It’s important to remember that Canada didn’t always have an enlightened position when it came to cannabis. We’ll be in the studio with the two members of Dada and both members of 7Horse band this Thursday (singer-guitarist Michael Gurley and singer-drummer Phil Leavitt), but for this article we caught up with Phil.
This is a story from 7Horse drummer & vocalist Phil Leavitt on when Dada were about to go on tour in Canada during the mid-90s:
“We were crossing the border into Canada in the mid-90s. Our veteran tour
manager read us the riot act on purging the bus of all cannabis related material. Weed, pipes, residue etc.
We stopped at a motel on the US side of the border and stashed our supply in a rented room. We planned on picking it up on the way back. We cleaned the bus thoroughly and were sure we were good. We arrived at the border at 2 am.
We wearily trudged into the immigration office in our pajamas to present our passports. Customs officials boarded the bus with drug-sniffing dogs. We were breathing easy since we knew we were clean. Then they came back holding a single joint. They said they found it under the mattress of the bunk on the drivers side middle rear. My bunk. I forgot it was there.
They told us we had a choice. They could hold me and let the band go through since they didn’t find anything else or we could all stay together and they would pull all our gear out of the trailer and conduct a more complete search of everything we had and basically tear the bus up.
They informed us it was within their rights to impound everything on the spot and refuse us entry to the country so they were giving us a break. After a short conference I decided to stay so the band and crew could make the gig. I figured I could get there by showtime. I’ll never forget the sight of the bus pulling away.
They held me for 11 hours and hounded me with questioning. No lawyers or phone calls. Finally, they let me go. I caught a bus and barely made the gig at showtime. That was a close one. But I still love Canada.”
Like many artists and musicians, members of the bands Dada and 7 Horse are partial to a bit of marijuana. Phil feels that it helps his “mind to unclench and wander.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Phil uses marijuana to ease the pressure of touring and drumming on his body, and also as anti-anxiety medication. He boxes, so using CBD-rich marijuana also helps Phil reduce inflammation, as well as being a neuroprotectant. The multi-purpose use of marijuana helps keep Phil away from over-the-counter pain pills and alcohol.
However, while we may think of Canada’s approach to cannabis to be forward-thinking today, it is worth remembering that many states throughout the US had different attitudes, even in the 90s. When playing on tour in Boulder, Colorado, Phil recalls, “People would always turn up at the gigs with incredible weed and offer to smoke me out.” Nowadays, though, Seattle is Phil’s favorite weed spot.
Well, keeping off hard drugs and using marijuana has certainly helped Dada keep focus – they’re now on their 25th Anniversary tour! When asked for what he was looking forward to most when on tour, Phil answered:
“I’m just looking forward to reconnecting with our audience and experiencing the rush with them. I think most people thought they had seen the last of us so I sense a great deal excitement out there. It’s gonna be fun to be in the middle of that. Plus I love the travel. The tour bus. The singular focus on the show. And, of course, playing with the other guys.”
One of Phil’s most well-known songs is by his other band, 7Horse, named ‘Flying High (With No ID)’. Fans have asked about the lollipops used in the video and whether they were “real” (i.e. had cannabinoids in them) and whether the band could help fans get one. Phil answers:
“Yes [they were real] and no [they can’t help fans get them one]. “A Friend in Weed” we wrote on the way into Weed, CA. It was just too obvious. It went down big and always does wherever we play it. A lot of our stuff has drug and booze references. I mean ‘Meth Lab Zoso Sticker’ [famously used in Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street] and ‘Low Fuel Drug Run’. Why? Ask my parents.”
We also asked Phil why there wasn’t a “Green Aid” concert/fundraiser for victims of bad marijuana laws? Phil answered: “That’s a great question. I wonder why Willie and Snoop haven’t got together on that. If they do, we’re in.” You heard it here first, Snoop and Willie – you know what you have to do now!
If you want to catch Dada and 7 Horse, you can see them live on the following dates and venues:
2/16/17 – Canyon Club Agoura Hills, CA
2/17/17 – The Rose Pasadena, CA
2/18/17 – Coach House Orange Country, CA
2/19/17 – Hotel Utah San Francisco. CA with 7Horse
2/21/17 – Bunkhouse Saloon Las Vegas, NV
2/22/17 – Metro Music Hall Salt Lake City, UT
2/23/17 – The Blue Bird Denver, CO
2/25/17 – Riot Room Kansas City. MO
2/27/17 – Beachland Tavern Cleveland, OH
2/28/17 – Sculley’s Columbus, OH
3/1/17 – Shank Hall Milwaukee, WI
3/2/17 – The Double Door Chicago, IL
3/3/17 – The Amsterdam Bar and Hall Minneapolis/St Paul. MN
3/4/17 – Firebird St. Louis, MO
3/6/17 – Three Links Dallas, TX
3/8/17 – Rogue Bar Phoenix, AZ
Oh, and remember to catch them on Elevate the Conversation at 9 pm PST on Thursday 9th February 2017, too! You can tune into UBN Radio, or see the show live via Facebook Live here:
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