Archive for November, 2010
Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
We all eventually made it to Glasgow, straggling in at various times of the day. Margo and my flight was uneventful, the Toronto contingent (who hooked up with Alan who was coming from Victoria and had been sitting in the Toronto airport for six hours) hustled through Heathrow and caught their connection to Glasgow (just barely), and Jared, who was coming from Boston, suffered through a four hour layover at Heathrow but he eventually straggled in to the hotel as well. All bodies, instruments, fingers and toes accounted for….so far so good. Most spent the rest of the day and night recovering from the unnatural state-of-being that we charmingly call “flying”, wandering the streets of Glasgow like a squad of zombies making sure to look right, then left then right again before crossing any streets.
Glasgow is a big, old industrial city that is trying to re-make itself, trying to become hip and vibrant and modern. To a certain degree the face lift is working, but it is in competition with its neighbouring city Edinburgh which is only sixty miles away and is an internationally renowned city and has kind of cornered all things cultural in this neck of the woods. And then there is London to the south, sucking all of the youthful energy of this island into its great, voracious maw. So Glasgow has its work cut out for it. Alan compared its looks to East Berlin when the wall first came down, with all of its dour neo-classical buildings covered in decades of soot, Pete thought it felt more like Hamilton and I kind of think it has a little bit of North Bay in its gene pool, except that it’s more than a thousand years older. In any case the audience tonight definitely had an “Ontario” feel to it and why shouldn’t it have, we share a bloodline. Extremely quiet and polite, almost reverential at times, and then completely enthusiastic and exuberant at the end of it all. It’s difficult playing in front of that type of audience because there isn’t that exchange of energy that helps make a live show….live. But we recognised what was going on and it was so much fun to play again that we plugged-in to our own energy and had a very good opening night. On the road again.
Monday, November 8th, 2010
Margo and I left a day earlier than the rest of the band to do some radio in London. It’s always exciting going to Europe, it’s never exciting getting on the plane to make the journey: unending line-ups, long delays, cramped spaces, bad food, bad movies, bad air and testy waiters and waitresses-in-the-sky. But all-in-all Margo and I had a painless passage. The rest of the band was not so fortunate. Their flight was moved up two hours (who ever heard of a flight being moved up) and no one received the email that the airline said that it sent out. Fortunately the flight was delayed by an hour and they arrived at the airport a couple of hours before the flight was originally scheduled to leave because of the piles of equipment that they had to check in. So they made the flight and had just enough time to pay the $1750 excess baggage fee. Oil Companies, phone companies and airlines….I’d like to see a poll that ranks the most hated industries in the eyes of your average consumer. While the rest of the band was dealing with their headaches Margo and I were facing a few of our own. The BBC, where most of our interviews were to take place, was beset by unscheduled strikes and our day of interviews went down the drain. So Margo and I spent the day wandering around the West End. It rained all day, apparently it was a “wet” rain, the type of rain that I’ve rarely experienced outside of London. It’s more like an extremely intense mist. One steps outside and thinks, “this isn’t so bad” and then after walking a couple of blocks it’s like you’ve just done a couple of laps in a swimming pool. There’s no point in using an umbrella, there are no drops, there is no gravity, the water just envelopes you. Despite being shutout by the union and soaked by the weather it was still a pleasure to be back in London. This is such a great city. It vibrates with energy. It is ancient and powerful, an entity unto itself. I love being here.
Friday, November 5th, 2010
A few weeks after my synchronistic moment in the book store (see previous blog), I had another one in the Toronto airport. We were flying home from one of our many tours of this past year when a man came up to me while I was standing in the immigration line. He recognised me, which is a rare thing unto itself, and he wanted to tell me that he was returning from the West coast where he had spent the past few weeks with his brother, who had several months earlier been diagnosed with ALS. He told me that the disease had ravaged his brothers body at a stunning rate and that his brother did not have long to live. One of the things that he had brought along on his trip was the Trinity Revisited DVD. And that he and his brother had watched Vic’s performance of Dreaming My Dreams over and over and they had cried together, a lot. The power of Vic.
For some of the Demons recording sessions Margo wasn’t available so we invited our good friend Andy Maize to join us and lay down “ghost” vocals as we worked on the bedtracks. Some of Andy’s vocals were so powerful and on-the-mark that we decided to keep some of them and Margo ended up working with them, creating a duet using the “ghost” vocals as her singing partner. One such song was “Marathon”, a touchingly beautiful lament set at the end of the line. Here is a rough mix of the bedtrack with Andy singing the lead: