*header photo by Joel Naphin
It’s with heavy hearts that we publish the last installment of Todd Kerns’ Age of Electric tour diary. It was an honor and a pleasure to host these words, and we wish the band of brothers all the luck in the world on their future, separate and hopefully collective endeavors.
A huge thank you to Todd Kerns for sharing his experiences with us.
…And In The End
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sitting here in the cold light of day it almost seems as though it didn’t happen at all. 3 weeks on the road plus a week of rehearsal at the beginning should feel how it usually does. As if it was a year on the road or a week, at most, at the same time.
But right now enjoying a week off it seems it went so fast it’s hard to grasp it all. Like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand. In a good way. In the best way.
What can one say about Southern Ontario? It always struck me as bizarre that there were as many places to play in Ontario as there were to get there from BC to Manitoba. Sometimes more.
In 2015 when we spoke of rebooting The Age Of Electric a lot of people spoke of how big we were in the west. Coming from the Canadian prairies we had roots all the way across. But truth be told, I always knew that Ontario was a huge market for us. In the 90s we were lucky enough to be Much Music video darlings for a hot minute, and Much Music cast a big shadow in Canada in those days, especially in Ontario.
There is no bigger reminder of this than playing full shows in cities that are sometimes as little as an hour apart. At most 3 hours. In Europe people will travel days to see their favorite bands.
The first in Waterloo, Ontario was a great show. Maxwell’s is a great room and Paul does a great job of putting on shows there. Kurt Dahle was in fine form.
This was the beginning of 5 shows in a row for us. With travel. To put that in perspective, with Slash we only play three in a row to rest up Myles Kennedy’s voice. This is perfectly acceptable. Travel is hard on a person, especially if you have any issues sleeping. Colds go around camps and the first thing affected is the voice.
Can’t have that. Just can’t.
To put it into further perspective, when Slash Featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators toured with Aerosmith, they would take three days off after a show. Play a show, three days off, play a show, three days off, repeat. That’s a lot of downtime. It was weird for us. There is a flow and a momentum to a tour. That was a little TOO relaxed for me. But I get it. If Steven doesn’t wanna sing for three days after a show so be it.
Toronto was the second of five in a row in Southern Ontario for us. Many of these shows had been our first appearances in sometimes as long as 20 years but we had appeared in Toronto November of 2016, which was amazing. This time was even better. I’d never played The Mod Club before. It reminded me of Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom. Truly an amazing audience that knew all the words and very warmly received our new material. It means a lot to get a positive reception in the ‘seen everything’ centers like Toronto.
Unfortunately, that day we had to cancel a much needed photo shoot for the band as our drummer, Kurt Dahle, had contracted pneumonia. At the beginning of the tour my brother, John, was sick with a chest infection. I guess Kurt caught it only worse. This is exactly what I was talking about when speaking of days off and travel etc. We live In one anthers’ pockets and germs get passed around. I was more than a little nervous. I did NOT want to get sick.
Kurt was a trooper though and nailed the show. At certain points he looked like he wanted to die but played impeccably. Showmanship to the end!
3 of 5 was London. A lot of my Euro/UK friends wished it was London, England. Maybe someday but London, ONTARIO at the legendary Music Hall was fantastic for us. We never thought about Easter weekend when booking the tour but found ourselves smack dab in the middle of it for a bunch of these shows. Didn’t seem to affect a damn thing. The amazing Rusty opened the show, who are legends from the Canadian 90s. Still as great as ever.
Day four of five in a row took us to Oshawa which is probably only an hour out of Toronto but has a strong live scene of its own. I kiddingly pointed out that our name was suspiciously absent from their sign of legendary Canadian acts. That’s what happens when you vanish for 17 years. Another awesome show whether they decided to wedge our name between April Wine and Bryan Adams or not.
For our final show of the Make A Pest A Pet 20th Anniversary Tour 2017, we found ourselves in the most enjoyable but unlikely but of spots, Arnprior, a small community outside of the nation’s capital, Ottawa. We really had a great time on this last night. We knew this was IT. Kurt was pretty much 100%. I guess those antibiotics were doing their thing. It really was a fun show.
This whole tour has been such a rewarding experience. So many people have come up to me thanking us for doing this. I could never convey how thankful I am for them being there. Many people told me they were too young to have seen the band the first time around which is an awesome thing to imagine. Music is so timeless.
So with that we all said our goodbyes and went off in different directions.
We had the most amazing road crew imaginable. Markus, our sound engineer and tour manager, did an amazing job. He works with a lot of great acts like Death From Above 1979. Very talented guy.
Smurf is the consummate roadie. He’s been working with me since Go Time! in 2004. We are family. This won’t be our last spin around the sun together.
No further plans just yet for the AOE. There is talk of releasing a second single from the Pretty EP. You never know what that might lead to. For now the beast is resting.
Me? I’m off to Nashville May 8th. LA May 19th. Vegas May 27th. Things never really slow down for me. Got to keep movin’!
To all who attended these shows I cannot thank you enough. It has been a dream come true for me and you are all such a big part of that. Thank you to all the venues that had us. Thank you to our booking agent, Ralph James.
Thank you to sister Cheryl Hall who is handling everything behind the scenes while battling a monster called cancer. She is an inspiration.
Thank you to Eric Warner of We Are Busy Bodies for going above and beyond every step of the way. In many ways you have breathed new life into this thing.
Thank you to Cristina Fernandes our publicist who is simply amazing.
And thank you to Addicted Magazine for letting me blah blah blog for y’all. This has been a blast.
And last but not least thank you to Ryan, John and Kurt for letting me be in their band. 28 years and counting. Here’s to 28 more.
And to you, dear reader-
Your loyal and humble servant,
(Todd Kerns AOE 1989-2017)