Two for the road

PAT ST.GERMAIN

, Last Updated: 11:34 PM ET

Winnipeg popsters Luke McMaster and Rob James aren't knocking life in the fast lane.

But the duo are feeling a little road-rushed as they head to Winnipeg as part of Christina Aquilera's seven-city YTV Psykoblast Tour.

With their self-titled debut album headed for gold and a pair of videos for singles Love Will Find a Way and I Understand in the MuchMusic mix, the pair are in the middle of a six-week road trip that included a recent tour of the Maritimes with The Moffatts.

"When you have three cities on opposite ends of the country in three days you don't have a lot of time to smell the roses," McMaster, 25, said from Toronto before the opening Psykoblast show Friday.

"It's kind of getting to be a little bit of a blur. Maybe when I'm in my rocking chair by the fire when I'm 60 years old I'll have time to reminisce."

Until then, McMaster and partner James, 22, are living in the moment and savouring some of the experiences they've shared since their first single was released last fall -- shortly after they were featured on special packages of Kellogg's Corn Pops cereal.

"There are certain moments when it's a real high, when you really connect with the audience. The Pan-Am Games closing show with 50,000 or 60,000 people in Winnipeg, that was a high. And our first Arena show and hearing your song on the radio for the first time," McMaster says.

"I don't remember the date exactly. I was in my car -- the typical kind of thing, driving along -- and all of a sudden your song comes on the radio. And it just happened again -- our new single (I Understand) was just released."

He and James had another memorable moment during their New Year's Eve gig in downtown Winnipeg, when one female fan tossed them an unusual souvenir.

"Yeah, she threw a pair of socks up on the stage, I don't know why," McMaster says, demurring when the topic turns to tossed lingerie, an apparently unwelcome gift.

"Once in a while you kinda get stuff thrown onstage. You deal with it. When something like that is put onstage ... I mean, if it's flowers or something, of course we're going to acknowledge it and be thankful."

McMaster and James are on the Psykoblast bill with Irish quartet mytown, Vancouver boy band soulDecision, The Moffatts and, of course, Aguilera, whom they met in Toronto last year.

"We met her a long time ago actually, probably six or eight months ago. She did a mall appearance, and we're label mates, so we did an impromptu concert," McMaster says.

But during sound checks in Toronto Friday, McMaster and James hadn't yet had any personal contact with the American pop princess.

"She keeps to herself quite a bit. Hopefully, we'll get a chance to hang out with her," he says.

"She's nice. She's under a lot of pressure, and I think she does kind of have a lot of people around her and I think she just kind of needs her space when she's not doing a million interviews. We're artists, too, so we can kind of understand that."

McMaster's mother, who lives in Toronto, attended Friday's concert, and he expects his father to drive in from Brandon for Thursday's show at the Winnipeg Arena.

"It's gonna be huge. It's kind of our second really big show at the Arena and it's our hometown. We've got a lot of really great fans there now. Wherever you play in Canada, obviously you develop a fan base, but Winnipeg is our hometown," he says.

"I can't wait to see everyone again. I'm really looking forward to it."


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