Monday, September 6, 2010
On The Road Again
September 6th, 2010
Willie Nelson's lyrics linger in my head as we drive the open road. As we travel through The Rockies, we have a sense of leaving. We know we are leaving home, we are leaving BC and we know we won't be back for a while. The mountains are majestic and the air is clean. The sounds of soft acoustic music bleed from our car stereo...we indulge in conversation...we notice the beautiful scenery, but most of all we enjoy creating our own soundtrack to our journey.
We pull into the back alley outside The Dirty Jersey in Kamloops BC. It is our first show away from home. It is hot as we load in all of our gear into the venue. It's wing night. 15 cent wings brings a good crowd to the bar on a Thursday night. Once we've loaded in...we wander over to the park across the street and play Frisbee. We drink self-made vodka cocktails from our kleen kanteens. It's Jeff's 26th birthday....everyone draws a picture on a bottle of Malibu as a keep sake. On this bottle there's a beach, a naked woman, a cat pirate, a farmer that's king of the sea and crows in the distance.
Attached to the venue, there's a bowling alley. We play two games and it's safe to say that none of us will ever have a career in bowling. It's a fun way to pass the time. It's an easy night for us – one set, get paid and we are out of there! We stay at a friend's place...a lovely and talented songwriter named Kate Morgan. We appreciate the hospitality and take comfort in a warm house.
September 3rd is a Friday. We leave Kamloops early to get to Kelowna for an interview with 99.9 SUN FM. We meet “Doc” the music director and Sonia, the on-air personnel. SUN FM has been big supporters of “Mr Immature” and has featured the new single “Slave2Love”. We spend time with Sonia in the studio and talk about life on the road. There is a young caller that phones in to ask 'What is it like being famous? And what do you miss about your normal life?” I'm immediately thrown off and surprised by the question, but the answer is easy - I don't feel any different. And I think to myself...my life seems pretty normal...
We play at The Minstrel Cafe in Kelowna. Three of us order the pork chop dinner with mashed potatoes. We play three sets and it turns out there's family in the room that I've never met before. Two young, beautiful girls approach me and I discover relatives I did not know existed. They were fans before we knew about each other. It's funny how life brings people together.
September 4th. It's a long drive to Fernie BC. Eight hours with a stop along the way. A nail got stuck in one of our back tires, causing it to go flat. Our first vehicle repair happens in Creston BC. We kill time by browsing the second hand store called “Second Hand Heaven” I bought a five dollar belt and contemplated buying a tic-tac-toe board game that you play using shot glasses. I'm not sure how you play or what the rules are...but seems to me like a fun way to drink.
Fernie is a gorgeous town. The mountains reach for the sky and the air is crisp. Most of the shops are closed but people are trickling through the bar. The Brickhouse is where we play. We all eat relatively healthy...Paul has seared salmon with a salad and I have the basil pesto chicken dinner with roasted red potatoes and vegetables. We know that our bodies need nutrients to sustain a three week pull living on the road.
The people in Fernie love music and the owner of The Brickhouse is kind. We play three sets and meet fans from Calgary that came out to see us. People are receptive to the new album “The Underdog.” They buy a copy and walk away with music at the end of the night. We stay at the Causeway Bay Motel in Sparwood BC. The next day we take advantage of a good sleep in...we played seven gigs that week. Getting a good night's rest is valued.
September 5th is a Sunday, no gig for us. We take our time driving to Calgary. When we arrive, we find a park on the river. The first thing Jesse does is pull out one of the guitars and sit on a bench and start playing. He needs his guitar like he needs air. Jeff takes out his camera and spends time capturing the city from his point of view. Phyllis enjoys riding her scooter up and down the street. Time passes easily and soon the night falls. We feel the cold touch our skin and for the first time we realize summer has gone. The leaves are turning colors.
Phyllis and I decide to indulge in our girly, guilty pleasure of watching romantic comedies. “Waitress” is the one we watch from the backseat of our van. It's about a young waitress who unexpectedly gets pregnant with her husband's baby. She hates her husband and plans on leaving him once she wins the prize money from a pie making contest. She ends up falling in love with her doctor. Phyllis and I agree that he's sexy and charmingly awkward.
After the park, we check into a really sketchy motel. The room we are given loses power within the first fifteen minutes. The headboard above the bed has been removed from the wall and the people hanging around in the parking lot do not seem trustworthy. I'm not prepared to take chances so I take my guitars in. If my guitars ever get stolen...my heart would break in a million different ways.
As I'm unloading gear...two women walk past and notice the name logo on the side of the van. “Are you Stef Lang?” they ask. Caught off guard I say, “Yes” and a look of recognition lifts their expression. “Oh wow! We love your music! Can we have your autograph?”
I'm utterly surprised. This is the first time this has EVER happened to me. Complete strangers...fans....in the middle of the night....in the sticks of Calgary....have heard the music before. And it has touched them in way strong enough for them to want a chicken scratched piece of paper that I give them. It is the strangest feeling but I'm happy to see people emotionally moved by music. I walk up to our room...and for a moment I thank God...or whoever is up in the sky...for sending me people...fans....that appreciate music and for allowing me to resonate with them in the way that I'm most passionate about.
We flop onto our beds and Jack Black's “School of Rock” is on TV. Phyllis hooks up the kettle and prepares us spicy noodle cups with ham. She is motherly and caring. We all are thankful that SOMEONE takes care of us. Soon Jesse is snoring and Jeff and I are the only ones awake. We talk till 4am telling ghost stories. We laugh and then we fall asleep.