Even though I’ve spent my fair share of time in packed vans and cars driving to shows through snow and ice and overheated engines and speed-traps…I still love to read about other people’s experiences on the road. Throw in a healthy dose of frizzy hair and bell-bottoms and I’m hooked.
I stumbled across this gem of a story while watching talkingheads dissect the South Carolina GOP debates and thank God for it. Author Craig Morrison gives a hilarious and detailed account of his “jazz-rock show band’s” trek across Canada in 1974. This isn’t The Song Remains the Same, gang. This is the real story of a real working band scraping by to play shows in the Great White North. The groupies are few and the flatulence is many.
How can you not love details like this:
In the middle of the night after our farewell hometown gig at the Empress Hotel we spent four hours determining the most efficient way to pack the Hammond B-3 organ, Leslie speaker, two PA systems (one for vocals and one for the horn section), an upright bass (not for stage, just for practicing), guitars, amps, horns, drums (in cases), stage clothes, and a hot plate and a cooking pot. When we first unloaded, we drew a two-level diagram to make sure we could get it all back in. We also had two bicycles on a rack at the front of the van.
That, my friends, is what it’s really like to be on the road without tour support and/or roadies.
Read the whole story, which is an an edited version published in Goldmine magazine in 1994 as “Wild Times On Tour in Canada”