Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ness Creek, Curling, AND a Bruno Appetizer?!?!?

I recently read that any diets, resolutions, etc., related to 2013 turning into 2014, should just wait until after Super Bowl Sunday.  That was a fascinating notion, especially for one who burned his underwear (really) to (symbolically and literally) get rid of "bingeing", "bingeing" being the one thing that covers most of how I operate towards what I overindulge in/with.  I do like me some football, and could really give a rat's ass about that game, its spectacle, and if any stray nipples are involved (ok, I would give a rat's ass about nipples, but not pre-meditated ones like that!), but am totally fine with procrastinating on cutting down on the things I love in life.

A week before the NFL's corporate love-in-that-just-might-break-into-a-football-game extravaganza, there is a much more local, intriguing, and accessible sporting event that could just as well serve the purpose of prolonging one's holiday-or-otherwise bad habits.  The Bruce MacDonald Curling Funspiel -sponsored/run/hosted/managed by the folks responsible for The Ness Creek Music Festival - includes costumes, curling, prizes, and some rockin' tunes from us.  There's a wonderful writeup about it on their website, and frankly speaking, they make me feel like we're pretty special:  You will too, so if you haven't already done so follow the link on that page, get some tix, and come rock with us there - rock in all senses of the word, eh - Saturday, January 25th, in Saskatoon.

If you feel that you need something to moderate your intake of rocks (curling only), but would actually like to overindulge in all things The Lonesome Weekends, please consider coming to The Bruno Arts Bank the day prior to all that fun shtuff.  Many of my 13th Avenue Records cohorts have played in Bruno over the years, so I feel very excited and priveleged to be doing so for the first time in a few short weeks.  I do not know if I am the only one from this band who hasn't played there yet, but it really doesn't matter - Cherry Festival or not, I'll be poppin' mine that Friday night to be sure!  For more deets check out  and email for ticket questions.

Finally, here's some recent live footage of the band, performing what could be - if we were convinced of such a thing - a double A side vinyl 45 rpm release!  A pretty new tune of Dev's followed by what should be a future drinking classic by Marsh, a taster/teaser for all you coming on out to see us in January!



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Prelude to Vangelis

I love my bandmates.

I love banter.

There are some who'd say, about rock 'n' roll shows, "More rock, less talk!".  I once had a wonderful station manager at a community radio station I dj'd at who proclaimed that notion loudly and proudly many times over the years, both to those on stage and on the air.  Thankfully it was not directed my way very often!  There are others who would argue that more talk - but not necessarily less rock - is one key difference between a wonderfully entertaining show and a pretty average one.  Some artists go so far as to script their banter, while others use the spur of the moment to put the hitch in their giddy-up.  Occasionally even an album is given the 'banter/intro' treatment to interesting effect, as can be heard on Lee Hazlewood's Requiem for an Almost Lady, wherein each song begins with some sort of babble before the goods hit you in the heart.  If you enjoy this sort of thing, one extreme example from the live setting can be found on Tom Waits' third live album, Glitter and Doom, wherein the second disc is comprised entirely of his banter, taken out of context from before and/or after specific songs, stitched together as one looooooooong track.  It kills parties and makes friends, all at the same time! 

But I digress.  In the context of The Lonesome Weekends, often the parameters of the gig, and the styles of our fearless frontmen, leave me wanting more.  Banter, that is.  Does the audience feel the same?  I can only guess.

If I do hazard a guess, and I'm even 50% accurate, that means that some folks, indeed, are on my page.  To them, I'd like to offer a little bonus supplement to our final show of the year, and first since July (!?!?), this coming Friday at Vangelis in Saskatoon.   

I can only hope - as a member of the band who needs to know the order of tunes being played - that what follows is an accurate setlist, and that my bandmates won't cry foul at all our mystery being hijacked for the sake of a little old blog post.  I do this, however, with the knowledge that there likely won't be a lot of babble before most of these tunes, and that if I had complete and total power over a microphone and/or my musical colleagues, I'd totally bum rush the show with the banter gold you can read below.  Feel free to peruse it, via any technological format, during the show, to get, perhaps, a more nuanced experience of the gig.

Or just fuck it and rock with us, and be glad I only play keyboards!

(Note: all banter to be heard in a loud, slightly boozy, "Helloooooooo Cleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeveland" mid 70s rocker voice for optimal effect.)

Buckskins: Here's the first song we ever jammed, the first song we recorded, the first song on our first record, and the first song you can dance to tonight.....apologies to the opening act!

The Right Thing: Listen carefully, follow this advice, and remember that crushin' cans is plenty fun but way easier when the cans are empty.

Beard: Hellooooooooo Jesus freaks!!!!

Dream: I don't know about you, but some of my best dreams only last a couple of minutes.  Here's one of them.

Gov't Street: Our second record begins with this song, and if you'd like proof, please, go to the merch table right now and find out!

Crooked Line: This is the song Johnny Cash would've written if he'd had more balls and been honest with himself about his habits, about how hard it is trying to walk straight down any sort of line, especially if it happens to be crooked.  I walk the line.....indeed!

(Don't Let That) Bottle Suck You In: Drink up.  Hey is it last call yet?  Where are our shots???

White Lightnin': Mighty, mighty pleasin', pappy's corn squeezin'.  Nuff said.

Crashin':  Ok, for all you lovers in the audience that are cranky with your dates because the freakin' band just won't play anything you can slow dance to, this one's for you. 

Baby: Anyone for a two-step?  Or a line dance?  Anyone??

Pretending: So far this song is unreleased, but we're hoping that David Lynch can take some time off from meditating and cooking cool quinoa recipes to use at least 30 seconds of it for the violent sexy parts of his next movie.......and here we go.....

Chickenshit: This one helped our second record get an 'explicit' designation on - right up there with Wu Tang Clan, muthaf*&^%#$ !!!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Final Gig 2013


The Lonesome Weekends
Friday, December 13th, 2013
Vangelis, Saskatoon, SK

The Slim City Pickers


The Sea Hags


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gleanings From Ness Creek and Bengough

First off, as a Rider fan, yay for 5 - 0!!

But on a more serious note......

Festivals are fun, awesome, exhausting, invigorating, and, ultimately, if you are lucky enough to be on the stage, fulfilling, scary and awesome (where's the thesaurus when you need it?)  There has been plenty to digest since we played the Ness Creek and Gateway music festivals last month, and it feels like the right thing to do to share some of the joy, none of the pain, and especially none of the NSFC (Not Safe For Children) aspects of our times.  So, without further ado, let us start with:

Steve Earle.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, there might be too much keypad attention towards this guy on the blog of late (he'll never beat Dylan on that front  - right Sleights? - so whatevs), but on so many levels Mr. Earle delivered the goods.  He played a killer set (did Tyler actually request "Copperhead Road"?  He won't let on...) that covered much of his new record, with stops along close to two-thirds of his 15 studio albums.  Sleights, Dev, members of the Pile o' Bones band, Etienne of The Lazy MKs, along with many, many other Saskatchewan musicians there to perform could be seen bug-eyed and giddy throughout the set, and I was easily as floored by that as I was by Earle's genuine enjoyment of playing that Friday night.  Add to that a meet-and-greet after the show that had one fan sobbing with joy at meeting the man (no, I held it together, thanks to my baby and my lady), and I still don't think I've come down!

Kory Istace.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe you don't tune into this blog to read about other local musicians, but let me explain.  First, his set that ended all music at Gateway Saturday night was pretty freakin' great, the drunks still awake were stoked, and his orange shirt with vest and bowtie made him easily tie, if not outright beat, Prpich for the best dressed man award that evening.  Hey, some men just understand show clothes!  This man also understands enthusiasm.  The week prior at Ness Creek he relayed a story to me of how he missed out on seeing Steve Earle due to family obligations earlier in his life, and how his fandom since he was a wee lad had never yet been satiated.  I had never seen anyone so eager to see another artist, let alone have the chance to actually meet him.  That indeed came to pass, and Korey hilariously and graciously relayed that story to me.  It showcased both his humility and, possibly, his silliness, in that his side of the conversation he had with his idol included (I think) no four letter words (!!!), yet did have an overabundance of one three letter word - sir - a word which he bestows on no one, unless he is in serious, serious trouble!  To me, something was completed in the man because of that experience, and judging by the manner in which he told the story, I do not think Mr. Istace would disagree.  Aaaah, festivals......

Playing on festival stages.  Yeah, yeah, yeah (does that ever get old?), who wants to hear about a band member stroking his own band's ego?  Anyways, Ness Creek later on a Thursday evening, and Bengough earlier on a Saturday, couldn't have been both so similar yet so different.  In the former camp: incredibly receptive audiences.  There were some folks engaging in a bit of "foreplay" during our set (Ness), there was my family singing and dancing along and causing me to miss a chord or two (Gateway), and at both places there were just the nicest and most helpful sound/stage crews in recent memory!  In the latter camp, I really feel that a certain percentage of what we do works better when the lights are low, there is no sun, and people perhaps have imbimbed at least to a percentage of what the band has.  At Ness, this was no problem, but at Gateway, well, it is hard to get into a moody, drunkin' rockin' groove just after supper, but thanks to the people who tried!  We did!!

All of our friends, family, and other musicians that did not play music either weekend, but were there because we were, and took everything to another level: Marsh's entire family at Gateway (his bro Pipes met the next level and was on crutches b/c of it!), a large contingent of folks swayed by Prpich to come down and keep it real (Pamps, Kale, German Karl, helllloooooooo!), Mr. Wilson and Mr. King from Saskatoon representing the old guard, true, strong and free, Jim and Kirsten, and everyone else I am too foggy to remember!

Mike and Amber at Gateway, and Deborah at Ness: Thanks, thanks, thanks (three thanks, ah ah aaaah!).  Hospitality, accomodation, sorting sh*# out, all top shelf, all on a level that is encouraging for anyone involved in these festivals for the years to come!

Here's a new tune that we didn't play at either festival; the shot is static, but the perks involve intimacy not normally had in a performance (plus you can steal all of Ty's tricks if you pay close enough attention!).



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Riders or Bengough, Saturday, July 27

Out of all the members of the band, I care the most about the Roughriders.  If you are a fan of anything, success is fun, intoxicating and might become expected.  The last few years has seen success that leads to definite expecations, and now those expectations are being met.  The main questions are two: how hi can they get, or when do they crash?  I'd like to watch what happens this Saturday in Hamilton, as 5 - 0 sounds freakin' awesome, but watching the Gateway Festival audience watching us is going to take priority.  If any of you are debating your Saturday night options and Gateway vs the Riders is part of the equation, here is a top ten list of reasons why you should sway to the side of music vs. professional sports.

In no particular order, maybe....

10) Steve freakin' Earle - if the word legend can be used accurately with players this weekend, he is the only one that fits the bill.  Even if, somehow, by fluke, or bad strings on a guitar, he isn't stellar, he still brings his 'a' game and that is impressive for someone into his fourth (!?!?!) decade of making music.

9) You can PVR the Rider game.  Or you know someone who can.  Bring them to the show instead!

8) Workshop stages poolside: you heard me right!  Listen to workshops with a few refreshments under your belt and your belt underwater, if that pleases your sensibilities.  It'll appease many of ours to be sure....

7) Corb Lund: he seems to be the real freakin' deal, eh? Someone who seems huge, and is, but also isn't.  Killer headliner.

6) The Lazy MKs: yes, everyone on 13th Ave Records is a bit incestuous, so it would be no surprise that this blog would mention them.  But I don't really care about them - you should see them for their guests!  Hint: very few of them sing (I mean the guests).

5) 4 - 1:  still awesome.  Hamilton might be tough to beat, as I don't think the Riders can go much higher than they did against the team.  I'd like to see Fantuz play, but get three catches for 48 yards but give up at least two interceptions b/c he ran poor routes.  But I digress.....

4) Rah Rah: more incest, I know, sorry about that.  However, one of my highlights of last week's Ness Creek show was jamming with Marshall in the mess hall at 6am, after hiking all over the place and also after jamming around the fire.  He got badgered into doing "Jonquiere Tonight" and I sang with him on "Cuba Peru".  I was reminded of how awesome he is, even when he's not in The Lonesome Weekends, and I hear Rah Rah has just a bit of live performance experience.....

3)  The secret awesome vendor:  I recently heard poor reports about vendors at another festival in Saskatchewan, to which someone replied that the vendors at Gateway were second to none.  It is always just delightful to stumble upon something like holskap pie (!?? - just call it honeyberry, it's easier on the brain!) like at Ness.  What could it be this weekend?

2) "Crooked Line": new song by Devon.  It is perhaps the most intense song in our repertoire right now, and though there are rumours of recording, for the next little while we're going to be a band where you can only hear a lot of new stuff live.  With and without vanity, this song is at its apex right now.  It is kind of like what Kory Sheets is doing.  But remember, you can PVR the game!

1) Listen to the game while you get beer and/or pee: everyone has this sort of technology, that is for sure.  Just please remember if you are watching a band and listening to the game to cheer for a touchdown when the band does something awesome or finishes a song.  Or do it in the port-a-potty.  But then come let me know, even if I'm playing!

Riders 28  Ticats 18


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ness Creek, Bengough, Yippee!

It is officially festival season, and for The Lonesome Weekends this year that means Ness Creek and Gateway!  Last year we were pumped to play our first festival outside of Regina - Judy Mergel's Wood Mountain at the end of August - and while it was an awesome experience with plenty of generous hospitality, the two festivals the band'll be playing this month have got everyone very stoked.

At Gateway in Bengough, there is an incredible lineup that features Steve Earle and The Dukes along with Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans, but apart from these heavies nearly every other band is from Saskatchewan, many of whom we're friends with and/or have shared stages with!  Way further north, Ness Creek features many a fine act, but I am personally most intrigued to see Crooked Creek, who I last saw 11 years ago.  A perennial favourite up there, just to know that they are still givin' 'er is inspirational on many levels.  Is it just because of the hippies?  There's only one way to find out!

The boys in the band are all over the place in terms of what they are expecting from these festivals.  If there is a consistent anything to comment on, it would have to be that Marsh is just keen to play.  With his band.  And hang out.  With his band.  Is it just that he's just happy to rock and roll on a more local scale as opposed to the international stardom that Rah Rah affords him?  Come on out and find out, but do so before the booze starts flowing, you know....well, if you are reading this, you just know!

Devon's a little bit more keen on the proceedings on offer, looking forward to checking out a lot of bands and camping in hopes of countering the hungover tent sweats when the morning sun is blazing.  Apparently this is a genuine fear of Prpich as well.  I now know that maybe I should not share a tent with him!  Thank god Pamps, Kale and German Karl will be there to hold his hand through all sorts of trial and tribulation!  Dev's also excited at seeing Mary Gauthier, as she does a killer version of Fred J. Eaglesmith's "Your Sister Cried", Tyler is pumped to see Blue King Brown (Australian Afro funk?), Sleights would enjoy sharing a stage with Shotgun Jimmy, while not a few of us are amped up to see Steve Earle.  Is it a vain hope that somewhere along the line we get to hang out with the man, share a stage, or perhaps even a cigarette?  Or is it more likely Tyler is f$&*ing going to request "Copperhead Road" and all our credibility gets shot in one drunken request?  It is unfortunate - or not, depending on your angle - that we can't share some adult pops with the man, but at the least none of us will be bringing our dog who happens to be vegetarian along, so no abuse will be incurred on that level... 

There will be more to discuss in a post post-festival, but on a personal level I could not be more thrilled about playing Ness Creek.  11 years ago I was intent on relocating to a tropical climate for a female, as cliched as that might sound.  My world got rearranged and better focused while jamming around a campfire light at Ness in July 2002, with a vibrant stranger from Regina.  After all was sung and done, I said nay to the tropics and said yea to making music on any level in Canada.  Somehow music got put to the side as the stranger and we wound up making more babies than tunes for a while, then life slowly turned a dad into a musician that became a member of a killer band that just happens to be playing Ness Creek in less than a week.  Ness Creek is full circle time for me, and I am grateful beyond words to all the musicians I've ever played with, the organizers of both festivals, my kids and my partner.  As Kurt Vonnegut once said, "Watch out for life.  It'll get you!"  And as I might add, "You should let it."

Or as Marsh might say it, "Kiss The Bottle"!  See ya'll down the road.....


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Getting To Know The Band Part Two

Well, as with Hollywoodland, this summertime season sees this blog being all about the sequels - part twos galore!

After the amazingly well-received first edition of band facts, I did my best to politely decline fan requests for shirt-sizes, birthdates and favourite types of cheese of my bandmates (ok, Dev's is gouda, hell we all love gouda, let's get that out of the way) to focus on way more important items of interest to tickle your sun-addled brain.  So, without further ado, here are more deets of the men who sell themselves and their wares as The Lonesome Weekends.

On celebrating summer

Prpich: Shovelling tons of gravel and working on my tan, simultaneously, along with pitching my new family tent.
Hat: Weeding gardens, blaring 329% more reggae than usual from the backyard boombox, and thinking of ways to explore sun and nudity and get away with it like my kids in the paddling pool.
Dev: Quitting my job and taking an early retirement, just for summer.
Ty: I get out my motorcycle for this time of year.  Of course when it gets real hot out I keep my Scandinavian ass sedentary in an attempt to not melt away.  It's a losing battle.  (Watch the melting in action at a festival show very soon - ed.)
Marsh: I'm not.
Sleights: I just bought some internet, but the internet is lame. I have been working hard, but will celebrate on my trips this summer. Marsh & I will see Dylan and Wilco in St. Paul next week.

Music currently grooving to

PrpichWhispering Bill Anderson, Nick Lowe, Bonnie Prince Billie, Dwight Yoakam.
HatDevendra Banhart Mala MalaJuana Molina Un Dia, Cesar Evoria, Big Sugar.
Dev: Sixto Rodriguez and Ratatat.
Ty: Empire of the Sun Ice on the Dune, Charles Bradley and the Menahan St Band No Time for Dreaming, The James Hunter Six Minute by Minute (seriously, I can't say enough about this record. It's as if Ray Charles and Sam Cooke got together and had a bastard English baby. I have to thank Babs for the find!)
Marsh: Tim McCashin.
Sleights: Patti Smith Easter - she's a poet, a seer, the Wanda Jackson of the 1970s

Thoughts on Thriller

Prpich: It always grosses me out, how MJ's bones are sticking out of his wrists on the album cover....disgusting!  And baby tigers?????
Hat: It makes me rethink my recent reassessment of Paul McCartney, though half of it is awesome. I used to think Sir Paul was only capable of syrupy schlock, then I got McCartney, Ram, and McCartney II. However, "The Girl is Mine" makes me violent. Perhaps those three were the exceptions to the rule? Anyways, "Beat It", really, cannot be beat. Listen to it again and shake your tail feather.
Dev: Mmmmmm, isn't that a ride at the Melfort fair?
Ty: It's alright but it's no Off the Wall.
Marsh: No comment.
Sleights: It's the Jurassic Park of records.

Cake or Pie? Why?
Prpich: Cake, cuz it's cake! And b/c most people can't make pie.
Hat: Pie, b/c it is way more sexy than cake.  Think about it.  You know I am right.
Dev: Pie, cuz I've had bad cake but never bad pie! 
Ty: Unfortunately, for me these days it's neither (gluten/carbs), so.....coconut milk ice cream!
Marsh: Chips.
Sleights: Pie, b/c it's less sweet than cake, and if I need less of anything in my life right now it is sweetness.

The best part about being a musician is.....

Prpich: Playing with Hat's wife.
Hat: Meeting a wonderful assortment of people that dig what I/we do - hey, it doesn't happen often in life, in any context - so I totally soak that in as much as possible.  Also, making a joyful noise by all means possible, but mostly electronic keyboards.  Oh, and knowing that even with lugging gear, I/we win everytime compared to anyone golfing (except par 3 of course, that's awesome).
Dev: No matter how often you tell yourself "I'm getting too old for this", you keep playing.
Ty: Most likely the sex...buth then there are those drugs too...oh and the Rock and Roll...hmmmmm.
Marsh: Drinkin' beer and makin' friends.
Sleights: Manipulating sound waves.

Alright then, satiation from band info is nearly complete!  Let's give the drummer some respect and end off with a little bit of The James Hunter Six.  See ya soon!