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Sadies tour to Prince Rupert is both cathartic and raw for band members

Music is a healing drug says Travis Good
Travis Good of the Canadian Rock-Western band the Sadies jams out at the Wheel House Pub on Oct. 15 during the concert in Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Travis Good, frontman of the Canadian rock band The Sadies said the new tour is both cathartic and raw after the sudden death of his brother and bandmate Dallas Good from a coronary illness in February.

Playing in the intimate setting of the Wheel Housing Brewing Company on Oct. 15, to a packed house, the stage was just three inches from the floor, Persian rugs hanging on the walls dampened any echo keeping the sound tight, lighting colours changed with the ambiance of the music and the audience was just arm’s length reaching distance away. If it was your first time witnessing the music legends you wouldn’t know they were a completely different band a year ago.

Formed in 1994 in Toronto, and now touring promoting their 11th album, Colder Stream, The Northern View sat down with guitarist and vocalist Good and drummer Mike Belitsky after their energy-bolstered gig in the Northern B.C. coastal city. Prince Rupert was the third stop in a 27-show schedule.

“We’ve never been here before and we like going to places we’ve never been to … it’s a good way to start the tour covering new ground, the end of the road and the start of the road back home,” Good said.

The band members shared their adventures in Rupert of arriving a day early, exploring the region by boat and then being engaged in an evening of karaoke with some locals.

Belitsky said he sang The Gambler because it’s a crowd pleaser and he likes “story songs.”

Good said sometimes stories are reflected in their own music, but not as a rule.

“Songs just come out — who knows where they come from. They just sort of pop up and sometimes there are stories and sometimes they’re blind. Sometimes we do instrumental songs. We write and if nothing comes to mind for a story, then we’ll just make it instrumental.”

Talking about the album music, one of the songs, You Should Be Worried, is noteworthy for interesting reasons Good said. It was the only time ever in 25 years that his brother Dallas went into a Quebec studio alone and laid down a song.

“My late brother did that one. That was by himself … He actually pulled parts we had recorded from other songs. Mike was playing cymbal swells and stuff. He pulled those tracks and added them on to him playing by himself,” Good said.

Asked what the story was behind another song, ‘Cut up high and dry,’ Good said that only Dallas knows.

“You’d have to ask [him] that. He’s not here to answer. He wrote those lyrics. Your interpretation is as good as mine.”

Belitsky said he likes having people interpret their own stories to songs.

“I do that. You know there are songs that I don’t even want to know what they really are about because I’ve got my own story in my head,” the drummer said.

Good said some songs start out meaning one thing and then become a whole other story.

While some online write-ups about the album cast it as the Sadies’ best work ever and rebirth out of pandemic purgatory, others assign it as a eulogy.

“I honestly think every record is a rebirth. Every record is a chance for you to put something out in the real world,” Belitsky said adding he takes exception to the eulogy branding of the album.

“I actually have to kind of take issue with that, because that record was totally completed before Dallas died. He didn’t know he was going to die. We didn’t know he was going to die. It’s not a eulogy. It’s a tribute that he created for himself.”

Good reflected on the changes to the quartet, now a trio, since Dallas’s passing and said everything is different.

“It’s a whole new show. It’s a whole new band. It’s a whole new way, a whole new life. Everything is different,” Good said. “It was easier and better before when we did it for 25 years. We had a routine.”

“We were so insular and so protected from everything else that happened in the world,” Belitsky said. “It was always just us, and now it’s us minus one. It’s definitely different.”

Touring for the first time since Dallas’s death on Feb. 17, and the album release in June, Good agreed the tour was both cathartic but raw.

“It feels good and it feels dreadful at the same time,” Good expressed. “The cliche is true. Music is a healing drug, a healing power. It’s nice to see and connect with people. It’s been a long time since we’ve done it. But, it’s super hard. It’s an uphill battle.”

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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Travis Good of the Canadian Rock-Western band the Sadies jams out at the Wheel House Pub on Oct. 15 during the concert in Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)