Rocket Ball Road Show Details
The Greg Ball Band
With a new album — the band’s third — set to be released in June, the Greg Ball Band is hitting the road with fellow Kingston rockers Rueben de Groot and Rocket Surgery for a cross-Canada tour that brings them to Stratford’s Molly Blooms pub on Friday, April 17.
Greg Ball is originally from St. Marys.
Performance dates on the tour were booked by the bands themselves. And while exact other details haven’t yet been totally ironed out, he explains, the tour will basically entail all the members of both bands (Ball and De Groot actually share a drummer, so that takes away one body) piling in a 12-passenger van with all their gear in a trailer and trying to catch some sleep whenever possible. It will begin with several Ontario dates through April within fairly easy driving distance of Kingston (“hopefully, we can use those dates to kind of figure out if this van idea is going to work,” he smiled), prior to a busy May that takes them to places like Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Banff and Vancouver.
“It’ll be a little different tour this time. We’re not getting on a tour bus with members of the Tragically Hip,” Ball said of what the two performers have creatively dubbed “The Rocket Ball Road Show.” That’s because less than two years ago, the Greg Ball Band was the opening act on a cross-Canada tour featuring a side project of Tragically Hip guitarist Paul Langlois. That tour had a little more financial wherewithal than the upcoming Ball/De Groot outing.
Langlois is a friend of Ball’s, and has been a supporter of his music career for several years. The Greg Ball Band has released both of its previous album’s on Langlois’s Ching Music label (the same label which is producing the upcoming, as-yet-unnamed album) and Ball is a regular with a Langlois-created singer/songwriter collective named The Campfire Liars Club.
“We’ve come down to Stratford before (as the Campfire Liars Club), and we’ve gotten the odd Toronto gig,” he explained. “But, for the most part, it’s around Kingston that we get together.”
Ball got his start as a performer in Stratford’s music scene, before relocating to Kingston several years ago. He now has a young family — but not so young any more that he can’t begin to once again put some emphasis on his music.
Just last week, Canadian rockers The Trews were on their way through Kingston, and Ball got the call to serve as opening act.
“It was a good time,” he said, adding the band has opened for The Trews in the past. “We got along well with their fans, which always makes it a lot better as an opening act.”
Commenting on the upcoming record, Ball believes his band has evolved over the past two years to have a sound more based in straight-ahead rock, and a little bit away from their one-time concentration on roots/rock.
“I think it kind of happened during the Not Guilty tour with (Langlois),” he suggested. “We had a lot of gigs together on that tour, and that just seemed to be where we moved as the tour went on. Over the course of 30 or so gigs, things change. Things get a little faster. And I think we just got more comfortable playing that kind of style.”
Despite the knowledge that it might be a little tighter quarters for this upcoming tour, compared to the last time he and his bandmates embarked across the country, Ball is still looking forward to hitting the road.
“It’s one of the things you have to do if you want to your name out there,” he said.