BY CRAIG ELLIOTT
Tegan and Sara
Thursday, Sept. 21
at the Sidetrack Cafť
What a similarity a year makes. Last year around this time, Calgaryís Quin twins, Tegan and Sara as they like to be called, had just completed an album and a summer tour, and were looking forward to a short break before they resumed touring. September 2000 reads about the same: new album, summer tour, a break right around their birthday before itís back to work.
Sigh. Same old grind, except for, perhaps, the issue of scale. There is, of course, that dotted line they each signed, making the pair Vapour and Universal Recordsí answer to the untemptable Ani Difranco, and the subsequent release of their major label debut, the Hawksley Workman-produced, This Business of Art.
And how about the company they kept this summer, opening as they did all over the U.S. for Neil Young and the Pretenders? Sara Quin feels that she and her sister are blessed.
"It was really cool," understates the fast-talking co-singer and strummer of their summer at Rock School. "The more days that go by, the more Iím starting to miss it. Iím starting to miss everyone, all the people that we met, and it was really regimented. Every day we had a plan and we had a tour manager and we had an itinerary and we had a per diem. We had hotels booked and everything planned out for us and every night we were onstage playing for thousands of people. It was really positive and really fun, and Iím really going to look back on it and think it was really cool."
Not only was the tour, dubbed the "Red Wine and Reefer Tour" by those on the inside, a big-deal means of introducing the twins to a big, money-filled market, but opening for people with careers that are older than their combined ages, says Quin, means she and her sister hopefully donít have to learn as many of their own lessons about maturity.
"It was a good tour to start with," she says, "just really sort of Ďadult-yí and mature. Everyone was really friendly; there was no competition. Both the Pretenders and Neil Young, I think theyíve been around the block a few times and I donít think theyíre really into partying it up and doing blow in the bathroom anymore. They got that out of their systems probably around 25 years ago."
Whereas Sara and her sister still have their whole lives ahead of them for getting all coked up in the bathroom?
"Uh, nooo, I donít think so. Hopefully not."
Since the end of that experience earlier this month itís back to Greyhounds, small clubs and crowds more proportionate to Tegan and Saraís personal drawing power. That can be a bit of a blow to a rising starís ego. Was their return to Earth a giant crash or a gentle touching down?
"Itís mostly just a lot different," says Sara. "Last night (in Guelph, Ontario), we played to two-hundred-and-something people. They were all there to see us, it was on our own terms, and we sold merchandise and signed autographs and chatted with people and we made more money than we did on a night opening for Neil Young.
"Thereís something to be said for 250 people who are there to see you, even if it is just a little club and even if you do have to go and catch the Greyhound at eight in the morning. That was great; nothing can replace that," she enthuses. "But then, nothing can really replace playing basketball with Chrissie Hynde and then going on stage, either."