Here´s the new letter from our Canadian friend Geoff Berner. His new album "Klezmer Mongrels" is out in Europe, it has just been released in Canada and will be released in Scandinavia though CCAP by the end of march. Geoff Berner will be performing at Cementen here in Stavanger 2. April
Happy January. Yesterday, January 27th, was the official release date in Canada for my new album, "Klezmer Mongrels", on Jericho Beach Records. Hooray! Here's a featured rave review in Exclaim! magazine, Canada's music bible.
The Main Thing for me right now is a big tour of Canada, "from soup to nuts", as they say, playing in each of the 10 provinces, through February and March.
In honour of the upcoming tour, I've included below a brief list of helpful tips for musicians planning to tour in Canada. Even if you're not from Canada, or planning to tour Canada, I hope you'll find it both instructive and illuminating.
1. Canada is very, very big. Not as big as Space, but close. No matter how much you prepare yourself for, say, the distance between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, you will still be surprised by how far it is. Not just the first time, but every time. People in Holland or Victoria, BC will say "That is very far away" when they actually mean a distance that is less than the diameter of the city of Calgary. Come to think of it, the entire length of Holland is less than the diameter of the city of Calgary.
The result of this is that, especially traveling on the Canadian prairies, you will, sooner or later, be overcome by a paralyzing sense of melancholy. A kind of Melancholy Xtreme, you would call it, if you were in advertising. This is the kind of feeling experienced by the German tank crews as they rolled across the steppes of Russia, at first elated by the speed of their progress, then slowly unmanned by the sense of their individual insignifcance in the vast landscape. The final stage of this is the growing, overwhelming belief that you and your band may have in fact already died in a horrible crash, and that your ghostly shades are now doomed to drive the infinite highway, with no hope of rest, until the End of Time.
So keep an eye out for that problem.
2. Detailed, itemized comprehensive budgets are an absolute MUST to never, ever do. Don't give in to the temptation to add up all the costs, such as gas, regular people food, beer, food for the drummer, the inevitable transmission replacement on the poor, beleaguered vehicle that was just minding its own business, ferrying you to band practice and back, but which is now forced to carry tube amps up and down the Rockie Mountains.. DO NOT compare such costs against projected revenue. The end result of this confrontation with reality will inevitably be a stunned head-shake, followed by cancellation of the tour. An essential rule of being a Canadian Touring Musician is: Ignore Reality, and Worry About That Later.
3. The most important thing to plan on a Canadian tour is how to keep your feet warm and dry. Problems arise on every tour. These problems can be overcome, with some combination of ingenuity, charm, money, refusing-to-give-a-fuck, and ambulances. But every problem's surmountability is inversely proportional to the sogginess or frostbittenness of your toes. Wet feet will rob you of your ability to get along with your bandmates, the audience, the venue staff. Wet feet will rob you of your very mind, that which makes you who you are. They will steal your soul.
4. Speaking of soul-stealers, avoid the Tim Horton's fast food chain whenever possible. Apart from the fact that everybody knows that the coffee is full of nicotine, there's a more important reason: because they are everywhere. They have them where you start the tour, they have them where you'll be playing, they have them on every single street corner in the City of Hamilton, as mandated by a 2002 civic bylaw. The creeping sameness of Canadian life needs to be fought, not out of some high self-righteous impulse to strengthen the nation, but for the sake of your own personal sanity, Canada Touring Musician. In a short time, the sameness will drive you mad, until you are seized with a howling need to drive the van through the plate glass window and drown the retirees in the garden vegetable soup. That need never goes away.
What it comes down to is that eating at Tim Horton's on the road will soon make you feel like you are at work, not on a grand adventure into the unknown. What's fun about that? Instead, eat at weird places that have all the apostrophes and quotation marks in the wrong "place" on the signs and menu's. Eat the special. Chat up the waitress. Find out about where you are, and how it's different from where you're from. Otherwise, you'll struggle to keep your head above the the bland sameness.
Also, 5. Don't play Red Deer. No earthly good can come of it.
Alright, the tour dates are below, but just as a P.S.:
My year begins with my first piece of theatre. It's a 20 minute musical, happening in Vancouver, as part of the pUSH festival, this week. It's called "Distant 2nd: the Steve Fonyo Story". It's a CanRock Musical about the other guy who ran across Canada on one leg. I know that you non-Canadians think I'm making that up. But then, you thought that when I described poutine to you. Check the pUSH festival website for details.
Okay, here are the dates. If you're Canadian, odds are, I'm on my way to your town. Scandinavian (and Irish) shows for April will be up next month.
ONTARIO and MONTREAL, with Forest City Lovers
Feb. 5 - Guelph, ON - Ebar
Feb. 6 - Toronto, ON - Tranzac Saturday, Feb. 7 - Peterborough, ON - Spill Cafe
Feb. 8 - Waterloo - The Starlight (this was changed from the 9th)
Tues., Feb. 10 - Hamilton, ON - The Casbah
Feb. 11 - London, ON - London Music Club
Feb. 12 - Kingston, ON - The Artel
Fri., Feb. 13 - Wakefield, PQ - Black Sheep
Feb. 14 - Montreal, PQ - Casa Del Popolo
EAST COAST. VARIOUS ARTISTS OPENING:
Feb. 17 - Charlottetown, PEI - Baba's, with "Story." opening
Feb. 18 - Sackville, NB - Strutz Gallery, the john wayne cover band opening.
Feb. 19 - St. John NB - The Blue Olive, with Karen Palmer opening.
Feb. 21 - St. John's, Newfoundland - The Ship, with The Pathological Lovers
Feb. 25 - Victoria, BC - The Royal Theatre, opening for Hawksley Workman Friday, Feb. 27 - Vancouver - Biltmore Cabaret, CD RELEASE PARTY! with Whip of the U.F.O. opening and Joey Only Outlaw Band closing.
Feb. 28 - Calgary, AB - Mac Hall, opening for Hawksley Workman PRAIRIES. DOUBLE BILL WITH BOB WISEMAN
March 12 - Saskatoon - Lydia's
March 13 - Regina - The Exchange.
March 14 - Winnipeg, MB - The WECC
March 16 - Bruno, SK - All Citizens
March 18 - Twin Butte, AB - The General Store
March 19 - Lethbridge AB - The Slice
March 20 - Calgary - The Ironwood
March 21 - Edmonton - Artspace.
March 26 - Saltspring Island - Mahon Hall, with Ora Cogan
March 27 - Victoria, BC - Logan's, with Hank & Lily
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A quick update on what is going on with CCAP these days.
This spring we are releasing new albums by Sebastian Waldejer (May), Helldorado (March) and Rub A Dubs (May/June) Sebastian is working in the studio right now to finish the recordings for his debut album. Helldorado have finished the recordings for their fourth release. The album is being mastered by Barry Diament. Rub A Dubs are also in the final stage of recording their new album.
Jackman have just releases a new movie, Jernanger, which have received great reviews and which contains some great music by Jackman himself. Jackman released a great EP followed by an equally great album on CCAP a couple of years back. Well worth checking out if your into surf/garagerock/gypsy/punk/funk/jazz (and who isnt?)
We are also applying for funding for a new POP08 project (named "POP09" obviously)
We are also in the process of restructuring the label. We are planning to add two sub-labels each with their own speciality and we are adding a couple of great managers to the label to work these sub labels. We will tell you more as soon as we have decided on all the details...