“I gasped and almost fainted and peed all at the same time. It was weird, but I’m not surprised.”
– Dan Ball given a blank cheque to by a vast assortment of alcoholic beverages
Wednesday, March 21, Timmins
We wake up at 8:00 am and I go out to check on our van. Last night at the motel consisted of a party that raged on next door to us until 5:00 am, so none of us really slept. Surprise, surprise. Not a big deal, but it did escalate into Bro’s screaming at each other in the parking lot beside our van. Cody, who was in the van on skype for the duration ended up falling asleep in it, a little apprehensive to exit the vehicle as one of the many Bro’s was clutching a crowbar. The night also consisted of a double motel room with 11 gross dudes in it, Greater Than Giants all hitting the bathroom for a shower and shave before their epic overnight quest to Toronto for a showcase they had to sound-check at 3:00 pm the next day. So, needless to say, when I got back into the room after checking on the van, the room smelled like death by every bodily excretion imaginable, a mix of axe body-spray (yes, Tyson is still 18, apparently), beer, ham and feet. We left quickly and didn’t look back.
5:30 pm, Toronto
Ahh, the big city. Traffic was lighter than we remembered it to be, and we made it to The Royal York Hotel, joining the madness, somewhat on time. After a ridiculous parking adventure, at first thinking we could somehow valet-park our van, we finally met up for dinner with our friends and colleauges from Cordova Bay Records, Jocelyn and Michael, two people we love dearly, and whom without, we would not be alive, moderately healthy and where we are today. We were also delighted to finally meet our new friend Daisuke Ihorihara from Bullion Records in Japan, who, through the Canadian Consulate, was able to make the trek over to Canadian Music Week to check out our showcases and another list of choice bands, including Greater Than Giants, Amos The Transparent and a few other friends of ours. It is here, I would like to give a rather large, bashful shout out to our bros from Edmonton, Ten Second Epic, for getting us in contact with Bullion on the last tour we did with them. Our albums have been released in Japan and there is discussion of us actually being able to tour over there one day in the near future.
Following our dinner at EPIC restaurant, where I ate over the top and out of the ordinary animals and food arrangements (not just a clever name) we hop a cab to “Transac,” a multi-room venue and hostel where Greater Than Giants are playing their first showcase of the week. It is a small room and it is very loud, sweaty and punk rock inside. Daisuke is very pleased with the performance and then rushes off into the night with Dan Ball to see other bands and some good, ol’fashioned, drunken, Canadian fun.
Thursday, March 22, Toronto
I wake up at 10:00 am to a screaming baby. I am at my sister’s house and I barely remember getting there the night before. It’s all a blur. There may or may not have been alcohol involved and a memory-lapse, more of a “brown-out” than anything, a term Dan has been using lately when he can kind of/sort of recall events from the previous night of indulgences. I hurry all day, rehearsing acoustic songs, doing laundry, playing with a recently one-year-old niece and a big boxer named Otis. I finally leave the house and I miss my bus downtown, so I spend 30 minutes waiting for a cab to take me back to the Royal York hotel where the yearly annual Cordova Bay Records CMW party is being held this afternoon, with a performance by myself, and the amazingly talented, Steph MacPherson, a friend, and a recently signed artist to Cordova Bay.
I finally arrive, late, as usual, and Dan is scrambling around the room, moving chairs, putting a million beers and other “buzz-pops” into a bathtub full of ice. Apparently, he is MC-ing the party tonight and is a giant Ball of stress (see what I did there… boo). He tells me the label put him and Handsome Anthony in charge of acquiring libations for the gathering and performances, and that they gave him a blank cheque and sent him to the liquor store. He goes slightly pale, shakes for a moment and stares into the middle distance, then explains, “I gasped and almost fainted and peed all at the same time. It was weird, but I’m not surprised.”
The hotel room is packed at this time, and Steph MacPherson begins to dazzle everyone with her powerful voice and moving, brilliant lyrics. It is so quiet you can hear a pin drop, everyone is floored. She borrows my acoustic guitar, in which I have fashioned a strap out of a strand of an old t-shirt. She has to sit for it to work and I feel irresponsible for not being prepared. I play next and it is a party. I manage to get the room full of musicians, old friends, industry tyoes and managers singing along with me a bit, and then my strap breaks. My pal John Maksym saves me from certain doom by holding my guitar up for me while Anthony keeps beverages flowing into me at a moderately steady pace. They might as well have been hooked up intravenously.
10:00 pm – ????
We spend a good night in the city, running around to see all the artists we can. The highlights being Steph MacPherson at The Dakota Tavern, of course, and also, the ever so wonderful John K. Samson and The Provincial Band, Childish Gambino, Dani Jean and Greater Than Giants (DUH) Again, the night is hazy by the end of it, but from what I can recall, following the many showcases we attended, at one point, we lost track of our handsome companion Anthony, only to be re-united with him later, literally rolling out of a taxi onto our feet. My good buddy Shane “Shaner” Deyotte from a band called The Sunday Glow was also present the entire night, feeding me shots until I could no longer accept them. Apparently, I decided to walk back to my sister’s house, a good 30-40 blocks away and stopped in at The Bovine to return the favour to my pal John Maksym and help him load-in gear, as his band, Breaching Vista, was playing a late set. This night will go down in history as “the night that CMW almost ended us for good, forever and goodnight.”