My lips have gone dry with the sullen fury of the road, the endless clamor of the engine, or the fog drifting in along the yellow plain, just for a brief glimpse of what should be a dream but lingers so lightly on the tip of the tongue like a snow flake trapped by a hostile child. The road is the renegade. A savage beast that if walked would take hundreds of hours to travel. Why am I here? There is one reason. Love. There is no other explanation except for the hope that one day this will have made a difference. There can be no other explanation.
Canada, you dirty bitch of a landmass. Why do I fear the rest of the world so much that I cannot leave you? I hold tight to your promises. On the eve of many of us leaving let’s look at the road; the vase expanses that stretch beyond the imagination. Why do I love your people so much? The dirty farmers that smell of diesel and tobacco. The too fat waitress that 20 years ago was beautiful. The young oil engineer that thinks he is so smart. The drunks, meth-heads, grease balls, lawyers, construction workers, garbage collectors, gentle lovers, comedians, hookers, preachers, leftists and rightists, the east and the west, north and south.
The road is a sultry witch, she looks good from the lens of distance, but once in her grasp she has nothing but harsh words and even colder actions. She says with a kind voice “meet me in another city and play for me.” Then, she makes you wait in foreign ports and languish there with little or no escape, no chance of intimacy with the culture of the place. I have looked out with love and got nothing back. I have held the hand of the crowd and tried to egg them on, all I got was a vase full of cat piss and wilted orchids. She wants to love us, there was none to give. The road is the boy or the girl that you loved as a child/ teenager that never loved you back, you held that hand on the bus so many times just to have a teasing at school; that doesn’t stop you from coming back. A wink in the hall and then a glass of milk in the face in the lunchroom.
Still, the road is the brother of a musician. Without the road how would a musician ever get taken seriously? We are the prophets of old, where the hometown would try and stone us for our message of hope. So, we leave. Look at all Canadian bands, where do they go? We move to the States? We become heroes. We are the sullen, sick, traitorous heroes. We all love Neil Young. How much does it nag in your mind that he is just another snowbird retiring in Florida? We are tied to the road in blood, and when weakness takes us we stop and give up, write that hit, make it. If any musician says that the road (and that means planes and trains and boats and motorbikes and ferries and tractors) is nothing is a liar, a dirty stupid liar. It makes us what we are.