Athletes train their entire lives to compete in the Olympics. While local musicians may not have the same sort of extensive physical training, they certainly have to make sure they are in shape to make the 6,148-kilometre stretch between Halifax and Vancouver.
Instead of hopping on a plane, Jenn Grant and company---Kinley Dowling, Sean MacGillivray, Daniel Ledwell and David Christensen---are making a journey of their venture to the 2010 Olympic Games, touring by bus. Grant's packed her travel art supplies and a mini-keyboard (Erin Costelo has been teaching her piano) to practice a few new songs.
"We will only be in Vancouver for about a day," says Grant. "And I'll be back in Halifax when In-Flight Safety is playing so I won't be pulling any tricks, unless it's with the Symphony because I have a date with them when I get back to Nova Scotia.
"But I'm looking forward to being part of something so big and also looking forward to the opportunity for international exposure."
While Grant takes a whirlwind dip into the city of glass then meets up with Hawksley Workman afterwards in Whistler, In-Flight Safety plan to stay the whole weekend and soak in the festivities.
"Maybe we can have some sort of band-only Olympic events where sporting categories are replaced with heavy amp lifts, racing touring vans on icy roads like the truckers," says John Mullane, singer and guitarist. "Or perhaps a guitar smash-a-thon sponsored by Jackson Guitars."
In-Flight Safety's been keeping a rigourous regime, as the band's been training by going to sleep at 10pm Atlantic time in order to acclimate to the late-night music schedule. Not to mention they've been loading up on trinkets of local paraphernalia. Mullane's suitcase is stuffed with "Propeller beers, kilts, lobster traps and a small rock from Peggy's Cove that we will trade for mementos from other bands or for those famous Olympic pins," he says.
Other Maritime artists performing during the Olympics, through the Atlantic Canada House, include Amelia Curran, Rose Cousins, Julie Doiron, Catherine MacLellan, David Myles, Matt Mays, Two Hours Traffic, Matt Anderson, Jessica Rhaye, Ron Hynes, Grand Theft Bus, Hey Rosetta! and Olympic Symphonium, who seem to be causing trouble. When the group came up with the band name a few years back they joked at the issue, but it's now noted as a conflict of interest since the word Olympic is officially trademarked.
"If we leave without being served a cease-and-desist then we'll consider ourselves lucky," says Olympic Symphonium's Kyle Cunjak. "Training for us includes our coach, James Boyle, setting us up on a rigourous schedule that includes lots of winter jogging, while he yells at slash motivates us, and sprinting on ice to increase balance and trying not to be teased by the Swiss team too much.
"I've said this a bunch of times, but honestly I'm heading over to see the bobsled," the bassist continues. "I loved Cool Runnings as a kid and am going to re-enact the movie on my day off."