Don’t Shoot Officer

As you may or may not know, Paul and I are musicians. We have done some extensive touring throughout North America and have collected some pretty amazing stories on the road.

One of the best parts about being a musician is traveling. Although touring mostly entails driving, performing and sleeping (in that order), the odd time you get a brief moment to really slow down and experience the journey. The first time I can honestly say that I got a chance to really see this beautiful country was in 2009. Paul and I embarked on our Crow’s Funeral Tour. This took us from Vancouver to Montreal and back again. Some highlights for me were the prairies, the leaves changing color in the fall and time spent on the lakes of Northern Ontario. The weather was spectacular, the people were amazing, and the memories will last forever. The only time it seemed to come off the rails was the final show, in Edmonton Alberta.

The sound check started on time and we were set to go. We got a chance to see a good friend who had just moved to the area, met some amazing local concert goers and the night seemed to continue as per usual. When it came time to settle the finances at the end of the night, the promoter came up short. He refused to acknowledge or honor our original agreement. It became a heated discussion quite quickly and a few locals even had our backs, saying this was the typical treatment of musicians by this establishment. The result was us leaving without the agreed upon fee by both parties involved. Any artist reading this I’m sure has experienced this at some point in their careers…

It was a shame that such a great tour had to end on such a low note. We really did go out of our way to make sure this venue could be accommodated when negotiating dates, and that included distance. It was an entire days drive out of our way to fulfill this commitment. Needless to say our spirits were crushed by the unfair treatment we received by the venue after upholding our end of the agreement, and pretty much walking away empty handed.

Next was the long, disheartening drive home in the middle of the night. The highway was mostly flat and bare of foliage, which becomes an issue when squatting on the side of the road to use the grassy porcelain throne. Even just one tree would have been acceptable. There’s nothing more unnerving then oncoming headlights shining on your white ass to make you feel like a rock star. I was in a sour mood and just wanted to find a proper rest stop, take care of business and get some coffee, but the road had other ideas. There did not seem to be a single rest stop or gas station for miles. The further we got, the more desperate I became. At one point I asked Paul to turn around and illegally cross the median and try the other side of the highway. I was sure I saw something a few miles back. As we turned into the median to cross, wouldn’t you know it…the oncoming car was a cop. Yep, the only car we had seen on that side of the highway since leaving city limits. Great. Now what? Pretend nothing happened? Sure, why not. He had better things to do right? I told Paul to drive in the opposite direction of the cop and GO! Obviously the cop pulled a U-turn and finally crept up on us. My bladder was ready to explode at this point so I made Paul take the first exit possible, the cop followed. Then the lights and siren came on. Fantastic. But when we pulled to the side of the road, lo and behold; the shining Canadian beacon of glory was within my reach…Tim Horton’s. I opened the door and just started to run for it. Paul grabbed my arm and pulled me back into the car before I had my head blown off. In my present state, my bladder was larger than my brain. I couldn’t comprehend why the officer wouldn’t understand me running from the vehicle. After some silly questions and me begging (I honestly did say at some point in the banter, “Sir, I just really need to pee…please?”) he finally let us drive up the road to a gas station. After all the drama we had that day we decided to call it, and set up shop along side the other truckers for the night.

Lessons learned here:
-Trust that people will honor their word but don’t be disappointed if they don’t
-Tour with someone who has their head on straight
-Headlights are better than bullets

November 14, 2011

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