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.

Pure Rawk Fury Update

Hey y’all

Well, we’re in Edmonton. We’re 2/3 through this tour. I’ve been internet restricted as my phone crapped out on me and I can’t access internet on it, or text or email or anything for that matter. Works great as a phone though, but who uses their cell as a phone these days???

We’ve been all the way out to Vancouver island and back since the last post. We played the Yale in Vancouver on a Friday. Had a great time! Lots of Dancing. It was nice to get back in there before they close the doors for an extensive renovation project. Had a major fun Halloween show in Tofino. Our whole time on the island was great actually. It still is as magical as it was the first time. How can you go wrong with view like these?

We hooked up with our pals in MONKEYJUNK in Crofton BC for a show. The boys sounded so good. If you haven’t heard their album “To Behold” you should. Its a gooder and available on Stony Plain Records. The Junk we kind enough to get me up at the end of their set for a jam. Great fun playing guitar along side Tony D!

My personal fav gig on the island was a house concert we did at our friends, Ken and Lynda’s place. Great crew and killer hospitality. Karl Bastards and I had a lot of fun listening to tunes and telling tales way into the wee hours with our hosts. Really fantastic time!

After finally leaving the island we played one more show in Vancouver at Falconetti’s in the east end. Pretty good time. We had a funny drive into the city too. A fella in a BMW rolled his window down to yell at us that their was something wrong with our tire and we should check it out asap. Turns out dude has never seen, or heard, studded snow tires before!

We spent our days off at my sisters place and Karl’s folks in the Okanagan, My sister delivered an epic day of course after course of appetizers paired with incredible wines. I can’t recall the last time I had such a great food/wine experience. She moved to the Okanagan in the summer to chase her dreams in the wine industry and has really been killing it! If you dig wine check out her awesome blog HERE

After a quick visit with the Padre and the Sniper on Carrs Landing we hit the road for a quickie in Robson at the Lion’s Head Pub. We discovered this spot last tour and we were stoked to go back. Great pub, amazing people. The owners treated us to breakfast in the AM and the real treat was moose sausage! DELISH!

After Robson we barreled to Kamloops for a couple shows. The second was at our fav little joint in the area, The Westsyde Pump. This place is way out in the west end and we discovered it on our first tour when Ray Nyuli brought us in for a few shows. The staff here are awesome and the crowd loves to rawk! Love that joint!!! We were amused to see Ray’s face on a poster on the road as he’s now running for council there.

After the Loops we drove to Banff to spend our two days off relaxing before our shows there at the Rose n Crown. We spent our first night off pub hopping with our old friend Newt. We caught a set by Five Alarm Funk out of Vancouver. Man did they ever rock it! Furious funky stuff! Lots of fun! Doni and Jim at the band house showed us good times and the staff at the Rose looked right after us! Always a treat to spend multiple days in the rockies. After Banff we had a slow but beautiful drive to Jasper. We rawked a classic great Downstream Bar crowd. This place is one of our favs with lots of loyal fans! Big ups to Soto and his crew there for treating us right!

With Jasper under our belts, we drove the farthest north I’ve ever been in Canada. Grand Prairie. We played Better Than Fred’s and we’re treated to some great steak sammiches from the bar and some complimentary shots and beers by the patrons and staff. On a side note, quite possibly the hottest staff in Alberta with the exception of Red Deer. It’d be tough to choose! We rawked a couple sets and had a ball. After the show we relaxed at the great band house. Giant screen TV and XBox. Shawn Bastards and I killed nazi zombies till the wee hours.

Yesterday we had a brisk drive down to Stony Plain where we were all set to rawk the Early Stage Saloon. We had the best crowd we’ve ever had there and had a ball with them. sold some merch and had some laughs! Great night. Big thanks to our pals John and Carmen for having us again and again.

Now we’re holed up in the Edmonton compound. Burgers are on the go as I type and I’ve got my eye on a delicious bottle of chianti. Tomorrow I’ll venture to the mall to try and get my damn phone fixed so I can remain more up to date for the rest of the trip.

If you didn’t know, we added some shows on the way home. Winnipeg, Kenora, wabigoon etc. Check em out and get on out to a show! I hope you’re all well and warm. It’s -20 here and we’re not digging it at all.

Before I go I want to mention that my fundraiser for my solo trip to Memphis in February to compete in the International Blues Challenge will be held at Dolan’s Pub in Fredericton on Wednesday Jan 18th. I’d love to see y’all out there in the crowd! Keep an eye on the website too as I’ll be posting solo tour dates for 2012 up here fairly soon.

Stay good,

Ross

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

Day Five

Hey all,

we’re in Batchawana Bay which is about 40 minutes north on HWY 17. We’re five days into our tour and all is well We got away early Thursday AM to make our tour kick off in Quebec City. We played the Casbah and it was awesome! Great venue, nice people. We even had a look see at who was coming in the summer and look who we found….

Friday we trekked along to Ottawa for our show at the Rainbow.
It was maybe the best crowd we’ve played to there. We got to hang with our pal John Crowely as well. Thanks to Mr. Crowely for putting us up and the late night BBQ! Saturday found us back in Lavigne at the Lavigne Tavern. Guy and Judy have become great friends and we always enjoy playing there, not to mention the Pizza is the best and the pie and cake, well I don’t want to say too much cause then everyone will know, but some of the staff there are awesome bakers and we love the goodies!

Last night we played in Batchawana Bay

at the Voyageurs Lodge and Cookhouse. We discovered this joint a few tours back and like to stop for the amazing home cooking and Best Baked Beans in Canada!

This time we decided to do a little show as well and had a real blast playing for the locals. The folks who run the place are so nice and treated us like gold. It was a great time and I know we’ll be back here for sure in the future!!!

Today after breakfast we had a rousing match of Bocce.

Karl Bastard took home the trophy today but it IS early in the season so it’s still anyones championship. There will be more details on this championship in the coming days. All I can say is…shine up those balls folks….the challenge is on….Stay tuned for the official bocci challenge video…

Well, we’re off to Wawa now to play the local high school theatre tonight. I’ll try to keep the updates regular but up here in northern Ontario web service is here and there so be patient! Stay tuned,

Ross

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!!!