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So while we were on the road last week, out to the Maritimes and back, Brian and Higgins did most of the web posting for the band (a lot of it can be found either on our FB page or on brianpassmore.com - check it out!). This is largely due to their adoption of "cellular" telephone technology sometime around the dawn of the 21st century. While of course I just gazed moodily out of the van window, wondering how my typewriter was holding up back in the trailer. So I've decided to write my lil retrospective here, in the only place I know how.
What really struck me about the tour was how the album title 'Low Light High Light' (which we initially selected on the flimsiest of criteria, by the way) kept coming to the fore again and again. In any number of ways, this tour was a much bigger success than the one we did for 'Out On The Point' last summer - our accommodation was covered the whole way through. We were well in the black. It got a bit more media attention. Many of the gigs were much better-received, especially the ones we cared most about, and there was a certain level of professionalism I think we all felt that wasn't there in 2011. The high lights felt higher. We were higher generally. We played in higher places.
And yet there are the low lights. Self-promoting musicians don't usually like to zero in on them because it makes them sound complainy, and there's some risk that people will run screaming from your web content if you ever dare show two sides to a story. But I'm not complaining. Because I recognize what the low lights are for, and why we need them to keep creating and doing what we do.
Speaking strictly for myself, I feel like I reached some lower lows on this tour. In kind of the best possible way, as it turns out.
Our second night, in Quebec City, I completely lost my voice and discovered I had a nasty case of tonsilitis, which I used to get as a kid routinely but haven't had in about ten years. It didn't really clear up for the entire trip, which simply ruined a lot of my performances. This was, as you might guess, terribly frustrating, given that I sing either lead or backup on almost every Key Frames song, and really wanted to give my best to crowds in towns we're able to get to so seldom. Misrepresenting our music even that much, after all the effort and time we put into setting up this tour, really fucked with me. Some bizarre feedback triangle of depression, a temporarily rekindled smoking habit, and further ensuing throat damage, was no solution.
There was also that old familiar feeling of watching three people with their feet up in a cavernous club yawn their way through a set of music you're putting every last drop of your heart and soul into. I'm sure there's a special place of dread in the heart of any indie musician who's experienced that (which is all of us, at some point). Despite being on the road with four of my best friends, the moments of profound loneliness can surprise you with how deep-down they can reach. It's an old cliche that traveling musicians are constantly on the prowl, but there's more to that than I realized. Salving those feelings of disconnection can become, for some people, an almost compulsive thing. But what you get isn't what you were really after - it's like making a mojito with the finest Cuban rum and three packets of Splenda.
But as I said, the low lights are FOR something. High grabs your ear, but low compels you and brings you back. High is clickbait at work, but low is taking three or four songs undercover in the middle of the night when you're stuck awake trying to figure things out. High is playing the song and hearing people clap when it's done; low is the seed for the next you're going to write.
The tour was great. Completely great. Because high and low alike, of course, it's all great. I eat them both. We'll see how it goes when BP and I head west in a couple weeks - stay tuned.
Peace and love,