Just before the tour, a friend of mine taught me a new metaphor:
Ducks glide gracefully across ponds. There is such ease to their movement that it barely creates a wake. But rarely do people think about the ducks feet. Just below the calm water, they are moving frantically, propelling the duck so it can get where it needs to go.
Speaking frankly, I’ve never identified with a duck, and neither have my friends, but something about this idea really resonated with me. It feels like more often than not, people perceive bands through their onstage presence under the spotlight or through an Instagram filter the next day. While that’s not a bad thing, (please keep going to shows and following everyone’s progress through social media), most of the time we are just duck feet, peddling tirelessly and thanklessly under the surface. Well, duck feet with great hair.
Waterfowl analogies aside, this last run of shows took us from:
- Burnstown Ontario to New York City.
- An 80 person capacity bar to the K-Rock Centre with The Glorious Sons
- T-shirt weather in Canada to a show that was canceled because of ‘dangerous weather’ in Philadelphia.
It was one of the wildest tours to date because every day presented fresh adversity. But as ducks feet do, we kept pushing on against the current. This is not a ‘woe is me’ post by any means - the shows were so much fun and we had the opportunity to connect with so many people. This was just the first tour in a long time where the unexpected happened more often than not. So as always, I’ll leave a brief note about a few shows.
K-Rock Centre (Kingston) – Surreal experience. Being on that stage meant a lot to all of us and it was truly wonderful to share it with such a hardworking, creative and supportive group. We learned to be the band we are today by playing every spot with beer and electricity in downtown Kingston – much like The Glorious Sons. We really appreciate that they felt it appropriate to have us on that bill and we owe them and their team many rounds of drinks when they get back home.
The Mercury Lounge (NYC) - The day started in middle Manhattan where we were lucky enough to do an interview at Madison Square Gardens with ‘The Gunz Show’. Being 5 guys with no sleep, we felt a bit out of our depths, but it was a fun interview and we got to play some acoustic songs. During this time our tour manager/sound engineer Brent had been sitting in the van out front of the interview, and being the environmentally conscious young man he is, he turned off the car. If you sit in a car with the engine off and all of the lights on for a little while… it dies. So, while we were discussing the Canadian Curling Team on the radio, Brent was acting like a true duck’s foot by finding us a new battery in a nearby beaver dam. We made it to the venue just in time.
I had especially been looking forward to this show because I love The Strokes and this is where they cut their teeth. The venue’s main booker actually quit his job to be their first manager in 2000. The show was great and the party after went late into the night with our pals in Vista Kicks.
Kung Fu Necktie/The Fire (Philadelphia) – As I briefly mentioned earlier, there was a crazy storm during this time in the northeast states and we had been in the heart of it for most of the tour. We had been in Philly for a few hours (had the cheesesteak, etc) and were at the venue when we found out the show had been canceled because of the weather. Being Canadians, we weren’t intimidated. So in our van, full of stinking ducks feet at the end of a tour, we called up the only other venue we knew in Philly and booked a show - 5 hours before we played! As a band we have never canceled a show (even when some members get on trains going to Montreal instead of Toronto….) so I am glad to say that we kept our streak going.
It feels good to unpack some of the roses and thorns of the tour. We are going to continue to glide through the pond with the illusion of effortlessness because of our strong team of feet – including the band and the unsung hero’s of Mike, Aviva, Jack, Brent, Luke, Phil, Albert, Kate, Ally, Brett and Taylor Simon.
So next time you see someone succeeding, think about what’s peddling beneath the surface.