The Feminists: Lots Of Fire And Brimstone

We arrived in Thunder Bay in late afternoon. It was pouring rain and very cold. Upon parking the van outside the club, we scattered to the four winds. Well, Grief and Zobac went to a comic book/magic card store. I wandered the rainy deserted streets and looked half-heartedly for an internet cafe. Every time I’ve been in Thunder Bay, the streets have been mostly deserted. Looks like a tough town, pretty dreary. Not a lot of trees. Or color, for that matter. I saw a some old men playing cards and spitting tobacco juice outside of a ramshackle strip of cheap hotels. A couple of teenage punk moms with babies in strollers rolled past me deep in a comparative discussion about their offsprings’ sleeping habits.
Might as well head back to the van until it was time to load in, I thought. What else was I going to do in Thunder Bay on a rainy Monday afternoon? At least in the van I could get baked and be okay with being bored. Frankly, I think that marijuana is the perfect recreational drug for the poor. For much less than the cost of a case of beer, you can buy yourself a few hours of relaxation and intense fascination with the mundane. All of a sudden it doesn’t matter that you don’t have enough money to go out. You can stare at your hands, or listen to music, or contemplate the universe. And no hangover afterward.
My carefully laid plans (load bong, smoke it, lie back and try to conjure up a positive thought) were shattered by the cheerful ring of my phone. “We’re doing a live radio interview at CILU right now”, barked Zobac,”where are you?” “Just heading back to the van”, I said, as I watched my plans for a lazy afternoon, well, go up in smoke. Grief and Zobac were in the van when I got there, Belland was nowhere to be found. There was nothing to be done about it, he’s the only one of us that doesn’t have a cellphone. We just happened to make contact with the radio station at the right moment, when they had some time for us.
Seeing as how I was the only one who wasn’t baked, (I guess the guys had the same plans for the afternoon as I did) I had to drive us to the radio station, which was right next to a graveyard. We oozed and dripped (because, of course, it was pouring rain, windy, and very cold) into a tiny house that in fact the college radio station. Within ten minutes, we were on the air discussing the band and the upcoming show with the afternoon DJ, who called himself Fabulous Dave.
We’re sort of getting better with interviews, but they’re still a novelty for us. I usually assume that every interview will be our last one and it will never happen again. Although to be fair, on this tour we have already had more media interviews than ever before. I always think of brilliant things to say after it’s all over. This time we were asked where do the songs come from – that’s a huge, mysterious, philosophical discussion right there. How do you respond that in 10 seconds or less? Answer, you don’t. In my case you sit, tongue-tied and speechless while Grief says several moderately absurd things. He doesn’t like that kind of question either. And god help anyone who asks him what the songs are about.
The show that night featured all B.C. bands, who happened to converge in Thunder Bay for one night only. There wasn’t much of a crowd as it was Monday night. We played very well. Lots of fire and brimstone, and the audience was attentive and appreciative, which of course helped us play better and better. It was good and loud. There were more screams of delight after every song, and the people demanded an encore. That’s fun. Doesn’t happen every time, but when it does it chirks us up immensely. We’ve always been the only band on the bill that gets asked for another song, and it puffs us up with a certain rock and roll arrogance to extend our set and show off, especially in front of local bands. In your face, other bands. The fucking Feminists are in your town, and your fans who have never heard us before would rather hear us play another song than listen to you. Meow. In this particular instance we played ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd, and although I butchered the intro completely, the people swayed, sang along, and actually waved their lighters. And begged for more afterward, naturally.
We sold cds afterwards and then it was bedtime. Thank god The Apollo has a band room so we got to sleep indoors. Ferdy went off to socialize with the other bands. That guy has some stamina, and he’s sick right now to boot.
Socializing after the show is an idea I like, but I find the reality too much to bear. 9 times out of 10 I’m the only gal in the room. Touring bands at this level don’t bring their girlfriends along. Most band guys get wasted afterwards, and then I feel sort of like a canary in room full of hungry cats…who are dipping heavily into the cat nip and becoming less inhibited by the second. If I don’t want to be ensnared in one drunken ‘hey baby’ conversation after another I have to stick close to my bandmates. And I’ve already spent quite enough time during the day sticking close to them in a van, and playing music with them.
This irritating situation is compounded by the fact that I’m not a drinker. I’m sure if I was I’d care a lot less about the leering and the slurring. But really, I don’t have the luxury of having a few drinks after the show… I’d be putting myself in a pretty vulnerable position. I’ve seen many drunk girls being led away giggling and staggering by some greasy band guy they just met. I often wonder how they feel the morning after, all sticky between the thighs, mascara smudged all over their face in some dirty bed that hundreds of drunken people have fucked in.
So for me it was another night of tucking myself away from everyone and hanging out quietly listening to music, knitting, and waiting to wind down enough to sleep. Of course, the evening wasn’t a total loss. I did earn $12.50 tonight from the show.