Tour Round UP and OUT

The end of this tour is nigh, and I thought I should talk a little more about it. I last left off in Vegas, the heart of darkness. The next day we were in California which made everything awesome. The morning of the 30th we did Morning Becomes Eclectic at KCRW (which you can listen to/watch here). Our L.A. gig was great; we got to meet a lot of our fans afterwards and hung with friends. We also got this incredible room that night at the London Hotel in West Hollywood…which might not seem interesting but the little luxuries are rejuvenating after two weeks of touring.

The next day was Hallow’een. We rented a car (essential to an enjoyable L.A. visit) and headed out to Buzznet/Stereogum for an acoustic session (which is probably somewhere on the internet but I can’t find it). Then we visited the Dangerbird office, went for lunch, then headed back to the bus. It was getting late in the afternoon and we were invited by Steve Nice out to Pasadena for trick-or-treating with his family. Back home we are used to bundling up under our costumes because it sometimes snows on Hallow’een, but out in L.A. that is not necessary. Neptune’s crinolined-and-winged fairy costume was just fine. It was very cute and very fun and by the end of it we were all exhausted. We got back to the bus and a very different kind of Hallow’een was underway in West Hollywood…revelers were just heading out to the annual street party thing that goes down. It was just weird to see so many grown adults dressed up…they take Hallow’een very seriously in Hollywood, I guess.

The next day we woke up in Solana Beach, a seaside suburb of San Diego. We went down to the beach with the intention of just checking it out. But being Canadian and all, we found the water a bit cool but totally swim-able. The whole band spent the day on the beach, swimming, jogging, chilling, laughing that people thought they needed wetsuits; Neptune dug in the sand and went in to, playing the classic “chase the waves” game. That really mellowed us out and Murray and I questioned why we didn’t live closer to the ocean? The next day some sunburns revealed themselves.

Then it was San Francisco. Awesome city but the weather changes so frequently throughout the day. We walked to the park, then went to the theatre to see Zack and Miri Make a Porno because the song You and I (Are a Gang of Losers) is in it. I went to see Hollywood Chihuahua with Neptune so I didn’t see it but apparently the song is right at the end and really prominently used. Anyhow, the next day was our show, which was interesting because the power went out twice: first during the opening band’s set, then again during changeover. We waited a long time for the power to come back on (apparently they were doing maintence and the whole block was out), during which we sat backstage with some acoustic guitars trying to figure out what we could do with no PA, no lights. Then all of a sudden the crowd cheered under the one emergency light and Murray was on stage with an acoustic. He sang Missiles and There Goes My Outfit and the lights came back on halfway through Deuxieme Partie (Second Part). We played a makeshift Bandwagoneers while Laura and my keyboards loaded, the hammered through the rest of the set.

We were parked in some small town in Southern Oregon on election day. The front TV on the bus was CNN and the back TV was Fox News…but eventually they were both on CNN because a Canadian can only take so much Fox News. We ordered pizza and beer and watched Barack Obama destroy the competition. Good job, USA. You’re coming back.

Getting Ready

It happened quite quickly, but we are really touring again. I think I perhaps wasn’t fully prepared to be in it again, and even though I miss touring (last week’s trip was a fun reminder), I was really into our domestic vibe. The past few weeks have been pretty stressful and the domestic schedule had fallen apart completely. We still get in a lot of family time but the dinners have been less of a production. Though Murray’s pizza is absolutely killer, and he whipped that up on Sunday.

In all the preparations, I think we’ve over-prepared. Montreal weather being so unpredictable, we’ve gotten the house ready in case of an early deep-freeze: turned off the hoses, removed the air conditioner, bring in the rosemary, put away the outside toys, etc. In other words, absolutely boring stuff. Now I’m packing. I realised that I’ve had to pack twice (once for me, a second time for Neptune). It reminds me of how over-prepared I like to be, which is fine, but it’s like a huge logic puzzle to solve: find the most practical, weather-appropriate and interchangeable wardrobe for each of us. And then put it in the smallest suitcase you can. I’m anti-over-packing. I attribute that to vacationing in Europe with my parents as a tween and having to fit everything I wanted to bring into one carry-on duffle bag. Back then: 1) checked bags ALWAYS got lost; and 2) there were no carry-on restrictions.

We also had to vote in advance because we will be in England on election day. I’ve never done that before, but it was kind of great because there was nobody there. I also felt very civic. Can you feel civic? Because I wouldn’t say that I felt civil, but more that voting in advance filled me with civic pride. OK. That’s what I meant. Anyhow, this feeling was reinforced by my walking along Jean-Talon, rebuking political canvassers with: “Oh, no thank you. You see, I’ve already voted.” But in French so it was less eloquent and more like: “J’ai voté déjà.”

I guess I voted strategically, depending on what your strategy is. I’ve found the two following election-tracking websites pretty interesting and informative: Vote For Environment and Democratic Space.

Only Interesting to Canadians: Federal Election Blog

This headline warranted a double eye roll: Pro-soverignty Protesters Target Justin Trudeau. Why the double eye roll, you ask? Because that’s the proper way a Canadian is to react to political activism. Papineau is our riding, so I met the young Trudeau at a neighbourhood picnic a few months ago. Well, I kind of just shook his hand since it caught me a little off guard. I was thinking about how many chips Neptune was eating and the suddenly I’m shaking hands with Canada’s “rock star” candidate. Most Americans know very, very little about Canada, let alone Canada’s politicians. But they know about Pierre Trudeau. I grew up with Chretien in office, and even though his spoken English was thickly accented, he still owned it. Fierce. Charming. Laughable. Quintessentially Canadian.

We can only hope that Stephane Dion gets drunk in public sometime soon, or, as I heard Grant Lawrence note on the CBC radio today, “gets contact lenses.” Anything to spice things up. Canadian politics is just so boring. Stephen Harper is Mr. Snoozeville himself. He also hates the environment AND loathes the arts. It’s embarrassing.

So only a few days after turning down playing at an NDP rally (because why should non-political music be aligned politically?), Dan Seligman of Pop Montreal fame emails us the following poster for our show:

I rolled my eyes (appropriately) but was perplexed: what should I think of this? The irony works on so many levels, and the posters would go up near the venue which falls in Stephane Dion’s home riding. Dan’s logic was: “Maybe we’ll get sued.” Classically hilarious.

So let’s bring it down a little, and close it out with a something educational: Oldest Rocks in the World are in Quebec. ‘Nuff said.