Before I get going here, I advise you to read Alick Macaulay’s Blacknblues sometime. You’ll find a growing collection of carefully considered and crafted essays by a man blessed with enough analytical power to add two plus two and come up with 8,000 every time. Genius. He’s making me look real bad.
I’ve done a lot of things in my life as a “musician,” but touring’s not one of them. I’ve never envied those dedicated enough to pile into the Econoline and head out for months of bad food, dodgy clubs, highway breakdowns and no bathing. I've seen the misery of the experience reflected in the faces of musicians at gigs I've attended over the years. Dale Crover, on tour as Nirvana’s substitute drummer, setting up his pedals on a crowded, dusty sidewalk outside the New York Theatre. The For Carnation moping through a set at the Starfish, still managing to summon a kind of lackadaisical glory. Seam gritting their teeth onstage at the Lunatic Fringe, with its ludicrously high drum riser and sword & sorcery murals on the walls. I'm grateful that these bands go out on the road, and even more grateful that they cross the border to play our dingy little town and sell me a t-shirt, but I've read Get In the Van, and that's enough for me.
Last Saturday’s day trip to Harrison was the furthest I’ve travelled to play a gig. Blueshammond guy Roger had arranged for us to provide music at a post-wedding party for a friend’s daughter and her new husband. They had got hitched in Australia earlier in the year, and this was to be their Canadian coming-out do. I embraced the idea of doing this gig when it was originally proposed (because it fit in with our “weddings, parties, anything” mentality, which has seen me playing on boats, illegal party spaces in North Van, and U-Brew establishments), but I grew less and less keen on it as Saturday approached and the reality of the drive set in.
I had a couple hours between getting home from the belter’s and having to load the truck and depart, so I ate some lunch and dubbed a couple tapes for the road. Unfortunately, I forgot my “Big Lebowski”-inspired pledge to make a Creedence tape from the three-LP set that JR gave me for Christmas one year—among my gift-exchanging friends, his presents are unrivalled for their sheer vinyl heft—and selected some newish stuff that I thought would provide some righteous road rock.
I was supposed to have guitarist Murray along for the ride, but he never called, and I gave up on him. I heard from him right as I was leaving. He apologized for not being in touch, and said he would make his way to Harrison by himself in about an hour.
So, with a handful of tapes, a can of Coke, and my drum kit in the back of Clive's Ford Ranger, I hit Huxley Ave. about 1:45 p.m. and headed out to the highway. Cue Point of Entry, side one.
Next time: Rendezvous With Roger.