My Ups and Downs with Dallas Green & Why I Still Love Him

Every time I talk about how much I love Dallas Green from City and Colour–his hair, his glasses, his soothing voice, his passion for music, the way his lyrics speak to me–I’m told, “Dallas Green is an asshole.” I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful man, but one time I came close.

Leah Miller (left) and Dallas Green (right).
Leah Miller (left) and Dallas Green (right).

I was walking down Queen Street West, right near MuchMusic, in Toronto. I was with an old friend and we were talking about relationships. Naturally, as a huge Green fan and also a female, I am not exactly thrilled that he is married to former MuchMusic VJ Leah Miller. I may have made an unnecessary comment about Miller in an attempt to make my friend laugh about relationships instead of feel stressed by them, when I looked to my left and saw not only her but also Green himself walking by me, giving me cut eye. I deserved that one. And to this day, I regret it.

I guess if Green and Miller, who call themselves “a Canadian weak couple,” are happy as can be, then I should be happy too. It’s just the fangirl in me that wants Green all to myself (like that would ever happen).

I’ve been to endless City and Colour concerts, my favourites being at the historic Toronto venue Massey Hall, where I’ve seen Green sing beautiful lyrics, test out new songs and tell fans to put their phones away for just one song and appreciate the art.

I have also seen Green as grouch on three occasions that I’ve yet to forget.

Green at The (Free) Juno Block Party Telling Off an Audience Member:

I was standing to the right of where the above video was taken. Laughing, of course, that Green had literally shunned one of his fans for being disrespectful and fighting at a free concert a few days before Toronto hosted the Juno Awards in 2011. I was proud to be a City and Colour fan with this Green as grouch experience, because he made a point to not only perform well but also ensure his audience was enjoying the show, too.

Hats off to you, sir!

Green says, “I’m trying to run a business here. No encore:”

The night before Green’s album, Little Hellwas released, my girlfriends and I trekked down to Toronto’s Sugar Beach to see City and Colour perform live at The Edge Studios. On this beautiful June evening, I attempted to meet Green again, but a comment he made during his free concert stung me a little too deep.

Towards the end of his performance, Green said he wouldn’t be doing an encore because he wasn’t getting paid to do the show and was trying to run a business. I understand that time is money, but mostly everyone who came out to that free party was going to either purchase his album the next day or find other ways to support him by attending paid shows, buying merchandise and spreading new City and Colour music on social media, encouraging others to listen, buy and support.

Would an encore have really been that detrimental? I remember crossing my fingers thinking, “Maybe he’s lying and will come back out to sing Against the Grain or Coming Home.” Negative. That did not happen (I do give Green credit, though, because he has surprised me with several renditions of Coming Home, my favourite song, at other shows, each meaning more to me than I thought possible).

I forgave the singer/songwriter quickly because I understand that as much as music might be Green’s passion, he also has to make smart business decisions. Sometimes, though, I think my wound is still healing.

I remember standing at Sugar Beach for over an hour after the free show, waiting anxiously for the strong-minded musician to emerge from backstage and greet his fans. My friends and I asked the security guards at the event whether Green had left. They laughed and said, “Yes.” Then we tried to get a copy of the set list but the security guards denied our wish and ended up giving the sheet of paper with a handful of songs handwritten on one side to a group of girls who copied their outfits from Tumblr.

Before we could lose any more hope, the drummer performing that night made an appearance. We got a photo quickly and left brokenhearted, for Green had not come out to say hello. Once we got into the car and made our way home, I received a text message from a classmate who was also at the concert saying Green had finally come out to meet his fans.

Just my luck.

Green at Maple Leaf Square Before Toronto Played First NHL Playoff Game, 2013:

CBC kicked off Hockey Night In Canada‘s broadcast of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first playoff game since I was in elementary school with a live streaming of City and Colour performing again for free at Maple Leaf Square, just outside of the Air Canada Centre.

The vibe out in the Square was beautiful: Everyone was excited for the hockey game, people from as young as a month old were representing their Leafs with merchandise and most were interested to hear what Green had in store.

The show, which was under 20-minutes, sounded beautiful. I loved that Green opened with As Much as I Ever Could from album Bring Me Your LoveMy friend and I, though leaving after the performance, were proud City and Colour supporters who sang along and cheered for our favourite artist.

At the end of the concert, though, Green shouted an unenthusiastic, “Go Leafs Go,” and walked off the stage without even a thank you.

City and Colour's album cover for The Hurry and the Harm, released this year.
City and Colour’s album cover for The Hurry and the Harm, released this year.

Am I being too judgmental? Probably, but even though I’ve been left a little stung, I still went out to buy my copy of The Hurry and the HarmCity and Colour’s new album. I’m extremely impressed by this 2013 release and have to say it is almost better than Bring Me Your Love and has come close to making me love it more than Sometimes.

Why I Still Love Him:

  • Everyone has bad days. Maybe Green just gets ticked off easily when irritating fans cause a scene at his shows for no reason or when he has to take a few hours out of his day to perform without getting paid. No one likes working for free, even if it means wonders for your future career
  • His music doesn’t suck. Ever. Whether it’s on a CD or live. Green can write music. Green can sing songs. Green is a great musician
  • Green’s music is relatable and speaks to the heart. His songs aren’t cheesy, even when they’re about love
  • He’s handsome…
  • I remember the first time I heard a song by City and Colour. I was in grade 12 and was encouraged to listen to Missing. From that point forward, anytime I listen to this iconic Canadian band, I’m taken back to that moment of pure bliss: When I fell in love with Mr. Dallas Green.

Who’s your favourite artist? Why?

xo

Advertisements

24 Comments

  1. While I like his music enough to want to agree with your reasons why he might not be an asshole, I think it might just be true. Saw him at a show in Louisville, KY tonight and he was a complete dick on like 4 different occasions throughout the show. It kind of ruined him for me I think. The guy could stand for a strong dose of humility, especially when playing in a place like Louisville where his fanbase is rather limited.

    Like

    1. Hi there!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate that you’ve read my post and shared your opinion.

      I’ve had the same bitter taste in my mouth as you after a City and Colour show, multiple times! It’s hard to digest a concert with positivity after having experienced rude remarks and a “snub” attitude from the performer towards his fans, whether the base is large or small.

      Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and talk to Dallas Green and understand what his attitude is all about? Has fame gotten to his head?

      Like

  2. Loved him when he was in Alexisonfire but loved him more when he started his then side project now main project. I kinda akin him on the same page as Matthew Good. They are both fantastic songwriters and both are artist’s artists and Matthew Good a few years back was diagnosed with bi polar disorder which explains his fits on stage with fans causing trouble and personal problems. I would suspect Dallas Green maybe the same way though his personal life is never public.

    Liberal thinkers will stand back and try to understand where others don’t even care to understand.

    Like

  3. Hey Leviana,
    I feel for you and your desire to know the real Dallas Green. I don’t know him personally but I did have a few words with him last night which didn’t end pleasantly
    I’m a local busker in Halifax NS. I have two pastime jobs and am recently married. One the weekends that I don’t work I take my guitar and play for tips outside one of the busiest bars in town. I’ve been doing it for some time and have quite a few fans of my own.
    Last night he and his band were in town performing a show, but I couldn’t afford to go see it.
    I like his music and admire him for all of the success he’s gained here in Canada after AOF, but noticed the one time I saw him in concert there was definite tension in the air with him and his band.. I wondered if maybe he was a jerk, as many great musicians are at times.
    Well last night I’m convinced that he just doesn’t get it and is blind by his own success and may have some baggage.
    During my night, while busking,he walked by. I didn’t notice him at first. He had no beard, a big hat and his tats all covered. But I did notice his glasses.

    I stopped playing, and asked “Is your name Dallas?” He and his friends denied it and kept walking. They were convincing and I thought maybe he just looked like him. But in the corner of my eye I saw a back stage pass.. I knew then that it was him.. So I gave my guitar to a friend and approached him again . “and said it is you.Cool! Dallas can I have a picture?” He then told me I didn’t need one and started to avoid the camera. I was polite, not causing a scene and keep my voice low so other fans wouldn’t gather around.
    He then said “Your busking and you have a digital camera?” Now not everyone will understand this but that comment really pissed me off. Since I could tell by his tone of voice that he was being judgmental Implying that if I had a digital camera that I shouldn’t be busking. I said ” Dude that was rude man… F#$K you! Fuck you Dallas Green” His friends said it’s been a long night, but I didn’t care how long his night was.. He was being an asshole. I scream F you one more time as I walked away..
    I was insulted. I couldn’t believe that this guy who I felt would understand what it’s like to be a struggling artist wouldn’t take the time for a fan especially another singer/guitarist and imply that I should have a digital camera. One that you can buy used for $20.
    I keep that camera on me for the times that I meet inspiring artists and people that I look up to that give my the inspiration to follow my dreams. So to be shut down like I didn’t matter matter and be insulted like that, makes me think that he just doesn’t get it and is blind by his own success.
    The odd thing about that night was after the clubs closed he passed me twice by himself and hiding his head. Walking around like he was lost. Some one told me that he sometimes likes to wonder around to jam with buskers.. ha… well I was the only busker out that night and he pissed me off. No jamming going on that night with out a apology ha ha ….
    Many musicians and celebrities are jerks, which makes it hard to enjoy their art. I feel sorry for them and I feel sorry for Dallas Green.When he turns fans away and doesn’t make time for a picture or a few kind words.. he’s missing out on a real connection with those who love his music.
    Now I’ll continue to listen to his songs and go to the odd show. but I will forever feel sorry for him and other fans who just want a picture with him. One that will take all of 30 seconds of his time.

    So to answer your question. Yeah I think he’s an asshole.. ha.. but like most assholes, he doesn’t know any better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to tell your story. Funny thing – I just got your comment as I was turning on “Two Coins” by City and Colour to listen to.

      I am so sorry that Dallas Green gave you such a hard time. I obviously can’t speak on his behalf, but I do wish that he took a second to notice that, just like him, you’re doing something you’re passionate about because you love doing it. Who cares if you have a point and shoot? I have one and if I could sing, I’d probably try busking on for size, too, and bring my camera to take memorable photos – just as was your intention.

      Regardless of that unpleasant experience with Dallas, I am applauding you for continuing to perform on the street and for continuing to share your love of music. We need more people like you.

      In this life, we’re often blinded by life’s busy-ness so much so that we forget to stop and enjoy the little things – like jamming out on the street and building up a local fan base.

      I wish you all the best in your future! Keep reading and commenting. We love to hear from our followers at all times.

      Happy Sunday.

      Like

      1. No problem,
        thank you for letting me vent and thank you for the words of encouragement. I love what I do and that experience last night made me want to give more to people wanting to hear some live music.
        I used to tell people that wanted me to play them a tune, after I was done,while I was walking home that I either didn’t have time or that I was done for the night. But from now on even if I’m tired I’m gonna give them at least one song. Whats a few minutes out of my night.

        If your Chili Peppers fan check out this video of one of my side projects.. A Chili Peppers tribute band called The Red Hot Chili Peckers. lol Cheers!

        Like

  4. Hi Leviana,

    People have always told me that they’ve heard stories about how Dallas was an asshole to them, or have had not-too-pleasant experiences in their personal encounters with him. And, honestly, I’ve always been somewhat baffled by these comments since I have met him personally. He was one of the sweetest musicians that I have ever met and seemed like a genuinely kind soul.

    It was back in December of 2008, when Alexisonfire were still together and were playing a show at the Hamilton Convention centre. This was the same year that “Bring Me Your Love” came out, in February. I was 16 years old at the time. My friend’s mom happened to work at the convention centre, so we scored free tickets to the Alexisonfire concert. And since her mom worked there, that meant we went with her to work and got to hang around the upstairs employee area / musician “green room” before and after the concert was going on. So after enjoying the actual show, we went back upstairs to wait for my friend’s mom to finish her work. And, as luck would have it, that area was also where the band was hanging out after the show. We managed to get pictures with both Wade and George first, but we were a bit nervous to ask Dallas because he was our favourite (I had only recently started listening to his work in City and Colour, and was an avid Alexisonfire fan). My friend, thankfully, mustered up the courage to ask him politely if we could have our pictures taken with him. He was so sweet about it and agreed, but apologized, as he said that it would be a little while as he had a friend there who just came back home from South Korea and wanted to chat with her first. He said that he would be with us in a bit. So we patiently waited on the couches upstairs for him while he spoke to his friend. After waiting for about ten minutes, he noticed us sitting there and came over while apologizing profusely, saying, “Hey girls, I’m SO sorry that I took so long, I didn’t forget about you!” We told him it was alright and both took pictures with him while chatting a bit. I had the pleasure of telling him that his voice “sounded so amazing live,” and he thanked me for it. After talking about the show and his music for a bit, he apologized again, saying that he wanted to get back to his friends waiting in the corner for him. We understood, of course, and parted to the other side of the hallway.
    At the time, I had just remembered that I had my video camera with me; because I worked with the morning announcements crew at my high school, I brought it in the event that I could get a morning announcements video intro by one of the Alexisonfire musicians (I had previously been able to get one with LIGHTS before she was extremely popular, so I thought that I had a chance). Unfortunately, I was WAY too shy to ask him for another favour, but my friend was fortunately very bold in her actions. She walked over to Dallas where he was chatting with his friends in the corner, grabbed him by the wrist, and pulled him away (he probably found it endearing, since my friend was a five-foot-zero sixteen-year-old). He just responded, “Oh, oh… okay…” and my friend explained our wanting to record an intro once we were alone with him. Even after that, he agreed and was so pleasant about it! I explained how other people who did the intro were very short about it (someone else from our high school got George Stroumboulopoulos to do it; him & LIGHTS were very to-the point), so I asked if he could say something to make it longer. He obliged and, while recording, said, “Hi there everybody at (high school), I’m Dallas Green, and, uh… here we are in Hamilton! Christmas… Pan! (at this point he gestured over to a Christmas tree, asking me to pan footage of it) …Christmas. and I just wanted to wish everyone a happy school day… Because I know I didn’t like it! Everybody get their iPods… get their mixed tapes going… that’s what I used to do, with a Walkman, mixed tape… You guys are a lot younger, it’s okay…. You’re watching CNN (our school’s broadcast name)!” He was amazing about it. He did his best to make it funny and rambled on for as long as he could (even though my school still cut out the ramblings because he talked about Christmas, which didn’t pertain to all seasons). After that, we thanked him profusely and went on our way.

    I will never forget how kind of a person he was during my meeting with him. Even my other friend randomly met him while walking around Downtown Hamilton (since Dallas used a recording studio there for “Little Hell” around that time). My friend is a guitar player and recognized him, noticed the case on his back, and they started chatting about guitar stuff. Even my friend acknowledged that he was one of the friendliest musicians that he has ever met.

    After that encounter with him, it actually provoked me to delve into his music completely, and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since. That experience actually helped me to see how his kindness influences his music. I therefore agree with your point that he’s only human in those instances in which people call him an “asshole.” He may have just been having a bad day like the rest of us. Hope you enjoyed my story and I hope that others take from it as well. Beautiful article, Leviana.

    – Natalie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Natalie – I am so sorry it took me so long to reply to this. I am away in Australia on business and wanted to make sure I could devote some time to a proper response.

      It brings me happiness to know you had a good experience with Dallas Green. My friend went to school in northern Ontario and met Dallas when he was performing with Alexisonfire during one of the university’s frosh/orientation events. She was really excited to meet him, of course, so she introduced herself and chatted with Dallas about her dreams of becoming a nurse. He encouraged her to work hard and pursue school. Then, after the show, my friend saw Dallas again. Dallas stopped, called my friend by name and wished her well.

      The music he and City and Colour produce is absolutely beautiful and I could never get sick of it. I appreciate you sharing your story and your memories of encounters with Dallas. I especially love the bit about your experience interviewing him – the “PAN” bit shows his charm and true character.

      As celebrities are always in the spotlight, we often only get to know who they are on camera or who we think they are when off-camera. It’s endearing to know you have had a good experience with this particular celebrity, who means so much to many dedicated fans.

      Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Like

  5. Hey there! I stumbled across this entry and I know it’s a little late, but I saw Dallas Green perform a solo show last night and he said something that I think is quite relevant. He said he’s very fortunate to be able to do what he loves for a living, but sometimes he’ll get out to do a show and he “just fucking hates the whole thing.” He doesn’t really know why, and he feels really bad about it; he feels ungrateful, or like he’s letting the fans down. And other times he’ll have a show that reminds him of why he’s worked so hard for so many years.
    I thought it was a beautiful thing to be so honest with us in that way. Like you said, everyone has bad days, and he’s only human.
    This is completely my interpretation, but a lot of times, listening to his lyrics, he sounds a little tortured. I think he just wants to write songs, and maybe he wrestles with the whole music business. I don’t think he writes for the fans, I think he writes primarily for himself, and it comes through in every note that he’s baring his soul. It’s probably exhausting sometimes to bare your soul to thousands night after night. So I know it’s disappointing to a lot of fans, and I’d probably be disappointed too if it happened to me, but I think I’d forgive him.
    Cheers 🙂

    Like

    1. Hi there!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to write this and share your experience. It’s really interesting to know that sometimes Dallas is not really feelin’ it when he’s up there…and I guess that makes complete sense. We do all have bad days and for those of us who love our jobs, sometimes we really hate them (for a few moments, hours, weeks) before things start to look up again.

      Definitely wish I could have been there to experience that truly priceless moment.

      I have to agree – he certainly writes his songs for his fans and his music is always beautiful and reflective.

      Thanks for taking the time to write. Talk soon!

      Like

  6. I wouldn’t take any bad experience personally. We’re all human at the end of the day and sometimes stress just takes over us and we find it hard to not react to it. Dallas is a self confessed control freak, so assuming if he doesn’t meet fans after a gig or isn’t in a great mood he’s probably having a bad night due to a show or whatever. Dallas and the guys from AOF were always touring hard and dallas always fits a lot of shows in and has great work ethic, which undoubtedly comes with a collosal amount of stress. I’ve had he pleasure to meet him twice and the second time I actually spoke to him for a good half hour. Luckily both occasions he was really pleasent and easy going. Very loquacious and easy to talk to. (I also don’t believe the busking story). Atleast not the way it was told.

    Like

    1. Thanks, James! We appreciate your feedback. Glad that you had a pleasant experience with Dallas Green and the fellows from AOF! I agree with you that these artists put a lot of pressure on themselves and in turn are under a lot of pressure from outside sources. Hope you have a great day!

      Like

  7. I have paid to see him play/sing live three times now (twice at Massey hall, once at the Molson amphitheatre) He also lives near me and I’ve seen him around the neighbourhood running errands at the pharmacy. He has always come off as gracious and thoughtful in concert in my opinion. In public he seems like a normal guy with zero airs or pretensions about him.

    Like

  8. I have had the opportunity to meet Dallas Green two times. He graciously allowed me to take a picture with him 3 times. And and two autographs. I have never see him be rude to anyone.

    Like

  9. I got the opportunity to meet him some years ago after a show. He took the time to chat with fans and take pictures and sign autographs. He seemed genuinely nice, and not rushed to get done with everyone. I’ve also been to shows where given the way certain audience members acted, it clearly pissed him off and affected the show. We’re all human. We all have bad days. I know I couldn’t do what he does.

    Like

  10. I went to a leafs game and we were sitting beside him and we are big fans of his work and we said hello and that were were fans and he just said cool and ignored is throught the rest of the game

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s