“With a so-so poem you say, ‘Yes that expresses exactly how I feel,’ but with great poetry, thrilling poetry, you say, ‘I never knew I felt like that’.”
– Philip Guston
from “A Sweeper-Up After Artists: a memoir,” (Thames & Hudson: 2003), by Irving Sandler, pg. 62.
Heading south from Montreal to New York City. The first half of the Vandermark 5, North Ameican tour for the “Color Of Memory” has gone incredibly well, averaging about 150 people a show, with great receptance everywhere- almost too good to be true. Strange to play Chicago within a tour, we usually start off from there, and it was odd to drive 7 hours, load in, play a concert, load out, get some sleep, and then drive to the next city just like we would on any other stop on the road, but have it be from home.
Of course when things go well something’s got to go wrong. Usually, getting across the Canadian border is, at best, time consuming and, at worst, a complete pain in the ass (the potential to pay duty on any merchandise, customs officials searching your vehicle, reams of bureacratic paperwork, etc.). Dave Rempis, who has been doing almost all of the driving, was at the wheel when we hit the border. He handed the Canadian customs official our passports, answered about two questions, and was waved straight through. The car was completely silent for about 30 seconds, then we exploded with cheers for Dave’s mastery of the Vulcan mind-meld. We should have known that this meant there was going to be trouble down the line, and we didn’t have to wait long to find out what it was.
Though we got to Toronto at around 3pm, we couldn’t set up until 9pm because another concert was happening at the venue, a performance by a church choir. So the band killed time downtown and relaxed. When we started to set up Tim began to look panicked, he couldn’t find his cymbals anywhere. Losing them would be worse than losing an entire drum set, they’re more than just expensive, they’re irreplaceable. After making some calls it turned out that he had left them in his motel room when packing up that morning before heading to Canada. A nice little place outside of Detroit called the Knights Inn. I think we were the only people staying there that were actually trying to sleep; the other rooms were occupied with some of the loudest and most clumsy people having sex I’ve ever heard.
© 2019 Ken Vandermark – musician & composer | Disclaimer