A Tribute to "Van Halen"
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!
Sunday, December 4th, Highway #1
We left Calgary early this morning to find our familiar and beloved friends Compact Snow
at our heels. At last, we meet! We were wondering when the great Canadian winter would catch up with us and grace us with some white-knuckled drives.
We have been so lucky on this tour, with the roads, the weather, the shows in every town, our inner-band turmoil and need for personal space, and there were some "grumpy-pants" moments, let me assure you! Our beloved "Van Halen" even held up through the endless drives without a hiccup or a scratch (kind of) in which we are eternally thankful for. A lot of bands don't realize it, but a good tour van, taken care of and loved, made into a home, and maybe an oil change and a brake-test, will take you anywhere you need to go, and much further.
A little history: we purchased "Van Halen" early in 2009, before embarking on a 6 week Canadian tour to Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
We got it from an elderly couple a little up Vancouver Island from Victoria. She was a beaut: not a scratch and the lowest mileage we had ever seen. We got to know her pretty quick though, as the winter tour started not a week after the initial payments. We got her some winter tires and chains, and we even built a wooden bunk to put in the back, to cover all of our gear and to sleep on when the occasion called for it. All bands have done this at one point, before they get to the level where they can afford a 15 passenger Ford and a trailer. We still have it to this day. It is quite rickety now, as a 2 week long summer tour, and then another 6 week fall tour ensued in that same year. We've spent many nights with her as shelter, camping out in the prairies and on the shield, parking lots in Toronto and Montreal. She kept us warm and safe from the wilderness, and even forgave us for the times we backed into that cement pillar and parked a little too close to some railroad tracks.
Over the last 2 years, we have pushed her hard, seemingly charting new territory (we wish) and achieving over 80,000 kilometers. She has seen every type of terrain and weather, even a tornado, and she still keeps going. We are even contemplating matching tour tattoos directly after this adventure, with a depiction of the van, and maybe even "In Van we trust" scrawled under it, something like that. She has never let us down. Even at her worst, she still got us to where we need to go.
Overnight 9 hours drives? No problem.
24 hour suicide missions with only 2 stops for food? In the bag. Mountain top winter death-traps? You got it.
She is the best friend a touring band could ever ask for.
Climbing into the van this morning, frigid and dirty as all hell, was a challenge. The last day of a tour is always sad. You are torn between coming and going. You want it to continue as long as it can and live on the road, booking shows as you go, making little to no money, a somewhat transient existence that is so appealing at times.
But on the other hand, that other part of you that is broken, tired and missing friends and family, penniless and wandering, wants to wrap it up so you may come back and do this again, with all of your strength and resources. It is a dichotomy for sure, but one that is necessary, I think. As I was saying, this morning was the first big snowfall we hit on the whole tour, and on long drive home, no less. It was a little depressing at first, but as soon as we crossed over to BC, not a cloud in the sky, and sunshine! It was truly, a miracle.
We just want to throw out a massive thank you to everyone out there who has been our fan, friend and family member, supporting us, our music, our passion, and all the fine people in Canadian radio and promotion companies we had the pleasure of working with. And of course, Ten Second Epic
for dragging us along for the adventure. It was a blast and we won't ever forget it.
Happy Holidays, everyone! See you early next year!
Acres of Lions is: Tyson Yerex (Keyboard, Guitar), Jeff Kalesnikoff (Vocals, Guitar), Dan Ball (Bass) and Lewis Carter (Drums).
Acres of Lions on Tour:
11/2 Kamloops, BC - Heroes Pub
12/9 Victoria, BC - Lucky Bar
11/4 Edmonton, AB - The Starlite Room
11/9 Calgary, AB - The Republik
11/11 Victoria, BC - White Eagle Hall
11/12 Vancouver, BC - The Media Club
11/16 Saskatoon, SK - Walkers Night Club
11/17 Regina, SK - Riddell Centre
11/18 Yorkton, SK - Ukrainian Orthodox Hall
11/19 Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre
11/22 Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's
11/23 Montreal, QC - La Sala Rossa
11/24 London, ON - London Music Hall
12/1 Regina, SK - O'Hanlon's Pub
12/2 Calgary, AB -Palomino
12/3 Edmonton, AB - Filthy McNasty's
ACRES OF LIONS