Weakerthans, Constantines To Embark On Rolling Tundra Revue


The Weakerthans (pictured) and the Constantines will co-headline a cross-Canadian winter tour beginning in March. (Trust us, it’s still winter in Canada in March.) The two groups first teamed up for their so-called Rolling Tundra Revue in 2005; this second version is lengthier, with the bands playing 30 dates in 21 cities. The Weakerthans’ most recent release is 2007’s Reunion Tour (Anti-), while the Constantines issued Kensington Heights (Arts & Crafts) last year.

MAGNET briefly chatted with Weakerthans frontman John K. Samson about the upcoming tour, the Guess Who and the great sport of curling. The Q&A and tour dates after the jump.

The Weakerthans’ “Tournament Of Hearts” from Reunion Tour:

The Constantines’ “Draw Us Lines” from 2005’s Tournament Of Hearts:

MAGNET: This is a thorough tour, and you’re hitting some small towns like Banff and Kelowna. What are some of the odd things that happen in the dark parts of Canada?
Samson: This will be the most thorough Canadian tour we have attempted, coast to coast to far north, and the venues will veer wildly from large theaters to small bars, so I expect some annoying and entertaining things will occur. I guess the brackets of the tour are the shows I am most interested in, as they are the two places we haven’t played before. We start in St. John’s, Newfoundland, as far east as you can go, rather isolated but with what I hear is a vibrant and unique culture, one of the oldest cities in North America, and end about 5,000 miles away, in Whitehorse, capitol of the Yukon, this really interesting northern town we have passed through but never played in.

Do you think it’s odd that the Winnipeg venue is named after (the Guess Who’s) Burton Cummings? Not that you have to be dead and buried to have a theater named after you, but I would find it strange if, say, Philadelphia had a Todd Rundgren Theater.
Yeah, we all find that a bit odd, too. There is also a community center named after Burton Cummings, in the neighborhood he grew up in. But nothing named after (Winnipeg natives) Randy Bachman or Neil Young. I suppose the difference is that Burton still lives here, and you can sometimes see him around town. He’s a regular at a bar near where I live, and he plays the video lottery terminals there. Its one of those things that prove Winnipeg is actually a small town disguised as a medium-sized city. Sort of sweet, I guess.

There’s a connection to the Constantines through the Reunion Tour track “Tournament Of Hearts”: First, that’s also the title of a Cons record, and I recall the them using the phrase “hurry hard” (also a lyric on the Weakerthans song) onstage a few years earlier.
Well, “Tournament Of Hearts” is actually the name of a yearly curling event, the Canadian Women’s Championship, which most Canadians would be vaguely aware of. It is such an evocative title that when I was writing a song about curling, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist using it, even though the Cons had used it already. I didn’t feel bad about it, as we were both stealing it from the women curlers. All of us know how to curl, but our guitar player Stephen (Carroll) and myself are likely the most dedicated. Steve plays one night a week, and I play two nights, for the length of the season, about six or seven months a year.

What does the phrase “hurry hard” mean, exactly?
The phrase “hurry hard” is a curling term used by the skip, who calls the shots, to encourage the sweepers to sweep the rock harder, thus causing it to go straighter and faster. It has crossed into certain segments of Canadian vernacular. For example, pretend you were the managing editor at the Canadian version of MAGNET, and, say, a deadline is approaching at the end of the day. A story one of your writers is working on needs to be more focused (straighter) and needs to be finished by 4 p.m. (faster). So you might bellow at her to “Hurry hard!” and she would know you don’t just mean “hurry.” You mean “hurry hard.” Totally different.

Any other news to share from Winnipeg?
Not much news from here. We’re all doing various things, along with Weakerthans activities. Lately I’ve been working with my wife, Christine Fellows, on a score for a contemporary dance by the choreographer Susie Burpee.

Want more Weakerthans? Samson tells MAGNET about Reunion Tour here.

Weakerthans/Constantines Tour Dates
March 19 Thu: St. Johns, NL – Club One
March 20 Fri: Halifax, NS – The Palace
March 22 Sun: Sackville, NB – Georges Fabulous Roadhouse
March 23 Mon: Fredericton, NB – UNB Ballroom
March 25 Wed: Quebec City, QC – Le Cercle
March 26 Thu: Montreal, QC – Le National
March 28 Sat: Ottawa, ON – Bronson Centre
March 29 Sun: Kingston, ON – The Alehouse
March 31 Tue: Toronto, ON – Phoenix
April 03 Fri: London, ON – Music Hall
April 04 Sat: Guelph, ON – River Run Centre
April 17 Fri: Winnipeg, MB – Burton Cummings Theatre
April 18 Sat: Winnipeg, MB – Burton Cummings Theatre
April 21 Tue: Regina, SK – Ridell Centre
April 22 Wed: Saskatoon, SK – Odeon Events Centre
April 23 Thu: Edmonton, AB – Winspear Centre
April 25 Sat: Calgary, AB – Macewan Hall
April 26 Sun: Banff, AB – Wild Bill’s
April 27 Mon: Kelowna, BC – Kelowna Community Theatre
April 30 Thu: Victoria, BC – Element
May 01 Fri: Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
May 02 Sat: Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
May 04 Mon: Whitehorse, YT – Yukon Arts Centre