Written by Musky, who replaced Dane on our US summer tour.

 

**DISCLAIMER**
This tour journal is in no way sanctioned by I Refuse or any of it’s subsidiaries. I just decided to write a tour journal yesterday because that’s what cool bands do, I think. Is it still called a journal if you’re just writing from memory?

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For a couple weeks this past summer, I filled in for Dane Metcalfe on I Refuse’s summer US tour. It was a hell of a good time, marked by van troubles, funny accents, and free burritos.

Early Summer

Mariful had approached me about the possibility of filling in on their upcoming tour. I said I’d be happy to do it if they needed me and if I could get the time off work. I wondered why they wouldn’t ask someone who could play guitar better than me (i.e. competently) but whatever; I’d never toured before so was stoked on the opportunity.

Mid Summer

So final confirmation of me filling in was actually pretty last-minute and I found myself learning the songs while out of town for work. I thought I was good to go when I found out that I’d be doing the majority of the lead parts, then had a jam with the guys and totally stunk up the joint. Oh well they were stuck with me now.

Day One – Ottawa to Haverhill, MA

Although the tour had already officially started, Haverhill was my first show. We left Ottawa at a ridiculously early hour but that worked out for the best, as we took a couple unplanned detours that day.

The drive was fun as I got to know the guys a bit better. Here’s a breakdown of the band:
Anthony – quiet guy
Geordon – funny guy
Dom – food guy
Mariful – brown guy

I contemplated this, the makings of a modern hardcore boy-band, and also wondered how I’d fit in with my lack of plaid shirts and beard. But we’ll get to the beard thing later.

Due to those detours mentioned earlier, we rolled into the venue (Anchors Up) just in time to set up and play. My playing wasn’t very tight yet but hopefully people were distracted by the fact that there were two Indians playing, of both the feather and dot variety, and each wearing a Mastodon shirt.

The rest of the show was good and I got to see Unrestrained play for the first time. We played a few dates with them and they’re rad dudes.

That night we got to crash at Derek’s (Unrestrained) parents’ house (I think). I don’t even know which town (or state) it was in but the hospitality was greatly appreciated.

Day Two – MA to PA

I don’t remember much from this day except that it was hot. I think this was the night when we crashed at some kid who looked like Ray Romano’s place. And were hanging with another dude that looked like the kid from Two and a Half men.

Day Three

Got the first of many burritos on this day (shouts to Roburrito’s). I Refuse was also in a Hot Topic. I have photo evidence. I hope this shit gets posted online and totally ruins their street cred. Or would ruin their street cred if they had any to begin with.

I can’t remember where we drove to this day. Baltimore, I think. Yeah Baltimore. Charm City indeed. A couple of the guys were nervous as we drove through some of Baltimore’s seedier areas. I was thinking, ‘this reminds me of home.’

Dom wanted to go find Charm City Cakes. Below is a transcription of the conversation with added translation of what was MEANT by those conversing.

Dom: “Who wants to go find Charm City Cakes with me?!” (I’m a huge lame-o and yes, I really care that much about cakes.)
Mariful: “uhhh…” (I’d rather stay here, be brown, and fight the system somehow.)
Geordon: “Nah man” (We’ve been here for ten minutes and I haven’t seen ONE gazonga, let alone a pair to T.F.)
Musky: “I’m gonna stay here.” (Yeah like I’m going anywhere with you. I might as well be wearing a sandwich board saying ROB ME.)
Anthony: “Yeah sure I’ll go.” (*sigh*)

Anyway they found the shop but it was closed.

The show that night was AWESOME. Shout out to Charm City Art Space and The Separation from California. We got to crash at another nice house that night. They had cats who beat the shit out of Mariful’s allergic face all night. I always said he’s got the kind of face you’d like to sit on.

We were actually quite lucky all tour in terms of places to stay. Showers were frequent enough that the van wasn’t unbearable in the summer heat and although I’d brought a razor, I decided to not shave all tour. The rest of the guys had manly beards and I just wanted to fit in (I even drew plaid stripes on my white t-shirt). I ended up looking like a cross between a catfish and Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrat guitar.

Day Four

Long goddamn drive to Athens and thence began the van troubles. Actually no, the van troubles started long before this tour. Anyway…

So the van was a late 80’s GMC named Rayleen. That reminds me; I never took the opportunity to give Mariful the gears over the sexist implications of naming a vehicle after a woman but speaking of gears, Rayleen’s (yeah fuck it I’ll just call her Rayleen anyway.. please excuse the sexism) transmission was fucked. The Appalachians did a number on her and just a few miles outside of Athens, I noticed that she wasn’t shifting into top gear (alright I don’t like calling the van a she anymore.. shit’s fucked up). Hoping everything would magically work itself out and not wanting to worry the guys, I kept quiet for a few miles but after missing our exit (IT WAS THE GPS’S FAULT; NOT MINE. NOTHING IS EVER MY FAULT. FUCK YOU.), we had to stop and assess the situation.

Now every touring band deals with van troubles (unless you’re some asshole band.. I bet Nickelback never has van troubles. I saw the Nickelback guy at an airport once. There are two things I will never forgive myself for: running over my buddy’s hamster with a wagon when we were 11 (accident, I swear), and; not taking the opportunity call that Nickelback guy a fuckface).

Van troubles are, at best, unsettling. At worst, you end up sleeping at some weirdo rapist animal abuser’s house. More on that later.

Anyhoo, we decided to limp to the venue in a van losing operable gears by the mile, and figure out van shit the next day. The show was awesome and we got to see TV Crimes, who we’d play with again in Cleveland later on the tour.

Long story short; the van needed a new transmission and we had to spend a few days in Athens, OH. As a side note, if you ever need a mechanic in Athens, go to Len at Athens Auto Repair, and not the racist dude on the other side of town. I actually forget the Athens Auto Repair dude’s name so I’ll just call him Len. He looked like a Len.

It was a bummer that Unrestrained had to continue on without us. We missed a couple shows, including one in Kentucky. KENTUCKY. I still don’t believe that place exists.

The Athens episode is a saga in itself so I’ll try to keep it short. In our time there we discovered that Chipotle restaurants are sympathetic to people broken down and far from home and if you’re on tour and broke and hungry, ring them up and give ‘em your sob story and they’ll probably give you a free burrito.

Oh yeah, the weirdo rapist animal abuser. I kind of don’t want to talk about that anymore. Let’s just say it’s one of those things that you look back at and laugh about (if you’re not dismembered in a freezer somewhere).

Other stuff from Athens:
– Playing that Wikipedia game in the university library
– Being homeless
– Rad folks at the punk house who let us crash
– More Chipotle
– Geordon getting “Athens” tattooed on his leg
– Playing Life (the board game) at a coffee shop. I think I won. Winning at fake Life isn’t nearly as fun as losing at real life.
– Many random utterances of “fuck, this sucks,” or just “fuck.”
– LEN, THE RAD MOTHERFUCKER AT ATHENS AUTO REPAIR WHO GOT US BACK ON THE ROAD

So from Athens we went straight to Cleveland as it made sense logistically in terms of catching up with shows. The van was acting up a bit and everyone had this nervous shifty-eye look about them, as if we all had just farted and were waiting to see if anyone would notice.

Oh yeah apparently I stopped writing this journal in a day-to-day format. Hey, I’m going from memory here and I have a hard time remembering my own goddamn name sometimes (it’s Gerald, by the way) and I’ve probably missed days and shows already.

Apparently you can get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you’re in a band and you give them one of your records. If I lived in Cleveland, I’d try that every week with a different record. “So, Mr. Newstead, if that is your real name, how come you’re not listed on your band’s website?”

By this point of the tour, I was getting kind of homesick so I went to a giant building that said INDIANS on it but there were just people playing baseball. Fuckin’ bullshit.

We played in a basement in Cleveland and it was one of the best of the tour. Joel of TV Crimes passed around a donation jar to help get us home (that used transmission cost something like $900.. hey that reminds me; I think Dom owes me some money still. Hey Dom where’s my money? Don’t make me tie you up and force you to eat processed, factory-farmed meat). People at the show were incredibly awesome for donating. It was very POSI situation (did I use that term correctly? I don’t know much about hardcore) and Mariful made sure everyone got loads of merch. Hahaha; ‘loads’.

We also got to see a comedy show for free in Cleveland. I have no amusing anecdotes from that incident.

So after Cleveland (thanks Russa for letting us crash way longer than I would have let us) we headed to Buffalo and stopped at a sweet weapons and fireworks shop.

Buffalo was another basement show and it was kickass! Sound Asleep from St. Catharine’s (I think) played and they are awesomely loud. The other bands were good too. I played shirtless for the first time in my life that night. It was… liberating. Be prepared to see more of my tits in the future.

That night we crashed with some friends of I Refuse in St. Catharine’s. Got up bright and early the next day so I could jump out in TO and catch a bus up to my rez for the remainder of my vacation time from work.

All in all, it totally sucked. I haven’t spoken to any of the I Refuse guys since then and am probably going to press charges.

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