A Couple of East Coast Road Stories :: “thinking on our feet” 101!

Ah …

The dust has settled after a bit of a whirlwind two weekends to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Along with some amazing memories, I have a couple of road stories to share:

Story #1 starts on Canada Day in Fredericton.

We arrived back stage at Officer’s Square in good time to unload and prep our gear to get it quickly onto the stage in the 15 minute transition between bands. My immediate focus was to get my Ned Steinberger 5-String electric violin plugged into a new Boss RC-20XL Loop Station (borrowed from a student for the tour) into my Boss GT-6 then routed into a monitoring amp (a Long & Mcquade rental) while Brad Toews routed his keyboard rig through his MacBook Pro using some new piano/keyboard software. After testing my levels, with seemingly lot’s of time to spare, I began to  help Brad get my MacBook Pro up and running that was to drive our sound loops/tracks for the majority of our 45 minute set. Everything was in place and we began powering up all our equipment … suddenly, Brad announced: “Trevor, I can’t get any sound through my Mac from the keyboard” … “and, you might want to have a look at your laptop as well … it is completely frozen!” I could hear the strain and slight panic in Brad’s voice. My heart at the same moment sunk.  … “oh no … what are we going to do?” I thought to myself. My mind started to race and move into problem solving mode while thousands of people waited for our set to begin. I rebooted my Mac while Brad tried to problem solve his sound issues. Still nothing … completely frozen! (This, honestly is a re-occurring dream that I have had … I am on a stage to perform in front of a large audience, but never actually get going because my violin has gone missing, or I am not plugged in, or there is some other bizarre technical issue … you get the picture). Anyways, suddenly, in the middle of this growing panic and concern, a voice whispered to me: “Trevor, pray! Pray!” So there, on that stage, I prayed with Brad that God would give us clarity to know what to do. I immediately felt a calm and started to talk through the scenarios. “Something must be interfering with the lap-top … a strong radio or wireless signal (there were radio and T.V. stations broadcasting close by). Then I noticed the laptop was sitting on a monitor speaker (placed on end like a table) and it came to me … “Brad, I think there could be magnetic interference from this speaker” … so I quickly picked up the laptop, unplugged it and sat down on the stage away from the speaker. After rebooting, I tried it again and it worked perfectly! Problem solved! “Thank you, Lord”, I whispered. We made the call to abandon Brad’s software piano sounds, plugged directly into his Roland keyboard to get him going and on we went with our Canada Day set to a very receptive audience.

What is wrong with this photo? Notice my MacBook Pro sitting on the monitor speaker to the left … NOT A GOOD IDEA!

Obvious concern on my face as we frantically try to problem solve!

Story #2 takes us to Malagash Camp, Nova Scotia.

Brad and I were greeted by a good friend, Dr. John McNab and camp manager, Morgan Hodder as we pulled up to the Malagash Camp lodge with our rental car. Morgan showed us the spot on the front patio of the lodge where he envisioned the concert to be held overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with a view of PEI. “What a beautiful setting for a concert!”, I remarked. John introduced me to Brad Berry, our sound engineer who we had worked with on a previous tour to Nova Scotia in the Halifax region. “Great to work with you again, bro” I said. I have great memories of our previous event together. We unpacked all our gear and proceeded to get ready for the evening concert. In my mind I was thinking “this is going to be a fun one … outdoors, a great sound guy, nice equipment, a spectacular view … I can’t wait”. Brad problem solved his software issues with our talented sound engineer and got his software going once more by re-routing his hard drive a little differently. I pulled out my pedals, set them up once more and then opened my double violin case which carries my electric and acoustic violins. My heart sank … “where is my NS shoulder rest?”, I thought. It was missing and not in it’s usual spot in my violin case. “Maybe it was put somewhere else when we packed up our gear in Fredericton” I thought … I searched and searched … every bag … still no shoulder rest … Now you need to know, if this was my acoustic violin, missing my shoulder rest would be no big deal, but the Ned Steinberger Electric Violin is pretty much unplayable without it’s custom made shoulder rest, intrinsic to its ergonomic design. Once more, panic began to set it … 1.5 hours before our concert and I have an electric violin that is pretty much impossible to play without a shoulder rest! I thought through when I last saw the missing rest and realized that in my haste to clear the stage after our Canada Day set in in Fredericton, I had left it on the stage. Brad, our sound engineer came over and asked “what’s the problem Trev” … I explained my predicament … he said, “could we build one?” … I said, “we might be able to if we can have access to some tools and a shop” …

45 minutes later, with some ingenuity, using a flat piece of wood, a hunk of packing foam from my suit case, a carriage bolt, some washers, a wing nut and a hot glue gun, Brad and I produced our own home made shoulder rest for my NS Electric Violin which I used for the rest of that leg of the tour!

Here is the standard NS Shoulder Rest that was left in Fredericton on Canada Day

Here is a close-up of the homemade shoulder rest that got me through the weekend!

My NS with the new shoulder rest before our concert in Malagash … a thing of beauty!

Brad Berry, sound engineer extraordinaire … and shoulder rest co-designer

An incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean and an appreciative audience after the Malagash Camp concert