Some tales of my last week. It was a week that basically ended a run of 45 days that were pretty busy for me. I had been to a bunch of festivals, played the lower mainland, been out to Alberta, Artswells, Camballah, Robson Fest…and now all this. But what an end it was!
When booking agent Joey Balducci wrote me and asked if I were willing to do some shows with Wax Mannequin up here in northern BC…it was pretty much a no brainer. I had known Wax for 11 years now. That was long enough for me to have high praise for his art and his character. In fact I felt real lucky to have the opportunity. It really only amounted to three shows in between stints at Robson Valley Music Festival and Music on the Mountain Festival the following weekend, but it was a worthwhile venture.
Show one was to take place at the Jack O Clubs Pub in Wells BC. This was a show that I wasn’t too nervous about even though it was beginning to feel like people everywhere were losing energy. It was such a busy summer. So many bands, so many festivals including the crazy one here in town. I know a lot of people who have been drinking for months and were wearing out. Nonetheless a pretty good crowd turned up and we turned it on. By the time the night was over something resembling a successful show had taken place.
One thing I hadn’t counted on was Wax bringing his brother Mr.Money Mustache along for the ride. Having no brothers of my own I was tempted to feel intimidated by this at first, but in my stubborn way I pushed through. After all Mr. MM made it a little bit easier being a popular blogger and intellectual. We certainly came from very different spectrums of lifestyle but that made for all the more interesting conversations. We learned from each other and challenged each other, we were lucky to get that chance.
Success was less the case with Williams Lake the next night. Although well intentioned on the owners part the show hadn’t really been sold in a way that caught the publics imagination. Regardless of that we had been hired to do a job so we did just that. We were rewarded for the effort by making new friends. We found that despite the turnout the owner at CJ’s treated us really good. She was open to new ideas and we both decided that she was the kind of person we could we could work with in the future. It was a good experience.
In the case of our PG show ownership was not so forthcoming and honest. What I can say about the Westwood Pub is the girls who work there are very good at their jobs. The food was excellent. There are lot of regulars who are loyal to the place and it’s easy to see why. We realized at the end of the night that no cover charge was collected from ‘regulars’ and instead the measly pittance we were given was made squarely off the kindness of my friends who came to the show. Despite the fact that I’ll
never play the Westwood Pub again so long as this is how they do business and reward their entertainers…despite the fact that I will recommend to other musicians not to book there…I can’t deny that we had a lot of fun at the show! Wax was very good and we got to have Jeremy Stewart open. Some good friends came and partied. Because of those things I’m still glad it happened. My next show in PG is on October 1st, it’s the CD launch for No More Trouble In The Peace. I can honestly say for myself and everyone I know who has played the Legion in Prince George that they found it to be a good experience. Come to the show!
We stayed at Elissa’s house, who is one of the organizers of the Coldsnap Festival and left around noon the next day for Music on the Mountain. Friday was amazing there. Dave Soroka had already started the Sorokathon, a 24 hour marathon of a concert. I also had some friends come back to town in the form of the Give Em Hell Boys who gave me one of their shirts that says “bluegrass is dead”. They killed it, and then we proceeded to kill each other with strong drink. Soon the whole show was over for the night and
I was sitting in what was now a very loud Sorokathon…that was enough to piss me off sufficiently leading me to stand up and announce ‘why don’t you all take part in a Shut-the-fuck-up-athon, he’s been playing for 14 hours already. You didn’t come in and listen all day but now you wanna come in and talk over top of his show!?”
Someone yelled, “we don’t like you anyway Joey.”
I retorted, “then I have nothing left to lose in telling you to either shut up or get out!”
At supper the next day Dave thanked me saying that when I spoke up was right when he started to really doubt he could play for 24 hours!
Soon I was in Darlene and Harold Prince’s bannock shack eating moose meat and drinking beers at 8am. Sleep came hard and I was unable to party so wildly the next day and night. I had a show of my own to put on. We were on right before legendary punk band DOA stole the festival! So we put a little extra jam into our show and DOA noticed. I’m sure the crowd seemed to go off as well, but that didn’t matter so much to me. Joey Shithead gave me a half hug when we got off and said ‘great fucking songs, great fucking show, great fucking band man!’
I’ll take that!
DOA was amazing next. They played all the best songs from my favorite record of theirs, War on 45!! They were hot hot hot!! I don’t know what else to say about it. Hippies were moshing. I was pounding beers and in near tears. It was a thing of beauty. But it didn’t stop there. I got to spent a little time with the band after. It was just a real special night all around. One of those days that reminds you why you sacrifice so much to keep at this music business thing.
The next afternoon was the One Last Show…when I get up on stage and pull together all my favorite singers and friends who are left at the end of the festival and put on one hell of an opry!! Joining me on stage was Dave Soroka, Wax Mannequin, Raghu
Lokanathan, Iyan George Bruvold, Tax Free Liqour, Twin Peaks, Jeff Andrew, Party on High Street, Zonnis and yet more. The stage was teaming with musicians of all sorts. It was the 6th time I had done this at MoMfest but it just keeps getting better. I think I’ll call it the One Last Opry. We end every one with the One Last Song, I guess you could say after six years that it’s the unofficial anthem of the festival.
No sooner did the show end we got in the van and were gone. We had to get our kids from our friend in PG. Just like that I was home the next day…summer feels kinda over. I think about this last 45 days, I’m elated sometimes and then for a moment am tempted to feel the depression. It’s really hard to put out so much energy, but as I age I am aware of it and try to find good ways to process all the feelings I get from a trip like that. The best way is simply to put it down in a blog, then forget about it and move on…it’s time to plan the next show. Why bask in the glow when you could be making steps to get back to that happy place…to get back on the stage again.