Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year in Review aka Procrastinating

Well I'm just sitting here procrastinating. I've got a million tiny things that need my attention over the next week. It's hard for me to look back (ever) and even more so with the amazing things that January is dangling in front of me. A week from today I leave for Mississippi with the Amazing Sufferin Bastards to make an epic record in a most awesome place with some really, really cool people. If that wasn't stealing enough of my attention I can't help but think about what a crazy time we'll have on the way home when we stop in Memphis to perform on Beale Street and more importantly hanging out in one of the most musically significant cities in the world with friends like Matt Andersen, Steve Marriner and Keith Hallett. Sounds like BBQ'd trouble to me!

To put off the meanial little tasks I have like wrting out all the lyrics to my songs and documenting my gear by serial number, I've been reading top 10 lists of know, Albums, shows, movies....I was gonna write one. Then I realized a lot of the albums I was blown away by in 2009 were released before then, ie: Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs and Faith Cola by Sisters Euclid....2008 and 2006 respectively....thats not to say there wasn't a pile of awesome music released this year...I'm sure if I went through my itunes I would find some stuff but lets be honest folks, I listen to a PILE of whittle it down would be tough.

So instead I thought I would just touch on some of the high points of 2009. I toured a lot and met a lot of folks and saw a lot of good music and I just can't fit it all in here so these are the 'best of'' for me.

So these things come to mind as totally awesome moments:
- Preforming at The Capital Theatre in Moncton
- Securing the late great Jim Dickinson to record our new album at Zebra Ranch. The thought ofsomeone who played with the people he did liking my songs almost makes me cry every time I think about it.
- Seeing Neil Young at Harbor Station. Simply amazing. Neil has it more than any other artist. An inspiration for sure.
- Sister's Euclid. Saw 'em twice. Once in the late winter, my first time, and again with the bastards at one of their last performances at The Orbit Room. Sick Sick Sick. If you haven't seen them, seek them out. They will change your life.
- Visiting Tofino for the first time ever. Majestic.
- Watching The Black Crowes from backstage in Fredericton.
- Having Cody Dickinson from the North Mississippi All-stars (one of my fav bands) offer to take over the recording only days after the passing of his father.
- Having supper sitting beside Los Lobos at the Delta then going to see them open their show with 'There goes the neighborhood". Thanks Brent!
- The most amazing weekend of performing at Blues on Whyte in Edmonton.
- Getting Nominated for the Maple Blues Best New Artist.
- Halloween in Tofino. WOW.
- I'm sure I am forgetting a lot of fun times I had but these ones definitly stand out in my mind....

The best memory I have of '09 is the way our community (and folks from a far) rallied behind us to help us raise money to go to Mississippi and record aour new album. It blew my mind how much support folks gave us. Can't wait to deliver the best album of material (so far) to all your ears. Thanks so much all!

Now I must prepare for a crazy weekend. New Years Day Levee at Dolans Pub 2-6 and then our full on show Friday and Saturday night. starting at 10pm. This is our last weekend of fundraising before we split next week so I hope to see y'all out at Dolan's.
We're gonna rock 2010 in hard!!!

before I go here is a promo clip for our Mississippi trip. It was graciously put together by Robb Lepper at Certified Media Group for Hip e Bikes. Check it....

Best to you all in 2010. It's gonna be a gooder.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

7\11 Don'ts

1. No toilet seat contact. Ever.
2. NOT checking yer sandwich expiry date.
3. Eat anything that comes out of a pump.
4. Eat meat in a cheese bread.
5. A la Joel Leblanc (hot toddy, Joel leblanc quartette) "I would not eat a hot dog".
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Friday, December 11, 2009

Top Five Things to Eat at 7/11 Whilst on Tour.

Ok, I know everything in this store is not made of anything decent nutrition wise BUT......late at night when you're strolling home from good times, there it is.......gleeming like a beacon in the night. How could you resist? you are, after all a little hungry and you KNOW you need something to soak up the hops n barley in your belly.
so here it is, my personal fav's:

1. Jalepeno and Cheese Taquito. Few things at the ole sebun elebun compare. AND there is no meat in it if you are the squeamish kind who must know if everything has been properly cooked.

2. Chicken and Cheese Taquito: A close second to the J & C Taquito. It must be noted that there are a couple kinds of Taquito's with chicken and cheese in them....I have tried them all. They are all pretty much the same and in a pinch any will do the trick!

3. The Smokey. oh yeah. Big ole hot dog. a personal favorite of Karl Bastard.

4. Mini eggs. Not just any mini eggs. CADBURY mini eggs. One of the finest chocolate treats of the 21st century without question.

5. Sausage Cheese Bread Stick. I don't know what the real name of this disgusting treat is but it is essentially a pepperoni stick INSIDE of a cheese bread stick thingy. YEAH BABY! they make a delicious marriage! HAd my first one in Calgary. They aren't found in EVERY 7/11 though. dunno why not cause they kick ass. If you are feeling crazy try heating it up in the microwave. Yup. I know. Wicked.

Well there you have it folks. I'm pretty sure you'll see the numbers 7 & 11 in another upcoming blog so stay tuned......


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Beercan chicken pt deux

-ummm what is That blackened part on top!?!
-very keen observation. Congratulations. That my young grasshopper is bacon!
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Beer can chicken

One for the chicken one for me!
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Top Five Gigs on the Canadian Tour

Well, i put some thought into it no particular order.....these shows all just stand out in my head as real fun ones....

1. Blues on Whyte, Edmonton Saturday night: This show was off the hook. packed full of people who were ready to rock! One of the most memorable shows of my career.
2. Weigh West Marina, Tofino: Tofino is the most amazing place without having a gig there. Playing in Tofino makes it even MORE awesome. The fact that this was a Halloween show just blows it off the hook!
3. Mikey's Juke Joint, Calgary: This little roadhouse really knows how to treat a band. We always have a bunch of Maritimers there as well which never hurts the party atmosphere!
4. The Press Club, Toronto: I think every single person there except the bartender and owners were from Fredericton or at least NB. Not too shabby for a wednesday!
5. The Local, Toronto: I can't say it enough. I love this place. The people here are awesome. Not like being in Toronto at all!

Well there you have it. Of course there were other fun ones but for whatever reason I'm still thinking of these shows! Thanks to all who made it out to shows all over Canada. Can't wait to see you all in the Spring/Summer with our new album!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Yes I'm still here

Hi there,

well i've been home a week. Life hasn't slowed down any thats for sure. We've played a few shows. I took one whole day off work and then starting Monday I went right back at it. I've been busy working on my solo tour which starts at the end of February this year. I've also been busy getting things in order for our New Years shows. What's That you ask? Well, we're hosting the first ever New Year's Day Levee at Dolan's Pub. This is going to be an afternoon (starts @2pm) of jamming and drinking! We'll be inviting all of our musical friends to come take part in our extravaganza! We'll also be performing our full show Friday and Saturday night. Cover for the jam is a suggested $5 buck donation.   This will be the last  weekend of Fundraising before owe leave for Mississippi on the 7th. We hope folks come out and shake the New Year cobwebs out!

Over the past few days I've been reminiscing about our two month tour and how awesome it was. Over the next few days I'll be posting some top fives from the tour. Here's one to get you started......

TOP 5 Meals: (these go in no particular order of fav because they were all awesome)
1. Thanks  giving dinner at the Whittaker's. KILLER!
2. Ham dinner at our Edmonton Compound. Thanks Lyn!
3. Dinner at 100 Georges in North Bay. Great food here. Weird vibe or not.
4. BBQ'd Fajita's in Calgary. Thanks Michelle and Jon
5. The Shark Club. Great pub food and ( . Y . ) as big as yer head!

off to Sussex now to rock!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

out on the road, late at night...

I've just finished my first or two diving shifts. I am now in Rubys lounge. Save for the occasional bit of light flashing by, Its dark. Very dark. You can hardly see and inch in front of your face. Hendrix blares in the background. Caffeine shooting through my veins. I want sleep.

We re in a Sea of road tractors. They are everywhere. They remind me of geese. One behind another, taking turns in each others drag. Taking turns at point.

This area of Ruby is like two hours of solitude. Rocked to sleep by the motion and sound of travel. Caffeine Is winning for now. I know there is conversation not too far away but I can't hear it. I'm thinking about our last gig on the road. It was tonight. Bittersweet. We re driving straight through to fredericton now. 12 hours. I'd better try and get a nap. Its gonna be a mindbender. Least we ll get to see the sunrise....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Can I get you any thing sweet?

So we're at a cafe/bakery downtown North Bay. We are looking for coffee. we order three coffees. At the last minute I had to order a brownie as well. I think Shawn Ordered a tart of some kind. No surprise there....I split the store before Gans gets his order in. 

I go outside and learn that the coffee at the bakery/cafe is shit. Basically brown water. Fail. I'm bummed. Shawn comes bursting out of the shop laughing hysterically. Shawn says the lady, that made the shitty coffee, says to Gans..."Anything sweet for you"? Gans replies..." I'll have two gingerbread men". WTF WTF WTF??????????? I lose it. Hilarious. 

Even more hilarious was his cute little gingerbread man. Maybe you had to be there.

A few minutes later I try the brownie. FAIL. I was furious. It burns me when you by a brownie at a freaking bakery and it taste like a month old brownie dipped in water. Horrible. Way to go store. Your window says "bakery/cafe" yet both those things are bad. Give it up. It's not hard to make a decent brownie. I'm not talking like I need a "Karl's niece Tory"  (aka best brownie ever) brownie here. Just something reasonably good.

For the record Karl's sweet little gingerman treats weren't too good and Shawn's tart was also not good. all round fail.

Anyway the great part is I got a pic of Gans's frosted friends....what ARE they doing?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pay Before You Pump.

No. I don't want to. I want to gas up then come in the store. I want to buy something from you. I want to look and see every different kind of chips you have. I want to see if you sell Dad's Root Beer. I want to see what kind of plastic sandwiches you have. I want to spend money in your store. Don't you see the Gas mogul that is pimping you out is actually not so secretly putting you out of business. Soon there will only be electronic fueling stations with no employee. Like they have in Northern Ontario. Swipe. Pump. Go. If you make me pay at the pump, not only does it make me angry but it also keeps me from coming into the store to buy something. I know you don't make any money on gas. I know you NEED me to buy something. I WANT to. But you are making it difficult. Why? Are you scared of me? Do you want my money but not want to have to deal with me? Well you can't. It's a package deal man.

I started noticing this happening more and more, quit some time ago. When it's late they would keep the door locked and buzz you in. This wasn't so bad i guess. Then I noticed you paid right there at the pump. Did you think I was going to steal the gas? Really? Then I noticed at one place you couldn't even go in the store. Well I just played a show and I'm hungry. I want to eat something but I want to look around the store and see what's looking good. Will you tell me every kind of chips that you have? Won't that be annoying? Will you look at the expiration date on the egg salad sandwich? Will you tell me which taquitos look the freshest? What if I have to pee? Do you want me to pee on your building?

You want me to pay at the pump but I don't have my bank card on me. You want me to go inside and guess how much gas I need. Then go back out and pump. Then come back in and get refunded the overage. I pay at the pump then mr. machine says go inside to get your reciept? Are you trying to make me go crazy? I try to pay at the pump and it won't work so I go inside. I grab a drink and some chocolate. I say "I'll also want $30 in gas." You say, "Just go pump then pay after"....?....the machine clearly says pay BEFORE you pump. Do you want me to snap? Is that what is going on? Do you want me to go to jail? Cause when I do snap that is probably what will happen. I don't want to go to jail. I want to gas up then come in and look around.

What happened to the old days? When people talked to people. When there was customer service. When people gave a shit about things. Are they gone forever? Are there any companies out there that still provide good service? It seems to be a rarity. It's a bummer. Why is it ok to not be nice to a customer? When did this happen? It's a sad, mad world. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Defining the Nationality of Art

"What creates Canadian culture are the artists that create IN Canada. Art and culture are are essential resources that must be protected. It is up to us to share that idea so that it resounds daily in our communities."

This is a quote I read recently. It is from Jean-Daniel Lafond. Husband to our Governor General. It is an excerpt from a keynote speech delivered at this years CAPACOA Conference in Calgary, Alberta. 

Before I start I will preface this rant by saying that I hope some context is lost on his meaning by my NOT having heard the rest of the speech. I will also say that having been a recipient of a few grants from our Government I do not want this to be misconstrued as me being against these departments. I value them immensely and believe that they are under funded and an integral part of the arts in Canada. It is their program definitions that i believe are missing the mark.

So.....I think I can maybe, sorta see that this statement is intended as a call to arms for Canada's artist, lovers of art and culture in general. BUT, my initial reaction to it is one of offense. I base my offense mostly on the use of the word "IN" in the quote.

We are heading to Mississippi to record in January. The project will be recorded in its entirety in the USA. Does this negate the fact that the art - the songs - were created by a Canadian in Canada? If so does this negate the impact that artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have had on Canadian Culture? Does art have a Nationality? Should it? Doesn't it soil the very idea of Art to be cutting it up into demanding categories like this? If a Canadian film maker produces a Documentary in other parts of the world does that mean the project is not Canadian? If foreign artist come to create in Canada, what does that make their work? It's confusing at best.

I have found it frustrating that our Provincial and Federal funders of the Arts are qualifying what is Canadian and what isn't. I find it amusing that most of these groups are sitting on the fence when handing out cash to support artists. They deem that as long as "X" amount, or percentage, of the project is completed in Canada then they are eligible to apply for funding, much like what His Excellency is saying. Again I don't want you to think I am belly aching because I don't have funding. I researched potential funding and after realizing if we did this recording ALL in Mississippi we wouldn't be eligible for funding we STILL decided that it was the right thing to do for our careers, and more importantly to get the very best documentation of our Art that we can. We know that the people we will work with down there are some of the best at what we are reaching for. (Not to mention there is an intrinsic connection between our cultures and the roots music they produce.) To suggest we should compromise and NOT create in this perfect environment so that we may make a Canadian album is ridiculous. Would you ask Picasso to use YOUR paintbrushes when he knows he can do a better job with his? Would you say, "hey don't create that piece over there where you are totally inspired. Do it over here so we can claim ownership. So what if it sacrifices the Piece".  When we come home and manufacture our CD in Canada, employing Canadian companies, will it be viewed as NON Canadian? Will the Provincial or Federally funded album that has 25% of it recorded in Canada be MORE Canadian than mine? The very thought of this makes my blood boil a wee little bit. I am a PROUD Canadian, who is influenced constantly by my Country's events and landscapes. To have my own country tell me that the art this Canadian created will not be viewed relevant to Canadian Culture is hurtful. 

The real difficult pill for me to swallow is that His Excellency's opinions are well documented on Nationalism and Separatism. Again not an expert, and I know nobody is an angel, but there are some contradictory elements here to his past and this statement from his speech. Do a little research and see what you find out.

It's difficult for me to make this entry. It's sensitive. Certainly in this business that I am in you don't want to offend the wrong team...BUT... in the end I believe I am not alone in these thought patterns. I know I will take some flak for it for sure. I know I'm spewing out my rant without knowing all the facts on every detail....I know that you can't please everyone all the time and shouldn't worry about it....I also know that if people spent as much time appreciating art as they do trying to define and corner it we might be in a better place. Most importantly I know that National Pride is something you instill in yourself which also means it can't be taken away without your consent. Not by anything. 

Writing a song in another country doesn't make it less Canadian. Recording it in another country doesn't mean it is less Canadian. I am a Canadian. I create and perform art for a living. Separate the two? Why ?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Guns don't kill people, people with mustaches kill people.

The title of this blog was came to us as we were enjoying breakfast at our fav little diner just outside of Parksville BC. We overheard the table of construction workers say it. Needless to say we thought it was pretty funny. We thought we'd send you these for your enjoyment!

Friday, October 30, 2009


We here at the Bastards camp are pretty effing pleased to tell the globe that we have been nominated for Best New Artist at The Maple Blues Awards! 

We're really stoked about this as it is an unsolicited nod to our hard work and dedication to glodal domination! We wanna thank the Maple Blues Folks for being willing to support the genre in the way it has. Blues is found in a lot of different sounds these days and for them to acknowledge us this way indicates that we are indeed carving the right path through the universe. We will continue to deliver the goods in every little corner of the globe. 

If you'd like to help us bring home the 'hunk of wood' you can web on over to 

this award is given out based on voting folks so log in, hand over you email and PRESTO, they send you a password that gives you the almighty power of giving us your much desired vote! Oh yeah baby!  All of our work is made possible by you folks. Thank you and we loves y'all!!!!! 

Ross & The Bastards
PS....feel free to tell a friend!

Open letter to Shawn Graham




Ross Neilsen

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Give me a Break

Well. Here we are in Kelowna. Hanging out at our favorite (?) downtown coffee shop, Blendz. We have long suspected that Blednz was a Starbucks in disguise and today I intended on finding out. So I asked. They swore that in NO WAY was it a starbucks. They informed us that it is a Candian franchise (even gave us a nice lesson on what a franchise is.....douchebag) and that they loathed SB's. We're still skeptical because it has the same font for their name and the menu is the same....the employee demographic is pretty close....and as Shawn noted, "they make a shaken ice tea, just like SB". So there you have it. We still sorta, kinda think that it is a SB for is their version of a Macchiato. If you've ever had one of these drinks for real you'll know that this ain't it! It was good though.
Edmonton was something else. We had a pretty laid back week all in all. Got some work done, ran errands ate good food. Rocked out! Friday I rocked a little too hard though. Cherry Sherry, my number one axe, and I got in a skuffle. By the end of Cortez The Killer she ended up with a broken neck....She tried hard to take me out by piercing my hand with her low E string but in the end my brief moment of insanity was too much for her. Now she's out of commission and I have activated Number two....The Green Hornet. Ole GH did a great job and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better over the coming shows. Lets all have a moment for Cherry Sherry shall we?
The last show in Edmonton was unreal. killer crowd and they were eating every note up! One of the best gigs I've enjoyed over the last year! Thanks to everyone at Blues on Whyte for the good times! While in Edmonton the real monumental event was Ruby (our van) turning 300 000. We have had some crazy times with her and we would be no where without her. Literally. Thanks old Gal. Here is a video of the event....

We left Edmonton Sunday to trek the 10 hour drive to Karl bastard's folks place in Winfield. After my driving shift I hopped into the back seat for a great nap. I awoke to the distinct sound of wheels in slush. It was dark and snowing like mad. Shawn didn't look like he was having any fun at all driving and we quickly decided to get a room in the next town, Blue River (no Elvis sightings). We hit the pub for some eats and to unwind a bit from the stress of the snow drive. We racked up the biggest bar bill yet in the shortest time. Fairly impressive really. After the pub closed we went back to the room to hang. In the morning we awoke foggy headed and got our shit together. no one was impressed at all by what we saw outside. More snow. A lot of it....

We took it nice and slow and managed to get to Kelowna in one piece. We had a good dinner and hang with the Gans clan. Always entertaining stories here folks! As it turns out they were headed to Edmonton today so now we have the Villa to ourselves....PARTY AT MOM N DADS! .....I looked forward to this morning as one of my favorite things to do on tour is stand on Art and D's deck and look down the lake while I have my morning coffee. Here it is.......

Now were about to hit the store to grab our fixins for supper. Looking like hot turkey sandwiches! One of my top two favorite sandwiches! then a relaxing evening as we mentally prepare to drive the Coquihalla highway tomorrow. We know its snow covered so we're budgeting a few extra hours for safety! After that we'll be on Vancouver Island all week. Did a quick interview for the Halloween gig in Tofino. Its shaping up to be an epic night there!

Stay tuned for more adventure and don't all the facebookers go to to see the videos. Subscribe to the blog to get all the juicy tour details! Going to leave you with a pic I took this afternoon on the way into Kelowna. 
Awesomeness! Every day is an amazing gift. We try to never forget about all the little beauties there are and we try and always take a minute to enjoy them. I suggest you do the same.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Titties, Clinics and the elusive Alberta Snake Mouth

WOW. what a day we had yesterday. A friend of mine is in a Burlesque review and they were doing a show at NAIT (no this is not that place between your pink parts, it's an educational facility in Edmonton) in the late afternoon. So after our patented bastards breakfast......
......we headed out for a cross town Edmonton adventure. The review was good in the sense that the girls had their stuff down. nice routines and lots of titty tassles! It was unfortunate, however, that who ever was running the tech side of things repeatedly dropped the ball and the dude that was MC'ing was awful. I will say, though, that once those things get straightened out they will have a kick ass show as the girls are top notch! way to go Hook'em Review! I' know I'll be back!!! Unfortunately I didn't get any pics for you as I was too busy oogling.

After that titillating experience we busted down to the south end and got a half hour of the guitar clinic that our pal Grady Johnson was putting on. We had a good brief chat and he applauded our "lateness due to titty excuse".  We had intended on heckling a bit but my question got hijacked by the wang in front of me.....We did hear some very cool studio tricks though. Lots of info to ponder. Grady was playing a block away from us on Whyte Ave so Gordie slapped us on the list so we could sneak in for a quick tune or two between our sets. They sounded kick ass as usual. thanks to Gordie for the hook up. They are touring Canada right now in support of their new record and I suggest you check em out.

After the clinic we went back to Whyte ave to grab a quick bite and then load back into Blues on Whyte for a hump day show. We grabbed a bite at the Elephant & Castle across the street. Beef dip wa ok but the salad was shitty wilty lettuce. We did get to run into a dude we met last time we were here though. Seems he's relocated to Edmonton permanently and actually runs the kitchen at the restaurant that gave us the shitty salad. (yes, thats right folks. We eat salad on the road.) After our meal we hit the stage ........
and rocked out another wednesday night. The crowd keeps getting a little larger each night as we work for the weekend when it will be packed. Had lots of fun and ALMOST killed my self climbing over chairs and tables whilst rocking a solo on Mailman Blues. Sooner or later I know I'll fall on one of these adventures but it ain't happened yet!!!

Karl got to drive our compound manager, Jeeem's Charger home as Jeeem had too many pops to drive. Here is Jeem.....
.....As Shawn and I were on the way home we realized that Ruby was about 15km from turning 300 000. Amazing. We were going to drive around for a bit until she rolled but thought it wasn't right that Karl Bastards wasn't with us so we went straight home. She'll roll today fo' sho'. Seems like just yesterday when I got Ruby and she had a measly 137 000 KM on her. Two years later she's been all over this great land and we have to raise a glass to her because she is the real thing that keeps us doing what we do. Her face might be a little smashed up and maybe she makes the odd noise or two when you're humming along but she still gets us there. We love you Ruby......
After we got home we encountered a rare Albertan Snake Mouth at the compound and there were a couple attacks. somehow we managed to get a video of it. These things are rare but extremely aggressive. If you see one you can bet your head will hurt in the morning. Here's the Video.....

Well we just finished an amazing breaky. This time we upped the anty with the addition of Perogies. A fine decision if I do say so my self........ 

Soon we're off to see the movie Zombieland. This is a big step for me. Up until recently I was afeared of Zombie's so to be able to confront my fear and see this flick is pretty awesome. I'd say I'm growing as a human being.  After movie time it's a bison roast dinner, coutesy of Karl Bastard's sister, before we head back to Blues on Whyte to rip another piece of them. I hope fall is treating everyone well and that fluffy white stuff isn't bringing y'all down.

talk soon


PS....If you are reading this on Face book feel free to come on over to  I don't think you can see the video on FB. feel free to subscribe so you can get some chuckles added to your life at our expense. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I went to crazy town, I shook the Crazy down

Well it's no secret that in our line of work you get to meet some real gems. Some of you who know me well will also know that, for some reason, I seem to be  a magnet for strange people to approach me on the street, in bars or where ever. It seems that hasn't changed on this tour either.

Last blog entry we were about to rock Bud's on Broadway. This place is awesome. It's like a mini Blues on Whyte in Edmonton. Sketchy old blues bar. I love em like this. Its always entertaining and you never know what you'll get. Straight outta the gates there was a friendly crazy guy. All chatty and shit. I don't think the bastards would disagree if I said I have a higher tolerance for these type of folks. It's always interesting for a little bit. Certainly, after a while it can be taxing to be civil but I do enjoy the conversation for a bit anyway....

After sound check we loaded into the Band house. Initially we thought that this was number two for disgusting places to sleep while on the road.....i'll elaborate on that in a bit. Anyway we had fun shows there to modest crowds. The staff were real awesome and we had a good time having pops with 'em. We also got to go see 'it might get loud'. This is a documentary about the electric guitar with Jack White, Jimmy Page, and The Edge. It was super awesome. Even Karl loved it!! Needless to say the show that night was extra inspired. 

Here is a pic of us being billed incorrectly.

As an aside, and this has nothing to do with Bud's- we really had and awesome time there,
  I'm not sure why this happens so much but it does. I know some peeps are afraid to bill The Sufferin Bastards for whatever reasons and some folks just can't be bothered to spell my name correctly and sometimes thats just the way it goes....but...when your name is billed correctly in one spot, last name spelled wrong in another, one saying & The Sufferin Bastards while another says Ross Neilsen Band, I can't help but laugh. It doesn't take much to check, but I guess people assume it's the more common spelling.

On the weekend past we hit Weyburn and Medicine Hat. Weyburn is a small town in the middle of nowhere. We played a Joint called Pump jack's Saloon. Troy, the owner was super awesome and seemed to really dig the band. He also fed us some killer Rib-Eye steaks. We were in heaven. After the show we hit a wine store and then went to the hotel. The hotel reminded us a lot of 'The Voy' in North Bay. Different walls but they seemed to have the same secrets behind em. The floors even sounded the same. Our pal Andrew hipped us to the fact that there use to be a Mental   Institutethere up until the 70's. Here they apparently we're "innovators" in Lobotomy and LSD experimenting. We all agreed a field trip to the Institute would be in order. We were pretty bummed to hear they demolished the building some years back. Imagine the secrets that blew up with that building. They were doing this crazy shit back in the mid Nineteen Hundreds! Had to have been messing around in ways they shouldn't have been!

I slept almost the whole way to Medicine Hat. It was awesome. We rolled into The Ottoman Lounge and had some great burgers! We played two vicious sets to a tiny, tiny crowd. This is such a great room. They serve a tasty Mohito as well. Sean Davis is the fella that looks after the joint. He's a good guy and a great host. After the show we enjoyed some late night pops at his place. There were a lot of Rusty Nails making morning hard to get along with. Here's a pic....

Fortunately we enjoyed some mimosa's with our patented Bastards Breakfast. After a quick load out of our gear into the club (spiced up by some crazy guy stopping by to chat with us) we were back on the road to Edmonton. Here is a fuzzy pic of the Heavens.....(and a Truck).....

We arrived safe and sound at The Edmonton Bastards Villa. Great to see our Villa manager Jim again. We love his place cause it's got a full kitchen and a natural gas BBQ. Very cozy indeed. Jim's tolerance at us being in the house are amazing and we certainly appreciate it! 

Monday we loaded into Blues on Whyte for the first of 6 back to back nights. This place is the original crazy town and there is rarely a dull moment. Right away a friendly walking talking piece of crazy came right over and got the conversation going right away! Good sign.

This was typically the number one nasty accom on tour for us but i gotta say, walking down the hall to my room it not only smelled like mister clean but there was a vacuum in the hall! My room was spotless and I almost considered laying down on the bed! Shawn's room seemed to be haunted as the TV was on.......So I think we now officially move Bud's up to number one...BUT.....Don't get me wrong folks....I'm not complaining. It's all part of the charm of each of these places!

Anyway, Today we all had a pile of errands to get through and I must say, we took the west end by storm. Got all our errands completed and then some. We had a lovely Bastards dinner created by Karl Bastard. Peanut Coconut Currie. here's a pic........

Now we prepare to head out for night two of fun (i mean work) in Edmonton. I'll try and get some pics of some of the "friends" we meet. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Well its a snowy Wednesday in Saskatchewan. We are gearing up to head north to the Stoon for two shows at buds on broadway. I'm excited about it because ONE: we got double booked there last tour and didnt get to play. TWO: a lot of guitarists that have had an influence on me have made a mark in that room. Should be fun.

The past few days have been pretty nice. We had a good run in Ontario for the first leg of the tour. The highlights for the GTA run of shows was definitely the Press Club. For a midweek show we sure had a great time. There were a bunch of Fredericton folks there and we rocked em hard. Good times all round. On friday we drove to Collingwood to perform at JD's bar and grill. I have performed here a few times over the last two years. This was to be the last night for JD's as the next day they closed their doors. We were pretty honored to be the last act and we celebrated by having our pal Aaron Garner sit in the second set with us and rip up some nice blues licks!

The next day we started the first of three back to back eight (+) hour drives. Northern Ontario is a confusing landscape. Beautiful lakes, awesome sunsets and mind sucking long ass drives. The first on the list was Loplops in the Soo. Not a huge turnout but way better than the last time we were there for sure! Good people here.

After The Soo it was another long haul to our old arch nemesis Thunder Bay. Its no secret that there isn't much we like about Thunder bay. The one thing we do like though is Sheila Rock, her mom Tina and The Apollo Bar. While there is not a lot of support in the town for the bar it IS and awesome place to rock. A great sound system, nice sound guy and some of the best home cooking out there. Ths time there was a band from Calgary called Friendo. We had an amusing conversation with Henry, their drummer, about how and what we eat on the road. His eyes got really wide with amazement when we said we travel with a coleman stove and make sandwiches as well as lots of other great creations when the kitchen space is there. Their guitar player, Nicole drew us an amazing cartoon while we were performing. It's quite amusing.

After we rocked The Apollo and crashed we were up and at em bright and early. Even though this was our first day off in nine back to back shows we had a very good reason. My cousin, Kristin's cooking. Every time we tour she serves up one of the most amazing meals. This time was no exception. A full on Turkey dindin with all the fixins! Hell yeah. We were also happy to get there earlier than our usual late night arrival and looked forward to a good nights sleep. What we did instead was beverage until the wee hours came and went. Also a fairly normal occurrence when we get to hang with family from afar. So a huge thanks to those fine folks in Stonewall for making us feel so at home. Truly good times.

Well we're off to load up ruby and get her out in the snow. Wish her luck. Saskatchewan, we wish YOU luck. The bastards are in town.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

No KD Here folks.

One thing that is good about waiting until your 'mature' years to venture into rocknroll is that you are infinitely wiser than most of the other mamby pamby bands on the road.

A lot of people ask us about eating and sleeping arrangements on the road. As for eating, we take it VERY, VERY seriously. The three of us are all righteous kitcheneers in our own rights and when out together well, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know we can really throw down. As a result of this we put lots of thought in our eating time. Maybe some of you followed last tour's blog and you realized that we take breakfast as serious as a steak dinner. Yes, those ARE Mimosa's.

When we are trapped in the confines of Ruby's belly we enjoy soup and sandwiches mostly. Which as it turns out is a mid day favorite for the three of us. Hard to beat a S&S. When we have the time and resources we like to have nice meals. Last night Karl Bastards whipped up a coconut curry that was delicious! Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to snap a pic of it......I have just been pondering what I what I will step up with when my turn comes..... just the other day for  a measly $8 each we bought grocery for two supers, two breakfast and one roast for pulled pork sandwiches. Shawn, as it turns out is a master pork chef. Today we enjoyed some of the finest slow cooked pulled pork sandwiches known to man. to make them even better they were bathed in the best BBQ sauce this side of the sun. We have a connection in Trenton, who shall remain nameless, who makes this stuff and I am dead serious in saying it is the best!

The other awesome thing about food in road life is that people often think you don't eat so they make shit for you! This might be our favorite part! We think thanksgiving is going to be pretty lucrative in the old food dept. One of our fav stops is in Hogtown (toronto) where Karl Bastards niece lives. Tory is a fabulous chef and often fills us up with the most decadent brownies ever. This time we not only got brownies but also got Key Lime squares. If any of you know us well, you'll know that we are Key Lime connoisseurs and these squares rock! Thanks Tory!

We also have with us this time a coleman stove for lunch breaks and evening cooking at hotels/wal-marts. We have yet to bust it out but when we do I'll be sure to document it for y'all!

So there you have it folks. Not your average band cookery, we know. We are quite proud of our skills and never shy of flaunting them. So remember if you give us some floor space to barter with the Bastards cooking skills! Like our Rock, you won't be dissapointed.


Monday, October 5, 2009

on the road again!

Well we're three days into our eight week tour and it's started off beautifully. Saturday we jumped in the ole van (ruby) and headed out for Ottawa. We made it nicely and had a fun show. The drive was stunning. The leaves are at peak color change and the rolling valleys of them blew me away! like someone spilled all the paint cans.

Huge thanks to Newman and shock for putting us up in O-town. Sudnay morning we hit the road for one of my favorite places. Picton. Way down by the lakes it is a beautiful, laid back town filled with fine folks. I started playing here a few years back and became fast friends with many people there including Steve, the owner. This time was the first time for the bastards to visit and they were a hit. We also recorded the show for hopeful release as Volume 2 of the "What you need" series. We had a lot of fun playing the acoustic show. Lets hope the recording hold up!

After the show we went to my Uncle Pats in trenton to hang for the night. I had the great opportunity to play a couple of AMAZING guitars. Uncle P has been commissioned to sell these instruments for someone. They are a 1961 Chet Atkins Gretch and a 1972 White Falcon Gretch!!!! These guitars were unreal! Never played anything like the "Chet". It sucked every last point of stress out of my body while I played it. An experience I won't soon forget, if ever.

We have made it to Hogtown (Tdot) and are now unwinding with a steam whistle! Karl is preparing a pasta feed with meat sauce!!! then we head downtown to Mitzi's Sister to rock the walls down. I hope they are ready. 

I spoke with a nice gal from CBC Saskatoon today as well to promo our shows at Bud on Broadway in next week. Looking forward to this joint.  A lot of my influences have played there over the years. We got double booked there last tour and I was super disappointed so I'm looking forward to finally getting in there.......But first we need to take care of Ontario

There you go folks. We're alive and kicking. Just thought you should know! We'll talk soon. 


Friday, September 25, 2009

how rich do we need to be? and who the f*ck is bill?

Ok, so It's been a while. I was involved heavily in the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival last week so I was pretty tied up. I performed 17 sets of music in five days. It was fun but I'm still pretty wiped out. So thats what I was doing and why I've neglected y'all. Sorry!

So I'm walking down the street yesterday and a friend stops to chat and mentions something called Bill C-51. Ever heard of it? I sure as shit hadn't. Now I don't pretend to understand politics or even really follow it for that matter so I am also not going to pretend I really understand what I'm talking about here (google it and read for yourself and see if it makes any sense to you) but here goes:

From my less than enjoyable read on the bill (why cant they just write these in lay mans term so we understand, oh right they don't want us to understand) I gathered that it has been a while since our food and health act has been revised. I also gathered that they are trying to revamp what is and isn't prescription/therapeutic  medicine and who should have the say in what is and isn't. In a nutshell my friend mentioned that they were trying to make a lot of natural and therapeutic  remedies unavailable or over the counter and there could be offenses involved in using these and dispensing them in the future.
It seems to me that this may be an attack on two fronts. One - an attempt to get some   drugs off our streets. You know the kinds that you can cook in your own home? I'm not talking pot here folks. Do I agree with that? Sure do. 

Two - It also looks like a major cash grab from the pharmaceutical companies. I mean come on, if they are going to dictate what is and isn't deemed prescription who do you think is going to benefit from that? Old Mrs Hubbard on the corner who eats her hippie concoction to feel better? the Garlic farmerer down the street? the blueberry farm? After all, these things are all "therapeutic" right? Well it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to know that pharmaceutical companies will rake in millions more in a deal like this. This is an industry that already doles out incentives to Doctors and Government to peddle their products. What's that? Don't believe me? Ever gone to the doctor to find he ALREADY had your prescription written out before you got there? I know folks who have gone in for routine check up only to have their Doc suggest they need antidepressants because other family members were on them. This to me is peddling folks. And Who wins there? Pharmaceutical companies......again I dont know if I'm on the mark here or not. The read was really confusing....

You know what wasn't confusing? Section 23. Thats the part where they say an "agent" representing the Health Minister can enter your home and go through your things if he suspects there may be items in the house that are contraband. Does that worry anyone but me?
No warrant required? Thats a little scary isn't it? Now I don't have anything to hide but I value my privacy and right to that privacy above all things. I would do much to protect that right.As I said I don't really follow or know much about politics but any Bill that allows my government to enter my home without proper channelling is big brother, USA style fear mongering bullshit. This Bill was already squashed once but now my friend on the street insinuated that it was going to me voted on again....anyone know if that's true?

Ever wonder why we don't hear about these Bills? Pretty obvious isn't it? They spend all their time distracting us with H1N1 so we get scarred shitless about the flu and in the mean time things like C51 are slipping through the cracks. Yes, I know I sound like a conspirey theorist here. No, I haven't lost my mind. But in a day and age when little Timmy can't have a fucking peanut butter sandwich at school things have really gotten messed up and are getting worse. I'm not saying there aren't good politics out there I'm not saying it's all fear mongering but these few things are undeniably that. If the country had a nickel for everytime H1N1 was reported on we'd be debt free. If Bill c-51 had been mentioned that many times in the media I wonder what people would have said about it?

I guess we should all pay a little more attention to what is going on. If the Government sneaks a Bill like that through, that my friends IS the beginning of the end. We may as well take the doors right off our homes because the lock on the sure won't mean shit. I'd sit in my favorite chair and polish my shotgun but I gave it away when they were passing THAT Bill.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Rotten Ronnie

Who is Macdonalds trying to fool?

Now I watched Super Size Me and was disturbed like most. Recently I read an article on a Cheeseburger that hasn't changed its look in four years! no mold, nothin! Scary shit. Google it I dare ya! You'd think after reading all this crap and seeing all this stuff about the Mcnasty that is Macdonald's, that I would NEVER EVER eat that shit again. For a while I didn't. I sure did eat Wendy's, DQ A & W and Burger King though. Then last night  was dying for something nasty. I was going to use it medicinally, of course,  for my self inflicted ALE-ments. It occurred to me that none of these places are good or good for you. There is no fast food Utopia! I know that when I eat there, I will pay with a sore belly etc.......but I do it anyway. Why, I just can't say. Chalk it up to moments of weakness or maybe it's because so many of my memories involve that greasy freaky non real "food" that comes from god knows where.

So, as I'm standing in Mcdick's last night (can't do drive through as my window won't go down) I was looking around at the decor. It was weird. No Rondal McDonald. No Mayor McCheese. Certainly no Grimace and perhaps saddest of all, no Hamburglar. What the hell? Where was I? Instead of all the images the little kiddies love there were posters and murals of scenes that were straight outta freedom 55. One wall had a retiree couple frolicking in the beach on the sand. Another had a father and son at the park. What the fuck is that all about? Do they really think this is making a difference in marketing? There are MILLIONS of people just like me who know that McD's is vile science made,  non-food that isn't fit to feed a starving rat, BUT STILL EAT IT ANYWAY. I already feel bad enough about myself eating this shit. I don't need some ridiculous marketing campaign staring at me when I go in there. Jesus, I remember the day chicken nuggets were served up on a super cool little sword as you walked in the door cause they wanted to see if they'd sell. I ALWAYS buy my mcnuggets. Delicious little non chicken turds of death they are!!! You had me at five!

So come on McDick, Let us live like the old days. We know you serve shit but we buy it anyway. Save yourself a bazillion bucks in BS advertising and bring back that freaky deaky little clown. Bring back that over weight purple thing and the dude who has a cheeseburger for a head. What happened to you. We don't believe your freedom 55 bullshit. We KNOW this food is crap but we don't care. It's not like someone ATE Mayor McCheese....They just killed him off. Stuffed him in a closet somewhere where he should be a moldy study of some freakish kind of world curing penicillin but he's not even doing that. He's just sitting there in that dark wondering when Rotten Ronaldo is coming by to annoy the shit out of him. Well guess what McCheese. you're on your own pal. No one is coming for you. They are busy frolicking on the beach and at the park where life is grand and everyone is eating healthy salads from Mc'D's!

Give me play land, Give me crappy birthday cakes that make delicious memories for kids all over. How can the fucking happy meal even be it even still called that? It's probably called a "we dress this shit up so your parents think its not so bad for you meal" and its all a waste of their money. Parents KNOW it's bad. They also KNOW it makes fat little johnny and rolly pole-y Sally happier than just about anything. I mean come on, most parents let their kids watch TV, listen to shit music and play video games that are not so secretly ruining the globe....go ahead, let em have a Mclard sandwich. Sooner or later it will happen.

Lets all just have a little dose of honesty shall we. Not everything we do in life is good for you. Isn't there still a choice? Make your choices and live with the consequences. I'm not mad today because I ate McDonalds. I'm mad because they are lying to me. They aren't letting me have the real McDonalds. They are trying to dress their shit up. It all looks the same on the TP roll folks, I know who you are. I know what you are. So do millions. And you know what? I'll still drop a ten sheet there a few times a year to get my  fix. And I'll live with the fact that I could have made a better judgement that day.

You ain't fooling no one Ronnie. face it man. You can lie to yourself but you can't lie to me. I've been with you for too long. I know you. You should be ashamed. Pfffft.


Friday, September 11, 2009

HELP! I need somebody....

No, it's not my long awaited beatles bash blog, Not yet anyway....

It's quite a day today. As I swig the last mitful of the days minutes away I have been putting off this post by watching Cocksucker Blues, The Rolling Stones explicit unreleased documentary. WOW. It' quite the show. Rock AND Roll.

I have been thinking all day about what I would write as I knew I would inevitably post today to help me  a little bit. This day has such significance. It dwarfs other days. There have been some big days in my life. Birth. The day I got my first electric guitar. The day my mom took me to see Stevie Ray Vaughan (thanks mom), the day I got married, the day I got divorced, the day I turned thirty, Many, Many Many other awsome days. ALL insignificant compared to today. I have multiple memories of this date. There are a few things I remember VIVIDLY about this date. I've told the tale before and I'm gonna tell it again. For myself. 

Monday night. Mexis, 2001. As per usual I played Monday night at Mexis. I only remember it being myself and one Randy Cable. Mondays were a sure bet for a free, good drunk. Marg's were still tasty back then and I believe the tequila shots were still reasonably cheap. We were keen to finish this particular Monday in good timing as The Burt Neilsen (no relation) Band. or someone, was at The Cellar Pub and we wanted to see them (aka mexis was dead as a result). We finished earlier than usual and headed up the hill to catch the last set. I don't remember what the band sounded like or if there were a lot of people there. I DO remember that we, I, got hideously  drunk.

Believe it or not there have only been a couple days in my life that I remember being inexplicably late for work and this next morning was one of them. I awoke around 12.30 am with a start. I jumped up and called work (mexi's). I told my boss that I would be in immediately (I may be slightly off with the time). I dressed and booked it out he door. As I was walking to work I was going over in my head what I would say, other than 'sorry'.  I walked in and immediately went over to my boss to talk to him. He listened to me apologize and say whatever I said. When finished he asked if I had seen the TV today? I thought, 'thats weird'. "no." I said.  He then gestured towards it. I looked over and for the first time noticed Joey standing there STARING at the TV. I walked over and looked up. I couldn't believe it. Crazy images. Scary and strange. The most monumental news day of the world in my life. I couldn't have imagined that it would ever take a back seat to the same goddamned date. 

2005. I'm at home in St. Andrews. I dream about the phone ringing. It's a strange sleep. I awake with a message on my answer machine. It's no surprise. Even though I knew what was coming on the sad day of Sept 11, 2005  it didn't make it any smaller. The day before I had performed at Falls Brook Centre. As I went to the van I saw I had a message on my phone. It was my friend and employer at the time. He said I needed to get to the DECH asap as someone had called saying things were not good. We jumped in the van and made a b-line for the hospital. 

The waiting room is full and I know every person there. it's heavy. I sort of remember some folks trying to keep it light but it was impossible. We get the story straight and realize this is the critical moment. Our friend had fought long and hard. An amazing fight. Intense. But the battle was almost over. We waited for our turn to go in and say whatever you could think to say. I didn't say goodbye. I said, "see you tomorrow", as we were going to head home to St A to sleep in our bed instead of on the chair. All the usual pleasantries were exchanged. 'There is nothing you can do here', it's ok, go get some rest' and the like. All good and true advice. I remember joking with him when we visited. He gave me the finger I think. It seemed like maybe that it wasn't gonna be so bad. But that was just his way of taking it easy on us. 

He left in a most beautiful scene of love in the middle of the night. Amazing. The only image that is more powerful to me than the image I have of his passing (and I wasn't even there for that) is holding my fathers hand as he went. Nothing else compares.

In his life he drove me fucking nuts. As I'm sure I did to him. But he was brilliant. An amazing writer. Prolific, and good. Dangerous combo. As I analyze my own success and failures it's really funny to think that things would not be as they are for me if his story hadn't unfolded the way it did. Odd. During the last year of his life the design our friendship took was awesome. It was like all the pain in the ass years hadn't been for nothing. I know true friendship. I am lucky to know it. I hope you know it too.

In a day and age where the comedy, tragedy and ill communication of our lives is just a facebook headline I am strangely pleased to say that a select group of friends' FB status's today, had no mention of the most news worthy day of my whole life. Nowhere in their cyber lives did it say anything about terrorist attacks. It was littered, though, with comments of staring at boobs, having a coke, having a beer, listening to tunes, ALL things Randy Cable loved to do. THAT to me is the truth of how awesome he was and how his life impacted others. Try not to get angry at me for saying that, I don't mean it poorly to people who sufferwd loss back in 2001. Like him or not, I'm just saying that for some, he transcends tragedy. That my friends is a good thing. Sweet glow indeed. Cheers fuck face, you are missed.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good is Good? Try something new, you may like it.

Many many years ago I worked at a record store in Kelowna. The kind of big box multi purchase store. you could buy a cd, dvd, car stereo and big screen all at the same time. Although these stores are not really much fun to be in or work at this one was an exception. It was a good job for me for a couple years. It allowed me to explore many styles of music and the store had a staff that was genuinely passionate about tunes. Kind of fun for a while.

While working here we had the opportunity to have a few artists (many of which are now huge stars) stop by for "in-store" performances. One of these artists was Matthew Good. I believe at the time he was fairly popular in the west but I also think it was just before he hit it huge nationally. My memory of this is as follows: Fairly underwhelmed by the tunes and not impressed by the artists attitude. While I never turned the station when many of his hits were on the airwaves it was never really something that I would never buy either. It wasn't necessarily bad but I never really thought it was great either. As for his attitude...who knows. There are a myriad of things that happen on the road that can irritate and I'm sure playing a record store when you should be sleeping could be one of them. 

Fast forward many years. Matthew Good Band disbands. Matthew Good has a, sort of, public health episode. Matthew Good (seemingly) no longer gives a fuck what the record industry desires from him and decides to make music for the sake of creating (this is my outsiders look, i certainly don't claim this is what went on). Around this time he sets out on a solo tour and hits up Fredericton NB. My friend is the promoter and lands me a couple free tix. I go out of curiosity. What happened at that show is what I want to happen EVERY SINGLE TIME I go to a music show, but rarely does. Matt Good blew me away. Just him, an acoustic, a very simple light show and maybe, a bottle of vino. His rapport with the audience was amazing. He was witty and was able to express poignant views on the globe without slipping into rant/rave territory. A fine line for sure. The delivery of the tunes were amazing, both the older ones I recognized and the new ones. I left a Matt Good fan. 

Now I still have yet to buy an album, is there a live one from that tour? But I still tell people about that show an how amazing it was to be surprised like that. Currently I am streaming his new album , Vancouver, on his website and I like it. It still has that familiar sound and nice melodies but doesn't seem to be geared toward any desire of commercial domination (although I'll be surprised if it doesn't). I find the tunes and writing to actually be interesting which seems to be a stretch these days as there is an awful lot of what I would describe as SHIT out there.

Most often I am listening to blues in some derivative or another but I am a music LOVER so I can find things I like in all genres. I don't know what kind of music Mr. Good would call this and I don't know what I consider it either but I do like the sound of it. Of course if I had a heart it would have a soft spot in it for artist who do what they want and continually turn their ass to the big companies. I wish more artists realized the power they have in this day and age of recording and performing. Chances are if you don't feel like you can tell the record bigwig to fuck off, you won't be around in two years. check this article for a great rant about the same topic...

The times they are a changing for sure and if I were a record mogul I think I'd be looking for my gold watch and take the early retirement plan. Anyone who thinks I'm wrong....well we'll have to revisit this debate in five years when the only artists who are able to make a living will be the ones who can actually go out and take it to the people and perform. Very few of my fav bands are on the airwave these days but they all make a good living because they do it 'old school' and go out and tour their asses off after they make a record. I hope Mr. Good Is in this category (I think he is). I'm more than curious to catch a band show of this album and see how he delivers it live. Nicely done Mr. Good. Carry on.


Monday, September 7, 2009


If you know me, then you know I am a driven person. I enjoy setting goals and a REALLY enjoy attaining my goals. Its not always that easy of course. I set a lot of goals, and timelines for these goals, that I don't always meet. I try not to get discouraged and press on, knowing that meeting you goal late is way freakin' better than not at all!!! One of my favorite tools of goal attainment is the list. oh yeah baby. I  effin' LOVE to make a list. There is something very satisfying about crossing shit of that list knowing that its done. Completed. Finito. know what I mean? Now again I feel that it is important to stress that I don't necessarily always finish EVERY little detail of my list and some things have been on my list for a god damn long time....BUT...its the act of writing it out that counts for something. Like saying your goals out loud so you can here yourself say it. It's motivating. At least for me.

As the above video mentioned, we hit our mark of $3000. Now is no time to stop folks. we are a third of the way there. time to kick it. Slip it from fourth into fifth, go for it. Get down.  
You know?

So on that note, I am happy to reveal our next Promo....This will kick off later this week (as long as I get the Tickets by then). So listen it is.......suspense........

We here at The Bastards Empire are printing up 100 tickets. These tickets will sell for ten measly bucks each. When the tickets are gone we will have a draw. The first name drawn out of the hat will WIN AN ACOUSTIC HOUSE CONCERT from yours truly and the Sufferin' Bastards. Second prize, or as i love to say, THE BOOBIE PRIZE, will be the discography and a RN & SB hat! 

Our hope is that if it happens on a good timeline that this house concert will kick off our third national tour (we leave Oct 3rd). How cool would that be? a bunch of your close friends gathered at your house to have a soiree, with music and laughs provided by us!?! Imagine the sound of all your friends voices saying to you over and over, "man, that was the best party!". sound good? well then you'll want to run down to TONY's MUSIC BOX this Thursday or Friday and SNATCH up a ticket or three. 

A few other notes of interest: 
Next week is Harvest Jazz n Blues. There are still tix left for our Bud light tent show on Friday night with Moreland & Arbuckle and Original P. I'll send out a note with our hectic schedule this time next week. 

Also, our fall tour dates wil be up on all sites by the end of the weekso check that out too!
Stay tuned cause you know we always have something up our sleeve.

Hey guess what!?! 
After I sign off here I get to go cross something off my list. you know what it is?
Today's cross off was titled, "tell the folks how much you love em and thank them for making this all possible"!  We love y'all!  Y'all rock!

werd to yer mammies,


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Something old, Something new

It may come as no surprise to folks but I think about music a lot. All day. Most nights too. Some may describe me as obsessed. Maybe to a fault? I'm ok with it though. I think a lot about what it is about a song that turns our crank? What is it about a particular melody or chord group that effects us internally, cerebrally? 

I also think about fans a lot. Especially from the perspective of BEING a fan of music but also from a perspective of performing music from time to time. I wonder what it is that hits people so uniquely that they will be a fan for life. I guess we all look and want something different in music, knowingly or unknowingly. It's cool how a tune can turn one person into a devoted fan but the person standing next to them isn't moved at all. Fascinating and awesome is music and its powers.

  Recently i got a computer back from a friend and they had loaded it up with their favorite tunes. Now while i don't enjoy all of that persons selections, there are a few I have been enjoying immensely. Lately the band on there I have been enjoying for the last week or so has been Phish. Now I'm not a stranger to the band by any means. I have enjoyed them live a few times and, somewhere, have the majority of their studio catalogue. The thing about Phish (and most of my fav bands) is that in the Studio they are good but live, they are amazing. These four people are MASTERS of their instruments. When together they really seem to know how to make the four instruments work together. Feeding off of one another, communicating in some secret(?) language. The real win in getting back my computer was that there is now LOADS of live shows on it from Phish! So I have been in there deep listening and remembering. I haven't really listened to them in about seven years I'd say. I have been asking myself over and over, Why I stopped? Its a mystery. I don't know. I guess I burnt out on them back then. But now? I am reminded daily how great of a band they were live as I listen to these shows.

Since I have started listening to them again I have seen them popping back up on my radar. A blog I read sometimes, mentioned them. A friend in Ontario has them on his FB page all the time....and now as I was just inspecting my myspace page I see they have a new album coming out. What does all this mean? I don't know. maybe nothing. Maybe the Cosmos wants me to get back in touch with their music for some reason. Maybe it's cause I'm older and their tunes remind me of a wild time in my twenties. Whatever the reason is I'm enjoying it. My favorite era in early to mid nineties. Full of soaring guitar solo's and weird whacky songs. Beautiful.

I know this ramble has been all about Phish but really it makes me think about ALL of my go-to bands and what it is about their music that owns me? what is it about a band that you can gobble them up for a while and then not listen to it again for years and years but its still as exciting as it once was? I certainly haven't found the answers. I sure do keep looking though. 

Monday, August 31, 2009

Would it kill you to be nice?

Hey there,

Just wondering a simple little question today. Is it that hard to be nice? I know sometimes it seems hard to be nice when someone isn't complying with your required intelligence level for communication and I am guilty like everyone but some places seem harder than others to illicit a nice response or interaction with someone. Whether its on the phone or in a store or on a city sidewalk it sure seems tough to get peeps to be nice.

I'll tell you one place where it isn't too difficult though....In the country. Now by country I mean rural area. maybe its because you depend on your neighbor if shit hits the fan or because you can't just go to the store when you run out of toilet paper.....I dunno. But I can tell you in my experience it seems easier to have a pleasant interaction with someone in the country than on the street.

Sure there's an initial assessment on what the f@ck you are doing on their property but after a quick explanation things are usually very cordial. Im thinking of all this because today I was out in Taymouth with the phenomenal Bruce Devlin scouting for a location so we can shoot some press pics for the band. We were trying to find out who owned a particular gravel pit so we can ask permission to use it. I know some peeps might say "why not just go ahead and use it"? well I'll tell you....1. they might need to work there when we are there and 2. although country folk are nice, i myself was raised in the country and know you don't just go tramping around someone's property without askin'.

Anyhow, we met a fella on the side of the road who's name was Luke. Very nice chap. After assessing that we weren't casing the area he had no problem telling us who owned the pit up the road and then also didn't mind taking us across the road and down to the river where his grandfather has an old gravel pit that is no longer in use. Not only did he give us the tour but he was kind enough to give us permission to use it at our leisure. Thanks Luke. Mighty kind.

Would this happen in the city? I can't say for sure it wouldn't but people sure do seem more content to be about themselves don't they. Now here in the maritimes this isn't as bad as say in a larger metropolitan area but it still happens. So i'm imploring folks to go out of their way to be a little kinder to each other and note the difference it makes in your day. I spent my whole youth trying to get out of a rural New Brunswick and spent my twenties living in cities all across Canada. Now that my hair is not just brown I find myself longing more and more for the country life and its friendly atmosphere. Maybe thats old age setting in early or maybe its just me having a more difficult time adjusting to people's shockingly unfriendly demeanor. I know everyone has a bad day and we can't all shoot rainbows out of our asses all the time but since i have tried to be nicer to folks (i really believe my miserable demeanor was killing me) iI have enjoyed a much happier quality of life.

so go ahead, I dare you to try and be nice to everyone you meet. Now these things should be eased into so you don't snap but try and hour or an afternoon first then up it to a day, hell go for a week. I warn you it isn't easy but it CAN be done. And as silly as i sound here, it IS rewarding. Be nice people, i dare ya!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Genius and the Evil Empire

Today i did two things that if asked ten years ago i would have said i would never do.
1) I voluntarily, happily, went to starbucks for a coffee
2) I voluntarily and happily bought a greed day cd

Now, i know these two things to some people might not seem strange at all. If you know me at all, though, you'll know that up until our last canadian tour i loathed starbucks (evil empire) and up until last year thought Green Day was a ridiculous pop/punk band of little significance.

Explain please!

1) Not too long ago i would have categorized Starbucks in the "Evil Empire" slot of my busy little brain. Not only did i not understand why there needed to be one on every corner of the world but i couldn't stand having to jump through hoops to order a simple coffee. Honestly some of the things people order when i'm in line make me think they had to go get a degree just to pronounce the words.....a half-decaf-soy-frappawhat-the-fuck-was-that? 
If i was a Starbucks employee i'd probably have a heart attack just writing the test (i assume there is a test to know all these fancy assed coffee thing-a-ma- jigs).

I gotta say though on our last tour when we were in Edmonton it was soooo blazing hot that we thought, "hey, lets grab some air conditioning and an ice tea". well when starbucks is your only option, thats what you have to do. We each grabbed an ice tea, mine was the fruity passion flavour while the bastards grabbed a black unsweetened i believe (what's that tell y'all about us?). Maybe the heat had gotten to us, maybe it was the eight weeks on the road who knows....what ever the reason those ice teas were fucking delicious. So good, in fact, when we went to the grocery store, we each got another at the conveniently located starbucks kiosk right there in the Safeway grocery store. How convenient. Evil? Empire? Maybe a little but we were starting to crack.

One thing the Bastards and i love and covet in life, especially while on tour, is a real good, strong, tasty cup of coffee. far too often when traveling you get the "brown water" treatment. Let me tell you, at 3am after a long day of driving and gigging this can instantly cause the rage and certainly cause you to take notes of any shitty little Esso's in Saskatchewan that repeatedly serve the "brown water" with pride. So on this note i have also started to enjoy the starbucks blend as it is just what we like, a strong, coffee flavored coffee. i spend money at all the coffee places here in fredericton and with the exception of Jonnie Java's (best coffee ever!) downtown at Paradise Imports i find starbucks to have the most consistent cup of joe. 

Now i know a lot of peeps out there are going to put on their high pitched voices and say "but starbucks is evil they do bad things in business and they squash the little guy" etc, etc.  
I hope at this point people realize that most of our favorite companies that sell our "must have products", somewhere, deep in the organization, probably spend their money on something that may be ethically questionable to you. Just like some people like different things than you, and chose to make different choices in life. So i guess tolerance and being less judgmental are the things to really search for in ourselves and in others. its all too easy to make a blind judgement on people, music, and yes even little things like coffee. I think in fact it might have something to do with being lazy. instead of researching or taking the time to listen to someone's view we just automatically tune them out or deem them "wrong" as soon as we realize that their views are different than ours because we can't be bothered to take the time to hear them out. I know I am certainly guilty of this a lot of the time. I recognize it though and do try to make an effort to change it in myself, and i confess, it sure ain't easy!

On that note.......
here comes the segue....
cue the tunes.....
that last point leads me to my explanation of number 2).........

I bought a Green Day cd. What the fuck? Over the last year when i heard  the radio (the radio is in love with Green Day) blasting a tune from 'American Idiot' it struck me how different it was from the normal top 40, radio rock, Nickelback-y, kinda tunes. Although its undeniable in its pop content it also has a depth to it. From catchy melodies and nice simple chord progressions to complex lyrics about important social issues? What? Is this the same band that put out 'Dookie'? Is this the same band that was banned from Fredericton because Billy Joe performed a tune buck nekid at the Aitken Centre? Could these faux punk/pop stars have something to say? I decided I would start listening harder. Sure enough the reviews I read all hailed them and very few had anything bad to say about the Genius of Green Day. Here was a band that had previously made their mark in radio with POP hits, writing tunes about the current political climate on our continent. I can't think of one other band that has the radio support that Green Day has, that writes tunes that are the seemingly perfect balance of pop, punk and lyrically relevant. 

When their latest album came out I realized it followed the same format as American Idiot. I again thought the same thing, cleverly conceptualized rock and roll. but was it punk? hmmmm.
I went as far as renting a DVD, 'Bullet in a Bible',  from the American Idiot tour. Great live show, rabid fans and some good coherent snippets about the concept of the album and how it differed from their previous work. All that aside what struck me most about the DVD was their attitude while performing these "pop" tunes. It was without question undeniably Punk. 

Oh wait, I can hear all your high whiney voices coming back on again, "Green Day is NOT punk" etc etc.....I'm not hear to debate your opinion of Green Day or even Punk Rock (see explanation #1), BUT, MY opinion of punk, or RocknRoll or whatever you want to use for a descriptive term is this.....

While there is a Genre called Punk and a Genre called Rock i think these are different than what i am talking about. I'm talking about an attitude, a way of life. Punk is not a style of music, Rock n Roll is not a style of music. I believe these to be descriptive words of individuals who have a specific state of mind. You might even go as far as saying Punk Rock and Rock n Roll are the same thing or at least BORN from one another. Like blues and Country or insert you two fav descriptive pigeon holing words here. Everyone is really caught up in being able to categorize music. Usually the first question people ask is "what kind of music is it?" What would the world be like if we all subscribed to Ray Charles theory of music? Two Categories: Good Music and Bad Music. I can usually find a good band i like to "rock" out to in any genre of music. I think thats what brother Ray, the genius, was talking about wasn't it? I think Green Day is currently as relevant as any band that shook the seams was, whether we're talking about Dylan in the 60's or the Clash in the 70's. 

So maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge? look around. If you look hard enough you might just stumble on something you like. I know I'm trying harder not to dismiss a band just because they are stuffed into a genre i wouldn't normally listen to.

So, does Genius live next door to the Evil Empire or are they in fact roomies? which of these words apply to you seems to be determined by how you art or product is accepted or perceived by the public. Is Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) one or the other? Is he both? He's smart enough to have multiple tunes in the top ten in an age when record companies don't allow one artist to rule it like that. This ain't the old days of the Beatles folks.....but ole Chad was smart enough to figure out how to do that anyway. The Genius, Ray Charles was one of the first artists to negotiate his contract so he OWNED his master outright. For the day and age it was amazing. Brother Ray started his own evil empire. 

Genius? Evil? I guess these things depend on your view of business don't they. Does Success mean you're Evil? Even if you've made a point to be as nice to everyone you can, you still won't be able to win over  everyone all the time. 

I for one, am ok with that. Are you?
I'm going to watch Purple Rain now and try to remember why i started playing guitar.

Ross AKA Master Bastard, 
head of my own Evil Empire, and proud of it. 
Join us before it's too late!