Tour Update #3: THE PRAIRIES – Rum Running & Hair Dye Freezing

Hi all; apologies for the delay on this update. It comes to you from March 27th. 

We made it through the perilous frozen tundra of Alberta sans winter tires. Since my last update we’ve played Edmonton, Edson, Calgary, Red Deer & Moose Jaw and we are on to Regina tonight to open for Abandon All Ships.

The question of whether or not to winterize the van has been on our minds since Kamloops. We had plans to hook up a cheap set of winter tires in Prince George, but the morning of, we ironically became stuck in a snow bank in Burns Lake and by the time we un-stuck ourselves, we didn’t have time to stop on our way to the show in Valemount. We’ve been lucky enough to enjoy awesome road conditions despite the freezing temperatures we’ve been enduring. In Alberta it was so cold that everything in the van froze solid including my beauty products. I went to go touch up my hair only to find that the dye in the jar was so cold I had to scoop it out with a spoon like ice cream! Some of our beers froze and exploded…didn’t anticipate that. The funniest part is that as I was explaining this with dramatic flourish to our host in Moose Jaw last night he just gave me a funny look and said, “well yeah…that just, like, normal”. OH REAL CANADA. I forgot who I was talking to. My exciting story of frozen goods was pretty par for the course. He said they’ve gotten about 5 or 6 days at -50 this year.

Edmonton was a great show at Studio Music Foundation. Big thanks to the other bands Knuckledown, Betty Sue’s A Tramp & Reckless Rebels. It was probably the most legit punk show so far of the tour and we appreciated seeing some fans who drove all the way out from Lloydminster to rock with us.

We played Edson at Fat Greasy’s, what a great little venue. I mentioned to the bartender that my brother had lived in Edson about 13 years ago and he remembered him! A few other people in the bar did too. We stayed in a motel walking distance from the venue and it was one of maybe five times in my almost-eight-year relationship with Mykel that I’ve seen him drunk; I specifically made him stay at the bar and party with the locals, because he is burdened with a sense of unerring responsibility. So, when everyone else is getting shitfaced and laughing and having fun, he’s usually the one wrapping cables, double checking that we haven’t forgotten anything, and making sure we all get to where we are going safely. Any of you who added me on Snapchat got the exclusive Drunk Mykel snap!

Next up was Calgary and one of my favourite dates of the tour so far! Aside from bumping into the bagpiper (bagpipist?) from the Real MacKenzies unexpectedly (mini reunion!), we played the “Dark Carnival”, so our set was featured among burlesque dancers, stunt performers (ie, dudes with giant hooks pierced in their backs with a rope strung between them having a tug of war and a dude nailing nails into his nose) and other awesome bands. We saw lots of old friends and made lots of new fans too. BUT FUCK WAS IT COLD AND SNOWY JESUS GOD

Red Deer & Moose Jaw were small shows with nice people, and we learned that apparently Al Capone was involved in rum-running during prohibition using this set of tunnels that make an underground network in Moose Jaw. Pretty unexpectedly cool… even in the small corners of Canada that seem sleepy a darker history lurks… other than that I’m excited for our gig tonight…first time Kill Matilda has played Regina! Hold on to your fuckin’ hats, prairie people!

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Tour Blog Update #2: Kamloops to Hinton. My Bully Died, I Caught a Cold, We Almost Lost Our Gear.

Okay, we played too many places for me to list them all in the title. 

We’ve just pulled up in Edmonton where our trailer door burst open mysteriously in the parking lot. Graham, who was driving at the time, said deadpan: “oh my god.”

“what?”

“the trailer door is open”

“what do you mean?” 

“I don’t know how I can be more literal. THE TRAILER DOOR IS OPEN”

I leapt from the van to find that the trailer door was indeed open although why we still haven’t determined. Luckily, nothing fell out. So after a bit of a scare we’re settled in at Marcus’ friends place drinking beer from Three Ranges brewery which we picked up in Valemount. I had to take a few nights off drinking after waking up hungover more times in a row than I ever have in my life so I’m happy to report my liver is ready for a bit more of the punk rock life. 

In Kamloops we played with the Real McKenzies and local band Second Day Sober. For a Wednesday it was a great turnout and we were honored to share the stage with some legit Canadiana punk. RM put on an amazing show. The next night we were hosted by West Metal Productions in Vernon, BC. I was really impressed with the strength of community I felt in Vernon. Everyone who came out seemed to be aware of or involved in the Armstrong Metal fest, or was friends with or associated with some locals bands. The overall feeling was really lovely and accepting and the afterparty in our room was a lot of fun. The ladies of Vernon and I built a pretty wicked blanket fort. 

We made our way through Williams Lake (another good turnout and a fun night of heavy drinking) and ended up in Prince George on St. Patrick’s Day. If you didn’t already know, Prince George is one of my hometowns. We’ve played here several times and always had a blast. The funny thing is that almost no one I know ever comes out to my shows, other than my best friend Tesia. The popularity we’ve enjoyed here comes entirely from the new generation of showgoers and punk rock kids and I’d say that the scene is as good as, if not better than, when I was a teenager attending shows. We played with Mediocre Minds, Crones & Jamie Bell. The lowest point was the shit-ass side roads of Prince George, which were so icy and snow-covered that we actually got stuck, nearly hit a truck and basically ruined the electrical input of our trailer by bottoming out so long and so hard on the piles of ice that took up space on every road. Luckily for us we have a lot of loving friends who came to our rescue the next day and repaired our electrical hitch. 

Our next show was in Burns Lake BC. This is my other hometown, where I spent time from the age of 8 to the age of 13. This show was of particular importance to me because other than a short visit for a friend’s wedding in 2007 I haven’t been back in a long time. I always tell people that I’m from Prince George when they ask where I’m from, because my time in Burns Lake wasn’t pleasant. Growing up as the child of two lesbian parents in a northern town of about 3,000 meant almost constant bullying, on top of what I’ve realized only as an adult was acute childhood social anxiety. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, which was being hosted at the shop of one of my peers from back in the day. 

My heart is filled with love to say that the show was awesome and everyone was rad. I think when you’re a child, and you face rejection, judgement, and hate, there’s a part of you that never recovers, a part that always craves acceptance. We had an amazing time and played with local band Azrael and Prince George metal band Kleaver who came out as well. It was really lovely reconnecting with everyone I’d seen as little children who were now all grown up. 

There is something that makes Burns Lake a place that captures my heart and it’s only from playing this show that I realized it. It’s a very small community, but being in the north, there is a disproportionately high rate of death for young people from accidents. When I think back on it, there are about seven or eight people that I knew as a child who are no longer with us who didn’t grow up. I was most struck by two of these; while speaking to a young man at the show who wasn’t sure if he knew me, I mentioned that my “moms” had owned the local general store, to which he exclaimed, “oh, the dykes!”. The way he said that brought me right back to my childhood, where the word “dyke” was as sharp as a knife. Not everyone had been so judgemental so it occured to me to ask him his last name and see which family he was from. It was my experience as a child that the kids heard it at home from their parents and brought it to school. When he told me his last name I knew immediately who he was; his bigger brother had been one of my worst bullies. When I enquired as to the status of his brother I found out that he’d since died when he was 18. As much as I didn’t have much love for that kid, I am deeply saddened to hear this news. As I looked around the room with all these young people that night, I realised that almost everyone in that room (because I knew almost all of them and their histories) had lost a brother, or a cousin, or a friend. 

The resiliency of the people of Burns Lake through so much tragedy and heartbreak makes me love my hometown. Looking at the faces of the kids I’d known, how happy they were to be rocking out with us, and how openly they accepted me after all these years heals some of the wounds I’ve carried around almost all my life. It was an amazing experience I’ll never forget and I was so glad to see family friends and familiar faces. That night we stayed at the home of some family friends that I used to babysit for, who also lost one of their sons. It wasn’t until last night in Hinton, laying in bed after the show, that I had some time to think back about this boy; I used to babysit him and his little brother, who was at the show that night. He was a really sweet little guy and the pictures all over the house of him gave me an opportunity to remember him. Two deaths; one of a kid who hated me, one of a kid I loved, both of which affected me equally. Dear Burns Lake; you broke me and you made me, I can’t forget you and I’ve always missed you and wanted your approval, and the lives of the people are deeply entwined with mine. 

We played Valemount for St Patricks day and all I can say is I’m very impressed with how hard such a small community can rock out! Hinton didn’t let us down on a Tuesday night either, though I’m sorry to say both Mykel and myself woke up with the most awful colds and Marcus and Graham had to put up with us coughing and sneezing up a storm in the van on the way to Edmonton, Now for a day off to rest and recover!

 

Tour Update #1: Vancouver, Maple Ridge, Mission

Here we are in Kamloops, having survived the first leg of our cross Canada tour. A Kill Matilda tour is always a bit of a gamble; we picked up our van only a few days before we headed out onto the road and knew very little about it. We also had a hitch installed so we could pull our trailer full of the combined lives of four people all making the move east; would the van be able to handle that load on the Coquihalla? It’s the kind of thing where you wait with baited breath and white knuckles gripped to the steering wheel… but we made it.

Our opening act, merch guy extraordinaire and close friend G Lazarus brought along about three shoeboxes of CDs. I myself had a few loose CDs kicking around. I don’t actually own a CD player at home and I use a Google Chromebook, which doesn’t have a CD drive, so I actually haven’t listened to or even looked at these CDs in probably two years. Going through them was a trip down memory lane for sure; a combination of our favourite artists and all the CDs of local bands we’ve played with over the years, some amazing, some not so amazing. Some of the CDs were just straight up unplayable because of the scratches.  Some were rare personal gold that we had forgotten about.

It’s weird to have lived to see the rise and fall of the CD. I know I’m not alone in wondering and feeling a little nervous about where we’re headed with the future of digitizing all our media and entertainment consumables. Movies, shows, games, music; everything no longer has a necessary physical counterpart, all can be experienced and enjoyed digitally. I used to buy CDs, bring them home, put them in the CD player and read the lyrics along with the music. The artwork in the CD booklet was an important key to understanding what the band was trying to do with the album, or with their sound. Did they do a black and white photo collage, a photo set, hand-drawn artwork? I’ll never forget the artwork in the “I, Bificus” CD by Bif Naked; it was a set of photos of her in a sort of Greco-Roman outfit with a bowl of golden grapes on a throne. Just page after page of photos; as someone who has independently released CDs, that ain’t cheap! The more pages you print, full color, the more expensive your disc is. I felt like being able to hold something in my hands was a real part of the experience of learning about and loving my favourite bands. Now that everything is online, and there is so much of it, will the next generations experience of what it means to love a band be different? For the One Directions and the Justin Biebers there’s a whole world of consumer products, of which the music is only a tiny part… there’s perfumes and blankets and backpacks. The music is almost the least important of all that. But what about for the rest of us? Where are we headed? long gone are the days when kids would watch MuchMusic for hours just waiting for the hope that they’d see their favourite rock or punk music video, wedged in between the hip-hop and the pop music videos on high rotation. Now kids have unequivocal access to as much of their favourite artists as they desire. What romance is there between the young fan and the “rock star” of today? I guess Kill Matilda will be on the forefront to find out!

The Vancouver show at the Railway was great; thanks to everyone who came out and to the other bands who played; we were pleasantly surprised by Tickling Grandma, a 2-piece act that blew our socks off. The Injectors were tight as fuck as per usual. Our promoters, Taser Fraser and Art Signified did an awesome job. Sadly, the Railway was out of Longboat Chocolate Porter, which I only discovered after I convinced a patron that he should buy me a pint. I spent a bit of time working in a liquor store with a sizeable craft beer selection and I finally got into it a bit, but the Phillips Longboat Chocolate Porter was one of the varities I never got around to… and I missed my chance. Can you imagine? A pint of Chocolate Porter! I feel a bit of loss that I missed out on that, though I might have barfed everywhere onstage after drinking that much. What struck me was how classic of a stage and venue the Railway is; it’s really got a great aesthetic. Will be missed! It was lovely to see a lot of old friends and fans turn out, the support we received at our send off show was really touching… we’ll be back to see you guys on our next tour!

We played the next night in Maple Ridge after spending a long day organizing and re-organizing our lives into the trailer. Between four musicians we have about twenty or so guitars, only about five of which are in cases (cases are friggin’ expensive!). So we did a little creative bubble-wrapping and some seriously tight packing. Four lives, four sets of gear ready to go. Big shout out to my sister Cailey and her man Gord for lending us their beautiful home for the day to do all that work. We played at the Wolf Bar, which is kind of a classic dive-biker-bar with the entrance in the alley. We didn’t know what to expect really, but the turnout was great and the crowd loved us; I’m thinking a decent part of our market might be men in their forties and fifties, who can appreciate our raw rock n roll sound from back in their youth, haha! I think every biker in that bar must have come up and shook my hand. Another highlight was getting to see Season to Attack perform, who played with us; David Isbister is a mainstay in the Vancouver music scene and I’m honored to have gotten a chance to share the stage (dancefloor) with him. Also Brian Badd has accompanied Kill Matilda on drums and we’ve played several shows together with his other band Unlabeled (featuring former Kill Matilda guitarist Dave Roberts as well). Season to Attack is a supergroup of all the best musicians in Vancouver, and it comes through in their amazing set. Thanks guys!

We played Mission with the help of Mission City Music at the Zoo. If you live anywhere accessible I really recommend this bar; they were advertising a onesie party they were having later in the month, and who doesn’t like that? The crowd was definitely off the wall; it was a pirate-themed event and about half the audience came dressed for the occasion. I daresay the other half were just Mission regulars. Some of these bargoers sitting closest to our merch table were being loud and obnoxious right off the hop and had an ongoing conflict with one of the musicians in the other band that nearly escalated into a fistfight. The security guard later told me that the night before there had been a 20-person brawl and someone pulled out a gun. When we got onstage everything was gravy; the crowd ebbed and flowed and everyone got right up in our faces for Geisha With A Switchblade. Good to know it’s still a hit! A less exciting hit of the night was trying to pull into the trailer park where my aunt lives, and where we were staying, only to bottom out our new hitch and trailer several times on the speedbumps. We lost our electrical connection and freaked out a bit but with some finagling we managed to reconnect it and learned an important lesson about speed bumps; avoid them at all cost on this tour. Thanks very much to Aunt Theresa for putting us up for the night and for feeding us delicious foods!

Now we are in Kamloops looking forward to a day of rest, some work on the van and to play with the Real McKenzies tomorrow night at Cactus Jacks! Event info here. Thursday is Vernon at the Village Green, event info here. Friday catch us in Williams Lake at the Overlander Pub, and Saturday in Prince George – event info here.

Till next time!

TIME TO HIT THE ROAD

Hi all;

In a few short days we start our #PUNK#ZOMBIE#ROCKNROLL tour. It seems no matter how well organized I strive to be or with how much structure I approach such a grand undertaking, I always end up in the same position; out of clean underwear and smelling like a homeless kid who’s misplaced their debit card. Staying on top of twenty different aspects is a hard road…being in a band is not glamorous. The saving grace is that the liquor store I frequent has a good selection of beers over 9%.

We gave up our apartment on Feb 1st in order to save money; well, I wouldn’t really call it saving. We’ve easily spent what we’d normally spend in rent money on all the things we need to be tour ready including new merch, CDs, dropcards, a trailer hitch, and so on and so forth. I want to take a moment to thank our friends Steve G and Will S for letting us crash at their houses this month, as well as all the kids at the Matador house in Vancouver.

I thought that it would only take me a few days or maybe a week or two to complete all my uncompleted projects, and that I’d have time to coast and couchsurf and practice guitar before hitting the road. I was so. wrong. I have three days left in Vancouver and I’m only now finishing all that needs be finished, the biggest project of which was the epic hand-drawn comic book I recently completed to accompany the new release. A 17-page hand-drawn and colored piece of art is a lot of work for anyone but is a special challenge for me. this month I’ve had a long-awaited, much-anticipated, badly-needed formal diagnosis of ADHD. Not a shock and not news, but a relief to finally have the validation that I’m not lazy, stupid, clumsy, or an airhead. People often say to me, “Dusty, you’re always so busy, you’re always working on something!” What probably seems like a virtue to many is a personal prison for me; I CAN’T relax. My mind is always racing, my feet are always tapping, my fingernails are always picking or scratching, my mouth is always talking. So, I can start any project with boundless enthusiasm; completing a project is another thing. ADHD has interefered with my ability to keep a job, to keep friends, to have pets (i’ll get into that another time), and to feel good about myself. To actually follow through and complete a project once the initial “brain candy” of something new has worn off was excruciating. It sometimes only came a page at a time or even a panel at a time; my poor publicist has been hounding me for weeks. The truth is that completing this comic is one of the first (personal) things I’ve done on my own in years and tied neatly with a bow. I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it if it hadn’t been for the help of doctor-prescribed medicine and the support and sometimes very strict enforcement of “work time” by Mykel.

Tomorrow we are releasing the EP of the same name and I am excited to announce that we will be providing a free download link for everyone along with a comic that I drew by hand to accompany the release. This re-release of ours features a brand-new acoustic version of “Geisha With A Switchblade” so please download it!

We’ve put out a video for our single “Law Abiding Citizen”, check it out here.

We will also be releasing a video for “I Want Revenge” on Tuesday, March 11th. We worked really hard on this video together will director Will Strawn and we are so proud of what we accomplished. I’m super stoked for you guys to see it. I want to take a moment to thank Mykel Exner for producing and Will Strawn for directing/camera op. Special thanks to Cariboo Brewing and Dead Reckoning clothing for sponsoring our video, and to Terminal City Rollergirls, Academie Duello, and Audrey Bride for being in it!

We’ve also gotten some pretty amazing reviews of the re-release. Our favourite is this review, in which the reviewer calls us “like the Beach Boys, but evil” and says that I sound like “a female Rob Zombie”. I’ll take it! Check it out here!

This review says that my vocals are perfect – best. compliment. ever. Canadian Beats says the album makes you feel empowered just by listening to it. We are super happy with how much positive press this album has been received and are excited to lay it on you all for this tour.

I’m so excited to move out of the administrative phase of the tour and into the actual rock and roll phase of the tour that I could squee and just roll around on the floor. March 6th can’t come soon enough! I can’t wait to see everyone again and to bring you all new merch and new tunes.

Below is a list of dates for our tour – any changes or updates will be posted on our facebook page and on twitter.

Feb 28 – Abbotsford, BC – Gators Pub (details)

Mar 6 – Vancouver, BC – Railway Club (details)

Mar 7 – Maple Ridge, BC – the Wolf Bar (details)

Mar 8 – Mission, BC – the Zoo (details)

Mar 11 – Kamloops, BC – Cactus Jacks (details)

Mar 13 – Vernon, BC – The Green (details)

Mar 14 – Williams Lake, BC – Overlander Pub

Mar 15 – Prince George, BC – the Croft Hotel (details)

Mar 16 – Burns Lake, BC – Private Party (message dusty@sinagency.ca for details)

Mar 17 – Valemount, BC – Log & Rail Pub

Mar 18 – Hinton, AB – Valley Zoo

Mar 20 – Edmonton, AB – Studio Music Foundation (details)

Mar 21 – Edson, AB – Fat Greasy’s Metal Lounge

Mar 22 – Calgary, AB – Dicken’s Pub

Mar 23 – Red Deer, AB – Slumland

Mar 25 – Moose Jaw, SK – 23 Main Street (acoustic show)

Mar 26 – Regina, SK – The Exchange (details)

Mar 27 – Brandon, MB – North Hill Inn

Mar 28 – Thunder Bay, ON – Black Pirates Pub

Mar 29 – Timmins, ON – Victory Pub

Apr 3 – Sherbrooke, QC – Bar le Magog

Apr 4 – Montreal, QC – Katacombes (details)

Apr 5 – Sorel-Tracy, QC – Pub O’Callaghan’s

Apr 8 – Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex Club