The Smugglers' New Year's Eve tour
December 30 1998 - January 3 1999

Wednesday December 30 1998
The Reverb, Toronto ON
w/ Marilyn's Vitamins and Eww You're A Girl And Girls Suck

We had a crazy day of travelling to make this all happen. Left Vancouver at the crack of dawn on a flight bound for Toronto and made it into this gig with the first band already on stage. This was an afternoon all-ages show put on by a Toronto prodigy child named Zach Feldberg. This kid is a mere sixteen years old and has already been putting out his own zine called Ductape for four years, has released a double CD of his favourite bands and interviews from Ductape, and puts on shows for losers like us! The reason this one came around was a result of Zach emailing us to complain, bitch and whine that our New Year's Eve show wasn't all ages (drinking age is 19 in Ontario, so it's not as bad as the States). I shot back an email saying, "Look, you lousy little fucker, you want us to do an all ages show, then put on an all ages show for us," and whattaya know, he did! The show was great even for the bitter Toronto cold outside. Tons of kids, good bands and a good club. We weren't quite crusty enough for some of the punks of the squeegee persuasion in attendance, but we had a great time running on pure adrenalin. Thanks, Zach!

Wednesday December 30 1998
Mindbomb, St. Catharines ON

Yeah, even though we flew out from Vancouver and ALREADY played a show, I double booked us to play another all-ages show two hours down the highway in St. Catharines. Shit-mama, were the other Smugglers hating me on that drive! Ouch. When I dozed off for two seconds, Beez managed to take an exit that sent us on an hour-long detour in the opposite direction, so the guys took it out on me in a series of punches and Smuggler-patented "beer douches." Thanks Beez.

Even though we were dead on our feet, this turned out to be another surprisingly crazy, energized show. Thanks to Yvette from Mint Records East, we had a lot of press for this tour and it really showed with the attendance. This cool little rock'n'roll bar is run by the guys from the band the Sick Boys, and they certainly showed us a boozey good time.

We even ended up staying with lead singer Steve Stumble, who lives in one of those swanky old houses, done up all vintage '50s/'60s style, almost like something out of the Smithsonian. His girlfriend's one rule was don't get ANYTHING on her newly upholstered antique leopard print sofa. Nick's final move of the night? Passing out on said sofa, drunkenly losing his grip on his bottle of red wine, the blood-red vino subsequently spurting all over Nick, and more frightening, all over the Sick Boys' couch! Time to make like a tree, Nick!

Thursday December 31 1998
The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON
w/ the Royal Crowns

Whoa, the big gig, the reason why we're out here in the first place, New Year's Eve 1998, partying into 1999. The test run for Y2K. The night of millenium anticipation without the fear, just the fun. And here we were, celebrating in Canada's most famous rock 'n' roll venue, the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. This is the cross-roads club of the country. It's at this roomy joint, on the corner of Queen and Spadina, where people from all over Canada meet, drink and enjoy. Each time we play the Horseshoe we always run into folks we haven't seen in years, seemingly from every far reaching corner of the country. Tonight was no different, and the fact that it was New Year's Eve made it all the more special.

We decided to stage our New Year's show just like our tenth anniversary show, with all the outfit changes and songs from all the records. The show was a blast, the club sold out early, we had the ol' countdown to '99, and even brought in the New Year with a bizarre medley of "Auld Lang Syne," "Footloose" and "The Authority Song." Just one of those things that made us laugh in practice and ended up on the stage at the midnight hour. So many people wanted to win the kissing contest (no I'm NOT bullshitting) that we ended up having our most winners ever, in a kissing line right across the stage, fourteen people, equal girls and boys, that each Smuggler smooched on the lips. We couldn't believe it, but lots of folks slipped us major tongue!! The last lady in line was a drunk-esque golden girl "of an older generation" (like three - in hindsight, I'm not sure why we attracted a career drinker in her seventies to our show). When she stuck her scarred and liver-like main mouth muscle into mine it was like sucking on an ashtray soaked in rotgut liquor. Eeeeyuck!

After our show Toronto's rockabilly faves the Royal Crowns did a closing set, and, with the hospitality of Horseshoe proprieter Jeff Cohen running at 110%, giving us free run of the bar, the Smugglers got flat-out fucked. Nick quickly earned the nickname of the kissing bandit, earnestly tracking down any male or female who gave him tongue on the kissing line to finish the business. He told one of Beez' ex-girlfriends she could watch while he gave Dave a blowjob! BB.gif (18245 bytes) Beez continued to party with all his ex-girlfriends in attendance, and Graham made out with his girlfriend (who came along in Ska-T's place). Dave had one too many Jaegermeisters and passed out face down on the floor of the Horseshoe VIP lounge, rolled up in our wet, sweaty, stinking stage outfits, and Nick finished his reign of lip-locking terror by slipping in someone's puke, rolling under the pool table and remaining there, snoozing contently in a puddle of someone else's vomit.

Oh, and thanks to the guys from Ductape for sneaking in and selling our merchandise all night!

Friday January 1 1999
Jailhouse Rock, Montreal QC
w/ the Vendettas

Even though it was colder than grandpa's jizzism outside (-30 celsius; for all the Yanks in the crowd that's very fucking cold), we couldn't wait to get back to the party capital of Canada, fantastic Montreal Quebec. A snowstorm that we had heard about on the radio in Toronto was starting to hit, and we just got to the club before the wind really picked up and started whipping the white stuff around. For five guys from mild and wet Vancouver, we were truly starting to freeze our rock-balls off. AA.gif (13137 bytes)

CC.gif (16663 bytes)The show was at the Jailhouse, and once again it was a bit of a homecoming as we saw friends from the Gruesomes, Jerry Jerry, the Kingpins, the Planet Smashers, Local Rabbits and Tricky Woo! Wow, hot rock town! Too bad none of them were playing with us, but it didn't really matter. We were worried about tonight since it was Jan 1, hangover day of the year, but no matter, the FF.gif (18792 bytes)Montrealers were out in force and ready to tie one more on. People came all the way from Moncton New Brunswick and New York City for this one, and of course we saw a bodacious bunch from British Columbia as well.To end the night, even though it was so cold you could barely walk down the street, we all hit a St. Laurent Street bar for more several more pitchers of beer, and then Jerry Jerry and Sasha from Tricky Woo took us all to a late night Polish meat joint for weird snacks.EE.gif (18449 bytes)

Another bonne temps, Montreal! Mercy buckets, baby!

Saturday January 2 1999
Dominion Pub, Ottawa ON
w/ the Stand GT

Word of a massive snowstorm heading into Ontario was on everyone's frostbit lips, most especially Beez, since he had to fly out of Toronto (five hours from Ottawa) at 1:00PM the next day. The forecast was for at least a foot of snow, set to hit at midnight. We waited with baited breath, though most of us quickly forgot about the oncoming shit storm as we were finally at the Dominion Pub, a place that had been after us to play there for years. We arrived at 5:00PM and, after a brisk visit to the National Art Gallery Of Canada, we were back at the Dominion with the complimentary booze already flowin' dangerously fast and furious. Ron and Al, the guys who run the Dominion are meat'n'potatoes'n'rock'n'roll kinda guys, so they prepare a massive venison stew feast (that's deer meat, folks) with all the fixins! An incredible spread.

DD.gif (24031 bytes)Soon the place was packed out, and we saw lots of friends like ol' Pat "The Shanker" Shanks, Tom from Furnaceface, and Squirrel Boy, who was walking kinda funny because he had recently rolled off the roof of a three story building, falling straight down and landing on concrete while asleep! Up on stage, our old pals the Stand GT rocked out with the most intense set we had ever seen them play. In hindsight us Smugglers had too much planned for the cramped, packed and sweaty quarters of the Dominion, because we wanted to repeat the Horseshoe show with all the outfit changes. It was just too damn jammed. The sides of the stage seemed to be the club's impromtu coat check, so our jackets got lost in huge piles of clothes, and basically Beez "had a carrot" (see Salt Lake City Feb 96).

What topped this night off was one particular fucker who took it upon himself to heckle the shit out of us. Everytime we tried to catch our breath, introduce a song, or have a contest, this big, dumb drunk motherfucker at the back (hecklers, being cowards, are always at the back) screamed at us to "SHUT UP" or "FUCK OFF." Then him and his inbred dumb ass fake-punk buddies started up a chant of "STAND GT, STAND GT." When that started, I recalled the Stand once telling me about their some of their "rural" fanbase including many an Ontario Hockey League goon, so I thought we were basically being heckled by some massive ogre defenseman who was just about ready drop the gloves and pound us into a bloody pulp. Beez started yelling back at him, Nick told him to fuck off, and soon a fracas broke out as Chris from the Stand and several of our friends shut him up in a flurry of fists, flying chairs, spilt beers and bleeding noses. This kinda shit is unheard of at our shows, and we were pretty shocked. Suffice to say the rest of the set went off with razor precision, with plenty of positive audience participation.

After the show wrapped up, Nick found the culprit, an absolutely shit-faced, brazen moron who actually runs a record store and does a radio show that has been very supportive of the Smugglers for years! What the fuck!?! He couldn't explain his heckling, and I tell ya, I have never ever seen mild mannered Nick Thomas ever being so close to cleaning someone's clock as I saw that night. Whoo! He was FURIOUS. We calmed Nick down to make sure he didn't slip to this pathetic drunk's level of bullshit, booze and fists, but I will say as a minor disclaimer that the heckler didn't turn out to be all that bad once I talked to him. Even Nick lightened up in the end. Never judge an alchoholic on one erractic episode alone!

Sunday January 3 1999
Home!

After the melee in Ottawa the night before we completely forgot about the snowstorm but sure enough it hit with a vengeance just after 1:00AM, coating the corridor from Detroit to Montreal in two feet of snow in a non-stop twenty four hour blizzard. We left Pat Shanks' lovely Ottawa sex-parlour apartment at 6:00AM, and drove our packed, soar, and grumpy mini van in white-out conditions along the carpeted 401. Thanks to some wreckless driving from Beez we eventually made it to the airport on time. And believe it or not, after several airport delays from what turned out to be the "Storm Of The Century", we all made back home to the Wet Coast in one piece, happy as shit through a goose, and all rocked out.

Thanks to everyone who helped out with a show, publicity, a place to stay or for buying a ticket!

Love, Your Smugglers