Severely BLOTTO – On the Road with Caribou and Exclaim!

How do you tour a broken heart? Oh, yeah, with support from Cariboo Beer and Exclaim Magazine and your best friend, Make Money Miles, and a sexy minivan, and a ton of brand new hot off the shelf merchandise, and best of all, a brand new album to share with your home and native land. Blotto, my first solo record since 2008, is the sum of my love of Experience, at all costs, especially if it rips your brain and heart and soul to shreds. Shreds i can sew back into a killer jacket, which i can then use to get laid and score drugs. And so on.

This tour life is a strange one, and i’m a decade deep into its crevices. Its a lonely, debauched, amazing gift of a life. Where people like you a lot before they even meet you. Where women, drink, clothes, opportunities, drugs and bad choices are all waiting for you. Also so is regret, guilt, poverty, emptiness and the disillusion of ideals held. Its a true example of free will. The road is not for everyone. It may not even be for me. But under the right conditions, I still fucking love it.

I’ve never had a free ride. I work my ass off to personally book, headline, finance, manage, drive, sell merch, do press, and admin all the dirty work that makes a tour possible. When we get to wherever the show is, you’ll see me there, usually early, drinking with the locals, making friends and signing ANYTHING people ask me to. And though im not rich and famous (i’m definitely neither), there is an element of awe that you can create by being both a great performer and a good person at the same time. There are perks. Im from Nova Scotia, so you can bet your ass that wherever I go, i’m getting free drinks.

First shows were in the US of Eh in the Pacific Northwest. Portland, my current home, was the jump off and the home town was all over us like a new bukkake movie. Everybody came. Right? Was super fun and good. Boise, Sun Valley, Seattle and Spokane, on consecutive nights and then wham, border time.

Crossed the border IN Metaline Falls / Nelway and had a pleasant, hour-long paperwork session with a friendly border guard, who could not believe how well prepared we were with our customs paperwork. Practice makes perfect.  I called in advance to get it all right, as crossing borders is something i have to do like a pro.

First show was in Nelson, BC, the Vietnam Draft Dodger HQ, so it is no surprise that there are hippies and there are also great vibes. My friends at the Spiritbar are always serving up a good time. Before the show, the prequel was a huge ping pong tournament that i end up missing and was pissed about for the rest of the night. The show goes down without a hitch, with the cute bartenders and their great pours, nobody is mad at anything. Crowds dance and go crazy. Show ends. I am Rap King. Lights turn on, and the Ping Pong Table comes back out, and i decimate all challengers and staff alike. I am Ping Pong King.

The next day, we wake, and after driving for 8 hours on white-knuckle roads through stormy Canadian Winter in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, we reach Kelowna, where we meet up with close friend, and fellow Camobear sexpot   Evil Ebenezer. He is with both Stuey Kubrick and   Factor Chandelier, and there is no doubt – the gods are in the building. We rip Kelowna several new ones, each of was still leaking when we left. Yuuuuuuuuck.

The Saturday show is at the Northern Bar in Fernie, and there is another full day of terrifying mountain driving ahead. Driving through the mountains on any road is dangerous, but on the backroads and mountain passes we drove, during blizzards with icy roads and blowing winds, in a rental minivan without windshield wiper fluid and on summer tires, was nothing short of life-shortening. Nauseously, we arrive in Fernie just as all the Ski Hill Staff has been hired, the tourists have yet to arrive and the spirits are all kinds of high. We get high-altitude drunk and there are definitely multiple cases of flashing, involving winter hats and stickers on nipples. I believe Fernie calls that ‘celebrating’.

Couple days off in Calgary to do laundry, recoup and play basketball in an indoor gym. Feels good to move around and be human again. Shows in Calgary and Edmonton back to back and they go off. The Wunderbar, in Edmonton, which is owned by a Nova Scotian, is slow at first then pops off like a surprise Macklemore show, as we break the crowd down, and build them back up and collectively, as one, ‘celebrate’ our shared heritage. Drink drink woop!

For the next 3 days, we are slated for daily 8 hour drives through terrible secondary mountain roads in totes shitty winter weather. I take the wheel for the first hours of Alberta foothills into BC mountains. And of course, thats when I personally plow through a full grown deer (pause…) with a vicious hip check (with the minivan), at around 30 km/h (115 mph). I did this cause the deer is stupid and he/she probably should die.  I was clearly honking at the deer in my noisy deathmobile when It/she decided to make a last minute leap into my path. He/it had the temerity to look me in my fucking face, and then just jump his stupid ass right into my driver side front bumper. I slowed down as best i could, on an icy winter road, kept the car ramrod straight, and hammered him/she square in its dirty little hips, and forced it through the other lane in a spinning mass of legs and shitty deerness. When it stopped spinning on the shoulder, it stood up, shook itself off, looked me in my fucking face, again, and in three quick bounds, leapt over the bushes, off into the wild, alive and well (ish). We checked the van and it was totally fine. No dent, No problem.

Anyone who knows geography and/or google maps, knows the drive from Edmonton to Revelstoke to Lethbridge to Saskatoon is gonna be the suck. Guess what. 100% right. Sucking was what that drive does everyday at the bustop. Just giving out free sucks. Anyways. So the best thing about these drives are that my partner in crime, Miles Rubin, Attorney in-laws and Social Worker, is back in the mix and is killing these drives. He does the day shift, usually 5-6 hours of the 8 hour drives.  I drive when the sun sets, which is early. The shows are a blur of driving, and snow falling, and sleeping in really nice hotels. For whatever reason, everywhere we stayed was a dope boutique hotel. Food everywhere is excellent. No complaints about anything. Shows are great, but then that’s never really been the problem.

Both the pants and the set are getting tighter. Very tight. Especially now that i’m eating donuts and pastries more frequently. My workout game has gone to Tim Hortons and doesn’t want to leave. The final leg of the drive is through a blizzard where literally nobody is on the road, i’m rarely sure where the road is, and for sure, things are not feeling safe. We arrive finally about an hour before we’re supposed to go on, in Saskatoon, which is probably one of my favorite places to play, on earth (Google Earth). The energy is all kinds of good now that i’m no longer in the death van. The crowd response is phenomenal, bringing back all kinds of good memories and making new ones. This is an excellent town full of funny, nice people. We do the house party scene and make friends and yell a lot. Sort of reminds me of a Prairie version of Halifax.

The next day, we watch the hometown CFL’s Roughriders take out the favored Stampeders in the semi-finals, and the locals in Saskatoon, already prone to afternoon cocktails, are going full tilt and we celebrate with our Tooners, and things escalate quickly. We head to   Saboroso’s Brazilian Steak House. Drinks are served, and some are on Fire. We are served 17 kinds of brazilian meat, that is sliced and placed on our table until we hit ‘meat coma’ status. Incredible. Best times. Time to leave before we are no longer able to.

Its the final haul. A straight drive from Saskatoon to Vancouver before the next show several days away. So lets just do it. Stop on the way in Calgary for friendship and watching the Trailblazers on my buddy’s League Pass. Gotta stay close to the shining fortune of my adopted favorite team, the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, via satellite and the internet as necessary. The Blazers are killing em so far this year and it makes me very happy inside my body, in one of my organs. Its like a shiny light in a weird dark room, that some people call ‘hope’. Sports does that for me when real life doesn’t. Drama in sports seems so much realer, and more evoking than the indie foreign movies and dark documentaries that i usually prefer.

Anyhoo, the drive sucks, its many thousands of KILOmeters, there is much skidding and terrified driving as the windshield wiper fluid is full frozen in the -25C (-232F) whipping winds, and trucks are splashing salt and shitty brown snow on everything. It really sucks. It takes 3 days to get from Calgary to Vancouver, but we arrive in Vancity like conquistadors with blankets full of very small pox. People are very happy to see us, we do a ton of press, blogs and interviews over the two days before the show. Huge support from the former hometown, and the show goes off with all the usual cast of hobos and never-do-wells making an appearance, as if nothing has changed since 2003. We celebrate. After the show, I sneak out the side door and go see my bass player’s girlfriend win The Peak Performance radio contest, which gives them $102,700 in prize money. Me and my bass player both tell her how lucky it is that we are ALL rich now. We drink all her prize money and leave her destitute at the bar. But she’s wearing a very nice dress, and we both tell her that, as we exit.

Final show on this leg of the tour is in Whitehorse, Yukon, and it requires us to ditch the DeathWagon and jump in a bumpy 8-seater DeathPlane, which makes us all kinds of terrified, but then that is the state we live in these days. The show is sold out several weeks before we get there, and this will clearly be the culmination of joy and up north hospitality we have enjoyed muchly in the past. This is my 4th time in Whitehorse, and it fits with my motto of going places other artists don’t go, and making it my new hometown. The Whitehorsians know me from Buck Up Princess and Midriff Music, old albums that are considered Canadian Rap Classics, so everytime a song comes on from one of those records, the kids lose their minds. There is multiple encores, forbidden dancing to 90s R&B, and late night parties that only stop when its time to eat guilty McRibs at 5 in the morning. Apologies to my belly, but this is the best McRib i’ve ever eaten.  I love this country so much, but especially its Western half, because the Wild West is still wonderfully wild, open and full of magic. Thanks to all my sponsors (both business and drinking wise) and to all the great fans, venues and opening acts who made this Blotto tour the highlight of my last couple of years. Cheers!