I’m sitting on a greyhound bus, starboard side, watching the scenery go by as this mammoth 55 seater beast makes its way up the highway towards Barrie Ontario. Watching the road go by is a great way to think, to reflect and to plan. This is one of the great things of road travel, all these roads, so nameless, so unknown to me, all these vehicles, these houses, business, forests, all full of life, full of different stories, that leave everything to my imagination. I sometimes imagine what must go on in some of these towns we pass by. They seem so calm and peaceful, so pleasant from the outside. but I think that it’s only when one enters into that life, into these stories, that they can get a real glimpse into people’s lives. Still a greater ad greater part of me yearns to one day make the move to the country and settle into a more peaceful more relaxed way of life. A friend if mine did that last year by moving into a land off the grid jut north of Peterborough with friends and family.
Speaking of Peterborough, and Ottawa, and Toronto and London Ontario, these are just some of the places I have visited and played in the past four days. The nameless tour doesn’t not just apply to the streets but also to the stages. I like the anonymity that touring allows, I like the fact that an artist can reinvent him/herself every single night and I like the fact that all is forgiven and forgotten the next day, memories quickly swallowed up by the nameless expressionless concrete white-lined freeway road that leads you out of (insert city/town name).
The few days leading up to the tour were a strange mixture of anxiety and bliss. Anxiety because for the last month or so I had been trying to figure out a way to improve the sound of my live setup o stage and make it more 3 dimensional, more present. It has been quite a chellange and im not sure if its because I had a 1 month long brain lapse or because it is just a challenge with my peculiar and unique setup which involves, feeding 4 different sound sources into one hub then distributing beams of sound evenly to different channels while having them be recorded and looped back at exactly the same volumes.
It was harrowing, I bought many pieces of gear that were useless, became “that annoying guy” at several music stores, and I think maybe I bored the hell out of my friends and my girl with these very peculiar 1st world problems of mine! Bottom line, I was not ready, musically or spiritually to hit the road. The other big factor in my unreadiness came from the arrival of my girlfriend from England. Her stay here for the fall was long anticipated and we both knew wed have only a few days together. But those days were so awesome, and included a wedding of one of my closest friends gabe and violaine, as well as a visit from my old buddy christophe from denmark.It was sensory overload for me, I became like this high quality mainframe computer jumping from one set of logistics to another at thundering speed!
Needless to say when I got on that bus it all came to a eerie halt. All of a sudden I was on the road to my first show in ottawa and there was only silence, silence and the hum of the bus engine, out the window the scenery was roiling by again, that old familiar canadian scenery I love so dear.
Ottawa and peterborough proved trying concerts, I met my tourmate Jean Paul de Roover whom I’d be sharing the week of shows with. He is a great artist, a one man band extroardinaire and has been doing this for over five years now. He tours incessantly across canada and the states. We are kindred folk he and I, on the same musical page so to speak. But his approach to looping and to stage shows and music are completely different which makes for a very varied and interesting show every night.
We met through a common friend and promoter in Sudbury and had been planning the tour ever since. Jean Paul has been described by one of his friends in Toronto as “painfully friendly” and I can attest to that. He is just one of the nicest, friendliest and most helpful individuals you can meet. Doesn’t drink or smoke, and can really get the crowds moving with his music and unabridged enthusiasm. He’s so nice he makes me look like Motorhead’s Lemmy!
We often talk about our show experiences and ask each other questions about our set and out approaches, he’s a good man and I am learning a lot from him and his experience. out tour together will take us all the way to thunder bay and then I will continue westward without him. He travels by car while I take the bus and we meet up in each city.
The first two shows of the tour were a bit hit and miss but the last two have been getting significantly better. Toronto was where I t all glued together nicely. I was worried about it bjt then after a good solid soundcheck, i decided to not thin about it and met up with my old pals Jonah and Michelle and we went out for dinner and drinks before the shows. It was nice to relax with old friends again (I also stayed with Randy in Ottawa which was great to have a familiar face to ease me into the tour)
I can say with some certainty now that Im starting to find my groove, I m starting to build the story of this set. I still struggle with the sound sometimes but its much better now and I can see where the kinks are. The crowds have also been getting better and its really a wonderful thing to play new material to new people overtime.
I think things are looking up ad look forward to sending more news from the streets with no name!
have a great weekend everyone, I know I will, we are in barrie tonight, hamilton tomorrow for the infringement festival and toronto again on sunday at c’est what where i will also meet up with Lisa my girl and we will have monday off to explore the city! then its windsor on tiuesday and beyond!!
Here are a couple of articles from shows on the road, including one full page spread in the jcex and the one man band festival in London Ontario’s Metro news.