GOT GRIND?

 

Labour day. Work. Jobs. Holiday. Day off. Time and a half. This day lends itself to many thoughts, meaning many different things for many a different folks. Just so happens I’ve been thinking a lot about my jobs lately. I have three. I work a record store. I work a bar and I work for myself in music. I don’t do any of these gigs because i have to. I do them all because i want to. Each one gives me something i need or desire in return and as a result, i enjoy these various jobs. My Dad was a “workaholic”. My mom too. I don’t view that word poorly, as some may. Both my parents worked hard at their jobs because they seemed to enjoy them, or that’s how i perceived it. This was not lost on me as a youth and certainly not as an adult. I’m pretty fortunate to say that there have been only a few times I’ve done a job that i didn’t like or want to do. Those ones always filter themselves out though. So I believe I come by my work ethic naturally. I was instilled with values. An appreciation for hard work, follow through. Respect for a job well done. These traits have been a great asset to me in my life and likely, at times, a real pain in the ass to other folks that i’ve worked with. Be it in my own business or working with coworker in someone else’s business. I can be demanding. I’ve mellowed as I’ve aged, yet I still have high expectations. When it’s something I care deeply about, only the best is good enough. I will drive myself crazy to get it done. To sweat it out until it is just how I desired. Grind. That’s right. Grind people. Follow though. To me, this is the ability persevere. To triumph adversity. To fail and continue on in the face of defeat. Rise above. Grind. It. Out. I got grind. I don’t need to convince you and have you agree with me for me to know this. The truth is not dependent on your belief in it. My resume from the past ten years tells the truth. The respect I have from my peers tell the truth. That is enough for me.

So why the diatribe? I’ve been working at The Snooty Fox again lately. I took an eight year break from bar tending. Then I found myself single again, back in Fredericton with some downtime and needing a break form music. I was all too happy to accept the job offer from my old friends, Kyle and Krista, owners of The Snooty. This has been a real blessing. It reminded me how much of a social creature i am, even though at times i like to hide away. It also reminded me how much i need human interaction to aid in my writing. It reminded me how great it is to pay off bills again. I have met some great folks from bar tending there. I love them all. Such Characters. A couple of these folks in particular set me to thinking about GRIND lately. It has become apparent that GRIND is a thing that seems to be missing in society today. The willingness to follow through. to see it go the distance regardless of outcome. Where has that gone?

Society seems all too quick now, to accept the instant, temporary, satisfaction of a lesser quality product. I too, have been guilty of this. I had a revelation while streaming the first four episodes of Game of Thrones when it was leaked online. The quality was terrible yet i wanted that immediate, temporary satisfaction of seeing all four episodes NOW!!! Instead, i should have waited. Watched them as they aired. Enjoyed the suspense. Watched the masterful videography in HD quality, as it was intended to be enjoyed. But no. I wanted it NOW! This woke me up. The world is deep under the wheels of this bus. Jobs. Food. Relationships. LIFE. We all want that quick, temporary satisfaction. Even if it’s not the high quality long time satisfying feeling we could have if we Grinded it out. Waited, were PATIENT.

Last month I had two gig cancellations in the same week. This amounted to the lose of $2000.00 for my business. That spins out into two employees losing money and a variety of local businesses not getting my hard earned money and had I not taken the job at Snooty Fox it most certainly would have meant I could not have paid my bills that month and I CERTAINLY wouldn’t have been able to afford to paint my house. I lost one gig after I had been under the impression we were confirmed, when the “council” decided to go with another band. One month before the Scheduled gig. Disappointing for sure. But as I was told “such is life”. Can you imagine trying to use that phrase with your plumber? Your banker? Your boss? Your employees? The second gig was cancelled less that two weeks before the event. This gig was for a beer festival and was on a Saturday. PRIME booking night. At less than two weeks to gig day it would be impossible to re-book the show. The reason for cancelling? The presenter decided to cancel then, rather than closer to the day of the event. It seems that the presenter booked seven bands, organized a one day event at their business, which would spin off into many other financial obligations, and the entire time, at the back of their mind they thought “well if it looks like I’ll take a loss, I’ll just cancel”. Grind? I think not. So, the business cancelled, saving their own asses yet at the full expense of everyone else involved. Not to mention I found out about the cancellation by seeing they had cancelled the event on facebook! This my friends, is the opposite of grind. I have booked many national tours, produced many shows. Very few have been what I would call profitable. Many have broken even but a handful cost me my shirt. I never ever thought it was ok to put my tail between my legs and screw my employees or other business associates over and pull the plug and go home. I always found a way to pay who needed to be paid and I always looked back and learned a lesson. Now, I know not every single human is ignorant of this. I know many people who have grind. In fact, when I look around, I see that I have in fact, surrounded myself with people who have grind. I don’t think this was intentional per se, but it sure does make me happy to see my peers busting ass and doing what needs to be done at their OWN expense.

I used to take every gig I could because I loved playing that much. Then I took every gig I could because I needed to pay my bills. That was a dangerous place to be and nearly ruined music for me. Now that I have a bar tending gig again I don’t have to take any gigs I don’t think will be emotionally or financially rewarding. This has been a real blessing. After Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival I will be taking the least amount of gigs I have done in a decade as I take the fall off. Oh, I know what you’re  thinking…”that doesn’t sound like grind”… fear not my friends. Grind takes place above and below the surface. Don’t think for a second that I don’t have a plan. I’m still working on music. There will be new music from me in 2016. I’m also, and most important, working on me. Searching deep. Asking the tough questions. Finding out who I really am. What it is I really need and want. Passing over the immediate, temporary satisfaction. I’m Grinding it out to get to the good stuff. The long lasting, satisfying stuff. How about you?

Stay good. Grind on,

Ross

 

PS…shout out to Kevy and Joe Paw for making me thing about Grind.

PPS. I know that things are rarely as they appear and sometimes there are things happening that leave people to make decisions  out of their control. This is not lost on me. I try to be seeing the big picture all the time. However, there is always a big picture on the other side of the coin too. This is MY side of the coin.

Day 19 (?): Edmonton Compound

Well hello there. I’ve been fairly delinquent in updates. Sorry ’bout that. It’s difficult to stay on top of while traveling. We’re in Edmonton at our Bastard Compound now for a few days of downtime so I’ll try and get caught up. Let’s see, we’ve played a bunch of shows and been through a couple provinces since I last updated…

Winnipeg: Got to hang with our pal Vince and his lovely lady. They were gracious enough to host us for the night. Since it was a lovely day we BBQ’d. Can’t be in Manitoba and not try farmer sausage right? So Vince grabbed some Farmer Sausage (not to be confused with some farmer’s sausage) and chopped her right up for the Q. It was good stuff! I think Vince even had a stop by his fridge in the middle of the night to have a snack…it was THAT good.

Regina: After a fairly nice drive we found our club for the night. The Gas Light is up two flights of stairs (BOO!) but other than that we felt right at home there. They have some sweet dinner deals for you while the Ladies dance the pole …not nekkid though.. : ( Unfortunately we were told by the Bartender right away that due to the Mosaic being that weekend in Regina we shouldn’t expect too much of a crowd. The Mosaic is a food fair featuring pavilions from around the world and it is highly attended. Our Bartender was right. It was a quiet night but we rawked ‘er anyway. Had a nice chat with the owner, Joan and got to re-connect with Dan from the Regina Blues Society. We look forward to coming back in the fall to try our luck again. Did I mention there is a tattoo shop in this bar???? How awesome is that?

After our show we had a few days off and thought it might be nice to do some camping to relax a bit before our next string of shows. We tried a place called Regina Beach but all the campsites were “full”. All that really meant was they didn’t want to rent to us. Seems Regina Beach has a bit of a party reputation and the campground owners assumed we’d get rowdy…..So after a beer and some sunshine we fueled up, got supplies and drove to Dundurn. We found the campground, which is just south of Saskatoon, and set up. Man. What a find. Totally quiet this time of year and RIGHT on the lake. Shawn Bastard tried his luck at some fishing…

and we got a great sunset too!

We had such a great night we decided to stay another day since it was sunny again. The beach was a couple KMs away so we played a “through the woods to the beach and back” game of Bocce. Lots of fun, a little sun burn and loads of little bug fly/thingys that we’re getting it on down by the beach. that part was a little creepy. It was a good bocce match. Shawn Bastard came out on top and now I think that means he is up 2-1 over Karl this tour. I, sadly, have yet to win a game….That night we cooked on the fire and relaxed and enjoyed another epic sunset.

The next day we hit up Saskatoon. We were due to play the following two nights at Bud’s on Broadway. We’ve played at Bud’s a lot over the past six tours and really love the place. Great staff and always a good time. We had some folks from the Saskatoon Blues Society out as well and it was good to see some familiar faces there to rawk! Here’s a pic of one of the full time residents int he Apt. above the bar….

His name? Yup, you guessed it…Bud.

The really great part about Saskatoon is we get to stay at my cousins place and hang out with family. The really, REALLY great thing about staying there is that my cousin’s wife is an incredible cook and she knows we love to eat so it’s a great relationship really! Here’s a pic of one of our great plates of food while there…

After our last show at Bud’s we drove overnight to Edmonton. We had a fresh shipment of T-shirts coming and wanted to make sure we were there to receive ’em. We only just got this re-order and are already finding ourselves ready to do a third order. Needless to say the T’s are selling well!!!! We played Stony Plain on the Friday and had a fun time. Great owners there that go out of their way for you. Always a treat to rawk the Stony Plainers!!!

Saturday we got up and had lunch at our fav little deli in Edmonton. “Care it Urban Deli” is home to some delicious sammies and yummy soup. We eat here a lot as it’s tasty, healthy and cheap. Three rarities in food when on the road. Before we knew it we were back on the road to one of our best gigs in Canada. Mikey’s Juke Joint. What can I say that I haven’t already said here….Mikey’s kicks ass. We always have a great crowd there with lots of old east coast friends and each time we play we make some new Calgary fans. This time was no exception. Here is some video someone took during the concert…

GREAT TIME!!!! Big thanks too, to our pals in Vista Heights for letting us crash. always fun!!! MAJOR THANKS to Justin for giving me a pair of sweet boots too!!! What a guy!

After a nice breakfast with our pals we hit the road to return to Edmonton for a few days off before hitting the mountains. We got to have a quick hang with our compound manager Jim and his son/helper/tough guy extraordinaire, Sean. We had a great time into the wee hours and before we knew it, it was Monday and we were making our patented Bastard Breakkie…..

Gonna get some rehearsing in tomorrow and then Wednesday we drive to beautiful Jasper for a few shows at The Downstream before heading into BC’s interior. Lots of fun coming up so stay tuned. There are always shows being added so keep in touch with out tour dates too. We’ve announced a couple shows that were under wraps including MONTREAL JAZZ FEST!!!!!! and a couple other fun Quebec Festivals! Mais OUI!!!

So i say to everyone, enjoy the long days and get some sun when you can. We’ll chat soon! yours in RAWK,

MB

Rawk The Apocalypse!

Hey all!

Just sitting inside at my computer. I had been out enjoying the fresh air but then something happened in the sky and I started to feel warm and stuff. Fearing the world really was going to end this, as you may or may not have heard in an interview on CBC earlier this week, I ran for cover!!! Now I see my landlord out there doing some gardening so I feel I may have jumped the gun and perhaps it IS just this mysterious thing called “the sun”.

So now I’m being held hostage inside by a Tom Petty DVD and Propeller Pilsner. So, I ‘m making the most of my crisis by throwing down a little blogamabob. Yeah that’s an official blogger term. I may or may not have just made it up. I’m also listening in the background to the Jon Stewart/Bill O’Reilly interview. If you haven’t seen it please watch. Jon Stewart for President please. Just Sayin’!

Ok, to the point!!! There’s some RAWKING going on this weekend in NB. These are our last two shows in NB until late August as we leave next week for our national tour……so….. we hope some peeps come out to say hi!

FIRST SHOW: Friday May 20th in Sussex, NB 10pm-ish. We’ll be rocking the new Mason Jar location on 60 Maple Ave. It’s bigger and better and we can’t wait to rock it! Just to make it even more awesome we’ve added our pal Jamie Junger from the south shore of NS to open the show. Jamie writes great songs and is a fun dude that hang with so make sure you’re there early to check him out!

SECOND SHOW: Well if CBC is right and Saturday May 21st is the apocalypse, we’ll be going out in style at The Shiretown Publican in Hampton NB. Show is 10pm. Great new pub so come on in for food and then stay for RAWK! Should be a great time. My brother will be home for a hang too so that could always lead to trouble/fun.

So there you have it…our weekend plans for RAWK. You can expect another blog post early next week all about our sixth National tour which kicks off next week in Quebec City. Check the tour dates on this site to see if we’re coming close. This kicks off our summer and we’ll be busy rocking right until the end of the year so c’mon out and shake em on down with us. We’ve missed you!!

In closing I’d like to send a tip of the hat out to the late great Johnny Guitar Watson who passed away 15 years ago yesterday. If you don’t know JGW, let me tell you that he was the pioneer for rap a brilliant front man and a superb musician. He was THE original gangster of love that Steve Miller immortalized. He died onstage, mid show and with his last dying breath, quoted his own song sayin’ “ain’t that a bitch”. Do youself a favour and hop on youtube to check him out.

MB

Food, the vote, last minute shows.

What a weekend. So much driving. Lots of play too though. Got to do some fun sows with Chris Colepaugh and his Crew on Friday and Saturday. Loved it! so nice to play with this guy. He really is the best kept secret around here. He has been rocking it for well over ten years and it shows. He is a total pro with one helluva live show. If you haven’t seen it you just HAVE too. Plain and simple. I also did a few solo sets in Halifax at Saltscapes Expo. There were fun too. I love promoting NB and had a ball playing for the folks there. thanks to Harvest and the province for including me. I got some crazy good hot sauce from Amiel’s Island Fire, caught up with the Hot Lollies and reconnected with old friends form Treat shoppe by the Sea. Oh, and drank some Propeller Pilsner (YUM) and tried Bacon Jam for the first (not last) time. Life Changing!!!!

Man, what a weird day today. Vote day in Canada. I’ve been enjoying talking with friends who share different views on the election today. Hard to argue with a few of ’em who don’t want to cast a ballot. I personally think everyone should. Even if you spoil it. Thing is though, I find most people cast a ballot and then think their duty is done. Then the politician goes on the screw up and peeps bitch about it around the kitchen table. You know what folks, here is what I think….The actual casting of the ballot is an integral but TINY part of the process. The real important part is the follow up. Hold those people you vote for accountable. In our complacent society people seem fine to just be disappointed. Those folks you vote for are working FOR you though. Which means YOU can hold them accountable. Instead of crying around the campfire about johnny politic screwing up “the system” why not call his office and ask to have a chit chat. Email him, write a letter. Friggin’ harass that guy. Cause that is well within your rights. Call him out on his short comings. That’s OUR job. We need to do this. Death to complacency and re-birth to accountability. I refuse to lie down and say “well that’s just how it is” or “some new asshole is gonna do that same thing”. Let’s all try and start holding these jokers responsible for a change? Wouldn’t that be a switch? Fingers crossed it’s not Harper we’ll have to hold responsible.

Osama. Wow. I woke up to that news. Weird. I don’t get it. Overboard with the body? hmmmm. The dog seems to be getting wagged a touch here. I saw a pic of a bunch of fire fighters watching a news ticker saying Osama was dead. Fist pumps in the air etc. The caption said “closure”. Really? just like that? I’m not from NYC and certainly not a fire fighter but is this news really all it took for closure? i don’t want to sem disrespectful to those folks who were there and worked the scene cause i have nothing but respect for them but is anyone doubting the validity of it all? It’s all very odd. Celebration of the death of a death dealer. It’s strange to me. Just out of the blue like that too.

On a lighter note I want to mention that in my ECMA post I forgot about the very best thing that whole week. The Bastards and I went to Claddagh Oyster House to eat. You see my old pal Paul is the chef there. Let me tell you this, BEST DINNER EVER! I didn’t get a pic of the first course but it was pork belly braised in a guinness sauce. Yeah. I know. That was the first course. of SEVEN!! Pics don’t do it justice but check it….

Lobster Gnocchi!!!


Oysters. Raw, Rockefeller and Bruscetta (i think)


Fancy Mussels!


Beef Tenderloin and fancy mashed!!!


Southern Fried Chicken. This may have been my fav. INCREDIBLE


Pork Tenderloin

It was just ridiculous. the whole thing. The service was great and the food knocked us out! thanks so much to Paul and his team. Way beyond top shelf guys!

Ok, so last but not least I just added to short notice gigs. This THURSDAY may 5th I’m performing solo at The Shiretown Pub in Hampton NB. This is a nice, brand new pub and I’m looking forward to playing there. I booked the same room for Saturday May 21st only with The Bastards. $5 for Thursday and $10 for Saturday. Please help spread the word! Hope to see you there!

Ross

PS…it’s fiddlehead season. Yes!!!

CKUA Interview with Holger Petersen

It was pretty cool for me to finally get a chance to chat with Holger. I’ve listened to him for a long time so to be on the other end of the program was a little surreal. We had a great chat. We spoke at great length about the recording of Redemption as well as the life and times of the great Jim Dickinson and his amazing family. Interview is broken into two parts. I hope you enjoy listening.
01 Holger Interview Track 01

And here is Part two:
02 Holger interviewTrack 02