New York and the Never Ending Rollercoaster
My band had just finished an absolutely wild summer festival run of shows that not only made us more money than we had ever seen but also tested our limits as musicians and true road dogs. We had gone coast to coast so many times it was exhaustingly ridiculous, I still wish I would’ve kept track and counted all the flights we took in 2-3 months. Probably more than most people take in 5 life times. To kick it off, we were nominated as well as presented at the Junos that year, and immediately after the awards show began a short tour of the East coast of Canada and then embarked on our gruelling summer adventure. So many shows and so many drinks. I’ve forgotten more than I’m sure I’ll ever remember. (halifax per diem ass red head story)
So, basically we were absolutely ruined mentally and physically and ready for some serious R&R as we headed home just before September began.
I, however, had different plans. I had met a girl a few months before and had kept in contact with her throughout our recent traveling band/circus ordeal. She was a DJ and I had gone to a few of her events and ended up getting her number. We had gone on a few dates and surprisingly enough I’d admit she was my current-flavour-of-the-week-pseudo-girlfriend (meaning I spent more time with her than the other fine women I was also involved with). So about 2 or 3 days after we came home after the summer for a few weeks of rest before the next tour began, I decided I’d go with her on a small East coast American tour. Basically Toronto to Washington DC to New York and everywhere in between. Naturally I jumped at the chance because I truly was and am obsessed with travelling and touring and it felt like the best way to keep the party going. So we left Toronto in a 4 door car with two of her female friends and headed to the first gig.
Well, the first gig started with us “checking in” to their friend’s house with next to no room for 4 extra humans and extremely narrow hallways.
Washington DC, what a place. We have trouble getting in to the club. Could be the fact that all 3 of these chicks took forever to get ready or the fact that I am a terrible tour manager. I choose the former. We stand for what seems like an eternity outside the club until the promoter/whoever is in charge arrives and gives us the OK once the names are tripled checked, as if we are entering some top secret facility. Walking hurriedly through the dark caverns of this club (again, we were running late) we make our way to the stage. And so begins the furious searching and plugging in and blind confusion in the complete darkness behind the DJ booth until finally we have sound and it seems everything is ok. Show goes off well and the night is eventually brought to a curtain due to “mind erasers”. An interesting alcoholic shot that truly lives up to the testament of such a strong and most absolute moniker.
Next up is a show that I cannot recall whether was in DC or NY but I don’t think it mattered. I wore a suit anyway. Why? Why not. Wearing a custom suit to a super swanky lounge with your gorgeous almost-girlfriend DJ’ing? Tremendous. I tour manage this one to perfection: ice, beer, vodka, and cigarettes on our rider kept us cruising for quite some time. Tonight wasn’t exactly a “set” it was more like a “play background music while rich people get drunk” sort of vibe. So, while I knew nothing about actual DJing, I did know a thing or two about beer, vodka, and cigarettes. I do my very best to plow through these amenities while also tweeting like a maniac. Twitter was absolutely huge at the time and being in a semi famous band meant we had a ton of fan interaction on twitter. So we used to do these tweet sprees where we would say “5 questions, go!” and then we would answer 5 questions. In that drunk smoky haze, I ended up answering a stupid question pertaining to who was better looking: me, or another Canadian musician, who was certainly much more successful than me at the time. Naturally my bravado took over and began a barrage of tweets about how I was so much better looking than this other musician. I laugh and laugh at the stupid shit I’m doing, cuz why not? Im in a suit in NY (or DC) wth my girl; life is unreal. The night eventually ends and I am semi unaware of the digital damage I’ve done via Twitter.
Next is New York City. Truly one of my favourite cities on earth. We are staying at a friend of the girl troop I’m travelling with, who is also a much more famous musician than I was, and who also had no idea that I, a guy AKA my girl’s love interest, was also staying at his apartment while he was away. No matter to me, except that it did make me think quite a bit about how well did my girl know this much richer and dude-with-better-hair-than-me-musician? Either way I enjoyed every inch of that beautiful apartment building. The gym, spa, and rooftop pool was mine for the taking. We spent a few days at this palace and basically brunched and drank. Now, the reason we relocated next was because this much more handsome and taller musician was coming home. Since the fact I was a guy travelling with these women, and staying at his place would be a big no-no, we migrated to another friends house in SoHo.
During this whole trip so far I was talking with our lead singer and guitar player about how they too were in New York already working on our second album. But of course we have to hang out and to tell you the truth, I actually had no idea they were even starting on the second album (which is a whole other can of worms in itself so we’ll save that for another time) and I needed to get into that studio and make an impression. We made plans to meet up and have some drinks, which to my surprise conflicted with plans that were already made with my girl to meet up with Mr. Famous Musician Man, back from his travels, or whatever. What a mess. In this mess however, another wrench was also thrown into the machine: A month or so prior to this excursion, I was travelling back to Toronto from LA for something I can’t remember now and met this stunning chick on the flight who was a TV reporter in NY. I had gotten her number and didn’t really follow up like I should have. Instead, at this very moment of criss-crossed plans, like a sign from the Almighty; she texted me to grab drinks.
I go first to the Mr. Famous welcome home (eviction for me) hangout and drink exactly one drink, meet him, suspect foul play with my girl prior to me, and leave to meet up with this reporter chick. Not in an emotional or upset kinda way, I just thought seeing the girl from the flight would be more interesting at this point in time. The band guys? Ya they were already shitfaced at 4pm so needless to say their night was over. I spend the next two hours making out and drinking extremely expensive drinks with the reporter chick. I’m easily 8/10 drunk at this point and I can already predict I’m gonna have a hard time navigating my way out of this bar. I call for the check and slam my nearly maxed out credit card down. My date seems concerned I want to leave so soon. I remember where I’m staying and how bad it would be to either bring a girl back or just not come back at all. Thinking back i probably should’ve rolled the dice and went back to her place. Oh well. You live and learn I guess. I end up making my way back to the SoHo house and collapse on the couch.
Next day is a studio day. Its hotter than hell in NY and I am fucking loving it. I go for breakfast with my girl and her friends and then make my way to the studio to meet the guys. We jump right into working on songs and at around 4pm brave the sweltering heat to walk to the liquor store for pineapple vodka, a delicacy only available in the US at the time. Drunken idiots with no responsibilities ensue. Out for drinks with our new studio friends we drink more tequila than should be allowed. No recollection.
The guys stay for a few days and we have some epic times. They leave New York and now its time to go back to my original position: sort of tour manager. We play a few more shows and again, have so many long days and even longer nights in the August glow that is so incredible in New York I have no fitting adjectives for it. At this glorious moment in time on our last night there, I get a text from a huge group at the time that had a feature on our first album. They were playing a show in NYC and saw via Twitter that I was in town. Oh hell yes I wasn’t going to miss that. My girl and her friends were going to some chick’s b day party and I most definitely was looking for a chance to bail.
So I set out to go to this show solo, kissing my girl mid-crosswalk and then parting ways to the opposite side of the street like a fucking Cameron Crowe movie.
I find the nearest sports bar and order my go-to at the time: Jameson’s on the rocks. In America they free pour and a “double on the rocks” equals a full tumbler glass. I am pleased. I drink and chit chat with the bartender, loving every note and bend of that Goodfellas-esque accent. I settle up and make my way with glassy eyes to the show. I head backstage and jam out with my buddies, I chose to enjoy their show as well as all their backstage snacks. Following their set they have the classic after show bullshit to take care of, so I take off, waiting to hear details for the afterparty. Walking alone I see a sign outside a sushi restaurant that reads: “$2 Bud Lights”. I immediately find a home at their small bar and begin ordering. AGAIN I start drunk tweeting, “5 questions” etc. I end up antagonizing a few more people and of course I tweet at a semi-famous woman on TV that I “had a crush on her.”
I close out the night with my girl in a bar that still had sawdust on the floor and $3 beers. I began another journey literally the next day, where I flew to Edmonton AB to buy a car and break a good woman’s heart and end up taking a girl that I didn’t know at all across the continent to get back home in Toronto.
Good times, stick around I’m sure I’ll end up telling that story too…