In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, the soul pop artist, Jake Knox, shares one of his stories from being on the road. You can check out the story, after the break.
Let’s set up the scene. I was on the road with three bands a few years back. The bands I was performing with were larger acts (tour veterans) while I was still pretty green. My main objective was to save money (tours can be costly), not rock the boat, and be a good hang. So to save on expenses every morning I would grab some fruit from the hotel lobby and wait by the van.
After finishing a leg of the tour in Chicago (on my birthday, an amazing city to have a birthday in) we began the journey North. Destination: Toronto. I woke up that morning, grabbed my breakfast, and headed to the van. Saving those benjamins, right?
As we arrive at the Canadian border, the agents go through the van. They ask if we have any drugs, weapons, produce, blah blah blah. I sit there staring at my backpack feeling guilty that I am going to be the one that gets the tour van raided because I smuggled a few apples. I take a breath and say no, I don’t have anything. ( No one cares about breakfast right?) So we wrapped up the Canada leg hitting Toronto and Montreal. Toronto is amazing; Montreal freezing.
While we start the journey back to the US we stop the bus on the side of the road before the border crossing. One member of the band pulls out a pack of pre-rolled Canadian cannabis, and says, “Well we have to throw these out, should we just smoke them?” The whole crew (except for the driver, of course) gets out and begins to chip in and smoke their own joint. I am not much of a smoker, but I go ahead and help the team. The driver says we are about an hour to the border, so we hop back in and make our way home.
About five minutes later we hit the border crossing. Agents open up our van and say “Do you have any drugs, weapons, produce, blah blah blah” I look at my backpack, and I know there are a bunch of apples from the Montreal hotel. It is dead silent, we are all a bit stoned, and my guilt from not telling the other border guard starts to sink in. Am I going to be the one that makes the border agents search the van? I muster up all the courage I can and confidently pronounce, “I have an apple in my backpack”. The border agents tell me to speak up, and everyone in the van looks at me in horror. I say again, “I have an apple in my bag.” Everyone in the van started to laugh underneath their breath and whisper “, SHUT UP JAKE”. The border agents look at each other and then look at us, and it feels like they are about to search the whole van. My heart drops. I feel that I have delayed our arrival to the next venue. I think the other artists will hate me, and this is the last time going on the road with these acts.
The agents get out of the car, open up the side door where I am sitting. It is tense. The Montreal Gala apples only feet away from the agents. We make eye contact. He tells us we are good to go. The van burst out in laughter, and I felt like an idiot. It became a running joke on the road, and kind of helped create a bond among all artists. (We all keep in touch today, and even work on tunes together)
So warning to other young touring artists. Feel free to move an apple or two between the borders. It’s all good.