Notes from the Road, Volume 2:
Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian
artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs
and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!
We woke up this morning and made our way to Calgary which is where we are going to spend our two days off. I have a lot of family that live in Calgary, including my aunt Betty who we have stayed with over time when we're in town. It's something I always look forward to. The drive from Regina to Calgary takes about 8 hours through the heart of the prairies. Needless to say after the first hour the scenery becomes a little repetitive.
When I left home on this tour a grabbed a set of keys for my aunt's house that I had forgotten to give back to her after our last tour. This way she wouldn't have to wait up for us. When we rolled into Calgary we dropped a few of the guys off at a hotel and myself and two others went to stay at my aunts. When I got to the front door and tried the key, it didn't work. I tried the other key on the ring and didn't work either. I went around to the back door to see if maybe they would work there and of course they didn't. I walked back to the front door and by this time the other two guys were starting to think that they should've stayed at the hotel. It was just before midnight and we had been on the road for hours and all we wanted to do was get inside and relax. I started knocking on the door… I rang the door bell… I knocked on the door several more times… I tried calling. As it was ringing I remembered how much of a heavy sleeper my aunt is so of course she didn't answer. I was starting to think I might have to find a window to go in when my aunt finally appeared at the door. I said, "I brought the wrong keys" to which she replied " you don't say." Anyway, lucky for me, she seemed to find the entire thing pretty funny. We headed off to bed because we had to be up early the next morning to perform live on a breakfast morning show.
When we arrived at Breakfast Television we had to load in awkwardly through a back door and into the reception area where we waited for another few minutes before we could actually get on set to set up our gear. While we were waiting one of the producers, who had been pacing around for the entire time we were there, said to us "can one of you help us out?" It turns out that before we played they were having a Halloween costume "fashion show" and one of the models hadn't showed up yet. They wanted one of us to dress up as the big bad wolf. We all looked at Jord who is the "new guy" on this tour (he's the fifth touring member playing guitar etc.) to help them out. As soon as he realized that no one else was going to do it he had no problem offering up his assistance. I think it also help that he was going to be wearing a mask so no one would recognize him. As we started setting up the equipment Jord got to walk the runway with Little Red Riding Hood. When he was done we quickly finished setting up and got ready to perform Count On Me from our new record. The entire segment went really well.
By the time we were loading out we were all in need of some coffee. We decided to head to one of our favourite breakfast spots in Calgary, a place called Diner Deluxe. The rest of the day was spent doing a couple phone interviews and relaxing. Some of the other guys went for a hike in the foothills a little outside of Calgary.
Today, we make our way to Black Diamond, Alberta. Never heard of it? Neither had we until a couple of months ago. Turns out there is a really cool coffee house, called The Stop, that has been putting on shows for the last several years. Black Diamond is about 45 minutes south west of Calgary. It's a beautiful little town with a population of about 2200. When we arrived at the venue we were informed that the show was sold out! Which was pretty cool considering we had never played there before. After we set up we headed to the hotel (which is the only hotel in town located above what I'm pretty sure is the only bar in town) were we dropped off our bags and went to the bar to play some pool. They had a Big Buck Hunter Pro arcade game. Anyone who knows me probably knows that I have a weakness for that game. I have never in my life killed another living creature, aside from the odd fly or mosquito and I really have no interest in hunting at all BUT when it comes to shooting virtual deer with a bright orange shotgun for some reason I love it! It's also a game I never see in Toronto bars so when I see it glowing off in the distance of a bar I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame. In fact, I can't think of a single place I could play Big Buck Hunter in Toronto. Needless to say, I spent a good chunk of time playing before we headed back over to the venue.
Everyone who came to the show that night seemed very glad that we were there. They all made us feel very welcome. A bunch of people had seen us before with Blue Rodeo or when we had played Calgary and there were also a few people there that had never seen us before but had heard us CBC so came to check it out. It was a great night. Tuesdays aren't always easy when you're on tour but it's nights like that that make all the long drives from town to town and city to city all worthwhile.
We all woke up a little groggy today. The people of Black Diamond know how to have a good time. We had a short drive ahead of us though because we were playing in Lethbridge. It had been a while since we played in Lethbridge. I think the last time we were here was when we opened for Blue Rodeo. When we arrived at the venue, which is called The Slice, I walked in the front door and immediately sensed something glowing to my right. I turned and it was yet another Big Buck Hunter Pro! I have to say, it's a little weird to admit my love of that game so openly but sometimes on tour it's the little things that make your day. I won't spend anymore time talking about it but it should be said that I played more than a few games. More importantly, today was Francois' birthday! After sound check we went back to the hotel and went to the bar to order Frank a birthday drink. It was AJ's idea to get him a Rumple Bumskin which is a shot of his own invention. It's 1/3 Jägermeister, 1/3 Dark Rum and 1/3 Butter Scotch. It might sound weird but it's actually pretty good. We headed back to the venue in time to see Hooded Fang
play their set which was fantastic as always. When we took the stage the place was pretty packed for a Wednesday. We had a great show and were treated really well. I managed to sneak in one last game of "you know what" before we left.
As we left Lethbridge this morning, we got news that our show that night in Canmore at the Communitea was sold out! That always makes a drive a lot more enjoyable. The Comunnitea is a decent sized cafe during the day and at night they turn it into an awesome venue. Which reminds me, I haven't spent any time discussing how difficult it is to find really good coffee on the road. No offense to Tim Hortons but their coffee just doesn't do it for me and anyone who has driven anywhere in this country could tell you that Tim's is about the only coffee you can find at highway stops. The Communitea is always a highlight because they serve amazing coffee. They use Intelligentsia brand beans and know their stuff when it comes to making an excellent espresso. 4 out of the 6 of us are coffee nerds. Getting a great Americano or espresso makes our day. In most cities we go to we all have a favourite coffee spot - in Canmore it's most definitely the Communitea. Another highlight in Canmore is the Grizzly Paw restaurant and micro brewery. Always a good stop for dinner and a pint.
Early in the day I had received an email, through our website mailing address, from someone who explained that she had purchased tickets to the show that night for her sister and her fiance. She explained that we were one of their favourite bands and that they were in town because they were getting married that coming weekend. She asked if I could maybe surprise them at the show by congratulating them. Of course I replied saying that wouldn't be a problem and we would also dedicate a song to them to boot. I decided that we would dedicate a song of ours called Rocking Chair off our last album called "Way Down Here". It's the closest thing to a "love song" that we have. After the show i spoke to them both and they certainly seemed surprised and very touched by the whole thing. We wish Mike and Jess all the best.
Wayne Petti is one quarter of Cuff The Duke, playing Electric and Acoustic Guitar, Organ, Piano and Lead Vocals. Cuff The Duke just released their latest album, Morning Comes, on Paper Bag Records. The band is currently touring Canada with Hooded Fang.
Cuff The Duke on Tour:
SAT OCT 1 Vankleek Hill, ON Vankleek Hill Fair
TUE OCT 4 Toronto, ON Harry Rosen, 7:30 pm
THU OCT 6 Toronto, ON Soundscapes, 7 pm
WED OCT 19 Sault Ste. Marie, ON Loplop Lounge+
THU OCT 20 Thunder Bay, ON Crocks+
FRI OCT 21 Winnipeg, MB Park Theatre+
SAT OCT 22 Regina, SK The Exchange+
TUE OCT 25 Black Diamond, AB The Stop Coffee House
WED OCT 26 Lethbridge, AB The Slice+
THU OCT 27 Canmore, AB Communitea Cafe+
FRI OCT 28 Calgary, AB Dicken’s Pub+
SAT OCT 29 Nelson, BC The Royal+
TUE NOV 1 Victoria, BC Lucky Bar+
WED NOV 2 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl+
FRI NOV 4 Edmonton, AB The Haven Social Club+
SAT NOV 5 Saskatoon, SK Amigo’s+
WED NOV 9 Hamilton, ON Casbah+
THU NOV 10 Barrie, ON The Mansion+
FRI NOV 11 London, ON Call the Office+
SAT NOV 12 Ottawa, ON Maverick's+
SUN NOV 13 Guelph, ON eBar+
WED NOV 16 Waterloo, ON The Starlight+
THU NOV 17 Peterborough, ON Red Dog+
FRI NOV 18 Kingston, ON Grad Club+
SAT NOV 19 Kingston, ON Grad Club+
FRI NOV 25 Toronto, ON The Horseshoe
SAT NOV 26 Toronto, ON The Horseshoe
+ with Hooded Fang
Cuff the Duke is: Wayne Petti (Vocals, Electric and Acoustic Guitars), Paul Lowman (Bass, Vocals), Francois Turenne (Guitar, Pedal Steel) and A.J. Johnson (Drums).
Music Canada Editor: Have you ever seen Cuff the Duke live? Will you be checking out any of the dates on this tour? Have you ever played Big Buck Hunter Pro?