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Thoughts and musings by members of the Arrogant Worms

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Klondike Days in Edmonton 

A bit of a sleep-in after a late night and then we hit the highway for Edmonton and the final stop in our weekend of greedy fun. We played Klondike Days several years ago opening for Alannah Myles. It was something. This time we were in the Molson Canadian Brewhouse with the beer guzzlers and crown and anchor wheels. It was more fun that it should have been. The crowd was great and it seemed as if many of them were even there to see us. From on the stage we could see the Hawaiian Tropic Model Search booth and giant posters of the Dukes of Hazzard movie. Nice. Always good to have a view.
Anyhow, next stop is Canmore after a few days at home.

Calgary Folk Festival - Sunday 

Sunday started off with a pretty serious rain storm so I avoided the festival site for a little while until it stopped. I got there in time to catch a few songs by Danny Michel, Chad Van Gaaelen and No Guff. Then Steve Earle hit the mainstage for the afternoon concert. He brought out the sun and dried up all the rain. We had to run off to stage 5 for our concert. It was fun with many references to German reggae. I don't even know why that was funny. Good times though.
I caught a bit of Al Simmons' show. He had been trash talking us all weekend long and it continued during his show. All in good fun of course. Al is one of the funniest people we know. My one regret of the weekend was not catching any sets by the Weakerthans. I was hoping to see them but it wasn't to be.
The mainstage hosting duties went well again culminating in an astounding closing set by Oscar Lopez. It was a fitting end to a weekend of fantastic music.
The closing party was a hoot too with some great cajun/zydeco music by CJ Chenier and his great band. You haven't lived until you've seen Al Simmons dance. Dancing With the Stars has nothing on him!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Calgary Folk Festival - Saturday 

There's nothing like the freshness of a recently sucked and cleaned porta-potty. It's like spring really. A rebirth. Like the canvas is clear and ready for whatever the artist has to offer. Poetic for sure.
And that was the first sensation on the site of the Calgary Folk Festival on Saturday morning. The site itself is on beautiful Prince's Island Park smack dab in the centre of town. Having the bulk of the day off means that one can wander freely and see stuff. First stop was the workshop stage with Ron Sexsmith, Ron Hynes, Jackie Leven and Instinkt. You gotta be quick if you are going to catch a lot of music so after a while there I moved on to hear some great tunes from The Wailin Jennys, Justin Rutledge and Chad Van Gaalen. A quick return to the hotel for a flushing toilet and a change of clothes. The porta potties had lost their shine by 4:30 in the afternoon.
I got back because we were the mainstage emcees for the evening. It was a great night. We did around 7 songs over the course of the night in between acts. The line-up was great with our favourite Kingstonian Sarah Harmer playing a great site followed by Arrested Development. They blew my mind. I almost barfed from the excitement of seeing them, let alone introducing them. They are as good as ever. It was perhaps the best thing I have ever seen on a folk festival stage in 10 years of doing this.

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival 

Thursday - Early to rise. Gotta get moving. Gotta get to the Falcon Ridge festival. It's a long drive so fire it up. We had heard so many great things about the FRFF from bands and audiences alike and were excited to be there for the first time. Our hotel was very 70s but that was fun too. On the drive into the festival we saw a guy working on his lawn with a weed whacker. It was nothing out of the ordinary until you consider his wardrobe. He was wearing an industrial type welding mask, airport runway ear protection and ... wait for it ... an orange speedo. And that's it. So of course we mention our sighting on the mainstage that evening and heard many twitters from those who had witnessed the same thing. The mainstage set was a lot of fun with many more references to weed whackers. As we were packing up backstage a guy comes around to wish us well. It was SPEEDO GUY. He loved the attention. Thank God because we could have been weed whacked to death. After the music was done for the night we made the long trek back to the hotel for a patio party outstide of Mike's room. We had lawn chairs and gas station snacks and beverages. We also had party mates in Paul and Storm, a great duo who were once part of DaVinci's Notebook. Joining us a little later for fun and frolic were good friends Richard Flohil and Michael Wrycraft. We stayed up too late.
On Friday we had a workshop with Paul and Storm and Modern Man. Please check out both groups if you ever get the chance. We had a blast with them.
Then we had to get in the car and drive back to Toronto so we could fly to Calgary. Some bridge repair on the NYS Thruway made our six hour trip into an eight hour trip but we still made the flight. We arrived in Calgary at about 2:30am eastern, went the hotel and passed out. Night night.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Montana Rules 

Quick computer update... Still gone. Police are "on it." Now the insurance company is "on it." I get a new passport this week. I'll be a citizen again soon.

Montana was hugely great. We didn't fully know what to expect given that we'd never played Montana before. We should have know it would be fun because it's a big land mass with very few people in it. Kinda like Canada. Our first show was in Bozeman which is a college town and a resort town. It has a great bohemian kind of vibe to it and a very active arts scene, mostly thanks to our fine promoter Sam Porter. He puts on a lot of shows and Bozeman is lucky to have him. He put us at the great Emerson Theater in an inspired double bill with Broad Comedy. Broad Comedy is a troupe of seven irreverant women who do gut-busting songs and sketches. We were under the impression that Montana was a fairly conservative type of place but these women blew that notion out of the river. They were awesome. They will be touring this summer and fall and you should see them if you can. It was very satisfying to show up to a new place and have people actually know who we are too. The crowd at Bozeman was loud and fun. We like them. Many thanks to everyone involved. We felt so welcome in your town.

The next day was great as well. We played River Fest in Great Falls. It was the second year for this community festival and it was really good. Our stage was shaded by some camouflage netting and one of the poles gave way in the wind and I was obscured for a little while until it was fixed. I felt like we were being trapped and being made citizens of Montana. Which would be fine with me. I just missed a chance to hear former Presidential candidate and current Democratic Party President Howard Dean speak. He happened to be in town but we just missed him. Rats. I'm sure he was bummed to miss our show too. Yeah, likely not. We did three sets once the roof was raised again. We had kids dancing in front of the stage and one kid even took the cow song too far and started eating grass. We were sure that the Parks and Rec crew were happy to have the help mowing the lawn. Good times.

Thanks to everyone who found us this weekend. People made some long drives from Idaho, Utah, Alberta and Washington to catch the shows and we certainly appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Scumbag! 

About 30 minutes after the post about the fun times in Ottawa, my mood changed. I was checking out at the Travelodge West (Carling and Kirkwood) and my computer was stolen from the lobby. My back was turned for about 5 seconds and someone split with it. A hotel staffer thought they saw someone walking quickly in one direction so many people gave chase but saw nothing. I'm sure by this time the scumface thief and my computer were in a car and long gone. That bag had a lot of stuff in it. My computer was only about a month old and I'm sure it's now been wiped clean and sold for parts. My electronic organizer was in there along with some U.S. cash for our trip to Vermont. A folder of all of my song lyrics and notes was also in the bag along with MY PASSPORT! And also that fun little movie that I wrote of in my Ottawa post. Son of a ...

So what a great start to a Friday. We were looking forward to a leisurely drive to Orillia but all that was ruined. I had to phone the police and report everything and then look at the security tapes for a while. Not much conclusive there. Because stealing a passport is an international crime, I had to actually go to a police station to add it to the report. I'm pretty sure that steam was coming out of my ears. So, if you happen to be in any Ottawa pawn shops in the next while, my computer is a silver HP ze2020. If you see it, call the police. My passport and papers and such have likely been dumped by now which upsets me just as much as losing my computer. I just hope the dirtbag isn't recording those songs before we get to.

Anyway, that's the story. I know that it's only a computer but it was my computer. And no one was hurt. Yet. And I'm not saying it's a bad hotel, but don't set anything valuable down even for a second. The dink(s) who took my stuff obviously had been watching it for a while and knew what they were doing.

We eventually made it to Mariposa and had a fun weekend there. The mainstage was moved to the beer tent on Friday night because of a huge rainstorm in the afternoon. It was cramped but fun. The always delightful Sarah Harmer was the headliner. The sun came out on Saturday and Sunday and the sting of my recent violation was wearing off slightly. We had some fun times catching up with old friends and making some new ones. We hosted the mainstage on Saturday night and got to introduce Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. That was fun.

On Sunday we made our way to Kingston as a stopover for Vermont. We had a great dinner at the Brew Pub, which is one of our favourite places in the world. Have the wings. You won't be sorry.

On Monday we continued on to Vermont and thanks to some quick work by our amazing office manager and the musicians union, I was able to cross the border without my passport and work permit. I should be fine for Montana too but I'm going to the passport office today to try and get my new one issued as quickly as possible. The gig in Vermont was fun once again. Canada should really consider taking over Vermont. It's really nice there. They seem like they'd come peacefully too which would help quite a bit.

So the weekend's shows were a lot of fun. The weekend just started out on a crappy note. Not much I can do about it all. I put my confidence in the Ottawa police and hope for the best. I hope I don't meet the pile of poo that took my stuff. I may not have nice things to say.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ottawa, July 7th 

The nation’s capital. The seat of power. Across the river from Hull. Love this town. We had a fun show last night as a fundraiser for the Hahnemann Trust which funds a holistic health centre. There is a link in the tour dates section of our website if you want to know more about this cool place. There were plenty of healthcare professionals in the house last night so it seemed like a good time to debut a new song about Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I’m pretty sure it went over well. This was our second year in a row being booked by them and we had a ball once again. Thanks to everyone who came and to all who made it happen.

After the show we were given a DVD with some movie trailers on it. I just finished watching them and they are hilarious. Some very creative and clever folks have been making a movie called The Quest for Worms and it looks like it will be bigger than Fantastic Four. There is more information about the movie at this website. We can’t wait to see the finished product. We are once again humbled at the creativity and talent of our fans.

So we’re off to Mariposa this weekend. It will be odd to stay in the same hotel for two nights in a row. You know what that means? We get to use the drawers in the hotel room. That’s a big thrill when we get to unpack our suitcase and put some clothes in the drawers and closet. Yes, our lives are THAT exciting.

Later.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Peterborough 

This town rocks. Like hard. They tell us that about 6000 people were in the park tonight and we all had a good time. We inhaled a lot of bugs when the lights went on but they were darn tasty. A little more spicy than you'd think. I wonder how many bugs Kalan Porter ate last week. He looks hungry. I hope he had some. The fireworks after the show were pretty great too. Good times all around. Our first ever show in this town was only a couple months ago. We can't wait to overplay the town and have people get really sick of us. That would be sweet.

Ottawa tomorrow. I hope we can go skating on the canal.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Gananoque 

It’s always nice to come home again. Or at least just down the road from home. We had a great time in Gananoque last night at the fantastic 1000 Islands Playhouse. Lots of friends and family in the house made it a special night. We were playing on the set of the current musical that is in the theatre called Dads II. There was a staircase, a few baby cribs and some giant toy blocks. Like we need more distractions during a show. We had fun on the set. The new songs are going over very well so we’re getting even more excited about the next album. Before the show we were serenaded by an a capella chorus who sing at various functions in the greater Gananoque area. They sang us a great version of I Am Cow that totally blew us away. It sounded so great. We almost became emotional. Our thanks to Melodia Monday for the great honour.

All of that makes up for the fact that we weren’t invited to Live 8. We would have at least shown up in person and not via satellite. At least Motley Crue was there. I hope we run into them at a few folk festivals this summer.

Peterborough is next. Then Ottawa. Then Mariposa. Then Vermont. Bring it on!

Check www.arrogant-worms.com for tour date info. See you soon.

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