Thursday, June 4, 2009

Long and Lonely Road

This summer marks 5 years since I started playing with Hawk Nelson. Wow. It's hard to believe it's been that long... but it does make sense. A lot has happened in that 5 years.

I was 20 when my friends Jas, Dan, Davin, and Matt signed a record deal and began touring. I remember getting a pre-release listen to the first record, "Letters to the President", and being incredibly proud of the guys for how that record turned out. It sounded like a band on its way to a real career, which is something that so many of us in the Southern Ontario music scene wanted.

For all of us in other Ontario bands, it was a mixed bag of pride and envy. We were very proud of our friends in HN, but we all felt a twinge of jealousy when we watched them fly out to Seattle to record, or hit the road on a big US tour.

Nobody could say they didn't deserve it though.... I'm not sure how many people know this, but the 4 original hawk boys practiced 5 days a week (mon-fri) from 5pm-9pm or so. They spent unbelievable amounts of time working on songs, making plans, booking shows, and promoting themselves online. Not only that, but they worked jobs and contributed to the band when expenses came up. They worked incredibly hard.

Just prior to the release of "Letters", Daniel asked if I could fill in for Dave for a few shows in July, as he was getting married. I gladly agreed, and played 2 shows.... the first in Omaha, Nebraska, at a venue called "The Rock", and the second in Berwyn, Illinois (don't remember the name of the venue). These shows were small, but incredibly fun. I had the time of my life, but I took it with a grain of salt, knowing that I was just filling in for a few shows. I had no idea that I would become a permanent fixture in the band.... so remembering these two specific shows is somewhat special for me.

The next week, Letters to the President was released, and the HN boys set off to play some of the summer festivals.

Several months later, I was again asked to fill in for Dave, at a show in Little Rock, Arkansas. I was to fly down, play the show, and fly home. As it turns out, I never ended up flying home. Haha. I stayed on with the band, and finished out the rest of the tour they were doing with Sanctus Real and Seven Places. I have a ton of great memories from that tour as well.

We took a break for Christmas, and returned in January to do a second leg of the Sanctus Tour. In February and March we did a tour called the X Tour, with Falling Up, KJ52, and a few others.

It was in March of 2005 that we got a really exciting opportunity... our first A-level tour. We got the opening slot on the 2005 Diverse City Worldwide Tour, featuring Audio Adrenaline, Tobymac, Kutless, and ourselves. It was such an incredible opportunity, and we were incredibly excited about it. A few of us (Jas and I mostly) had grown up on Christian music, and Audio Adrenaline and DC Talk were some of our first tapes as kids... so it was a special tour for us.

We filmed several little LIVE videos on this tour, and I came across some of the videos we filmed this week. Many of these I remember, but I found one that I didn't remember at all! It's a live (read: VERY live) version of Long and Lonely Road. I hope you enjoy it!

p.s. for you gear nerds.... I got that tone out of a standard TELE and an AC-30... still don't quite remember how I did that?!

Oh, and on that same tour... THIS happened.

Hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane... I sure did. Oh, if anyone was at either of those first 2 shows in 2004.... in Omaha or Berwyn.. email me and let me know. That would be fun! It could be even better if you have photos! How embarassing!


Ahhhh Yes... a few people have written to remind me that I also filled in at Lifest in 2004.... so that makes 3 shows that month. My memory is fading!


Kathy said...

wow...I can't believe it has been that long Jon(and I have liked you guys like ever since then...ahah). those videos are awesome. how much did Jas get payed for the chair thing?

Kelly said...

You seem to have forgotten filling in for Davin in July at Lifest in Oshkosh, WI. And yes, there are pictures. Very few.

Markus said...

good story... i was sort of wondering how you came to be on HN. Can't believe it's been 5 years though.

Anonymous said...

I liked that!! I didn't see u guys for your first couple of years- i was little and ignorant- i met u at ur first baseball tour! u guys are amazing

Ida said...

Yay for you Jon! Do you know how Davin and Matt have been? My friend Trevor Matt had a family and Davin went on to pursue other musical endeavors..
Here's to another more 5 years!!

P.S. LOVE the chairs video!!

Kelly said...

I'm confused but Davin has the family and I think they both played around with music for a while...or still are?

Christine said...

dude, that was awesome! both your writing and the vid... mann... little did you guys know, way back then, that you'd be (yes, I'm positive) the most popular band in contemporary Christian music. mann how awesome. lol. it looks so fun....
haha btw you look so young in that vid XD haha
oh and i can't blv it's been five years either O.O woww thats just crazy. time flies sooo fast D:

Mollie said...

i love the long and lonely road video..especially the sweater vests. nothing says rock n roll like pink sweater vests ;)

Ashley, Love! said...

Can't believe it's been a whole 5 years :] Hope it can be more! I always wondered how you joined the band, and thanks for the trip done memory lane I sure did enjoy it.

And the chair video! I love that oneee :] How much did Jason get paid?!

K[R!ot] said...

thanks for the trip down memory lane.. I sure loved it.
cant believe its been that loneg.
Ive been listening to Hawk since the day Letters came out..
well heres to another 5 years my friend!!!

Anonymous said...

I went to the 2005 diverse city tour in ft. meyers. it was awesome!!! first time i fell in love with you guys :]

graciegirl said...

i didnt think it was that long ago! its awesome you ah apart of da band :)

didnt Jay get paid like $20 or so fur da whole chair thing??

Anna said...

You guys should bring back Long and Lonely Road to the set list! (you should start at Ithchus!) It's such a good crowd pleaser!

Jenny said...

if you don't like it please don't take it.

i once was going to go to a show in 2004 or 2005 or something but couldn't. but i did see hn once on the green tee tour. JUST ONE TIME?! haha.

Anonymous said...

I remember when my sister begged my mom for your first cd, mom absolutly refused:) Christmas morning the cd was under the tree for her, as it turns out, much to my mothers upset, my brother had bought it for my sister:)

That was the first year the band was up and running, and I still remember learning all the songs.

I lost track of you all about a year or two after that, and then, I remembered this little band that my sister was once crazy about, I went to the christian bookstore and found there were two new albums from you all:) I bought both, and you all have been on my mind ever since:)

It may be weird, but I still thank God that my brother brought you all into my life through a christmas present:)

That's my trip down memory lane.

Tell all the Hawk boys Dazie says hi:) And I'm on the twitter, upp_z_dazie, I'm following all of you that are on there, so I hope to see more from you!

God bless and God be with,


Jonni said...

awww... that was the sweetest thing i've read all day!!! that's quite an entertaining trip down memory lane to hear about (or read about) thnx for sharing with us!