With today marking the 151st birthday of this great nation I am proud to call home, I wanted to write a little bit and pay homage to my homeland. As many of you know, I’m on the road with Midnight Shine, playing drums and living my dream (or one of them!) as a professional musician. I get back home to Calgary in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow, spend a couple days getting my life organized and then fuel up, pack the Tiguan and rip across the country to make a new home in Toronto. It seems fitting that I tip my hat to the beautiful nation I’ll soon be driving across (again) in a few short days. I’ve had a few flights these last few days that have taken me to places I’d never get to see otherwise, so I’m just paying my respect back to the lands.
In The Pocket
It’s surreal. These whole last few months have been. I’m ecstatic to see what’ next, but before I get too crazy, I wanted to tie in a term us drummer use for when you just lay low, let the music speak for itself and just groove. It’s called being in the pocket. A lot of drummers have a hard time staying in the back. A lot of very talented drummers especially want to showboat, impress the girls or I don’t even know what else… but they have a hard time serving the song.
I like to think of staying in the pocket as being neutral. Coasting; not forcing anything to happen. No outcome is right or wrong, just an opportunity to explore and be adventurous. Much like in say, jazz or reggae… the jam happens, much like life. The song could go anywhere… and if you have the wherewithal to just loosen up your grip on the sticks of life, you’ll get carried the right way out of the bridge. Just trust yourself.
I wanted to take the time to thank Midnight Shine and everyone that’s a part of the team for trusting me with the sacred project. No matter what happens next I have a lifetime of memories and lifelong friends. I’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with absolute legends of the music industry like Blue Rodeo and Colin James, shared drums with childhood heroes Wide Mouth Mason and I’ve met some seriously awesome humans on this stint. I am ever so grateful for the opportunities, but also recognize that I earned them.
It’s amazing what kind of song can form when you learn to stay in the pocket.
Thanks for listening,
Happy Canada Day.
PS. Here are some of the highlights from tour. For the full story, head to my Instagram account. Click the “tour” button and watch front to back the happenings on the road with Midnight Shine. @usetheschwartzy
Indigenous Day Live – Winnipeg, MB June 23
The Office, Winnipeg, MB June 23
The Office, “Stars and Thunder” Timmins, ON June 25
Marianas Trench, Timmins, ON “Stars and Thunder” June 26
The Office, Webequie, June 27
Hangin with ahold bud, Lliam in London, ON “The Village Idiot” (best record store!)
Virginia To Vegas, “Stars and Thunder”, June 26 Timmins, ON
The Office, “It’s Your Festival” Hamilton, ON
New whip, Timmins, ON June 27
Running Hills on the road, London, ON June 29
Wide Mouth Mason and I after we opened for them at ” It’s Your Festival in Hamilton June 30
Attention Musicians: Learn how to sleep on the road here
How do you maintain some sort of consistency to your sleep patterns while you tour from gig to gig across this beautiful nation? I dive into it with Mike Sands, professional session and touring musician on his recent tour with Calgarian blues rocker, Matt Blais. Check the video here: https://youtu.be/HKeCNnPxpmE
While the advice from Mr. Sands provides a bit of comic relief, this topic has been a hot button issue for as long as I have been a touring musician. I have listed my top three pro tricks in order to allow for the most restful sleep to battle the long days, low budget and less than optimal living conditions! Here we go.
Bring your pillow – this will not only help you maintain some sort of familiarity with your lifestyle but it’ll also save your neck. If you don’t have room in the van, make a pillow out of some pants or shirts. To keep your head and neck aligned should be the focus here so you don’t wake up with a crazy kink in the neck for the duration of the tour.
Stay with friends or look into couch surfing – most people know touring musicians don’t make a heck of a lot of money and if you have a well-planned tour you can usually get by in each town/city with the cost effective and generally pretty comfortable couch surfing experience if you don’t happen to have any friends or family in that city
Build a bed – If you’re stuck sleeping on the floor, lay down clothes or sleeping bags or some sort of padding to give you a bit of a makeshift mattress. This will help your body from going numb through the night (speaking from experience). It should also help to keep a bit of body heat instead of releasing into the cold hard floor.
Try it out, see what you think and add any other things you’ve come across in your touring career!
Again, please check out the video here and please subscribe to my YouTube channel to stay in the loop.
Thanks for reading, happy touring!
You don’t have to be a rock star to start, but you have to start in order to become a rock star.
Ps. Click here if you want tips on surviving the rock star lifestyle delivered right to your mailbox