The life of a rock band touring across Canada can be challenging. Vast distances between towns means long drives between gigs, the iconic seven-seater vehicle critical to the tour's success.
"We tend to kill vans pretty quick," says Bend Sinister frontman Dan Moxon, shortly after checking into his hotel room in Jasper, Alberta.
"We've got a new one with power locks and windows. It feels pretty special to turn on that (air conditioning)."
In 2007 Moxon produced a documentary titled "A Bend in the Road," a series of interviews with other Canadian musicians about the trials and tribulations of touring in Canada. Everything from "Prairie Apathy" (definition: lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of the performing arts) to constructing make shift beds in a Walmart parking lot to band budgets vaporizing instantly with vehicle repair costs.
"It's not really about (the money) for us as much as it is about being able to play to full rooms of people, you have to make that trade-off," says Moxon.
But things are looking up on this tour. The band has just released their latest EP On My Mind and since meeting up to tour with Detroit rockers Electric 6 all shows but one have been sold out.
Moxon recalls the atmosphere at the Starlight Room in Edmonton during a St Patrick's Day show two nights ago.
"We thought we should take this Thin Lizzy cover we used to do out of the woodwork but we didn't have time to relearn it at the sound check," says Moxon.
"So we just tossed the guitars around in the van and remembered the vocals to bust out some Thin Lizzy for an Irish connection."
The prominence of piano rhythms in Bend Sinister's songs draws influence from classic rock pianists like Elton John, Billy Joel and Freddy Mercury, though their songs will surprise you with Beach Boys-style melodies. There are even a few Iron Maiden records lurking in their music library.
What Bend Sinister have can be loosely classified as progressive rock, but there is enough eclecticism in their music that each song has its own pace, its own style. The opening song on their new EP is a shining example, its catchy riffs and melodies could easily hold its own against pop songs on the Canadian airwaves. But the other songs on the EP will keep you guessing.
"We've had a hard time classifying our music in general and finding where we fit in," says Moxon.
"We came from so many different influences and we do our own thing."
Bend Sinister are no strangers to performing in Whistler, having played at Garfinkel's several times as well as the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Monday night will be the final show of their long Canadian tour, a chance for them to let loose before returning to Vancouver to prepare for their upcoming full length album Small Thing.