Smugglers "Don’t Mess Around With Beez" Ontario Tour 2002
Your Smugglers (Beez, Dave, Graham, Grant, and Nick)
featuring the return of our roadie… the Canadian King Of Ska … DJ Ska-T
When a band has been kicking around as long as the Smugglers have,
sometimes touring to familiar places to see familiar faces is more appealing
than… trying to pop new ass-cherries in unknown territories, if you know
what I mean. Not that we don’t still do that of course, but it was with the
above thoughts in mind that we accepted the invitation by the Horseshoe
Tavern in Toronto to be a part of their "Canadian Music Week" showcases this
year. And of course every time we go out to Ontario we always try to play
other cities we really enjoy, too. Here’s what happened on our latest trek:
Wed Feb 27 02, The Dominion Tavern, Ottawa ON w/ the Glads
in the familiar confines of a mini-van and roaring up the frozen 401 towards
Ottawa, all of us were pretty happy and stoked to be in touring mode again,
our first strip of asphalt since the prairies in November. Tim Hortons, Taco
Bell, the Big Apple – we hit all the important stops on the way to Canada’s
capital city. And a trip to play Ottawa was as timely as it could get for us
– the Canadian Men and Women’s hockey teams had both just whipped the USA
for two Olympic gold medals. The entire country of Canada was in a partying
frenzy, especially in the capital. And here we were… to capitalize!
We arrived on time at the dusty ol’ Dominion Tavern in Ottawa’s Market
district to be greeted by the owners, Ron and Al, who always cook up a big
spread. Last time it was venison stew (like, deer), this time ham hocks! Not
really sure what a hock is but it was pretty damn delicious as usual.
Beez missed the dinner for two reasons. One, he’s a militant bull-dyke
vegetarian, and two, he’s recently been sucked hook line and sinker into
this pop-up advertisement/web site thing called "classmates.com". Sure
enough, Beez saw the flashing ad on his computer screen, immediately clicked
on it, signed up and was suddenly in touch with all sorts of lonely fogies
he went to high school with and hadn’t seen in at least twenty – I mean –
ahem – TEN years or so. And since Beez grew up in Ontario and most of the
losers he went to school with never left the barrens of central Canada, he
arranged a series of Beez reunions at these shows.
Sure enough, off in the least-soiled corner of the Dominion sat Beez,
holding court with several other middle-aged, nervous-looking people of all
fashions, shapes, sizes and baldness. According to these people, Beez was
once a very funny, charming, and handsome person! Huh.
Opening up this show was a new Ottawa rock ‘n’ roll band
the Glads, featuring none other than our ol’ pal Pat "The Shanker" Shanks,
whose many different bands have played with us in Kingston and Ottawa for
years and years and years. The Glads look to be his best effort yet – they
played a set of sizzling selections that made our hearts flutter to follow
Our worries were for naught however, as the full house at the Dominion
welcomed us back very warmly and we had a good, solid, sweaty set. Before
the show we grabbed a few Canadian flags and patches, adding them to our
outfits, so during the performance we waved the Maple Leaf proud and true,
milking Canada’s recent surge of patriotism for all it was worth. The crowd
sucked it up.
While we were rocking away on stage, oblivious to us, a very unlikely
celebrity occurrence went down at the merch booth. DJ Ska-T SWEARS upon all
the countless ass-cherries he’s ever popped, that Moby, yes THEE Moby,
wandered into the club, watched us for awhile, then came over and bought a
Smugglers record!! Ska-T was admittedly slightly skeptical at first,
thinking it could be just another ugly little bald British person, but kept
his ska-vision on him and watched kids come up to him all night, shaking his
hand, hugging him, and taking his picture!! It MUST have been Moby! Even
deeper investigation the next day showed that Moby was indeed in Ontario for
a promotional tour for his new record! It WAS Moby!!!
so thank you! Thank you to Moby, the Dominion and all our friends in Ottawa
for a great night! The trip was more than worthwhile to see friends like the
guys from the Stand GT, Furnace Face, Rhume, the legendary Squirrel Boy and
his new hockey jersey from India, Squirrel Boy’s obnoxious buddy, friends
from Montreal, and a bunch of wild Moncton kids up in the front row.
And yes, the classmates.com crowd hung around, got drunk, stayed awake,
assumed that Beez must be gay now, loved the show!
Thur Feb 28, Call The Office, London ON w/ Milemarker, New Town
London Ontario is one of those cities where we haven’t played since we
did all the touring for Selling The Sizzle. So that means the last time we
rocked this joint was back in August of 1996. Six looonnngg years ago. On
the drive down to London our usually sharp memories proved a little foggy
trying to remember the details of that show… and checking the tour diaries
of old it seemed that the only thing worth mentioning was when some little
stalker man followed Dave throughout the club and then right into the
bathroom. While Dave had his "sausage roll" hanging out of his pants at the
urinal, the stalker slid up beside Dave and went into an animated rant. He
insisted that he HAD TO BE the subject of our song "Especially You", all the
while blowing nauseous cigarette smoke directly onto Dave’s face and exposed
crotch. "Get away from me, you little bitch!" Dave yelled.
Ok, so here’s the bottom line with our return to London: it stiffed
harder than Dave’s sausage roll. Big time. Yup, we can play St. Catherines,
just an hour east of London and pack the joint. Buffalo? Buff-tastic.
Detroit? Deet-rific . London? Fuckin nothing! We returned to the club after
eating dinner (and catching as much as we could of Episode 1, Survivor
Marquesas - awesome) to find the club sitting at about 60 heads at about
10PM. Not so great, especially since half of them seemed to be from
classmates.com. Our memories quickly started to recall why we hadn’t
returned to this town. We had few London fans then and seemingly fewer now!
Nonetheless, we were of course resigned to put on as good a show for the
souls in attendance.
Mint Records label-mates the New Town Animals were also supposed to be
playing the show, but due to some fucked up flight plans (like us, they also
flew out to Toronto to play Canadian Music Week) they called in totally
late, saying they weren’t going to make it to the club til midnight and they
were scheduled to play at 10:30PM!
So the club empty and the bill fucked up, the other opening band took the
stage. Called Milemarker, from Chicago, I guess they were none too happy
about the turn out either, so they totally berated the crowd with insults.
Here’s the deal plain and simple: if some Americans ever wonder why other
nations find them at times arrogant, this band’s stage banter was a PRIME
example. Here they were, in Canada, as our country had metaphorically
hard-cock aplenty, jizzing with pride and patriotism following the Olympics,
and there they stood, calling Canadians "wussies", asking if we even have an
army to defend ourselves, calling us stupid for not carrying guns… the
cliché mountie and border crap… on and on, their whole set, all the usual
ignorant bullshit, and this from a fucking indie-rock band!!! I took it upon
myself to heckle them, something I have never done to a band we’re actually
playing with. In a flash of patriotic rage, I came up with this gem:
"Canadians are the best! Kiss my hairy fat one!"
Funny thing was that before their show the Milemarker people seemed kinda
nice, modest and quiet… huh. A poorly misjudged use of schtick? Still not
Our set was fine, and the kids that were there seemed to mildly enjoy it.
Fuck, even Beez’ classmates.com didn’t stick around. Only one old, old
friend of Beez’ hung tough, a very successful artist that claims it was Beez
who inspired him to become a painter! So now this rich artist guy Steve is
married to a hot chick with great tits, they have two kids, a cool dog, a
mini van and a huge house, and here’s his inspirational mentor, Beez: mired
in Vancouver’s uncircumcised phone sex industry, "living" in East Van, and
STILL playing in his delusional band, tonight in some empty shit-hole club
in Nowheresville, Ontario. Ouch.
A special hey-thanks to Tony, What Wave Dave, Mike from the New Grand,
and PJ from Ruth’s Hat for making it to the show!
Fri Mar 1, the Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON, w/ Robin Black, More
Plastic, Three Minute Miracles
we shook off the doldrums of London and make a beez-line for our home away
from home, the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Every venue in North America
could get SCHOOLED by Jeff and Craig, the guys who run this place. They know
how to treat the bands with CLASS! No fucking around, everything really
organized and pro, great drinks, food, fun, you name it. Top that off with
an always-packed house and there’s just about no better place to play.
Tonight was our official "Canadian Music Week" showcase and there were
several acts on the bill that drew folks from various scenes, so the placed
was jammed up tighter than Dave’s ass after one too many Immodium pills.
After the first few acts, one of the more ‘hyped’ performers of the
festival played right before us, a Toronto band called "Robin Fucking Black
And The Intergalactic Rock Stars", (IRS for short). Wow were they slick, and
sweet holy mary mother of christ were they obnoxious! I mean, Your Smugglers
like the odd fun curse word here and there as much as the next rock band,
but, and we kid you not, this Robin Black guy swore violently at the crowd
EVERY SECOND WORD. Sometimes every SINGLE word. Like "FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK
FUCK FUCK FUCK, MOTHERFUCKER!" They were basically a big loud glam rock
band, complete with pyrotechnics, and feather boas, and graffiti cannons,
and fur coats, and fully exposed, snow white, hairless torsos. Spooky. Gimme
some chest hair or go home! Their one admittedly cool "prop" was their very
own cocktail waitress/bartender behind a little bar, ON STAGE, mixing the
band members drinks. The not so cool aspect, besides the ‘tude-on-ten, was
the constant blasting of a smoke machine (the worst prop in the history of
rock’n’roll), causing the audience to choke on fumes and the fire alarm to
go off constantly throughout their set. Is that fun in anyway or I am just
sounding like someone from classmates.com?
An interesting warm-up act for us nonetheless. Once all the disgusting
smoke and goth chicks had cleared out it left a room full of folks wanting
to have fun and experience a band that didn’t verbally ass rape them between
every song. So yeah-yeah, we had another hallmark Horseshoe show; it is
always such a blast to play the club that really is the crossroads of
Canada. We also pulled a rare move on this show: we did the ol’ full outfit
change between the "main set" and the "encore", going from completely black
to completely white, so if you haven’t seen us do this, the next time we do,
please act shocked, surprised and delighted. Oh! And apparently, according
to Nick this time, Moby was ONCE AGAIN at our show!! Moby at TWO Smugglers
shows in one week! Other celebrity sighting: Judah Bauer from the Jon
Spencer Blues Explosion.
one point in the show I asked "so who here is from classmates.com?", and, NO
JOKE, the responsive roar almost knocked us on our asses. Sure enough,
poorly dressed and dumpy hordes of Beez’ classmates.com collective converged
on the show tonight, getting embarrassingly plastered, re-kindling old high
school flings left and right. Spouses be damned on this night – the Beez-initiated
reunion was officially an out-of-control infidelity-fest. The beer goggles
were firmly in focus, viagra was the "popper" of choice, the condom machine
was working overtime. There was no turning back for these over-the-hill
glory seekers. And we’re not really sure just what it was in Beez’ stage
show that was prompting the kind of reaction he was receiving from these
Grandpa Simpson-like party animals, but once again several of his (very) old
classmates gave him the "so you’re gay now" vibe after the show!!! But Beez
didn’t have anything to prove… as usual about a dozen of his once-hot
ex-girlfriends showed up (or as we call them, Beez’ personal collection of
"ladies from the eighties") and he had PLENTY of good times with them, if
you know what I mean. There was so much sloshed cougar pussy going around
that Ska-T even pulled out his rare ace and did the "hey
Cheryl/Cindy/Suzie/Midge/Tutti/Chrissy! Yeah, that’s right, it’s me, good ol’
Beez! Let’s make out! So listen honey, how’s your ass-cherry after all these
Sat March 2, The Raven, Hamilton ON w/ the Candidates,
Hamilton is only 45 minutes away from Toronto, so we essentially had the
day off driving-wise, but there was plenty to do. Since it was Canadian
Music Week there were all sorts of day time events going on, and we were
invited to compete in a musician’s street hockey game.
The game was in the back parking lot of "The Lofters" TV show, a kinda
Canadian equivalent to "The Real World"- essentially a bunch of eccentric,
egotistic, good-looking, sex-craving, bi-sexual Canadians sharing a loft.
(Should we sue?). Lofters "Donny" and "Heather" were selected to play in the
game with us, where all sorts of bands faced off against each other. The
Smugglers teamed up with our pals the New Town Animals and beat the living,
breathing CRAP out of a team combining a Vancouver shock-rock group called
SHOCORE, and an LA pop band called Love Like Rain. The final score was 10-6
for the Smugs/NTAs, and Nick was selected first star of the game, probably
because he scored about nine of our ten goals. Then again, their goalie was
"Heather The Lofter", who made more saves with her sloppy tits hanging out
of her tank-top than with her goalie stick. None of us had ever seen a
nipple save before. Don’t get me wrong, we’ll take the win, and we’ll also
say that those Lofters, at least Donny and Heather, are real nice people.
Playing a show so close to Toronto is usually not the plan for us, but
since Grant was doing a live broadcast of his CBC radio show between 7PM and
10PM from the Horseshoe in Toronto on Saturday, we didn’t want to miss a
Saturday night gig, so we booked one close. The plan was for the Smugglers
sans Grant to go down to the club early and set up, then Grant would do his
show from 7PM to 10PM and hightail it to Hamilton for a midnight Smugglers
set. Risky. The only question was how to get Grant from Toronto to Hamilton
if the band van was already at the Raven. That quagmire was answered the
night before at the Horseshoe, when owner Jeff Cohen posed a "contest" from
the stage: "listen up everybody! The first person that goes over to the
merch booth and talks to DJ Ska-T RIGHT NOW … WINS the RARE opportunity to
personally chauffeur Smugglers lead singer GRANT LAWRENCE to their show
tomorrow night in Hamilton!!" Amazingly enough there were people who
actually wanted to do it.
enough on the next night, the second I ended the radio show, I met with the
"contest winners", two very good looking young adults who provided a plush
ride down the 401 in a spotless, brand new Volkswagen Jetta. There was even
a bottle of chilled Evian waiting for me in the back seat! Now that is
UPTOWN!!! Thanks very much to the two very handsome and nice people who
performed this service, Shannon and Garret. They love the Hives, the Donnas,
and most importantly, the Smugglers! Had we a bit more time, I think the
situation would have called for a three-way! firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were a little worried to be playing so close to Toronto, but it was
all for naught. None of us realized how huge Hamilton is… 450,000 people!!
That’s bigger than Halifax, Saskatoon, and Regina!! Hamilton’s the Raven is
great little rock ‘n’ roll bar run by fine people. The bar also proudly
recalls Hamilton’s sordid rock’n’roll history, with lots of old posters
plastered on the walls featuring hometowners like the Forgotten Rebels, Dik
Van Dykes and Teenage Head.
And the show was great! Packed house, lots of yelling, sweat and energy.
The opening bands were pretty fun too, although the bassist of one of the
two groups had shall we say way too much to fucking drink, and was going on
and on about his "trip to Van-city, eh". This classic Canadian hoser
couldn’t believe the amount of "fags" we had in beautiful Vancouver, but
then went on to detail how he was front and centre for the Pride Parade,
frequented notorious Vancouver gay bars for kareoke and male stripping, and
spent the rest of his time on Davie Street, Vancouver’s main gay drag. Well
what the hell do you expect, fuckface? Sounds like this guy is silently
SCREAMING for right good ass-fucking. Whattaya say folks?!?
did meet lots of great Hamilton people, including Brodie the promoter, Gord
the Trucker, Bruce the Moleman, and lots of people from local bands. Thanks
also to our friends Megan and Yvette for coming down from Toronto, and to
the very good looking couple of Shannon and Garret for that great, great
drive. You saved the show! Until next time?
And hey, much to Beez’ dismay, not a SINGLE classmates.com-er showed up
tonight!! But then again, after their pathetic debaucheries from the night
before, we’re not surprised than none of them had the shere gall or will
power to show their ruddy mugs tonight.
Thanks again to all who came out to the shows, helped with the tour, and
tipped a jar with us! Tonnes of fun as usual! Until next time…
See you in the front row,