“It’s a water-slide or nothing at all. I’m putting my foot down.”
– Tyson, angrily, as we enter Moosejaw. Still not sure what he means.
Friday, March 16, Moosejaw
We leave Calgary early in the morning. It’s shame too because it seems the nice weather has finally caught up to us, and we have to miss Tubby Dog, AGAIN. We take our time driving and the Star Wars Marathon continues in the back seat with Anthony and I, well into “A New Hope.” “Darth Vader is a pussy” and “Princess Leia’s a babe” and other such things following brain-dead nerdy chuckles are uttered from only us and we get pestered looks from the rest of the boys.
Our journey brings us to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where, with the insistence of Anthony, Tyson and Cody, we begin searching for a motel with a water-slide. “It’s a waterslide and beers or nothing at all, I’m putting my foot down” I hear Tyson say and wonder briefly if we’ll all be 15 and in a band forever. We find The Prairie Oasis Inn, where there is a fine indoor pool and water-slide, filled with annoying children of course, who gawk at us, our tattoos, foul language, pasty complexions, as if we are science-fiction. Handsome Anthony scrapes his back during a trip down the slide. He goes real fast and it is a fine alternative to a depressing Friday night drive without a show. Here’s a video of Anthony scraping his back, appropriately titled, “Water-slide Jams.”
Saturday, March 17, Winnipeg
I wake up and we drive all day into Manitoba, to the shimmering bastion of hope that lies between Regina and Thunder Bay, with it’s incredible roster of legendary bands, frigid winters, muggy and mosquito filled summers, endless potholes, the home of the Jets and The Guess Who, Winnipeg, on St. Patrick’s Day of all days (what luck!) As we approach the venue, The Lo Pub hostel, bar and vegan restaurant, we hit the biggest pothole you have ever seen, heard or felt shattering through your van’s suspension and frame-work. It is a little more than concerning to say in the least. Dan yells out a tumult of a curse, built and perfectly timed and delivered while shaking his fist in the air out the window, “WiiiiiinnipEEEEEEEEGGGGG,” sound it it out for yourself. “I hope Burton Cummings heard that and hated it,” Dan follows up.
We park on the street and are immediately intercepted by a group of 5 men, lounging on the sidewalk, whistling wolf-sounds at every female that walks by, while closely examining us, all of our equipment and belongings, and I’m also pretty sure they were sizing up Handsome Anthony for abduction to do god KNOWS what with his beautiful frame. And hey, they even brought their own lawn-chairs and big gulps. I stand guard for the load-in and am called a “fucking rock-star” for 10 minutes. I am not offended but am hoping they will get this over with quickly, the shanking or the robbery, either-or, or move their backyard suare down the street. I hop in the van once we are loaded into the club and it doesn’t start. I try it again and again and nothing. “Potholes,” I mutter, nodding to myself with a grimace. At this point I am so numb with blind frustration that I shrug my shoulders and casually walk into the club, tossing Tyson my keys, calmly breaking the news. God bless the BCAA Gold card he has. In an hour the van is towed to the nearest Canadian Tire and we are told that Van Halen’s fuel pump is beyond repair and will have to be replaced, and since it’s Saaaaturdaaaay niiiiiight, it won’t be fixed until Monday morning. “Happy St. Paddy’s Day!” I shout in sing-song at the boys. Anthony laughs. Cody pukes in his mouth a little bit.
Aside from the bad news, the venue sounds great and everyone promoting and running the show and bar are wonderful. We even get cheap hostel rooms, the nicest I’ve ever stayed in. They remind me less of a hostel, and more of a prison psych-ward. The floor is cement and the metal bunk-beds give it a nice “secure” touch. “Dibs top bunk!” yell Dan and Anthony. By the time we get back down to the bar it is completely packed with green people full of good cheer. Our new friend Joey comes to visit and take pictures as well, and embarrassingly enough, don’t tell her, I forget her name the entire night (shhhhhh… more to come on this) We play to an excellent crowd, a fresh crowd, and we even get some people singing along by the end. Everything feels right again. The cheers are loud, the beer is good, things shape up to be an excellent night of St. Paddy’s day celebrations.
We are followed by two amazing locals, “Dangercat,” a solid old-school pop-punk three-piece who remind me very much of our hometown boys Everyone Everywhere. Next up are “The Ripperz,” a solid folk/rock/punk band with amazing sing-along moments and intense energy. There is crowd-surfing and I am in love with Chris Sawatsky’s voice. The rest of the night is a drunken stumble of Dan and I in a perpetual “pissing match,” Anthony talking to every stranger imagineable, and Tyson wearing sunglasses at night, which has many connotations attached. I will elt you be the judge of what that means exactly. We meet alot of new friends, and I hang out at the merch table for hours it seems, drinking whiskey like it was a can of delicious TAB, talking, if not bitching, to the other merch attendant whose name I cannot remember for the life of me (I’m good at this) about relationships. It dawns on me that this might be what the problem is, combined with drinking heavily, and the half of a delicious grilled cheese sandwich a girl left on the table that I ate when she stated to her friend that she was done with it. And yes, it did already have a bite out of it.