An interview with Storyteller
By Nathan Hoffmann
When a rock star opens his bank book and realizes his stash of cash is starting to dwindle, it’s time to go back on tour. Playing to the masses is how bands obtain their fortunes. But, for an independent band, touring isn’t the same lavish party the big boys get to enjoy. Instead of the luxury jet, a sold-out crowd at the ACC, and trashing hotel rooms, it’s a crummy old van, a show for six scene kids in a town whose name you can’t pronounce, and using up all the toilet paper of the nice emo girl who’s letting you crash on her floor.
Storyteller, a post-hardcore band from St. Catharines, left for their first cross-country tour on October 17th. I recently sat down with three of the members to discuss the obstacles that face an independent band as they get set to embark on a month-long journey together.
MONDO: You guys are about to depart on a four-week tour from Ontario through BC. Is excitement the only emotion you’re feeling?
Eli: No, there is also fear, confusion, sleepiness, malice, hunger, and jaundice.
JJ: It’s a big build-up of anxiety. I like it and I don’t. It kind of puts an edge on things and keeps you on track.
Dave: I’m very excited but, at the same time, worried. Anything can happen and we’ll be miles and miles away from home.
MONDO: How did you guys hook up this tour? Did you go through booking agents or did you book the shows yourself?
Eli: We are touring with two other bands. We divided the show-booking responsibilities.
Dave: We booked mostly the Ontario dates; The Fallacy (the band we’re touring with) booked from Calgary to Ontario, and another band booked the BC dates.
MONDO: Is it difficult booking out-of-town shows yourself?
Eli: At the moment it is: as we are still a newer band, we had to collect as many show promoters’ contacts as possible. We haven’t played the majority of these cities before, so promoters had to take something of a chance on us. But I think our tasty licks speak for themselves.
JJ: It is pretty much the only thing that can hold us back. Exposure is key and it is very hard to obtain.
MONDO: What are you hoping to accomplish on this tour?
Eli: Have fun, meet new fans, see the country, and see how long I can fend off my body’s desire to bathe.
Dave: As of right now, my goal is just to play my heart out, have fun, and see a part of Canada I’ve never experienced before.
MONDO: How hard is it to balance working and being in a band, in regards to getting time off for touring?
Eli: Well, a month is a long time to take off work. Luckily I have a lot of dirt on my boss. After presenting him with the evidentiary footage from some cleverly placed video cameras, we came to an understanding and he wished me luck.
JJ: I work in a gas station, so work is very flexible for me to book off.
Dave: Not too hard; I booked it in advance and if they didn’t like it, I was going to quit.
MONDO: Tours cost money. Are you concerned about the financial strains a long trip can have? How have you been preparing for this tour?
Eli: I just sold some of my personal artwork, mainly pieces from my hand turkey collection. So I should be good.
Dave: Yes, the band has been saving money from our shows, selling CDs and merch. Each of us also has to bring our own money for expenses on the road.
MONDO: What vehicle are you guys are taking on tour?
Eli: We have a band van. It’s in pretty good shape. The only real problem occurred while driving back from an out-of-town show. Our van stopped working and we were forced to call a tow truck. After explaining the problem to him, the tow truck man attempted to start her up and concluded we were out of fuel.
JJ: We took care of all the necessary needs of the van in regards to repairs, tune ups, and CAA to make sure everything will be the best that it can be.
MONDO: What kinds of stuff are you guys packing to help survive the tour?
Eli: Cold cuts, clothes, movies, baby wipes, sleeping bag, and daily devotionals.
JJ: Clothes, baby wipes, beer, maybe money.
Dave: Other then the necessary clothing, we’re bringing canned food and soup, crackers, and most likely some Kraft Dinner.
MONDO: Four weeks is a long time to be stuck in a van with four other guys. Any worries about getting on each other’s nerves? How do you plan to combat cabin fever?
Eli: That is probably my biggest concern. I have a low tolerance for most of my bandmates, so I told them straight up that if any of them pushes my buttons we are going to throw down.
JJ: We hug it out.
Dave: It’s going to be tough, but I’m sure we’ll get through it.
MONDO: What kinds of things have you learned while being on “weekend tours” that you think will help you during this trip?
Eli: Weekend tours are a joke in comparison.
JJ: We have learned to handle each other a bit more. This tour will definitely help with just getting to know the other members. We will probably have bunch of pow-wows so nobody lashes out on each other. Try to act like a family and all that neat stuff.