It’s no secret that life as a touring musician is often far less glamorous than one would believe. The cyclical blur of venues, cities and gigs can begin to draw comparisons to a real-life version of Groundhog Day—the feeling of which has been deftly summed up in Born Ruffians’ video for “Don’t Live Up,” a single from its new album, Ruff.
“I never wanted anyone to see that and go, ‘Oh, those guys hate touring. Do they hate what they do?’ Because it’s fun, but it is very routine,” says frontman Luke Lalonde from Victoria before another show on the band’s current tour, which will keep the Midland, ON alt-rock group busy until mid-December. He compares the often predictable schedule of a typical tour day—get up, drive, load in, sound check, play, repeat—to that of a typical nine-to-five job. “That’s the beauty of the video: it’s sort of relatable in everyone’s life.”
It’s gruelling to spend an inordinate amount of time cooped up in a tour van, but that’s not to say the members of Born Ruffians would trade it in, either. They’re currently sharing the ride with Young Rival, and Lalonde says nine people on the road together makes for steady entertainment—they’ve got a litany of inside jokes at this point and have amused themselves trying to wake up drummer Adam Hindle, who ostensibly sleeps through anything—as well as a solid support system.
“It would be terrible if it was a bunch of shitheads in the van,” he laughs. “Everyone has days where you can tell like, aw, man, I think so-and-so’s having a tough day or something with their girlfriend’s wrong, and you give them space or give them a helping hand if they need it. I think that’s the ultimate lesson, is when you realize you don’t have to go through everything alone and that you can help other people out and that you can ask for help. That’s a hard lesson to learn for a lot of people, but for me it’s a valuable lesson.”
It helps that Lalonde is able to put certain situations in perspective onstage every night, too. The songs populating Ruff draw on the inherent struggles that come with being in a band for a decade.
“[It’s] a highly personal thing for me to be able to sing something on stage that when I’m having an off night it’s about what I’m going through, and I can be singing to that and directly relating to the thing I’m singing about,” he notes. “It usually is sort of a reminder that you have to just get it out there; you have to put what you’re thinking outward and it’ll be better, and you’ll realize that it’s actually not so bad. Because that’s usually the end result of these dilemmas is that it’s not as bad as you think: you just have to buck up and go do it and get through it and buckle up.”
Fri, Nov 27 (8 pm)
With Young Rival
Starlite Room, $17.50