Eric Canori, Rob Reinfurt and Missy Giove got busted. Big time busted. Eric Canori had a pretty lucrative pot franchise. He ran it for several years, undetected. When his cross country courier was pulled over in Illinois, the jig was up.
Canori was arrested in Saratoga County, New York in 2009, a state where medical marijuana laws are pending. Canori, Reinfurt and Giove were charged with federal marijuana trafficking conspiracy.
Giove got six months of home detention and five years probation. Reinfurt got time served and is currently on probation. Canori got 30 months. He started his sentence this last January.
According to The Times Union, cops seized nearly 400 pounds of pot from a truck driven by Giove and from Canori’s Wilton, New York home. Agents found nearly $2.5 million in cash as well. Canori had also buried gold bars worth $2 million in lot adjacent to a business he owned. He handed that over to the feds in order to fulfill his forfeiture of $5.25 million.
This is not your small time pot operation but it’s also not a drug cartel. Still, the feds couldn’t walk away from the haul and so Canori is serving time.
Before the nightmare of a federal charge, Rob Reinfurt was happily pursuing music. He is the lead singer of The Weekenders, an emerging and popular alt rock, indie band out of Salt Lake City. They played at this year’s Sundance Festival.
Reinfurt is not a big pot guy. He likes his sobriety and was helping his friend Canori with small things for the pot operation such as packaging. He had just barely gotten into the game when things fell apart. As soon as he heard about Canori’s arrest, he had a feeling his days were numbered.
An Album Surfaces
As part of the condition of their sentences, Reinfurt and Canori are not allowed to have any contact. So Reinfurt, needing to tell his friend how he felt and to give him some courage in prison, he wrote a song “Chin Up” hoping that Canori would hear it. He also wrote an album along with his band The Weekenders, Don’t Plan On, based on his experience surrounding the bust and the aftermath. Reinfurt says that he heard through the grapevine that Canori has indeed heard the song.
Don’t Plan On has a heavy sound and Reinfurt’s vocals evoke a bit of Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes with a dash of Jack White.
The track “Missy” definitely shares Reinfurt’s sense of betrayal and anger at the time but he’s since moved on. I asked how he feels about Giove now. “I don’t hate her. I wish her the very best.”
“I was packaging and wasn’t interested in hauling anything. I’m not totally innocent but I wasn’t in deep either. Eric and I have been friends for over 10 years so I was just doing it to make something extra on the side,” Reinfurt says.
Reinfurt says that writing songs about his experience was the only way to deal with his experience because he couldn’t discuss his case with anyone.
Locked in his isolation, Reinfurt, a drummer, began to find his voice and express his rage, relief and redemption. “It was the worst and best event in my life. I wouldn’t take it back for a second because I learned so much about myself. You find out who you are and it has made me focus on what I want to do with my life,” Reinfurt says.
The album definitely carries the weight of Reinfurt’s experience. The tempo throughout the album is slowly paced as if Reinfurt and The Weekenders are taking their time, mulling things over. Reinfurt recorded Don’t Plan On in his spare bedroom in Utah and is a fairly strong debut record.
The instrumental track “Penn Station” has a surrealistic quality to it while “Twenty Armed Men” takes Reinfurt back to that initial bust and questioning. But there are other moments on Don’t Plan On that are universally good and gritty. “Yankee Easy Sugar” stands out.
Even as pundits grapple over the legalization of marijuana, Rob is focused on Eric’s day-to-day mental state and the core of his creative spirit as well as his own. Reinfurt has no doubt about how Canori will handle his time in prison. “He’s strong, he’s intelligent. He’ll probably get in great shape, read. He’s as sharp as he’s ever been. I believe that. I also think this is the best thing that could have happened to Eric.”
Reinfurt found his way from the drum kit to the mic in a little ski town called Alta, Utah. “There was this tiny bar. And I started going up and playing some of these songs. No one knew what had happened to me and Eric. The small group gathered there gave me such an overwhelming response. I was blown away.” A singer/songwriter was born.
Reinfurt had already picked up a pen but his was his arrest and frantic trip through the justice system that drew sparks at the end of it and gave him a safe house from the storm.
As for plans for his own future, Reinfurt is excited. The Weekender’s guitarist Mike Sasich is building a state-of-the-art studio in Salt Lake and the band is coming together for their next album once construction is completed.
I ask Reinfurt if The Weekenders’ next record will have threads of his experience still running through the songs. “I don’t know. Who knows? We’ll see what we come up with. I may still need to say something.”
Before we hang up, I also ask Reinfurt what would he say to Canori besides what he’s already said in “Chin Up” and across the whole of Don’t Plan On. Reinfurt hesitates for a beat and I can hear the smile break across the many miles between Salt Lake and Los Angeles. “You know what to do. You know what your passion is.”
Watch Reinfurt’s “Chin Up” for Eric Canori, directed by Nick Steffens
The Weekenders are:
Rob Reinfurt – Guitar, Vox
Mike Sasich – Guitar
Mike Torgerson – Bass
Shaun Thomas – Drums
Don’t Plan On Tracklisting:
1. Yankee Easy Sugar
2. Hard Woman
3. Twenty Armed Men
4. Open Lands
6. 65 Dove St.
7. Don?t Plan On
9. Somatic Spirit
10. Penn Station