I’m hitting the road for three weeks of music festivals and hangovers galore. I will try my best not to black out and report back whatever I can remember of my never-ending adventures around the world.
First stop, Halifax N.S. I’m attending East Coast Music Week as a delegate, though my festival badge states I’m a “VIP Export Buyer,” as I represent the M for Montreal music conference and festival.
It’s my first time in Hali-Town. My first experience in this eastern land was walking into my hotel room and hearing a flute from the neighbouring room. They were rehearsing that Céline Dion “My Hard Will Go On” [sic] song from Titanic. It was actually nice at first but got really old after two days straight. It drove me hella mental.
ECMW hosted mostly singer-songwriters and traditional folk artists from the Maritimes. Lots of girls with banjos who weren’t into dudes. Lot of bands I’ve seen before like Radio Radio, Rich Aucoin and Paper Lions. This was nothing new to me, so I made my way to a biker bar on the shady outskirts of Halifax.
I used my California ID to get in, and the biker door guy noticed my CA address and made a funny reference to the TV series Sons of Anarchy, which takes place around my hometowns of Lodi and Stockton. That got me a free shot of whiskey. On stage was a band that made me wanna take my shirt off. They are called Billie Dre and the Poor Boys. This was a young Canadian band following in the footsteps of fellow Canadians METZ and Japandroids. I shot the shit with Billie Dre and he asked me what I thought about them moving to either Toronto or Montreal. I told him I wish he moved to MTL so we could party together, but to be honest, his band would only play l’Escogriffe 12 times in six months and then move to Toronto. So I told him he should just hit up Toronto and that MTL is not as rock as it used to be. Seems like MTL’s gotten very futuristic, experimental and into random sounds inspired by funny-coloured pills.
Another act that got me slapping my left ass cheek was Halifax’s own Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers. Imagine Tom Waits raised in the Maritimes with a massive ginger Halifaxian beard coming out of his face. The stare in Ben’s eyes tells you his story, and his music takes you on a ride of its own.
Before my departure, I was a speaker at a town hall forum on indie music. It was all about how to kickstart your band and get ahead in this day and age. At one point, I told the town hallers, “Y’all need to stick out, do something original and think outside the box. If you want to impress someone in the biz, offer them a gift like a bottle of Southern Comfort or some weed so they’ll remember you.” Sure enough, on my way out of the town hall, some kids handed me pre-rolled joints along with their demo CDs. No joke.
That’s’ pretty much all I remember aside from the lack of hot dog stands and falling asleep drunk to the Jodi Arias trial on CNN every night.
Next stop: AUSTIN TEXA$$ ■
ECMW Boners and Downers
Dude in shorts playing hacky sack at -2 degrees
Old white people drinking and having too much fun
Airport lines (a breeze)
Billie Dre and the Poor Boys
Heard Hootie and the Blowfish twice on the radio
No alcohol retail sales past 9 p.m.
Too many bearded dudes with beanies
Too much wind (awful for rolling you know what)
KD Lang stunt doubles
No hot dog stands
Too many For Lease and For Sale signs