The Cow Tour

Nature has wonderful ways of regularly dumping on us performers and mostly for good purpose.

That purpose, I think, is to help us keep our feet on the ground; to encourage us not to become swollen-headed because things are going well. It serves to keep us humble. A lot of entertainers need a regular dose of this.

Thankfully, for Ray, Kevin and I, the lessons seem to be inherently taught without personal harm and quite often with tasty hints of humor.

I’m now thinking about one particular occasion. We were doing a show at Bert Church Theatre in Airdrie, Alberta on October 11, 1999. Hopefully someone is saying, “Ah, I was there”. Things had gone so joyfully smooth all day. We had an easy load-in, uncomplicated sound check, nice supper, good merchandise sales and a sold out show. What more could you want? It was a wonderful start to a twelve day tour that would take us around Alberta with a couple of stops in Northern Ontario. We felt good.

After the show we loaded the instruments into the van and headed to Calgary airport where we intended to store them over night for an early morning flight. Jim, our agent at the time, was driving and Blackmore and I were carrying on with our usual foolishness which of course is the genesis of a lot of our show material. Ray, in usual form, was yawning and trying to ignore the lunacy; it was four minutes past his bedtime.

All of a sudden I experienced an intense taste on my lips and noticed a light brown substance forming on the windshield. It seemed we were driving into a peculiar mist. Jim turned to me and commented on the awful foul odor in the air, enough to turn your stomach. “What’s the smell, man?”

We quickly realized that we were driving behind a cattle truck and one mother of an animal had just let go a bladder load of urine which sprayed the entire van.

So, there we were, the rock stars in us expecting to be sprayed by champagne and what do we get? – a cow piss shower! Oh well, humbled again.

There’s Always Good To Be Found

In today’s complex world there are no shortages of unkind acts. With the stream of multi media news coming at us we’re constantly pounded with images of incivility – babies being beaten, cats skivered and old people being toppled and robbed. Sometimes you think, ‘she’s gone, b’y, and never coming back’. Added to all that there’s the growing prevalence of people wanting to take from you in every way possible. You’ve got to have your eyes peeled and ears tuned all the time for scammers and schemers. Makes you almost lose faith in the human race.

The Wife By the Cabin

Well, yesterday I witnessed a random act of kindness which fortified my faith in humanity. It left me feeling aglow and optimistic.

I was in St. John’s for meetings for couple of days and before leaving town the wife and I dropped by a small business down in the denser part of town to pick up four or five items. While getting ready to pay for them someone spoke up and notified us that our vehicle was being ticketed.

“Oh my larsh, we should have told you not to park there. I feels some bad,” said the lady behind the counter.

I passed it off with a joke, Carolyn paid the bill and we left. As we were driving away I asked her about the cost of the items and when she checked we realized that the total was half of what it should be. Back I go to the store with the receipt.

She was waiting for my return and with absolute resolve and determination refused to take money for the 50% discount she gave me in lieu of the ticket.

Yes indeed, there is always good to be found.

Vancouver or Boston?

Okay help me out here. Who do I cheer for Vancouver or Boston?

Some go with the ABB campaign (Anyone But Boston). That’s mainly because they defeated their beloved Canadiens. Leanne Power spits every time she has to say the ‘B’ word. Others cheer for Boston because they are the only Canadian team left. They think that Montreal is in another country and that Vancouver is on another planet.

Vancouver, some say, deserves it because they have more talent. Others say Boston should win it because they have more heart. Of course there are those who go for Vancouver because they hate Charra. Also there are Toronto fans (do they count?) who favor Boston because Vancouver stole their captain, Matts Sundin. And we can’t ignore the fact that Vancouver sent Ryan Clowe golfing earlier than he preferred.

Ah, wait now, there’s still more. I’ve been told I should back Boston because they have a uniform whereas Vancouver is still fishing around for one. Oh, and then there’s our prominent Newfoundland son, Michael Ryder. I’m strongly urged to tilt my TV in his direction. But, the opponents say there is also a Newf doing some Vancouver coaching. Lardy jumpin’, this is getting deep. Maybe I should ask Don Cherry. But then Ron McLean will disagree and I like him too.

Not simple is it? How do I figure this out? I’m confused. Come people, help me out here. After all I could be the one fan who could tip the scale in some team’s favor. Talk to me please.

A Comical Story

Here’s a comical little story for you.

In the spring of 2006 we were touring BC doing shows in Nanaimo, Courtney, Vancouver and Victoria before moving on to a bunch of gigs at Keyano Theatre in Ft. McMurray. On Wednesday, March 22 we were scheduled to do a show at The McPherson Playhouse so we rolled into town in the early afternoon and went straight to sound check. When we arrived we were told that Great Big Sea was also playing in town at, I think, The Grande Theatre. Both shows were sold out and the word on the street was that it was Newfoundland night in Victoria. Cool.

With the lengthy sound check over we headed back to The Executive Suites Hotel to check in, rest and get a bit of grub in us before the show. Kevin had gone ahead to check on rooms and Ray and I were taking stuff out of the van. All of a sudden we heard a familiar voice, “Greetings fellow countrymen”. We turned around and there was Alan Doyle, the charming front man for GBS.

Not having seen each other since we did a show together in Markham in the 90’s we chatted about all kinds of stuff and shared some news.

Now here’s the fun part. While we were talking two giggling 14 year girls came running up to Alan, notebooks in hands requesting his autograph. After scribbling his name and a couple of remarks he looked at the girls and said, ‘Wow, are you lucky. This is Buddy Wasisname And The Other Fellers and you can get their autographs too”.

One of the girls looked at Alan, looked at us and said, “Nah, that’s all right, mom can get theirs”.

What a laugh we had.

Crazy or Wha?

Call us crazy but we were stunned enough to book thirty shows in seven provinces this spring!

Oh well, it’s done now and we survived marvelously. I’ll let those of you who saw a show judge whether or not it was worth it. For us we had a great time; gathered up loads of memories, met tons of people, discovered some great new restaurants, shipped home a fair bit of cash and managed to stay healthy. How wicket is that. Now we get to enjoy summer; just hope we don’t sleep in and miss it. Some cold lately, wha?

Oh, and we managed to write, practice and slip in a few new pieces. One dandy one called, Dicky Picked Up is being received nicely. We’re having fun performing it and audiences are singing along with a fair bit of bite. It’s a song about fighting in hockey; one which I started and Blackmore finished ( Ray does some fine accordion cooking on it).

Lyric sample:
Dickey picked up a six pack and went home to watch the game
The Montreal Canadians were playing the Calgary Flames
He’d sit there every evening in the comfort of his home
And the world could go to hell and leave Dicky all alone!

Can’t give away too much but I’m just saying Don Cherry would be proud. We’re hoping he’ll eventually hear it and use it for a theme song. You never know. We were told in Brantford that Wayne Gretzky really like Kevin’s Shinny On The Ice!

On another note, we just confirmed our Sept. 10th show at The Clarenville Events Centre. We’ll be doing it in conjunction with The Clarenville Caribous. They won the Alan Cup. Congrats, boys. Judging by the wild sold out crowd last time there’s going to be noise again this time. It’ll be our first fall show before kicking off our 36 Arts & Culture shows. No rest for the wicket!!