In this week's paper, Ryan Wasoba interviewed Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara, the Canadian duo who's playing the Pageant this Sunday night, May 4, with An Horse. I'd advise anyone who's on the fence about going to buy your tickets now. Just trust me.
Ryan Wasoba: It's been a while since you've played St. Louis, right? Tegan Quin: Oh God yeah, years and years. I think the last place we played was the Galaxy.
Wow. I think that closed down in 2003, so i guess it has been a while. Yeah, I remember we rolled in and we were driving downtown. It wasn't actually me, but our drummer was driving and he woke us up and he said, "Oh my God, it's like a war happened here and nobody told anyone," cause it was right around when we were touring and there was a lot of war talk around then. There were so many buildings that were boarded up and falling down and decrepit and streets were abandoned and it was like, "Where are we?"
Has touring been different since The Con came out? I think that's the big difference with this record, is that we're consistently playing the same-sized venue, which sounds like the most boring thing ever, but it's a lot better. With every record, every tour is different. One night you're opening for someone the next night you're headlining and every night is different and maybe in certain cities you have a fanbase and another you don't. Sometimes you're playing for 500 people and you feel like the happiest person alive and the next night it's 12 people and you're questioning why you didn't go to the university.
This is the first record where we've been able to go out and be able to get our record into every store and we're selling records and there's kids at every show and the venues are all pretty similar in size and we're getting good press. We're able to pay everybody the same amount of money each tour instead of "this tour we're doing crap so you all have to take 200 dollars less." It's consistent and it feels like we finally have a career. Before, it felt like we were in a band that was struggling to get started and that lasted 7 years. And now it's a career. This is my job and I love it and i can't wait to wake up every morning and do it.
Tegan and Sara, "Walking with a Ghost":
So you're on a bus now? Yeah, we've kind of switched buses and drivers a few times and this is part of the luxury of being in a bus. It's not like being in a van where there's a 15-passenger van and it's white and there are gray seats in it. With buses, there's options. Not a lot of options, because we're in the lowest bracket of bus because we're not rich. We found a great driver who's really safe. Thats one of our biggest priorities in our lives right now, to not die on the road in a bus crash. We were just over in Europe and were in a double-decker bus, which is terrifying. Our driver had multiple accidents and at one point he fell asleep and hit the guardrail and we had to fire him and get a new bus, which was horrible. So going to the bus, we have to be safe and happy. We probably travel 250 or more days a year and it's got to be comfortable. At this point I'm too old to be feeling unsafe and uncomfortable.
Does the bus kind of change the dynamic of touring at all? I think it does. I mean, you miss out on a lot of the bonding. Sara and I are the only songwriters in the band, and we do that alone. We don't even do it with each other, so it's a very independent sport. I feel like I'm in a band with myself sometimes. So going on the road is exciting because we finally get to interact with other human beings. So that's the one downside, you don't get that bonding time [that you get] when you're sitting in a van driving for 18 hours a day. Even though it sucks it's kind of fun, you're all just watching DVDs together and talking about what books and music you're into and arguing about politics.
There's like a camaraderie that's missing when you just get on the bus and you all chat and then go to bed and then go to the venue and do your own thing and get on your computer. Not as much bonding, that's for sure. And that changes things a bit. Now I feel like I can only handle 3 weeks on tour at a time and then I have to go home because i get kind of grumpy and I feel estranged from my life. It's like, when you're in the van it feels like you're kind of going through an experience and it's harder to get cut off or distant from the group because they're in your face all the time. That's one thing I miss with the bus.