DAY 3 – DRIVE + WINNIPEG
Awakening, we found ourselves in Dryden, which is a small oasis of a town in northern Ontario (a couple gas stations, Walmart and Tim Hortons – a touring band’s oasis!). We had been pushing the van through the mountainous terrain surrounding the northern coast of Lake Superior for a night and a day and a night. We are out of our fucking minds attempting this drive in such a short period! So, after a quick oil top up, a new tank of gas and us happily settled in our seats with Tim Hortons, we hit the road for the final portion of our drive toward Winnipeg, Manitoba!
There isn’t really a lot I can tell you about this particular drive after the epic drive the day before. If any of you have driven this portion of the Trans-Canada, you’d know you’re in for 6-7 hours of relative boredom. Luckily, we have about 100 CDs in the van, an acoustic guitar and some special herbs…
I forgot to mention that we have a live radio interview/ co-hosting session to do at the University of Winnipeg at CKUW 95.9FM today! Awesome! We also HAVE to be there by 2 pm or we will miss out on the broadcast. Fuck. We did manage to get across the border of Manitoba though in good time and we made only a single stop on the whole trip up through Ontario. Yay us!
I don’t know how we did it, but we managed to get to the door step of the University of Winnipeg with 25 minutes to spare. I quickly jumped on the phone to get directions up to the station studio and before we knew it, we were out of the sweltering 38 degrees celsius sun and into a nice, dark, air-conditioned broadcast room with our host, Metal Mike!
We spent a good hour and a half on the air with Mike, playing tunes from our new release (The Iron Tempests EP) as well as some older stuff from An Olden Tale. We talked about the drive up, the tour dates ahead of us across Canada, we talked also opened up a timeless and very obvious debate – who would win in a fight: Batman or Superman? Obviously fucking Superman will win. He can shoot lasers out of his eyes and fly. Sure, Batman is a badass and is always prepared, but I highly doubt he is going to be able to source any kryptonite, and at best he’ll just have high-powered weaponry, which won’t do a fucking thing to Superman, because he’s fucking Superman.
We ended up hanging out in the studio on the air with Mike while we made fun of Casey on live radio because he decided when we jumped out of the van that he and Jordan (our merch guy) were to go to Tim Hortons. Oh well! We finished up the interview and went back outside to the hellish heat, where we found Casey and Jordan both half-undressed out on the sidewalk with sweat beading off of them. They were apparently listening to us on the van radio the whole time too! Hilarious!
A short 5 minute drive took us straight to the venue we were playing that night – The Zoo! We actually played here 2 years ago with Crimson Shadows after me and the Crimson guys came home from playing Wacken Open Air. What a humbling feeling… going from playing to 15,000 people to playing for 5 (from the other band, of course!). While we were parked trying to figure out what to do, Mike from Endless Chaos invited us over to his house to hang out/ have homemade pizzas/ drink beer and jam! FUCK YES! So, another short 5 minute drive brought us to Mike’s front door in a quiet suburb of Winnipeg. We dug into beers and piano jams right away while we waited for the rest of his band to show up. We ended up eating some of THE BEST pizza we have ever tried before. The other guitarist of Endless Chaos – Mike Toews is a fantastic chef, and he does not fuck around when it comes to pizza. He made us 3 pizzas on a stone slate in the oven, and goddamn. Perfection.
We were able to bring our luggage into Mike’s to ease our load-in woes at the venue, so after doing so, we all packed it in and headed for the venue to load in and play the show!
Another short 5 minute drive later…
I remember the last couple of times I played The Zoo, it wasn’t the best turnout, nor a very well attended show. This time was not like that time! We played with 3 fucking AWESOME bands: Cell (an Immortal/ Watain type black metal band featuring our good friend Tyler Augusto on lead guitar and vocals), Endless Chaos (A fucking riff machine whose live show and musical prowess are so well-honed and world class, it’s a wonder they are not an international act right now. We actually played with them at the Wacken battle finals. We definitely bit our nails while watching them, lol) and finally, Laika (A melodic death metal hybrid that reminds me of Amon Amarth & Hypocrisy). Actually, Jordan – the promoter for the show – is the frontman of Laika. Such a baddass dude! This show was actually the best show I’ve ever played in Winnipeg over the last 3 years. There was a great, enthusiastic crowd who all bought merch and hung out with us after too!
After the show, we all piled in the van and journeyed back to Mike’s for further party times! We stayed up all night, got some glorious showers, drank a lot of beer and hopped into our sleeping bags for a glorious couple of hours of sleep before our 6 AM van call!