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I’m gonna go off the beaten path here and talk about what an independent band from Ottawa has to do to get themselves on the road without any finical support from a label.

First and foremost we all work full-time jobs in Ottawa. When we’re not on tour TICTP are just a bunch of regular working stiffs like everyone else. We are all lucky enough to have jobs and bosses that let us go on tour, and give us our same jobs and shifts when we get back.

Myself, I’m a line-cook at a casual fine dining restaurant in the heart of downtown Ottawa. This may sound kind of fancy but, I’m a glorified burger flipper. I’ve been doing this for 4 years now. I work the night time shifts, so I’m at work from 5pm until 1am 5 nights a week. I never have weekends off, it’s super stressful, and I smell like grease all the time. But, I work with the coolest bunch of people a guy could ask for. So, weekends aren’t all that bad. I basically save all the money I can so I can pay rent when I’m gone, and all my tour expenses are paid for by my slowly diminishing line of credit.

Steve is a mechanic. A really good one too. His parents own one of the most well respected auto garages in the city. So, needless to say he learned from the best. Every band needs a Steve Rennie. Our van is kept in perfect condition tour after tour and he is willing to do all the maintenance on his own time. If you even own a vehicle you know how awesome this is. Without this, I don’t know how we would have made it across Canada let alone the America. I can’t even change a tire. So, you can imagine the benefit this is to our business.

Mike is a manager at a skate-shop/clothing store called Top Of The World. It’s a really cool store that’s been a big part of Ottawa’s skate and music scene for as long as I can remember. We’re also endorsed by the company! So, we get mega discounts when we shop there. Without this I actually wouldn’t be able to buy new clothes. Even with the discount we’re all starting to look pretty rough. All my pants have a big hole in the crotch. I’ve been contemplating buying jeggings and wearing them underneath my jeans so I don’t have to buy a new pair of pants. But, it’s summer and getting really hot. So, I’ll see what my pant situation is like come winter time.

Eric is a private contractor. He works for an employer that owns many properties that need constant maintaining. Eric does everything from cleaning floors to building fences to putting up signs to sweeping parking lots to digging holes! He even drove a float in Ottawa’s Christmas parade last year. He literally has the most random job I’ve ever heard of. Actually, the warehouse we shot the video for “From Bulwark To Bane” in was once filled with junk. It took Eric and a co-worker a whole summer to gut it, clean it, and fix it up. But we got a video location out of it!

Dave is a graphic design artist. He’s designed literally every piece of art work I think we’ve ever had. This means album covers, T-shirts, show posters, web pages, you name it! This is also a huge help to our business!

Matt, last but certainly not least works at a home repair and building center called Canadian Tire in the paint department. If you want your room to be a perfect lime green, he’s your man! I think he’s there 6 days a week as well. Out of everyone in the band, when we’re at home I see Matt the least. Our schedules are polar opposites.

Steve, Eric and myself all live together in a 2 bedroom bungalow. Eric was the third to move in so he lives in the basement. This house also serves as a jam space, recording studio, meeting spot and occasional party house. Because we’re not attached we can jam whenever we please. We spent years in our parents’ basements so now that we have this we have been 100% more productive.

Since the formation of the band we have been paying off the loan we took out to finance our van. For the last 4 years we have been paying $100 a month each so we can have a tour van. We have a few more payments to go and it’s ours!

Besides Steve, none of us have received any post-secondary education. We all agreed that when we joined the band that this was going to be our job and we had to commit everything to it. We have stuck to our word over the last four years and haven’t looked back.

My goal with this blog was to give our fans, friends and family an insight to what being a professional musician has become. The days of releasing an album, getting signed and all of life’s problems disappearing are gone. We’ve been at this for four years and have yet to see a single cent from it all. The problem is nobody is buying records anymore. Everyone thinks it’s okay to download our album, throw it on their ipod and never buy a single song, concert ticket or piece of merch from the artist. Sure, download the new Madonna or Jay-Z single. They make their money in many other ways. They are celebrities. We are not and never will be! I’m a simple guy trying to make an honest living at the only thing I’m good at. I don’t want to cook for a living. So, please I strongly urge you. If you’re reading this because you are a fan and love our music, contribute something. Whether you buy Lore, pick up a shirt, come see us live, or even buy a $0.99 single off of iTunes. It all helps. The time, money and passion we put into each song this is worth way more than the $0.99 we’re selling it for. You can’t even buy a can of pop for that much! To those who have bought an album or a single, a t-shirt or a concert ticket, I am extremely thankful. You’re the reason I’m writing this and can continue to travel, perform live and write new music for everyone to hear. Even if I have to work full time, go in debt and wear jeans with giant holes in the crotch I am still thankful to do what I do.

Today I Caught The Plague: Band Page