No, no, no combovers!”

“OK, how about like this.”

“Dude, that’s a combover!”

Now it is time to finally return the car to the Gadke house, with a lot of stuff inside of it. The plan is, I have dinner with mom and pop and then we head down to the bus station. That’s right, we are taking the overnight bus to Chicago. Planes, trains and automobiles, a real patchwork of transportation for a poor band. To rent a car and return over the border is so expensive. Our options were to do this, drop it in LA and fly back to Buffalo (save money on domestic flights) or play our way back home, adding an extra week onto the tour (or more!). The former is a much safer bet for those that are gainfully employed (Sean and Mike).

Making down to the bus with most of the shirts and my stuff. Dad drops me, I wait, get harassed three time by a beggar and then the Ceremonyites slowly trickle in. Sean first (uncanny!) then Alia and Mike. We get on the bus, sitting at the back, and I fall asleep on the way to Windsor. Waking up an hour outside, the bus empties as we hit the town and only about a dozen of us remain bound for the free world.

We are ushered into a tunnel, then to the border, it’s about midnight and there’s nobody there. Despite this, Detroit still sucks, they use scare tactics, make us stand for a while, and even when it’s clear everything is in order, they still give us a hard time.

It’s not until I, the penultimate musician allowed through, walks out the door with my guitar do things lighten up.

“What kind of axe is that.”

“Fender P bass.”

“Nice, American?”

“No, Mexican.”

He waves his hand dismissively. I wink at Sean, poor fellow, the most nervous of all of us, left alone to have it out with his border guard.

Back on the bus, Sean is released in minutes, they gave him a bit of hard time about the t-shirts, but since there’s only about 200 of them, they let it slide. Our new friend, Sascha, tries to help us comfirm our plans in Chicago. There’s talk of getting a hotel as we are going to arrive at 5 in the morning.

We’re dropped at the downtown Detroit bus station and whisked onto the Detroit bus.

My hands are full so I hold the ticket in my mouth.

“You gotta be kidding me,” the bus driver says.

“Ok, all of you, you don’t like waiting and I don’t like waiting, I drive this bus and I drive it good. Are y’all gonna behave on this ride. I’ll say it again in English, no alcohol, no smoking. You got that? What you got there? You tipping? That’s ‘drinking’ in English.”

“It’s just water,” the man replies with a British accent.

“You sure, can I have some? Ok let’s go.”

He motors and I don’t sleep, I mean, at all. Through Michigan, through the little bit of Indiana, No sleep. Suddenly, we stop and the nightmare is just beginning, We are haggard, we are lost, Alia wants a hotel, Sascha tries to find us one, but all of them are booked. It’s 5:30 am and the car rental isn’t available until 11. We collapse against a glass door and I, oddly fall into one of the deepest sleeps of my life in the cold, dirty Chicago central but station.

We are awoken by Carl Winslow.

“Hey guys, it 8, rush hours gonna start and my manager’s comin’ in, you gotta leave.”

Mike is passed out, head in his hands, sitting at a little bench.

“Dude, we gotta go.”

“Huh, uh, huh, yeah, ok…..”

Outside to the taxi stand and a station wagon pulls up. Rastafari, Bob Marley on the tiny little DVD player on his dashboard. Mike is stoked.

“This AMAZING! I love Bob Marley, best cab ride ever!”

He takes us to Hertz car rental but the car is not ready, the manager graciously allows us to put our luggage in the corner of the tiny office and we walk out down the frigid Chicago streets in search of food. There’s a big classic looking restaurant, chicken fried steak, eggs, a long breakfast, though waitress seems to be trying to rush us out of this empty place.

Before we head back, Mike and I need hats, so we go to the Walgreens or whatever. Chicago Bulls for him, plain black gangster (i.e. too big) for me. Waling towards the car rental place we see this. 

America truly is the land of opportunity.

Around the corner to pick up our spanking new Toyota Camry. With Arizona plates no less.

Four Canucks with Arizona plates, why not?

Now we are off to the Bottom Lounge to help with load in. We arrive just about the right time to help move stuff into this giant place. It’s got two big rooms, a venue and a bar with great beer, one of the two predominant features of big American clubs. The other being, no heat.

It’s freezing outside and only slightly warmer inside. Sound check in your jacket and toque. Alia, Sean and Mike are exhausted and decide to crash out. I’m hungry and restless so I decide to head to a local restaurant. The bottom Lounge is located  in the same area that Oprah filmed her show. And ever since the studio came there the area has made the shift from industrial to residential. I run into Patrick who directs me towards a local pub. Reuben sandwich, friendly conversation with locals (the girl at the bar thinks she knows me) and then back to find everyone bustling about. Some more than others.

M. is leaning against that bathroom door, hand on his stomach. This is the first sign of the Swedish plague. Niels has it, too. Oh boys. Although, Papa is feeling fine now, chatty and optimistic about the tour. They have really hit their stride in the past few days.

We go on, very early, around 7:30. the place is full, but mostly of Ghost fans, we still play and awesome show. I spend the majority of Ghost’s set in the bar room, watching the Blackhawks get annihilated. This is probably good as it wasn’t their best show. M. succumbed to the plague and had to walk off stage, we found him curled in the fetal position backstage.

We meet up with Sanford (who missed the show because it was so damn early) and hang out in the barroom with him and the guys from Gates of Slumber.

We get in the car, feeling good and then suddenly, we have to stop.

“Fuck! I forgot to get paid!”

We race back, no trouble, but try to avoid seeing anyone.

We drive and I will honestly admit that I don’t remember where we stayed. Bust not have made a big impression.

13. Sunday, January 22nd

The Mod Club

Toronto, Ontario

I get picked up around 11 o’clock. If I’m not there to move things along, nothing happens. Well, almost.

Anyway, I’m tired and hungry and demand we stop at the first Timmy’s we see. BBS.

Driving into the city is a little exciting. I’ve never really had a homecoming show before. People are actually kind of excited to see us at the big club, one of the biggest I’ve ever played at.

We go to the Mod Club first and do a quick soundcheck. The Ghost guys want to hang but we really have to, you know, shower and go home!

I drop everyone off and agree to meet Sean later and grab the shirts to bring to Patrick so that we can actually make some money. I bascially spend the whole time running around until I drop everything off and then leave the car at the apartment and bike over. We’ve planned to go out tonight with all the Ghouls as we have the day off.

It’s an early show, as always at the Mod Club. And added to this we get no backstage and only three drink tickets each. It wouldn’t be a problem if a bottle of beer didn’t cost SEVEN DOLLARS!

More and friends show up and by the time we get onstage I can see Ryan Spratt, Mike and John Eckert, Ivy and Matt, The Godstopper crew, Evan Davies, Ryan. All the good old dudes. We, not to brag, give a really good performance. Very cathartic, euphoric.

“Dudes, you guys killed it! Where are you from!?”

“Well, I live about six blocks that way…”

I got that about five times that night.

After all is said and loaded, I try to move everyone over to Ted’s Collision for a night on the town. But oyu know, when you’re dealing with people they never want to go anywhere, they just want to hang around. I mean, all the people that were still in the venue, Jenny, Dave, Kim, ALia, Sean, Amy, were all going to the bar, they were waiting for NOTHING.

I’m actually kind of tapping into the anger I felt that night because I was SO HUNGRY. I had decided I was going to head over to Burrito Boyz, but they were closed! Oh horrible misfortune. In fact, everything around is closed. I’m reduced to ordering a pizza and getting a chocolate bar across the street.

All in all, though, nothing could really tamper that night. To have all those friends in one place, Greyum, A., Dave, R., S., M., Nathan, Mike AVV, Mike Simpson, Amy… Even being forced to by a dirnk for Jess Carter (the only drink I actually paid for all night).

I head back to the buss with Greyum after last call and chill there for a bit until a ride home on my bike. Excellent day.

12. Saturday, January 21st

Corona Theatre

Montreal, Québec

It’s snowing, like the snow I remember as a child. We slowly get ready to move as I turn on the car to warm it up. On our way through a nice snowfall and an empty morning in Massachusettes.

We drive for a long while, out of Massachusetts and into New Hampshire. Live free or die. It’s a beautiful wooded and snowy drive through the high hills. Apparently, though, they don’t believe in service centres in NH. No, they only have little buildings with vending machines. It was a while until we found a really charming place in Lebanon. The Fort. Great breakfast if you’re ever out there. Mike bought a mug.

If you’ve never driven through Vermont, it can be beautiful but a little scary, especially for a Canadian. You know, if I were designating road songs along a highway to ANOTHER COUNTRY I would put a few road signs up, well, at least a little further away than 2 miles.

“canada 2 miles”

Small type, no big deal.

Crossing the border is painless and, it’s also rather joyous to see French signs, as well as distances marked in kilometers. I won’t even get into how much I hate the imperial system. I will put all of my two hundred pounds against it! I…. oh damn…

It’s a short ride into the downtown core of Montreal. The Corona Theatre which I have never seen before if big and only a few blocks away from Ste. Catherine. It’s a really pretty, fancy theatre with good sound. When we arrive, Ghost are sound checking. Mike and I head out and get some tea. There is not a good Dépanneur around, but we will make do as I want to show the boys from Ghost some good Canadian beer.

We soundcheck on the huge stage and have no problems. From here, we a re mostly just hanging around. The sound guy tells us that the place nearby has “The best poutine in town.”

Good poutine, I think, but the Swedes aren’t impressed with it.

“It’s like Swedish brown sauce with no flavour.”

Yeah, yeah, Niels, everything is better in Sweden. Sök min kök.

I have a arranged to get my old friend Pippa and her friend Nicole into the show as there aren’t too many industry folk needing to get in this town. The place is big, about 800 capacity, but it hasn’t sold out and will not. There are some 300 presales but apparently it’s a big walk up crowd.

Down in our dressing rooms, one shared and another for the Ghouls, we hang while Alia tries to sleep. Heading out as AVV plays, there’s a good vibe in the club, if no good beer (they gave us Sleeman for our rider, hmmmmmm).

We take the stage to a pretty dense crowd and have a great energetic show. Afterward, I find Pippa, who has brought us a green present.

“Wow! You guys were actually good, I thought I’d have to lie you and pretend I liked it!”

Everybody thinks we are a death metal band.

We played well, but most of all, this was Ghost’s night, they really came into their performance this night, everything gelled really well. Even T’s voice was in top form.

After the show I agree to meet up with Nicole and Sean’s brother at Die du Ciel! (have to go everytime). We hang in the basement mirthfully, drinking with the Ghost boys, two of whom are doing a meet and greet with the fans.

Back upstairs I help load out in the freezing cold. Brad is particularly unhappy, Cali boy. By midnight we’re on our way to DDC which is really close to Sean’s brother’s place where we will be staying.

Good beers, delicious beers and good conversation follow. At the end of the night, I decide to sleep at Nicole’s house and open up some room for my bros.

11. Friday, January 20th

The Middle East (Downstairs)

Cambridge, Massachussettes

“Come on Alia, it’s time to get up.”

There’s about two minutes of silence where I’m typing something into the map.

“Oh Gaaaaaawwwwwwd!”

We get directions. It’s early in the day, but if we drive, we will hit New York around three and get stuck in traffic. There’s no snow, so we chance the backroads. And I mean, the back roads. Have you ever been to Trenton, New Jersey? Well, don’t go.

The trip is about six hours and when we get back on the I-94 and stop at the worst roadside shop ever in Connecticut, which is owned by McDonalds and severs us the worst wrap I’ve ever had. Blue cheese my butt. We are flying, hard, but hit some traffic and the world’s worst intersection in Boston.

Entering Boston sucks because Alia lived there for a long time and knows where to go. But I’m also being told to follow the GPS.

“Go left!”

“Go right!”

“Turn around!”

I will kill all of these people.

Finally making it to the club in the nick of time and parking in a nearby garage we get a quick and loose soundcheck.

We’ve missed most of the waiting part of the day so it’s time to eat. We are supplied with food vouchers for the restaurant upstairs – 50% off. I get the Yaprak. Delicious.

After this, we set up the merch and make our home at the back of the venue. We’re right beside the coat check which has a severely cool looking punk girl whose name eludes me. We haven’t actually brought that much merch hand we really feel the pinch her. After AVV plays, the requests keep coming in for t-shirts and CDs, that we can’t really supply, due the tiny car that we’re driving in. Damn. M comes and sits with me for a chat.

The place is sold out again and has a great energy going on. We take the stage to a raucous crowd, I mean, probably the best crowd of the whole tour. Some of the guys from Iron Giant are there, freaking out.

After the show, I sit with Jeni Asch, Alia’s buddy who was watching our merch for us. She’s a Ghost hater (and a lovely, really cool person), which is entertaining.

“Ah! See that, that’s a total King DIamond rip!”

“I think his voice just cracked…”

We watch from the very back. I’m basically stuck here all night, watching the mayhem, turning prospective customers away. Then watching the line at coat check and getting to know the AVV guys a bit better, a lot better. Mike is drunk and I mean DRUNK!

He bear hugs me.

“You’re such a good bass player!”

Moments later he’s on his back on the ground.

“SUCK MY WIENER!”

Our host, Ian, is getting a little impatient, but we are required to try and help load out, which Mike does well. We get moving, over to the garage where Ian is also parked and follow him back to his house. I sleep on a fold out couch with Mike. It’s cold and snowing now.

10. Thursday, January 19th

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Hotel

Washington, D.C.

We need to move. We really need to go. I’m trying to impress this on Sarah, via expensive text messages, but she doesn’t seem to get it.

“Ok, see you in a few hours.”

“No, we’re coming presently.”

“I’m taking Alia to brunch at a place called pies and thighs, you can pick her up at 11.”

“No.”

We get all packed up and say our goodbyes to Daniel and get moving. It’s my turn to drive. Sean is convinced the car was towed or stolen and my walking a block past it before finding it doesn’t help much.

All you get in New York is real New Yorkness, beautiful, stupid New York moments. I’m waiting at a stop light which also has a crossing guard who ignores whatever colour the light is. It’s 8am, there are kids going to school and I am therefore stopped in my tracks behind another car. The car behind me, seeing the green light, starts to honk, the one behind me as well. I’m listening to a chorus of honks while I start at a sign the says “Do not Honk! $400 fine.”

As I am finally let go, I take a left turn onto the next street. But, for a moment I am startled, thinking it may be a one way street because a woman in a SUV is headed right for me in the right lane. But there are street signs facing my way…? She’s pulled around the other traffic, just to get ahead and is now blocking my way, and when I honk her, she gives me the finger!

We pick up Alia, about a ten minute drive away and check out the local rooster hanging out in front of a store in Brooklyn in January. What else do you do? Pretty soon we’re out on the highway to Washington. Toll roads, long drives, crappy rest stops and all that. It’s only about 350 km to Washington and we make it in good time.

I’d been to DC before, when I was a little kid, but you know, to the museums and downtown and stuff, not to the, you know DC parts of DC.

“If you come up to a red light and a dude walks towards you with his hands in his pockets, just keep driving.”

Well, it’s not that bad. The area that we end up playing in is like the one gentrified area around there. sushi shops, nice stores, etc. When we pull in, the venue is just opening which allows to help with the load in of the gear. Simple enough since the don’t have very much of it.

We’re shown to our dressing room, which is upstairs. Once again we are in a venue where the merch area is separate. The Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel has three levels, the main floor housing the about 400 capacity venue, the upstairs for artist dressing rooms and merch and the top floor terrace which is quite nice, even in this cold weather, probably the coldest day on tour.

After we settle, get some beers, we decide to follow A, M And R to the Washington monument. After much standing around and waiting (as always happens) we get into separate cabs and speed away.

Our cabby is one of the stangest dude I think I’ve ever met. He rambles on about the city, all the while trying to de-fog the window by rolling down the windows and blasting the heat.

We get to the giant phallus and stare. It’s cold and I don’t have a hat. The reflecting pool, just a ways away, is under construction, so that’s sort of a bummer, but George Bush’s WWII memorial is cool, as is the Korean war memorial which has  dude standing beside it explaining everything. After cruising the Lincoln one, we head home, away from the world of pristine embassies and libraries to our little home in the middle of the ghetto.

It’s time to get dinner and we are told that we can get a discount at the local sushi place. Too bad the sushi there costs a fortune. Six pieces for 19 bucks. My life is regret.

Back at the venue, Mike and I hang out with R, A, O and Brad in Ghost’s dressing room and drink some good local beer. Leaving them to do their evil magic, I come back to our room to find that the doors have started to open, and also that we have a merch girl, Liz, who is one of the cutest things I have ever seen. The bar is really cool and Sean has met up with his friend Katie.

Bye and bye, Ancient VVisdom begin their set to a good crowd, I spend most of it chatting with the merch girl…

When we start our set, number two with Mike, we are strong and playing to a crowded, hot, excited and sold-out room. Back upstairs, sweaty and exhausted, I stay upstairs again while Ghost goes on.

I decide that it’s unfair for Liz, who always misses shows because she’s working merch, so I get Mike to relieve her and I take her down for a couple  of songs side stage.

After their set, we return upstairs and drink and drink and drink. We really should be leaving, but, for some reason we can’t. Towards the end of the night, Sean, who is driving, tries to round us up. It’s like herding cats. We are all drunk. Sean is livid.

He piles us into the car. Mike is trying to Put massachusetts into the GPS.

“Mike it’s M…”

N.

“No, no, M.”

NN.

I miraculously sober and get it together. There’s some jokes, some yelling, some cold faces in the driver’s seat. Some barf, in a bag, tied up and thrown out the window. I won’t say who, though.

We travel past Philly for about three hours and crash at a motel, waking a very irritated clerk. Crash out.

9. Wednesday, January 18th

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, New York

The whole story begins on Tuesday morning at 7:15 am, with me sleeping. Passed out, unaware that I had set my alarm wrong. The major twist comes at 7:45 when I awake. I’m supposed to pick up Mike at 8:15. I haven’t prepared, so that’s not happening. I shower, get everything ready, get food, leave the house. I get to Mt. Pleasant and realize I’ve forgotten the GPS. Dammit! Back to the house, then through morning traffic to the Eckert residence.

I scoop up Mike and then get a text message from Alia.

“I’m at Dave’s, can you pick me up here and run past my house?”

Well, I at least nothing more can go wrong on the tour. Or, only one more thing. I get Alia from Dave’s after a long wait on the curb with the four-ways on cleaning out the tiny borrowed Pontiac Wave, then we head over to Sean’s. He really wants his amp to go in the car., He really needs his sound. Well, we really need t-shirts and room to breathe, so it’s no dice. The car is filled to the brim with shit. Backpacks, purses, t-shirts, snares, basses, everything. We will lose some of it to Ghost’s trailer but for now, it’s all on us. I mean, literally on us. It’s sitting on our laps!

We finally blow out of town around 10 o’clock and I haul ass across the 401, on of my new favourite drives with the advent of the Onroute. Now, we have chosen to add a few kilometers onto our journey in favour of crossing the border at the 1000 islands bridge near Gananoque. We want to stay as far as possible from Detroit.

The crossing at Detroit is a hell hole. The woman from the AFM told me that no matter where I cross it will take at least three hours. The Gananoque entrance will be easier, but budget yourself three hours. We did just this, instead of heading all the way to New York, we had planned to stay in Scranton which we assumed we would reach around 9pm. We turned south down the sign to the “Bridge to the US” and held our brother of the breath-taking bridge (see what I did there?).

If I were to have put my stopwatch on I would have been bending thee laws of time because either that was the shortest theree hours I’ve ever experienced or they just waved us through. They pull us into the empty office full of at least 12 border guards with nothing to do. The place is empty.

“What’s your band called?”

“Blood Ceremony.”

“Ho ho! That’s some name! You guys big? You guys get good crowds?” Really nice guys (and girl who processed us).

We are out of there in about 15 minutes. At this rate we can drive all the way to New York City.

I drive for a long tim, I mean, really long, I think about ten or 11 hours, finally stopping in a little place called Tannersville, PA at the diner which is about 1 1.2 hours outside of New York city. We’re served by a rather friendly waitress on her first day. They don’t have beer and in Pennsylvania, they don’t sell beers at convenience stores. We’re forced to buy a six from the local indian restaurant.

Sean takes over the driving for the last little bit and we make good time through Manhattan and then into Brooklyn where Alison lives. We park on the street and head up to her place which is spacious and very comfortable. Alison is a very nice girl, intersting artistic and has beautiful black hair a great first host and probably one of the best places we stayed at in retrospect.

She takes us over to the local “white people” bar and we have a few drinks. Booze may be cheaper in the US, but everywhere you get the 16oz pint which sorta grinds my gears. I do manage to get one beer from a Danish company, Mikeller that blows my face of. 13th%, aged in a whiskey barrel, etc etc.

After the bar we grab a couple thing at a local convenience store. Fried chicken every. Back up to the apartment on a full stomach and a comfortable couch like thing.

Upon parking that night, I misread the sign, thinking I had to move it before 8am. I dutifully rise at 7:30 and move the car, then come back to find Mike up. We decide to try to find breakfast and make for something at the end of the street. It’s a real greasy spoon, but run by muslims, which is something you don’t see very often. Eggs and beef sausage for around 4 bucks! I like it.

But my love for this place will end. After we return, shower and get Alia and Sean coffees, I embark on the mission of DRIVING IN NEW YORK CITY. I am not made for this, there is no way that I could ever live in this city.

The calm morning, filled with cheap sandwiches and a photo shoot by the ODB mural -

- cannot stop the honking, blaring, confusing, no parking, back seat driving nightmare that is New York city.

We finally find a spot to park outside of the Bowery in a tow away zone and just as we stop, who do we see but Greyum May! Walking down the streets of New York. This day is now looking up.

After a quick load in, while I stay with the car. We decide to go grab a parking garage.

I enter the place, a few blocks away from the bowery, the small Chinese operator waves his hands in a dismissive motion. I’m confused.

“I think it’s full.”

“No, it can’t be.”

He keeps waving at me to, what I assume is go away.

“Ok, I think I have to leave.”

I start to turn around, he flips, he’s screaming there’s a car coming around the corner.

“OK! GET OUT!”

Mike deicdes to take matters into his own hands. He gets out and confronts the guy.

“What are you saying, you gotta use words, buddy.”

“You move back! Now go see guy!!!”

I finally get into the position. We exit the car and things are smoothed out. We can leave. But, when do we pay?

“You pay later!!!”

Back at the bowery I get reunited with all my old buddies. R, M, S, A, U and Niels. We also meet Brad, the sound engineer and Reno, Ghost’s tour manager.

The Ghost boys have mostly arrived a few days prior with the exception of T and R. But this is the first day that they will see their bus, backline (Orange) and brand spanking new guitars and basses, laid out like it’s Christmas. Being modest guys, they’re a little embarrassed.

Food is the first priority, thought. Niels, Mike R, M, A and S decide to take a walk for some grub. Then as we leave, I am introduced to a first of six.

“Hi, My name’s tooth.”

Just Tooth. Number one.

We only walk a few blocks until we come to charming looking MExican place, the first of much mexican food we will eat on this trip. Mike and are not hungry so we just have some Negra Modello while Mike watches the Barcelona game on his phone.

Back to the gig, back for soundcheck. Papa has arrived. He has voice problems, won’t be talking to anyone. We are shown to our dressing room, which is in reality, a small booth in the back part of the upper balcony that, I assume, is normally used for private parties, but has been draped off for us.

We spend most of the time before the show setting up the merch desk, spending some time with Patrick, Ghost’s merch manager. It’s a tiny space in the level below the venue, which is strangely set up. If you are a spectator you enter the bowery from the street and are guided downstairs to a bar area, from there, to se the show you are ushered past the merch table and then up a flight of stairs at the front of the building, essentially putting you at the same level and about two meters away from where you intially entered. American convolution, of which we will see very aptly represented in concert house architecture.

Shortly before doors, the boys form Ancient VVisdom arrive, Mike, Nathan Opposition and numbers 2 and three respectively, Ribs and TransAm. They have also brought a camera man/merch person to man their elaborate merch set up (they actually are the only ones who brought music) Sikander.

Doors, the time is nigh and I’m actually getting a little nervous. It’s a sold out show, and a buzz one at that. I don’t see much of the Ghost boys back in our dressing room, but Barce wins and Mike is in high spirits.

By the time AVV goes on, the place is full.

We start the intro song, head up the little flight of stairs and out onto the stage.

It’s a big place, full of people. from the first notes of GGP, the people are into it and by the last notes of Oliver Haddo, we’ve got them all captivated. It’s a good night.

Set list (for the entirety of the tour)

Great God Pan
Hop Toad
Return to Forever
Witchess Dance
I’m Coming With You
Oliver Haddo
Coventree (outro)

After the show, we’re all on a good high, we killed it. Especially for Mike’s first show with us, every, having started rehearsing only about six weeks prior. We try to go help Patrick with merch, but it’s too tight and we sort of begin to realize that he would be more than happy to go and do it for us. Because he’s a really nice guy.

The Boys are all staying at Sean and Alia’s friend Daniel’s house in Brooklyn and Alia will stay with her friend Sarah. As we pack up, we are able to dump some of the stuff with Ghost in their very under-full trailer. There’s a lot of dilly-dallying until we are able to get going back to the Zoo.

We retrieve our car without hassle and then make our way over the bridge.

I crash pretty hard after having hung out with AVV near their van. Sleeping on an air mattress in Brooklyn with Sean nestled beside me.

8. Monday, January 16th

The Rucksack Willies – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

Bittersweet last gig before the tour. I tried to give this one my all nad I think it worked out well. Mike Simpson, my buddy and roommate actually came out to the show. I think we blew his mind. After the two sets, I just went home to the Gadke house and then, stupidly, went out for a drink at McSorley’s. Again, don’t remeber much about this one. This sucks, readers, if there are any of you. I’m sorry.

7. Saturday, January 14th

The Happy Pals – Grossman’s Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

This is gig was followed before a last minute rehearsal on the BC front. To be honest, I don’t remember much about it as I left it pretty quick to go to the space. I also waited a while to write this one. God damn. Mea Culpa.

6. Wednesday, January 11th

Lucas Gadke and the “Wildhearts” – Graffiti’s

Toronto, Ontario

It’s been a good, slow and clean week. “Detoxing” before the tour, fruits and veggies, going to bed early, no drinking, generally living like a total loser. This will be the second of my residencies, but really the first because this is the only time I’ve been able to tell any one about it, the last show with Sean being so last minute (See gig #2 – notice how I’m numbering these now, pretty clever, huh?).

I arranged to do this with Angie Hilts, one of my best buds and lead singer of the Rucksack Willies. I figure with her it will be easy to start the concept of this residency. I figure it’ll be interesting to have a guest every week and three sets. Set 1 – me. Set 2 – guest. Set 3 – The guest and I. This will hopefully breed some cool collaborations, creativity. And it did so this week.

I get a text on Tuesday, the date of our rehearsal, if it’s cool if Nick Scott comes along. Nick is Angie’s man, my friend and a great guitar player. This’ll be really good. Then I get a text while at work (a gloriously satisfying 12-4 shift at TBS).

“Ok! Nick and I will be there at 5. Eva’s coming, too!”

Eva? Like, Eva, Eva?

Eva is a mutual friend, a girl I met through attending heavy shows in the city. Friend of Miranda from Godstopper, works with Angie at MEC and is the person who drunkenly agreed to come on tour with Blood Ceremony as the merch girl one night.

“Oh, you leave in four days? Oh I’ll just get my mom to loan me $1000! Easy”

Needless to say our brilliant plans didn’t bear fruit.

This will be Eva’s first time performing in front of people. She’s more of a car singer, I think.

They all arrive and we run through some covers, standard fare, “Ain’t no Sunshine,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and then one of Angie’s semi-abandoned originals, “Far and Few Between,” which has been sadly neglected. I suggest that we do “Sea of Love,” made popular in our generation by Cat Power, which Eva knows well and is willing to sing solo!

The next day after running around, picking up some carboys and the infamous “Blood Ceremony Blutbock” from Ty’s place I head oveer to Graffiti’s. As is usual, there’s nobody really there except for Sean and two loud dudes at the bar. As I’m setting up, one of the guys comes over to me.

“So, what do you do?”

“Oh, I’ll just be singing some songs and playing some banjo.”

“I do Spoken word.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Oh yeah, man, let’s jam. You wanna jam something out?”

“I… uhhhh…. Have to change a string….”

Divert, divert divert, get this guy outta here. Luckily he gets preoccupied with a girl outside that’s hanging around, begging for change, too young to be living that kind of life.

As I set up my mics in the front I hear a banging in the door that leads to the apartment above Graffiti’s, the one that’s right beside the window of the stage. It’s JM! JM, the long-haired blind metaller I’ve gotten to know through friends and various shows around the city. I step outside and direct him towards the door to Graffiti’s, which is a push entry. We walk over to the bar and talk over a beer (well, I have a water) and I change my high g string.

The next to arrive is Eva, then Angie. I decide this is as good of a time as any to start my set. As I play through originals and covers, the place gets slightly fuller with the addition of Nick and then a couple of friends of Eva and Angie. One guy steps inside for ten seconds as I play “Dirty Old Town” and then immediately leaves. Nuts to you, buddy.

I finish up and head back to talk with JM who has to decided to go grab food somewhere. The next set will be Angie and Nick. Angie plays piano while Nick adds some atmosphere on guitar. Really good. As they begin, JM exits and Lowell Whitty and Carlos Aguiera enter. Carlos who just returned to the city from Nashville.

After Angie’s set, I get my bass ready for the Wildhearts. We begin (after JM returns from a vegan burrito place) and plow through a loose set of material, not bad for a band that formed the day before. At the very end I collect money in the tip jar and then divide it up, not bad at all.

I hang with JM for a bit longer and then decide to haul out. Carlos, who interestingly was the second drummer for the Long Haul, offers to give a ride home. Angie et al. are heading to Sneaky Dee’s, but I must remain vigilant. Instead I sit at home and read my Otto Von Bismarck autobiography. Blut und Eisen!

5. Monday, January 9th

The Rucksack Willies – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

Once again, drank too much the night before at Joyce Lau’s birthday at unloveable. Don’t remember much except dancing a lot.

Wake up late, in pain. Make eggs, watch a three part documentary about Beethoven. In pain.

I reluctantly pack up my stuff. I make sure I have everything. I try to make sure I have everything. When I get to the Cameron House, I don’t have everything. I forgot my endpin.

God damn.

The endpin, if you don’t know, is the long piece of steel that stick out the bottom of my bass that raises to the height where I can play it.

Mike suggests I get a phone book. Noel suggests I get a case of empties from behind the red curtain.

I do both. It looks ridiculous, my bass resting on a Budweiser case. I only use this for the first set, which is a goofy yet high energy affair. I opt for a milk crate next. It’s a funny night. In the first, Angie decides she wants to try “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road.” But neglects to give us any direction. She sings the first verse a cappella until Galen kicks in with it. Really weird timing.

I spend the break outside with the smokers, Still in pain. At least the show is well-attended and a guy has bought two CDs. Lizzy, Martin, Whitey, Angele, Eva, so many people I really like are there.

Second set has great energy. We play Oh! My Sweet Lady really well. Loud and proud.

But when the night ends, I am done. Full body hangover. I pack up and leave almost immediately head home and watch The Dunwich Horror.

Yog-Sothoth!

4. Saturday, January 7th

The Happy Pals – Grossman’s Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

Had too much fun on this one. Woke up at my parent’s place. Spent the night before drinking far too much at April’s place with Elias. But the morning was good. Eggs and tea and then I had to wait around until 2 to get my cheque from Yvonne for all the winter help I put in at Alex Farms.

Dad drove me home, which was nice of him and I slowly I make ready to head to Grossman’s.

Getting on the subway I’m tapped on the shoulder by Lindsay. She tells me that John Williams is going to be sitting in on trumpet. This is going to be a really good one.

I arrive and set up. Bandages on. Extra tough strips. Sunday, I’m informed, is Elvis’s 77th birthday and today we’ll do some Elvis tunes. Well, a lot of them, “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Precious Lord, Take my Hand,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky.” I even got to do “That’s All Right, Mama,” singing my little heart out in the second set.

During the set break, Alex and I get some pizza up the street. Pretty standard stuff, actually. The last set is good and long, but fun. I’ve been having tons of fun on stage lately. After the gig, I pack up and head quickly for home because tonight is the infamous Hollow Earth Show. I say infamous because they got a write up in Now Magazine. Big things considering they’ve only played about three shows.

I take the train home with John who is going to join Lemon Bucket Orchestra doing Ukrainian caroling for Orthodox Christrmas. And apparently they give you a shot of vodka at every stop. Sounds good, even though it’s a Royal York and Eglinton. Have fun with that John.

I drop off my stuff and head over to the Garrison, it’s a great show, and because Del Bel is finishing the night, I get to see Joe, Laura, Karen and Ruhee. After the gig, Jim Bravo, Hollow Earth’s drummer, takes me out to a party, which really blows. I bike home listening to Incantation.

3. Wednesday, January 4th

Vince Lomarrdi – The Port

Toronto, Ontario

I caught everything pretty quickly to find most of Vince Lombarrdi had arrived and Oscar Tango setting up. If you don’t know them, they’re one of the best “rock” bands in Toronto, real Sloan and Thin Lizzy influence. Energetic, rocking with serious blasting guitarmonies! I realized that night that there are not enough guitarmonies in Toronto, I want more, all the time, every time.

We practiced the morning before, this would be a somewhat stripped down Lombarrdi set with just a minimal amount of story (and a maximum amount of speeding at night). We even wrote a new song, the “Prayer to Charles Barkley.” In preparation I go to &-11 and buy toquitos. There’s a twinge of shame in my voice as I ask for the monterey jack ones. I mean, I’m not even high, how can this be write?

After they finish their great set, we bust our asses to set up, me setting up Ryan’s bass and every body scuffling to get ready. There’s adecent sized crowd out, believe it or not. Matt Giffin, Juhas even Carlo Schefter (mind blown!).

They start the set off with, off course ISAT, then into the Dad Raps, wizard cape in tow. If I’m gonna keep doing this, I’m going to need to buff up, I think.

The set rambles on, part of the way through entering into the story. When I make my debut as Charles Barkley, I forget the damn filthy toquitos, the whole point of the joke. And now I have to eat them, goddamn.

After the gig, we hang around and chat and then decide to go to Reposado, a tequila bar on Ossington that I have often thought would be too cool for me to enter, like there’d be a forcefield or something.

I meet a couple of really nice Iranian girls and we have a good chat about languages. Farsi v. German/English/French. I love thing kind of stuff, and I can’t believe a girl is letting me talk about it. She lives Halifax though, so it’s a no go. Oh well.

Mike and I drive home. I pass the hell out!

Teach me to dream!

2. Wednesday, January 4th

Lucas Gadke – Graffiti’s

Toronto, Ontario

On the Thursday before New Year’s eve, my old pal and great drummer, Sean Dignan called me up with some news. Kitgut has ended their legendary residency at the Graffiti’s on Wednesday. He wanted to know if I could fill it.

His original idea was for it to be an open stage. But that would suck. Because open stages suck.

So after some thinking, I decided on a concept. Guests. My music, their music and then a collaboration. Wouldn’t that be nice? An entirely new show, experimental every week, but it’d be a good time, a great way to kick of my “solo career.”

To be honest, I haven’t played solo in almost two years. I think the last time may have been at Graffiti’s.

So this would be my short notice, first stab at it. My guest will be Sean Donald, leaving soon for the west coast to watch his uncle’s farm, one of the last times I will see him before he goes on Friday. I didn’t get a chance to do much promotion as I was focused on assembling material. But I figured at least some people would be there.

I was wrong.

Literally no one showed up.

We did about an hour of music and then watched the hockey game (Go Jets! Go #8!).

Not the most heartening debut, but just showed me the level of work I will need to put into this, and how much fun it could be and how rewarding it will be.

It will get its official start next week, then ostensibly on hiatus for the Blood Ceremony tour, but it’ll be a real smash in February, culminating in my Brithday show, most likely with CCRR.

Well, not much success there. Justin Ruppel and Matt showed up and the end for a beer.

But then I grabbed my banjo and took the Dundas streetcar across to (see above)

1. Monday, January 2nd

The Rucksack Willies – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

I awoke this morning in Fergus, Ontario, visiting my buddy Andrew. A lazy day preceded hungover and driving to Fergus to join my pal. Battle for the Planet of the Apes, Indiana Jones, jokes, Molly and Guinness.

The morning with the McCormick, always enjoyable, eggs and toast and Joanie’s warm love wich speeds through the snowy morning back to the city. All I have today is the Rucksack show so I take the TTC home and warm up a bit on the bass.

I get to the Cameron around 5:30 and set up the stage. Adrian is still in Montreal and Mike M. will be joining us on mandolin and guitar. Surprisingly, it’s fairly busy at the cameron. Angie’s family has come today to, along with Nick and Wade.

Angie has just returned from a vacation in the Cayman Islands… She’s not even tanned.

But that’s beside the point. To the music! It’s an energetic set, even if it is a little distracted because I have to whisper the chords to Mike. but we make it through. Even when Angie springs “Why Don’t we do it in the Road” on us out of nowhere.

All things considered, it’s a good time. After the show, I hear that Mikko Hilden and Will Fischer are playing over at the Rex. I head back to the Eckert house, drop off the bass and head on down with Laser and Lenny. I catch up with several friends, including oddly, Brett Taggert, a dude from my high school days that lives in the D-Ville hood. (One new years resolution is to be more annoying).

We leave late in the night and Liam drives me home, listening to Mercyful Fate.