Like Richie Havens at Woodstock, if Richie Havens had been a couple of noisy white guys, me and my heterosexual life partner Rich Hope had the honour of opening the Squamish Valley Music Festival yesterday (August 7). You’re very welcome for the warm-up, Eminem.
This is our fourth time at the bestival of all festivals. Our last appearance was in 2012 with Rich’s country band the Blue Rich Rangers. I remember very clearly a sea of about 10,000 young faces extending far into the distance that night, and the collective thought bubble that seemed to shimmer into existence above their heads: “Who are these old men and why are they singing about whiskey?”
Matters were very different yesterday, largely because it was five in the afternoon and there were only about 75 people there. And this is how we like it. The whole point of Rich Hope and His Evil Doers is to be recognized in 20 years or so as prophets who went without honor in our own time, like Wilhelm Reich or John Kennedy Toole. Those are two of my inspiration as a drummer, by the way, along with ‘70s superstar Elliot Gould and (of course) Anne Frank.
More to the point, and whether they knew it or not, we played exceptionally well to those 75 people, especially since this was my first time back behind the drums since I broke my wrist earlier in the summer, twice. They had to put a titanium screw in my scaphoid, and I’m very happy to report that my space age bionics performed beautifully. Here’s to you Dr. Neil Wells, there’s a crisp five dollar tip coming your way at my next check-up.
As is our custom, the Evil Doers whipped up an inspired racket that seemed as if by baleful influence to stir the very elements themselves, with the wind actually lifting my ride cymbal into the air one point and throwing it across the stage like something out of fucking Master of the Flying Guillotine. It was terrifying. This wouldn’t happen if I could be bothered to buy a new wing nut for the cymbal stand, but you know. Fuck it.
What else? Rich and I stuck around to watch our buddies in the Matinee, who were great as ever. By then, the crowd had expanded from 75 people to about a million. It’s going to be an amazing three days, and I wish I coulda stayed, but I have two other shows this weekend and a wedding gig, not to mention a movies section to run and two kids to raise so get off my back already.