At the Parry Sound, ON, show on June 7th, Waterloo-resident and Trews fan Brad Ferrell lived out a dream by getting onstage with the band and playing acoustic guitar to “I Can’t Stop Laughing”; the following night he got to repeat the experience in Newmarket, ON. Brad graciously answered our questions about all of it via Facebook.
Trews Fans Network (TFN): So, what EXACTLY happened?
Brad Ferrell (BF): In between songs, John-Angus was given his mandolin; however, the crew either didn’t bring out a guitar for Colin or placed it on the stand instead of giving it to him. Colin began joking saying, “It’s ok, I don’t need to play guitar.” This turned into them suggesting that someone in the crowd play for them. They urged someone with “Now’s your chance…” and “If you know D, A, and G you can play it.”
I looked to my girlfriend, Susan, and said, “I don’t actually know how to play this song.”
Obviously, this didn’t deter me. I opted not to miss out on this chance.
TFN: When you were getting onstage, what were you thinking?
BF: I was trying to compile what I knew of how to play the song. And wondering how I was going to figure it out as it went along. Also, some serious disbelief. Was this actually happening?
TFN: As it was happening, what were you thinking? How did you feel?
BF: Truth be told, I was not nervous. I was so focused on getting the song right that I didn’t notice the audience until the verse with only percussion. Then I looked out and took it in. A moment of being a “rock star”. I felt great.
I also enjoyed Colin telling me the chord changes as it went along. I think he was surprised that it worked out as well as it did.
TFN: Now that it’s happened again in Newmarket, what do you think of it all? Has getting onstage in Newmarket affected in any way what you thought or felt about Parry Sound?
BF: The Parry Sound show was more magical. The venue played a major role in that. The Stockey Centre in Parry Sound is a beautiful place with beautiful acoustics. Plus, I played the Gibson Hummingbird, which I’ve coveted for quite some time.
When Colin gestured for me to join them again in Newmarket, I was still surprised and, of course, excited. The crowd had a different feel as well as the venue. The crowd was more responsive in Parry Sound, which made that time feel more exciting and magical. However, I don’t want that to detract from how awesome it was to play at the Newmarket show.
TFN: How long have you liked the Trews?
BF: Since the moment I heard House of Ill Fame. I moved to St. Catharines in 2002, which was around the same time they were settling in that area. It was around that time I heard of them and have enjoyed watching and listening to their songwriting develop over the past 10 years or so.
TFN: How many times have you seen them?
BF: I think I’m up to 27. But who’s counting?
TFN: Was this something you had WANTED to happen, or was it a spur of the moment idea when the opportunity presented itself?
BF: I’ve mentioned it to my girlfriend (and Trews partner in crime) about what would happen if I asked to play a song with them. I don’t know how much I actually wanted it to happen for fear of embarrassing myself, but the thought had definitely crossed my mind.
TFN: Have you ever met them before?
BF: I’ve met them a few times. Crossed paths at various shows like the Bluebird North show with Colin and John Angus and their Hope and Ruin CD release party at the Rivoli. There’s a funny story of John Angus in a massage chair at a service station, but that’s for another time…
TFN: What do your friends and family think of you liking this band so much, and what do they think now that you’ve been onstage with them twice?
BF: I’m just glad I have my partner in crime, Susan. She gets it, encourages it, and loves it as much as I do. We get teased; we get questioned. They either get it or they don’t. Those who don’t, we pity.
( I jest!)
There’s a funny story regarding my mom finding out I went up on stage. Susan had messaged her, but she didn’t get the message until 7:00 am the following day. My mom had seen a Facebook status of mine and then saw the link to the video. She proceeded to wake everyone in the house (dad, brother, sister) and show it to them. She even cried.
Are you going to see them again soon?
BF: Another back-to-back: June 30 in Owen Sound and July 1 here in Kitchener.
TFN: Has anyone recognized you from the video of Parry Sound?
BF: Not so much form the video, but the girl who opened both nights, Molly Thomason (who was phenomenal!), recognized me before the Newmarket show. After the show in Parry Sound, a few people told me good job or some other positive and flattering comment. A small moment of fame, I suppose.
TFN: How long have you been playing guitar? Do you know a lot of Trews’ songs?
BF: It’s going on 17 years now that I can figure. I know a few Trews songs. Bits and pieces of many. I’ve even tampered with different arrangements on a couple of tracks. I think I’m going to ensure I know more, because you never know!
TFN: Do you own any of your own guitars? If so, what are their make(s) and model(s)?
BF: I have several. I own a Taylor 314ce, and Epiphone Flying V electric. I also have an Epiphone Chet Atkins. My cherished is an old acoustic that was passed on to me when my grandfather passed. It’s make is Eko, and I’m sure it was made in the 70s if not earlier. The tone on it is phenomenal.
TFN: What was your first guitar? What is your DREAM guitar?
BF: My first was some basic acoustic that my aunt had given me. My first electric was this red one that I think was called Charvel. It was a Christmas gift from my parents.
Dream guitars would have to be a Gibson Hummingbird, a Taylor 900 series, and the American Vintage ’52 Telecaster.
TFN: What do you do for a living?
BF: Interesting question. To pay the bills I’m a Pricing Specialist with Old Navy. To be living, I consume music.
TFN: Any words for other fans who might be dreaming of doing something similar?
BF: Keep going to Trews shows. At best, it happens; at worst, you saw an awesome f’ing concert.
TFN: Any words for the Trews themselves?
BF: An enormous thank you. It was unreal to play with my favourite band on stage at a real concert – not once but twice!
Most importantly: I’ve figured out the parts I kept screwing up, so third time is the charm to really nail it!
TFN: Anything last words for us?
BF: To those who ask, “why do you go to so many shows? Aren’t they all the same?” No, sometimes you get to play alongside them!