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Crash Karma heading back to FSJ, make pit stop in Afghanistan

Crash Karma is making a triumphant return to Fort St. John.

Crash Karma is making a triumphant return to Fort St. John.

Lead singer Edwin took the time to speak to the Alaska Highway News about the upcoming show, the plans for their second album and what it's like to do a concert in Khandahar with missiles flying over their heads.

The band has already played Fort St. John once this year. Edwin said

"I'm excited about that actually, I liked the last show we did there, and it's a great part of Canada, so I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

Crash Karma, which is made up of Edwin (formerly of I Mother Earth), Mike Turner (formerly of Our Lady Peace), Jeff Burrows (formerly of The Tea Party), and Amir Epstein (formerly of Zygote), has been touring extensively, going from the East Coast to the West, and everywhere in between. They picked Fort St. John as a stop on their current three and a half week tour because of their successful show last time.

Prior to their return to Fort St. John, the band made a quick stopover in Afghanistan to visit the Canadian soldiers stationed in Khandahar.

The band was invited to join "Team Canada" - a group of musicians, actors, comedians and athletes - and visit the Canadian soldiers currently stationed at Khandahar, Afghanistan.

"We were heading to Ottawa and made a wrong turn," Edwin joked. "We were asked to go overI've know a couple bands that have already gone over, Default, Finger 11 and some others. I got reviews from them and they said 'man it's going to change your life, you'll never look at anything the same.' And I was like, 'yeah, I'm not so sure that's going to be the case,' but it was really mind-opening, mind-expanding, absolutely."

Edwin said he was apprehensive at first.

"I was like, 'why am I going to Afghanistan?' As I was in Khandahar, I was standing there going 'what the blank am I doing here?' But it was a great experience, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm so glad I went. Everyone was awesome. I've gained a ton of respect for our soldiers and our military," he said. "We tend to make fun of them sometimes, we tend to put them down, but really, they're out there, they're intelligent, they're smart, they're witty, they're specialist in their field, they're definitely individuals we should be proud of them representing us.

Spending a week on base with Canadian soldiers gave the band a new appreciation for what the men and women in the military go through on a daily basis.

"It was different, I mean the sirens go off and everyone in the camp and on the base has to hit the ground for a minimum of two minutes, and then off in the distance just outside the base you hear the occasional explosion, and that's a little different. I'm used to thunder and car crashes and sirens, but definitely not bombs landing," he explained.

Along with experiencing the life of a soldier, Crash Karma performed a live concert on the base, and had some unexpected pyrotechnics.

"While we were playing our live show, it was outside at night, I guess the Americans shot off 20 missiles on some target right over our heads so the crowd was just like, 'oh my god.' It just lit up the sky and there were these 20 streaks of light over our heads, it was pretty intense.

"There was some crazy stuff - there is a war going on."

Edwin said many of the soldiers weren't shy about sharing what they had seen and done in Afghanistan.

"There were some not pretty stories, they're kinda graphic about the stuff they've had to experience involving children being severely injured, villages getting wiped out in the middle of the night by the Taliban because they were working with the military, stuff like that, ugly stories, stuff that turns your stomach," he said.

The trip was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but but that was definitely enough for Edwin.

"I don't think I could of handled it for much more than a week to be honest with you, it doesn't smell that great," he said.

Now that they're back on Canadian soil, Edwin said the group is looking forward to touring and working on the new Crash Karma album "whenever we have time, that is."

Edwin added that he hopes the new album will be ready by spring.

As for what he hopes for the new CD, Edwin simply said: "Same formula: Be awesome."

He also had a message for anyone that didn't make it to the show the last time Crash Karma was in Fort St. John.

"For those of you who are tired of watching bands who can't play their instruments, come see Crash Karma. We play the whole record, we play a little bit of Our Lady Peace, a little bit of I Mother Earth, a little bit of The Tea Party, and we may even throw in an Edwin original. It's a good energy show. It's always a good time."

Crash Karma plays at On The Rocks Nightclub on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m.