Whoring it up… finally!!! (you had us at “arena tour”)
So… You might think I fucked up with the whole ‘opportunity to communicate the ongoing-goings-on’ in new/old IME land, but I swear, I can explain!
I think I mentioned previously, like in June, that I had a blog coming ‘later in the day’, which obviously didn’t happen. Mostly because after reading it, I just didn’t like the flow and thought I could do a better job. It didn’t have NEARLY enough hyphens or random periods…….. Now THAT’S what im talking about! Some people started busting my balls and I think you all know I respond horribly when something I enjoy doing suddenly turns into something I have to. Fucking hate that so I stepped back a little… well a lot actually. A lot was going on and i was just kind of enjoying the ride a little bit. I think it was good to step back a little and kind of observe what has been happening across the country. I can also understand what we are doing a little clearer and set my soul straight.
So this blog is written over a span of a month or so, during my time in Spain, forgive me if it gets a little confusing… the first bit was written travelling down the tracks from Madrid to Sevilla, trying to find this girl to see if she’ll marry me. The kids were beside me watching Spain drift by, and I remember being so content in this moment and genuinely relaxed. Anyhow, let’s get on with it….
Madrid, Spain, Aug. 29th, 11:50AM, 31C
This year has happened very fast, well at least to me it did. The whole first part of the year was spent dealing with the unnecessary and always surprising bullshit of trying to be in a band just making music, then we took that very unexpected and speedy left turn that put us back onto this current and crazy road that looks and feels a bit more familiar. Not knowing exactly what lies ahead has now become part of the fun: I can accept both the potential of a dead end, or an inspiring vista in the exact same way. There’s safety in that belief.
So, without going through too much about the things you already know, I’ll keep it brief and to the point. We played some amazing shows throughout the summer, fans were really awesome and accepting beyond belief, and we actually had an extremely stress free summer of just having fun. Surprised? I can’t speak for the other fellas but I kind of am too, but not maybe near as much as I thought I would be. We are all grown ups here, and we have this pact between us to always come prepared to play and perform, and yes this includes the ‘others’. (Chuck, Daniel and newly christened key man Jesse). Not to mention, if we sucked, the blinker goes on and we take another turn. You see, the good thing about music is that there a million roads to explore, none of them truly wrong, some just have better views.
Hang on….the kids are getting restless, and we are pulling into the station. Talk soon. Wait, 44C! Is that for real? Somebody tap that thermometer….
Sevilla, Spain, Sept. 1st, still 42C (seriously?)
During this crazy summer more and more friends were contacting us, asking questions about how things were going, and you start to be reminded that music creates this huge network of friends that pop in and out of your life over time, and it’s kind of inspiring. Chris and I have always informally talked about putting a bill or show together to play with our ‘contemporaries’ of the time, when it seemed that Canadian rock actually had a lot to say, and actually had support. (My apologies to those bands that are actually currently cool, young and good looking, and actually get support, but hey, you know what I’m getting at). We get these little flashes of getting to do so at the Unison jams in Toronto and really have a good time playing and rubbing elbows with all these cool cats, so naturally it’s a topic when deciding what to do next.
Now im a little blurry about the exact way things went down regarding playing with OLP again, but i know it was as simple as our camp just asking them directly if they felt like playing some shows together, approaching it as a co-headlining concept where we have the proper set time and production to do our thing, and they can do theirs. Kind of simple. I really thought it a long shot but the answer was simple: sure, sounds good!
You see, these things just don’t come together quite as easily through normal channels. People start jockeying for position and the dick measuring begins. Most concepts never get off the ground because of this, but as we boldly stated: we are old enough to know how big our dicks are, and are more or less comfortable with what we’re packing, so can we just play some rock shows? Once people understood how we are approaching this, and the bands are in direct contact with each other making plans and moving ahead, everybody got to work with the same goal in mind… to get this fucking thing off the ground and across Canada!! A lot of hard work from agents, managers, business partners, promoters etc. went into this, and now we finally get to do what we have wanted to do for so long. A special thanks goes out to everybody involved for sure.
Really looking forward to family and friends arriving here in a couple of days… they are literally going to melt! My poor mother. First its off to the coast to one of our favourite places.
Tarifa, Spain Sept 4th, 01:30 pm. 31C, and full of windy relief!
Things have come a really long way since those first discussions obviously, and city after city was added as the plan came together. Abbotsford, how I have longed for thee…… The really cool thing about this is that before that tour starts, we actually have 4-5 shows on our own, playing Scenery and Fish front to back in places like Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Victoria and Daniel’s favourite, Bancouber. Really can’t wait to do these as it gets us back in the bus, playing night after night, and bringing us together as a unit. It really is like a hockey team in that individual skills don’t mean as much unless you are working together, and repetition is the most effective way. My Imlachian skills don’t have the same impact when everybody gets to go home home and be dads for a month, forgetting just about everything and having to start over every time… we lose that musical base of timing, feel, confidence etc., the same way a player loses mobility, cardio and that feel for the puck. But sweet Jesus will we be in shape by the time we hit Van. If people think we are tight and solid now, wait until we get rolling for a few days.
Time to get back to the city and collect the fam!
Sevilla, Spain, Sept. 9th, still 42C (wtf?)
I thin one of the things I am most interested in about this tour, is seeing how much we can improve, and elevate what we already know how to do. The most fucked up day will be Winnipeg! Exciting and nerve-wracking all in one. First nights are always a little tense but this one is special. Our last gig was Aug. 27th in St. Catharines, and I left for Spain the following day and haven’t been back since. I return on Oct. 4th, and we leave for Winnipeg on the 5th! No rehearsals, no hanging out talking about what we are doing, and not really even seeing each other until the airport. All the guys are here for my wedding tomorrow but have all been busy seeing the sites so we haven’t had any time to just hang out. Yes we will see each other at the wedding, looking pretty snazzy, and jam there for a bit but that doesn’t really count! We all just promised to do our homework and have a kick ass soundcheck. So fingers crossed that everyone is ready. A friend lent me his ‘Jagstrat’ here for the whole time in Spain which is awesome to have, (black, tortoiseshell guard, reverse headstock etc.) so I’m building up the callouses and remembering as many of the stupid amount of parts from the records that I can. “Why don’t you just listen to the records first?”, is the obvious question. “Nah, the fans love it when I play the songs completely wrong!”, is the obvious answer. For now though, it ‘s all about explaining to this Spanish DJ that we don’t want the wedding to sound like a rave in Ibiza.
Sevilla, Spain, Sept. 11th, 38C (whew!)
Not sure why I am even writing today as I feel a little weak. Got in from the wedding at around 6:00, haven’t really slept at all…. you guys feelin’ that commitment!!?
So westward across the country we will go, and thanks to some serious bitching, eastward as well! Halifax, are you kidding me!!? So cool. The only big city we couldn’t hit in this format (yet) is Montreal as OLP just played and a crazy radius clause prevented them from doing so again. Wish it wasn’t so but there you have it… what a drag!! We really want to go anyhow and are working on a way to do it! The aforementioned serious bitching has already begun… a little more whiney this time though, with big, round, sad eyes even.
Looking at the tour as a whole, I am really interested to see how we handle this VIP acoustic thing. As it stands now, we don’t know what songs we are playing! We have time to figure it out in the bus on the way out west so it will come together nicely. The concept is simple enough: each band plays separately, then joining together to do something. Add in some hanging out time talking with a very small group of fans and it’s a good night out for us all! I like this a lot and think it’s a neat way to do something cool for the people that are into this kind of thing. Getting to meet more folks across Canada for us, is never a bad thing! Although, as exclusive as these kinds of things feel to some people, it’s a safe bet that you’ll find just about everybody from our camp wandering around outside talking to people anyhow like always! If we don’t see you there, we’ll see you…well…there!
Btw: DJs are assholes. Not so much the scritchy scratchy type, more so the wedding/spotify playlisting/not-listening-to-what-people-want-and-are-getting-paid-to-make-them-happy-and-call-themselves-DJs ones. Yeah, those ones….fuck those guys.
Sevilla, Spain Sept. 16th. 32C (now we’re talking!)
Family and friends have made their way back to Canada leaving us here to wander around, contemplate life and be pseudo-residents here. I’m learning how to swear at people who drive bad in Spanish, and picking fantasy apartments for a future mixing studio. I love how affordable things are in fantasy land… I’m building two!
I’m shutting down my brain for a bit to decompress post wedding bliss and all, and focus on getting my fingers ready for the tour. I have a bunch of killer riffs ready to rock but not really sure what to do with them. People keep asking me so many questions about music and I’m getting sick of saying maybe, when me and Chris have a ton of riffs and outlines just kind of laying around.
At some point I will probably ask everybody what the hell to do with them as it’s time to shit or get off the pot more or less. While I have the time here away from things, i’ll meditate on it a bit to see if it still has some value to me… (not financial value, this is music we’re talking about here after all!) but more on the emotional level and if it’s worth the effort beyond ego. I need an answer to that one for sure. One thing for sure is that I love what I do and don’t want to stop playing. Who would? I think the fellas feel the same…. I’ll ask them in Winnipeg! Lol!
Sevilla, Spain, Sept. 29th, 34C and what’s that? A breeze? Ahhhhhh……
So now, contemplating the trek back to Canada and trying to sort out what the fuck I have to do in the 10 hours I will have at home before heading to Winnipeg. I have already gone through the stress of worrying about our equipment getting shipped out on time, with hopefully all of it arriving… I’m guessing all I need outside of sleep is long pants and a jacket added to my suitcase as I’m not unpacking! Really looking forward to seeing everybody at the airport and catching up. It will be great to be in the same time zone… I’m going to ask that everybody respond to my questions exactly 6 hours after asking them, and only by text, just to soften the shock to my system.
Being as my life seems to be split between two different countries both physically and spiritually, I always take a moment in these bloggies to reflect on some personal observations from this point of view. Bear with me and I apologize for the length, fell free to skip.
This trip has given me a lot of time to observe life here in Spain, both as a tourist and as a borderline resident, looking for another potential place to call home. I have come to the conclusion that I miss home, and this is good… really good, and I think I really need that feeling. I mean, I miss the kids beyond belief like always, and have a huge amount of anxiety being away from them, but even when they are at school and I’m waiting at home I feel this so it’s nothing new.
We had an awesome dinner with friends and it made me proud to see Eli talking with everybody, embracing Canada, showing pictures of some really simple, beautiful parts of our lives (lakes, trees, more trees, friends, and even snow…trust me, hearing that last one shocked me! I kept smiling at her “muy bonito”s!!) and she was easily drawing people’s attention away from the stereotypical coldness that they hear about. Thank you for that ‘merica. This simple moment made me miss Canada. Now, we can all applaud that and say ‘fuckin’ right’, and feel proud like we usually do, but as we sometimes forget, we are also incredibly flawed. (e.g. a shitty/corrupt food and health system, bullshit energy policies, atrocious social practices, and of course, a useless albeit shirtless government etc…somehow this makes the raping of province after province ‘cool’ and acceptable.)
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch defender of all things Canadian, even to the point of ignorance, but the longer I stay here in Spain, the more I feel it’s flaws here as well too, they are just different ones. (omni-present corruption is universal of course). No one place is perfect. I mean, they have us totally beat in so many ways: food, architecture, history, culture, social practices, personal awareness etc. and all seem way more enlightened on what makes their everyday lives matter. They know and embrace their neighbours and the people they encounter every day, they care about how they present themselves, they treat healthy food for all as an affordable right, not a privilege, and culture, culture, culture everywhere. We need these things back home… and yes, we can have it all. I have to believe that. It would be so fucking easy in a place like Canada. I think in Canada we are all just a bunch of awesome people living in a mind blowing, naturally beautiful place, but existing in a system that lessens our potential, and softens us with comfort and sensitivity lessons, spoils our kids, and makes us easy to manage. We’re too nervous to make good. We should be doing better in one of the most resource rich countries in the world, shouldn’t we? Energy, food, health, or natural resources all need a new look, and the best thing we have is us, Canadians!! We just need a more defined perspective to rediscover our identity as a whole, and luckily, the Canadian mindset allows this potential. We are not our neighbours. This is what we have, and what makes me the proudest of all.
Yes, perspectives… the blessing and curse of the traveller.
Regardless, travel… and teach your children. PLEASE!!!
(Finally my 9 year old daughter no longer calls the free samples at Costco “Canadian tapas”!!)
This tour is definitely giving me a chance to prove a couple theories about my country and I am on the hunt for all things good and positive along the way! It’s really cool to make these observations from afar, and immediately get to see the entire country and meet people, doing what we love. Who gets to do that? An amazing way to get reacquainted and reconnected with home. Jesus Christ don’t let me down… I want to stay in love!!!!!
Sevilla, Spain, Oct.2nd, 29C (busting out a long sleeve this evening)
I am really digging the lead up to this tour, thinking about experiencing Canada in it’s entirety…with eyes wide open, taking in all I can, on this one. I’m always excited for even just a single show, but so many together really is a bit of a treat! Putting IME and OLP together makes us feel great, and makes a ton of sense to a lot of people. We grew up together in a great moment for Canadian music and you all remember this moment in your lives like we do. Actually, we have ALL grown up together, and now get to celebrate this as one. There’s an old saying that “Loose skin and old balls shall prevail”… and I hold on to this belief dearly.
All of the camps have been amazing to work with, everybody is whoring it up and getting the news of the shows reaching just about everybody in Canada… even the out of touch/clueless, cave dwelling ones know! I’ve been away so haven’t been able to pucker up like I should, so this blog is just one big, sloppy, open-mouthed, full eye contact, hand holding kiss to do my part. I’ll continue once we get rolling and keep everybody informed on how things are moving along… maybe put on some heels.
I’m off to see my fave flamenco player again tonight, Tomatito, and finish up our trip with some style….
Then it’s time to start packing…
Go to the shows.
Love your Mothers.
Saw the show in Moncton on November 4th! As expected, it was a great show! I hope you guys felt the love… It was wonderful to see Edwin on stage with you guys. He seemed to genuinely relish the moment. Thanks for giving us a valid excuse to support rock!
I saw your Massey Hall and Casino Rama shows…2 of the best concerts I have ever seen! I would absolutely love if you somehow released a live video and/or album from either of those shows. I would pay a significant portion of my retirement savings, put a 2nd mortgage on my home, take a 2nd job to help fund that initiative!! I took various music lovers to 5 of your concerts this year and every time I was proud to call myself a huge IME fan. Even my friends who have a hard time listening to anything other than Led Zeppelin and Queen were thoroughly impressed with your talent. Bravo gentlemen!! Please don’t ever stop making music. And Jag, I’m willing to bet that you have a bunch of great music recorded somewhere that you don’t think is “perfect enough” to release…I’m also willing to bet that any music you have sitting around somewhere is better than 99% of what I’m hearing on the radio every day. Thanks again for all of the great music memories over the past 23 years, and especially the past 4 years.
Great read … and
“Loose skin and old balls shall prevail”
Great entry, Jag! I always love hearing about your travels and am stoked to hear that you guys are so excited to do this tour. I have my tickets for both the Vancouver and Abbotsford shows. Can’t wait to see you guys!!!