The Darcys on Touring

“I’m the fuckin’ Jack Kerouac of this gas station,” is written on The Darcys’ MySpace page. It’s an interesting quote, they are interesting fellows, their music, expectedly, is also interesting.

The quote refers to touring as an indie band according to their interview with The Take Media. It’s a feeling I can really get behind. As a “writer” (or an indie musician), isn’t that what we are all searching for? That moment where we can feel like we’re doing something with a unique perspective that maybe not everyone is going to “get,” but those that do will really “get it.” There’s an air of Beatnik freedom surrounding The Darcys.

Wes Marskell answers his iPhone from a table inside Crema Coffee, a small coffee shop in The Junction. The walls are cream-coloured and there are paintings of the café itself on the walls, Wes’ friend Hannah, serves them their coffees. Jason Couse is sitting across from him reading the newspaper, I hear him speaking in the background occasionally. Wes admits that he goes there every day when they’re not on tour. In fact, he laughs, this is the first thing he’s done since he got home.

The band has just returned to Toronto from a month on the road that saw the shores on both sides of Canada. Touring for them is, to say the least, eventful. They’ve been robbed, broken down, and even managed to get their picture in Us Weekly with Twilight’s Robert Pattinson.

“The van got trashed on the way to Calgary. We were halfway between Red Deer and Calgary. We were driving and Jason and I were both like ‘Hey, the van’s doing really well,’ and literally two seconds after it stalled on the side of the road”

The band quickly re-assembled their equipment into a rental van to make it to their show and has now replaced their tour van with what Wes affectionately refers to as a “mom van,” adding that now it’s like “riding inside your own coffin.”

They met Pattinson at one of their shows. Wes laughs that girls were offering to sleep with them for their backstage wristbands, offers that The Darcys politely declined. “There’s a picture of Rob and I in US Weekly.” Wes says, “my 17-year old sister found it, I just happen to be in the picture.”

Aside from adventures and misadventures, The Darcys have used their time on the road to grow as individuals. They’ve been around the country four times in the last year. Wes draws up the word “Rumspringa.” It’s an Amish term that translates to “running around,” and is regarded as time for the youth to take a journey to God, or to ultimately find their place in the world. The concept allows the youth to choose to continue within the community or to leave it behind. The Darcys’ Rumspringa has been a time for the band to really find their footing in the world. Wes said they heard the term in a documentary they watched and then the term kept surfacing in books and podcasts. Touring for The Darcys has been a period of finding their appropriate footing and really growing together as a band and as individuals.

“Being on the road is both stifling and extremely creative. Your expulsion of creativity is limited to talking to the guys in the band.”

The band is all university grads, and as such their touring schedule has proven their scholarly nature. Each member reads, listens to new music, and they listen to podcasts and share their thoughts with each other. Each member is constantly expanding his horizon.

Wes pauses for a split second before listing off the books being read by the band, and not one book is light reading. Wes is reading non-fiction by psychotherapist Malcolm Gladwell (a fitting choice as Wes has a degree in sociology). Jason is reading Michael Winter’s This All Happened, a fictional memoir with a quirky plotline. Dave is reading Dostoyevsky, and Mike is finishing Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic tale The Road. Perhaps, the band’s interest in reading could’ve been discerned by their name. Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a “fashionable gentleman-about-town.” The other reason for their name comes from the first and only Canadian assassinated at a federal level, Thomas D’arcy McGee. These choices speak volumes about their collective personality. They’re not just some indie rockers grinding out muddy jams in a sweaty basement, they’re well-read intellectuals creating something new.

Wes talks about the bands they’ve been listening to on tour: Caribou, The Flaming Lips, Pavement, and Do Make Say Think are on the list. He also mentions a podcast by Ira Glass titled This American Life(linked here). Backdated episodes of the show however are removed, leaving only the most current episode available.

All of this paints a pretty clear portrait. I’m reminded of the film One Week and of my own childhood spent in the back of my parent’s cramped “mom-van.” I’d spend the summer devouring books and CDs but back then it seemed more like something to just pass the time. At my age, I’d say it was living the dream.

More from The Darcys soon.
Click for their Myspace and here for their blog!

They’ll be playing at the Horseshoe on June 3rd @ 8PM!
Oh, and you can download their FREE 7″ off their blog!

Bryan

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