In this Crazy Tour Stories segment, Matt Schellenberg of the indie pop band, Royal Canoe, talks about one of their crazy moments from touring. You can check out the feature, after the break.
In June of 2013, the band was somehow booked to play a weekend of too-cool-for-school shit in Los Angeles. The tour was made up of two LA pool parties — the first, playing the Canadian Consulate party for Canada day, and the second Danny Masterson’s sister’s birthday party.
Danny Masterson is Hyde from That 70’s Show. As a bunch of prairie boys, our mandate for the weekend was to just keep our shit together and act cool. I was probably the biggest endorser of this, giving lectures to the rest of the band in the van asking that under no circumstances do we accidentally call him Hyde or sing the first line (“Hanging out!”) from the theme song to That 70’s Show. That night we all agree to try to be very cool.
We’re playing what’s called a Bronson Island session at Danny’s. He is re-launching his garage studio that will do two or three song sessions with indie bands. He lives in his own circle on Bronson Ave, hence the island. When we get there he’s taking out some garbage trying to get the house ready for the party. Kinda cool that even the celebs need to take the garbage out.
We say hi and he tells us to back into load in. The guy looks uncannily like Justin Timberlake. The house is amazing — has a tennis and basketball court off to one side, purple light lit pool in the back yard. I’m already taking pictures of everything prompting the rest of my band to scold me. (Not Cool!) There’s a food cart labeled “White Guy Pad Thai” off the side of the pool catering to the first couple guests. Only 15 or so people there for now. There’s a big happy birthday sign hanging over a table of beer and sparkling water. We set up in the studio when it’s ready. Danny has every vintage amp and keyboard you could think of. I’m playing through a fender reverb from the 60s.
During set up, we talk to Danny about his experience in Manitoba. He played a DJ set in Brandon once, ha. When everything is working we play our three songs. We play ok and I’m happy with how it’s sounding. Danny is cutely very concerned about the whole thing. After the first song is done I hear him yell “clap” to the hesitant people in the room who aren’t sure what to do in case the recording will pick it up. After Danny is very complimentary and comes and thanks, each one of us personally.
On my way back to the house I see Donna from that 70s show has arrived. Really gotta learn these people’s real names. I had Wikipedia it earlier but now I forget. It’s weird to see her not in 70’s garb. Apparently, Danny’s DJ name (DJ MomJeans) is taken from a joke he has with her and Mila Kunis about how they had to spend so much time wearing mom jeans for the show.
We load the van and set about attending our first ever proper Hollywood party. A friend along with us accidentally sings “Hanging out!” on the way to the van and is scolded by a band member. He missed the announcement.
I grab a beer and set out to meet new people. There is a photographer named Meeno who was taking our picture in the studio who introduces me to a few people. He shows me pictures of his kids. I decide I’m gonna go for it and make new relationships as it’s more fun than just talking to the people I know.
I meet a threesome of guys who take a liking to me. (Phew!) We go on a self-proclaimed quest for beer which is quickly depleting. Unsuccessful, one of the guys finds his wife, a woman named Piper. She has a drink and she takes me back into the house to Danny’s liquor cabinet. It’s off to the side of the kitchen in a little cove.
There’s a woman there wearing a White Socks hat looking very fashionable. I sheepishly ask if it’s cool that I’m here. She’s reassuring — says “of course” but tells me I look like I feel out of place. I tell her I do.
She pours me a Buffalo Trace whiskey. I take a picture of the bottle to remember it (real cool everyone, real cool!) Never had had that one before. She says it’s a good one for some quality whiskey but still not breaking the bank. I wonder what would be breaking the bank for these people. She wants me to call her LC and we try and get some ice from the fridge ice dispenser but it’s not working like those things never do.
At this point I’m pretty drunk, I’ve taken pictures of the entire grounds, raided Danny’s liquor cabinet with some randoms and not sure if I had permission.
I check back on the studio sessions and Father John Misty is starting his set but almost 100 people have crammed into the tiny garage and there is no room for me. I have to go to the washroom and there aren’t many. Danny is waiting in line for his own washroom and he tells me to just pee in a bush cause that’s what he’s gonna do. So we both do. I’m feeling less bad about the liquor cabinet now. Pee buddies!!
“Busy is here” Brendan, my bandmate, tells me on the tennis court. Danny’s sister is batting at a piñata and has just punctured it with all of her friends. Candy is spewed beneath a basketball hoop.
“Who’s busy?” I ask.
“From Arrested Development,” he says.
“Oh, you mean Maeybe?”
“Yeah, sorry Maeybe.”
I love Arrested Development a lot so that excites me. I’m totally unaware of my buffoonery and decide that I’d be very welcome in a conversation with Maeybe and Father John. I jump in sooooo smoothly in my head, and very not smoothly in real life. I complain about how the party is out of alcohol. I tell Father John Misty I had to miss the set because I couldn’t get in (ha, as if he would care) but have heard very good things. He very graciously gives me his tequila and says he has to get going anyway. I’m totally unaware that this is definitely because of me, a gen-pub drunk dude is totally crashing his celeb convo. On his way out he ironically starts playing Blackbird and Stairway to Heaven as if he was just one of those annoying guys at a party with an acoustic guitar. Him and his wife leave, leaving the seat open beside Maeybe. I ask if I can sit down.
I ask her and her friends names since I actually don’t know them. Soooo cool to ask a celebrity their name right? We talk about Winnipeg. She was once there filming a movie about a Palestinian woman. I tell her next time she’s in town she’ll have to go out a little more, and very clumsily try to hint at exchanging information for that very inevitable situation. She’s having none of that but graciously entertains me for a little more conversation.
After she has to go I shuffle back to my friends who I had earlier lectured about keeping cool, looking at them as if I had just been the coolest. It was only in the morning they informed me of the full extent of my inelegance. We now call it “Going Misty” when you’re around someone famous and you really mess it up. If we’re touring with another more well-known band and we’re all drinking a little bit, and haven’t gotten to know them yet, it’s not uncommon for a call for no one to “Get Misty” to go out.
So that’s it, my brush with the stars, I haven’t got Misty since to my knowledge, here’s hoping Alia Shawkat has a google alert on her name and reads my account of the evening.
Sorry for getting Misty Alia, I promise if you come to Winnipeg I’ll be super cool!l!
(Photo credit: Bill Acheson)
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