ALAN FREW

Musician. Author. Speaker.

Dear Canada Blog #35 March 30th 2018

Today is a simple day. There is no show. It’s just a travel day. A four hour drive, from Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury in Ontario. We had a 12:00 noon checkout which gave me enough time to have a short workout this morning. We agreed to check out, then have lunch together, still at the Delta Hotel, in Sault Ste. Marie, which, if your travels take you there, I recommend.

The food, staff, rooms, gym, all great. Weather today is beautiful, clear and sunny but remains cold. Still as you can see here, we are hardy, and have the top down.

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We are all getting a little antsy, due to the fact we are getting close to home. We have tonight off, play here tomorrow, then catch a flight to Toronto on Sunday. As I mentioned, it will be a little strange, actually being home yet, STILL on tour. Getting ready, driving down to the gig, walking in and playing, then driving home again. Kinda like the old days in the Toronto bar scene. Are you old enough to remember what the bar scenes were like, in all the towns and cities across the nation, back in the 70’s and 80’s?? Just about every great bar had a band playing live and in many cases, that band was in your town or city, Monday through Saturday and if in Quebec, it was SEVEN nights including the Sunday. I remember times when we would perform in a bar on the Monday to say, 10 people; 25 on the tues; 50 and so on, building each night, and by the time the Friday came, they were lined up hours before you hit the stage. That was the sign of a band that was going somewhere. 

 A bar band. 

A bar band. 

  “Saluti!”

 “Saluti!”

We pulled into Sudbury at 5pm. Went to my room and had a short nap. We decided that Italian was the way to go for dinner this evening. We went to a place called, Respect Is Burning, I am not making that up, that’s the name, of an, ITALIAN restaurant. Apparently it was to be named, Respect, then during construction it caught fire, hence the new name. Must say though, it was authentic and tasty. Only complaint we had, is that all of their beers were local and or micro-brewed and as you know I will ONLY drink beers that were first brewed when we were all still fighting each other with swords. Becks, Guinness, Stella, Heineken, Spaten etc and so we made up for that deep, painful, loss with a nice bottle of Amarone! 

 “Becks, I say!”  ...”No! Fuck You! It’s Heineken!” 

“Becks, I say!”  ...”No! Fuck You! It’s Heineken!” 

 ...and pint glasses! 

...and pint glasses! 

Sam’s son, and daughter-in-law are in town for the show and so we walked around the corner to a pub called Peddler’s to meet them. Now, something a little different is going on in this pub..........Axe Throwing! Let me just repeat that.......Axe Throwing. Ok, talk amongst yourselves, say,” Alcohol.” Now say, “Axe Throwing!” Again, “Alcohol, Axe Throwing.” Call me crazy, or just, Scottish but where I come from, the very notion of an establishment where one can drink one’s face off, and then get handed an axe....to throw! Well now, that just sounds a little insane to me. As a footnote, where I come from, the establishment wouldn’t have to supply the axes, because the clientele would simply just... bring their own!😂😂😂

 The image my dad saw in his mind when he came home late and “tipsy” from  the pub, on a Saturday night.  

The image my dad saw in his mind when he came home late and “tipsy” from  the pub, on a Saturday night.  

 Sam, Alan & Ilona (our manager’s wife) on the Ferry. 

Sam, Alan & Ilona (our manager’s wife) on the Ferry. 

We sat telling tales of the bar days and of early Glass Tiger. Sam’s son was on a tour with us once over in Europe, but he was so young at the time he doesn’t remember it. We told him of a time when he and his brother were with us on a trip from Norway to France, Oslo to Paris, and we did the journey by train and ferry, with the entire train going onto the ferry. Back in the day, some of us were young parents and it was important for us to have our kids come over to see us whenever we had to be away from them for long chunks of time. My son and I had lunch together when he was really little, at the restaurant up top in the Eiffel Tower. A very cool memory indeed. 

 “He” is now 37!!!! Where does this time go?” 

“He” is now 37!!!! Where does this time go?” 

Here’s a tale; Back in the day, I had a habit of being the last one to crawl out of my bunk on the tour bus and the band had a habit of leaving me there without actually telling me that we had arrived, that we were outside the stadium, where the dressing room was, or where actually the fuck we were!!! And so one day, the bus pulled up outside a stadium that could have been anywhere but as it happened, it wasn’t just “anywhere,” it was indeed, Barcelona (do you know the proper pronunciation is “Barth-elona?”) Anyway, so I crawl off the bus and realize I am indeed in Barcelona and it is also, indeed, Nov 8th, which just happens to be my birthday. So I go inside the building and cannot find a soul. I splash some cold water on my face and decide to fullfil a promise I made to myself. The promise being that I would find the Mediterranean Sea, rent a chair, grab a cold Sol, write in my journal with the water lapping at my feet and pretend that I am Ernest Hemingway for an hour. So I flag a cab. “Mediterranean!” I say.  “sí señor,” and off we go,

We get there and everything is as I imagined it would be. It was November, so not hot but pleasant. I do indeed find a deck chair and a cold Sol. I take the chair to the water’s edge, I get my book and pen out, my shoes and socks off, I raise the bottle and toast my own birthday, my 35th, “Cheers! Alan,” and for the next couple of hours (and one more Sol later) I am indeed, Hemingway. 

 The day Hemingway wrote, “Don’t Forget Me (when i’m gone)  😂

The day Hemingway wrote, “Don’t Forget Me (when i’m gone)  😂

Hemingway adored Spain. A year after the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, he left for Spain to cover the conflict for the American Newspaper Alliance. During his coverage of the war, he traveled with a fellow reporter named Martha Gellhorn, and he visited Spain often and attended bullfights throughout his life.

 Some kids arrived to play football on the beach and so I turned my chair around to watch them. I thought, “Now THIS is great! Life is good. So good in fact, I will just shut my eyes and drift off for a little nap.” .... NAP!!! 😱😱😱 Nap? I open them and three things immediately stab me in the heart. 1) It’s now 6pm and we go on at 7pm. 2) No one knows where I am. 3) I don’t know where I am!!!

Oh yes Dear Canada, I KNOW I am in Barcelona but imagine if you will, being in a taxi in New York City, FOR THE FIRST TIME and being dropped off somewhere, in the middle of an enormous, nowhere, having come from, shit knows where, and having to find your way back to, WHERE??

I took a deep breathe and hailed a cab.  “Música señor por favor!” That was all I could think of at the time. He looked at me as I gesticulated playing instruments and singing!! “Ah! Sí” and we were off. It was now at least 6:20p.m. As he drove me up this winding hill, up and up and up, to some Opera House!!! I was now completely freaked out Jumping back in car, I was once again gesticulating the universal sign language for rock’n’roll, plus the universal sign for shitting your pants!! We gunned it down the hill and at the bottom I saw a police officer and had the driver pull over. He approached the open window and I went through my chimpanzee routine for him which caused him to say the one magic word that was music to my ears. “ROXETTE?” (We we’re doing a major Euro-tour with them at the height of their fame.)

 “She’s got the look!” 

“She’s got the look!” 

”Sí! Sí! Señor! Roxette! Roxette!” And with that, the police officer explained to the driver where to take me. At around 6:55 p.m. I ran into the stadium to be greeted by one-very-freaked-out-and-extremely-pissed-off-road-manager, he grabbed my pants and shirt and runners and I changed at the side of the stage as the lights were going out and the crowd was cheering. As for the show itself, it was killer. The Spanish fans were insane! Dancing and singing from the very first note. I of course learned a valuable lesson from that experience I ..............Oh who am I shitting? I’ve done it since. 

 

 We met up again with Roxette about 6 years ago and toured Canada together.  

We met up again with Roxette about 6 years ago and toured Canada together.  

Back to hotel by around 11 p.m. I have radio in the morning. 

So on that note, Goodnight Dear Canada, until tomorrow.                    ~Alan.