A few days after getting back home I found myself busy working as a piano tuner in the Toronto area. My first call was from a gentleman named Arif who needed a tune-up on his upright piano. As it turned out he lived in my neighbourhood, so I happily agreed to head over the next morning with my piano tools and a monolithic fuckin’ Tim Horton’s coffee. As I approached the house I saw the 2 of the most beautiful women I had ever seen in my life exiting. A fellow wearing a NOFX t-shirt and pyjama pants greeted me at the top of the steps. “Who the hell is this dude?” I wondered. You can usually tell a man’s worth by the amount of beautiful women in his general vicinity and no, Ted Bundy, dead ones don’t count, that’s cheating. He showed me to his piano and after a few friendly words, I got to work thinking that this guy looked all too familiar. Halfway through the job I looked up on the wall and saw a gold record: Protest the Hero.
Fatality had opened for Protest the Hero a few summers earlier and having seen them perform, I have to say that I find them to be one of the most professional and exceptional live bands out there. I recalled needing to take a piss during their set on a big outdoor festival stage surrounded by wilderness. I went walking to the tree line in the distant darkness 150 paces left of the stage and I accidentally trudged into a marsh like a bumbling asshole. Try bouncing back from that socially: being in a public place with hundreds of people after getting soaked up to your waist in swamp water, lily pads and otter cum. I don’t think even Johnny Depp could charm his way out of that one!
I talked with Arif about life after tour and how getting home, I couldn’t help but feel like a fuddy-duddy after the infinite momentum and night-after-night excitement of tour life had grinded to a halt. You ought to see me on the first day I get home from a long tour, trying in vain to make my cats watch me play the acoustic guitar with my shirt off, crying. He had a good laugh and told me that that is the price of admission for such an amazing and unique experience. He told me about an article he had read about Buzz Aldrin and how his life turned to shit after he walked on the moon in 1969. I guess after walking on a giant space rock and watching the shimmering twilight of the cosmos from 384,400 kilometers above everything you have ever known, somehow waiting in line for an Arby’s cheese melt loses its allure pretty quick. Upon coming home to earth, his mother (would you believe her name was Marion Moon?) committed suicide due to the instant overwhelming celebrity of the family; he then destroyed his marriage and became a miserable alcoholic. I would have thought it would have been the other two that lost it: Neil Armstrong from the pressure of being the first to walk on the moon, or Michael Collins for literally being the most isolated man in the universe.
Tour to me is like going to space. You load up your spaceship with all that you will need for your extended stay, you strap in and shoot across the globe to uncharted territory with nothing to protect you but your sheer determination, creativity and passion. You are isolated from all that you hold dear, and you make the choice to sacrifice all that you once knew just for a rare chance to chase that ever elusive 45 minutes of magic that has gotten you out of bed since you were a child. And, like most astronauts you are always trying to get as much Tang as you can get your hands on! In my eyes, for the most part, humans are all the same. I feel as though we are all just trying to find that delicate balance between our inner demons and our dreams. How can we make this trip to the moon last forever? What kind of magic are we chasing?
Spencer “Back to the coal mines” LeVon