Backstage Kitchen

It’s a beautiful day in Albany. Everything is in full spring bloom, and although it seems like half the city is boarded up and slightly depressed, I’m feeling generally lovely about the day. Murray decided today would be the first day of the mobile kitchen. Before we left he assembled some kitchen basics: some burners, knife, cutting board, spices, oils. Him and Yann rode the bicycles we brought to the grocery store and Murray’s making veggie Pate Chinois (Shepherd’s Pie) and streamed broccolini. I’m personally really excited. Eating on tour is always a total chore, it becomes something you have to do out of dire need rather than want or desire. You can only eat so much pizza (even though pizza, along with the everything bagel, is my guiltiest pleasure). Anyway I took some pics of the backstage kitchen….

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Power Blog

This is a power blog. I am doing what feels like a billion things at once: planning the tour book with Chris and Laura; checking our cashflow and budgets; scheduling a visit with my Cousin Laura in NYC; locking down press; blogging. All before my noon appointment with Lisa for a haircut. Anyway, it feels great and the coffee makes it seem possible though I definitely will crash hard later. I feel the stress-knots in my back tightening…nothing some morning yoga won’t fix.

This has been my daily thing for the last two weeks. It’s intense. It’s the pre-tour mania I’ve been blogging about.

The main inspiration was this newsletter my Cousin Laura forwarded to me about Canadians in New York: Upper North Side….anyway I can’t figure out how to include the email newsletter here but it announces The Dears shows we have coming up, but also my Cousin’s art show she has opening next week. Our family is all over that thing!

New Yorkers (Long Islanders?) go check out Sheila Ross and (Cousin) Laura Ten Eyck’s YC3 outdoor installation project at Art Sites Gallery. Opening May 2nd. More info here.

Notes from the Road

Notes from New York, Oct 23:
I feel tired and New York weary. I’m also convinced that after the amazing gig we played in Hoboken last night, that tonight would suck – due to the law of averages, of course. So I was surprised (and relieved) when it was great! In fact, I would say that the perfect Bandwagoneers in Hoboken paled against tonight’s. That song is gaining momentum and ferocity the more we play it. Also there was a piece of tape stuck to my shoe during Crisis. A little humbling…me trying to be all focused and serious and for the second half of the song all I could think about was: “How am I going to get this piece of flourescent green tape off my shoe?” Though I’d highly doubt that anyone cared or noticed.

Notes from Chicago, Oct 24:
Chicago’s show started off really well. It was our first show with The Secret Machines and our usual 70-minute set was cut to 45 minutes. We hit the stage knowing we would have to be hot off the top with no room for “getting comfortable” or “warming up” and we were nailing it…until one of our guitar amps died. The Fender Super Reverb Jason has been using totally kacked out and we had to think fast. Already under the time restraint we didn’t want to dilly-dally…Chris suggested Murray go acoustic and Jason use Murray’s electric amp. It pretty much worked. The next day The Secret Machines loaned us one of their amps (turns out they have almost the same one…but 4×10 where ours is 2×12).

Notes from Aspen, Oct 28:
Neptune and I are generally awake on the bus before everyone else. So when we roll in to town at like 8AM, we are ready to go, having been up for a few hours already. At home, the daily ritual is: wake up, mommy has coffee and checks emails, Neptune has a picnic breakfast and watches a bit of Treehouse or PBS cartoons. On tour it has been: wake up, mommy dreams about a coffee and spaces out under a blanket, Neptune nibbles on cereal and Ovaltine while watching her new favourite (and strangely inhumane) movie Milo & Otis. So after our new tour ritual we bundled up and hit the hills of Aspen in search of a playground.

When we left for tour, it was very mild in Montreal and at the last minute I decided not to bring a coat. So this whole tour I’ve been layering several sweaters under a blazer, then tying a scarf around my neck and that’s it. Neptune and I grab a map and head down to what appears to be a park…it is a soccer field by a river trail so we decide to take a walk in the forest. We follow the Rio Grande Trail, and as we pass all the other daytrippers I suddenly feel very inappropriately dressed: in my black blazer, cigarette pants, Beatle-boots and leather gloves. A far cry from my fleece-clad, mountain-booted, sport-bottle carrying peers. But the walk is very nice. Neptune and I throw some rocks into the river.

That night we suffer our second amp death: two dead Vox speakers due to an apparent curbside tumble the night before. Chris “MacGyver” McCarron suggests: “Two negatives make a positive, right?” and we use the Vox’s amp plugged into the Fender’s speakers. Success, for now.

Notes from Las Vegas, Oct 29:
Inappropriately dressed again: I must have looked like a country bumpkin in my one-piece American Apparel swimsuit compared to the hugely breasted, bleached-blonde bikini-clad women all around the pool. But I couldn’t care less. We have the day off at the Hard Rock Hotel and the ironic, commodified interpretation of a “rock’n’roll lifestyle” is so gross I want to barf. It’s like an amusement park where people can come and pretend to care about music for a day. But I guarantee nobody cares at all. Anyhow, Neptune and I play at the fake sand pool/beach and it’s pretty fun.

The Cockroach Story

I was talking to my mom on the phone when our friend, the 2-inch cucaracha, crawled over my foot. What’s up with this thing? Why does he like me so much? I discussed with my sister why cockroaches are so demonised, and aside from their parasitical nature and ability to reproduce and take over your entire kitchen feeding only off a spot of grease, they’re no different than a common beetle. Cockroaches aren’t poisonous and don’t carry disease (do they?), they don’t bite and don’t want to hang out while you’re around. But anyway, I’m just trying to make myself feel better for the next time our buddy crawls on me. I am generally anti-roach. Next subject.

I will, however, recount my favorite cockroach sighting. It happened a few years ago in New York City. I was living there with my cousin for a bit and walking one evening in Manhattan I remember seeing a roach scuttling along the sidewalk, too. Like it had purpose, a meeting to get to, and needed to get down 2nd Avenue in a hurry. I also imagined it was carrying a little, mini roach briefcase. We walked in tandem for a block then went our separate ways. It was a very New York moment.