Transgression Trail Tour Blog: episode III
suffered by: Dr.Joey Only
July16: JASPER: We were able to stay with Marianne and David the night of our gig, two wonderful arts minded friends. David and I watched a thunderstorm that evening striking upon the mountain tops of the park, just hours later I awoke to an even more violent asthma attack. David was wonderful leaping out of bed and driving to his studio where Marianne had a puffer that was full and one month past expiring, she allowed me to keep it thus ending my suffering through a summer of hay fever.
We all reconvened at 5pm for supper at a great hotel dining on a variety of pizza’s and salads then went straight to the Legion to set up with Saskatoonian based players known as Ray Elliot Band. Ray grew up in Jasper and drew a crowd of his own as he opened the show. They were a great band but wasn’t as fast and flashy as our Outlaws who specialize in selling beer.
For the Legion crowd we played our World War 2 classics Revolt at Sobibor and Battle of Stalingrad and concluded with Woody Guthrie’s own All You Fascists Bound To Lose. As soon as the songs were over the local Legion president Ken brought us a tray of shooters as he told us he’d close at 2AM rather than 12:30AM so we could play all night. Another rowdy hour went by before I pulled out our smash hit ‘Stephen Harper is a Nazi Douchebag From Hell and I Hate Him So Goddamned Much’. Unexpectedly the Legion president brought us another tray of shooters which surprised me at first…until later when he told me he was essentially an anarchist who ran for the NDP in the last two elections despite his criticisms of the party. He’s known locally as KenDP and was both brilliant and hilarious!
The last great moment of the night was when we were able to party with local psychobilly stars The Grave Mistakes, they released their first album the very next night.
July17: MORFEE MOUNTAIN MUSIC FESTIVAL: We drove all day from Jasper to Prince George, then up to Mackenzie BC. On the way we seen a giant dead moose whose head was cutoff by hillbillies for its rack. Near Mackenzie we stopped for gas and everybody there wanted to meet us. The festival was excited to have us as well, all its volunteers and organizers were wonderful people. The unfortunate part of the festival was that most bands played all cover songs and there were professional security crews wearing flak jackets with 11 RCMP officers who stopped in to visit the beer gardens. It was overkill for a family festival with about 500 people present. We put on an awesome show and sold several hundred bucks worth of merch before retirint to our hotel room for the night.
July18: GRAND PRAIRIE: The drive through the northern Rockies was wonderful, we passed through thunderstorms and things as such. At the bar we played it was movie day, so we all were able to sit and watch Pirates of the Caribean II and Rambo classic First Blood. The food was awesome but the Sunday night crowd just wasn’t there. It was one of those gigs that causes friction in a band because we drove so far just to play a show that didn’t raise our spirits. After a good internal fight the next morning our van parted from Mike and Justine in weird spirits, especially as the fight was ammongst those of us riding in the van. Our van went to Edmonton though and partied with Landon (Whisky Wagon) and the Give Em Hell Boys. After a great party we concluded by watching the inspiring movie Guy Terrifico which was written and directed by a good friend of our own Mike Zinger’s.
July20: BRUNO: Again we drove all day through Saskatoon and up to Bruno, less than an hour northeast from the city. We were able to stay at the venue which had an appartment in the back. It was the owners 40th birthday, but instead he had left to BC for his grandfathers funeral. With 15 people in the room the show was packed, it was a very small venue and very hot inside. Jeff Andrew and Shayne Avec I Grec (Ghosts of the Highway) came to open the show. Together we sold more beers than any other band had ever done, then partied hard with the folks who all came. There’s no cops in Bruno. We were able to stand on the streets smoking and drinking loudly all night. It was a lot of fun.
In fact, we liked Bruno so much we opted not to leave at all. I awoke realizing that our return to Regina was not worth it to us. There was no food and no lodging for us, the beer tab was $100 for both bands (Ghosts of the Highway and the Outlaws). The bar is a micro-brewery yet they charged about $8 a pint. That would ammount to 12 beers to be split between 8 people. It made no sense to play that show, we would spend any money we made on gas to go down there and return back to Saskatoon. We sent Jeff and Shayne on their way to play the gig without us with the lie attached that we were having car troubles.
July22: SASKATOON: The first thing I did in that town was go to the L&M music store and argue that I should not pay for the amp I had from them simply because the only reason I had it was that they had failed to fix my amp on three occasions. While in town we did oil changes, bought records, stocked some stores with our CD’s and ate well at Lydia’s. Some fans came as did Guy Perrin, but overall the show was small and we made nothing for our troubles.
July23: BRANDON FOLK FEST: We drove 700km arriving after 6pm. Zinger was able to go get his immitation telecaster which we had lost for an entire month, it turned up at Lady of the Lake thus in safe hands. My personal guests of the festival were Dr.Heidi Rimke, Art Manual and Heidi’s two great friends. At 730 a terrible storm was nearly on us, lightning was flashing and funnel clouds were spotted. The storm seemed to miss us until around 9PM when it turned back and came toward us. The talk was that the festival would get shut down which had us concerned until a miracle happened. The rains came but no downpour was to be found. Five minutes before our set the storm pushed out so that stars could be seen. Suddenly the crowd was energized and thankful they hadn’t left, we put on an ass kicking show with NQ Arbuckle closing the night.
Right after the show we threw Rowan on a bus to Vancouver so he and his Creaking Planks could start their own shows and tour around. At 11:30 the next day my own cousin Dean arrived from Ontario to travel with us and work as a roadie. We spent the day drinking and smoking and enjoying the great bands, but my heart was set on Sunday. Already on Saturday night had I befriended Buffy St.Marie’s bass player Don. But that didn’t kill th excitement for me. I met her backstage on Sunday before our workshop on the mainstage, an In The Round type show for one hour. That was not nearly as incredible as her performance that night on the mainstage.
After Buffy’s show we were all able to smoke and/or drink with her band while jamming at a campfire. I turned it in early though as on Monday afternoon I had a date with Buffy St.Marie for our mentorship program. We were able to really talk for over 90minutes and it raised my spirits a lot, we knew we had made friends with Buffy and the band…but that was confirmed on Thursday when the bass player Don arrived at our gig in Olds Alberta.
On Monday night we had a big bar-b-q with many of the festival staff. After hours of drinking and partying a thunderstorm rolled in looking pretty wild. We hoped in for a booze cruise just outside Manitoba and watch one hell of a lightning show. The flashing never ceased! The next morning my eyes still hurt from watching that storm on the dark plains, so we drove from Manitoba to Nanton Alberta in time to party with Steve Loree and Katya. Steve produced our record and we had the opportunity to listen to it in studio with Steve. The next morning we were able to have lunch with his Uncle Lance Loree.
July28: CALGARY: The only reason we didn’t cancel this show was that it was with Brooke Wylie and the Coyotes which now features Spider Bishop on lead guitar. That turned out to be our best show at Vern’s ever. My cousin Dean had five family members show up, none of which were related to me in anyway. We stayed at Brooke’s house while Justine and Mike went to Ethan Colisters. The next morning we had beakfast at the truck stop on 9th Ave South and Deerfoot Trail with Buzz Elroy and Spider Bishop. Then we went straight up to Garth Poitras and jammed with him for a few hours before hitting the road up to Olds.
July29: OLDS: That show was with Fred Eaglesmiths band once again. Double Bass player Luke Stackhouse was still wearing his Outlaw hat three weeks after I’d given it to him. I wasn’t surprised he was wearing it so much, I was shocked that he could get it so dirty in just a few weeks. The sound man was not the greatest and the sound check was much too long. Fred’s drummer Corey ended up going to the hospital so I was asked to play drums during the sound check. We rocked our set later to a full bar with Luke Stackhouse running our sound. At the last minute Luke asked me to mix their set keeping me from partying with Buffy’s bassist Don, but mixing Fred’s show was an honor. We partied hard with those boys after while I drank thic tequila specials until I could stay awake no more.
July30: NORTH COUNTY STOMP: We were late leaving Olds, and in pain as well. Fortunaly the pub fed us before we left again. Again we drove all day and made it just in time to play. The crowd was small for Joe Vickers (Audio Rocketry) and marginally better by the time we got up and blew their minds. As soon as we were done we drank hard for 30 minutes, smoked hard and then jumped back in the van to drive 1000km through the night to Wells BC for the Artswells Festival. Kenan drove all through the night and all was smooth until a tire blew with a resounding pop close to 5AM. Instead of driving it now took all night and well into business hours to put a new tire on.
ARTSWELLS 2010: We did arrive in time for the Tempest Memorial at 5pm on the Saturday. I was one of the co-hosts with my comrade Radar. The memorial was hard as Tempest was murdered at the prime of her unravelling potential, she was really becoming her own writer and performer. I cried much throughout the memorial.
It was good to be in Wells for the festival, it was our first year owning the Outlaw Mountain Lodge and we put it to good use getting primed for the shows, relaxing and smoking as much as possible. That Saturday night we were awestruck by the performances of Kent McCalister and Wax Mannequin and Geoff Berner and CR Avery and the Burning Hell. It was an awesome show and I was so drunk and exhausted from our sleepless night driving from Alberta that I crashed early.
On Sunday we sat on the stoop of the house while different artists and friends showed up every 20 minutes with a new item to smoke, this went on for hours until my workshop on Radical Folk Music 101 commenced. The workshop went great, there were 30 people in attendance at a time when there were 7 different workshops and shows happening. I couldn’t believe that with so much going on 30 people would sit and listen for 2 hours allowing me to do what I came to do.
Later that night we played in the Wells Hotel Pub earning the distinction of having the rowdiest show of the festival…partly because of our Prince George fans who moshed, danced, fell over, drank hard and even did stupid things like lighting a joint in the bar. The next day we took on our role as the last band of the festival and it was a magical show on the outdoor stage. That was where Leah and I announced our intention to tie the knot at next years festival. We had a great party in the Community Hall with free beer for everyone. Someone filled a jar with liquid acid and the whole remainder of the musicians and freaks had their minds blown. There was yet another after party at our house which got out of control for a few hours.
That next morning we awoke and drove to Vancouver with Kim and Scott in the van. Scott the Outspoken Wordsmith and my cousin rolled everything we could muster up making the ride go by faster. We had just done 43 shows in 49 days, spent 6 weeks on the Earshot folk/roots/blues charts, been featured in major publications, and made a tonne of new fans. There is still another month to go, but the hardest part of the tour was over…it was time to go home.