The Motorleague are a good hour and a half away from Saskatoon on their way to their gig that night when I manage to get in touch with vocalist/guitarist Don Levandier. Speaking over the loud hum of the band’s van, he recalls some of the hardships that come with touring as an indie band. “Every band gets robbed at some point,” he resignedly admits. “Someone once smashed our van’s window, not realizing our bass player was inside! They did not expect to come face to face with a very angry musician.”
Touring Canada also offers its peculiar challenges, like that time they were caught in a freak snowstorm on their way to Newfoundland, and were stuck in their van for nine hours. “We had a full tank of gas, so we could get heat,” he says. “We spent time watching movies on our laptops and playing video games, but there were people stuck without food for their babies, so it was a scary situation.” But as a road veteran (the band has existed for 10 years), he doesn’t sound too worked up over the bad stuff. “It gets cancelled by the good stuff. We played great gigs, with bands we’ve admired: it doesn’t get any better than that. We played Heavy Montreal (in 2014), and seeing our name on a poster along with Metallica and The Offspring, and all these other great bands was quite a high for me.”
Founded in 2005, the band had a revolving door at the drums and bass positions. But for the first time, they feel they’ve got four guys all pulling in the same direction. Their first albums were an eclectic blend of influences coming from whomever was in the band at that time. But with their latest, “Holding Patterns”, they all agree that the band’s identity is as a kick ass, straight ahead rock ’n roll band.
To make sure this album would be a true representation of their sound, the band spent considerable time in pre-production. They would tear apart each song, keeping only the best parts and rewriting the rest. Then they’d demo the song, and repeated the process until they felt they had a great song. “Some songs barely resemble what they started as!” Lavender explains. “And once we got into the studio proper to record the album, our producer re-worked some of the songs even further. ‘The Boards’ is probably the song that changed the most from its first version to the finale recorded form.”
The band will play Montreal on November 19 at Turbo Haus. Rock fans can expect a high energy show that won’t let up from the first “1-2-3-4” count to the final chord. Their album “Holding Pattern” is available now.