Live Show: 2/21/98


Toronto, ON

1st Annual Frühead Convention

Reviewed by: Chris O'Malley, Josh Woodward, Irene Gaspar, Mike Wood,
Vika Zafrin, Colleen Campbell, Chris Traugott, Ingrid Kane, A.J. LoCicero,
Sue Weiss, Chad Maloney, Phil Schwan, Mary Krause, & Gordon

The Details

After not seeing the boys (and all my Fruhead friends) for more than a month and half (I know, I know, such a long time, whine, whine, whine), I was obviously looking forward to this weekend A LOT. Sitting here now, thinking back on the weekend, I can't help but smile. It was one of the best times I think I've ever had in my life.

Mid-day Friday. Jen Brewer and I left Rochester around 12:30, getting into downtown Toronto by 3 or so. We decided (since we had the time) to stop by and see Jude at "The Agency" (which many of us just know as JAM). We talked for a bit, and discussed some issues regarding the convention on Saturday. We then found our hotel, The Radisson (on Bloor and Yonge), checked in, and then gave Zard a call (she was staying at the Delta Chelsea). She had already been in Toronto for a while, and we took the subway down to her hotel, in order to get together and grab a bite. Chris Traugott arrived shortly thereafter (her flight was on time, but the bus ride took forever, apparently), and we headed to J.J. Muggs for some much needed sustainence (sp?).

After dinner, we walked to the Clarion Essex Hotel (Carleton and Jarvis). This is where the convention was being held, and where most people booked hotel rooms for the weekend. In the lobby, there were already Fruheads relaxing. A girl named Beth was there, and she came out all the way from L.A. just for this Fruvous weekend! She'd never seen the band before, and I let her know that she picked a good weekend for her first show, and that she should prepare herself for Fruvous-overload. :-)

Hugo, Laurie, Kelly, Katherine, & Ingrid were there as well. We checked out the convention room briefly, and then all piled into the Toronto subway system, so we could meet up with others at The James Joyce Pub (on Bloor). The place was packed. We almost ended up not staying, because of how crowded it was, but we were all supposed to meet various people there. Eventually, some tables started to free up and everyone was able to sit and enjoy each other's company. Vika, Colleen, Heather, Jen Pike, Karen, Andi, Chad, Mary Krause (armed with stuffed budgie dogs), Doug (Sirilyan), and a bunch of other people were there, drinking, singing, and having a great time. The musician on stage (some guy with a guitar), was OK, but he started to wear a little thin at some points.

Before leaving, a small group of us tried to go on stage and sing 'The Drinking Song'. Of course, the musician there didn't know it, so we attempted it a cappella. Big mistake. 3 tempos, 4 different keys, although a guy from the audience knew the words and tried to help out. We were politely clapped off the stage after the first verse.

At that point (2 in the morning), everyone headed back to their respective sleeping arrangements. Kelly, Jen and I walked back to the Radisson, and finally fell asleep between 3 and 4.

Saturday morning. We woke up at 7am. Uggh... An indication of sleep to come, I think. After getting ready and grabbing some breakfast, we stopped by Heather's around 11am, and then headed to the Clarion at 11:30. Zard had gotten there earlier to help set up, and things were coming along nicely. A UCLA busking video was on the TV, food was out, people were already starting to arrive. We had a small mini-crisis for a couple minutes regarding how to set up the raffle, but then figured it out, deciding that various items would cost different amounts. It just made things easier. There was a fruvest, indie CD's, Authors CD singles, a wood shirt, No Mega CD's, indie cassettes, and a bunch of posters and stickers and things to be raffled off later.

The convention officially started at 1. A film crew from TV Ontario was there. Jamie Kastner (who I met up with at the James Joyce the night before) produces a show called Mr. Jones, and he wanted to do a five to ten minute spot on the Fruhead convention. It's supposed to air the second or third Sunday in March on TVO. Jamie took his crew (a cameraman and a sound guy who were all very nice) around interviewing fans and filming the action. There was a table for photo albums on display, a bunch of T-shirts to be signed (for Fruvous, Jude, Marcus, and others), birthday cards for people were circulating, and we watched a making of Bargainville tape that Jian made in '93; it was just a cool melding of so many Fruvous-related activities.

One of my favorite moments of the day was when Josh Woodward, Phil, Rob, and others, played guitar and about 20-30 of us would sing along. Everyone sang great! The harmony parts were all there, and after a while, it seemed we had sung all the fru-tunes people wanted to sing. We were able to give the Drinking Song the justice it deserves, after the previous night's butchering of it.

About 100 people (!!) showed up in the end. I won't even attempt to name people here, but I do have the list of who showed (thanks to Sarah and all the others who worked the door, taking money, handing out name tags, etc). I'll prob. post this list at some point. The raffle was a huge success as well; people bought multiple tickets for mulitple prizes. One of the Fruvous educational science videos was shown, much to the glee of all who watched. We gathered everyone together for a group photo, but we ended up just taking "chunks" of people in each photo, since so many people were there. Hopefully, I can just merge them all into one big pic later.

Around 4:30 the guys showed up. We had just finished listening to an "I'm a Fruhead" impromptu song from a show in '96 and watching the Fruvous music videos. Good timing. Fruvous walked in to an amazing round of applause, and you could tell they were a little overwhelmed. The room had a raised area, so we made that "the stage". The guys did an amazing mini-set. Dave pulled out the violin for a few tunes too. It was just great. Everyone sat on the floor in awe of these songs that most of us had never heard live before this point.

After the music, the guys pulled the tickets for the bigger raffle prizes. Kudos for them for taking time to make this convention a "human treat". They headed out after that, so they could do sound check at Lee's. I finished up the rest of the smaller raffle prizes, and at that point, the convention was pretty much over. :(

After cleaning up a bit, Jamie from TVO took me, Jason, Jen and his camera crew to a local Tattoo Parlor (The Passage) so I could get my Ass Brand/Tattoo. It came out great! In fact, my butt's still sore as I'm writing this.

On to Lee's Palace...

From Josh Woodward:

I'm not going to babble on about the shows and how wonderful they were, but I just wanted to send a quick thank-you out to everyone who made this happen.. especially the guys for generously entertaining this idea, Jude and pals for getting the details hammered out, Chris for being the fearless leader, and everyone who helped out in general. It was a wonderful feeling to finally meet these countless people, all just as kind as I'd imagined.

It was surreal to hear the songs the guys had dusted off for the convention. Photosynthesis was completely unexpected by me. Gord's Gold caught me off-guard as well. Misplaced, complete with Jian on guitar and Dave on violin, was one I had been wanting to hear for a long time. That's Any Good is such a fun song.. a good early-years tune. I wanted more than anything to hear a Murray song, and they delivered with Love Set Fire, starring Mr. Murray Foster on guitar. The true highlight for me, though, is a song I had mentioned to Jian last week -- Poor Napoleon. It's a mutated Costello song, which is just incredibly beautiful to my ears. I'd LOVE for them to play this more often.. *nudge nudge*

From Irene Gaspar:

Oh, now this is tempting--an almost empty bulletin board. Think I can leave this behind? No--I don't have the power!

Saturday was a great day all 'round. The convention was full of Fruheads who were, I discovered, a friendly bunch. (I've never met any of you before. [And if you don't recognize me still, don't be surprised--I am not one to take the world by storm.] ) The Fruvous paraphernalia was quite the sight to behold and the videos were jems, especially the video of the Frufour busking (and basking) in L.A.

The guys arrived late, but they did arrive. They seemed rather flustered by the rapt attention of their fans and for a while they had a rough time putting their thoughts into words (even Jian!). This did not prevent them from doing a great mini-show. They sang some of their rarer songs (my favorite was "That's any Good") and they played instruments they were not accustomed to playing (Dave on violin and Jian on guitar). Basically, they took a lot of risks for this show, and I was touched by that.

From Mike Wood:

WOW; that's all i can say... i gotta keep this not-too-descriptive, 'cause i haveta wake up superearly tomorrow to get downtown for that BNL video shoot! this is just to tide u folx over until the much more prolific concert-reviewing-people get home. :]

I got to the convention room just in time to see some interesting kids science-videos feauturing a few hilarious music videos by fruvous for Entropy, Photosynthesis (which later became Jenny Washington), etc... this was followed by the video compilation (i had never seen the Down From Above vid... it's just plain CREEPY!), and a vid of the guys singing on the street outside UCLA several years ago. the guys showed up around 4:30, and played a an acoustic set consisting of (I may be missing one or two):

Photosynthesis (unaware that we had just seen the video)
Gord's gold
the Ballad of Cedric Fruvous
Love Set Fire (!!! with dave on violin)
That's Any Good (hilarious 60's-ish british pop hit [or so the story goes], sung by murray)
Poor Napoleon (!!!!! an Elvis Costello cover, from his very-rough Blood & Chocolate album... one of my favorites... jian or mike described the album as "a masterpiece... with a chainsaw rammed through it" :] )

Mike mentioned a new song called Harbour Mall, which they didn't play. The raffle followed, with myself not winning anything. Gifts were given to the band, and Jian made a very nice speech about how much he appreciates us.

From Vika Zafrin:

Thursday. I got up at 5, she at 6, and we set out at 7. That's AM. Needless to say, we were just a bit sleepy ('specially since we'd gone to bed kinda late, staying up, reading Mists of Avalon - I never knew reading aloud with someone else was so much fun!). We picked up Gordon at around 8:30 and spent the next 9 or so hours driving at a rather leisurely pace (stopped 3 or 4 times) and listening to all kinds of good music. At the border, we got a rather sense-of-humor-less lady who asked if we had anything with us except for our personal clothing. We said, CDs. Lots and lots of CDs. Where're you going? Toronto. What're you going to do there? Well, there's sort of a convention of the followers of a band there... Do you have anything with you aside from your personal clothing? Uh... CDs, no, really, and lots of them. At which point she started peering into our car. What's this band that you're going to see? Moxy Fruvous! (big grins from all three of us) ...She looked very skeptical. Okay, you're all set.

We got to Rosemary's (we were crashing at her place for the night) around 5:45, and were absolutely ASTOUNDED by her wondrous hospitality and the instant feeling of friendship there. It felt like I'd known her for years! She and all three of her sons were very very cool to hang out with. She and Colleen and I went to pick Angel and Sarah up at the airport later, while Gordon stayed with the boys. THAT was fun, as we had much of the TO airport weirded out by us. :)

Friday we got up rather early, had brekky and headed to meet Mary Krause at the hotel. Then I went off on my own to go to an interview at the UofT's Italian department (I'd applied there for grad school). Good school. Bad department. Not gonna go at all. Very big and impersonal department, and the guy interviewing me was rude and unapologetic. Ah well.

Later on met up with Cee, Gordon and Mary; we got tickets for The Compleat Wks of Wllm Shkspr, Abridged, for ourselves and other various Fruheads (eight of us in all went to the play, see my other post about it) and headed out to Queen Ave., raiding used music stores and used book stores. Colleen and I went kinda... er... nuts on the CDs, so now we have upwards of 30 new ones to listen to! We slowly made our way through to the theater where the play was showing - so slowly, in fact, that we had to take a cab there. :)

After the play we walked over to the James Joyce Pub. Wow. Manymany Fruheads, and it was SO much fun just hanging out with people! Chris O'Malley put it well when we were talking and he was commenting on the fact that it really didn't feel like we were a mob all hanging out together - there were many little groups, and there was this feeling that at any one time you were only talking to a few (1-4 or so) other people. These little groups constantly changed, so people did socialize, but it felt more intimate than just a big party at a pub. The feeling was incredible; it was there that I first felt like I was hanging out with members of a big family that I belonged to.

Bedtime was late; rising time on Saturday was early. We went to breakfast (12-15 of us or so at several tables, the peoples at the Golden Grille were _very_ tolerant and nice!), then the convention was set up and... well, I'm not even going to go into the details of the FruCon and the Lee's concert. People have already done that, and I have already been rambling enough. Suffice it to say that the rest of Saturday was amazing. So many names to put with faces, so many memories, and I've already given in my three rolls of film to be developed, so look for them on FDC - I'll be scanning them in sometime in the next week and a half or so. If you'd like scanned pictures e-mailed to you, mail me and I'll be happy to do so (specify the format, too - available are: pict, jpg, tiff, gif, eps, bmp, Photoshop). (Sirilyan, that means I can't find the format you wanted - jpg okay?)

Anyway... Sunday was more used book shopping, music shopping, and we took off at 1pm, arriving in Boston at 11:45, dead tired, but deliriously happy. Rosemary - Colleen got your package!! :)

And that was our weekend. Wow.

From Colleen Campbell:

This is cee, reporting from--well, not the front. Er, maybe from the back? Anyway, sorry to deceive those of you who really hoped to hear more from Vika, but no, this ain't her; she's being a sweetie and downloading this for me tomorrow at work. Er, well, and for having set up her computer for me to use, too. (And since a lot of you have been very sweet as to ask, no, I doubt I'll have a computer again in the very very near future. Maybe a few weeks. So if you want to gossip about me, this is the time to do it!)

But yeah, hopefully we'll get something set up for me not too long from now. I just couldn't go without writing about this past weekend, incurable blabbermouth that I am, so I'm braving the horrors of a 386 and a funky keyboard (god, I'm spoiled; I was using a 386 exclusively up until September, who am I to whine?). Mostly I'm fine, not having the computer (though I make no pretense that I wouldn't be, if I were still in Florida and totally cut off from all contact with friends and Fruhead social group), but right now.. . I can't think of a time I'd more love to be online, reminiscing, experiencing the FruCon again through everyone else's perspectives, passing the memories around like a box of Godiva chocoates. C'est la vie. C'est la cee. Vika will print out for me what's being said about the past weekend, so I can live it again sort of vicariously. Boy, that makes sense, doesn't it--reliving something vicariously that I was at. Methinks I'd best get on with the review, before I get mired in my own analogies. . .!

Vika already gave the rundown on our early-morning departure and drive up and whatnot, no need to get into all that again in any sort of detail. I guess the most significant aspect of it for me was that I was *driving*. Not flying. Not coming from Florida. I didn't have to break records, I'm no longer the only Floridean Fruhead. Feels very odd--something I'd anticipated sharing with all of you for so long, the mounting excitement of escaping, setting out on my roadtrip to the Midwest, arriving in Boston, exclaiming to all of you what it's like living here. Instead, voila, I go from living in Florida and constantly griping about it to being present in Toronto and meeting many of you in person for the first time. ("Who is this girl? Colleen? Cee? What? Do any of you remember a ceecee from long ago?") But yes, having said it all long-windedly: it was marvelous to be a normally-insane Fruhead, instead of an unusually-insane Fruhead. The last time I got to drive to a Fruvous show, it was 3300 miles, 5 days, round trip; the next time I go, it'll be 2 hours each way, and then the next day I'll be seeing them practically in my own backyard. In 3 1/2 years of fandom, that'll be the first show I'll have seen when I resided in the same state as Fruvous was playing. Cool. And geez, but I'm rambling.

Okay! Vika, Gordon and I arrived at Rosemary's in the early evening, got bone-smashingly wonderful hugs (I highly recommend them--they're like hugs-plus, enough to keep some extra for later!), met her sons John, Julian, and Eugene (they'd all be horribly embarrassed for me to say it to them, but they're all extremely beautiful young men), played with her collection of noise-makers (well, I'm sure to other people they're musical instruments, but when I get my hands on them, they're reduced to noise-makers ;), and then set off for the airport to retrieve Angel and Sarah. Suggestions for maximizing your Toronto Airport experiences: wear very slippery shoes and practice your curling there; arrive early so as to startle many other people while waiting for your party; and bring along a recognizable landmark, such as, oh, cee's hair: the first of several times I was spotted by the trademark tresses. *grin* I got to massage Sarah (hey, gotta keep in practice somehow!) while Rosemary and Vika made us a scrumptious meal and Angel sang the Meow Mix theme from a Gilbert & Sullivan libretto book (*grin*, Angel). Vika (who is currently zonking behind me, purporting to do her homework--yeah, right) did magical things to Rosemary's computer, then she and I zonked, expecting to be awoken-upped later, but hmph, they apparently treasured the silence from me and let us slumber on.

The next morning, Friday, we all sort of divvied up and then smooshed back together, like mercury droplets, in ever-changing groups, as we met more and more Fruheads. Mary Krause was waiting for us at the Clarion, and Zard, Doug Levy, and others made appearances soon thereafter. Gordon, as I'm sure he'll tell you in far greater length, went to the Hockey Hall of Fame, so I could later learn all about the Stanley Cup. ;) I think Rosemary, Angel, and Sarah headed off for some sightseeing; and a lot of us variously wandered up and down Yonge and Queen streets (we did pass the corner of Queen and Bay, but alas, no rhesus to greet us) spending way too much money--well, at least for those of us who haven't yet found jobs in our newfound cities--on CDs and books. How could I pass up the opportunity, though? You just can't find Big Rude Jake, Bob Snider, Treefort (the band of Neil, Murray's brother), Barra MacNeils, Stan Rogers, or Beautiful South in America. Well, unless you're better connected than I. It was a great place to people-watch, too, and the weather was just shy of balmy for this time of year in Toronto, so people weren't swaddled into 17 layers of clothing that would have rendered them indistinguishable from, say, ambulatory furry bean bags.

That night, eight of us attended a production of The Compleat Wks of Wllm Shkspr, Abridged, which was hilarious (watching someone feign backwards-drowning, in fast motion, in drag--oy!) and which had me quoting lines from the Skinhead Hamlet all the while ("F*** off to a nunnery!"). Then we joined the party already in progress as the James Joyce pub, where Karen Parker had recommended that we catch Pagan Mary, a good celt band. Unfortunately, we had to do our carousing sans Good Celt Band, as the venue had double booked and the one we ended up with had a celtic repertoire extending to, oh, say, old Irish Rovers-type pieces and mutilations of Great Big Sea, Spirit of the West, and Stan Rogers. He was much, much better when there was less of him, i.e., when his friend jumped on stage and took on the guitar parts and they did some rock numbers. Still, it was obvious that everyone was enjoying themselves, and it was a good chance to get to know each other in small groups. The volume didn't allow for general conversation: you had to yell pretty much to one specific person to be heard.

I got to meet Andi for the first time then (and we'd apparently shared a recent event: she was from Louisville, which got the worst snowstorm of its recorded history and I'd driven through what was the first snowstorm of my adult life there on my traipsings of the week before), and Sirilyan from Saskatoon, with a couple of his buddies in tow; Chris and Moe; Ingrid and Katherine, two very genial girls from Quebec who had to put up with my singing for the next two days, as they were rooming with me; several of the T.O. "Old Guard" Fruheads, like Sarah Hoffman; Beth, who'd flown over from L.A. for not only the first Fruhead Con but her own first Fruvous show ever; and of course, many of the group with whom I'm rambled and roved for many a year. . . o/~ Well, okay, sorry--Irish lyrics creep in. I finally just snuggled in at a table, greeting friends with hugs and massages, sipping at a cider, and laughing at Chris T, who had already assumed the "perma-grin" that she normally reserves for after a concert.

We made plans for meeting for brekky (yes, Vika picked that up from me) (<Vika> er... I have actually picked up many more li'l sayings from Cee than this, it's kinda scary... </Vika>) and gradually dispersed to hotels, hostels, and hospitable homes in Toronto. The next morning, as we were leaving for said breakfast, Jason, roB!, and Lisa dragged theirselfs into the lobby, having just arrived from New York--and not the only group who'd driven all night for this Con, either: Ofer showed up soon before the Con with another Fruvirgin in tow, Sheeri. What an experience, your first viewing of Fruvous to be in a relative intimate conference room among so many other enthusiastic Fruheads! Anyway, about twelve of us plundered a restaurant (asparagus for breakfast, Doug?!)--but at least we refrained from singing Frutunes, which was not the case any other time I was with a large group in Toronto. I skedaddled off to give a massage (okay, so I'm an addict: Massagaholics Anonymous, We Need to Knead) and have a lil quality time with my bigsis Chris, then we arrived at the Con, which due to the organizational skills of people like Laurie, Zard, and Chris O was already underway even as it was being set up.

I'm not sure whether someone else has described this in detail, but I doubt it'll hurt to have it done twice. So for those of you who weren't there: it was held in a smallish, brightly lit conference room nestled in the bowels of the Clarion hotel, through a virtual labyrinth of hallways, which had been decorated with YWGTTM posters directing Fruheads. Right inside the door, you were greeted by Sarah, who wrote down your name, gave you a nametag (and it was fascinating, matching up faces with names--and made much easier by the use of the pseudonyms and nom de plumes we've taken on over the months), offered you a demographic survey made by Gordon, and took $5 Can from you at gunpoint (which is, what? like, 73 cents). Greeting you inside was a big sign from Zard, "The FruHead Winter Chill." In one corner was a table of t-shirts--one for each FruBoy and others for Jack, Jude, Marcus, and Cal, and an array of waterproof markers; the Quebec girls also brought a huge birthday card to sign for Dave and a Canadian flag which they asked everyone to sign. There was the raffle, for which Fruvous had donated some rarities like indie tapes, a FruVest, and mounted promotional posters; the required raffle prices ranged from $2 to $10 Canadian, and the FruVest at $10 was in particularly high demand. The money raised went to a communications fund for things like the Fruvous Quill.

In another corner was a TV playing old videos of the guys: busking on the street in L.A. in '94 (for you Californians who gripe that they've never been there!), recording Bargainville in the studio (a rather serious process, except for Dave, who kept cutting up and mugging for the camera), etc. Later, Dan put on the science video Fruvous had recorded with Jack Micay, and it was absolutely hilarious--the guys wearing farmers' garb, playing cobs of corn and gourds, wiggling their heinies with chemical formulas pasted to their backs; decked in velveteen tails and hats and lipsynching badly; all smiles for the camera as they demonstrated on rowing machines how to obtain the physique of a Shirtless Persian.. . Up on the dais Fruvous would later use as a stage, an impromptu sing-along took place during most of the Con, with roB!, Thrawn, and Josh Woodward leading us on guitar. It was beautiful, hearing so many voices chime in on "Misplaced," "Authors," and "The Drinking Song," (which I'm told redeemed those who'd tried to sing it the night before at the James Joyce). The recording crew arrived before the Con was even really underway and to my surprise stayed throughout the entire Con. I have absolutely no shame, so I didn't mind prattling to the camera--though when they asked me to demonstrate the hand jive, I pulled in reinforcements, and they filmed all of us square dancing and singing breathlessly. They ended up interviewing a lot of people, and from what I was asked and what I overheard, they were being very thorough and personal. I asked them why they were there (since a FruCon, no matter how enthusiastically attended, didn't seem to be the sort of thing that gets on Nightline to me) and they replied that they, too, were FruHeads.

As for me--it's a good thing I didn't really have that many expectations for the Con, because the turnout would have destroyed them. The official headcount was 97 people, and I certainly didn't recognize all the nametags! My memory is already betraying me, but I was especially delighted to meet a lot of the Canadians and Midwesterners I hadn't previously: Fiona (Nafio), Hugs (who rivalled Chris with a permanent grin), Josh, AJ and his unspeakable wife (who introduced herself to me after the Lee's Palace show), Sheryl, Shawn, Thrawn, Spawn (kidding!), George Auerbach, and probably many others who are left out due to laxity on my part, not absence on theirs. And of course, there were many old faces--Melzie, Catherine (who now has at least three nicks to her name), Katie, Chad, Doug, Kelly (sans rest-of-family), JennyC, Chris and Zard, Dan and Jered, and all those I mentioned before. I drifted around, sometimes singing, sometimes watching videos, sometimes t-shirting and greeting, and sometimes just standing in a corner, watchin' all the world go by and marveling at it all. It really was remarkable, guys--not just for the friendliness and the excitement, but for the fact that it happened at all: that in the last year, we've become a group of people with a shared identity, and that so many of the individual identities in that group were finally becoming distinct to each other--people instead of just words.

At one point before Fruvous came in, Chris O gathered us 'round and passed out some credit to those who'd made it all happen and we all enthused along with him. "Welcome to the first annual Fruhead Convention," he said, and I have to agree: this is definitely not a one-shot deal. (<Vika> YAY!! </Vika>) I would like to put in my vote now, though, that we not make this an annual event in the same place at the same time of year. We were very lucky this particular time, and the weather was accomodating to the point of being miraculously warm, up to a whole 3 degrees Celsius, but we can't count on that, and I'd hate to see next years' snowed out, without an El Nino to pave the way. Also, several people suggested that it might be a good thing to move it around, hold it in different cities each year (not that we should compete for it like the Olympics!)--Chicago, Boston, Philly perhaps? That way the travel burden will be placed differently in years to come, and other people can play hosts, and we can see different cities along the way (which many of us are accustomed to by now).

Anyway, Fruvous finally made their appearance to roisterous applause and cheering, and I think they were more than a bit discombobulated by the reception. It's hard to remember that though this is our favorite band, their reception in their home city hasn't been nearly so clamorous for several years. And they made it clear they hadn't ever seen anything quite like this. Jian, he who is never at a loss for words, fumbled several times trying to express the magnitude of what it was like, being on the receiving end of that kind of attention; one thing, though, that really stood out in what he said was that we didn't come across to him at all as a typical fan club; that a couple of years ago, as people started widely calling themselves Fruheads, he'd been a bit wary of the phenomenon, but he'd discovered that we were intelligent people who "got" what Fruvous was about and had come to really appreciate us as a group.

The Lads were all in a good humor and fine voice, and the set they played was more than anything I could ever have asked of them. They started off with "Photosynthesis," one of the songs from the "Energy: The Pulse of Life" science video, to tune that they later used for "Jenny Washington," and I personally like the former song better. It's catchy, funny, and nose-wrinklingly smart. Murray went up to the mics and smarted off, "One down, four to go," but that wasn't the case at all. Mike gave us "Gord's Gold" next, doing a masterful impression and receiving a general hum from the Fruheads in place of the concluding flute solo. Jian gave us a long intro to "Cedric Fruvous" (by which point I was going, "It's the B album set!"), explaining how the song had come about and how--I think I remember correctly?--it was the first time they'd gotten TV airtime for singing a song? Or maybe I'm wrong.

It's hard to say what was the greatest treat of the set for me, but "Misplaced" is vying for the title. It was breathtaking. Jian took the guitar and perched on a ledge to play, and Dave got out the violin Rosemary had given him a year and a half ago for its very first public performance. He was shaky but sincere on it, and Jian's voice--though I'd been told he was recovering from a cold--was just about the most beautiful I've ever heard it. I'd been longing to hear that song live ever since I got the album and had long since given up hope of it.

The intro to "That's Any Good" was kind of incomprehensible to me, but I gathered that it was one of a set of songs performed in the same manner, by Murray's alter-ego "Dusty Fosterbourne" (name supplied by roomie standing behind me). At any rate, the performance was hilarious, done in chipper, smarmy Brit accents and with a rosy-cheeked panache that Murray rarely exhibits. Then he did a 180, took the guitar and Jian's seat on the ledge, and regaled us with "Love Set Fire," again with Dave on violin, and it was heart-stoppingly gorgeous with the others harmonizing. Last of all was an equally beautiful Elvis Costello song, "Poor Napoleon," which I'd never heard before but which Chris was probably swooning over in the back. ;) Jian said they hadn't done it for many years, but that it was one of the seven songs in their first-ever indoor gig, and I for one hope it makes it into set lists in the future.

Chris asked the guys to do the raffle for the large prizes, and they had a lot of fun with that, with lots of joking, good humor, and applause for all the winners. Then it was gift time, and the Lads seemed really touched by that as well: Laurie gave them each their shirts and they read some of them aloud (Mike voiced the "Fruphoria" I'd put on his) and we all cracked up when Jian displayed his: "Jian's Ass" in bold letters across the back. Mary gave them each their little stuffed budgie dogs (they're soooooo cute! my tiny one is named Ruprecht) (<Vika> And my li'l one is named Friedrich - pron. FREED-rihh, no matter what roB! tells you :) </Vika>), Ingrid and Katherine gave them the signed Canadian flag (Mike: "It's illegal, but it's beautiful!"), and several people gave Dave birthday presents, which prompted him to comment that we should always hold the FruCon right around his birthday. They stayed for about an hour in all, and the Con dispersed soon after they left--again to great applause.

Well, Vika is readying herself for work, so I guess that's all I have time for today. I may get around to posting a review of the Lee's Palace show, which was remarkably fun as well, but I wanted especially to get this bit finished up. It was wonderful seeing all of you and undescribably so, sharing this whole event with you; and hopefully, it won't be too long until I have a computer again and can ramble about it without having to impinge on the wonderful roomie too much. (<Vika> Oh, can I ever handle copying and pasting this for one of the best housemates I've ever had?! </Vika>)

*many huge hugs!* and I'll see lots of you in two weeks!


From Chris Traugott:

Ohhhh… where to begin….. This most fabulous of weekends began at for me at the James Joyce pub, filled with fun, fruheads, laughter and well drawn pints of Guinness. Folks arrived in small groups and we reached critical mass around 11 o'clock, by which time we had taken up a large section of seating. What a wonderful feeling to sit in a cozy pub hundreds of miles from home and watch dear, familiar faces arrive! And to meet so many new faces too, including Beth who came all the way from L.A. having never heard Fruvous in concert before, but who was intrigued by the convention information on FDC.

Friday melded into Saturday, and after a few hours of sleep supplemented by a jolt of Diet Coke I found myself in the Convention Room of the Clarion Essex, watching Fruheads from all over North America greet one another with cries of joy. It may sound a little trite, but what the hell. There is something heartwarming about total strangers meeting, recognizing names and/or IRC nicks and embracing each other as long lost friends. I marvel at the power of music to bring people together this way.

Four hours of chatting, signing t-shirts, flags and birthday cards, watching videos, and singing fru-tunes (thanks to the extraordinary talent and good humor of roB, Phil and Josh on guitars) flew by in what seemed like a few minutes. The fru-four arrived at half past four to thunderous applause, and seemed a little overwhelmed by the response, both in the number of people who filled the room and the ardor with which they were greeted. Murray joked that he didn't expect to feel this overwhelmed again until he got married, at which point Jian offered him up as a raffle prize. After some more joking around, the guys treated us to some Fruvous rarities, including Photosynthesis, Cedric Fruvous, Gord's Gold, and Misplaced, complete with the amazing Dave Matheson (aka musical genius) on fiddle. We also heard "That's Any Good," a tune reminiscent of Herman's Hermits fare, with Murray as a fey English pop star bearing a striking resemblance in mannerisms to a young Peter Noone. The high point for me (okay, I'll admit extreme dorkiness here, I almost fell through the glass window I was standing next to at this combination) was hearing a stunning version of Love Set Fire (*never* thought I'd hear the live!) followed up by Poor Napoleon. Poor Napoleon is an Elvis Costello tune, from Blood and Chocolate, which Mike introduced as "a masterpiece with a chain saw rammed through it." My favorite band covering my favorite solo artist, we are talking knocking knees here. :-) I could have missed the concert at Lee's that night and gone home completely happy (glad I didn't, though).

After the guys finished their set, Jian thanked everyone for coming up to Toronto. He spoke very warmly about the fruhead community, and said he was gratified that people were into the band for the music and not just because of Murray's ass. (That was Murray's *bass*, Jian, you forgot the "b" ;-) ). Jian also talked about how neat it was to have had a chance to get to know some of the fans and feel that Fruvous' music communicated something to people. Following Jian's speech, Laurie Addenbrooke presented the band with t-shirts that everyone (almost?) had signed, and a birthday card for Dave. More presents for Dave, including a huge birthday card which had also been signed by conventioneers and a hat that said "Dave-O" on the back were forthcoming, prompting Dave to remark that he thought holding a Fruvous convention in February was a splendid idea and we should do it again next year.

From Ingrid Kane:

Katherine and I ditched our Film class and left Ottawa at 9:30am to get to T.O. around 2. Mary was waiting for us at the bus terminal and we went to meet CeeCee, Zard, Gordon and Doug. Most of them went to see a play while Katherine and I staggered to the hotel room, totally dead after lugging our monster bags for blocks. We were coming down hours later when we ran into Beth From L.A. (the eventual Convention pet) and we went for a quick stroll around town during which Beth told us all about this being her first Moxy encounter ever and all. We knew people would eat her up for that.

We met Zard and Chris Traugott and Chris O'Malley and Jen in the Clarion lobby. Beth, Chris & Moe, Laurie, Andi, Kelly and Hugo came in later and most of us set off to James Joyce to have this wicked bash. We practically took over the place. The performer was okay, but at the end of his show, we started chanting "Drinking Song!" until he went "Okay, which one?" to which we replied "You just don't get it!", still chanting enthusiastically. But the highlight definitely was when we decided we *would* hear the damn Drinking Song and stormed the stage and sang a most horrible rendition. Most of us couldn't remember the second verse, and neither could this totally unknown guy who just climbed onstage with us to try to lead the thing. We were mostly slightly (or not so slightly) drunk, but Katherine didn't even go near a beer and had no excuse. Guys, don't ever go to that pub again -- sorry -- unless you want to set the record straight and sing the song the way it was meant to be sung. Just a thought. We hit the sidewalk around 2:30am.

Next day -- ta-ta-TAAH! -- the actual convention. I don't know how I got to be at the welcoming table handing out name tags and stuff, but I did. I was glad to see that people were actually signing the flag (you felons you! defacing the flag is a CRIME!) and Dave's big birthday card. There was A LOT of people, more than anybody expected I think. The TV crew was a cool addition. The singing part was a lot of fun and the "Energy the Pulse of Life" video was, pardon my French, "pissant"! The guys arrived thirty minutes late (big surprise) and had big grins when they came in. Properly name-tagged by Yours Truly, they headed off to the "stage", completely speechless, even Jian (hi there). Their short set was immensily enjoyed, especially (for me) Love Set Fire, Poor Napoleon and That's Any Good. I will definitely be requesting some Dusty Fosterbourne in the future. Dave picked up the violin, which I think is really impressive. We went onstage to give Dave his birthday cap and the card, and he received a bunch of other gifts. They really liked the flag idea and signed it happily. They took off with a "see you at Lee's". And we did, but that's another story.

And before leaving T.O., Katherine, Ceecee, Vika, Mary, Gordon and myself met Ashley MacIsaac(!) who was staying at the Clarion too. To quote him: "Someone asked me if I wanted to be a Fruhead. I said 'no!'; I didn't know what it was!" That little incident was the cherry on the steak -- or the gravy on the cake, depending on how you look at it.

From A.J. LoCicero:

Last weekend was fabulous.  I had a wonderful, (mostly) relaxing time (which, believe me, I very much needed).  (God, I love Toronto!  I want to live there.  But the Canadian Government has other ideas.  It costs $1000 just to apply for residency!)

Do you want the whole story or just the abbreviated version?  Ok, if you insist:

Myself, my unspeakable wife Queen Lisa, and our friend Karen set off later than we planned on Friday (around 6:15) for Canada.  Due to an errand I had to run, we crossed the border through the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, which meant that we had to make our way through the streets of Windsor before we got to the highway.  This slowed us down a bit but not as much as my timely recollection that I did not have the tickets.  (ARGGGGGGGGGGGGG!)  Back to the border, this time at the bridge.
Mr. US Customs Man: Citizenship?
Us: U.S., U.S., U.S.
Him: How long have you been in Canada?
Us: Um, 20 minutes... You see, we were going to Toronto to see a show (that is what you tell them, you are going to see a show--They are thinking Phantom of The Opera, and never need be any the wiser) and we left our tickets at home.
Him: And who is responsible for that?
Me: (meekly) Um, I am?
Him: Ok, you can go.  (Whew!)

So back home we go (good thing I live 15 minutes from the bridge.).  Hi cats, we're back early.  Get the tickets, back to the bridge, and on to Toronto.  We had originally planned to have a nice late dinner somewhere in TO, (and I'd even toyed with the idea of venturing over to the James Joyce, but instead we scarfed Wendy's on the 401, and arrived in Toronto at 11:00 pm.  We then spent over an hour looking for our hotel (the cheapest joint I could find, located in the confusing maze of Chinatown--Toronto has the strangest one-way street pattern I've ever encountered).  Got to our room and crashed.

The next morning we strolled along Queen St., and had breakfast at a comfy Hungarian place.  (Blueberry Pancakes fried in Lard.  Good, but I can feel my arteries hardening as I type.)  We then headed across town towards the Clarion.  As we approached the city hall lo and behold we encountered Sandy from Columbus.  It seems she had made a last minute decision to come, and had driven all night.  She was now a bit lost, and heading the wrong way.  We took her with us, and headed over to the frucon.

Although I was a bit trepidatious at venturing into such a huge gaggle of Fruheads (who I feared mostly would all have known each other for years--silly me) the con turned out to be a very fun event (especially after the door was opened and the room began to cool off a bit!) :^)  Thanks to Zard's take charge stewardship, I was quickly introduced to many of the net denizens that I've been conversing with nigh these months and years.  (Although there are many many more still to meet.  I'll have to try harder at that next year.)  I think I managed to retain about 75% of the name/face combinations (which is great for me--I can remember clearly back to the age of 2 but I am horrible with identities--don't ask my why!) and hopefully I can build on that at future shows.  It was marvelous to see the science video, as well as the LA busking video (God, that was funny!) and also the Get in The Car video (which I don't have on my video collection).  The performance was, of course, fabulous (as others have already related).  It was also an experience signing all those shirts.  How does Fruvous come up with things to say on all the stuff that they have to sign?

From Sue Weiss:

Wow. What a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

Saturday afternoon at the Clarion was so great, I had so much fun seeing old friends and meeting new ones while signing tee shrits and watching videos. Once the band arrived, it was even better. Wow. Murray's performance of "Love Set Fire" was my "I can die now and be happy" moment of the weekend. Amazing. The guys seemed genuinely touched that so many of us would haul our butts to Toronto just for them. And to top it all off, I won a raffle prize!!! I got 2 CD's of the most recent Albany show, which I listened to on the long drive home to Philly yesterday.

From Chad Maloney:

[Warning: I ramble. I ramble a lot. But I also remember a lot, so hey, read at your own risk, okay? Thanks]

I get to go to Canada! I mean, THE Canada. Pretty cool. More over, all my Midwest Fruhead friends are gonna finally meet my East Coast Fruhead friends. And add to that all the potential Fruhead friends from all over the place, and I think we got a great weekend a-brewing.

A quick rundown of the weekend:

Number of red-jacketed, hatted Mounties seen: 0

Number of igloos seen: 0

Number of parkas seen: 0

Number of kids on the 505 carrying hockey equipment: 3

And now, the story...

Andi Fitzer (Louisville truck-owner extraordinaire) came to my place in Indianapolis (yes, Chris (of Chris and Moe fame), I am from Indianapolis *grin*) on Thursday night so that we could get an early start for the adventure the next day. Normally, I travel alone, which means I can badly sing to my car CD player, but have no one to talk to. Well this time, I got Andi. She is a much better conversationalist than my CD player, let me tell you. She brought along some great tunes. Is there any better driving CD than the Beastie Boys License to Ill? That was a rhetorical question, so don't answer it.

The plan was to drive up to Buffalo and then car pool up to Toronto. It worked out really well. With only a couple stops (we love the Angola Service Island) and some great conversation, we made it to Buffalo in time to meet Laurie and Kelly. After a quick stop for some fast food, we trekked into Canada. The Border crossing thing was pretty much nothing. I didn't know what to expect, but Laurie like answered two questions and that was it. Needless to say, Andi was quite excited to be in Canada.

After some driving in Kilometers per hour (well, I guess technically we are always driving in kph, but you know) and some bridge traffic, we pulled into Toronto. Laurie and Kelly provided the sightseeing pointers as we passed the CNE and the CN Tower, Skydome, Harbourfront and various other large places on the Gardiner Expressway. We arrived at Heather's and had some great visiting before Laurie, Kelly, and Andi went off in search of Zard and Chris. Jenn (from Connecticut Jenn) and Jess (llesi Jess - we asked what llesi is. It turns out it is spanish for Jesse. Makes sense) were there too. We took a combo steercar/subway/walk to meet up at the James Joyce Pub which was on Bloor a couple blocks down from Lee's Palace.

Now, we walk into this pub and I notice two things. 1) boy is this place crowded and 2) boy is this singing guitar guy sure mediocre at best. The low point of his night for me had to be the slow version of Mari-Mac (which is probably a traditional song, but to me, it is a Great Big Sea song). The high point you ask? Well, as the night went on, he got better and better! Either that, or our ability to perceive good from bad was hindered in some way. You make the call.

Oh man. The pub started the camaraderie that existed all weekend. I got to see lots of my east coast friends and meet so many new people. It was just overwhelming. We were all screaming to talk over the music and enjoying ourselves so much. It was great to see people I know talking to people I had just met all talking and rotating around so that everyone met by the end of the night. I talked to Chris and Moe a lot which was great. And I met Rosemary! It all made me so happy. Of course, then there was the second from last song of the night. After some John Denver and other "classic" pub tunes =), most of the Fruheads waltzed up to stage and asked if they could sing the Drinking Song. The guitar guy obliged and they (I only say "they" because I was NOT one of them =) "sang" the drinking song. Chris (Father O'Malley Chris) tried to get the guitar guy to play along to no avail. The guitar introduced them as Moxy Fruvous and they proceeded to caterwaul the first couple verses to the drinking song. You can't imagine how funny it is to hear 20 fruheads who, let's just say had been waging war all night until last call, trying to sing a song. Even without the guitar, each of them were programmed with the pauses for the guitar, only making matter funnier. Finally, Heather convinced some people at the bar to start clapping so that they would think they were done. Fortunately, no one came up with Between Pulls as the next lyric and it died out. Only then, could Chris (Bass-lovin' Traugott Chris) and Jenn come out from hiding. Jen (Starbucks employee Alt J Jen) and Doug Levy timed the Martini search right and were fortunately absent. Between that and watching Andi getting distracted from the bathroom by Free-drink boy (whose name, by the way is actually Jim), the whole night was rather enjoyable, with much more to come. Andi tried really really hard to get Free-drink boy to come to the show. We'll see =)

Day two brought a completely Frufilled day. Oh boy did it. People were hanging out in the convention room when we got there at 11. So much great things went on. All in all, there were over 100 people there, lots of things signed, some great singing, video watching, and raffling. Gordon made some surveys with questions about various things (including Hockey of course) for information gathering purposes.

There were plenty of chances to sign things including a Canadian flag (about which Fordy later proclaimed - wow! that's so great. illegal. But great), T-shirts for Dave, Murray, Jian, Mike, Marcus, Cal, Jude, and Jack in addition to fan Fruhead shirts to sign. Cards for various birthdays including Dave and Jude. It was like yearbook time all over again.

Phil (Thrawn Phil), Josh, and roB! took turns acoustic guitaring for the singalongs. Callouses getting worked hard. I wish I hadn't tore up my four string last week so I could have brought my bass. Chris T would've like that too =)

We watched the Science videos and learned lots. Mostly, we learned how silly the guys look dressed in weird costumes, playing on exercise equipment, and holding up chemical formulae. We also watched a making of Bargainville tape from Dreamland studios, UCLA busking tape, and the video collection. It was all so great, especially seeing some of the older stuff.

There was a video crew from TVO there all afternoon to. They interviewed various people and asked us to do things. We hand-jived Saucep'n for them and danced about to various other things throughout the day. They also taped the Fruvous portion of the program.

At 3:30 we all got together under Chris T's Fruhead Winter Chill Banner for a huge picture. Everyone scrunched as Lisa snapped photos left and right. roB! was even okay with getting in the picture. It must have been a special event.

And now on to the Fruvous portion of the program. Note that this whole thing was a blur. I was just smiling too much to process all that was going on.

We all assembled ourselves into a semblance of a proper crowd, facing the raised portion of the room. The archivists were busy at work making it so this special moment will be accessible for the ages. We waited from 4pm (the planned Fru-start time) until 4:30 (the Fru-start time, adjusted for Fruvous mean time).

The tunes were gonna be acappella, so there was no bass to look for. So, what was the first thing to get noticed? Dave-o carrying the violin Rosemary had given him (we LOVE you Rosemary). The thoughts starting running wild as to what we'd get to hear as looks passed around the room as people noticed it. The guys thanked everyone for coming and talked for a bit on Fruheads and such. They thought it was wonderful that everyone in the room brings something different. The Fruhead is a very intelligent individual with different skills, interests, and such and it great to see everyone come together.

All the guys were smiling really big at all the people there to see them and brought together because of their music. Murray figured he wouldn't ever feel this overwhelmed until his marriage day. Jian then picked up on it and offered Mur up in the raffle.

They opened with Photosynthesis (unbeknownst that we had watched the Science videos earlier that day (thanks, Dan)). They joked about dressing up like farmers and stuff and everyone in the audience laughed a little too much since we had just seen it an hour ago. It was introed as the song that became Jenny Washington. At the end, someone asked how you put in O2 and Oxygen is released (or something like that) and Jian's answer (after careful thought) was to yield to Jered.

After Photosynthesis, Mur walked up to the mics (that were stealthily placed about eye level straight in front of the guys =) stared at them a bit and proclaimed One down, Four to Go.

Mike then did Gord's Gold, voice and all. It was kinda funny listening to people hum and whistle the flute at the end. Cedric followed. This was the first time it had been performed live in front of real people. It came off really well, and it was good to hear Mur hit the low note to the grin of Chris and I.

Next came Misplaced, with Dave on Violin. Mike talked a little about Danny Levin and the great things he brings to the group. He compared him to other people who have played with Fruvous on albums and Danny won hands down vs the likes of Doug McClermont (1 time), Steve Traub (1 time) etc. Misplaced was beautiful (am I the only one who gets vision of video games when Ji sings "I was out in the field, collecting strength for my shield"?). If you are keeping track, it looks like soon we may see the Wood show with only a couple more tunes having not been heard.

Then Mur took the guitar from Ji (quite a rare transition I must say) and sat down on the ledge that separated the upper part of the room from the lower. Not that I wasn't grinning huge before, but boy, was I now. Chris was holding on to the wall tightly. Murray played Love Set Fire and it was beautiful. Dave played the violin too and was on more than he was for Misplaced. I just sat there. This is my favorite Murray song and it was beautiful. So smiley and happy. At the end, Mur stood up and stayed in the front for the next number too.

The last two tunes must have been dredged out of the Fruvous vaults from way back and repolished. Mike explained some of the creative characterizations that exist in the Fruvous world that they come up with on those van rides. One of the characters is that of Dusty Fosterbourne. Dusty was a UK rocker that came over the ocean. He had a huge hit and had a comeback cover of his original hit, that answers the rhetorical question, it that any good? The answer is That's Any Good. It became one of those popular phrases that the cool people around the office say. The guys proceed to use That's Any Good in different voices. Jian points out that Dusty used to introduce the rest of the band. Stigg is the only name Murray made up that I remember. Maybe Petey or something was another. Anyways, he introduces the other guys as British-invasion rockers and continued into That's Any Good.

Josh Woodward was talking to Jian about Poor Napolean last week. It is such a great song (it's an Elvis Costello tune) that the guys used to do. Very good for Ji's voice too. It was so great to end with. Chris T was melting into the wall she was standing next to.

Afters, the Frulads drew the major raffle items. There was a Fruvest (claimed by Sandy from Ohio), No-mega, Indie, and Authors single CDs and Indie tapes. roB! got a really great mounted Wood poster (Jo: That's a really great Wood poster. Zard: Jian was even jealous. roB! (summing up): So, I have great Wood that Jian was Jealous of. Cool) that Tara had brought along with a Moon poster. There were also some Music for the Needy CDs, promo pics, and posters. All in all, lots of Frutreasure. Beth from LA won a couple times, so she had more stuff to bring back from her trip. Fordy was watching Chris O's tickets as he continued to lose =)

The convention was just totally great! Such a wonderful place to be to share something we all love. I'm not even going to start naming all the people I met. Whoa. But it is great to put some faces to all the names from the ng, FDC, and IRC (*plug*, *plug*, *plug*, right Hugo? =). And after this, there is still a show!

From Phil Schwan:

I know that many people wish to post every little detail of their exploits surrounding the convention, and some of us will never read them all, but I will not be able to sleep until I give my account.

Right down to the day before the convention, I had no idea when or how I was getting there...only that I had reservations at the Clarion with Hugo for Fri and Sat nights. You all don't know how close I came to not going. So I come back to my room after Calculus at 12:30 on Friday (you all don't need the details, but suffice it to say I don't sleep in my room very often:) and there's a message on my machine from Josh Woodward saying that someone decided not to go and I was welcome to ride with him...if I can meet him at his room at 1:00. Yes, that's right...I had 1/2 hour to get packed, shower, and fly across campus. Well, I was all set to go when a friend of mine to whom I promised help in filming his TCOM project, decided he was ready to film that afternoon. So I call Josh back. "Josh, something's come up. Go ahead and leave without me...I'll try to get a ride with Gary (a very nice gentleman from Toledo with whom I'd already secured a ride back with because I didn't have enough time to stick around for the BNL shoot)." So I call my friend back. "When are we doing this?" Said friend replies, "Well, we could do it today or Sunday...whichever works best for you."

"S**T! I'll call you back!"

I dial Josh's room (mind you, not but 90 seconds later) ring.......ring.......ring......ring...."come on, Josh" .....ring.....ring...."You've gotta be shi**ing me!".....ring.....ring. Click. (Enter long string of creative explitives here)

So, I call Gary again and beg for a spot in his TO-mobile. Gary graciously offers and I'm back in business. Of course, we have to leave from Bowling Green at 5:30AM to make it...this is murder for a college student who hasn't seen a sunrise AFTER sleeping in almost a year.

Of course, the fun couldn't stop there. Sheryl, my little Fru-cat (don't ask), calls me at midnight and tells me both of her rides have fallen through. I tell her that I'm getting picked up at 5:30 and she could try showing up and begging for a ride. So she shows up at 5:30 with a backpack full of snacky-treats and a puppydog expression that apparently Gary couldn't turn down. So off we go. We pick up Gary's friend in Toledo and continue on our way, going through all 4 Fruvous cds.

We had little trouble finding the hotel. Gary and Co. were staying on the 8th floor I think, and Sheryl and I found out from the front desk that Hugo was in room 329(I think...funny how quickly things like that escape you). Sheryl and I get up to the room and find it propped open...with no one inside. We knock a couple times, fearing we had the wrong room, then cautiously enter. We found out from the contents of a bag (lots of boots in there:) that Josh was indeed there and it must be the correct room.

The convention was absolutely FABULOUS! I was so thrilled to finally match faces with names. I managed to locate Sharilyn at one of the highlights of my weekend. I haven't seen her in almost 2 years and haven't talked to her in quite some time. By far the most fun I had the whole weekend was playing guitar with Rob and Josh. Thank you all for bearing with us while we improvised all the songs we didn't know:) That was a real treat.

We all know how great the rest of the convention was, so the only thing I'll mention is the mental jaw-drop I had when Mike asked whose guitar was leaning against the couch and told me it was great that I was entertaining everyone before they got there. I hadn't really thought of us as an opening act:)

From Mary Krause:

FruCon was amazing. And, finally, I can write about it. I think...

I arrived in Canada around 10:30am on Friday and worked my way through Customs and Immigration without too much trouble. And I got to the hotel by noon. Where the hotel people checked me in asking, "who are you here with?" The FruHead Convention. "Yes, but who ARE you? What is your group ABOUT?" Apparently FruHead didn't link up with Moxy Fruvous in their minds. :-)

Anyway, I spent some time in the lobby waiting for Cee and Vika while constantly looking over at this other girl in the lobby. She was apparently doing the same thing to me. But I felt strange about asking if she was there for FruCon so I just kept quiet. Cee and Vika arrived soon after and said "Mary!...ZARD!!!" Apparently Zard and I had been alone in a hotel lobby for a good 15 minutes and neither of us knew the other. Oh well.

We chatted for a few minutes and then broke up to go our various ways. I met Ingrid and Katherine and the bus station and made it to the 1/2 price ticket place just in time to meet everyone else who was going to the theater with us that night.

Then Gordon, Cee, Vika and I began exploring bookstores and used cd places right up until it was time to go to the play. (And yes, guys, I enjoyed every second of it--even if I didn't buy any cds. You bought enough for all of us! You definitely did your part for the Canadian economy!)

From the play, which was pretty good--it had it's good moments and bad moments, but it was defintely worth seeing--we moved on to the James Joyce Pub, passing many Fruvous landmarks along the way. The Pub was fabulous even though the singer could have been better (he picked up once his friend joined him on stage). I've never felt more welcomed. And it was nice to move around the various tables greeting new folks. I missed the big singalong on stage, but I did enjoy bopping around the room meeting everyone. Especially Beth (from LA) who came from California, having heard two cds and never having seen Fruvous in concert. Amazing. And she seemed to get a kick out of all the attention being paid to her all weekend.

The next morning, a bunch of us were up at the crack of dawn--or so it seemed-- for breakfast. Although I can't complain since there were a number of people in the group who'd just stumbled into the hotel before joining our trip for breakfast.

And then onto FruCon!

I was really impressed with the quiet singing of the group. It was really very beautiful despite the occasional missed line ;-) The harmonies though were fabulous. I was also amazed at the number of people who kept coming in. Every time I'd look around I'd see 10 new people! We watched video footage of LA busking and the making of a Fruvous cd. "Where are they? Who's holding the camera? I think Jian's taping this. Jian's taping this without commentary? It can't be Jian." The science videos were a special treat. And I enjoyed the mental struggle to figure out what to sign on everyone's shirt and in filling out Gordon's difficult survey. (I gotta tell you, Gordon, if you make me think of a gun to my head, "I Love My Boss" becomes my favorite song for a few minutes.)

When Fruvous finally arrived, it was just amazing. They've played before bigger audiences than our convention crowd, but they knew this was something special--just as we did. They sang a few of their songs that they almost never play in concert and Dave even played the violin! "Misplaced" (which actually *is* my favorite song) was just beautiful. And we even got a Murray song!!! yay!

At the end of the set, they gave out the raffle prizes with a lot of joking :-) Then while people were bestoying gifts on Dave and Jude and others with birthdays, I went up on stage with my budgie dogs. I had seen Mike's face when he saw one pinned onto Vika's shoulder, so I went straight to him and tossed one to him. His whole face lit up like a kid. It was great. Then, I handed out the other budgie dogs to Dave, Murray and Jian who were all equally enthusiastic.

Finally, Jian thanked us all for coming and they headed out.

We dashed upstairs and then went out to dinner with about 8 of us converging on a little Japanese restaurant where I had my first taste of sushi--and loved it thanks to Vika guiding me through the experience!

Then it was concert time!

From Gordon:


I was in the car last night coming back from Toronto and I was telling Colleen how excited I was to write about this weekend and I figured I could write pages and pages about it. Well what follows is pages and pages about it, I hope. You can read along if you'd like, or you can just read over the headlines and read the parts that interest you. I am also breaking my "no name dropping" rule. I just couldn't do this weekend justice without them.

CHAPTER 1, in which Ariel picks me up and we arrive at Rosemary's House.

My journey began around 8:30 AM at a truck stop off exit 6 of the Mass Pike. When I saw the blue (car companies may call it majestic shiny blue) Honda Civic pull up, it was time to settle in to the back seat for a long ride. We grooved to some excellent music as I navigated in the back seat. We had a fine mixtape, some Indigo Girls, some Simon and Garfunkle, Ben Folds Five, and Spirit of the West (twice! I liked it so much, I bought the CD!). The stops were brief and purposeful - I picked up some brand spanking new Beanie Babies for friends at work and a puffin for myself. There was lunch in there somewhere. We crossed the border with little problem - Vika describes it in her post better than I ever could. I just wonder what would have happened if when she asked if we had anything besides personal clothing, someone had said "massage table"? Would Cee have been forced to give massages to border patrol before we could have gone on? I wonder.

Once we got into Canada, we were able to go a lot faster. We had been going 70ish and all of a sudden we could go 100!!! And we started going 120 and people were still passing us!!! What a country.....oh.....kilometers?? What are those?? We had a few anxious moments when the signs said one thing and the map another and an exit which both Rosemary had mentioned and appeared on my map did not exist. Or maybe it did exist but in our excitement we did not see it....well we got off the next exit, and if may say so (and I's my post) I did an excellent job of navigating us back to the main road. We noticed that unlike Boston, straight means straight (when it comes to roads).

CHAPTER 2, in which Rosemary proves herself to be the hostess with the mostest.

The door opens with the turn of the key left for us in the budgie dog decorated envelope. At this point we get to meet Rosemary for the first time. She had laid out mattresses complete with pillows and blankets for us all. She toured us around the house - we met the kids - John, Julian and Eugene. Here's a cool sidebar. Eminating (emanating?) from the television was Authors. I thought "isn't that neat? They're watching the videos!" but in fact, it was on as the theme song to a show about new books. What an omen! The first thing I hear broadcast in Canada is Moxy Früvous! How cool is that? (Unfortunately the last television I would watch in Canada had a lot to do with Team Canada losing in hockey but this weekend was about Früvous)

Well Rosemary ran around like crazy over the next day or two driving us all around Toronto, cooking us food, sharing stories and generally making us feel at home in her home and in her hometown. We couldn't have asked for a better host for our first visit to Toronto. She is welcome in my home any time!! Come to Massachusetts, Rosemary!!!

CHAPTER 3, in which we schmie around Toronto and arrive at the James Joyce.

Rosemary drops me off at the Hockey Hall of Fame. I did not drop down in a Wayne's World "we're not worthy" - the hall of fame is inside a mall. It's not one of those famous buildings that when you see, you feel the history. I we not worthied the Maple Leaf Garden for example....but a mall? The hall of fame itself is notable for the Bell Hall of Heroes. I would recommend it highly to diehard hockey fans - less diehards would be less impressed in a geometrically declining scale.

After this, I met up with a bunch of people to buy tickets for the Complete Works of Wllm Shkpsr (abridged). This is a funny play. I had heard a lot about it and was excited to be seeing it for the first time. We did not see the Reduced Shakespeare Company perfoming, but rather a trio of Canadian actors. They had tweeked the play to make it more topical to Toronto in parts and Vika tells me they made some unncecessary wholesale changes as well. Something I recommend to anyone who enjoys the theater and knows a little about Shakespeare (a passing knowledge of Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet would suffice for lots of laughs).

Mixed in there was a long walk down Queen Street West stopping in at a plethora of CD stores and bookshops - I made some nice purchases, but kept myself restrained (amazingly). Other than the exchange rate and the spacious sidewalks, I may as well have been cruising 8th Street in Manhattan. This, by the way, is a good thing.

We stopped at the famous MuchMusic Speaker's Corner. We all jammed ourself in the booth, got out our looney, and then proceeded to discuss the fact that we nothing clever to do or say for the camera. In retrospect, I think maybe we should have put the looney in and recorded ourself discussing how we had nothing interesting to do or say. Heck. It was only a looney - that's $1 Canadian.....that's like 6 cents!!!

The James Joyce was incredibly jam packed with Früheads and Canadians. The Celtic trio we expected was in fact an awful and awfully loud singer with a guitar. I hear some booking problems had happened. Between this fact and my headache and the smokiness and this claustrophobic thing I get sometimes, I left and went back to sleep in the hotel. I figured I had better save some energy for Saturday. Little did I know it would provide its own.

CHAPTER 4, in which a magical gathering occurs and a smile got pasted on me.

I was woken up (due to my snoring) and told breakfast at 8. Well OK it's a darn good thing I went to sleep early! Withdrawing my claim on first shower, I went to breakfast with about 14 people at the Golden Griddle, which reminded me of Canadian IHOP, only with better food and friendlier service. I don't know if anyone asked, but we got separate checks. Anyone ever try getting separate checks at an IHOP is probably shaking their head with wonder.

We went back to the hotel and into the Essex Lounge to set things up. I was the tallest one in the room, so I got to hang the banner. I plopped my survey on the welcome table and got a few people to fill them out and get the ball rolling. The rest of the day until Früvous arrived seems like one big blur of activity.

The newscrew from TV Ontario interviewed me and I told the story of when I went from liking Moxy to being a Frühead, which is a fairly personal story. I don't know what possessed me to tell it to the newscrew, but there I was doing it. When I was done, telling the story reminded me why I was there and although I was kicking myself for airing those feelings for all of Ontario (even though there isn't much chance of that story being on the telecast) it served as a springboard for me to a happy inside feeling that still hasn't gone away

I stayed at the welcome table for much of the time writing nametags and meeting everyone as they came inside. This was great because I got to meet everyone as they came in. I didn't have to walk away saying "oh no! I missed them?!?" because I tried to catch everyone at the door. The sing-along was impressive and the videos hilarious. I entered the raffle a few times and bounced around the room a bit talking to this person and that - it really is a blur - I was in that room for six hours and it felt like six minutes.

It was only when Früvous arrived that time seemed to stand still. We gave them nametags - fair is fair after all - and they made their way up on "stage" to a raucous applause. I saw a violin case and I knew that we were going to get to hear Dave play Rosemary's violin. My mind was running through songs like index cards in a rolodex....a violin?? Misplaced!! As I am partial to that particular tune, it was the one on which my mind rolodex stopped. I was not to be disappointed. Jian gave a short heartfelt speech and the music began.

First there was Photosynthesis, the tune from which Jenny Washington was taken. We had watched the video earlier, but the laughing had blocked out the lyrics, which I was then hearing for the first time. No chemical formulas on their butts this time though.

Then a blur - Ballad of Cedric Fruvous, Gord's Gold (with whistling from the crowd), Misplaced, Love Set Fire, That's Any Good - oh heck there must have been something else maybe. Everyone was good and didn't sing along. We all knew the words (ok maybe not to Photo or That's Any Good) and yet we refrained from joining the refrain. This for our own sake as well as for the sake of all those not in attendance so that the music on their tapes will be as pure as we heard. Chris O had asked us to be reasonably quiet just for that reason - his request was thoughtful and was taken seriously and I for one thank everyone. You will have to pardon all the camera clicks, though.

Title: Favorite Früvous song (from the Frücon survey)
Author: (Gorbitron)
Date: 1 Mar 1998 04:34:03 GMT

As the beginning to my reports from the Früvention survey, I present the
results of the favorite song question!  Below are the songs listed on the
survey.  If people chose two songs, I gave each song half a vote.  If more than
two were listed, I included those in the can't decide votes (which are not
listed here).  At the end of this listing, you will also find some of the more
entertaining things that were written in this space either instead of or
accompanying their answer...

The question:  "If I had a gun to my head and I had to choose a favorite song
by Früvous, it would be:"

10.5 Fly
8.5 Gulf War Song
5.5 Fell in Love
5 Authors
5 Horseshoes
4 Drinking Song
4 King of Spain
4 Green Eggs
4 Michigan
3 Boss
3 No No Raja
2.5 Lee
2 Laika
2 Misplaced
2 Love Set Fire
2 It's Too Cold
2 Get in the Car
2 Boo Time
2 Sad Today
1.5 Down From Above
1 Today's the Day We Fight Back
1 Cedric Fruvous
1 Jenny Washington
1 Marion Fruvous
1 BJ Don't Cry
1 Mary Lane
1 Bittersweet
0.5 Canada We Love You
0.5 Cross Border Shopping
0.5 River Valley

"In my world, people don't pull guns on Früheads" - Shawn Harkness

"If I had a gun to my head you could play anything you wanted" - Pamm Alden

"I would get shot" - Catherine Weber

"Wouldn't choose ... would deal with gun to head" - Rob Johnson

"In hindsight there wasn't a gun" - Rosemary (she's so famous she goes by one

"ACK!! You mean person!!" - Vika Zafrin

Stay tuned for more reports from the First Früvention Guest Log


Title: Früvous Cover Songs (From the Survey)
Author: (Gorbitron)
Date: 1 Mar 1998 05:33:33 GMT

For my next report, I present something that might be entitled "Memo to
Früvous" - it is the entire list of answers to this question:

"I would like to hear them cover this song:"

not only is this long, but if I did not know the artist or the song, I put the
answer in quotes with my comments in parentheses...

Milli Vanilli - Girl You Know It's True (my own choice...I put it first)
Bow Wow Wow - Do You Want to Hold Me
Beastie Boys - Paul Revere
They Might Be Giants - Pencil Rain
"Peggy Sue Got Married"  (could this be Buddy Holly's Peggy Sue?)
Meatloaf - Paradise by the Dashboard Lights
"every song ever written"
Moses Supposes His Toeses are Roses (from Singing in the Rain)
"Earsure" (erasure? anyone know this one?)
Squeeze - Black Coffee in Bed
America - Horse With No Name
"Jerusalem" (there is a classic song by this name once recorded by ELP among
Paula Cole - Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?
Knack - My Sharona
"Toni Basil - Mickey (Spanish Version)" (anyone know how this goes?)
"Up on the Roof/Under the Boardwalk"
Cream - Sunshine of Your Love
Police - Tea in the Sahara
"anything by Crowded House!" (may I suggest Weather With You?)
Van Morrison - Gloria
"Could You Do Another Who Medley?"
Raspberries - Go All the Way
Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit
2 votes for Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come On Eileen
Culture Club - Karma Chameleon
Curve - Chinese Torture
Cockroach That Ate Cincinnati (is this Tom T Hall?)
Meredith Brooks - Bitch
"The Mary Ellen Carter and get the words right!!"
"None - I Hate the covers.  I would rather hear another Fruvous song"
"I don't like covers, real things almost always better..."
2 votes for Violent Femmes - Add It Up
Rupert Holmes - Escape (Pina Colada Song)
TMBG - Ana Ng
Blur - Girls & Boys
Beatles - Back in the USSR
Carl Douglas - Kung Fu Fighting
Beatles - Maxwell's Silver Hammer
"Walk Away Rene" (I never remember who did this song)
"Some Queen" (I second that emotion - play some Queen!)
Madness - Our House
2 votes for Pink Floyd - Hey You
"Anything by the Spice Girls"
Indigo Girls - Joking
BNL - If I had $1,000,000
2 votes for Simon & Garfunkel - Cecelia
Stevie Wonder - Mistra Know It All
Orchestral Manuevers in the Dark - Forever Live and Die
Gordon Lightfoot - If You Could Read My Mind
2 votes for Blind Melon - No Rain
Beatles - If I Fell
Nields - Superhero Soup
Ben Folds Five - Song For the Dumped
Ben Folds Five - Underground
"Indoor Fireworks"
Paul Simon - You Can Call Me Al
"Some Seamus Honey"
Simon & Garfunkle - Sounds of Silence
Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe
Commander Tom Show - The Most Important Person

Well the ball is in your court.  Play one of these songs in concert and make a
Frühead happy!!  A small gesture can go a long way.  If you need the words and
chords to Girl You Know It's True, please feel free to email me!!

The survey Gordon made for the convention:

The (un)Official Moxy Fruvous Guest Log Questionnaire

Please take a few moments to complete this and then add
it to the loose leaf binder titled "Guest Log."

Given Name:                You can call me:

Email address:             IRC Nickname:

I traveled from:           My hometown is:

Method of Transportation used to come to Toronto:

Age:				Male or Female:

Approximate number of times I've seen Moxy Früvous live:

Approximate number of friends to whom I've introduced the band:

If I had a gun to my head and I had to choose
a favorite song by Früvous, it would be:

I would like to hear them cover this song:

(this ends the section of this questionnaire that will be used 
to compile Früvention Fun Facts which will be introduced at a 
later date.  The other questions are for fun only and because 
I had all this extra space on the page)

My three (or more) other favorite bands:

My three (or more) favorite authors:

My favorite hockey team is:

My favorite hockey player is:

The best thing I have seen in Toronto is:

If you have anything else you would like to say to everyone 
at the Früvention, please say it below as this binder is available 
for viewing.  Thanks very much for completing this survey!!!

The Pictures

Click the description to get the pic:

The Music

The Set

Misc. Info

Some other tidbits from the performance include:

Back to the tour dates 1998 page