If you’ve been following the site in the last week, you know that Less Than Jake have been doing an on-going Canadian Tour Diary as part of their tour of the Great White North.
October 22nd saw the band wake up in the nation’s capital to news of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau opening fire at the Parliament building and killing Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The band cancelled their show that evening and saxophonist JR Wasilewski details their experiences of the day.
Ottawa, ON – This entry is probably the most difficult entry to post. Waking up in yet another parking lot of yet another Walmart, this seemed like just another day on tour. Usually when I first wake up I check my phone for drunken texts from friends I missed during my sleep, emails that may have come in and then I go to Twitter to check on the news of my timeline. This mornings posts got me out of bed faster than normal.
“Shots fired at Canadian parliament.” That isn’t the headline you want to read, especially knowing that the venue you are supposed to perform at later this evening is 6 blocks from “ground zero”. These are terms and ideas that we hadn’t thought about since September 11, 2001 – the last time we were forced to cancel a gig due to terrorist activities.
It left us with an uncomfortable decision: press forward and perform or postpone the show because of an unspeakable tragedy. It’s hard to make a choice like that for several reasons, but mostly because of our own experiences with terrorism. We have all been effected by the actions of these few radicals and the way they win is by disrupting normal life and letting our fear dictate our decisions.
However, considering the situation at the time and that the NHL also canceled the hockey game scheduled for that evening, we decided it would be best to postpone the show to a later date. That made a terrible day even worse for us. I know thinking of playing a show in the midst of such a horrible tragedy seems selfish, but in reality, all we want to do in a situation like this is make people smile and perhaps, for an hour or so, make them forget the horrible events in their day.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all of the first responders – police, firemen and medical response units – these are the real heroes and deserve all the credit. Also, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families at this time.
This isn’t the entry I wanted to post. I was looking forward to posting about our first show ever in Ottawa. But I can promise this – we will be back. Stay strong, Ottawa.