Life is a highway

Frequent travelling companions The Constantines and The Weakerthans share their favourite moments on

The second edition of The Constantines and The Weakerthans’ Rolling Tundra Revue is already in full steam. A followup to their previous tag-team tour in 2005 the 2009 edition sees the Canadian stalwarts playing from St. John’s to Whitehorse with stops everywhere from Sackville to Banff to Victoria in between.

“It’s definitely more luxurious and comfortable this time” says Constantines vocalist Bryan Webb. “We’re riding in style with a bus and we all know how to stay healthier now. The last trip was a family affair too and this one almost feels like a reunion. It’s a happy time.”

To help celebrate the bands’ latest Great White North-only expedition we asked the frontmen for both bands to share their favourite anecdotes about each other and their travels together.

Bryan Webb The Constantines:

This is my favourite moment of touring with The Weakerthans — yet anyway — and it happened two weeks ago. We asked John if he wanted to sing our song ‘Little Instruments’ with us during our set and he was excited about it and we were excited about it. We practised the song but he was having trouble with the beginning because it’s kind of a weird count. So to motivate him to figure out the song and not fuck up I guess we set it up so that the consequence of him fucking up was that he would have to stage-dive — John is a very sweet congenial considerate person and would never stage-dive otherwise.

The first time he sang the song with us was in Toronto and he came up and nailed the beginning but also told the audience the deal that if he screwed up he’d have to stage-dive. So when he nailed the start of the song we were all kind of disappointed. Then when the second verse came around he kind of flubbed it. All of us looked at each other and he got this terrified look in his eyes.

At the end of the song we thought he was going to avoid it and just disappear off the stage. To his credit he did stage-dive but being a really sweet considerate person he didn’t jump off the stage in a punk kind of manner he just kind of laid himself gradually across the all-agers in the front row. Then they very enthusiastically picked him up and carried him to the back of the room. They would not let him down to the point where he told me afterwards that he had to say “I want to get down” to the folks that were carrying him. This is compounded by the fact that the song was over so there was no music. My new favourite image of John is him being carried across the Phoenix by eager all-agers in silence. We were all just watching with our jaws dropped. It was wonderful.

John K. Samson The Weakerthans

I don’t really have a story but I do have a vignette. On the first tour we did together we were crossing the desert in the United States and The Weakerthans had an air-conditioned van while The Constantines didn’t. Their van was seriously old school — no A.C.

The temperature started to rise so at every stop we started taking Cons into our van when they couldn’t handle it anymore because it was so deadly hot. It was one of those 110-degree days where it’s like a furnace outside and we were almost like a clown car with 12 folks crammed in. There had to be someone left to drive their van though and I remember it getting down to just two Cons left — Bryan Webb and Steve Lambke.

We were all caravanning and pulled up to a truck stop and Lambke and Bry stepped out of their van wearing just boots and underwear. It was lovely to see set against the desert landscape and it seemed like they were having a really good time in a bizarre way. It was actually a really moving hilarious and inspiring moment though and just proved that we were all in it together.