I don't know if I should start this story this way but fuck it. When I first moved to Victoria four years ago I'd heard of this band, Spaceboots. And what I heard was to 'stay away' from them. These party animals. Shows of theirs came and went and I didn't go. I lived for three years in Victoria before actually going to a show and getting to know these guys.
Can I interrupt myself here? Okay. My first Spaceboots 'show' was actually in 2010, at Mile 0, down on Dallas Road, at a beach party. These guys carried down guitars, amps, mics, drums, everything. They set up and played one song on the beach before the police showed up and shut it down. This was technically my first Spaceboots show, but I had no idea what the band was called.
Back to the now. I befriended a Spaceboot by complete accident, and sitting chatting he casually mentioned that his band was playing a show and I should go. I said, "Sure, what show?" and he said, "Spaceboots," and I was like, aw fuck. Okay. I'll go and I'll check these guys out.
I'll never forget my first Spaceboots show. It was at Lucky Bar on March 27, 2015. I remember ordering a ginger ale, one after another. I was just past four months sober at that point and the whole show scene still caused a bit of anxiety. I remember I had my purple hair in a ponytail and I was wearing metallic silver booty shorts with a black tank top. I didn't really know anybody there, and everybody knew all of the words to every song. I had listened to Let's Just Party on YouTube so I had a song to sing along to - phew! I'm always a bit of an observer, and I watched the crowd vibe and just go crazy for these guys, and they put on a hell of a show. For the encore they ran backstage and quickly changed and re-emerged in Ghostbusters outfits with spray foam guns and the audience screamed. By this time I had fallen into a strange comfort shared by the crowd and I was up at the front screaming and dancing, which I never do. I left that show that night and was just amazed and wowed. Okay. So this is Spaceboots.
But then it started to become something more than that. It slowly started becoming more than just the music. I went to every show trying to hold onto that vibe from the crowd. I remember my ex refusing to go with me, stating that he 'felt like a groupie', following them around to all of their shows. But for me, it wasn't about that. I was starting to learn the lyrics. I had a few favorite songs. I was sticking with my ginger ale and seeing that these guys were about more than just partying. The love was becoming apparent. It wasn't about fans, it was about friends, love, and support for all that everybody does. I started breaking out of my shell of anxiety and started introducing myself to people at shows. I started making friends.
Rifflandia was the pivotal point for me. I already felt a closeness with these guys and they were playing a show at Rifflandia on the Thursday night. I wondered if I wanted to buy a ticket simply for the Thursday night, or commit to the entire festival. Anxiety, you see ... fuck it. I spent the money and I bought a weekend pass to Rifflandia. I had no game plan, no idea what to expect. I saw Spaceboots and I watched the crowd go crazy and I thought, "Those are my friends. This could be my family." The Sunday was the real cementing - I was at the main stage at Rifflandia and went all on my own, a huge step in overcoming my anxiety. I was dancing through the crowd and I saw a helmet and I thought, "Oh, there's one." I had no idea who it was and walked over and tapped Deriek on the shoulder. I said, "Hello, you're going to be my Rifflandia friend for the day," and we made a decision to be best friends that day. When we were walking around I mentioned that I didn't drink and Deriek full-out stopped and said, "WHAT? And you still hang around in the music scene? Sober?" It blew his mind and from there on out Deriek Simon has become one of my number-one supporters in sobriety. I've attended many get-togethers at the Boots house, and always drink my trusty ginger ales. It's happened a few times where I carry around my green can and he mistakes it for a Cariboo and his face falls - until he realizes it's a ginger ale. So much for these 'party animals', hey? Who the fuck else could push me to do an open mic and buy me a shot of apple juice afterwards?!
We had a huge Thanksgiving dinner there this past year and most of the boys were away in Fort St. John. I was in Vancouver the night beforehand, and got a message from Mike (Redbeard) asking where I was. I said, "Vancouver, you?" and he came back with, "Sitting right next to Deriek with Josiah," and I burst into tears. I wanted to leave Vancouver that moment. The next night I showed up and almost all of them were home, flitting about, Deriek, Laban, Josiah, Beard, Sean, and Harley was MIA. Until Beard showed up from the ferry with Harley. And then it was all tears and a room full of hugs and love. I felt so at home in their home.
When I met the boys, there was the six in the band - Deriek, Laban, Josiah, Sean, Beard, and Harley. Six elephants. A few weeks before Christmas I was browsing through Craigslist and stumbled on this tapestry - hand-sewn, with six elephants on it. I had to. I had to. And so I did.
It was a Christmas gift to the house, to the band, to the family. Without even realizing it, Spaceboots had become my family. We did the Thanksgiving dinner, we did a Christmas dinner, we called each other up to chat, we spent quality time together, we played music, we listened to music, we went for drives, dinners, we did and do so many activities that don't involve partying. We loved and all love each other - and the love extends to everybody else who is part of this family, part of this elephant pack.
The reason I'm writing this is to talk about the show on Thursday, because it was the crux of my emotion regarding this whole year and a half of my life I've known these guys.
Thursday the 28th of July was a hugely emotional night for the Spaceboots and Reinders family - it was the Spaceboots show at Lucky to honor the memory of Sean Reinders, who tragically passed away earlier this year. Similar to my first Spaceboots show at Lucky, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that it was going to be emotional, and the boys hammed it up. There was no opening act, except them. We had Deriek telling terrible knee-slapping jokes dressed up as a cow, Dan and Beard performing Lil Jon's 'Get Low' on a ukulele, we had Josiah come out once in an American flag outfit to sing Borat's Kazakshtan national anthem, Lisa and Harley performing songs together, him on guitar, her on keyboard. We had Debs come up and play drums and ROCK IT! We had Nevil Meyer perform an original song he wrote for Sean. I raffled off a custom-made Spaceboots bikini and the boys dragged me on stage - eep! Sean's family attended and stuck it out until closing time at the bar. We had so much love flowing through that bar that it was overwhelming and we shared the grief, together, as a family. We loved together, we lost together, and we're now in the process of healing, together.
And isn't that just what a family does?
I'm not writing this to talk about the music, even though it is amazing. Still waiting on that album, boys! No. I'm writing this to talk about how Spaceboots has changed my life.
Spaceboots have become my biggest supporters in sobriety, and through these friends I've met infinite and ever-growing more friends. These people have pushed me to and past the limits of my anxiety and shown me that life doesn't have to be scary, and that you don't have to drink or do drugs to have fun. I've grown so much as a person thanks to all of the time I've been blessed to spend with everybody. I've grown into myself and learned to take pride in myself, and pride in my friends.
If I hadn't met these guys, I wouldn't be the person that I am today. I wouldn't have had all of the tears, smiles, laughing until your cheeks and stomach hurt, great stories, life experiences, and love that I have now. I would not be the person that I am today. I probably would not have this level of self-love and self-respect and pride that I take in myself every single day. I would not have the level of confidence and lack of anxiety that I now feel when I go to a show or festival. Sometimes I even wonder if I would have had enough strength to remain clean and sober without the support from these guys. I can look around any room and spot out a quick family member. I walk around town and see Spaceboots shirts and hats everywhere.
The line-up has changed since I met them, but the same love goes -
I love you guys. Thank you for all that you do - the music, the smiles, the love, the support, and the welcoming arms to anybody who needs it, or who wants it.
It feels just like home.