Okay gang… some goings-on in IME land that we really need to gab about.
First off, the success of everything from the shows, to the song, the amount of new fans, and reconnecting with so many of our old ones has been nothing short of incredible. You all know by now that we had no real plan to continue past the Sound Academy shows but kind of lucked into the incredibly fortunate position of being able to…. thank you for all of this.
Within the band, the conversation then became more about how to make it all work now that we live in different cities/countries, have other professional interests and more importantly, various family commitments. We all knew what we wanted to do, it was just a question of how.
There were so many logistical problems getting the past shows together where it felt like they were always an inch away from not happening! A scary thought for us… in basically 18 years of touring I can only recall 2 shows where we cancelled. It’s just not something we do.
The past run of shows taught us some very valuable lessons about how we need to do this moving forward to make it all work. The main issue we face for every show is whether Bruce is able to fly in and do them. We are forced to commit to every show many months in advance without really knowing if Bruce can even make it. (look at Van. show… tickets are on sale and it’s in November!). Bruce can never give a solid answer to us until much closer to the actual show date, so it’s always fingers crossed until we get the call. Much to Bruce’s credit, he has found a way to make it to every single one, sacrificing his work with the Blue Man Group, and taking time away from his new baby just days before the Nickelback tour!
This has led us down the path of at least discussing options regarding all of our shows. The repercussions of backing out of shows at the last minute would basically devastate us in many ways… the legal ramifications being the absolute worst, and giving our agent a heart attack a close second! We all looked at the way The Blue Man Group handles things when Bruce leaves to join us for shows and it presented us a very tempting albeit somewhat unorthodox option: the Understudy. Somebody on constant standby who can step in on a moments notice if Bruce can’t make it due to work, family or simply having a flight cancelled the morning of!
The idea of using an Understudy is nothing new in theatre productions but in a rock band? Never! The way we look at it, every other facet of IME’s existence has been operating outside of conventional processes successfully enough so why not go against the grain once again? It’s either make the attempt or never book another show.
So with open minds we started our search for somebody who could a) play the parts, b) understand and respect the concept, c) bruce enjoys working with and d) isn’t a douche. We were thinking about taking the remainder of this year to find the right guy and work with him to develop our show over a good chunk of time but that plan has been thrown out the window. The time is now… yes, holy crap!
ENTER THE CHUCK
We had always thought that Chuck D from The Salads could be a candidate for stepping in as he fits all of the aforementioned criteria perfectly and we’ve known him for ages. He had stepped in for Bruce on some rehearsals before the last couple of shows and really helped us get ready. Yes it was strange and at times we sounded like we were falling down stairs but we knew it could work over time. After all, one does not simply “fill in” for Bruce. He has crazy robot hands and scissor kicks for crying out loud! Not to mention being a fixture on stage left with us for almost 2 decades!
We got the call last week from Bruce that the inevitable has indeed happened and we will have to do the next round of shows without him. It was admittedly a huge holy shit moment as I wasn’t really prepared to deal with this just yet, but Rock waits for no man and we all jumped on figuring out solutions. My first idea was of course, “Fuck it… I’m going fishing!” (apparently I can get sued for going fishing. Who knew?). Once the shock of the situation subsided we put our heads together and implemented plan B. Chuck had no idea.
The time between hearing the news and the actual shows was pretty tight (w/Slash in Belleville and London) so we went into this crazy ‘crammin’ for the exam’ mode. Well, actually Chuck did. I started sending him audio tracks and notes and meeting with him, and Bruce started communicating with him and sending him iphone videos of some of the parts that might cause some trouble. (quick aside: Bruce cut the videos in his full Blue Man make-up as it was in between shows! Just sayin’!)
So I guess you get a pretty clear picture of the chaos of the last couple of days. Of course, we did a quick rehearsal to see where were at and were really shocked at the amount of work that Chuck has put in. Rehearsal was more or less flawless (outside of my brother’s clams) and I think we left feeling really relieved and confident that we won’t let anybody down. We’re nervous, Bruce is nervous and Chuck is probably shitting bricks. Daniel still refers to him as Not-Bruce. Chileans are very loyal, he’ll come ’round.
So. There you have it. Big changes for all of us but maybe a blessing at the same time. It has to be this way or we basically disappear again, and we just aren’t ready to stop. When Bruce does get that opportunity to join us for shows, he of course will, and without the burden of his home/professional life weighing heavy. It’s the way we have to proceed to be successful and keep having fun, and having everybody in our organization on the same page with this is paramount to success. Yes it’s fucking strange but since when have we ever played by the rules? When we do we fail. Never again.
So today we have a big crazy rock show to do. Here’s what I expect from the IMEnation:
1) disappointment. It’s like the tidal bore…It’s okay, I feel the same.
2) understanding of what we are trying to do
3) support for Bruce who is understandably devastated at the situation
4) support for Chuck who has dropped everything to help Bruce and IME out and allow us to continue playing
5) I don’t know… Maybe a pie or something
Bruce will be making a little statement as well so give him some love, and I will be available to handle some questions. I’ll get Chuck to put down some thoughts too as his perspective is entirely different and probably kind of funny.
So, with all of this being revealed, don’t get into any high school bullshit comments or I will probably just tell you off… I’m too old for that old style horseshit, I have enough stress right now. Understand first what we are trying to accomplish here, breathe a little, THEN type. Remember: We want this to work for everybody.
Wish us luck today and tomorrow. We will fucking rock both cities first and then regroup for the next adventure. Never a dull moment.
Love your Mothers