60 miles before the Canadian Border

Crossing the Canadian Border: Joe’s gonna get NABBED

Travelling North on I-5 near Mount Vernon, WA

We’re playing in Vancouver tonight, and now we’re getting ready to cross the border. Crossing the border is a scary experience for a band. First of all, it costs money; you have to pay around $250 to play in Canada, and second, you have to make it past the border patrol. You can’t have any drugs with you, and if you have a lot of t-shirts to sell, they will tax you. Even if you don’t expect to sell the shirts, you still get taxed.

This time, we’ve been warned that they are REALLY cracking down on t-shirts, which means they’ll probably search our van. Our 8 boxes of t-shirts have been left in Seattle at Howie’s friend’s house. As for drugs, there’s an old joke between bands that “It’s ok if you just have a *little* amount of pot with you; but not too much, when crossing the border.” It’s a joke we tell English bands. Of course, this is a joke because if you have any kind of drug with you, I think they probably SHOOT you. We once were on tour with a band that rented an entirely new van for the day when they crossed the border, just because they were sure they’d not be able to get rid of all the little pot crumbs laying all over their van.

As we approach the border patrol, one look at our clean-cut, geeky-looking selves and the guard decides that if he’s going to search us, he’ll be looking for t-shirts. We’ll have to bring our paperwork into the border patrol building and pay our $250 for a work permit for the band, a fee that the club will reimburse. The funny part is that Joe, our soundguy, (and the only one of us who is sort of nervous about being searched) has left his ID in Boise, so we are really unsure of how he’s going to make it over the border. He is pretty upset because he was looking very much forward to seeing Tsunami play again tonight. I’m a little worried because I don’t know what he’s going to do if he doesn’t make it over the border.

AERO Bars and Canada

Tonight I look forward to AERO bars, chocolate bars you can’t find in the US for some reason, and I also look forward to seeing our good friends Bryce (from The Smugglers) and Mary, who we met years ago at one of our first Vancouver shows. Canada always seems so clean and perfect, and the people are so nice, it’s sort of like stepping into a PBS special.