When I travel to the mainland I try to travel light. Light still means I have my fiddle, a banjo and/or guitar, my sound equipment, personal gear and what ever else I might need for a week(s) on the road. I’ve commandeered a Costco folding cart from my mom and bungee cords from my dad (love you guys), and with my life stacked on this trolley I make my way through ticket wickets, up escalators, elevators, between seats, apologizing, smiling and joking with every bumped ankle, or blocking of the awkwardly small hall ways.
The last tour I headed off on started with a conversation as I waited to disembark. An elderly couple were standing beside me, grand parents off to see their family for the weekend, when asked where I was going I started to explain.
-I’m a musician, I’m meeting up with a band and we are heading up to mid/north BC to play some shows .
-oh that’s just lovely dear… how long have you been playing together?
-well, I’m a sub on this tour, they contacted me via email about a month ago and sent me recordings and lyrics. This is my first tour with them. I’m super excited, awesome music and…. (concern starts to show on their faces)
- but you’ve met them right?
- Nope, I’ve talked to one of them on the phone about 3 weeks ago, but the rest has been facebook and email, I’ll meet them today at rehearsal then its off to Williams Lake, Smithers, Prince George…
(at this point the ramp was down and people were starting to move forward)
The couple left me with a worried “be safe dear” and I walked off the ferry, grinning as the reality of it all set in.
I was about to get into a car with someone I had met over Facebook three weeks ago. Someone who had “got my name” from a friend and fellow musician, I didn’t bother checking in with her before I agreed to this tour. Scenarios raced through my head, then the gnome of reason popped up. I had done a pretty extensive web reconnaissance, talked to one of the band members on the phone. The music that I had been sent to learn spoke volumes to the genuine artistry and character of these people. I’d never been more excited to meet the people who had created this music.
I got in the dark four door sedan with a bearded man and set off with the Fugitives on the adventure of a lifetime.
As someone who “subs” a fair bit (steps into a tour when a regular band member cant make it) it’s always a gamble, will I like learning and performing the music? am I going to enjoy the 8 hour drives between gigs that make up the lions share of touring in BC? Or am I going to retreat into my headphones, and just get the job done. Will the shows be stressful? Or will I be able to relax and enjoy the freshness of the repertoire, with support and encouragement from friends on stage. The same issue applies to the band I’m subbing for, did she actually learn the tunes? Is she a prick? What if she can’t even play? Both teams do the research, but the trust is what makes it so special.
If you haven’t heard of the Fugitives (www.fugitives.ca), you should check them out, like, right now. Do it. They have not only created my new favourite music, they are some of my favorite people. Professional and talented, these guys have kept their sense of humor, love, and joy in music making alive.
Thanks for having me along on that ride. Thanks for trusting me. And thanks for the inspiration.
ps. Thank you to Shanti Bremer (www.thesweetlowdown.ca) for giving these guys my name.