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A fireside (email) chat with Jesse Lebourdais and Jon Creeden

(This interview was originally conducted in March 2020)

Spring time is coming and that means bands will come out of hibernation and tour! Hooray for us! Red Deer has been known as toilet break of the tour circuit but there are many people working hard to change that narrative. Acoustic punkers Jesse LeBourdais and Jon Creeden are happy to introduce themselves to our fair city and they chatted with hotshot report, Jawsh, ahead of their show in Red Deer this Spring.

Brutal Reality Digest - Give me a quick run down of your musical history!

Jesse Lebourdais - I started piano lessons when I was about 7 years old. My first teacher was very strict and I learned right away that music was not fun. Then when I was about 10, I changed piano teachers and the new one was much better and I learned that music could actually be entertaining. I kept that up for a little while but then I discovered weed and immediately ditched the piano and picked up my Dad's old acoustic guitar. I spent the next five years struggling to learn classic and modern rock songs that I liked until I learned about punk rock and how easy the songs were to play. Never looked back. There were no bands or opportunities in my home town so when I was 19 I moved to Victoria, BC. There I started playing bass in a band called Shortfall. We played a lot of shows in the two years of our existence. When SF broke up, I moved back to Vancouver where I started a band called Cambridge, with some high school friends that all now lived in Vancouver, this time back on guitar. Cambridge played a lot of shows and did a lot of touring. I started playing solo shows at the end of a fall Cambridge tour, when we came home and I had lots of ideas and was interested in trying out the experience of playing solo shows. I've been doing it ever since, alternating between solo and full band, as circumstances allow.

Jon Creeden - I have been touring around Canada, USA and Europe since 2008. Cars, Trains, Greyhound buses, hopping in vans with friends, doesn't matter how I just enjoy being on the road. Have put out a couple of full length albums and a bunch of eps and splits with friends. The last few years I have been focusing more on my band The Flying Hellfish which consists of a lot of different members spread out across Canada.

BRD - How did you meet each other?

JL - I met Jon when Cambridge was in Montreal. He was opening one of the shows we were playing and we gave him a ride back to Ottawa. He was actually the main reason I started playing solo. I was nervous to try it but he just made it look so simple and easy. Just get up, grab a guitar, and play some songs. When in doubt, shout it out. I had convinced myself that it was much more complicated than that, but it really wasn't.

JC - By my recollection Jesse Lebourdais and I met in November 2008 when I booked an Ottawa basement show for his band Cambridge and they all crashed at my place. I booked them because our mutual friends in Orphan's Crowd had met them earlier that summer and couldn't stop saying what nice guys they all were. Shortly after that Jesse put out a solo record and him and I toured a whole heap in White Lightning my wife's old Honda Civic. I think that's how we met each other, but 2008 is a little while ago.

BRD - Have you toured together before?

JL - Many times. I have played more shows with Jon then I have with anybody else, but it has been a couple years since we played together. We live in literal opposite ends of the country.

JC - Yes we have gone across Canada and looped Ontario and Quebec a couple of times.

BRD - Have you played Alberta before?

JL - Also many times. Alberta is one of my favourite places to visit and play and always has been.

JC - I have indeed played Alberta more than a few times before. I have even played Wayne, with Joe Vickers and James Renton, I believe we crossed 14 or so bridges to get there. Alberta has always been a second home for me on tour, and I am very much looking forward to playing Red Deer for the very first time.

BRD - Can we expect any duets on this tour?

JL - We haven't talked about it yet, but most likely. We usually have one or two of each other's songs that we join up on. I'm playing a lot more covers than I used to. Still only like one a night, but I have a broader repertoire of random songs to pull out and play and that can be fun to team up on.

JC - Oh I expect we will figure a couple of each other's songs out or maybe a funky cover. It's been known to happen. I'll let Jesse do all the yelling these days though.

BRD - What's the best hangover cure you've found while on tour?

JL - There are no known cures for when I get hungover, it's just a sad, pathetic, amorphous blob of existence, slithering from point to point. The best thing you can do is just build up a bit of a tolerance and drink a lot of water all the time. I don't get as fucked up as I used to, preferring now to enjoy smaller volumes of better quality. Also, don't neglect your sleep.

JC - The best hangover cure I have found is a long tedious drive. You have so many to choose from in Canada and you're bound to be hungover for one of them. May as well embrace it. I figure if the drive is going to be long anyway, may as well do it with a headache. That and lots of coffee and Gatorade.

BRD - What do you know about Red Deer, Alberta?

JL - It's the most neglected city in Alberta for me. I never even played there until last summer. Usually we just stop for fuel and donuts at Donut Mill and that's it. I thought Gasoline Alley was the whole town. Now I know there is a lot more to it. From BC, we only hear about Red Deer from when there is some crazy Yellow Vest march happens or some Albexit rally or something, so around here it's got a bit of Capital City of Rednecksville reputation, but that's probably only partially true?

JC - I believe there is a police school there, (ask me why I know that when you see me). It has gasoline alley and you can score some tasty donuts there. On our drive home from Edmonton to Medicine Hat last winter Jeff Barrett and I discovered the cleanest and roomiest bathroom we had ever seen. Can't remember which one now though. Also it is right between Calgary and Edmonton and Drumheller, and those are all rad places to go. Looking forward to learning more about Red Deer, which it is clear I know very little.

BRD - Favourite brewery/coffee shop in 'Berta?

JL - Favourite Brewery in Alberta would probably be Sea Change in Edmonton, Village in Calgary, and Hell's Basement in Medicine Hat. There is probably a lot I haven't tried so my list is for sure incomplete.

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