Putting On The Foil (Of Rock)

A good day to you, sir or madam! You are reading (accidentally or otherwise) the blog affectionately known as "The Unvarnished Truth". Chronicling the woeful tales of Punch Drunk Cabaret as seen thru the bleary eyes of your humble scribe, it tells it like it is, doesn't tell it like it isn't and fills in the booze-removed gaps with the grout of hyperbole. Still reading? Ok, perhaps it wasn't an accident.



Rumble Seat


The end of August and, unofficially, summer brought a final and glorious end to the festival season with two yarn-worthy performances in Alberta -- Camrose's Rose City Rumble and Slave Lake's Ice Breaker.

August 29th saw us return to our second home at The Bailey Theatre in Camrose for an unprecedented seventh time and the second annual Rose City Rumble. Ahhhh, Camrose.... the first burg to take us in like a convent to a penniless vagrant -- a very well-dressed penniless vagrant.

The RCR boasts a who's who of the province's most interesting rockabilly, surf and weirdy roots bands. We were fortunate enough to play alongside such examples as Shaguar, Give 'Em Hell Boys and The Frolics among others.


backstage monitor: The Frolics                                     backstage monitoring my basses



Our pal and PDC crew member, Wrench Hansen... moonlighting as the Bailey Theatre light tech 



The Frolics drummer, before go-going w/ PDC





Once again, the spectres of the Bailey's past came back to haunt us. I swear every time we've performed there, something goes wrong, usually technically. When one frequents a hundred year old house, I suppose it's to be expected that the former hosts may still linger around there in some paranormal form or another. But I must say I'm gettin' mighty sick & tired of ghosts goofin' around with my gear! 'Twas the now obligatory pedal board trouble for me and even Cap'n Sean E. Watts hisself experienced some monitor gremlins. Ain't them ghosties got better things to do like fight the terrorists or scare politicians? Quit pickin' on musicians, you incorporeal idiots!   





At a PDC show, one never knows what to expect... not even us sometimes. This night saw a coupla brand, spankin' new tunes rolled out. The Bailey audience was the first to hear future blockbuster hits, "Meat On The Bones" and "Halos & Horns". And those who didn't absquatulate after the alleged appearance of the aforementioned theatre spectres were also privy to The Frolics' go-go routine during "Knuckles", your ol' Sawbones' first entirely coattail-less performance and Bandmeister Randy B's impromptu striptease. Sorry, ladies.... no tallywhacker sightings this night.



Preacher In The House


It did this scribe's heart proud when we met up with our original drummer and Camrose's favorite son, The Rev. Robin Eklund! Rev's gone on to more important activities like raising a family and paying bills on time -- things that, to this day, elude me. Well ol' Rev came a-visitin' backstage and we had a right nice reunion. Then to top it all off, he jumped onstage during our set and contributed some vocals for a couple numbers. Totally unrehearsed. Totally unscripted. Totally Robin. Made ya feel all warm & toasty in your innard parts!

Our former drummer at home with his number one concern



Slave To The Grind


The next day we traveled o'er hill and o'er dale to Slave Lake, AB. This was a gig tied into the Ice Breaker hockey event earlier that day. It featured former NHL players like Theoren Fleury and Louie DeBrusk. It also starred the Hanson Brothers of Slap Shot fame. If you're a Canadian worth his/her weight in maple syrup you'd know how significant that movie is in the pantheon of hockey culture. And to movie nerds like myself who scream like a little girl at the first sighting of a celebrity of any notoriety.




We checked in and then played three sets that night in a rare watering hole appearance at the Slave Lake Inn -- home of the world's smallest liquor store.


Cutest lil booze haven EVER                                       Hotel registration with their suggestion for our band name



Flanny Pack


Upon arrival, we met up with the local tech, a fella by the name of Flanny. Flanny! Who doesn't love a catchy nickname? Our whole band has 'em! It's like an alias one can hide behind in case one runs afoul of the local constabulary. So I am told. I shore plum got excited! Perhaps a kindred spirit from the civic steampunk scene? This day had promise written all over it! After sound check and an unusually delicious tavern meal, we were ready to put our proverbial musical skates on and score!


At sound check with Flanny somewhere in the background 



The Hanson Brothers Are For Real


Not only were Slap Shot's infamous Hanson Brothers in town for the Ice Breaker event, but Jeff (Carlson) Hanson himself graced us with his presence during our performance. For a cult movie star like him, he was humble and giving of his time to the fans. He actually asked us to have a picture taken with him! Never argue with a man who'd drop the gloves if you look at 'im funny.


PDC and Jeff Hanson in a tussle                            Jeff and Sawbones putting on a show.... but not the foil 



No Score


Like the night before, the Slave Lake faithful were treated to new PDC material. Gotta road test this stuff so's we know what works well with an audience and what has them throwing hockey pucks at you.


Like any tavern on a Saturday night when the libations and libidos are flowing, the amount of feminine pulchritude (Editor's Note: Or, trim, in the customary local parlance) on display was staggering. Being the wannabe lothario I am, I thought the pickins were ripe for your ol' Sawbones to get hisself a lil filly for the evening. After set 2, I saddled up to the bar to acquire some liquid refreshment when a beautiful young damsel-in-distress approached and chatted me up.


"Well aren't I doing well with this comely lass!" my ego said to my gullible brain. Apparently, this fetching young woman (let's call her Pandora) was in need of some distracted protection from the amourous advances of a coupla hockey palookas nearby. Being the gentleman I am, I successfully rerouted their attention away from Pandora as they clearly saw that my obvious panache, silver tongue and style were no match for their... uh.... world class physique..... and...... um... money.


She then walked away with not so much as a thank you nor a buttock squeeze for my efforts. An addendum to this sorry tale is the fact that, again, what I thought was attention and intention from the fairer sex was no less than eight and one half requests to wear my hat. 8 1/2 because I impatiently cut the last one off mid-sentence as I grew weary of their foolishness. Perhaps this is the reason I get no trim. Note to self: be more present.

Sawbones in a typically empty hotel room



Praisin' And Hellraisin'


A big ol' Punch Drunk thank ye to Stephanie Harpe Experience who recommended us for this date thereby allowing us to continue to rock, swing and raise holy hell in Slave Lake! SHE is a fine young band and we reciprocate the recommendation. Let's raise some musical hell together soon, Steph!


And that's the unvarnished truth.