There's always one person on any trip determined to make every mile more agonizing than the last, by whining and complaining about the beauty of this and the splendor of that and you should really see Mount Rushmore right now because at any moment you could die in a fiery accident or be eaten alive by starving weasels with poor taste in music and footwear and never have the chance again, then you'll be sorry you didn't drive for two hours in the wrong direction up a mountain through a snow storm in the dead of night just to have your fingers freeze solid and snap off in your gloves while you mill around staring into the black nothingness while some well meaning but pathetically gullible tourist fool who deserves to be whacked a few dozen times with a rusty chainsaw and looks a bit like young Chucky Manson in drag (read manager) jumps up and down frothing at the mouth screaming "there it is", the lights, four big dead guys carved in stone!!!" and points at absolutely nothing forcing you to club him where he stands and drag him back to the van where you discuss whether to lock your brakes and slide down the mountain to an almost certain and embarrassing death or to gut the person responsible turn him into a lean to and shelter for the night. On our last tour we decided to take the quickest route possible from Vancouver to Toronto, by driving non stop through the states, taking advantage of cheap cigarettes and gas and the promise of less brutal weather than we thought the prairies would offer us. However....there is a snow storm that lies around all summer just inside the Montana state line, drinking vodka martinis, getting drunk and mean till mid November, just waiting for Canadians in shoddy American made vehicles to cross the border, and then follows you doing its best to kill you all the way to Illinois. We developed a real liking for South Dakota, land of free coffee, unwieldy statues of famous dead people and quaint sayings like "what're you think yer doing you godamned skinny long haired half a sissy radical with a snot rag on your head". We don't think this was meant insultingly. It must be the local way of saying that if you are stupid enough to drive though this weather that fast, you deserve to plummet off a bridge in zero visibility and have nothing to eat but manager tartare for three days and not remember any of it until it gets featured on Code 3. And everyone's got an opinion on the mechanical soundness of the van. We try to book our tours so that we can spend as much time as possible int he van, without changing clothes or stopping to sleep, collecting speeding tickets from ill tempered state troopers and RCMP officers and finding out just how much guitar player you can stuff though the little triangular window in the front door before he loses consciousness. The next time we do this, our agent, ever sensitive to the plight of the touring musician will be joining us in the capacity of chief splatter guard, tied to the front of the van to keep bugs from ruining the paint job. Once back in Canada we worked our way west, playing shows from Ottawa to Victoria, getting sick, drinking tequila and heaping verbal abuse on each other at the slightest sign of weakness. One thing to remember, when you are traveling across the prairies at night, fill up in Swift Current. Its the last gas till Medicine Hat and winter is a bad time to play a rousing game of How-long-can-we-drive-on-empty?" because it only leads to an unpleasant game of "How-long-can-we-sit-in-the-right-lane- of-the-Trans-Canada-before-a-semi-turns-us-into-scrap-metal?" which leads to an even more unpleasant game of "Dental Records!" Since then we've been back in Vancouver, watching Keith's wounds heal, recording our first CD entitled SILVER and filming a video for Push, both to be released during our next cross Canada tour which begins February 2 in Calgary. Thanks to all the people who came to our shows in November and December, especially those who came back after what we did the them in the summer. We'll see you in February.
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