Lesson 8- Cause Some Trouble And Deny All Rumours
Photos courtesy of Marc Brenzil
Around the same time that I ran for Mayor I started hearing about a mysterious band called, ' Rainbow Meow'. They claimed to be giant cats from outer space, Planet Meow Meow, to be precise. Their space ship crashed in Hamilton and they've been here since playing music whilst trying to enslave the human race. Charming!
I kept hearing about them and decided to go see them at The Raven, in downtown Hamilton. I saw their gear set up. It was drums, bass and keyboards hooked up to a delay pedal. Their were also three cat saucers filled with beer with the names, Dr. Furr, Electro Meow and Mr. Fido Patches written on them.
I asked my friend and band booker, Brodie what time they would be on and he said in about thirty minutes. I went across the street and got an Atlantic Sub and by the time I got back I was told they had played already. This happened continually for the next year or so. I'd come to watch Rainbow Meow play and somehow I would miss them.
Soon rumours started going around that I was actually in Rainbow Meow. A ridiculous claim that was ridiculous since they are aliens and I am a obviously human.
However, allow me to pull an OJ here and say that if I was in Rainbow Meow, this would be a funny store I could tell you for the first and last time:
The evening of the Junos in 2001 was held in Hamilton at Copps Coliseum and Rainbow Meow decided it would be a good idea to crash the party, seeing as they had not been nominated for an award.* We would sneak in, rush the stage and cause a commotion!
There were several ideas being thrown around like: sneak in with one of the stage hands. We knew many I
IATSE members and it would be no problem to borrow one of their back stage passes, copy it and distribute them. So we did exactly that in case we ran into trouble. The problem with this was IATSE is a union with very strict rules and we'd likely be found out quick.
Another plan was to try and find someone to let us in. We knew a few people who were
there legitimately so maybe we could be their plus threes? The problem with this was though we were friendly with some rock stars we weren't close enough with them to ask for this kind of big favour. A back stage pass to the Junos was a hot item.
Finally we decided that the best way would be to go in our Rainbow Meow uniforms, say we're part of the show and they'd let us in. We thought, there is nothing more conspicuos than three giant space cats with instruments. If we said we were part of the show, they'd believe us, right?
I ran into Trevor MacGregor (then drummer in Treble Charger) at my restaurant job the day of the Junos and shared our plan. He thought it was hilarious and suggested, “just tell them you’re part of our show”. That would be a nice one to keep in our back pocket.
We started outside the venue (Copps Coliseum) in costume and did a few songs to warm up and get psyched for our takeover. At one point we were surrounded by cameras and asked questions for some sort of French-Canadian TV show. I, for one was really nervous but was convinced by Electro Meow to put our gear under our arms go downstairs to the back stage area.
Rainbow Meow gets interviewed by reporters
We went to the front desk which I had done countless times before, not because I played music there but because my Dad, brothers and several other friends and relatives worked in hockey and played there. I knew the drill and how relaxed they were at the front desk. When asked who we were, I got nervous and blurted out, "We're the space kitties. We're part of Treble Charger's show".
"Oh, okay. Let me get someone over here to take you where you need to go." the receptionist said. Speaking into a walkie-talkie, she continued, "I have the space kitties here for Treble Charger.”
She looked back up, “Someone will be right here."
A young production assistant arrived with a head-set and clip board. He told us to come with him and we did, all the time he was talking into his headset, "can anyone tell me where the space kitties should be?"
When we passed a line up of seat fillers, it seemed like we knew quite a few of them, mostly from school and just around Hamilton. I assumed most of them knew just figured we were there legitimately. They looked impressed.
We carried on, following the poor production assistant. A guy, working for the show, (let's call him Larry) came up to us and said, "Mayor McCa! How's it going?"
The production assistant said, "Oh, Larry. Great. Do you know where these guys are supposed to be?"
"I'm not sure but I can try and help." said Larry and joined our entourage of kitties, camera operators and assistants.
The P.A. stopped a colleague who was escorting Canadian songwriting legend, Gordon Lightfoot, somewhere and there I was, face to face with him. I felt I had to express my gratitude.
"Mr. Lightfoot. I'm a big fan. In fact I heard, 'Talking In Your Sleep' about a month ago. I wasn't in any particular sad mood but it literally brought me to tears".
Gordon Lightfoot gently patted me on the head and said, "Don't cry, kitty”. And we continued on our quest.
Shortly after, Jonathan Torrence, then of Jonovision and Trailer Park Boys fame looked at us pointed and said, "Cool!"
Our third celebrity encounter was my old friend, Greig Nori from Treble Charger. He was briskly walking with a bunch of handlers. He looked at us, waved and then carried on. I’m not sure but my guess is he was probably there to see if he knew anything about the cars everyone was talking about. When he saw us, the gig was up. I can’t blame him, really.
Within five minutes we were almost side-stage and watching all the stars come on and off the stage. Suddenly we saw a group of large men, accompanied by one small man. The small man said, "Gentleman. What can I do for you?”
“We’re part of the show.” I said.
“Well, I'm the producer of this show and I don't know who you are. So good for you guys for getting back this far but I'm going to have to ask you to leave."
The big men grabbed us by the scruff of our fur and we were lead to the exit. We passed all our seat-filling friends who had seen us being escorted in like the rock stars and carried out like the naughty cats we were.
We exited the premises and started to scream. "Ya! We did it! We won the Junos!!"
We didn't win anything, of course but we surely felt like it. We went to my work, Walt's in Jackson Square to celebrate with a few beers and an impromptu set. During this time, Fido Patches decided to call it a night. Electro Meow and I decided to put our plan B in to action and head back in.
We put our human clothes and fake stage-worker's passes on, put our cat fur in a big, clear, plastic bag. We then followed a couple of actual stage-working friends back inside to Copps Coliseum. We arrived in the press area and schmoozed with our old pal, photographer, Roman Sokal, who was working, "All the musicians are through that corridor."
He pointed and we went towards the back-backstage area. It just so happened that the man watching the entrance was Adam Higson, a friend from elementary school. Knowing I was a musician, he assumed I belonged there, waved hello and lead us right through.
We got in and started enjoying the whole spread of food, drink and company that had been provided for the Juno-nominated rock stars. We personally knew a surprising amount of them. When we started chatting to our buddies, Finger Eleven and their drummer, Richie mentioned they would be leaving soon. If we wanted their tickets to sit in the audience, we could have them. This was our chance again, we thought! We'll get close to the front and when the coast is clear, we'll rush the stage.
We put our cat fur back on with a few strange looks from guys like hero, Martin Tielli who gave us a thumbs up and the members of the band, Kitty, whom perhaps contemplated whether we were doing it for them.
Richie followed us towards the row of seats for the rock stars. We were about to take our seats but had to wait for Bruce Cockburn to accept his life time achievement award. We could have rushed the stage. The problem was Bruce Cockburn was making a speech about protecting the environment. We love Bruce and the environment so we’d have to wait until he finished. Suddenly a group of big men surrounded us. "Gentleman," one snapped, "It's time for you to leave."
"But they have tickets" Richie said, with one eye running a camera.
"I'm sorry but I've been instructed that no matter what they say, I am to escort any space kitties I see off the premises, immediately."
Momentarily, I considered making a run for the stage, interrupting Bruce Cockburn's speech but decided it was better to admit temporary defeat.
They walked us up the stairs and out of what turned out to be the celebrity exit. We were surrounded by young girls with markers and paper asking, "Can I have your autograph? Who are you?"
"We're Rainbow Meow. We won the Juno for best album ever." Electro Meow said.
We went back in one more time though the punter's entrance where no one even bothered to check if we had a ticket. We arrived just in time to hear Treble Charger sing that year's Can-con hit, "American Psycho".
We celebrated for only a short time after that and decided to bide our time for when we next will attack the Canadian music industry.
They stopped having the Juno’s in Hamilton after that. I don’t think it’s been back since but let me be clear: I am not in Rainbow Meow.
*Rainbow Meow has never recorded an album