In fact we were both becoming quite opinionated. Grasshopper was Derek's baby, but Mike and I were clearly the mid-wives, and we had started to speak up about issues we had within the band. It was easy to see that our speaking out was starting to get under Derek's skin and made him uneasy, kind of an uprising of power if you will. Mike and I were on the same page about a lot of stuff which left Derek outvoted two to one. We wanted some changes and we wanted them now. Derek did oblige most times, but reluctantly, and usually after a debate on whatever the matter at hand was.
With our demo out, our over saturation of live shows going down, and our stickers and shirts blanketing the city, the little band that could kept flowing with the momentum. We had played shows with an assortment of bands including: Boris is Back, The Mad, The Morganfields, Satanatras, Y.A.P., Goatdance, Squid, Land of Nod, Full, Groovy Religion, Mudfish, Phleg Camp, Paul Myers(Brother of actor Mike Myers) The Dave Howard Singers, Chicken Milk, hHead, Rocktopus, Snowdogs, Drive Like Jehu, Grim Skunk, Brian Ruryk, and Dinner is Ruined, just to name a few.
Meanwhile in Brampton the legendary Epileptic Brain Surgeons were coming to an end. Their lead singer Steve Waller had decided to pack up and move out west to Brittish Columbia. I was quite saddened by the news, as these guys had been my inspiration for the last 5 years. The guys did however give me the pleasure of jamming with them once after Steve moved, with me filling his vocal duties. It was fun as hell and the EBS boys couldn't get over how much I sounded like Steve. It never went anywhere after that first jam but it was an absolute honour and privilege to have taken part in it. The guys seemed taken back at the fact that I mimicked Steve's voice perfectly. Although for years after I couldn't help but wonder that if I had my own distinct sound and style, then perhaps the band may have carried on with yours truly as the front man. Wishful thinking.
Another Bramptonite entered the picture as well. His name was Alex and he was a journalist for Eye weekly. Alex had recently written a review for our "Born Loser" demo that we were all ecstatic about. We didn't know who this guy was but we appreciated his words. Then one night he showed up at one of our gigs at the 1150. We were surprised to see he was a short, rotund black man wearing flannel and a Philly Blunts hat. We praised his writing as much as he praised our music. Alex was a very genuinely nice person, and he slowly became apart of our entourage. Now he'd show up at practically every gig, whoop it up with us, and then return to Brampton with us in the wee hours of the night.
We figured having a writer on our side who was apart of the EYE magazine team would only be beneficial towards us, and it definitely seemed that way. As time passed though it seemed like Alex was slipping into a whirlwind of alcohol and pot, which in turn was affecting his writing. I truly feel he liked hanging out with us so he could be in the spotlight and soak up a bit of our fame. Not too mention he overly indulged in all the free benefits that coincided with rolling with the G-Hoppaz. Eventually it got to the point where he came across as a spokesman for us, being very opinionated about things that we disagreed with, which in turn caused friction amongst us. We had our own minds, our own voices, and we were not going to let ourselves look bad because of some stupid drunken comments. It also got to the point where we felt like Alex didn't care about us as a band, he'd merely show up drunk to wherever we were playing just so he could get a ride home at the end of the night.
As much as we liked Alex and appreciated his contributions to helping spread our gospel, we slowly started distancing ourselves after realizing his personal motives. I felt bad, I missed the guy, but we had to focus on ourselves and get our priorities straight. I feared that if Alex carried on with his recreational ways, that they would take over his life and ruin his bright future as a journalist. I could only hope that my fears would not manifest...