AMHERST – Many people talk about living the rock and roll dream, but few actually live it.
That’s not the case for Amherst’s Ernie Landry.
“You just got to do it. If you want to do it, you do it,” said Landry.
Landry, is the bassist for Engage the Threat, a hard driving metal band based out of Moncton.
They’re on their ‘Spreading the Chaos’ tour, a 27-date road-show that has them spreading chaos throughout eastern Canada, much of the U.S., and, also, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Besides Landry on bass, the band also features Ian Ryan on drums, and vocalist and lead guitarist, Daamon Ross, who is also joined on the road with his girlfriend Lynne Babineau.
Reached on speaker phone not far from Lincoln, Nebraska, Ross says the traffic is unbelievable.
“It’s almost like Quebec,” adds Landry with a laugh.
The latest leg of their tour, between July 11 and July 28, sees them playing 16 shows in 18 days.
Landry says the fast pace is great.
“We get a couple hours sleep, and then go to the next show,” said Landry.
“We’re moving fast, so we don’t really have time to think about the pace,” adds Ross.
The band played Montreal July 11, Toronto July 12, and then broke into the U.S. to play Cleveland, OH, on July 13.
The tour takes them through to Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and then back up the eastern seaboard for shows in Philadelphia, Boston, and Maine.
Needless to say, they’ve already put on thousands of kilometres, or miles, depending on who you talk to.
“Right now, I’m looking at the odometre and it just hit 3,752 kilometres exactly,” said Ross. “People ask how far we’ve driven and we say 3,700 kilometres, and they ask, ‘how far is that’ because they go in miles, and when you do the conversion, they’re like, ‘oh my God.’”
This is Engage the Threat’s first big tour of the U.S. and, because they’re feeling out the fan response, Ross calls it their reconnaissance tour, and he says the response has been great.
“Every place we’ve played they want us back already. It’s like ‘My God, when are you coming back?’” said Ross. “People are telling other people that they should have been to the show, so we’re already thinking about the next time, and the next time around this is going to blow up for us.”
He says touring the U.S. will become routine for the band.
“We hope to come back here next spring. It’s not a once-in-a-lifetime adventure for us. We’ve all decided this is exactly what we want to do.”
Like Landry, Ross says if you really want to tour, then you tour.
“I know it’s cliché, but if you decide you want to do something the only person keeping you from doing it is yourself,” said Ross. “If you decide you’re going to do this you will make the priorities line up for you, and you’ll make the decisions work in your favour, and you’ll do it.
If you don’t want to do it, then you’ll find all the reasons and all the excuses and all the obstacles you possibly can.”
He said the tour has been a learning experience.
“We closed our eyes, we jumped, and we built our parachute on the way down.”
He says the learning experience is risky but also fun.
“To do it from your own pocket, eating ham sandwiches while driving 1,200 miles a day is something else. I’m having the time of my life,” said Ross. “Having my best friends and my girlfriend is the perfect adventure across America. It’s crazy. It’s awesome.”
After playing the last American gig in Lewiston, Maine, July 28, Engage the Threat will take a few days off before playing Saint John on Aug. 2, Charlottetown on Aug. 3, and Halifax on Aug. 4.
They wrap up their 2018 tour with one show in Reykjavik on Aug. 10, before playing their final two shows in St. Johns, NL, on Aug. 17 and 18.