Mint Party Wagon Tour : Western Canada August 2002

starring:Wheatpool.jpg (139468 bytes)

Your Smugglers

with appearances by:

The New Town Animals

The Mark Kleiner Power Trio

Operation Makeout

Tennessee Twin

and

DJ Ska-T and Stacy-DC

This tour was originally conceived when, in mid-July, we decided to alter our summer touring plans from the original scheme of touring the West Coast USA. Ever since 911, the border between the USA and Canada has been harder to penetrate than a twelve year old’s ass cherry. The border was hard enough before September 11, but now the hurdles are unbelievable and incredibly expensive if you want to do it even slightly legally. Therefore we decided to do something we haven’t done in many years – ease the stress, fuck the border, and do a driving tour through Western Canada, half the dates being small towns, the other half the big cities. We then decided to make it a package tour and, as they say in Quebec, voila, the first ever "Mint Party Wagon" was born, with help from the above listed Mint bands. Here’s what happened every ugly step of the way!

Fri Aug 23, The Royal, Nelson BC (w/ Operation Makeout)

DaveyWheels.jpg (123697 bytes)Even though this would be our umpteenth time across Western Canada, we would have a few firsts on this tour.

  1. We were all sporting beards. Nick, Dave and Grant had full-on Beach Boys-like bush, Graham had a kind of "Dirty Sanchez" look going (see Australia 2000) and even though Beez forgot about the beard-bond in the weeks leading up to the tour, he was still sporting a bit of wop-fuzz come kick-off.
  2. For the first time ever we were in not one but TWO vans. Yup, we decided to spread out the crotch rot and do it in style this time around, with two brand new mini vans off the rental lot, complete with a pair of walkie-talkies, one in each van, so we could still crack jokes to everyone at once.

Almost immediately we found out that the walkie-talkies also picked up other people’s CB radios, and so the fun began. As we roared up the Crow’s Nest highway on this perfect summer day, all sorts of radio signals were coming across, including some girl on her CB picking berries by the side of the road.

Ska-T: "Breaker breaker, come in, over, bender over".

Berry girl: "Hi, I’m on the side of the road picking berries, who’s this?"

Ska-T: "Roger that, over bend over, what kind of berries you picking over bend over".

Berry girl: "Lots of kinds"

Ska-T: "Roger that, can I pick your ass cherry? Over. Bend over".

About nine hours of incredible scenery later, we arrived in the beautiful little mountain town of Nelson.

Nelson.jpg (152112 bytes)Although we had played many all ages shows here in the heady "early nineties" it had been awhile since rocking the town famous for the film "Roxanne". On this warm summer evening we were happy to find the town was buzzing with filthy hippies and punks and hitchhikers and backpackers and tree planters, especially on the front patio of the bar we were playing.

Upon arrival we were immediately attacked by three cougars – Beez has ex-girlfriends everywhere! We also met up with our opening band for this whole tour, Operation Makeout, who gave us the unfortunate news that the other band, the New Town Animals, broke down way back in Manning Park and were missing the Nelson show but would try to make it to Calgary the next night. (See London ON, Feb 02)

The show that night in Nelson was fantastic. We had a ball playing lots of requests and talking to people that had seen us in different places all over BC over the years. There was even a little twelve year old birthday girl named Dylan who stood outside the window of the club and danced all night – she first met us when she was six and we stayed at her mom’s all-night punk-rock party-pad in Kelowna.

We played and played on this opening night, eventually getting through about thirty songs while kids jumped on stage (including a skater brat who whacked Dave over the head with his deck). Grant dislocated his knee mid-splits, all the while playing new, old, and ancient songs from all the records. A great start in a beautiful town.

Sat Aug 24, Night Gallery, Calgary AB (w/ the New Town Animals, Operation Makeout)

Off we sped across the Crow’s Nest Pass on another gorgeous day in BC, managing to stop at a highway-side lake where Nick, Grant and Ska-T tore off each others’ clothes to go swimming, as Dave, Beez and Graham watched, each on a hard rock. The three water-based Smugglers managed to get into a shirtless, three-way mud-fight tussle, giggling uncontrollably. Beez later commented that the sight of it disgusted him, and reminded him very much of the "gas fight scene" from Zoolander.

Up in Calgary, this show was exactly the kind we like to play: an event. A build-in crowd ready to party on a hot summer Saturday night! Tonight’s deal was a wrap-party for Calgary’s musicians’ ball hockey tournament called "The Slurpee Cup". It so happened that the Night Gallery team won it the tournament that afternoon so spirits were high.

The New Town Animals made it in safe and sound, thanks to their new drummer (a certain Mr. Bryce Dunn, whom the reader will remember drumming and traveling with the Smugglers from 1992 – 1997) who paid for the entirety of the NTAs towing and van repairs!

Sure enough, the show was packed, hot as hell, and the bands all enjoyed great sets. Bryce has done great things for the The New Town Animals’ back-end and as a result they were the best we’ve ever seen them. The crowd loved ‘em, boiling heat or not.

Excercise room.jpg (170716 bytes)All three bands were staying at the hotel across the street, and with the New Town Animals finally arriving to complete the tour package, the party began. We started in the hotel gym, boozing on the exercise bikes, rolling smokes on the Stairmaster and smoking doobies on the weight bench. After working up a good stink we headed back to Operation Makeout’s designated party-room. Party mama Anna Makeout immediately broke out the makeup and women’s clothing and shrieked "which one of you he-bitches wants to get on their fuckin’ knuckles ‘n’ knees in these outfits?" Before we could yell "anyone but Ska-T!!", the Canadian King Of Ska lept forward with the quickness of a skid row wino after a half-eaten donut. Jesse Makeout was right on his hairy tail. Together, the two of them ripped off each other’s clothing and, naked and giggling, let the girls apply a thick coat of makeup and a thin layer of black knee high socks, mini skirts and bras. Besides repeatedly getting the bra-clip snarled in Ska-T’s matted back hair, then getting the mini-skirt’s zipper stuck in a shit-clump of his ass hair, everything went smoothly. Ska-T and Jesse Making Manwoman.jpg (110392 bytes)went on to pose for the camera in a myriad of disgusting positions, often showing plenty of "man-hole". Somehow the lights were repeatedly switched off and that’s when Ska-T’s hands went a-wanderin’ all over the closest body to him. Whether it was Jesse or one of the female Makeouts is anyone’s guess, but, as Ska-T admitted to us later, what the fuck did it really matter at that point anyway. Bring it on, he said. Bring a razor, we said.

All the while, Little Stevie Kicks and Bobbie Beefy from the New Town Animals were filming this (ass)whole display. When the party eventually died down and folks started passing out face down ass up, they went into action.Operation Make-up.jpg (124087 bytes) Stealthily they crept into the bathroom with an empty garbage can, sticking it in the tub and filling it with ice cold water. Slowly they crept out of the bathroom towards the snoring bodies… when they were directly above Jesse’s head, they wickedly dumped THE ENTIRE CAN OF ICE WATER ONTO HIS HEAD. And they filmed the whole thing.

As is portrayed in the video, total chaos ensued. Jesse flew out of the soaked bed, sopping wet, pissed drunk, still in makeup and a skirt. He then attempted to lay a serious beating on the two NTAs, shoving them and their video camera both out into the hall way. Once they were out the door, the dripping, shivering, mushily-madeup Jesse then turned his confused rage onto the rest of his band members and Ska-T, telling them to get the fuck OUT of the dry bed and into the wet bed. Ska-T then had to explain that he had unfortunately also wet the dry bed.

ManBeaver.jpg (157515 bytes)In his drunken, shocked delusion, Jesse ranted and raved at all of them for the next forty five minutes, apparently even quitting the band at one point. Little Stevie K and Bobbie B ended up sleeping in the Smugglers’ room, on the floor, face down, sleeping in their leather jackets and sneakers, hands tucked in and cupped over their crotches, both with large grins across their faces.

Sun Aug 26, day off

The day began with the maid knocking loudly on the door of Operation Makeout’s hotel room. After a minute or two, the door slowly opened, revealing Ska-T standing there half asleep and half naked, in knee high black socks, a mini skirt, a leopard print bra, his face smeared with eye shadow and lipstick. "Uhhhh… we’re taking the … extended checkout".

Even though we had only been on the road for two days, it had still been 1,200 kilometres and two ten hour drives, and hey, we’re old fucks now, so we welcomed the early day off to heal blisters, knees, throats and, in Ska-T’s case, panty-rash. Since all we had to do was get to Red Deer by Monday, we had some rare road time to fuck around.

The reader may recall that the last time the Smugglers were in Calgary we had the relaxing thrill of floating down the Elbow River on a bunch of little inflatable rafts with our pals from Chixdiggit. We had arranged to do it all over again, but alas, not one of those bitches showed up the night before so we were left footloose! We tried to do the river anyway, without rafts, but sank like hairy stones. After a little sunning on the river bank, watching all of Calgary’s beautiful citizens float by, we took off for Drumheller, Alberta’s tourism mecca.

Tyrell.jpg (125797 bytes)If you haven’t heard of it, Drumheller is a dusty little town situated at the bottom of a deep canyon in the middle of the Alberta badlands. Because the canyon is much deeper than the rest of the prairie, exposing layers of dirt that account for millions of years, dinosaur bones by the thousands pop up here constantly. Like entire T-Rex skeletons.

Planning to hit the famed Tyrell Museum the next day, we checked in to the Jurassic Hotel and got wasted on six bottles of cheap red wine, making jokes while watching the civil war epic "Glory". For instance, every time lead actor Matthew Broderick would enter the screen we’d all sing "BOMP BOMP. OHHHHH YEAH. DEEEEeeew BOMP BOMP" and then shriek with glee. Yes, this is how we amuse ourselves on our day off.

Mon Aug 26, The Vat, Red Deer AB

The dinosaur museum was enjoyable and fancy by all accounts, but the real fun of our Drumheller morning came as we climbed our way out of the canyon and found a go-kart track. Pulling over immediately, we quickly negotiated with the fossil working the till for two full races around the course. Some equally crotchety Harry Dean Stanton-type wheeled out the carts and explained the rules "No bangin’, no Go-cart.jpg (68769 bytes)crashin’, no sideswipin’, no rear-endin’, no short-cuts and no dirty drivin’. These here cars are worth $5000 each, yup". With the term "whatever" running through our heads, we hopped in the carts, pulled up to the starting line, and with a wave of Harry’s pocket snot-rag, we were off at top speed.

Almost immediately it became apparent that the battle-royale was between myself (Grant) and Smuggler Dave. I was out front, enjoying a nice lead at a breakneck pace, but Dave was gaining fast. Too fast. He repeatedly tried to pull slick moves to get ahead but I refused to let the dirty bastard by. Finally, on a wickedly sharp S turn, he made an outrageous deke and pulled directly in front of me. Rules be damned, I did what we do back in my neighbourhood: I rammed him as hard as I could from behind. Immediately upon impact we both lost control of our buggies. Dave spun out in a series of blinding, rubber-squealing 360s, landing at the bottom of a gully amidst a cloud of dust and acidic smoke. I slammed full speed straight through the track barrier, crashing in and out of a creek, through a hedge, into someone’s laundry line, through a fence and into the middle of a Nick Gocart.jpg (76232 bytes)child’s birthday party, down a set of stairs, off a rock wall, over a second barrier, and back onto the track directly in front of Ska-T and Nick!! They both started screaming that I had cut a corner!! Damn right! Fuck them!

Grant Gocart.jpg (137395 bytes)But it was not to be, as that lecherous cross-dressing skunk Ska-T managed to somehow pull out in front and hold on, taking the first checkered flag. Dave eventually dragged himself out of the gully and sputtered across the finish line, covered in mud and cow shit, dead-last and dead-mad. When we pulled back into the pit area, the old fucker who ran the track was furious at us. "You sombitches! You’re goddamn dirty drivers, you know what? Ok then, you all set for the next race?"

Bang, we were off again, screeching around the track at top speed, fishtailing around every corner, screaming at the top of our lungs. Nick took the immediate lead, and once again Dave and I were tangling treacherously in second and third place refusing to give an inch to each other. "Fuck this, fuck Dave and fuck that old coot" I thought, positioning myself to permanently run Dave off the track for good. Finish him off! But before I could make my death-move, Dave pulled a feat of split-second gear-jamming sorcery, pulling back, speeding up, and sideswiping me, sending me spinning out of control, through two barriers, across the pit and into the parking lot, violently pelting the next group of racers with a shower of gravel. Nick managed never to relinquish the lead and took the second flag. We thanked the guy for nothing and were on our way to Red Deer.

Alex Newtown.jpg (124049 bytes)Monday nights are very strange nights to play. Theoretically, it is supposed to be the absolute WORST night of the week, hands-down. Sometimes it is, like that empty show in Auburn Texas, and our third straight show in Melbourne Australia, a Monday-dud. But we’ve had some incredible Mondays as well, like Solingen, Germany and Buffalo, New York. Add Red Deer to the list! This turned out to be an AWESOME show! The gig was at Red Deer’s only live music venue, a little booze can called the Vat. The promoter Brad was pretty worried about the Monday night fear factor, but a good, energized crowd turned up from all over. All the bands again had great sets, and when we eventually got on stage we had a Monday night dance party to rival the best of ‘em.Nicky Newtown.jpg (155953 bytes) At one point a bonifide break dance circle broke out, featuring truly bustin’ moves from Little Stevie Kicks, Bryce Dunn, Smuggler Nick and lots of other actual audience members. Again we played a tonne of songs from many a record, and the crowd was gracious enough to bring us back up a couple times. We even pulled a move that we learned a long time ago from the Young Fresh Fellows. During our encore, we called up the New Town Animals to play a song on all of our instruments and it was official: this was a party. It was hard to call it a night; what a gas and what a way to spend a Monday. The dance contest winner drove a total of eight hours to make it to the show, all the way from Hinton Alberta, and to put him over the top he sang patch Ty.jpg (188041 bytes)along to almost all of the songs AND had a homemade Smugglers patch on the back of his jacket. Congrats Ty, and thanks to Brad for putting on a great show.

An old friend from Vancouver also showed up, insisting on putting up all three bands at his house in rural Red Deer. Sure enough, the offer was accepted and the party moved from the Vat to the farm house. After a few rounds of booze and stories, people started drifting off, passing out face down in various corners of the house. Little Stevie Kicks however, inadvertently fell asleep face up tonight, and that would prove to be a shitty mistake. Seems even though Jesse Makeout appeared like he had forgiven over the past few days from the ice bucket incident in Calgary, turns out he was simply biding his time, waiting for the right moment to strike back. As soon as it was confirmed that Little Stevie was indeed unconscious, it was Jesse’s turn to silently visit the bathroom in anticipation of a The Vat.jpg (153949 bytes)sweet and disgusting revenge.

Instead of filling up, Jesse emptied. His ass. He took a long, hot, wet, dump into the toilet and didn’t touch the toilet paper. He then shuffled silently out of the bathroom with his pants anklecuffed, across the floor to the sleeping Stevie Kicks. Jesse then hovered his shit-soaked crack directly over the face of Stevie, and then… SPLOTCH!

Little Stevie Kicks got puddin’ popped.

Jesse wiped his soiled, quivering shit-flaps up and over his face, starting at the chin, then over the lips and mouth, up into the nostrils, over the eyes, across the forehead, and into the hair. One long, thick, strip of shit up the middle of his face. The ice bucket wake up call was officially avenged.

Tues Aug 27, Amigo’s, Saskatoon SK

We said our goodbyes to the New Town Animals who had to head home early due to prior commitments – it was a bullshit-shame – these guys are a great band and their sets raised the bar, assuring that we played at our best each night. See you next time, NTAs!

The Smugglers and Operation Makeout continued eastward across the sun-burnt prairie towards one of our favourite clubs, where, as the famed saying goes, "every band in Canada has been fucked, sucked and chucked". Now that Amigo’s infamous upstairs band room isn’t there anymore, the antics have slowed down slightly, but it’s still a fun place to play.

Kleinz.jpg (131257 bytes)We hooked up with another new Mint Records support act, supposed hometown heroes the Mark Kleiner Power Trio. We’ve been friends with Mark Kleiner for awhile, known to many back in the Vancouver scene simply as "Kleinz", one of the wildest party freaks in Vancouver rock history. A few years back, he very suddenly found God, went running back to Saskatoon, signed up for Lutheran college, quit all drugs and alcohol, and joined the track team. He graduated with top honours, moved to Toronto, and formed this new band, featuring his brother, a Harry Potter-esque chappy named "Jean-Claude", and a grumpy drummer named Georgie.

Amigo’s had a very healthy crowd on hand for a Tuesday night, but considering it was the Kleinz’ hometown, we were hoping, nay, EXPECTNG a sell-out. Not only was Amigo’s not quite at capacity, but the crowd chose to totally ignore Operation Makeout, and seemed completely lost on the gospel the Mark Kleiner Power Trio delivered. While surprising that they would do this to one of their own in Mark Kleiner, this is nothing new for Amigo’s. We had to play there about five times before the crowd finally warmed up to us and we started doing well. It’s been a long and trying relationship. Though we must admit, after the last three days of out of control punk action, even we were caught off guard by the squeaky-clean MKPT. Mark is a child of the 70’s, and plays pure pop music: piano-power ballads and 70’s pop melodies, complete with metaphoric costume changes and bizarre, straight-faced between song banter that touches on such topics as "the situation in the Middle East". We could practically see it going over the audiences’ heads. We gulped.

Our show was lots of fun, with the Saskatooners finally loosing up and getting up front and having some fun. Once again the Amigo’s crowd impressed us with their energy and their requests for all sorts of weird and totally obscure Smugglers songs even to us, few of which we do, but it’s always flattering to know that at least some one liked that b-side that came out on a German single in 1993. We felt guilty that they’ve managed to stump us several times!

Thanks to Jim and Brant and the rest of the kind folks at Amigo’s, another fun night! Congrats to the dance contest winner on this evening, a violin teacher by day and fine drunken break-dancer by night!

Wed Aug 28, the Pyramid, Winnipeg MB

riverbank.jpg (158882 bytes)Today we tackled a long and familiar drive down the famed Yellowhead Highway to Winnipeg, and by this time we were pretty well-versed with the walkie-talkies, communicating between the two vans. By now all adopted cool, trucker-like "on-air" handles. Beez was naturally "the Cheese-Bag", Dave was "the Dazzer" because he’s so good looking, Graham was "Pony" cause he’s hung like a palomino, Nick was "Flipper", on account of his ever-playful "lil’ dolphin" that loves to jump up and spray people, Ska-T was "the Scuzzy Bear" because he’s covered in hair and stinks, and Grant, of course, was comin’ in "Crystal Queer"!!

As mentioned, along the way we’d often pick up other CB radio conversations… other truckers or whatever, and on this day we inadvertently hooked up with a local water slide park. As the Crystal Queer and the Cheese-Pleaser were on the line discussing who would perform the next pressed-ham and if it would involve a banana, a woman’s voice crackled across the line: "This is Susie, we need to make sure that kid stays off the big slide, over". Cheese-Man immediately jumped in action: "Roger that, Susie. Now listen honey-pie, it’s come to our attention down here that a kid has taken a shit in the main pool and we need that pool cleared of every child immediately. Right now, Susie. Over, bend over".

"What?!? Repeat please? Over".

"I SAID some little bitch took a major dump in the main pool and we need EVERY KID OUTTA THERE RIGHT FUCKING NOW, DO YOU COPY? OVER, BEND OVER!!"

"Uhhh… roger that, over". And as soon as it began it was over, as our mini vans had pulled us sadly out of range.

As the avid reader of these diaryas may recall, our last show in Winnipeg sucked. We attributed the awfulness of the show to three factors: 1) it was the day after Halloween 2) it was at a disgusting dump called the Royal Albert and 3) our friends Duotang were frankly just too drugged up to properly promote the show. The planning of this gig carefully avoided all those factors, though the venue was not ideal. The last time we had performed at the Pyramid, a cavernous brick building, was in 1994. We got into a huge fight ON stage and almost broke up on the spot. It was an awful scene. And here we were again, hoping for better times.

The show sucked.Ska-drool.jpg (85258 bytes)

It’s over for us in Winnipeg. We don’t know what’s up, but the gig stiffed harder than Ska-T with a pocket full of date-rape drugs. And when a city stiffs twice in a row, it’s off the list. Besides the pathetic turn out, moronically pushed back the set times of both Operation Makeout and the Mark Kleiner Power Trio (billed on the posters as "the Mark Milner Power Failure"), forcing the few hardy souls that were there to wait until almost one fucking AM before we finally got on the fucking stage. The people that remained were very nice, but I swear we must have been a deafening roar in that empty place.

As is Canadian tradition, the promoters put us up in a hotel, which turned out to be one of the most detestable shitboxes we have ever had the displeasure to spend the night in. The ancient, unheated, dusty Forte Prenestino in Rome felt like Caesar’s Palace compared to this toilet.

Upon arrival, we were immediately aware that room 101, right beside the outside door, was operating as a full-throttle brothel. Two massive, fat, obnoxious hooker bitches would stagger out into the hall yelling, smoking and stuffing fast food into their mouths, as their equally fat, repulsive pimp would usher in their pathetic clientele, usually a group of drunk, snickering college boys.

Through the paper-thin walls we’d hear the hookers snap "ok you ugly bastards, ten bucks a cock, money on the bed, let’s go!" Then the pimp: "you heard the bitch, money on the bed, assholes!" And back to the hooker responding to a customer inquiry: "Ass fucking? That’s an extra twenty bucks a cock of top of what you paid, so c’mon, money on the bed! Money on the bed, let’s go, money on the bed!" To make matters worse, Ska-T had to keep running back to our room to borrow more money.

Adding extreme insult, the entire hotel STUNK like it had been submerged in a filthy septic tank for years. Heavy duty water damage, mold, decay, and the reek of piss, shit and puke clung to everything… the walls, the floors, the blankets, pillows and towels. By the time we eventually dragged ourselves out of there everyone but Graham was sick as a dog. Thanks Winnipeg, you fucking bitch!

Thu Aug 29, The State, Regina SK

I never thought I’d say this, but we were extremely happy to be heading to Regina. Over the past year or so it seems like a great scene has risen from this one time rock’n’roll ghost town. The rise in action seems mainly thanks to "scene boosters" like our good-guy promoter Rick Velour, a bunch of great new local bands, and their first-ever community radio station. Our last time through we played the launch of that station, and thankfully CJTR is still going strong.

We arrived into town a little early and couldn’t find a swimming hole that wasn’t a bulls eye for the West Nile Disease, but we did find the local Value Village to partake in the latest Smugglers touring game to pass the time and insult your bandmate. Here’s the deal: we make a bee-line for the used book section and then it turns into a lost Conan O’Brien skit. All you gotta do is find a random book with the right title. For instance, Nick will announce that he has found a book all about the final hurdle Ska-T’s dates have to go through before he pops their ass cherry: "The Pulse Test". Then Beez chimes in with a book all about Grant’s dates of the past five years: "Boy Or Girl?" Then it’s time for Ska-T to get one in about Nick’s relationship with his wife: "Power, Sex, And The Great Ape". Then Grant roars back about a book he found all about the chronicles of Ska-T’s many ass-cherry popping conquests: "Let It Bleed", only to have Nick strike at Ska-T again with a book about when Ska-T has finally exhausted all his options for sex, turning to his last resort: "Mother May I?" Beez then gave the final death blow to Ska-T, announcing he had found the book that details the three steps to a perfect Ska-T orgy: "Cows, Cattle And Breeding".

Op-Mkt.jpg (157096 bytes)The show that night was great, with lots of folks showing up to party and dance the Thursday night away. Friends we made last time were there again, including Danny, who was in a special mood because it was also GG Allin’s birthday, and Marlin the ebay guy who was particularly horny because he just received a swath of recent ebay purchases, including a twenty pound bag of "used Motley Crue stage clothes", as well as a stained pair of Joyce DeWitt’s panties, Kim Field’s very large bra, and a blouse from Penelope Cruz (for more on Marlin the ebay guy, please consult our prairie tour diary from Nov 2001 – this guy has so much Hollywood shit that we are trying to convince him to put on a show of his artifacts- maybe he can display at our next gig in ‘Gina-Town).

So thanks very much for the great time, Regina! This one ended perfectly too, with a big back parking lot booze up, just like we used to do in Regina when we were first touring through as teenagers in the VW van. Except back then we got laid all the time.

Fri Aug 30, The Rev, Edmonton AB

Today began early, with surprise, another exhausting, eleven hour haul. By now the weather had started to change, turning the prairies into a glum and grey landscape as far as the eye could see. We’ve always had good shows in Edmonton and we were hoping for much of the same tonight. The "Mint" aspect of the bill grew on this evening, as Tennessee Twin, a rather bleating Vancouver country act, joined the bill for this show. All seemed good, with four Mint bands, lots of press, good posters and a nice, organized club.

One of the articles in the paper talked about how this four band Mint showcase harkened back to the days of the rock’n’roll revue; a show with lots bands playing fast sets, with quick changeovers and plenty of entertainment for the fans.

Looked great in print, too bad it didn’t pan out at the club. I’m not sure what the deal is with some of our labelmates, but the show sadly unraveled into a long, drawn-out mess. By the time we hit the stage at 1:15AM the audience that was still there was totally spent from a wacky, seemingly endless night of deafening punk, country, pop, and us. By our set they had been pummeled almost into submission. Thankfully we still managed to squeeze out a good fuckin party tonight, seeing old friends like Jon Murphy and Amazingly Cute Larry, as well as new friends like all the punks who once again drove all the way from Hinton Alberta. You made the show! Thanks! Next time we’ll be back to rock the Liquid Lounge where we belong.

Sat Aug 31, 12th Street Studios, Kamloops BC

Ever since the Winnipeg hooker hotel we had all been pretty under the weather, and, as routinely documented, had covered an incredible driving distance every day since. By the time we woke up in Edmonton we were all fucked up. Nonetheless, we made it happen, but not before Beez had a triple-carrot-bypass (see Salt Lake City, March 1996). On every night of this tour we had been lucky enough to usually get a few hotel rooms so we could spread our ass cheeks a little. Each morning of the tour we left at around 10AM to head for the next town, usually meeting at the van. This morning was no different, but Beez was in a particularly carroty mood, unable to find any of us, and while feverishly searching, he of course managed to lock himself in the stairwell, unable to get back to his room or to the van. When we eventually found him he was freaking out, pounding, kicking and clawing at the door like a caged animal wearing very thick black glasses. He claimed he had no idea "what the plan was", and was livid "no one" called to tell him.

Beez’s new walkie-talkie nickname for the finality of the tour was now "10AM". He did not appreciate it.

Another lengthy drive back into our beloved BC, but it was another grey day, so we were unable to see the mountain tops, and even though we saw a sickly elk at the side of the road, boredom soon snuck in. At one point, when in a busy line filled with tourists all waiting to drive through Jasper National Park, "10AM" radioed into our car with a special offer for Scuzzy Bear. 10AM and Dazzer were willing to cough up $20 if Scuzz would strip buck naked and run around the minivan twice. Ska-T seriously considered it, and while doing so 10AM and Dazzer upped the offer to $30. Then $40. Then finally $45 to run around the van twice while totally naked. Just as Ska-T started to rip the zipper of his jeans apart from his oily pubes, the line started moving and opportunity was lost.

bananass.jpg (24129 bytes)Besides the odd pressed-ham on banana, the rest of the drive was relatively uneventful and we soon rolled in to the bustling city of Kamloops, excited for our last show of the tour. The last time we played Kamloops was way back in 1995, a totally outrageous show of 400+ kids all going completely apeshit all night. It’s now of course a ridiculous SEVEN YEARS LATER. Why we hadn’t played here again in all that time we have no idea, but here we were back again hoping for the best.

I’m going to just come right out and say it: this was the worst show we have EVER played in our home province. NEVER has the audience EVER been so despondent, so distant, so stoic, so statuesque, so cold, so unforgiving, so quiet, so unnerving. It was an absolute and utter disaster. The show was in a nice and tidy little warehouse video soundstage. A group of kids showed up – not a lot, not 400, but enough to theoretically have a good time. We played a show once in Chattanooga, Tennessee to this same amount of people on a SUNDAY night in a video soundstage just like this one and it was an nude signing.jpg (61657 bytes)awesome dance party. Here in Kamloops, four hours from Vancouver, when we got up and played, the kids stared at us like we were from another planet. Maybe it was the beards, maybe it was the white outfits, maybe it was the seven year lay-off or the intense body odor, but these kids just did NOT eat the beat we were dishing out. We were stunned and furious.

Not only were the kids pulling silent treatment, we were also making a mess of things on stage. At one point Nick’s mic stand slipped down to his waist level, so I did my best to help out by fixing the mic stand mid-song, but it wouldn’t budge. I yanked on it harder and harder, with all my might, and suddenly it gave way, coming up and smacking Nick full force right in the eye socket. Nick fell back, doubled over in pain, I went bright red with guilt and the kids didn’t fucking blink. They were zombified!

We eventually got to our last song and ended the show, in silence, and thankfully got the fuck out of there. We feel bad for the promoter, Matt, from the opening band Mr.Sparkle, a very quiet boy who, like the rest of the crowd, was church-mouse silent by the end of the night. Bizarre! Party? Hello? Dancing? Fun? Yelling? Clapping?

After a final round of rather defeated goodbyes to Operation Makeout and Mark Kleiner, the tour was over. We headed back to our families and our lives and what was left of Vancouver’s amazing summer of 2002. After shows like Kamloops and Winnipeg our dignity was a little beat up, but all we had to do was remember the shows like Nelson, Red Deer, Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina. Thanks for the good times everybody! Until next time!

A special thank you to the excellent, professional,beards.jpg (126103 bytes) friendly and musically delightful bands who came with us on this trip: Operation Makeout, the New Town Animals and the Mark Kleiner Power Trio. It would be our honour to rock again with you soon. Just not too soon.

 

See you in the front row,

Love,

Your Smugglers