A Week or So
I have had fine week-or-so. A very fine week-or-so indeed. I spent much of Halloween night with my son, knocking door-to-door in our eerily suburban neighbourhood. The streets were almost shoulder-to-shoulder with squirming humans — kids, grownups in tow. We are relatively new to the neighbourhood and everywhere else we have lived in town, Halloween has been deadly sparse. Now I realize why; all of the kids come to the ‘burbs — to our street, specifically. There were hundreds of clamouring ones — little and large. We were two among the herd.
Shortly after arriving home I said goodnight to my sugar-crashed family and climbed into the Waxmobile. I zoomed to North Bay for a performance at The Raven and Republic. I had pre-arranged for a late arrival because I wanted to complete my family time. After having missed my Son’s third birthday party (we actually rescheduled it for my sake) in order to accommodate my time in Whitehorse recording with the Headless Owl/You’ve Changed crew, I have decided that I absolutely don’t want to leave my kids with memories of my absence on important days. It is and will be evermore a fine balance to strike, because touring means leaving home from time to time; sometimes it means bringing my loved ones along to festivals and such on ‘working vacations’; it’s all part of the game. Part of my game, at least. I can’t seem to properly compartmentalize my love for my family and my need for creative employment. Love haunts me when I’m away and grows stronger the further I go. Music haunts me equally when I am home. I suppose it would be simplest if I could sign-on to a more sedentary profession, but I have learned time and again that I am at my most capable, in work and in love, when I am running bossless — when no one wants me murdered for my misdoings, nor I them for theirs. The drive to North Bay was rainy, but I didn’t need to speed (much) or be otherwise (very) reckless during my commute. I arrived in plenty of time to set up and hammer down this sinister night.
The Halloween party in N. Bay was the first in my most recent series of shows with my pal BA Johnston. Our mutual friend Ryan Problems organized and opened the event with his charmingly frantic folk songs. I enjoyed playing for a costumed crowd. As a closet introvert, I felt this took some of the pressure and attention off of me.
The next morning, BA and I met in Sudbury to leave his Previa in a Value Villiage parking lot. We carpooled from that point in my Civic. Touring with BA is consistently fun. We have similar views on the state of Canadian music so our conversations always devolve into bizarrely uplifting complain-a-thons. We part ways each more stubbornly resolved in our respective life choices, brimming with clever new ideas.
We arrived in the Soo in the early evening to a lavish firework display over St. Mary’s River, adjacent to the Station Mall. Apparently it was “Mall Day”, so this — by all appearances — single conglomerate of successful businesses in an otherwise nearly barren scene, decided, collectively, to celebrate their dominance and blow off some excess profits in a show of military might. But it sorta felt like a welcoming party for us, so I’m not complaining. Our show at Cafe Natura was populated by a very attentive and appreciative crowd, reminding me why I love this town: people listen carefully. We stayed with our kind and thoughful friend Debbie, who I met through Jamie — a guitar maker, vidiographer and all-round whiz-bang fellow. These days Jamie is working on a compelling interactive graphic novel thing. He asked me to contribute some music and voice work. I’m happy to do so. I’ll let you know how it goes.
The next night at the Townehouse in Sudbury — a Saturday — was suitably off-the-rails. Luke the sound technician was working the board. This is a fine, fine thing, because he likes it Loud through the shining new pa speakers. The Townehouse has undergone a series of improvements over the past couple of years. I have mixed feelings about this because it has traditionally been one of the most legendary dives in the country. But the perfect, pulsing, trashy heart of this club can never be entirely plastered over. I brought out all of the regalia on this night. I have stopped asking if it’s alright for me to use my candle on stage, on the off-chance a club says no. Fortunately at the Townehouse there are few preconditions, and I haven’t burnt down any place yet (touch wood). Absurdly, they seemed a bit concerned about the sparklers that my assistant for the night (the singer from Silvergun & Spleen) handed out to the crowd during my set.
I turned in late but woke early, loaded my car and drove home in the frost and white sun. The drive was smooth at that hour. I arrived home in time to have Sunday brunch with my boy and to give H. some needed downtime.
Since Halloween weekend I have been writing and organizing future performances (I have a bunch coming up in Ontario + Montreal and I am starting to plan an east coast thing with friends Construction & Destruction. It’s been too long). I have also been recording plenty of new music. Setting up a bare bones porta-studio in my home has been a lifesaver in this busy time. My friend Geoff Berner was in town this recent weekend and we have begun work on what will become a collaborative, recorded something-or-other. I’m excited about this because Geoff is a songwriter of the highest calibre. I’ll write a bit more about this and other projects in a week-or-so as the mixes come together. It’s exhilarating to be busy when the pieces start fitting.
Did you know…
1. You can follow me on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Wax_Mannequin
2. You can buy my records for dirt cheap from my friends at www.zunior.com
3. And I am always trying to keep my list of impending performances up-to-date at http://www.waxmannequin.com