Before we hit the old dusty trail to begin our European tour, we are very happy to share with you our newly finished “Coffee” music video. Shot in Hamilton, ON, last Christmas, this video features not only the chips off the ole’ blocks, but the old blocks themselves. This was our fathers’ first time shooting a music video, and our directors Dave Dunham and Karl Dilpelino, did a great job capturing the senior members of the Arkells family. We had a great time spending the day shooting with our dads, and we all feel that John DeAngelis should be up for plenty of MTV Video Music Awards come June.
January 25th. Regina Saskatchewan. -20 degrees Celsius, and the Tragically Hip. We are currently in the midst of the quintessential Canadian Winter rock n’ roll experience and couldn’t be happier to be a part of it. Today marks the end of our first week of dates opening for the Tragically Hip. The shows included our first ever trip to Cranbrook BC, our long awaited (at least by us) return to Red Deer, (our first visit since the week Jackson Square was released in 2008), and our first time playing in an NHL arena, Edmonton’s Rexall Place. Personally, I don’t know what the people of Edmonton have been complaining about, seems like a pretty cool rink to me, and they do have one thing that Copps Coliseum doesn’t….
Despite a busy week, we have had the opportunity to have some non-rock related fun as well. This afternoon, Max and Mike went to the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and last Friday we had a family dinner at the Keg for Tim’s birthday. I know it sounds crazy (assuming you’re not vegetarian), but our sound engineer Chris has never been. Don’t get too mad at him, it’s because he’s an Americano. Next, we plan on introducing him to Swiss Chalet, another of Canada’s corporate culinary delights. This week, we brave the cold, stay the course, and head due east to play shows in the Winnipeg, Brandon, Thunder Bay, Moncton and Halifax. Hope to see some of you at the shows. More updates soon.
Have you been searching for that perfect decoration to finish off your Christmas tree, Hanukkah Menorah, or non-denominational festive fridge display? Lucky for you, there’s the second annual Arkells Festival Special – just email your full name and home mailing address to email@example.com by December 12th and we’ll send you a signed postcard from the band and a free live download. The download will be delivered on Christmas day. Supplies are limited, so if you’re serious about your festive decorating, email us before we run out! Good luck and happy holidays.
As we finish our third week on tour with Lights, it’s safe to say that time flies for a Canadian band inside the mighty US of A. For the second straight week, we were able to postpone the inevitable descent into the dark, cold, unforgiving abyss that we call Canadian winter as we travel through Texas and the Mid-West. We had a great time playing in Austin (where we watched the election results pour in), Dallas, and Columbia, Missouri. We have also been treated to playing in some very cool and historic rooms – like the Granada Theatre in Dallas and the Blue Note in Columbia, where pictures of Jeff Tweedy, and (braid enthusiast) Willie Nelson lined the walls. The weather has been great, and the BBQ has been tasty (we highly recommend Big O’s BBQ in Valera, Texas). Mike, Tony and Chris even found some time to catch Skyfall on opening night. Mike’s review: best of the Daniel Craig Bond movies. As difficult as it may be to move north and head into harsher climates, another two weeks of shows, new episodes of Homeland, and deep dish pizza is all the consolation we need. Chicago, Ohio and Pittsburgh, we will see you this week.
We’ve been on tour with Billy Talent and Anti-Flag for just over a week now and we couldn’t be having a better time. This tour is collectively and individually our first time in Germany/Austria/Switzerland, so our free time is being spent the same way a backpacker who just graduated college spends his time in Europe. We’ve been to Oktoberfest in Munich, the Berlin Wall, the Mercedes Benz Museum (Mike is a car guy), the esteemed University of Vienna (home of Ziggy Freud) and Bayern Munich’s Allianz Stadium. Yesterday, the tour had a scheduled off day in between shows in Vienna, Austria and Winterthur, Switzerland. That meant the opportunity to spend a day in a more rural European locale, – the town of Lindau, in southern Germany.
Lindau, is a picturesque little town (about 25,000 people) divided between the southern German mainland and a small island creatively dubbed “Lindau Island”. The town was home to everything a North American associates with Europe – narrow cobblestone streets, ancient churches, and the kind of cafes and restaurants we will pretentiously talk about visiting to all our Canadian friends who have “never been”. Because of Lindau’s position in southern Germany, we were also treated to a scenic panorama of rolling foothills that gradually turned into Swiss Alps across the water before our eyes. Despite a long (Tim, Tony and I were trying to figure out how to navigate a German highway roundabout for about half an hour) and rainy bike ride back to the bus, we survived to tell the story and play the next show.
Today we arrived in Winterthur, Switzerland and spent the morning playing outdoor pickup hockey with the guys from BT and Anti-Flag. In the name of truth and fairness in reporting, this was my second time playing ice hockey, so it would more accurately described as anarchy on skates than any type of real hockey. That said, the guys in both Billy Talent and Anti-Flag have some serious hockey chops (Jon from BT and Chris 2 from Anti-Flag were teaching Mike how to take a real deal wrist shot), and they still managed to make beginners like me feel right at home.
In between all the fun and games, we have played a week’s worth of shows in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Anti-Flag and Billy Talent are putting on a clinic every single night entitled “How to Play an Amazing Rock Show”. Watching them play is equal parts education and treat. Tomorrow we head to Frankfurt to start the second leg of the German dates.
This weekend in Germany, the band made our continental European debut when we played in Berlin and Hamburg. Touring in a new place for the first time is a lot like dating a new boy/girl – experiences are new and exciting, the atmosphere (or in this case, plane ride) is full of anticipation, and every encounter is unfamiliar. Whether it’s trying Currywurst (German sausage spiced with curry), visiting a WWII bunker that has been turned into a music store, or doing your best Jacques Villeneuve impression on the autobahn, our next month is going to be full of things to write home about. Our first weekend in Germany has been a memorable one. On Friday before the show, Tim, Tony and I walked along the Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery – a section of the wall that has been turned into an art installation since the wall was torn down, while Mike and Max took David Byrne’s advice (via his book the Bicycle Diaries) and biked along the Spree River. These are hopefully the first of many German excursions in between shows on the Billy Talent tour. Our shows in Berlin and Hamburg (at the super cool Reeperbahn Festival) were amazing, the hospitality and welcome we received from everyone who attended and helped put on the shows was incredible. We are now driving through Scotland enroute to Glasgow. Despite the prototypical grey and rainy UK day, driving through the Highlands is a very scenic experience. The rolling hills are some of the greenest we have ever seen and the farms and castles predate anything we’d see back home in North America. There’s also way more sheep.
This past Thursday, the band had the opportunity to participate in one of our summer’s most unique experiences in the small town of Yorkton Saskatchewan. Like bands, comedians and tree planters, every summer Lord Stanley hits the road and visits the hometown (or location of choice) of every current Stanley Cup Champion. This year, that tour meant a trip to Yorkton, where Jarret Stoll held a party for his community. We were lucky enough to provide the soundtrack for the night.
Full disclosure would require us to mention that we aren’t natural LA King’s fans- that said, we are happy to root for anyone playing against the team that popularized the neutral zone trap. We had a blast playing some tunes and hanging out in Yorkton. Jarret and Lord Stanley himself even joined us onstage for a cover of Dancing in the Dark. It was an honor and a privilege to be able to celebrate Jarret’s victory with the entire community and was a night we will not soon forget.
Aside from petitioning professional athletes for open tryouts (Tim thinks he can challenge Jonathan Quick for the starting goalie job in LA), we have a lot of non-hockey related goings on in the next little while. We are playing at the CNE in Toronto on August 29th and hit the road shortly afterwards to play a run of college and university shows in Western Canada. We also have a special new music related announcement coming later this week, so pick you online weapon of choice and check Arkells.ca/Facebook or Twitter for all the info.
After two months on the road, our North American tour is history. The five of us have lived a lot of life in these past few months, and nothing affords you more time to pause and reflect on your adventures than a 36 hour van ride from Arizona to Ontario. So with all that time to contemplate, here are some of the highs and lows that colored our latest North American tour.
New Records We Listened To – 11
When you’re at home and a new record comes out, you get to discover the record at your own pace. That can mean listening on headphones as you fall asleep, putting on a vinyl when you’re relaxing at home in the afternoon, or blasting it with your friends on a Friday night. When we are traveling, we don’t have this same luxury. When new music comes out during a tour, we are forced to listen to it over the van stereo while a small panel of amateur music critics dissect the work. It almost goes without saying that our opinion tends to change once we have some time and space to digest it individually. In any case, here is some of the new music we discovered this tour: Wintersleep (Hello Hum), Regina Spektor (What We Saw From the Cheap Seats), Norah Jones (Little Broken Hearts), and Metric (Synthetica). Some of us listened to John Mayer (Born and Raised) and we all listened to the standup of Jim Gaffigan and Louis CK.
Times We Drove With the Trailer Door Open – 1
No luggage was lost during our biggest gaffe of the tour. The fact that we didn’t lose anything spoke volumes of the steady hand our tour manager Chris Miller possessed behind the wheel.
Ballparks We Visited – 4
There’s an old saying that If baseball were any slower, it would be farming. We like it anyway. Whenever we have a day off, we try to take advantage and see a game. This tour, we were able to visit Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia and the Oakland Coliseum in California’s Bay Area. If you’re ever at Citizen’s Bank Park, try the sample platter at Bull’s BBQ – we promise you won’t regret it.
Times We Collectively Did Laundry – 7
Don’t judge us. It’s busy on the road, and to the best of our knowledge, you can’t wash clothes in a moving vehicle.
Times We Drank Four Loko – 2
“We” really means Tony and Tim. Four Loko is a particularly awful (in my opinion of course), flavoured, malt liquor beverage available in the United States. While the novelty of such a product was lost on Max, Mike and me, Tony and Tim were happy to knock back this fruit punch flavoured, FDA be damned, 23 fluid ounce slice of Americana. While I could have told them sampling this type of swill would not end well – sometimes people have to learn the hard way.
New Cities We Visited – 18
Because this was our first full US tour, we had the opportunity to discover cities we never visited as a band. Some of our favourites were: Boston, New Orleans and Louisville.
We couldn’t have had a better time on tour, and that had much more to do with the great people in the Maine and Lydia than it did with any city we explored, or drink we tried. We couldn’t have asked for a nicer group of guys to tour with. Now that we are back we’re playing a bunch of outdoor shows throughout the summer, which started last week at the Burlington Sound of Music Festival (see video attached). The “Live” tab on the site will have all the info on our summer plans. To our new American friends, thank you for everything, and to our Canadian friends, looking forward to seeing you all soon!
After six weeks in the United States, it was very nice to be back in the land of coloured money, Swiss Chalet, and cell phone reception for a moment. Last week’s Canadian vacation included playing five very memorable shows in Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Muchos gracias to everyone who came and spent the night with us, we had a blast singing and dancing with you. Now, we have been lucky enough to see a lot of beautiful and scenic regions of North America in the past seven weeks – the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, the grasslands in Texas, the bayous of Louisiana and the Holland Tunnel in New York City. But driving through Western Canada last week reminded us all that there really is no drive more beautiful than the mountainous 12 hour trek along the Trans Canada highway between Calgary and Vancouver. This isn’t a biased Canadian talking either, the Americans and Aussies that comprise Lydia and the Maine, agreed whole heartedly with our assessment.
Since crossing back into the US, we spent our weekend in the very rainy Pacific Northwest. We killed our Saturday on First Avenue in Seattle, where we tried the famous Beecher’s Macaroni and Cheese in Pike Place Market and had dinner in Pioneer Square. On Sunday, we decided to do a little first person research to determine if Portland, Oregon really is the hippest city in the world. During his field work, Max actually came across the mother of an eight and ten year old child reading her kids a Vice Magazine; he insists this story is completely true. Despite the weather, we had a great time playing and hanging out in both Portland and Seattle.
As busy as we’ve been playing shows, we’ve also had a chance to record a couple of covers and reworked versions of songs throughout the tour. In early April, Max, Mike, and Tone, recorded a cover of “Life is a Carnival” in honor of Levon Helm. A couple weeks ago, they recorded a version of “That Thing You Do” with Jared and Kennedy from the Maine, and last week, we released a Daytrotter session recorded at the Daytrotter studio in Rock Island, Illinois.
If you are a fan of the Band, or fake bands (like the Oneders), check them out!