Notes from the Road: Bleeker – California Radio Show: Living The Dream
Canadian alternative rock outfit Bleeker is currently on the road in support of their debut album Erase You, with stops in California ahead of a 22-show cross-Canada tour. The three-person band will be sharing their experiences in our Notes from the Road tour blog series.
Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!
I wasn’t ready. Not even close. We spent our summer touring the entirety of Canada and the United States. We drove over 20,000 miles, often through the night. Sleep had no schedule, and everywhere we went was unfamiliar. Don’t get me wrong… it was an absolutely amazing experience. But when you get home to your bed after a trip like that, you’ve never felt more comfortable, satisfied, and at peace.
Fast-forward a month, and there we were – the night before leaving on tour for 3 months, and my clothes hadn’t been washed or packed. My bag was still full of sand… sand from who knows where. I was never on a beach. And my passport was “somewhere.” I spent so much time saying goodbye to my friends that I forgot to get prepared for departure.
Here was the plan: 5 days in LA for one 30 min acoustic radio show, and then off to the UK.
We flew out of Toronto, landed in LAX, and headed to our hotel on the Sunset Strip with our manager Adam. He’s from Detroit, but he truly loves LA – I think it’s a good mix. We dropped our stuff off at the Grafton Hotel. Our home for the next few days.
Adam took us out every day and night in LA leading up to the acoustic show in Bakersfield, “The Armpit of California.” We lived the life! Soho House in Malibu for drinks. Working out at The Equinox gym. Sunday football drinking at 9:30 am. Movies at noon. No worries. No responsibilities, other than “use social media!!” We spent some great times with Adam and got to see a bit of his life outside of the business. I think we’re on a more personal level with our label and management this time around and it makes everything so much better, and easier. Being able to really talk to the people that are helping you forge your career is important. Anyways, everything was smooth sailing.
Show day wasn’t much harder. A late load in which is always great. We showed up in Bakersfield to find the Radio Station had all the gear there for us to do a full-blown set. This meant they didn’t rent acoustic guitars.. so we set up a couple stools and played an acoustic set with electric guitars (our drummer was in Europe). It was hilarious. The crowd was great and we met some really nice people. We are really good acoustically, so we always love doing these things. Simple, minimal set up that, for the most part, gets the vibe of our band across. Worth the flight down.
Back to LAX…$900 in baggage fees. That’s what the airport was charging us to fly our stuff to London. We couldn’t justify, or afford that! We frantically ripped all of our gear and suitcases apart in the middle of the airport, downsized and sent the excess in an Uber to Adam’s office. Including spare clothes, a bass, and a guitar pedal. We were now at $200. Manageable! What was next? We didn’t print off our Visas. There was ONE printer in the airport. It was in the business lounge and charged $60 to use it. We couldn’t go without that page, so we had to do it. Fortunately for us, the printer had stopped working. Fortunately because all I had to do was help the lady unplug and plug it back in. Always works. She gave us the print for free for our services. We showed up to the airport 4 hours early, and just managed to get on the plane. 10 hours overnight to a cloudier, colder place. The only info we knew about England was learned through James Bond movies. We also knew we were leaving paradise for the grittier leg of our 3-month tour.
Thoughts and feelings:
- I miss Tim Hortons coffee
- Wear the same clothes as many days in a row as you can
- I miss home if I wake up in the middle of the night or am hungover
- Trying to stay healthy on tour is impossible
- Not having to cook or clean is great