Vintage Trouble

Montreal Lemonade (rbd)

Lifetime musicians, despite all the difficulties, we really are the lucky ones and I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have a career in music. Chasing your bliss really is something so few people get to do and somewhat of a secret to life I believe.  As many reading this may know, while on tour earlier this year supporting the Cranberries in Montreal, we had one of those moments where misfortune bit down hard when several of our instruments were stolen from us and it was a grind in those moments to say the least. Sometimes though, it’s this misfortune that forces us to take a step back, appreciate what we DO have even deeper, and often jump forward in ways even bigger than we thought were possible. True goodness and positivity can come out of these awful moments in life if we just stay open to the possible. They can also serve moments of great growth in our lives. I recently thought again to share this particular adventure to celebrate all the amazing energy that helped make this great story happen and to also thank those again for this love. To celebrate TroubleMaking the way only our community knows how.

As an opening act, you are blessed because you get to play larger stages and expose your music to whole new sets of crowds. Similarly, as a new band, you have logistical, budget, communication and time constraints that create constant challenges as well. Not being able to park at the venue and somewhere between our previous night in town and soundcheck, our van was unattended and two main instruments were stolen from us.   The first was a backup Les Paul that Nalle had borrowed from a dear friend of ours and the second was my main bass…a Blonde Fender 57′ ReIssue P-Bass Maple neck that was customized all my own and something tremendously special to me.   The love and time that we put into our main instruments, you can’t imagine.   I don’t know what to compare it to, but the feeling you get in your stomach when you figure out this part of your family has been stolen from you…it is a pain like no other.  Its tough to even imagine.  As we were literally on our way to soundcheck when we realized, the mad rush began to a) get a replacement so we could do the show in 2 hours, b) inventory in my head what else was also with the bass in the case when it was stolen and c) somehow keep processing all the emotions of the experience but also block it out as it got closer to showtime. The show still is most important thing.  It always is.

We managed to handle everything in the way of a loaner bass with the help of the local promoter and the show went off fantastic.  I think there is even plenty of youtube video from that night in Montreal.   It really was a great emotional show.   Afterwards though, it was back to reality, trying to figure out what to do next. I was trying to just breathe, not freak out and also just trying to pick up the lessons and stay open to what I was supposed to be learning from this experience. This is where things start to take a beautiful turn.   (Life can be funny like this).

We have a community called the TroubleMakers that supports us in ways I have never experienced anywhere else in music or life for that matter.   We can’t really call them fans because they are more like family to us.  They are so positive, so loving, and such a force amongst themselves…it simply humbles me to be a part of such a tribe.    Several of the key TroubleMakers, and in particular Adam and Lisa Kennedy, felt a particular outrage to what had happened to us once the news posted on our Facebook about the stolen guitars.  From their computers all the way in Newcastle, UK, they started a twitter campaign to blast the world with news, pictures and the serial number of my stolen bass.   They tirelessly worked and got other TroubleMakers to help do the same, reposting and reposting the story.  So much so that they reached the limit that Twitter allows for number of tweets in a day.  They then moved to other accounts and anyone that would pick it up as well…and in the process, the story actually began to take hold in a huge way. It started trending on twitter.  While we were driving all day to our next show in Providence, Rhode Island, we started hearing and seeing the story gaining more and more traction.  Through the help of the T.M. community, our management, and all of the constant pushing of the story, every pawn shop and music store in Montreal knew about the bass and I was even contacted by one of the largest radio stations in Montreal to do an interview about the story during drive time radio.   Even the awesome gig bag company that I use (Reunion Blues) offered me an endorsement deal from the story and they immediately replaced my bag for free.  Huge names were now starting to get wind of the story and repost and before we knew it, people like Zak Wylde and Peter Frampton and even Slash (a childhood hero of mine) had retweeted the story.  SLASH knew about our band and even emailed Ty to offer his help.  Incredible. With his help now sharing to all his followers and friends at this point, we now had something like 3 million posts of the story. It really helped push it over the edge and it was incredibly emotional for me how many people were just trying to help any way they could.

Over the next few days, the word actually got to Fender Worldwide on what had happened thanks to the constant online reposting of the story as well as the critical help of our manager Doc McGhee.   Doc put in the call and connected Fender even closer to who we are as a band, the story of the stolen bass, and our overall work ethic.  Once Fender combined it with the help we had from people like Slash, Fender UK and all the TroubleMakers, they offered up something they rarely do anymore…a full artist endorsement to me for Bass.  Insane.   My heroes have all played Fender and I have been a Fender guy most of my life.  To now have the support of Fender Worldwide, its a kids dream come true.   2 days later, I had a Blonde 57′ RI Fender PBass Reissue delivered to me and I can now call myself a Fender worldwide artist.  Montreal Lemonade was made in full and it was humbling beyond words.

Flash forward now to a few months ago where we got the honor of playing the same festival in Sweden with Slash.   We were backstage and I got the incredible opportunity to meet the man himself and even more important for me, I got to personally thank him for his help with the reposting of my bass story.   He had heard of the Fender deal I picked up from it and even made the great comment that “Twitter is good for some things”. Indeed it is.  Only for me, it wound up being good for so much more in addition to being able to personally thank a childhood hero for his help and goodwill.

To date, we haven’t gotten the stolen bass back, but I’m hopeful she will find her way back to me one day.   In the meantime, this story now represents something to me that is so much more valuable than what was lost that day.   To have such positivity be born from such a negative situation is a true testament to love and openness of the human spirit.   Everyone that helped in whatever little ways they could added up to something epic in proportions.  This was an incredible reminder to me that immense good can come from bad, especially if we stay positive and let it in.

I have so many people to thank for this and even more importantly, to where I am at in life.   I am blessed to have the friends, family, TroubleMakers, mentors and angels that I have as part of my fabric.  To all those who are under this beautiful umbrella, you know who you are and I thank you with all my heart.  Genuine Love is something that can’t be destroyed or stolen.  It is fantastically contagious and so vital.  I hope each of you know how much I truly do appreciate all that you have given to me.

The people you are, the love that you spread, and the lives you lead…

Thank you for lighting by example.