Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Still grumpy about the pictures thing. Either I’m a moron or Blogger is screwing up. There’s a lot of “Fuck you, Blogger!” sentiment on other folks’ sites right now, with references to template troubles, so I guess I’m not alone. I wouldn’t be having these problems if I was clever enough to create my own template .

I had a nice phone call from the belter last night around dinnertime, which did much to cheer me up. She and her mom had a good shop yesterday. I hope the rest of her week in Ont. is as pleasant. Looks like she’ll be in Toronto Thursday for a visit with the legendary Joan. Still, I want her back home, so we can get on with the rest of our summer. Exciting developments await.

Robbie’s Holiday Camp
Meanwhile, back in Harrison…

The gig was in Harrison Holiday Park, a mile or two away from our rendezvous point at the Crossroads Motel. Roger and I arrived at the venue first and, after locating someone with the keys to the place, started unloading our gear. The hall we were to play in was an average-size banquet room with a large, low stage. The place reeked of cedar. The back wall, right behind where I set up the drums, featured a big stone fireplace. I had flashbacks to The Fishin’ Musician on SCTV. Maybe The Tubes would turn up.

As Phil likes to point out, I am no ordinary drummer. I can set up my kit in no time flat. My alacrity left me with a lot of time to kill, however. I sat down on the steps at the side of the stage and had a sulk because I didn’t want to be in Harrison with Blueshammer and I didn’t want to play another gig. I wasn’t looking forward to a two-hour drive home in the dead of night, either.

After everyone else got their stuff wired up, we did a quick soundcheck. The PA was horribly loud, so we rolled it back a couple notches, and we were good to go. I need some fresh, less cedar-infused air, so I took a walk through the Holiday Park. Quaint little road/paths, RVs packed side-by-side, playgrounds, drifting barbeque smoke. An excerpt from Tommy played in my head—“The holiday’s forev-ahhhhhh!” I stopped at a picnic table adjacent to the hall. Murray and Carolyn joined me and began discussing the latest developments at the WCB and the LDB. I watched a young couple playing catch and tried not to slip into a coma.

Dinnertime arrived. We went back into the hall and chose a band table. Roger introduced us to several of the guests, my favourite of whom was a certain “Baron,” the brother of the bride. He was gay as all-get-out. He said he worked at an Aveda counter, and I could tell that he’d be really good at the job (excursions with the belter have been a crash course in the cosmetics realm). Roger seemed very fond of the guy—he did have charisma, that Baron.

Dinner was excellent, a festival of prime rib + taters + salad. The roast potatoes were a bit underdone, but you didn’t hear me complaining. With a couple glasses of red wine as final catalyst, I began to cheer up. Chemistry.

So, on to the first set. As happened at the Cottage Bistro earlier in the month, we were way too loud from the get-go. The people were into it, though, and the dancing started immediately. The blues overtook them, you might say. Baron was grabbing all the old ladies and taking them for a whirl. I settled into our opening number and tried to enjoy my surroundings. The wall on the left side of the stage had a window with a view of the Holiday Park swimming pool. It was still daylight out. The scene on the deck was more John Waters than Aaron Spelling, which wasn’t a bad thing.

Mark, the bride’s other brother, joined us on guitar and vocals for the second set. He was a seasoned vet of the cover band circuit, and had hundreds of screaming licks at his disposal. I have to give the guy credit for learning the tunes quickly, but his sound was a little too metallic. Still, it gave Murray a break to have him sit in with us.

The third set…ah, the third set. Why do we need a third set? I don’t know. Every audience we’ve ever played for has been well blueshammered by the time we reach the third set, and this crowd was no exception. After the second set, the canned music took over, and the people seemed happy with the situation. I was all for packing up and hitting the highway, but instead I had to wait while we decided if we were going to play again. During this interval, I witnessed something that no should have to witness.

There was a group of women on the dance floor grooving to the hits of the sixties and seventies. I know Smash doesn’t like it when I harp on appearances, but can I point out that all these ladies had big perms? Okay. “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” came on, and the youngest perm rushed over to the stereo. “Great,” I thought, “she’s turning it off so we can get this last set over with.” But I was so wrong. Up went the volume, and crazy went the ladies. One woman, the queen of the perms, took up a stance and play acted her way through Meatloaf's mini-epic, throwing her head from side to side and fiercely mouthing the words. Oh god, I was so glad the belter hadn’t come with me. There would have been a bloodbath. “Paradise…” is perhaps her most-loathed song…besides “Bohemian Rhapsody” (we haven’t had to seek counselling about this yet).

We did play a very short third set to a depleted audience. If you’ve been to a Blueshammer show, you can picture the scene. We quit after about four songs, and I packed up and hit the road around midnight. Murray left at the same time, and he led me through Agassiz to Hwy. 1, which was a much quicker route home than the #7 would have been. I floored it all the way home, and I thought about what Jochen Mass said after a demon lap at the Nurburgring in ’75: “If I’d have left the road, I’d never have stopped travelling.”

That’s it for Blueshammer for the rest of the summer. I’ve told everyone outside the band that I don’t want to continue with them. Every gig we’ve done this year has fallen on a date where I wanted desperately to do something else, attend another event. I don’t think I’m in love enough with playing live to keep doing it, and I’m definitely not in love with the music we play. This break will be good. I’ve got too much going on with work, volunteer stuff, and with people outside of the band that I care about. I’ve picked up the guitar again. I haven’t written anything in over a year, and I’m very curious as to what my next song will sound like.

We were paid a nice sum for that Saturday night in Harrison. I got my cut from Roger in the mail yesterday. Dinner's on me when the belter gets back.

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