Tuesday, July 16, 2019

STRIKER Is the Road Crew

This publication caught up with the Canadian good-time heavy metal rockers Striker before they went on stage at their show in Seattle on July 5th, 2019. The band began some 12 years ago and issued a demo in 2008, an EP in 2009, and then they have followed up with an impressive list of six studio albums, the last being October 2018’s Play to Win. Besides being an easy and interesting band to interview, they put on a fantastic show with professionalism that night at the Funhouse. They tour as much as they are able to, building their name the old-fashioned way of performing for the people. They are on tour now until early August.
The spring and summer of 2019 has been a busy time on the road for them, according to guitarist Chris Segger and singer Dan Cleary. Back in May they were touring with Death Angel, but things did not start out well for the Canadian band. They had a problem at the Canada-U.S. border and they had to leave behind their merch because of U.S customs rules at the particular moment. Not to worry, though, because, as Chris explains, “This [July] tour we're fine. Where the issue happened was on the Death Angel tour that we did in May when we first crossed into the States on our current visa.” The U.S. customs officials found something problematic, “I think we had a very small amount of merchandise that was made in China, which at that week the tariffs were raised in the States,” continues Chris.
They left the merch behind, but in Phoenix, Arizona they found a place that printed some 50 shirts in a hurry, thankfully. With some experience and creativity a band can solve such problems. It’s no use whining, anyway. “We made it work. Your merch is how you pay for stuff. It's tough because you can prepare as much as you can and have a different experience every time you cross the border. You can't complain to anybody. You have to deal with it,” explains the guitarist.
That’s one example of the problems that bands on tour encounter. The road becomes a good teacher for bands learning to survive. Dan gives a bit of insight into some practical things that they have learned over the years. “We drive around in this (pointing to the vehicle parked outside the venue where we're talking) van and trailer. One thing we've done is minimize our gear and stuff like that because the stuff we have to take in and out of venues, up and down the stairs and drag all over the place, it'd be a lot after a while. Touring is a definitely a grind. A lot of it is just waiting around. That's the hardest part. I bet it's easier now because people have phones” to entertain themselves. Musicians on the road often have to figure out what to do with time on their hands. They have to “just kill time on social media. Stuff like that. We listen to podcasts and stuff like that to kill time in the van. We have a DVD player so we can watch movies.”
Dan talks about the toll on the body, too. This can range from pain in the body, hands, or it can be vocalists having problems with the voice going out. Your attitude about life on the road is crucial, too, as the singer emphasizes, “One thing that we have thought about. You have to change your mindset from 'I have to do this' to 'I get to do this.'" Chris adds, "It's everything that you make it to be. Instead of being like 'Oh, man, this is a real grind. I mean, we stay in hotels now. On the first couple of tours that's not a thing that happened. It was sleeping in the van. I could always be way worse. You have to focus on the positive. Every single day on tour I get to shower. That wasn't a thing. It's wherever you put your headspace. There's days where it's harder to put your headspace there because it is a grind, doing 15 shows in 15 nights, and you're driving, but you wouldn't do it if you didn't enjoy it. To make a conscious effort to always enjoy it. There's no point to it if you're not having fun."
[TO BE CONTINUED]
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