This Saturday at the Windsor Hotel in Winnipeg!

541529_10151445717498290_2019380949_n-1This Saturday I’ll be playing my first show back home from tour with From Giants, the JD Edwards Band and one of my personal favorites, Ultra Mega. I’ve been trying to hook up a show with Ultra Mega for a while now, so I’m really excited about this chance to share a bill with them. Throw in the great talents of From Giants and the JD Edwards Band and you have a jam packed line-up.

Admittedly, it may be difficult to see where I fit in amongst these other three groups. It could be said that in Winnipeg there are two kinds of bands: bands who can play at the Times Change(d) and those who would be booed off stage, and possibly bottled. The other three bands on Saturday night’s bill would be, and I’m sure have been, welcomed with open arms at the Times; I, on the other hand, happen to fit into the latter category.

There is a very old-school mentality amongst some music lovers in Winnipeg, as in other places, I’m sure. Some of these people don’t think that samplers or drum machines are instruments. And they certainly don’t think that hip-hop is music. I’m ok with that. I get it. But I also don’t care. I make music the way I make it because it’s how I’ve always done it. If I was stuck on a deserted island with nothing but an acoustic guitar I would make music with an acoustic guitar. If that guitar’s strings broke, I would still find a way to play music on it. If there was no guitar at all I would use twigs to hit different sized rocks and come up with some sort of melody or rhythm. But I’m not on a deserted island so I use samplers, drum machines and synthesizers.

Anyways, this show is not at the Times Change(d), it’s at the Windsor. So it’s a moot point. But either way, please don’t get me wrong; I love the Times Change(d) and their clientele, even if only in theory more than practice. I still think it’s important that there is such an institution in Winnipeg’s music scene, and the rumours that it’s not long for this world are heart-breaking to me. But regardless, the fact remains: some bands play there and some don’t. Keeping in mind that I’ll most-likely never play at the Times, I’m very happy that Manitoba Music had the insight to see where I fit in amongst these other three bands who I’m sure have been celebrated by audiences at the infamous alt-country/blues bar. After all, we all just make music.*

*Although I do sometimes consider what I do to be “anti-music.” But we can discuss that another time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Poland

 

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Somehow I made it to Kortrijk, Belgium to meet up with my friend Tom aka Speed Dial 7 of Zucchini Drive. I made my first attempt at driving a manual transmission while traveling from Belgium to Hamburg, Germany. There were a couple of life-threatening stalls on the infamous Autobahn, but we made it to the venue and met up with the other member of Zucchini Drive, Marcus, for our first show on our European tour.

 

After a great show at a cool little punk venue called Hafenklang in Hamburg, we were off to play a Hard Rock Cafe styled venue in Catowice, Poland called the Old Timer’s Garage. It was a bit of an adjustment over the border into Poland, where they don’t generally accept Euros, the GPS doesn’t work and most people didn’t speak any language other than Polish. But once we got to the venue and performed we met some incredibly welcoming and generous people.

 

The next day, driving out of Poland we encountered a driver in another car who was flashing his lights at us as we passed him. As we pulled in front of him, he began honking and driving back and forth between lanes. Confused and a little concerned, the three of us began discussing what could it could mean: Maybe he was trying to tell us something was wrong with our car, like a flat tire or a broken headlight; or maybe we were going too fast and he was trying to slow us down, but there are no speed limits on the highway in Poland. Maybe it was he who was in trouble.

 

As we were trying to decide whether or not to pull over and check on the car, another man starting waving at us, and flashing his lights as we passed. At that point we were pretty sure something must be wrong with our car, so we pulled over to inspect. As I got out of the car from the passenger seat to check the tires and lights, the man who waved us down pulled up behind us and approached the car. He was a well dressed man, maybe in his forties with graying black hair, wearing a stylish scarf and jacket with expensive looking leather boots. He began to speak French, but switched to English when Tom responded in the latter.

 

“Hello, hello! How are you? Thank you for stopping. My name is ‘such-and-such.’ Here is my card, with my address. You are from Belgium (our license plate gave that away)? I have family in Brussels. I am trying to get there to visit them, but I have lost my wallet and have no money for gas.”

 

This was something new for all of us: high-speed panhandling. But he was certainly dressed respectably and was driving a BMW with two children in it, so it was difficult to dismiss him right away.

 

“We only have 5 Euros on us” someone responded.

 

“Please I need 250. Give me your address, I will mail the money back to you. Takes these gold rings as collateral.”

 

He hands Marcus a “gold” ring. It seemed a little light for gold.

 

We all shot each other a look, and decided to get the hell out of there.

 

Driving a few kilometres down the highway, a third man in a BMW tried to wave us down again. A little smarter and much more suspicious, we picked up speed and high tailed it out of Poland back to Germany to play Berlin tonight.

 

That was quite an experience. But to be sure, our time in Poland has overall been a great experience. We’ve made some new fans and plan to return to Catowice as soon as we can. Luckily we do get to return to Poland on the fourth of February when we play Poznan.