Volume 96, Issue 1

Thursday, May 23, 2002
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Jack Winn brings cosmic flare For the Art of It

Satanic Surfers rock the world

This summer London theatre heats up

Hey, Jesus is back

Musings from the indie road

Musings from the indie road

Where's Chip
Dale Wyatt
A&E Editor

I recently had a dream come true.

I didn't win the lottery, I didn't marry a supermodel or become king of an exotic country and I sure didn't become a movie star. My dream came true when I packed into an over crowded van and drove across the country with my guitar.

It may sound like a strange dream, but there are countless others who share it with me.

It all started on a cold, bleak Friday morning when seven guys, including myself, packed into a van filled with music equipment and headed across the country in search of one thing – a place to rock. This may sound cheesy, but who said reality isn't cheesy?

Canada is a country with a very prevalent and active independent music scene. Countless bands are struggling to make ends meet in a mainstream radio dominated market.

Yet, despite the lack of money, comfort and the giant risks involved in touring as an indie group, bands like mine work hard and save up just enough money so they can hit the road in order to share the music that means so much to them.

Larger bands pack into buses and stay at fancy hotels – your average indie band packs into an old dilapidated van and is lucky if it manages to find a floor to sleep on. In fact, the majority of bands who tour independently end up losing large amounts of money and struggle to raise the gas money to get home.

So why would anyone choose such a lifestyle?

The first answer that comes to mind is we are nuts. I think you have to be to drive around wearing the same clothes for days on end, sleeping upright in a van, playing bars who only pay in booze and eating the same fast food until it makes you gag.

However, there is far more to it than that.

Like I stated above, it is a dream – a lifestyle.

Music is a reason as much as an excuse to take off into the great unknown and let life smack you in the face. It has given me more and taught me more than I could ever have been taught in a classroom.

Whether you are playing to 15 drunks in smalltown BC or 400 rowdy punks in Montreal, it's all part of a larger picture. And when all is said and done the most important thing is the music, not the money.

You might think indie bands would all jump at the chance to be playing stadium shows for thousands of fans, but that is not entirely true – not if it means sacrificing the band's integrity.

It is a major cliché to hear indie bands harp about how much they enjoy having complete musical freedom – but it is true. However, it is not just musical freedom that makes being part of an indie band great.

You never have a strict schedule to follow, everything can be done your way and nobody gets mad when you have a little fun. These may seem like little things, but they can make all the difference in the long run.

Long after big bands come and go, the indie music scene will always be strong and there will always be people dreaming of a chance to share their music with as many people as possible. These are the people with the courage to be different. It is impossible to say they are in it for the money because there is none to be had.

I pose this challenge: next time you are walking downtown and pass a flyer stuck to a pole, do not ignore it because you have not heard of the band in question. Why not give the band a try? I almost guarantee you will not be disappointed.

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