59. Saturday, March 31st

New Orleans Rhythm – Dovercourt House

Toronto, Ontario

I take the subway home and meet up with String on the the street. He’s parking his car in the back and then we are going to drop off our stuff at the DH. This seems like a good idea until we ascend the stairs. Dozens of young people are gathered there. There’s a show going on by the Bee’s Knees dance company. The hall is lined with people and the room is inaccessible. We precariously lean our instruments up and head over to get some Portuguese chicken. We think that we’ll be let in soon so we eat on the steps. This was a bad idea.

They come out in droves, all dressed up. I feel like a tool sitting there in my trucker hat eating rice. But whatever. Patrick shows up, looking tired.

Did I mention he’s sick, I mean really sick. He goes into the room and lies down on a couch. He’s brought Toby along to help him out, or maybe take over for him if he needs to. It’s a slow start and the people are still filtering out. No one is up there yet as they’ve not opened the bar on the second floor. Eventually we just start playing, String, Lowell, Toby, Patrick and myself.

It’s a good team. We groove pretty well. The dancers, the blues dancers make their way in and the party gets going. It seems to be a big party this weekend. At the first set break, we go to my apartment and have some beer. Then back at it for another two nice sets.

At the end of the gig, tired but elated I go into bathroom and look at my watch, 1:30.

Stringer walks in.

“Dude, I got a weird text from my landlord about half an hour asking whose car that was. He said he didn’t recognize the plates and he’s going to to tow it.

“Oh shit!”

“I know it’s pretty bad considering this also happened on APRIL FOOLS DAY!!!!!!”

Burned.

Nyree, Toby, Lowell and myself head over to Hurricanes for a final pint. On the way out I run into Simpson, Miranda and Adam. Unholy god. Back to the apartment.

58. Saturday, March 31st

The Happy Pals – Grossman’s Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

Wake up in a strange place in high park and am forced to put myself together and head off to work. Working with Frankie, the morning shift, slowness and full bottles of beer on this greyish morning. As the time passes I am released to push off for home to shower and eat. The grime comes off and I head out to Grossman’s with my newly purchased bow! That’s right, I have a bow.

I’m so excited about it that I use it during some of the slower songs. I actually take an arco solo on a gospel number, Peace in the valley. It’s time to start thinking about solos more because I forgot that I actually liked doing them when I have a bow. O glorious singing tones!

Today is the anniversary of a dance marathon, the first dance marathon, and certainly a few people are dancing, especially Lindsay’s friend from Philadelphia, Eli, who is a dead ringer for  Sarah Bergman circa 2004. Blond hair, same face, uncanny. During the break, I have a chat with Kyle about his newly formed Toronto Facial Hair society that will be meeting in the city for drinks starting this monday. Then I’m beckoned away to get pizza with Alex and his friends.

Before we go on for our second set, a man in a suit approaches me. He tells me he’s here to remember his brother, who passed away. His brother who loved music and played at Grossman’s. The whole family is there. It’s a big day, seeing as Earl Scruggs died on Wednesday. I get the honour of playing Blue Moon of Kentucky and dedicating it to hear, to rapturous applause, of course.

After we finish up. I hang around and finish the pitcher that was bought for us (not the whole pitcher) and work out with Stringer how to get over to my place to get to…

57. Monday, March 26th

The Rucksack Willies – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

Losing my mind I think, I absolutely cannot remember what I did before this gig on Monday. What’s… Gods be damned!

Anyway, I show up relatively early and strap myself and all the microphones in. It’s a cold day, the first of many of a long cold snap that erupted right after our glorious heat wave. Adrian is not feeling well today so Mike M. is sitting in with us. I am his wingman and it’s up to me to make sure, I you know, call out the medley of I Know you Rider and Midnight Special (which I don’t do).

Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I was distracted, right before we play by my new friends Katie and Christina showing up, coupled with my broken G string. That’s right, my double basses G-string broke. Finally happened. Not a snap or a whip just a dull plonk and my bass is automatically a semitone sharp. Jesus.

I take it off and give it to Meghan’s godfather who is visiting.

After the show, I place my bass downstairs. I take Katie and Christina up to the subway and then join my friend Nicole for an egg sandwich up town.

56. Saturday, March 24th

The Happy Pals – Grossman’s Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

This is quickly and dangerously moving into the territory of routine. Wake up on Saturday, go to work for four or five hours and then play Grossman’s. I mean, that pretty well describes my morning. Except this time I got off at four so I had some time to eat something decent before making it over to the Tavern. I bump into Lindsay on the way over. She’s hungover. I mean, that bad kind of hungover where, as we’re setting up for the gig, she just stares at her trombone.

But, music usually ends all ills and part way through the first set I realize that this is one of the most energetic nights we’ve had even if the room isn’t completely full. During the break, spent at Kom Jeug, I eat, alone, lonely, sad. Boo hoo.

But when I come back in, there’s about twice as many people there. The backroom has filled up with some sort of office party with young people. Real live young people! Not to mention that Alex’s girlfriend Kathleen is also with us, hanging out adjacent to the stage with MORE young people. It’s uncanny.

The second set starts right a at six and goes until 8. It’s a long one, but genuinely fun. We do “Waiting for the Train To Come In” (sung by Chuck), followed immediately by “Waiting for a Train.”

Themes.

There’s a few really good dancer, especially this one woman, very into it, who karate jumps and kicks and squats and wears a funny hat.

“Which CD is the best for CRAZY dancing?”

Belle and Sebastien, perhaps?

I pack up quickly, head home to meet Mike who’s missed the show he meant to see.

“It’s over at 11? Why is Soybomb finishing at 11?”

“Oh well, you want to come to my friend’s birthday party?”

Mike and I board the Dufferin bus for a night of karaoke and such at the GLadstone. At one point I get up and do Simple Man, which is a lot of fun.

Home to pass out, no work tomorrow, but Lombarrdi rehearsal (with watermelon!)

55. Thursday, March 22nd

Max Galactic and The Cloud of Evil – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

There is a fedora, sometimes it is upright. If you put it upside down it becomes: Fedora Upside Down. Normally, collectives, scenes, people being cool and having fun, I’m not into these things, but this not offered too much fun for me to scoff at. Every Thursday at the Cameron house they do their thing, a “storytelling night” where one of the members of the collective tells there life story in music. So it only makes sense that tonight’s show was 25-year-old John Williams’ night to tell his entire musical life story.

John Williams who I’ve played with before and am apparently in a band with (as yet to be named), is one of the best clarinetists in town (probably the best) and is all around one of the best people that I know. He started out his career in the U of T classical program, but quickly switched his focus to more improvisatory music. His projects include The Lemon Bucket Orkestra, the Boxcar Boys, Jarron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything as well as the now defunct Max Galactic and the Cloud of Evil.

On my birthday, John explained to me the nature of the gig coming up and that he wanted me to play electric bass for his band. Why not? The group consists of John on clarinet, Nick Gair on guitar and vocals and Justin Ruppel on drums (finally I get to play with Justin again, tee hee!). We had two rehearsals, one the thursday before, without Justin at John’s house, and one the day of. I head of to meet them up at Rushton and Benson, my old stomping grounds.

Justin sits casually on his front porch, thumbing away at his beautiful banjo. It’s a gorgeous day and people pass by slowly, giving us strange looks. We sit and talk, catching up for a bit. Talk about the Long Haul, talk about how busy Justin is, then John walks by, laden with clothes.

“How are you wearing that sweater?”

“I don’t know!”

He ascends the stairs, pulls off the heavy wool thing, rips, literally, his western style shirt off (“Oh, I iked that shirt”), takes off his undershirt and then his pants. He seems satisfied cooling in the breeze.

By and by, Nick arrives for a spirited rehearsal. John has a day full of rehearsals with different groups so it’s quick and to the point, do the set twice. Afterwards, we take off for some beer and food, which is impossible to find in this area. Finally after walking to Bathurst we find an open place and grab some grub and a pitcher.

From here I speed off to meet Sofia at Snakes and Lattes, a place where I’ve never been that actually has a cover charge. It’s fun nonetheless and I end up winning at Carcassonne. Then I walk over to the TIFF to pick up tickets for the Pentagram movie, Last Days here. Up to Thirsty for a pint then back down to meet Sean.

Let me just say that this was a day of contrasts, watching Bobby Liebling show off his open sores from drug use is in stark contrast to walking though the Annex on a sunny day with Sofia. After the film, Sean, Alia and I head north. They’re going back to Thirstys (or Les Mis) but I opt to stay at the Cameron to See the Roofhoppers and the Boxcar boys before I go on.

After some amp trouble on Nick’s part, we launch into a spirited set with Tongi helping out on Accordion for some tunes. We do Polka, Blind Tzar, Bottle of Rum, Robot in a Whorehouse and two others whose names escape me. It’s a total blast. In fact, the whole night was wonderful. I stick around to dance for Lemon Bucket Orkestra who I’m seeing for the first time. I end up dancing with a lovely girl named Katie and share a car home with her and her friend Christina.

Hey!

54. Tuesday, March 20th

Jay Aymar – The Painted Lady

Toronto, Ontario

The Painted Ladty, you may recall, is where I did the Christmas extravaganza with Jay previously, although this time, it is much less packed.

We start late, meaning that I’ll have no chance of making it to the radio show.

Our soundcheck neatly segues into our first set. Johnny Cash into “All I know.” This set up it’s Just Jay, Greg and myself. So I’m the timekeeper, which I’m not used to anymore, so some things get away from me. But we hold it together.

On the break, I sit by Jake.

“This bartender is so beautiful. Luke, be my wingman.”

“What?”

“Just do it, talk about German stuff when I order another beer.”

“Ok….”

The second set starts late again, running until around 12:30. By this time, I’m just tired and worried about my fingers, but they’re doing fine.

Afterwards, I step outside to check my messages, but am distracted by the group of Russians around me. The girl, looks at my hand. And starts pointing.

“She doesn’t speak English.”

She grabs my wrist and touches the green stain from my copper bracelet.

“Bad, problem.”

“No, no, it’s for my wrist.”

She turns to her brother.

“She’s a witch, she thinks you have kidney problems.”

“This, bad. Garbage!”

It’s not everyday you meet a real witch.

Later, I’m stading with Jay on the stage after everything is packed up. This blonde girl walks up to us.

“Do you guys have any more music?”

“What?”

“”Like Peggy Lee, I’m a great singer, I could sing some Peggy Lee. LikeFever! When you touch me! Fever when you hold me tight!”

“Ummm, we’re kind of done, here. The sound man is gone.”

She sort of takes me aside.

“I want to sing a song for my fiancé.”

“Well I can’t really help you with that.”

“Why does nobody want to hear me sing, I guess I’m just a girl, nobody takes me seriously.”

Jay calls to her.

“Maybe these to guys want to take you over to the bar and buy you a drink.”

“I don’t need a drink.”

“Yeah, and I don’t think her fiancé would appreciate that.”

And so begins how the rest of the night flows. Eventually her fiancé stormed out, I gues because she was talking (well, FLIRTING) with too many guys. She stayed. She bugs me to play music with her. Tells me she know Gordon Lightfoot. Huuuuuuhhhh….

Jake is distracted again by the  bartender. Just as things are looking grim, I bump into a big bearded dude.

“Sorry, my English is not so good.”

“Where are you from.”

“España. We are here for CMW.”

They have a band called His Majesty the King and they came all the way over from Spain with their Manager. Clara, Paco and Nacho. I spend the rest of the night having a really nice conversation with Clara, who looks like a Spanish Leslie Feist.

I get Jake away from the bartender and then walk home with my bass. A late night, but an interesting one.

53. Tuesday, March 20th

Jay Aymar – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

Jake texts me this morning.

“You wanna go play some songs in Trinity today. Bet we meet some girls!”

Jake is on a mission. Mission for mamacitas. We sit and play some tunes, which is a little difficult for Jake, keeping in mind he has fractured his shoulder last week. Fell off a bike, at night, on a two minute ride home to his new apartment.

After some time in the park with (surprise, surprise) no ladies walking up to us and talking to us, we kick off for The Cameron via Piazzaiolo and then to buy sunglasses.

I drop into find Jay and Greg and… that’s it. Jake’s going off to the county to do something and then he’ll be back. Tony comes in and we kick off a set to a very few people. This one is a little ramshackle, a little crazy on Jay’s part.

“This songs for anyone who’s ever been kicked out of a bar. Or who’s been too drunk and fell off his bike while leaving a bar.”

“*&(^& YOU!!”

Touchy, I guess.

After we’re done, Jake and I decide to head over to the Lakeview for dinner. We stop first at Jake’s place, filling up his flask and getting me a sweater.

At the Lakeview, Jake admires more girls I’m hungry.

“I want my food now!”

“You’ve got a bad temper, don’t you.”

“No!”

“OK, you get mad when you’ve just woken up and when you’re hungry…”

“Maybe…”

Jake has the canadian burger and mimosas. I get what turnout to be the blandest mac + cheese I’ve ever had. It satisfies my rage and then gets me over to….

52. Monday, March 19th

The Rucksack Willies- The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

Up and about after Practice on Sunday with a small part of the evening spent at Cherry Cola’s watching the Diggs.

Today is the day that I go and get my tax return from H&R Block.

“It comes out to $****”

“Oh my god, over 1000 dollars that’s amazing! Can I get that now, or do they send me a cheque?”

“Well, the simplest way is to give you a pre-loaded debit card at then just take the money out a cash machine. Go to the Scotiabank, because they let you take out 1000.”

Seems like a good idea, but when you’re walking around with 1000 dollars in twenties in your pocket, it doesn’t feel so cool. Good thing I was up at Yonge and Eglinton.

Either way. I feel rich (even though I most definitely am not) so I take René out for lunch at Highway 61 (well, he actually paid 10 dollars, but I more or less took him out). I rush off to the gig and for the first time I arrive at 6 with everything set up. Luxury of luxuries.

There’s a good number of people there but not great. The people who are there really dig it, though.

During the second set, a young kid named Rudolph joins us. He’s a trumpet play so it gives it that kind of Ring of Fire feeling.

Once again I leave my bass around and then meet up with Mirinda for a nice night out, culminating in Superbad back at the Simpson place.

51. Saturday, March 17th

New Orleans Rhythm w/ Hannah Krapivinsky – Gate 403

Toronto, Ontario

We load the stuff into the car and head over.

“So, Blood Ceremony you said was a ‘doom metal’ band. I heard ‘death metal.’ Is there a difference.”

Do I reallywant to get into this now.

Gate 403 is a place I’ve been to often but never actually played at until tonight. It’s a great bar with really good acoustics and it’s moderately wild for St. Patrick’s day.

We were told to rush over but we find that the previous band is still hanging around. Hurry up and wait.

“Allo, I know you, I get your band’s e-mails.”

A beautiful Quebecois woman I’ve never seen is talking to me.

“Uh, huh, ummmm, which band?”

“Some band, you play at the local?”

“Not when I can help it.”

“Hmmmm, a longtime ago maybe?”

I start to rattle off band names, nothing is clicking.

“Well, my name is Soleil, anyway.”

We’re already off to a good start.

They depart and I sit down with Mike Evan and order some food. Penne and sausage. Won’t be ready until the break though.

It’s a trio plus vocals and we’re to do three sets, no amplification for me, just straight, but the bass acoustics are lovely for acoustic bass (huh?).

The show goes really well, despite the dwindling bar hopping scenario.

After the last set (complete with my own rendition of Dirty Old Town) we sit at the bartender and the bartender, Martin, buys us drinks. Hannah has gone home, so it’s just the boys. The conversation quickly devolves into weird territory.

“Finland, man…. ah Finland…”

“You know they sauna in the nude.”

“That’s the way it should be…”

We get loaded on free drinks and then I take the night bus home.

50, Saturday, March 17th

The Happy Pals – Graffiti’s

Toronto, Ontario

Woke up with a brutal hangover. At Toby’s place. Flat tire on my bike. I’m going to be late.

Manage to shuffle into work for 11 and am greeted by one of the worst empty days I’ve ever seen, only to be relieved by Wade hours later. Thanks for nothing.

I run back home, change my shirt. Pick up my bass from the practice space and head up to Grossman’s.

I set my bass down and then look at the ground.

“Is that jam?”

There’s a trail of some sort of raspberry jam-looking stuff, leading towards the bathroom. Roberta is on high alert.

“Watch your step, watch your step! Look out! This stuff came out a guy’s pants.”

It’s blood! It looks like blood clots. I mean, gaaaaahhh!!!! Bleh! It’s quickly covered in sawdust and removed, and the guy… nowhere to be found. It just keeps being lovely.

But despite all this, I’m in a really good mood, really happy to be back playing after what feels like a long time, even though it’s only been about four days.

Otherwise, the set goes smoothly, really well and Patrick’s daughter gets up to sing a few tunes with us and THEN play horn.

At the beginning of the second set, Roberta walks around to us all.

“The first song is happy birthday.”

Cool, who’s birthday is it?

Patrick is stamping his foot.

“Ok, let’s do The Milkcow blues!” One! Two”

I’m confused. Chuck starts to play a waltz, I quickly find the key. Roberta is standing upfront and getting everybody to sing happy birthday to PATRICK! Born on St. Patrick’s day, how wild is that?

At the beginning of the day I told my self that I wouldn’t BUY any alcohol. And I stuck to that. But I drank. It’s hard not to when the band gets bought four rounds!

At the end of the night, playing to a raucous crowd, I stand by and talk to Meg who used to work at Rahier while I wait for Patrick to drive me to…

49. Tuesday, March 13th

Jay Aymar – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

It’s a slow sunny day, going out for a walk. I lazily meander over to the rehearsal space, drop off my bike and walk over to the Cameron in what will no doubt become a Tuesday tradition as I continue my domination of the Cameron House.

I find Jay in the back, picturesque, tuning his guitar as he sits in the hallway. It’s beautiful out, so indoor bars don’t generally do well. We play to very people, although Richard Flohil is among the crowd. Two sets, exploratory, with Greg’s new space echo tape machine.

Rather uneventful, but good fun. I take a trip over to the Black Dice afterwards to hang out with Sarah, Ivy, Martch, Sean, Matt, Jenny and Merle.

Boring.

48. Monday, March 12th

The Rucksack Willies – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

Rise today to Ryan Spratt calling me.

“Can you wake up Mike Simpson.”

I know that he didn’t get home until late, or early.

Knock. Knock.

“Mike, Spratt’s on the phone.”

“GAAHFSAKJLBSDVSUIF!!!!!”

“He’s not too happy about this.”

Mike rises and I offer to drive him wherer he needs to go (he is in no shape to drive, and not from a hangover type thing, from just being too tired). I take CAT HLPR out to Hubmer to film the second installment of the Vince Lombarrdi video series. Needless to say it was really weird to be back at Humber. At one point we require a jambox and I elect to go find one. Up on the second floor, in the musician’s lounge, I get really weirded out… Flashbacks, memories, annoyance…

After the filming, Jesse, Ryan, Mike and I head up to Apache burger for some lacklustre grub and some extremely annoyed service.

Mike wants to do one of my tunes today, so, on returning home, I brush up on it and then head out the door a little early. It’s not the nicest day today, a little a rainy, but warmer than most. I get to the Cameron early, set up but do not rush. There’s no one there.

Things don’t really get moving until around 6:30 and we’ve all got a serious case of the sillies, even though we do run some new tunes and try to shake it up a bit. The stage banter is really goofy, and we’re just having a lot of fun. We start the second set off with “White Freight Liner” and then “Empty House.”

Mirinda shows up at the end of the set for our date so I leave pretty wuickly. We go out for dinner at Tortilla Flats where she presents me with a belated birthday card and MadLib. Then we head over to The Lakeview via Trinity Bellwoods (I may or may not have stepped on a dirty diaper in the park). A great night.

47. Saturday, March 10th

The Happy Pals – Grossman’s Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

Falling into a pattern of working the morning shift and being almost worn out for the ensuing show, but I make it. Today’s show is a tribute to Sam Morgan and so, in the first set we bring on an extra trumpet and saxophone, just like the Big Sam Morgan Band. It is today that the Happy Pals first play Steppin’ on the Gas, the last Morgan tune from a set of records to be played. There’s no drama today with Dawn, I’ve brought my own lunch and am eating it outside. Although this is unfortunate seeing as it’s probably the last col day of the year (Sunday brought at balmy 17 degrees).

I spend most of my break hanging with a girl named Rebecca in the audience, she’s nice and is interested in traveling and has family in Australia. I recline on the stage while she sits in a chair and we shoot the shit.

The second set starts at 6:05 and doesn’t end until 8:05. One of the longest I’ve done.

Patrick also offers me a St. Patrick’s day gig at the Gate 403 and then whispers that there may be a European Tour coming up. Oh god!

I leave for home, drop the bass off and then make my way over to Toby’s for his birthday party. Mike, dual birthday boy, shows up later with Laura from Mandarin. This is a crazy weekend for Mike, culminating in a Recording session tomorrow until 6am and then a rude awakening on Monday morning to do some Vince Lombarrdi shooting at Humber. Too wasted to drive, I end up chauffeuring him around.

46. Thursday, March 8th

The Rucksack Willies – The Dakota Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

Wake up after a night of mirth with Tobin and Mike, their birthday and wonder why I was dancing with Phil Miles. I mean, like, slow dancing. It is not as lovely as yesterday, with its thirteen degree weather and failed trip to Black Creek, regardless I have to work, the night shift with JP. We motor through and I manage to leave at ten after 9, not bad.

I race down to the Dakota, no time to eat really and, of course, get there to hurry up and wait. It’s just Galen, Angie and I right now and a few of Dave Borins’ friends. This is Dave’s tour kick-off show and promises to be exciting. Eckert is not with us tonight as he has a PSD gig at the Tranzac, then a Weatherstone gig… at the Tranzac.

It’s a longish set up with a lot of meandering, but we get it done and then have that awkward beginning on stage where we just launch right into it. There’s a lot of energy and Frank Evans on fiddle and banjo adds a lot. I think it’s also part of the excitement of playing at a NEW venue!

A longish set is what follows, full of energy and hooting and hollering, it feels amazing. I decide to stick around for a bit of Dave’s set, but then call it quits after about five songs. I grab my bass and am just about to leave as I’m headed off at the pass by a girl, Mirinda, who wants to buy me a drink.

There’s a first time for everything, I guess. I stick around for another hour, chatting with her. She’s a really nice girl and I wait with her at the streetcar stop before meandering on home myself.

45. Tuesday, March 6th

Jay Aymar – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

A nice day, at least, but no shower. As we slowly pull it together, we go on a long mission, Weatherstone, Galen, Angele, Mike and I to find breakfast stuff. It takes a while, and we even return to the house after dropping off the empties (almost $40!) and Angele. But a big breakfast is enjoyed and then it’s time to get down to business.

Today is my initiation into the world of D&D. Should I really be doing this at 24? I’m going to say… Yes. Things have been going down this road for a while and now it is time.

I’m now a level 7 Druid. I have powers like you won’t believe. Get ready. This is it!

After a nice “dinner” at people’s, I walk down to the Cameron house through the crowded U of T campus, filled with girls and asian men.

The band tonight will be Tony Nesbitt-Larking, Greg Cockerill and Jay Aymar. Greg is already there and as they go over songs, the watch me struggle with the lock to the basement.

Jay’s sets are always unusual, and adding two more musicians to them, especially a drummer makes you constantly alert. You have to use your intuition and then go on whatever he thinks, then whatever Tony thinks, it’s a whirlwind, but Jay is a consummate showman, so if pans out really nicely.

There’s not much of a crowd, but it’s his first time. His first Cameron House residency. Big things, I think.

I cut out pretty soon after the gig and make it home to try and take it easy. Tomorrow is Mike and Tobin’s birthday. A big day.

44. Monday, March 5th

The Rucksack Willies – The Cameron House

Toronto, Ontario

An aimless day, like most mondays. But I pull it together and make it over to the Cameron for what will be later described as “a pretty high set.” Not like we set the bar high. I think everybody except me got high. There’s a good crowd. Probably because it’s MIKE ECKERT’S BIRTHDAY!!! John, Karen, John and Hazel are in attendance, as well as the myriad associated with the Eckerts. It’s a high energy, if sloppy set with a lot of goofing around.

At one point, Eckert begins to play the JP theme.

“Whoever guesses what this is gets a kiss from Lucas.”

“Angie!”

Silence.

Hazel is looking distressed.

“Are you serious!? It’s Jurassic Park.”

Pucker up, kid.

I get to leave my double bass hear because I’ll be back tomorrow so I can grab a ride to the party afterward. I get in Meghan’s car with Carl and Chris Ryan (the guys who will pay $30 fofr a date with me on Friday) and set off for endless mirth.

A big jam, some video games and reconnecting with old friends like Sophia and Liam (Who is now dating the lovely Daiva). At the end of the night, strung out, Galen and I move my old mattress that lives in the pool room upstairs and I crash out next to Carillo.

43. Saturday, March 3rd

Patrick Tevlin’s New Orleans Rhythm – Dovercourt House

Swingland, Ontario

Another swing dance! I love these gigs, they’re right by my house so I don’t have to waste money on food. It’s full of beautiful girls dancing, and I get a mic! Even though the Shim sham, which was historically large tonight, freaks me out… severely.

Arrive, set up. Grab a sandwich back at the house, play with Mike Evan, Chuck and Patrick. It’s pretty easy going. I see my friend James Everett who is apparently dating one of the two beautiful old school pin-up tattoo girls that Lindsay wants me to say hi to. They’re too pretty and I don’t think I can do it.

In the end I work up the courage to say hi to one of them. She’s nice, of course, and I question my fear of approaching pretty girls like I do everytime.

The gig winds down in the third set and then we call it a day. I lead Patrick back to ym apartment wheree he’s parked his car and say adieu. Tomorrow I need rest. Work and then the first Blood Ceremony  rehearsal in a while.

42. Saturday, March 3rd

The Happy Pals – Grossman’s Tavern

Toronto, Ontario

A nice afternnon at Grossman’s if I recall. Once again, I come almost straight from work. Once again I go to Kom Jug, once again, Dawn yells at me. I think I’ve learned my lesson now. The place isn’t too crowded, but there’s good energy as usual.

This week, my old friend, Tyler Thompson, the guy who introduced me to the Grossman’s world oh so long ago, pays us a visit. For the first time I get to take a break from the bandstand. I sit down and realize that you can indeed hear everything, and it’s pretty quiet. Right on.

We finish up before 8, which is nice, I pack up and then get on the subway to speed off to…

41. Thursday, March 1st

Vince Lombarrdi – The Bovine Sex Cljub

Toronto, Ontario

A fuzzy morning, as to be expected on a day like today, well, I don’t even think you can call it a morning. I awake later on, with an odd hankering for Wurst, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. German food. A quick google search reveals a crime: there are no German restaurants in the Toronto area.

Well, there’s one or two, but they seem to suck. I settle on what I think is a Austrian restaurant called Amadeus’ in Kensington and phone up Sean D. and René. Meet me down there. It’s a nice enough day, but I am severely hungover. The kind where I just walk around aimlessly and trail off onto things that annoy me. It also causes me to scream when I arrive at the place to find it closed. I duck into Sonic Boom for refuge, but to no avail.

Sean meets me and we decide to go look for some German food. Nothing. No one in a four block radius has anything like what I want, so we decide on Burger Bar where René meets us later.

“…And then the lap dance last night, and then that dude getting thrown out of the bar.”

“I just realized, we sound like grade A douchebag frat boys.”

Our server is right by us as I say this.

“I pegged you guys for jock assholes the moment you walked in.”

Sassy.

We stay until later on, then decide to go out and see the city, you know, bike around, although René has no bike, just  run down old skateboard with the word Thor on it. As we’re going, we decide to let René hold onto the Sean’s lock and get pulled. It’s a funny, almost high school like moment. You know, kids terrorizing the town… on SKATEBOARDS!

By and by, Sean switches places with René as we approach University and Dundas. A red light. I make eye contact with an older woman walking beside us.

“You know what I finally got up the nerve to say something. What if you got CRUSHED!? Think of everything people would have to feel and go through if you got CRUSHED!??”

“What if you go crushed!?”

“What’s your problem lady?”

“Oh! Sorry to trouble you, mr COOL DUDE!”

She runs onto the streetcar, furious. We are nonplussed. Real hooligans we are.

After some more loafing around in record shops and other record shops, we end up splitting ways. René to a dinner date, Sean back home and myself to my apartment to pick up my wigs. That’s right, my wigs. Mike is back and we load up Cat Helper and make our way down.

I never liked the Bovine and only have played there once before, with Drew Hawkins back in second year. It’s a weird place with weird décor. The staff don’t seem to interested in anything.

We approach it.

“…Is this….??”

Tattoos, smoking, unimpressed.

“The Bovine, yeah, just don’t slam the door.”

Set up is already done so we head over to Ghandi’s for some roti with Spratt. We are joined by Josh and Danielle.

“Where’s D-Pak, somebody text him.”

Bing! “I’m at New York subway.”

Fool didn’t even think to contact us and is eating alone. He’s also forgotten the suspenders, so we have to mission back to his place to grab them, and his crunk U shirt and then over to our place to pick up the Protein whey powder. Just for a laugh.

Back in we get there for Aurora’s band The Blix. They’re really cool.

Jake is coming tonight, which is unexpected.

The next band is Jordan Venn & the Slizneys, a good group full of Humber dudes a bit older than me. The also have lyrics about chimps.

After they finish, we rush the stage and get ready for the onslaught. Keyboard up, shoes off, shirt off.

The first song is “Confused Old Man Looking For Insurance,” our Rammstein parody. It kills, I’m happy to say. Then into I sped at night, which I do not sing and spend the majority of my time jumping in the audience and then lifting weights and pretending to snort protein powder. Funny.

This is where the set kind of falls off. Not on our part, but on technical stuff. The iPod starts, but abruptly stops, some one has kicked it out of the socket. Damn. The wiz verse will have to be a capella. And then Shape Up, Smart us which is fun.

Some of the snags are overcome and the condensed rock opera is run pretty well. I realize, though, that I spend the entire set shirtless, even when I come out as Count Ubenweissvonopensheiden.

After the set, Jakes walks up on stage (no shame for the Gadkes).

“Luke, I’ve seen you do a lot of music and that was the best thing I’ve seen you do yet. This is your new priority.”

And ever since he’s been a huge fan.

Mike and I sit at the bar as the place closes out and then head home. Gameface!