The Spades, what a trip … man! Folk Fest 2018

Currently I am listening to the Miles Davis album, Kind of Blue.  It’s my audio cleanser, it’s what I play when I need to hit the reset button.

I usually do this after an explosion of sound and that’s what happened when my band, The Spades, played our first show in six years Saturday night at The Peterborough Folk Festival.

How do I condense this?  Let me try:

When a band has been your life: There is something I’d like to say about being in a band and then oddly not being in a band. The life that was once wrapped up in this weird sort of travelling show along with everything else (your families, your friends, your kids, your finances, your lifestyle, etc) is no longer. When the days of being on the road come to an end, everything changes in every possible way. It’s the end of a chapter and it’s really and truly heavy.

Rehearsals (2 of them!): What is this “rehearse” you speak of?  It had been six years since the band had played our “final” show. A well oiled machine and a heart reaching farewell show. When the opportunity to play again was on the horizon, The Spades accepted. And we needed to rehearse. Rehearsal #1- We played fairly well but lyrics were a faint whisper from some deep and ancient well and they were not coming back up easily. I tried not to panic. Rehearsal #2- We could play most of the tunes and it was “see ya at the show”.

What is it gonna take?:  I locked myself in my studio the days leading up, turned off the air conditioning and pounded the set out on an acoustic guitar and sang full volume.  I tried to sweat it out … sweat out the studio type guy who sits in a chair for countless hours a day … sweat out the mind … sweat out the fear … sweat out every emotion you could imagine. It’s sort of assumed that because you once did this thing before you can just do it whenever you like, but watch out! Confidence can fade when no one is looking. Slowly, over the course of a few days, the music started to come back to me.

Our dear friend from The Tragically Hip, Gord Sinclair, came to join us for a few songs and seeing his face had me feeling like we really did have the old team back together.

What’s it like inside a show?:  What a strange world we’ve built for ourselves.  What did it feel like to play again?  Like this…

Wide open, empty space.  Out of body/out of mind. Crowd surfing above our family and friends. They carried us. “Gone” in a blissful way.  We could essentially feel that crowd. The show ended with all of the band members children rushing onto the stage for the final bow. So much changes in six years and seeing these kids, many who were too young to remember our past shows, just jump up, dance, sing along and join us arm in arm, was an amazing moment. One I will always remember and hold dear.

The after party:

I guess we kept saying, should we do this? or should we do that? until eventually it was another full rock and roll set at The Twisted Wheel. That crowd sang so loud at points that we essentially backed THEM up! I can’t say when we may return to performance again but it sure was a fun place to visit.  Back to the studio. Off to Kingston to work on several new projects with Mr Sinclair. Long live family, friends and music!