“This is by far the harshest winter I’ve ever toured through,” says Grant Lawrence.
“I was in Bruno, Saskatchewan the other day — 47 degrees below zero! I’m just happy that’s it sunny. A very Canadian experience, to be sure! But despite all the cold weather, there’s more than enough warm-hearted people attending the events to make up for the frost and the snow.”
Grant Lawrence has enjoyed a 30-year career as a self-propelled independently-driven Canadian artist. Cutting his teeth as an underground concert promoter (providing early Vancouver shows for luminaries such as Nirvana, Fugazi, Green Day, and Bad Religion, among many others) before fronting the Smugglers, an energetic and enjoyable retro-garage-rock bunch, Lawrence was a co-svengali at the renowned indie label Mint Records (the fledgling home of Neko Case, the New Pornographers, etc.) until signing up with the CBC in 1998, where he remains a nationally-popular fixture.
His writing career took off with the 2010 release of Adventures in Solitude (detailing his lifelong love/hate relationship with his hometown of Desolation Sound), and continues with the recent release (and current author tour) of The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie (detailing his lifelong love/hate relationship with the goalie’s role in hockey). And Lawrence’s current author’s tour will bring him to the Manual Training School adjunct of the Cranbrook Public Library on the evening of Tuesday, Dec.10.
“It wasn’t a chore to obtain time off from the CBC to flog the book — I’m on paternity leave!”
Lawrence and his wife, singer Jill Barber, celebrated the birth of their first son in mid-August.
“Jill usually comes with me on the road, but she stayed home on this leg —which probably wasn’t a bad idea, if only for the brutal temperatures!”
“I try to make the events as fun as possible,” Lawrence says. “I spend time talking back and forth about both books. I’ll give the people a slide show, I’ll screen an accompanying movie, and keep everything as light as possible.”
Lawrence’s current author tour will see him host over 30 events over three months, spanning the breadth of Canada.
“Most of these shows occur in libraries, so you never know what the turnout’s going to be. In Bruno, Saskatchwan, there were 12 people; at the Toronto Public Library there were 250. Regardless, I give the same fun show every night; quality versus quantity, y’know!”
“One of the more memorable moments of the tour was hosting the Saskatoon author-event at Amigo’s,” Lawrence says. “I’d played there many, many times with the Smugglers, and it was a very cool feeling to return there as an author, and not as a touring musician.’
As a born-and-bred British Columbian, Lawrence is eager for the tour’s return swing west. “Some of my best author events are at libraries in the Kootenays, and I had a great time the last time I was in Cranbrook. And as of late I’ve got to be friends with the Good Ol’ Goats through their achievements with CBC Radio. I’m looking forward to returning to the Key City!”
Grant Lawrence presents his new book “The Lonely End of the Rink” Tuesday Dec. 10 at the Manual Training School adjunct of the Cranbrook Public Library (1212 2nd St. North., Cranbrook); showtime 7 p.m.