The Long War Challenges Drummer - Neil Williamson To Write A Unique TLW Blog And Writing From The Heart He Nails Every Point With Grace & Authenticity.
Its Neil here. As we are preparing to play our Christmas show on Dec 15th I thought I'd share with you our 12 facts of Christmas (get it, instead of days...its facts....). I was challenged by the band to write a Blog containing 12 facts or anecdotes with each one pertaining one of the 12 numbers…lets see how I did…
The Long War: 12 Fact Of Christmas
On April 12th 2017. The Long War's video performance of “Breathe In Breathe Out” on The Q with Tom Power was released! I remember the four of us (this was before Jess joined the band) just in complete shock after the filming ended. I was not only trying to fathom what had just happened, but knowing we'd be up early in the morning performing the song all over again, on Q nonetheless! It was a thrill performing on a modern day Canadian staple.
The Long War: 11 Fact Of Christmas
I found it really difficult in my hours and hours of highly intense research to find a Long War fact or tidbit pertaining to the number 11. However, after hour 13 I did notice if you squint your eyes just a wee a bit - through the blurry vision, the number 11 kind of morphs into what looks like a pair of drumsticks.....right? This reminds me of the first time I picked up a pair of drumsticks in High School music class back in Edinburgh (to be continued)...
The Long War: 10 Fact Of Christmas Through winning the CBC Searchlight Competition, we were proudly the recipients of a 10-day songwriting residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. This has to be one of the most beautiful locations that I have ever been to. We arrived there in April of 2017, to a picturesque snowy campus, surrounded by mountains and the seemingly forever curious wildlife, such as Elks and whatnot. We partnered up with singer-songwriter Royal Wood to write a song for Canada's 150th and we ended up recording 3 out of the 9 tracks of our debut record Landscapes. To see some behind the scenes footage from our time in Banff, check out our feeds for our recently released Ocean Below music video.
The Long War: 9 Fact Of Christmas
Our debut album Landscapes was recorded in 3 different studios, in 3 different provinces and by 3 different engineers?!?! That adds up to 9, right? ... Seriously, it was such a crazy experience recording most of the record in Metalworks Studios. As soon as you walk in the main door you are engulfed by platinum records and gold discs on the every inch of wall you can see. They even have a signed record by David Bowie on their wall!!
Metalworks has been a recording home to some of the biggest acts in history, including Drake, Bieber, Springsteen (WTF!), Barenaked Ladies, City and Colour, Joel Plaskett, N'SYNC (flipping Timberlake was there!), Portugal the Man, Tina (“Rolling on the river”) Turner and many, many more.
The Long War: 8 Fact Of Christmas August. August is the 8th month of the year and August 20th 2017 was a really special day. Not only was this the date of our first ever show as a band, but it was the date of the last ever show of the Tragically Hip. Before our now usual meet up before a show, to cart the gear in before sound check, we had arranged to meet at the Anza Club' s viewing party of the Hip concert. I remember Chad explaining to me the circumstance of the situation, that singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer and that this would be their last show ever. As an outsider and tourist to this music, it was amazing to witness an energy so powerful, that could unite a whole country from West to East and everywhere in between. Although it was sad, it was also a celebration, and it inspired us to play the best we could in our first appearance as The Long War.
The Long War: 7 Fact Of Christmas Edinburgh, Scotland. My hometown. According to Google maps Edinburgh is 7,059 km away. This is the town where I first picked up the drums sticks. As I started to explain in Fact #11...I was 14 years old in music class of the High School I attended in Edinburgh. My good friend Andrew played this cool new song he wrote about a man called “Ziggy Stardust” and he was with these “Spiders from Mars” - some really trippy stuff. Armed with only a random bass and snare drum I joined in and managed to keep a steady beat. From that day onwards, I was obsessed. Turns out, as you know, he didn't bloody write the song, the cheeky sod. Nonetheless if it wasn't for Andy (and Ringo) I doubt I'd ever consider being a drummer.
The Long War: 6 Fact Of Christmas Strings...6 strings...“Old 6 Strings Chad” - that's what I've always called him. When Chad is not performing on stage, writing music, talking about music or thinking about music, you can often find him with a book in one hand and a healthy snack in the other. He's the guy who will have the veggie platter back stage or load the cup holder in the van with a head of broccoli each day of tour. He's someone to rely on and get through the long tours with, or have a deep conversation about musical philosophy with. He's one of the most passionate musicians in our current scene that I know. Named after an old country singer, whom I can't remember the last name of, but I'm sure it's one of the good ones.
The Long War: 5 Fact Of Christmas In April 2018 we set off on our first Canadian tour. Essentially driving from Vancouver to Prince Edward Island, this tour would take us 5 weeks. This was by far the best way for someone like me, who hadn't left BC, to see the country. We ended up playing 20 shows, from an impromptu house show in Toronto after our gig was canceled due you bad weather, to a theatre show in Chad's hometown of Bellville ON, to a sold out show in the Black Sheep QC.
The Long War: 4 Fact Of Christmas Strings ... 4 strings ... old 4 strings Carson, that's what I've always called him.... When Carson is not playing in 3 bands around BC and beyond, or sitting in as a session musician, or even having an article published in Canadian Musicians magazine, you can mostly find Carson in mid campaign with a couple of DnD dice in his hands! But don't get him talking about Rick and Morty if you have any plans for your day .... or life ... or after life....
The Long War: 3 Fact Of Christmas During a day off on our tour, 3 of us got tour related tattoos! Getting a tattoo was something that I personally has been thinking about for years, actually ever since moving to Canada. However, never really settling on an idea I forever put it off. It seemed quite fitting being on my first major tour and being in Ottawa, the nation's capital. Jarrett was first up getting a tattoo of a compass. Next up was Carson, getting a tattoo of a blue whale (after the tour van, nicknamed Lucille the big blue whale) and then I get a mountain scene, a reminiscent of the landscape in Banff. If you're lucky and extremely nice, ask to see them at the next show!
The Long War: 2 Fact Of Christmas There are 2 siblings in the Long War. Singer/Guitarist Jarrett Lee and our Keyboard extraordinaire Jessica Lee. Jarrett is named after the famous jazz pianist Keith Jarrett, where as Jess was almost named Aja after the 1977 album by Steely Dan. Lets just say the love of music runs in the family!
The Long War: 1 Fact Of Christmas I think it would only be fair to save this number 1 spot for when we came in 1st in the 2017 CBC Searchlight competition.. When we performed on the show it was only our 4th time playing in front of an audience. We had been together around a year when we played on the show, but instead of playing gigs, we locked ourselves in the rehearsal spaces around Vancouver and wrote an album worth of material. All the years prior as musicians came down to this one moment on the show. This competition not only opened up some doors for us, but it opened up the possibility that this wasn't a dream anymore, that it could become somewhat of a reality. We've done so much in the last year from releasing our debut record to hitting the road on a 5 week Canadian wide tour... and it's all down to the friends and fans we've made along the way. It might sound cheesy, but if we've got no-one to play and write songs for then we're just 4 dudes and a girl in a jam space with a hobby.
So if you have the time and can spare the cash, come celebrate with us at the Kings Cafe on Dec 15th as we'll be celebrating another amazing year all thanks to you. We're gonna have some giveaways, maybe the odd Christmas cover and a brand new Long War song to top it off.
Thanks for reading,
Neil “old two sticks” Williamson.
JOIN THE CHRISTMAS PARTY HERE: Root Dwellers Christmas Show: The Long War w/ Kel Roman and DJ Maddy Cristall