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October 17, 2018

“Anyway guys, it’s great to be back.”

- Sarah and The Glitterboyz

So what do you remember, blogger boy?

Fair question.

I wrote in the epilogue of November about how much and how quickly you can forget on the road. Everything is fleeting. Glimpses. Impressions. Usually you’re on to the next thing before you can take stock of what's going on.

What do I remember?

I remember Ken wearing a cat costume in Drachten.

I remember Ken and Deni feeding and embracing a troubled soul on The Reeperbahn in Hamburg.

I remember snapping a stick in Sliedrecht and tossing both halves into the audience.

I remember Deni sprinting outside the Brandenburg Gate.

I remember Sarah trailing a five-foot length of toilet paper from her shoe in Bergen.

I remember Santa hats in Schermbeck.

I remember a wild hedgehog in Ee.

I remember a delicious dinner and almost fatal laughter in Gladbeck.

I remember walking into a very suspicious place that was most definitely not our venue in Schmölln.

I remember the Frushstuck Lady.

I remember birthday cakes in Hannover.

The great thing for me about this blog is that it’s a catalogue of memories. When I read it over again in a week or a month or two months, I’ll remember things that might have been lost forever. A painting on a wall. An awful sausage. A German washing machine. These are the things that form your collage of a tour in the end. The shows are a blur. It’s those odd details – a horse in boots standing in a field, the logo on the AFC Ajax football stadium – that become the markers.

And now I’m home, finally thinking about all of this. It’s been a productive morning already. Frank the kitten “helped” me get started on doing laundry. I spent time behind the drum kit, trying to recover some of what I lost on the road. I haven’t been able to practice a lot of technique over the past five months or so and it shows. Playing live demands certain things. Other things fall by the wayside. I’m trying to bring up parts of my game that are lacking and it’s humbling to say the least.

So the wheel keeps turning. True confession: The few months after the last tour were very tough for me. Things got pretty quiet on the gig front and I got pretty quiet as a result. It’s a strange thing to go from such an intense schedule – such an intense existence – to sudden silence. It can be a shock to the system, and when you’re a drummer for hire, it doesn’t take long to wonder if the silence means you’re finished. Well, it doesn’t take me long to wonder that anyway.

I’ve grown a lot in the past year. I’ve been exploring and writing about personal development, partly because the post-tour comedown last year was so rough. I don’t want to go through that again, so I’ve been working hard at perspective, optimism, faith, and letting go. As I sit here at my table this afternoon, bracing myself against the cold Canadian air coming in through the window I left open for my cats, I’m not speculating on the future. The future will take care of itself. I’ve written before that all you can do is your work. You have to let go of attachments and all of the other ego stuff. So this morning I practiced drums. Now I’m writing a blog post.

I’m grateful to so many people for my experience over the past month. Obviously Sarah tops that list. I remain somewhat amazed that these opportunities with her have come to me. I’ve tried very hard to honour and learn from them. She’s an incredible story, and I’m proud to be able to play with her. Thank you, Sarah, for having faith in me that I sometimes don’t have in myself. Thank you as well for laughing at my stupid voices and being my food buddy. Looking forward to next time!

I’m grateful to Ken and Deni for being two of the best friends a guy could ever want to tour with. Such insightful goofballs and patient pros. You guys are the real deal, not just as players, but as people. When we got back to London last night, Ken’s wife Paula came rushing out to meet him. A few minutes later, Deni’s family showed up and his wife hardly had the van in park before four kids ran across the street to mob him. What better thing can I tell you to illustrate their character? Man, you need support on the road. A band needs to build bonds to put up with and get through all of the stuff – the grind, the fatigue, the traffic, the weird things that happen. Touring can be an endurance sport, and it gets a lot easier when you have bandmates like Deni and Ken riding with you.

I’m grateful to all of the superfans old and new who came to so many shows. You’re the reason we get to do this. Thank you for all of your hugs and laughs and encouragement. I was about to say thanks for your presents, but the most important thing is not your presents but your presence. Shows are successful because you’re at them. We couldn’t make it work without you (and thank you Tjitske and Klaske for today's cover photo and couch shot!).

I’m grateful to everyone who read the blog, and to all of the people who took time to comment or encourage me. There were days when it wasn’t easy to write, but you gave me the inspiration to do it anyway.

The list goes on and on and on. The characters, the venue owners, the billets, the booking agents, the gear people. I’ll let Sarah be responsible for thanking them, but my hat – the new one with the skull – is tipped to everyone who helped us out on along the way.

And now, one more for Sister Amy.

Close your eyes.

Imagine you’re standing in a house. You’re on the second floor and you’re looking out a window. You see a yard below you with long grass and weeds. To the left there is a big, mature maple tree with a gaping wound on its trunk from some past tragedy. On the right you see an old trellis leaning against the trunk of a huge sugar maple. There is a flagstone patio grown over with weeds, as if its caretaker has been away for awhile. The big maples are still mostly green but the yellowing has begun. There are leaves on the ground. They blow across the grass with gusts of cold wind and lodge themselves against an old wooden fence. Here and there flecks of sunlight appear and disappear as grey clouds open and close above you.

It might not do much for you, but for me it’s one of the most beautiful sights on this magnificent planet.

My yard this time.

It’s nice to be home.

#SarahSmith #TheRoad

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