Thursday, April 30, 2009


This is my second posting from a moving train. Today's journey is taking me from Montreal through Toronto and then on to Windsor, where Vince from Still Point Zen Center in Detroit will take me across the border. Zero Defex is playing tomorrow at a place in Detroit called The Comet. We haven't played together in a year. The rest of the guys have been rehearsing without me and I've been practicing on my own. So we should be fine.

The last gig Zero Defex played in Detroit is written up in gory detail in Hardcore Zen. The main things I recall are frozen feet and carbon monoxide. There were at least three bands and assorted fellow travelers packed into an Econoline van along with a drum kit, a half dozen guitars and some amplifiers, all rolling aro0und on top of each other to make the 6 hour journey from Akron to Detroit. The van had rust holes all over the place that allowed the exhaust fumes to seep inside until all of us were woozy. I heard a story later that the Nazis designed a van quite similar to this to kill Jews even before they reached the concentration camps.

It was the dead of winter and freezing cold. I was probably in a pair of Converse High Tops. I don't know for sure. But anyway they were thin and inadequate and my feet froze up. As soon as we got into the venue -- a club known as The Freezer! -- my frozen feet started to swell up from the warmth and itched like crazy. I had to take off my shoes and let them cool back down by walking barefoot on the frigid concrete of The Freezer's floor.

Then our start time kept getting pushed later and later to accommodate Negative Approach who suddenly decided they needed to play a set even though they weren't on the bill. I hated them for years because of that. This was really bad for us because we were set to drive back to Ohio that same night and wouldn't even get on the road until something like three in the morning. We survived, though.

Hopefully tomorrow night's gig will go even better.

Now the train I'm riding is in Brockville. Don't go back to Brockville!

I had a terrific time in Montreal, which becomes more like home every time I go. Linda Dydyk and her husband Bogdan played host. I loved them both and all of their cats. They live in NDG, a very cool part of the city. Montreal is covered in graffiti. Some of it is quite good. Most of it sucks ass. But you could say the same about the other forms of advertising that decorate the buildings.

I got interviewed by the CBC twice, by CJAD once, by The Mirror and by On the CBC I was harassed by a Hare Krishna caller who wanted to warn the audience of the dangers of the impersonal and abstract philosophy of Buddhism. I guess I asked for that cuz I said how I hadn't been very engaged in their philosophy. It's nuts, I tell ya! Actually, it's just old-time religion with a blue god who screws hot Indian babes instead of a white god who shoots lightning bolts. But their food is terrific.

The CBC interviewer mentioned local hero Leonard Cohen and the rumor that when he flies overseas he spends 13 hour plane flights seated in meditation. She asked if I did that. I told her that Leonard Cohen probably flies first class where the seats are roomy enough to do that. I always fly coach.

Wow. We just passed a field in which stood a giant turkey fanning his tail feathers. Life is good.

I talked with a lot of people. Went out with my friend Maya to see a punk rock show. Went to eat Indian food with Thibault, the guy who got me my first gig in Montreal. That was in 2005 when I spoke at Casa del Popolo. I was there again and it was fun. I did my acoustic version of "Drop the A-Bomb on Me" to end the show and opened with a solo version of "God Part III" from Dimentia 13's Flat Earth Society album (1990). In between I got a lot of good questions and did my best to answer them. The first one was, "Can Buddhists jack off?" So you know it was a very cool audience.

I met the Chinese/Japanese girl from Montreal who I wrote about in my current book and her new boyfriend. I was happy and sad at the same time. They seem very good for each other. So that's OK, he said silently holding back a single tear.

I spent hours talking to a beautiful mysterious film maker who didn't want to talk very much. She was super cool but I should have shut up. I spent more hours talking to a beautiful bubbly journalist who told me about vandalizing locker rooms and puking multicolored Gatorade puke. I like Canada.

I met a woman who writes a blog called Full Contact Enlightenment that she says trashes me. She was nice. I haven't been able to get the blog to load up yet. The wireless on this train is free but, like I said, oh so slow. I met a guy who wanted to hypnotize me, but I didn't have time. Or maybe he secretly hypnotized me while we were talking and I am now doing his bidding! I met some students at Dawson who played "Oh Darling!" from Abbey Road on guitar and asked great Zen questions.

I visited the used book stores of the city and picked up a couple of old books about sci-fi films that I didn't have. And a copy of the Battlefield Earth DVD for 4$ Canadian. Battlefield Earth is a bad movie classic that must be seen to be understood and appreciated. I bought a red hoodie with a maple leaf on the breast.

We're passing now though wheat fields, past rusted cars and cows. The train is shakier out here than it is in the city, but we're moving faster.

Whenever I give a talk, a bunch of people come up afterward to chat. And that's fine. But I think maybe from now on I'm going to go out and try to talk to people who don't line up to chat. I think they might have stuff to say as well.

All the Detroit gigs are listed on the link to your left. So if you're in town, please show up at Still Point.<<<<<<


Anonymous said...

One won!

Rick said...

Dog gone it! I'm going to miss your stay in Detroit. I've got things I can't get out of. Next time, with hope.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for continued updates
It's great to hear how things are going
Hope you get some 0 D FX on video for us to see

Anonymous said...

"Montreal through Toronto and then on to Windsor,"


Maaaan! If I had known! I would have stood at the station and waved as you went by on the train!

Doug in London...

Roger | A Content Life said...

Thanks for the update! I've read one of your books and now I'm reading another. I plan to read all three.

I've read many books about Buddhism and yours are....ah...different. I really like your humorous style.

Do you have another book in the works?

Anonymous said...

"I met the Chinese/Japanese girl from Montreal who I wrote about in my current book and her new boyfriend. I was happy and sad at the same time. They seem very good for each other. So that's OK, he said silently holding back a single tear."

She is two-timing you? Unbelievable dude.. That is just wrong!

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Sounds more like "no-timing" than "two-timing". In either case, my condolences. But I thought monks were like, you know, chick magnets?

thegirlracer said...

you know what your trip is lacking??

bavarian dutch style pretzels!

oh, and southern hospitality!

Anonymous said...

Brad mentioned Cocaine and sex.. Heh heh heh heh..

He is like the Buddhist Daily Mirror..

nerodha said...

hey brad,

canada sounds nice... glad you had (are having?) a good time. i wrote about your visit to san antonio (not nearly as interesting or memory-worthy as montreal, i know) on my blog:

thanks for the visit and have fun on the rest of your tour!!


nerodha said...

that girl you talk about who writes the "full contact enlightenment" blog wrote about you too (love her style):

proulx michel said...

Not really the place for it, but anyway: today, most of Europe is in holiday: 1st of May is Workers Day. We commemorate the hanging of a handful of American trade-unionists in Chicago in 1886.

Zack S said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

a monk with a bowl...
a guest in our abode...

Anonymous said...

"Not high on Cocaine"?

Pot, beer, porn, extramarital sex but no coke?

Must be saving that for the next book.

Zack S said...

Brad, if you have the time you must visit the Motown Museum! This is one of the high holy sites that all musicians must visit one in their lifetimes!

Ben S. said...

I was the student wailing on Oh Darling! in the halls, thanks for the shout out sir.

Also thanks for settling the age old debate of who shot first: Han or Greedo


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