Smugglers / Flashlight Ontario - Quebec Tour 2000
release of the album "Rosie" on February 1, 2000, these are the very first
shows we played promoting and playing a lot of songs from "Rosie", and the
first dates of what will become the "Rosie" world tour. We held a record
release party in Toronto, and played a bunch of other excellent shows with
our good friends from Toronto, Flashlight. Read on to scoop the central
Canadian tourin' dirt!!
Tuesday February 8, 2000: Mind Bomb, St. Catharines ON
As usual we flew into Toronto, on the red eye, which kinda sucks cuz it's
almost IMPOSSIBLE to sleep on a plane as we've found out from our last few
years of being lucky enough to fly all over the place. Anyhow, we lucked out
on the movie and got "The Limey" with Peter Fonda, which was cool... you
just have to try and ignore that it's "edited for air travel".
Anyhow, once in Toronto we crashed at our pal Yvette's place, all except
for me. I was due to make an appearance on a nationally televised Canadian
sports talk show called "Off The Record". The show kinda goes for that
"Politically Incorrect" thing where they get people from all walks of
'celebrity', so on this show they always try to get an athelete, a musician
and an actor/model type. Then the host gets the three guests colourfully
chatting about current sporting news.
So on this day I was the musician type, the athelete was an Olympic
speedskating medalist (but she won silver instead of gold so I can't
remember her name) and a pseudo-model/poor man's Cindy Crawford women with
massive hooters was the third guest.
We got going and we're talking about Tiger Woods, NFL felonies and hockey
and stuff. I then noticed that the show was winding down and I hadn't really
said or done anything to make myself noticed, so as the topic moved onto
Canadian Women's Hockey, JUST TO STIR THE POT, I asked the speedskater
"aren't all the chicks in the Canadian Women's Hockey League lesbians?". The
shit hit the fan. Both these women started FREAKING OUT, dumbfounded that I
would suggest such an ignorant and malicious comment. The host also reacted,
but he was loving it. We broke for commercial and the women were both still
on me (I was sitting between them) and when we came back the model
immediately said "I am REALLY insulted that you said what you said", so,
still "going for it" I replied, "why, are you a lesbo?" to which she gasped
and said "certainly NOT!" so I came right back with "well then are you free
for dinner?" she gasped again and before she could get in another word the
show rolled credits. It was beautiful! The only thing not so beautiful
was the model who wanted to FIGHT ME in the parking lot! The "Off The
Record" staff had to whisk me out into a cab headed back downtown!!
And just to set "The Record" straight, of course I do not think all women
in hockey are militant bull dykes. Duh. I've taken a lot of heat since the
airing of that show, but really, it was said just to provide a lil'
entertainment and get some people riled up. That worked, and the show has
invited me back!
The show that night was down in St. Catharines, as we returned to the
Mind Bomb, a little place where we had a great time about a year ago. This
show was just as fun, with a bizarre opening band doing a sort of surf/avant
guarde/swearing theatre thing, and then Flashlight put on their usual
excellent show, and then we rocked the joint.
A highlight tonight was when we invited audience members up to pull off
some pretty great celebrity impressions between our songs. The stand out,
winning a copy of "Rosie", did a spot-on take on Def Leppard's drummer,
spousal abuse banter and all. More on this guy later.
Wednesday February 9, 2000: Molly McGuire's Ottawa ON
It's always fun to get back to Ottawa, and this time we were finally
playing an all ages show at an unlikely location of a grimy Irish Pub.
Things got off to a good start as we were met upon arrival by two punk girls
who presented us with gifts: a demo tape of their band "7 Inch" and a copy
of the relatively disgusting porn mag "Juggs".
On the wholesome side of things, we had a reunion of sorts at this show.
Way back, eight years ago, the Smugglers were flown out to Ottawa after we
won a Youth Achievement Award for being the "best young band in Canada". On
our flight home to Vancouver we met an excited little kid who talked to us
for the entire length of the flight about our award. At the end of the trip,
even though the kid was only like nine or ten, I gave him a copy of our
first album, a 10" vinyl record called "At Marineland". So, eight years
later, a six foot-plus dude comes up to me and introduces himself as Matt
Sattler, that kid from the plane who I gave the record to!! He still has the
record, and told us it served as his introduction to rock'n'roll and
independent music!! He has since formed his own band called Three
Orange Whips, and they just won the Ontario Ska Wars! Isn't that cool? We
actually had a LASTING and POSITIVE effect on someone! Good to see you
again, Matt! Keep rocking!
The show was a wild dance party from start to finish, and during the
dance contest, several audience members joined us stage to flail around and
shake it to Graham's hot Capital City beat. One kid pulled his pants down to
show the crowd his naked ass, so I helped him out by grabbing a beer bottle
off the stage and ramming it up his asshole. He was none to pleased while
frantically trying to remove the bottle from his cornhole in front of
hundreds of people, but hey, he pulled his pants down!!
All sorts of old friends showed up, including the fabulous Pat "the
Shanker" Shanks and his stoner garage rock buddies, Chris from the Stand GT,
Tom from Furnaceface, famed emo-photographer Shawn "Shutterbug" Scallen, and
the legendary Squirrel Boy, who thankfully has fully recovered from walking
off the roof of a three story building while sleepwalking (see Ottawa Jan
In anticipation of our return to Ottawa, this time Squirrel Boy
apparently went out into the woods with a rifle, shot and killed a deer,
skinned the poor thing, and eventually made us fresh, smoked venison
And speaking of stinky sausage, those girls who gave us the Juggs mag
managed to hang around all night but by this time were pretty much tanked
and lookin' for action. They managed to make it into the
dressing room and were basically engaged in the act of taking off my pants
for me until Tom from Furnaceface leaned in and said "Woah! Are you getting
a hummer, Grant!?!?" What quickly resulted was, as Elvis Costello once sang,
Thursday February 10, 2000: L'Arlequin, Quebec City QU
I don't think I've mentioned that it was pretty snowy and cold this whole
trip, but it suited where we were headed next. For the first time, we were
finally playing Quebec City! And little did we know, when we pulled into
this very European, castle-enclosed town, that we were playing amidst their
winter Carnival festival. All over town were beautiful ice sculptures,
decorations, out door ice rinks, tobaggan runs and ice castles, and a
mascot type thing called Bonhomme, a bizarre sort of Pilsbury Dough Boy
The club we were playing is right on the strip, so once we loaded in,
Nick and I had the pleasure of walking a block from the club, renting a
couple pairs of skates and going for an outdoor skate as the snow fell on
the beautiful old town. You can't get anymore Canadian than that! It was
amazing. After the skate we had a great dinner of authentically French
Canadian crepes, and then... showtime!
It really felt like we were in Europe at this point, since usually
anywhere in Canada we're well known and and people are yelling out lots of
requests and fully into it from start to finish. As this was our first time
here, the crowd held back just a little bit at first but loosened up quickly
and we had a good "party time". I spoke a lot of French on stage and even
got complimented for it afterwards.
What made this night special was a long distance visit from friends from
Moncton, who risked life and limb tackling the treacherous and long winter
drive between New Brunswick and Quebec to make the show. We love Moncton!
The snow kept falling, and as we eventually passed out after a long late
night video dance party at L'Arlequin, we hoped we could make it to Montreal
the next day without incident.
Friday February 11, 2000: The Jailhouse, Montreal QU
Even though it snowed about a foot, eastern Canada deals with snow much
more competantly than back home, so we had some time to enjoy the Carnival
attractions in the daylight. We took in the huge toboggan run right
downtown, which was truly a scene out of a James Bond movie. Old fancy
stone castles, lots of snow, bright holiday music being piped into the
square, and all sorts of bundled up people walking around with skates, skis
and toboggan sleds. At any moment we expected shots to ring out and
007 to fly over our heads wearing one ski and a pole that doubles as a
machine gun. Never happened, but we did manage to line up and take a
thrilling cock-to-ass toboggan ride down a very fast, steep sheet of Quebec
City ice. Mon Dieu! Montreal here we come.
We always maintain that Montreal is the party capital of Canada, hence we
love playing here. The venue had a great crowd early, and since Flashight's
first album came out on Montreal's popular Stomp! Records, this show was a
real Flashlight strong-hold, with the crowd freaking out and surging to
every one of Flashlight's great songs.
They set a high precedent for us to follow, so we came out screaming and
shouting and had another fun night. The dance contest was won by our good
friends Heather and Frank, who had driven all the way up from New York City
for the show! We also saw friends from Tricky Woo, the Planet Smashers and
the Kingpins, and even though it was well below freezing outside, and the
zipper on my fly burst open in the first song from pure rock excitement, it
was another sizzling, sexy night in downtown Montreal.
Saturday February 12, 2000: Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto ON
It's always great to play the Horseshoe, Canada's #1 club. Tonight would
prove to be no different, as this was the first official "Rosie" record
release party and anticipation hung in the air like the stench of Dave's
dirty gonch. It was even rumoured that, as a reaction to our new song
"Danko Jones' Pants", infamous upstart Toronto rocker Danko Jones would be
making an appearance to reclaim his stolen pants!
Flashlight played another great set, and it's been a naughty treat
playing with such an energized, interesting, intelligent and funny band. Get
their album "The Running Season" or go to their web site after you finish
We debuted a new Smugglers "look" tonight: fancy white tuxedo
jackets with our "S" logo embroidered on the chest, along with our usual
rubber boots. Swank for the Dank!
After a flattering introduction from Horseshoe owner Jeff Cohen, we took
off and had another electric night at the 'Shoe. We did some more
audience-celebrity impressions, and the same guy who did the Def Leppard
"skit" in St. Catharines was back, this time dressed to the nines as a
banger, and doing a real off-colour impression of the recently deceased
Jim "Hey Vern" Varney. Flashlight judged the dance contest, and hauled a
bunch of people up on stage to shake it with us. On the last note of the
song I grabbed the girl dancing beside me, dipped her and rammed my tongue
down her throat, attempting to create a scene of impromtu romance, much like
how Bruce Springsteen found his wife so many years ago.
Unfortunately, as I found out later, Matt, the lead singer of Flashlight,
was mortified to witness that I was practically date-raping his GIRLFRIEND
After many post-show apologies, I think they've both forgiven me. They're
a really cute couple! I wish I could have a three-way with them!
Anyhow, back to the show. As rumoured, just as we were wrapping up Our
Show, Mr. Danko Jones not only showed up but stormed on stage, furiously
trying to find the pants we inadvertently stole from him in this very venue
four years ago. By coincidence, I had the very pants on stage, and was
currently holding them up to the crowd when Danko emerged like a rabid
beast. He demanded his
"motherfuckin'" pants back, and when I refused, he grabbed one leg while
I held the other, and in the ensuing tug of war, the pants SPLIT DOWN THE
MIDDLE AND RIPPED IN HALF! NO!! YES!! Danko was so infuriated, he put his
hands to his temples to maintain his cool, grabbed the mic and shrieked
"LET'S JAM!!". By another coincidence, we happened to have an extra guitar
and amp TUNED, PLUGGED IN, MIC'ED and ready to go for the Dank-Man! We tore
through "Danko Jones' Pants" and then kept the "Mango Kid" on stage for
"Kings Of The Party", complete with a 'break-it-down' guitar war between
Dave, Nick and Danko... with Danko's raging licks leaving Dave and Nick in
Throughout the evening the booze was flowing fast 'n' free as the
Horseshoe is a firm believer in treating the entertainment right! Beez dove
in heavily and was completely wasted before we even hit the stage. Toronto
is pretty much Beez' hometown, so after the show Beez held drunken court,
entertaining his old friends, including his sexy girlfriend from - get this
- 1982!!! Seems like Beez had to be reminded a few times that it
wasn't '80's Night', and that he is actually MARRIED to someone ELSE in
VANCOUVER. Everything ended innocently (Beez passed out) and we said a teary
goodbye to Flashlight and the Horseshoe and we were out of there. Besides
being almost mugged enmasse by crackheads near the place we were staying, it
was a perfect night.
Until next time, see you in the front row!