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contents CM November/December 2016 Vol. XXXVIII, No. 6




34 Making the Most of

Finger Eleven’s Newfound DIY Attitude

Sum 41



Second Chances

Outfitting a room with Primacoustic’s London 12 Room Kit plus Positive Grid’s BIAS FX guitar effects processor. Anthony Michelli & our panel have plenty of advice for drummers, Pg.49

DEPARTMENTS 9 12 18 19 64 71 74 76 78

Feedback Changes CM Radio Events Hot Gear Advertisers’ Index Tech Tools Classifieds Showcase

31 32 58 59 60 62

Digital Music – Niva Chow Vocals – June Garber Writing – Dru Recording – Noah Mintz Live Sound – Paul White Business – Paul Sanderson

COLUMNS 25 26 27 28 29 30

Guitar – Peter Serravalle Keyboards – Attila Fias Bass – Rob Higgins Percussion – Robb Ryan Woodwinds – Dan Schnee Brass – Paul Baron

By Adam Kovac Talking about Sum 41’s new album, 13 Voices, frontman Deryck Whibley almost subconsciously slips into a speech about how lucky he is to still be breathing.

Keep Your Body in Tune

Fitness Tips for Musicians

By Mike Schwartz Poor nutrition, plenty of stress, and physical injuries – all can limit the enjoyment we get out of music. Let’s get to the root of these issues and share some solutions!



Tips for Tackling the Road – Part 1


By Liam Duncan If you take even half of the advice offered here and put it into action, you’ll be leagues ahead of most bands that are hitting the road for the first time.

Advice from the Academics


Canadian Musician’s 2016 Percussion Special

Check out our columns for musings from Niva & Rob of Dearly Beloved

By Richard Moore Some of Canada’s top percussion teachers have advice for drummers looking to break into the music industry – and those who are on their way to doing so. EDITOR ANDREW KING ASSISTANT EDITOR MICHAEL RAINE CONTRIBUTING WRITERS


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Join The Conversation On #Twitter


Follow @cdnmusician on Twitter for the latest industry news and fun and interesting finds from across the web. Your tweet just might end up on this page…

Basia Bulat performs at the 2016 Polaris Prize gala.

Your Source for Festival & Event Recaps

Canadian Musician correspondents Samantha Everts and Mark Matusoff have stayed busy into the fall season covering festivals and other events. Head over to for write-ups and photo libraries from the 2016 Polaris Music Prize gala, Toronto Urban Roots Festival, and more.

#CMRadio – Your Source for Music Industry Info Every week, Canadian Musician radio brings you inside information from the Canadian music industry alongside candid interviews with your favourite artists. Check out recent episodes for info on how money from music streaming is disseminated, the rise of Canadian country music, and a recap of BreakOut West 2016. Plus, we’ve got recent interviews with the likes of David Clayton-Thomas (pictured), Cowboy Junkies, Slaves on Dope, Dan Mangan, The Balconies, and many more. New episodes of Canadian Musician Radio go live every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET at, and you can also stream any of our previous episodes on demand and at your leisure. Reach out to us at with ideas or comments for future episodes of the show. W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M


Photo: Dustin Rabin

Finger Eleven’s Newfound DIY Attitude They’ve been one of Canadian rock’s most popular bands for over 15 years, but even Finger Eleven had to learn to stretch budgets and take on more tasks themselves

“My perspective is maybe very different than your readers’ because we’ve had many, many years of success and are now having a chance to almost take an outside look at ourselves and reduce it down to its honest elements again,” offers Finger Eleven guitarist and founding member James Black. His band, of course, has been very successful. After forming in the early 1990s and slogging it out in rehearsal spaces and dive bars for nearly 10 years, they found mainstream success with the 2000 LP The Greyest of Blue Skies. The album kicked off years of commercial growth, with their next two albums, 2003’s self-titled release and 2007’s Them vs. You vs. Me, both going platinum in Canada and the latter’s single “Paralyzer” going double-platinum in the U.S. After two decades and six albums, including last year’s Five Crooked Lines, as well as countless tours, Finger Eleven has learned the lessons of success and failure in an industry that looks much different than it did when they were young. For a recent acoustic tour with American band 10 Years, the members of Finger Eleven saw a chance to go back to basics. Actually, it was very basic for a band that had gotten used to tour buses, crews, riders, and the other conveniences of mid- and large-scale tours. For this, it was just the 10 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

band members travelling in a van, no techs, and bassist Sean Anderson even booking the hotels himself. “Just that one tour, we found that a lot of the functions that you get on the bigger tours, like all the amenities and stuff, they add up and that’s a lot of dollars and a lot of money that could be spent on other parts of the band that end up being a sandwich tray that sits on a table in a room that nobody goes into all day,” says Black. Putting himself back in the mindset of an up-and-coming band, Black says for any band or artist who sees gradual success, the tendency is for each tour to be slightly bigger or nicer than the last. “The nature of touring is that it will always want to bloat and get bigger,” he warns. “You’ll want to hire another guy to do this and another guy to do that and you want to have a bigger rider and all that, and it’s amazing, but it’s all coming from somewhere. It sucks to be the guy who is thinking that way because I remember being like, ‘No, I want the free food and the free booze and I don’t give a fuck where it comes from.’ But looking back at it now with a little bit of wisdom, all that stuff, the people involved and everyone you add to it, make sure it’s worth it because that is what you end up trying to pay to

maintain. That’s really what sustaining your band is, is earning enough money to keep the thing going and the wheels greased.” Black and Anderson acknowledge that for the tour with 10 Years, because they were in an opening slot, they were able to avoid many costs that come with being on a headlining tour, but there were still lessons to learn. “Hotels is a big one,” says Anderson. “Now I’m 44, and I mention that because I was reading about a young band and basically they wouldn’t spend money on hotels. They would stay at people’s houses or connect through social media and be like, ‘Hey, you can stay at my place when you’re in town and we’ll stay at your place when we’re in your town.’ I looked that and thought, ‘That’s pretty cool,’ but I don’t know if I’d be up for doing that now at this stage in the game because now we’re older. If you’re 22 or something, I could see that. But that was pretty cool because otherwise it costs a lot of money to tour. For us, it is just looking to see, really, ‘OK, what do we really need?’ The tough part about that, of course, is balancing it out because you don’t want to sell the show short, either.” The other balancing act Anderson says they had to learn is to weigh cost and comfort. They’d double up two to a room

many nights to cut costs, but Anderson would also book separate rooms for days off when they’d be spending more time at the hotel, for example, so as to avoid band members killing each other. Off the road, budgets across the board aren’t what they used to be when Finger Eleven broke out in 2000 and record labels

were flush with cash. As such, the band has learned to save where possible and utilize their skills. A good example is the video for the 2015 single “Not Going to Be Afraid.” Their label said there wasn’t a budget for a video, so they did it themselves. Black has a passion for animation and some experience directing short films, so he and a friend created an elaborate animated video for the song themselves. “Our budget was non-existent. I did the treatment on it and a black and white storyboard of the whole thing and I submitted it to some great production houses that we’d made videos with in the past and they all came back with a rather large budget to get it done,” he recalls. “[The label was] like, ‘No, no, no, a tenth of that.’ W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M

So I knew exactly how I wanted this to be and it is almost like a gesture, this budget compared to how much work is going to be put into this and Rich [Misener] was in for the challenge. It looked like we weren’t really going to get to have anything otherwise, or it was going to be something very cheap.” Budget-wise, it was far cry from the expensive videos Finger Eleven’s label funded in the past for “Paralyzer” or “One Thing,” but like Black says, when it comes

to items such as videos, photography, or album art, if you’re not given the budget, someone still needs to do it. “At some point it was all very, very expensive, and then all of a sudden people are able to do it with their own computer and almost their own phone. Then you start to get a little bit of a shift, I suppose, where it is like, you can have that big budget thing if you have $200,000, but if you don’t, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of the road. It just means you need a more creative idea.” The great misconception among unsigned artists, Black says, is a label deal will take the weight of money and responsibility off their shoulders. “I think that is kind of the grand illusion – that if you get signed, all your troubles go away. But what happens is

you get signed and, until that point, you’ve basically been in training and now you get to go to work. You get signed and now you’re in the game. I’ve seen bands who get a big advance, buy a bunch of nice gear, and then just coast, and we didn’t see them around anymore after that. It’s just really your chance to get into the bigger game and be on your top game the whole time.” Lastly, Black warns any artist starting to experience commercial success to only bring people onto the team who offer skills that are lacking elsewhere. “Every person you add in there, as long as they can keep saying ‘yes’ to [the question], ‘Hey, do you actually bring something to the equation?’ then they belong there. When success and momentum start coming, then people start showing up that don’t really do much, but they look busy so they get to get on the train.” He advises looking inside the band, and taking advantage of the individual members’ talents to trim the budget. If a band like Finger Eleven – who have experienced platinum albums, multiple JUNO Awards, sold out arenas, and $200,000 music videos – thinks it’s worth it to book their own hotels, make their own videos, and lug their own gear, then it’s a safe bet anyone reading this could do the same. “A lot of musicians say, and I get it, ‘I just want to play and I don’t care about money,’ but the same guy who says that at some point will come to you and say, ‘I thought I was going to get paid X amount of money for this?’” says Anderson in closing. “I think if you can be smart about it and look after the money, then it kind of frees you up to be creative. It hopefully takes that stress off so that when you’re being creative and being a band, you’re hopefully not worrying about that.”

Michael Raine is the Assistant Editor of Canadian Music Trade.

C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 11



With the introduction of a new Single Award, Music Canada’s gold/platinum certification and awards program now includes streams towards digital track certifications. The new Single Award combines on-demand audio streams from subscripBRETT KISSEL (SECOND FROM RIGHT) WITH WARNER MUSIC CANADA STAFF & THE SINGLE AWARD FOR “AIRWAVES.” tion services with digital download and physical single sales. Streams can be used toward certification using a conversion formula of 150 streams equaling one unit sold towards certification. This 150:1 ratio is consistent with Music Canada’s major global counterparts. Streaming data from YouTube/VEVO videos is not accepted towards certification. Music Canada’s new certification definitions page has also been updated on its website at

Jann Arden & Arthur Fogel to Receive Hall of Fame Honours at CMW


Canadian Music Week (CMW) has announced that Jann Arden and tour promoter Arthur Fogel are the 2017 inductees to the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame. Both will be inducted in April during CMW 2017 in Toronto. “Jann Arden is an award-winning musician, best-selling author, TV host, and one of Canada’s best-loved celebrities. With 13 albums to her credit, she is known for her artistic integrity, wit, and humour as much as she is for her music. We are proud to have this award-winning artist join the Hall of Fame alumni at Canadian Music Week,”

says CMW President Neill Dixon. Fogel is known for having produced some of the most successful tours in history. As part of Live Nation, the largest concert promotion company in the world, he reunited The Police, saved Lady Gaga from bankruptcy, and has managed four of the top five highest-grossing tours in history. In a film celebrating his career, entitled Who the F**k is Arthur Fogel, U2 frontman Bono calls him, “Clearly the most important person in the live music world. We’re not stupid. There’s only one of him.” For more information, go to ARTHUR FOGEL

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Music Canada’s New Single Award Certification Incorporates Streams

SoundCloud Go Launches in Canada; Reaches Agreements with SOCAN & CSI SoundCloud has launched its new consumer subscription service, SoundCloud Go, in Canada. Additionally, in line with the launch, SoundCloud has reached agreements with SOCAN and CMRRA-SODRAC Inc. (CSI), which they say will enable new creative, commercial, and promotional opportunities for songwriters, composers, and music publishers in Canada. This includes providing SOCAN and CSI’s members and clients with the opportunity to generate revenue when their work is played on the platform. SoundCloud’s free service will be supported by audio advertising, in-stream native ads, video ads, promoted profiles, creator partnerships, and more. The introduction of advertising on the free version of SoundCloud allows creators to be paid for the work they share. For more information, go to


CMPA Elects Vincent Degiorgio as President The Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) has announced the election of Vincent Degiorgio as president of its board of directors. Degiorgio is president of Cymba Music Publishing, a division of Chapter 2 Productions Inc. He is also a celebrated songwriter, whose most recent work with Dutch pop star Caro Emerald eclipsed the two million album threshold. He has served and continues to serve on the boards of the Songwriters Association of Canada and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and on the advisory board of Musicians’ Rights Organization Canada. Degiorgio will be taking the place of Jodie Ferneyhough, who was CMPA president for the past 13 years. Ferneyhough will remain on the CMPA board as VP moving forward. For more information, contact CMPA: 416-926-1966 ext.310,,

W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M

C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 13




KoSA Brings the Beat to Cuba, Italy & Beyond

2016 Polaris Heritage Prize Winning Albums Revealed This year’s winning albums of the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize were revealed on Oct. 24th. The winners were chosen from four short lists, each representing a different musical era, and two winners for each era were chosen – one by public vote and one by the juries. The winners of the 2016 Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize are: 1960-1975 Public: Neil Young – After the Gold Rush Jury: Leonard Cohen – Songs of Leonard Cohen 1976 – 1985 Public: Rush – Moving Pictures Jury: Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Kate & Anna McGarrigle 1986-1995 Public: Blue Rodeo – Five Days in July Jury: Mary Margaret O’Hara – Miss America 1996-2005 Public: Arcade Fire – Funeral Jury: Lhasa – La Llorona For more information, go to

Montreal-based KoSA Music has announced that online registration for the 2017 edition of its annual KoSA Cuba Drum and Percussion Workshop is now open. The event will return to Havana, Cuba from March 5-12, 2017. This one-week study program includes activities and concerts of the Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival, with individuals and performing groups welcome. Attendees experience intensive hands-on daily classes with prominent Cuban artists, as well as concerts, lectures, and historical and cultural visits. All instruments are supplied onsite and university credits are available. In other KoSA news, this summer, the organization transferred its annual workshop and drum camp from the mountains of Vermont to the mountains of Calabria, Italy, in the seaside resort town of Locri. This year’s teaching faculty included the likes of Rick Latham, Massimo Cusato, Andrea Piccioni, Mario DeCiuttis, and Alan Molnar. For more information, contact KoSA: 514-482-5554,,

IFPI Report: Canada Lags Behind in Music Consumption The IFPI has released its Music Consumer Insight Report 2016, which studied music consumption in Canada and 12 other markets. The report indicates that only 64 per cent of Canadian internet users engage with licenced music, compared to the global average of 71 per cent. In Canada, only 27 per cent of music consumers use music streaming services, with just 11 per cent paying for a service, which leaves much room for growth. Over a six month span, 76 per cent of Canadian internet users listened to music on YouTube. Of those, 85 per cent used YouTube to hear music they already knew rather than discover new music.

iHeartRadio Launches in Canada In collaboration with Bell Media, digital audio service iHeartRadio is now available in Canada. Featuring streaming channels and music events, the digital radio service is free to Canadians via iOS and Android apps and at The iHeartRadio Canada digital service includes music, news/talk, comedy, and sports radio stations owned by Bell Media, Canada’s largest radio broadcaster with 105 licensed English and French radio stations, plus more than 100 additional curated streaming music channels. iHeartRadio Canada has also announced the inaugural iHeartRadio Canada Jingle Ball, with a lineup featuring The Weeknd, The Chainsmokers, Alessia Cara, Hedley, and more on Nov. 25th at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. For more information, go to 14 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N


… During a Music Cities workshop in September with 150 representatives from chambers of commerce across the country, Music Canada unveiled its Music Cities Toolkit that it custom-built for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s network of 450 members and boards of trade, in all regions of the country. The toolkit was designed to provide chambers of commerce with “a roadmap and guide to activate the power of music in their communities.” For more information, contact Music Canada: 416-967-7272,,

The Junction Animates the Stories Behind Canadian Musical Collaborations The Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) has released a series of animated YouTube short films called The Junction. The series sees Canada-based artists telling the funny and often unexpected stories of how they met and the music they created together. The six shorts bring to life “moments of musical magnetism,” from Grammy winner and piano maestro Chilly Gonzales and rock provocateur Peaches’ first meeting at a basement jam session to the shared love for Brazilian music that brought 2016 Polaris Prize winner Kaytranada and 2016 RBMA participant River Tiber together. Other featured artists include Junior Boys, Jessy Lanza, A-Trak, BadBadNotGood, and more. To watch The Junction episodes as they’re released, go to Red Bull Music Academy’s YouTube channel at

… SOCAN has partnered with Re:Sound and tech startup Core Rights to build a Canada-wide digital marketplace for licensing music rights. The three parties say the new intelligent, blockchain-enabled solution is designed to be simple and a highly efficient one-stop-shop for businesses to licence music for use in a general way, such as restaurants, hairdressers, dentists’ offices, retail stores, and so on. For more information, contact SOCAN: 416-445-8700,

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C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 15





SOCAN Honours Francophone Songwriters at Montreal Gala The 27th edition of SOCAN’s Montréal Awards Gala was held in September at the Métropolis in Montréal to celebrate the careers and accomplishments of francophone songwriters, composers, and music publishers. The Cultural Impact Award was presented to French-Canadian songwriter Stéphane Venne for his anthem “Le début d’un temps nouveau.” Ariane Moffatt received the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year award and was also honoured with a SOCAN Popular Song Award for “Debout.” The international achievements of two young singer-songwriters, Cœur de pirate and Grimes, were honoured with the SOCAN International Award. Cœur de pirate also received a Popular Song Award for her hit, “Carry On.” The SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Richard Séguin, one of Québec’s most iconic artists, whose career spans four decades. For more information, including a full list of winners, go to

The 14th Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMAs) were held in Regina, SK during the BreakOut West conference and festival, with a concert-oriented awards show held on Oct. 13th. New for 2016, many of the genre-specific artistic WCMAs were presented at the festival showcases. As part of the gala, Colin James was inducted into the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Other winners included The Bros. Landreth for BreakOut Artist of the Year, show host Brett Kissel for Country Artist of the Year, SonReal for Rap/Hip Hop Artist of the Year, and Yukon Blonde for Recording of the Year. In addition to the awards show and festival, the BreakOut West Conference provided educational and networking opportunities for artists. There were one-on-one mentor sessions and pitch sessions, panels, discussions, and keynotes with over 70 talent buyers, label reps, managers, agents, music supervisors, social media and marketing experts, music association reps, and funding experts guiding artists through the maze that is the music industry. For more information, including the full list of WCMA winners, go to

National Music Centre Names Artists in Residence The National Music Centre (NMC) has announced the first five acts that have been selected to participate in its Artist in Residence program for the fall/winter 2016 pilot season. Selected artists include: Ariane Mahrÿke Lemire (singer-songwriter, Edmonton); Jeremy Dutcher (classical, Toronto); Joshua Van Tassel and James Bunton (electronic, Halifax/Toronto); Quinsin Nachoff (jazz, Brooklyn/Toronto); and Rococode (indie/electro-pop, Vancouver). Chosen artists were selected based on artistic merit, validity, and impact. Seven more artists will be announced later this year. In addition to accessing the NMC’s collection in the composition and recording of new music, all of the residencies will be complemented by an artist talk, live performance, or workshop at Studio Bell. More details on special shows and events will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, go to ARIANE MAHRŸKE LEMIRE

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Registration Open for CMW Music Summit Registration is now open for the 2017 edition of Canadian Music Week’s Music Summit, a three-day conference to be held in April 2017 in Toronto that brings together influential representatives from all areas of the Canadian and international music business to discuss and educate attendees on all areas of the industry. The Music Summit is designed for both industry executives and recording professionals focused on the business of global music. Encompassing three days of dedicated programming streams focused on Social Music, Live Touring, and the Global Creators Summit, it features keynotes, celebrity interviews, breakout sessions, and workshops. For more information, go to

Submissions Welcome for Inaugural Canadian Songwriting Competition Canadian songwriters can now submit entries for the inaugural edition of the Canadian Songwriting Competition (CSC), which will award more than $35,000 in cash and prizes. The grand prize winner will receive $5,000 in cash, a business-builder package from Canadian Musician, a round-trip flight to anywhere in Canada, consulting with publisher peermusic Canada, a Noize Faktory prize pack to record, mix, master, and package a three-song EP, an artist website refresh from NWC Marketing Services, an accounting consultation session from This Is the Deal Inc., a photo shoot from Ryan Nolan Photography, and one week of accommodations at SOCAN House in either Los Angeles or Nashville. There are additional prizes for the winners in each of the 14 genre-specific categories. For more information, go to


mark your Calendar...

Indie Week Canada Returning to Toronto in November More than 200 emerging bands and artists are set to take to stages across Toronto for Indie Week Canada 2016, which will be held at 20 venues throughout the city from Nov. 15-20. The Indie Week Canada festival, which celebrates emerging artists, features a curated line-up of new talent from across the globe, as well as headliners like Finger Eleven. The festival kicks off with the Indie Week Canada Launch Party on Nov. 15th. Last year’s party brought together more than 400 VIPs, bands, filmmakers, and delegates. The awards ceremony recognizing the festival’s most outstanding acts closes Indie Week Canada on Nov. 20th. The coveted “Best of the Fest” award will be handed out, with the winner headlining Indie Week Europe in Manchester. The Indie10 conference is also returning, featuring industry panels on digital media, tech, demo listening, mentorship sessions, and more. For more information, go to

Canadian Musician surveyed musicians across the country to learn about their experiences touring and playing shows outside their home market.

g n i r u DIY TUoRVEY S

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of respondents are solo or part of duo, with 31% in a 3-4 member band


of respondents have toured outside their home province & 11% plan to do so within a year


were the headlining or only act for their last show/tour, with 19% in an opening or direct support slot


would prefer to be the headlining act for a show outside their home region (see our DIY Touring feature on pg. ?? for why this is not always ideal)


say their biggest obstacle to touring is finding paid gigs… 22% says it’s travel & accommodations costs


of respondents say they or a band member book the gigs… 11% have a professional manager/agent handle it.


have never applied for a grant to help with touring costs C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 17

See the complete results at


SAM ROBERTS For the full interview, listen to the Aug. 24, 2016 episode

For the full interview, listen to the Sept. 21, 2016 episode CM: Because you’re friends with guys in The Tragically Hip and are a politically and socially active artist, I’m curious what you thought of Gord Downie using his platform during the band’s nationally-televised concert to bring attention to the situation of indigenous peoples in the north? Good: I thought it was great and, despite the situation going on with Gord, I think any opportunity you can take, you should, and the issue he brought up is a very important issue. My wife is First Nations and it’s a very, very important issue. Her grandmother was in the residential school system and I’ve seen the generational effects of it. I think it’s massively important. I think there is a huge problem with the public’s perception of what people in the arts are and aren’t allowed to say. I find it very interesting because if you look at the greatest artists of all time, how they were as people was so vastly disagreeable to how people would want musicians or artists or actors to be today. Everyone’s got to be morally perfect and say the right thing and whatever. So many of the greatest minds artistically throughout history have been the complete opposite of that, but being as compelling as they were, there were a lot of them that challenged things and they’re to be respected for it. When it comes to anything, whether you’re a chef or you play in a band, if you’re educated about what you’re talking about, then you’re educated about it. If you’re just basically talking out of your ass, then that’s another thing.

(AKA YOUR BOY TONY BRAXTON) For the full interview, listen to the Sept. 7, 2016 episode CM: On the new album, Adult Contempt, the lyrics seem to be split between humour or novelty and the very artistic and personal. How do you feel about that dichotomy? Shad: That’s the most interesting part of it for me. I’m constantly trying to get my head around it, too. It’s weird because it’s quite vulnerable and sincere, and at the same time, it’s kind of more light and comedic than anything I’ve ever done. It’s weird for me; I’m still trying to fully grasp what the split is but that is what makes it interesting for me, actually, as well – that it’s both of those things kind of at the same time. It’s been like that kind of from the beginning, even through the whole recording process and every song. Trying to finesse it and get it in the range of humour and sincerity or irony and sincerity every single song, almost, is tricky.



CM: When Lo-Fantasy was released in 2014, on-demand streaming was still in its infancy, but now this year, money from streaming has surpassed the revenue from traditional music sales. Is that something you’ve started to feel the effects of and that you guys consider in any capacity when looking at how TerraForm performs versus your back catalog? Roberts: It’s certainly part of the conversation all the time because we try to understand the environment we’re putting music out into. Like you say, it’s constantly shifting, so every time we put something out, it seems like what was then the norm has become something else. Things tend to go from brand new to of-thepast in such a frighteningly short period of time these days that it really can’t be too much of the conversation when it comes to making a record. I think if the whole idea now is just to have one or two or a few songs streaming as much as possible in order to catch fire, so to speak, or generate as much income or attention as possible, it puts the album format in jeopardy. I think the album format has been in jeopardy … for a long time now because it’s so easily fragmented and so easily digested in smaller pieces that it calls into question, for some people, its validity going forward. From an artistic standpoint, I think [the album format] is still significant … that you have these threads – musically, lyrically, sonically – between songs and that people see this is a real picture of your mindset as a songwriter and musician over a period of time and that they experience it that way rather than carved up. Of course, [listeners] are going to do whatever they want, really, but I can’t make a record saying that is what it is destined for, to be sliced up into little pieces.

Listen to new episodes of Canadian Musician Radio every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET at After premiering, each episode is archived at the site and can be accessed at any time or downloaded as an iTunes podcast.

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Indie Week Canada 2016

Folk Alliance International Conference

Toronto, ON November 15-20, 2016,

Kansas City, MO February 15-19, 2017 816-221-3655,

M for Montreal 2016


Montreal, QC November 16-19, 2016 514-925-0050, FAX 514-925-0056,

South by Southwest 2017 Austin, TX March 10-19, 2017 512-467-7979


Toronto, ON November 30-December 3, 2016 416-356-8626,

Mobile Beat DJ Show & Conference Las Vegas, NV March 13-16, 2017 515-986-3344,


MTNA National Conference

Canadian Folk Music Awards 2016

Toronto, ON December 1-3, 2016 844-763-2362,

Baltimore, MD March 18-22, 2017 513-421-1420, FAX 513-421-2503,

JUNO Week 2017

JANUARY Eurosonic Noorderslag Music Conference & Festival

Ottawa, ON March 27-April 2, 2017 416-485-3135, FAX 416-485-4978,




Visit for more events involving Music, Musical Instruments, Professional Audio, Lighting, & Production.


APRIL ASCAP I Create Music Expo Los Angeles, CA April 13-15, 2017 800-278-1287

Canadian Music Week 2017

Toronto, ON April 18-22, 2017 905-858-4747, FAX 905-858-4848

East Coast Music Week 2017

Saint John, NB April 26-30, 2017 902-423-6770, FAX 888-519-0346,


Hollywood, CA April 30-May 2, 2017 323-782-0770

MAY Worldwide Radio Summit 2017

Hollywood, CA May 3-5, 2017 323-782-0770

Groningen, The Netherlands January 11-14, 2017

20th Annual Maple Blues Awards

Toronto, ON January 23, 2017 416-538-3885,

Orlando International Guitar & Music Expo Orlando, FL January 27-29, 2017 850-962-4434,

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C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 19

ROAD TEST Positive Grid BIAS FX Amplifier & Effects Processor Plug-In By Hal Rodriguez


IAS FX is a guitar amplifier and effects processor plug-in from Positive Grid designed to give recording guitarists realistic recreations of popular amplifiers and pedals in the digital realm. The plug-in is available for both Windows and Mac and works with several DAWs, including staples like Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic Pro, and GarageBand. Designed with an intuitive interface, BIAS FX comes with 24 electric guitar amp models, three acoustic guitar amps, five bass amps, 29 speaker cabinets, and over 60 effects pedals with the option of purchasing expansion packs online. For this review, I tested BIAS FX with GarageBand 10 on my MacBook Pro. Interface BIAS FX was quick to install, taking up 700 MB of disc space and requiring a minimum of 4 GB of RAM. Once it’s added to a track like a regular plug-in, the software only takes a few seconds to load and the processing can be heard immediately on the guitar signal. BIAS FX’s interface is attractive and straightforward to use. There are no complicated submenus and it loads up with a preset pedalboard displayed as a signal chain. The signal flow is arranged traditionally with compressors and overdrives starting on the left, amplifiers in the middle, and modulation, EQs, and reverbs last, although they can be rearranged in any order by simply dragging and dropping the individual components. Pedals and amps can be turned off or removed entirely and new ones can be added to create large rigs, including a dual-amp rig. Clicking once on an item in the chain brings up its control knobs for tweaking and you can even change the cabinet and mic placement on an amp. Finally, double clicking on an item lets you to swap it for a different model from BIAS FX’s library. The amps and pedals in BIAS FX are well categorized and the graphics mimic the aesthetic look of the well-known brands they are designed to replicate, so it didn’t take long to find what I was looking for when browsing the library. It was easy to save, edit, 20 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

and delete my customized rigs and to scroll through other presets, which include tones designed by artists such as Marty Friedman and Tosin Abasi. One of my favourite features is the ToneCloud, which allowed me to upload and share my rig with other BIAS FX users, as well as preview and download their pedalboards in a matter of seconds. It was fun and educational to see how other users were crafting tones for different styles or recreating the sounds of their favourite guitarists.

dynamics of my playing and there was no latency, so BIAS FX “felt” just as good to play through as it ultimately sounded. The plethora of other pedals I wouldn’t normally own such as octavers and pitch shifters sparked my creativity to record layers of guitars and create sounds I hadn’t before. I also enjoyed being able to easily re-amp my tracks in real time with no delays. This was useful for trying to make a guitar track sit better in the mix, or if I simply changed my mind and wanted to switch tones.

Performance I was pleased to find the sonic realism of the amps and pedals in BIAS FX impressive and inspiring. Distorted tones are heavy and rich in harmonics, making palm muted riffs and soaring solos a joy to play. Lead guitarists will be delighted to know that all the overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals are musical and versatile. The lower gain amps are dynamic and can be injected with a lot of three-dimensional depth with just a touch of reverb, delay, and a subtle boost pedal. I was also taken aback by how good my acoustic guitar’s piezo pickup sounded. In fact, the unique character of the different guitars I tried and their pickups didn’t get lost through BIAS FX’s processing. The plug-in didn’t hide the

Summary BIAS FX is quick and simple to use and has a variety of impressive sounding amps and pedals that make recording guitars fun and easy. It’s refreshing to have such a powerful, flexible effects processor that can produce great-sounding rigs without complex submenus and large manuals. What’s more, Positive Grid’s in-app ToneCloud fosters community and creativity. With so many features that make the quest for better guitar tone more enjoyable and less frustrating and expensive, BIAS FX is a must-own plug-in for today’s guitarist. Hal Rodriguez is a published writer, musician, and freelance music transcriber who has done work for artists such as Oz Noy and Derryl Gabel.

ROAD TEST Primacoustic London 12 Room Kit By Adam Gallant


p for review in this issue is the Primacoustic London 12 Room Kit. This acoustic treatment kit consists of 22 panels that are designed to convert a small room into a workable recording, mixing, and/or listening environment with a live-end, dead-end (LEDE) room configuration. The kit comes with two 24 x 48-in. Broadway Broadband Absorbers, eight 12 x 48-in. Broadway Control Columns, a dozen 12 x 12-in. Broadway Scatter Blocks, and all of the proprietary Impalers and fasteners needed to hang the panels. Preparation & Installation The kit arrived at our studio in two sizable boxes that were easily maneuverable with two people. We requested the Paintable version of the kit as opposed to the fabric-covered line. Each paintable panel consists of a formed, high-density glass wool board with a 22 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

textured, re-paintable latex covering. Painting the panels was quick and painless for us. We were able to set up all of the panels on a big tarp outside. I opted for a heavy coat of latex spray paint for the larger panels and left the smaller Scatter Blocks unpainted. The specifications on the product page include a graph that plots the absorption coefficient against the paint level applied. I enjoy seeing that depth of detail for such a specialized product – a sign of good research and development. The true benefit of the Paintables range is that we’re no longer stuck with the greys, beiges, and whites that standard panels tend to lean towards. For reference, there are some great images on the Primacoustic site that show panels painted to match various wall colours that look particularly good. When it came time to hang our panels, we opted to treat our studio B room. This space hosts a variety of work, from voiceover and

foley recording applications to full-on commercial music production. Primarily, though, the space is used for sound editing and dialogue recording. To give you some context, the room is 14 x 13 ft. with 9.5-ft. tall ceilings. Before the London 12 kit arrived, I had a very basic vocal booth and four DIY acoustic panels opposite the booth to reduce early reflections. The booth was eating up valuable floor space and the minimal panelling left flutter echoes outside the booth. Once we cleared the old panelling (and pretty much everything else) out of the room, I took an acoustical measurement using a Behringer ECM8000 Linear Measurement Condenser microphone and Room EQ Wizard, which is a great piece of room acoustics analysis software available for download online. The room reading was scattered with a sharp -20dB (approx.) dip around 300 Hz.

ROAD TEST I hung the Broadband Absorbers first. These are the largest panels in the kit at 24 x 48 in. and 2 in. thick. Installing them in the corners will up their effectiveness tremendously, not only because the corners are where your low end will resonate, but also as allowed airflow behind the panel will absorb high frequency reflections from the rear. The corner Impalers that come with the kit make hanging these big panels at an angle very easy. With a level, pencil, and drill, our intern and I were able to hang the two corner panels in under 30 minutes. The Impalers allow for a small amount of play when securing the panel, meaning the final leveling can be done with accuracy. Next up to hang were the Control Columns. There are eight in the kit and, like all of the included panels, they have a nice beveled edge. They are designed to absorb and diffuse at and around your sound sources’ primary reflection points. The best way to determine where to position these panels is with a mirror. Get in your listening position and have another person move a mirror along the wall on which you want to hang the panel. Move the mirror laterally until you see the opposing speaker in it, and then hang the panelling in and around this position. Placing panels here will help with clarity and stereo imaging on playback. Having a well-balanced system will not only help your mix but will inevitably help with orchestration decisions in music that serve the stereo soundstage. The control columns were also hung with Impalers. Again, they were easy to finesse into level positions and look very symmetrical with little to no fuss. Eight Control Columns were hung in under an hour. If you feel you have the space, Primacoustic also sells Impalers that will offset the panels from the wall by 3.5 in. This additional airspace will lower the panels’ effective frequency by an additional octave. If I were outfitting a third room with a similar kit, I would opt to roll on latex paint that matched my walls and use the offset impalers to increase the panels’ effectiveness. The 12 Scatter Blocks were the last we hung. Each of these small panels is hung with a single Impaler. I gave myself a challenging layout that I assumed would be tricky

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to hang symmetrically; however, 10 panels went up with little to no effort in under an hour, and they look great. Lots of compliments from clients on the new space. Something worth mentioning is that these panels smelled like white pigment when they were taken out of the box. It’s an earthy, kind of industrial smell. This scent was quickly replaced with the smell of latex spray paint. (Tip: paint outdoors or in a well-ventilated space and wear a mask while painting.) It did take over a week for the room to completely dissipate the paint’s scent. As with any freshly painted space, keep this in mind if you’re planning on working or hosting clients in the room. I should add that the latex covering material has to allow for a certain amount of airflow in order to absorb high frequency information. This makes the panels’ exterior relatively delicate. I also suspect these panels are prone to damage during the shipping process. The manufacturer has affixed a label on the box that advises the receiver to note any shipping damage and report it. This is one way for Primacoustic to ensure their customers are getting what they paid for. Performance The London 12 Room Kit is designed to take a 100- to 200-sq. ft. room and give it the much-desired LEDE configuration. Most of the panels are meant to be hung in and around the sound source with an array of Scatter Blocks behind the listener that act as absorption and diffusion. I opted to put the Scatter Blocks in my dead end as I have heavy drapes behind my listening position that are working effectively. So, how do they sound? The panels have improved the space dramatically without sucking out all of the high end. The room is clear and airy without flutter echoes and, most importantly, comfortable. I took a new measurement of the space using the REW software and was surprised to see the 300 Hz dip completely corrected, and also that some information between 2 K and 8 K was leveled out. The room is by no means without its character, but the clarity of voice, acoustic guitar, and general Pro Tools playback is very noticeable. I’ve built acoustic panelling for four studio spaces since getting into the industry.

With each build, my skills and the quality of the panelling have increased. Also with each build, the time it takes to construct and hang the panelling has grown. A few challenges on my DIY builds I’ve run into are: keeping the panels looking good enough for client work, sourcing the proper insulative filling, and sourcing the tools to not only build but also secure the paneling to walls and ceilings. The Primacoustic kit checks all these boxes with ease. In our Studio A room, it took over five full days of labour to build and hang 12 DIY ceiling-mounted panels. This doesn’t include the time it took to gather all the materials and tools for the build. I also didn’t skimp on materials and paid over $800 CDN for a dozen of the DIYs. The London Room Kits are an ideal solution for someone who doesn’t have the time, tools, or interest to build and hang DIY panelling. For one tenth of the work and a more professional aesthetic, this kit is a no-brainer. Summary In my opinion, room treatment should be among any recordist's top priorities. I’ve had more success with lower-end recording equipment in a treated space when compared to high-end mics, pres, instruments, etc. in untreated rooms. I would hold off buying that next 500 series module or high-end microphone and jump at something that will not only improve what you’re recording, but also improve the quality of the sound being played back through your monitors. Primacoustic is a great Canadian company with a large variety of products for outfitting studios, commercial spaces, and listening spaces. I could see this kit working really well for anyone hosting music lessons in their home or a small studio. It would also serve video editors needing some extra clarity for sound editing. The London 12 Room Kit has added a professional look and sound to our second studio space that has clients complimenting and booking more than ever before. Adam Gallant has worked in all facets of digital audio production, from music composition to location and post audio for television and film. He currently owns and operates The Hill Sound Studio in Charlottetown, PE.

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Peter Serravalle is one of Vancouver’s busiest guitarists. As a live and in-studio session player, Peter is a regular guitar chair for many musical theatre productions throughout Vancouver, as well as a regular guitarist with John William Dexter’s “Bailamos!,” the Vancouver Men’s Chorus, Musical Occasions, and various cover/event bands.

By Peter Serravalle

Tales from the Pit:

Gig Land


t’s funny how so much time is spent in the practice room, in academia, honing one’s skills, but really, in Gig Land, a large part of it all is personality. In the realm of playing in the pit, knowing your stuff and being prepared is an absolute given. Besides knowing your part and how it fits into the overall score, this means getting your doubles together (mandolin, banjo, ukulele, etc.), always being in tune, having backups for your backups (strings, cables, picks), and so on. Beyond that, here is a short list on pit etiquette and professionalism that will take you a long way towards Gig Land.

1. Punctuality For most shows, the unspoken rule for a musician’s call time (unless otherwise requested) is a half-hour before the show; however, I like to get to the theatre at least an hour before. That way I have enough time to tune up and decompress and make sure I am focused and in the zone for the performance. The musical director (MD) should not have to worry if you are going to be on time or not. In fact, it shouldn’t even enter their minds. It’s not their responsibility; it’s yours. Be that person who’s always seen arriving early and ready to go. It will make your experience a whole lot easier and help keep the environment (and MD) relaxed. Seems like an easy enough concept to grasp, right? Well you’d be surprised how many people have trouble with it. Don’t just rely on Google Maps’ drive times; be totally sure and totally punctual.

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2. Subs

3. Attitude

Okay, first of all, let’s all just take a nice, deep breath here. This can be a touchy one – and for good reason. Okay. Ready? Here we go… We all lead busy lives. Especially as working professional musicians, we have a lot on the go in terms of other gigs, teaching, recording, etc. Scheduling conflicts just happen sometimes. That’s life. In fact, if you’re working a lot as a musician, this is a good thing! It means that people want to work with you and that your reputation as a person and player (not mutually exclusive) are spreading like wildfire. Congratulations! That being said, when a sub is brought in, he or she needs to be at a level as to not disturb the quality and consistency of the show. The process of attaining and preparing subs is a relationship in itself. It’s a two-way street. If you’re getting a sub, it’s your responsibility to make sure that they have everything necessary for a seamless performance. Getting the score ahead of time with any changes or cuts, a possible recording of you playing the show, a rundown of equipment needed… all are helpful. If you are the one subbing into a show, it’s imperative that you know the show as well as the main player. What does this mean? This means not only knowing the part but going out of your way to sit in on a few rehearsals and maybe a performance as well. Going out of your way to make the effort is the key here.

This is a broad category, but I’m going to focus on a few specific things. First is your attitude towards your pit-mates. All I am going to say is this: unless you play a flawless show every night, it is no one’s place besides the MD’s to point out other people’s mistakes – especially in public. Concerning funds, it’s a sad fact, but as a working musician, sometimes you’re paid what you’re worth and sometimes you’re not. Music is unlike most other trades or professions. We’re often not paid for our time like other professionals are. If you can’t get behind that, well... you’re in the wrong business. As for the gig, let’s say you’re part of an ensemble that is accompanying and supporting a live performance. What does this mean? It means that the material does not change. It has to be played with consistency and accuracy and demands respect and focus from all involved. Now I know that people can get impatient when we’re playing the same thing every night. Some of us would rather be shedding giant steps in all 12 keys or floating in the ethereal realms of free improvised music. But again, that’s not the gig. Knowing what is required of you and accepting that without any ego will greatly aid you in getting more work. I hope some of these points have been helpful and that you enter every pit with preparation, professionalism, and peace of mind.

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Attila Fias is a pianist, composer, and producer with a passion for blending world music with jazz. He has performed with many outstanding musicians, including Indian stars A.R. Rahman, Zakir Hussain, Hariharan, and Shankar Mahadevan. His latest original jazz album, Ride, was released in October 2016 and is available on iTunes. For information about his various ensembles, videos, CDs, and upcoming performances, visit

By Attila Fias

Applying Indian Musical Concepts To Develop Your Improvising & Composing


uring my latest visit to India, I spent time playing with and listening to some incredible musicians. I learned a lot observing how they improvise and approach their music, and applied some of these concepts to my own perspectives. An effective fundamental concept of Indian classical music is limitation. Setting up limits helps us to focus and build using just the tools (notes) we are working with. It paradoxically gives us a sense of freedom by allowing us to expand on certain musical elements, as other aspects have already been decided ahead of time. We can use this in our improvisations and our compositions and as a developmental device.

Melodic Limitation In the melodic limitations set by Indian ragas (melodic modes), you work with just one musical flavour and elaborate on that. Ragas actually have many characteristics. The notes have to be used in a certain order and are associated with time of day, seasons, moods, and so on – even more limits! The building blocks of ragas are thaats, which don’t have the strict rules associated with ragas. With thaats, you can use the notes freely in any order, so this is a good starting point if you don’t have any experience with Indian music. They are essentially like our scales; in fact, some thaats correspond with western modes, such as Ionian (major), Aeolian (natural minor), Dorian, Lydian etc. In a studio in Mumbai, hearing the amazing violinist Deepak Pandit improvise in a six-note mode on a piece we recorded together, I was astounded at how interesting he was able to make it; how he was able to continually create fresh and compelling music with just those six notes! Recording this piece with him, in the same raga, I 26 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

found myself also having to create engaging accompaniment and improvisation on the piano within these constraints. I had to completely let myself go into the mood created by this raga and it was strangely freeing and exhilarating. I built melodies, chords, and voicings within those notes and was able to come up with quite a few different colours. Check out our piece called “Goddess of Music,” recorded in Mumbai with Pandit and tabla master Rajesh Rajbhatt, to hear what I’m talking about – india/htm. It opens with an elaborate rubato introduction, presenting the raga, and once the tabla is in, we get into the body of the piece, which is in 7/4. I recommend doing this as a practice method: take a western mode and try to improvise exclusively on those notes as a melody. The polyphony of the piano also allows us to explore note combinations, so try to see how many different chord structures you can come up with within these notes. Compose an entire piece this way. When you are tied into only the notes of, say, a Dorian scale, you come to accept this and discover a whole new range of possibilities because you have to. Or try one of these Indian thaats (Ex.1) for a different palette: Ex.1

To quote my dear friend Rajesh Rajbhatt, “To be able to elaborate on just a few notes is where the mastery and beauty of Indian music lies.”

Rhythmic Limitation There are other ways to use this limiting idea. Staying in one rhythmic cycle is a fundamental concept in Indian classical music that can be used as an advanced compositional tactic. Think of it this way: a cycle of 16 is usually four bars of 4/4 in western music. But you can also subdivide it into two bars of 5/4 plus two bars of 3/4, and many other combinations, with the underlying structure remaining 16. You can apply this approach to the rhythmic phrasing of a melody as well, creating polyrhythms. This way, you can build complex rhythmic phrases but the cycle never changes, and eventually everything comes together and lands on beat one. This nicely ties the entire piece together into a framework. The rhythmic elements of Indian classical music can be extremely complex, but they are supported by the cycle, which is unwavering once established. In a move towards simplicity we find complexity; in limitation we find freedom. This is a very intriguing phenomenon that can be explored to strengthen your improvisation and composition.


Rob Higgins is the bass player of Dearly Beloved and hosts two weekly fantasy hockey radio shows for SiriusXM.

By Rob Higgins

The Fuzz Factor


love playing the bass guitar. Clean tones, dirty tones – I love it all. But left to my own devices, I’ll shape and play fuzzy bass sounds all night long. Overdriving a bass signal changes the timbre, increases sustain, adds harmonics, and with the right amount of gain, breaks up the sound enough to create an awesome growl. I’m into the warmer, smoother type of distortion often associated with ‘70s psychedelic music that rounds off the signal peaks as opposed to highlighting the harsh high harmonics you get from some modern fuzz pedals.

Find Your Fuzz Currently, my favourite way to get a good fuzz tone is by using a combination of amps and an old Civil War-era Sovtek Big Muff. I’ll run a Traynor Mono Block through one 410 cab, overloading the pre on it until it sounds right, and then I’ll step on the Muff when I need an extra gear. The overdrive from that pedal works really well with that particular transistor amp. I split the signal from my bass and send the clean sound to an Orange AD200 tube amp that goes into another 410 cab providing a warm boost in the low end. Together, the two amps sound pretty monstrous, and at any point, I have the option to go with one or the other during a show. My preference is to get as much distortion as I can from the amps themselves as opposed to relying on the Big Muff. The pedal’s overdrive level is usually set super low, and most of the grind is coming from the gain stage of the amplifiers. Relying too much on an effects pedal can result in the loss of some bottom end. With overdrive and fuzz, you’re creating frequencies that aren’t present in the original signal. Those frequencies can be W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M

harmonic – whole number multiples of the original frequency – or inharmonic, dissonant odd-order overtones. I’m into the soft clipping that gradually reduces the peaks of a signal, de-emphasizing the higher odd harmonics that hard clipping can produce. Another element that’s important when it comes to getting the type of tonal breakup I like is attack. I don’t use a guitar pick when I play, so when I’m digging in on a bass lead past the 12th fret, I’ll really hammer some of those notes to get to where I want to go dynamically and sonically. As far as basses go, right now nothing beats my ‘63 pre-CBS Fender Precision when it comes to tone. That bass plugged into my rig plays and sings like a dream – one fat warm gnarly dream that maintains more bottom end than my Fender Jazz, which also has its place. Between��these two basses, I can cover all of the ground necessary for Dearly Beloved. In the studio, I love putting my bass tone through a Neve mic pre to further push and refine the dirt. An old Neve pre cranked the right way works beautifully, especially if a Universal Audio 1176 compressor is soon to follow.

  Rob Wright from No Means No, John Entwistle from The Who, Motorhead’s Lemmy – these are the cats that have inspired me since I picked up the bass. Mashers like Mike Watt and Jaco are unreal as well, but tonally, I’m drawn to the uglier side of things. When it comes to bass playing and bass tones, I do love it all. Whatever floats your boat and gets the job done. But for me, personally, there’s nothing like the sustain and overdrive of a good fuzz bass sound sitting in the mix of badass rock and roll. Get out there, play around with different components, and find your fuzz. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 27


Robb Ryan is a drummer, author, and educator whose articles have appeared on and Robb specializes in the work of Gary Chaffee. For more information, visit and

By Robb Ryan

Developing Your Weaker Hand


s drummers, we all face the same dilemma: our weak hand is just not up to par with our lead hand. In most cases, it’s not even close. The reason for this is fairly obvious. We play time with our good hand, and it strikes several times more per measure

than our weak hand. We lead fills with our good hand, we brush our teeth with our good hand, the list goes on… Our weak hand is hung out to dry. Add to this that almost all teachers will tell you that to improve your weak hand, you need to play through stick control and play singles and doubles leading with

Breaking It Down

In Practice

First, let’s dispel the myths. You do not need to push the tempo with your weak hand to get it up to speed. If you look at how your lead hand got to where it is, this becomes obvious; you consistently play a lot of notes with this hand, from the practice room to the stage. While working out coordination patterns, you are playing at a comfortable tempo never really pushing the envelope and this is what creates tension-free playing with the stronger hand. Most drummers that I meet have never had luck developing the weak hand but they push the tempo too fast and get tense. We need to bring the tempo down to a manageable rate and play relaxed. The most important thing here is the amount of notes that we are playing and that they are all played tension free. Obviously, if we play too slowly, there will be minimal carryover effect, but what I have found with my students and myself is that if you are playing from 50 to 70 per cent of your top speed tension free, you will see results fairly quickly with consistent practice.

What I would like to share with you is a couple of exercises that I have used with my students to bring the strength of their weak hand much closer to that of their lead hand. Give these exercises a try every day for the next two months and I’m sure that you’ll see the same results.

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your weak hand. I’m sorry to tell you, but this just doesn’t work! You may see small improvements in balance, which is a good thing, of course, but you will not catch up this way. To really catch up, you have to play a lot of notes with your weak hand. That is exactly what we are going to look at in this article.

Ex. 2 has you play a constant stream of 16 notes with the weak hand on the snare drum and read from Stone’s Stick Control with your feet against it. I like this exercise a lot as it not only builds up the endurance in your weak hand, but it also builds coordination and looks at the oft-forgotten left foot.



Ex. 1 is all played with the weak hand. I suggest using the multiple bounce Moeller technique to pull the accents out, but if you are more comfortable playing a different style, use what works for you. Play this at a tempo that allows you to repeat the exercise comfortably eight times without tension. Do not play it with the lead hand as, remember, the idea here is to catch up!

Remember, the idea here is to clock in some musical mileage with the weak hand and to play tension free. Speed will come quickly with diligent practice. Give these exercises a try and commit to them and you’ll find that your playing is much more balanced in no time.


Dr. Daniel Schnee is an ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist who has performed worldwide with over 20 different JUNO and Grammy Award-winning musicians. He has also been internationally recognized as a graphic score composer, and is a former student of both Ornette Coleman and legendary Japanese GUTAI artist Shozo Shimamoto.

By Dan Schnee

The Jazz Cadenza


ne of the wonderful aspects of jazz is the diversity of styles and techniques. There are more than several lifetimes worth of information to absorb, and hundreds of songs to investigate. Surprisingly, you do not find a lot of discussion about cadenzas in jazz theory and technique books, but they are a very useful and artistic part of the music.

Introducing Cadenzas Now, it is rather easy to assume that jazz cadenzas are just solos on an opening or closing dominant chord, e.g. Miles Davis’ beautiful, dark intro on “Générique,” or any number of final statements on “A Night In Tunisia.” One might also assume that a cadenza segue such as Branford Marsalis’ between “Englishman in New York” to “Sister Moon” (from Sting’s 1988 live performance in Tokyo), for example, is merely filler material. But the simple yet breathtaking beauty of a masterful cadenza should remind us that great music is possible even in the space of a few seconds.

Creating Cadenzas Both beginning and more advanced students can immediately start improving their cadenzas by following a number of basic principles laid out by classical composer D. G. Türk in his 1789 book Clavierschule. In it, he outlines his standards for the proper cadenza, and many of them are excellent “rules of thumb” for jazz as well. First of all, a cadenza should be a creative and interesting summary of the following song. Merely flying through scales and arpeggios is not very interesting or creative without some kind of opening or closing “affirmation” of the song’s mood. Of course, a creative contrast may be an interesting surprise but, for the beginning improviser, sticking to the general feeling of the song is a much safer route. In the case of “A Night in

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Tunisia,” creating a rubato improvisation out of the most memorable rhythms from the song is a fun way to end the piece. Another interesting cadenza concept is the artistic use of (uncluttered) musical space, much like the powerful moments in traditional Japanese Noh theatre. A commonly repeated aphorism by Noh playwright Zeami is senu tokoro ga omoshioki, “What the actor does not do is of great interest.” This idea is directly related to the use of what is known as ma in Japanese fine arts – a profound space, or moment of silence “pregnant” with potential and possibilities. In the case of Noh, this is an emotional state where nothing is being done physically, but an “immense presence” of emotion is felt; thus, during Noh flute lessons I took in Japan, I was constantly reminded to “play” the ura-byoushi – the space between the notes – as consistently as the notes themselves. A cadenza laden with these poignant pauses and silences is a very effective and artistic way of approaching modern jazz. Saxophonist Wayne Shorter uses these concepts to very great effect, especially when he was a member of Miles Davis’ quintet. A cadenza must also modulate “insightfully.” This is where the idea of modal phasing from traditional Arabian music is also a useful principle when applied to jazz cadenzas. Traditional Arab music is organized into modes (maqamaat) and relative melodic phrases and cadences stereotypical of that particular mode. To fully sound a mode in improvisation (taqsim) is a process of fully realizing the musical potential of each section in the mode, usually divided into trichords and tetrachords known as ajna. Each “level’ of the mode must be fully worked and contemplated, and the proper emotive cadence played at the end of that particular level before ascending or descending the mode. A good taqsim is also rhythmically free, and thus an improvi-

sation can be a series of high quality types of cadenza without a time signature. This fits in with another rule for cadenzas: that they not contain unity of meter and tempo. The free-flowing rhythmic aspect of the cadenza leaves space for a lot of expression, and you should take advantage of this rule as tastefully as possible. A good cadenza must also not consist of intentionally added complexities that take away from the original character of the song. If the piece is a slow jazz waltz, then a fiery cadenza filled with random chromaticism is going to ruin the mood. A good cadenza resolves any chromaticism or dissonance, and contains variety, of which rhythm provides an almost endless supply. An exception to this, though, is a very short burst of speed contrasted by returning to the slow pace of the song, though this must be done carefully and tastefully. Another exceptional use is, for example, beginning a final cadenza to a minor key jazz song with a short burst of the symmetrical dominant scale on the final dominant chord before “floating” into the tonic chord to reestablish the mood. Cadenzas should also not be lengthy or repetitious, and this is where young players especially seem to commit the most crime. The mere length of a solo or cadenza is irrelevant to art, and this relates to how erudite a cadenza is; how cleverly it is constructed. A good cadenza is spontaneous, but should come off also feeling like it has a composed quality, worthy of being memorized or transcribed as a work unto itself.

This process of cadenza analysis and practice can take a long time before one can think coherently and artistically in the moment, but following these rules will certainly help you move much further towards that goal.

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Paul Baron is one of today’s most highly-respected lead and commercial trumpet players. His sound is distinctly bright and powerful and carries with it decades of experience in a wide range of musical styles from jazz to rock, big band to musical theatre, and TV jingles to movie soundtracks. As well as being a performing artist for Jupiter Instruments and Pickett Brass with his signature line of mouthpieces, Paul is also an author, educator, and clinician.

By Paul Baron

The Tongue Arch Debate


et’s continue the discussion from the first part of “The Tongue Arch Debate,” where we talked about whether one should use tongue arch and those who are completely opposed to it. The concept of high compression versus low compression instruments also factors in. In this second part of the article, I will assume that the use of the tongue for articulation and slurring from lower to higher notes is accepted, so I will give my views on how to successfully use tongue arch to facilitate an easier upper register. I believe that the optimal amount of tongue arch can and will make compression, for high compression brass instruments like trumpet, easier and in turn make upper register playing easier as a result. I also believe that tongue arch helps with centring the notes in the upper register. It helps give more projection of sound and will greatly increase endurance, especially for upper register playing.

Finding the Right Feel As with all playing, you should always strive for an open, resonant, and focused sound. Listen for the most resonant sound for each note and play in the centre of the pitch. This will be where the horn feels like it vibrates best and is the most efficient part of the note. If it feels like the sound is fuzzy and flat, try raising the tongue for more arch. If you feel like the pitch is too sharp or nasal and the note sounds thin and pinched, lower the tongue to the point where it feels like the tone is most relaxed and resonant. Explore by playing long tones while moderately and slowly bending the notes up and down. Really listen for the best 30 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

Part 2

sound with the most vibrant resonance. This experimentation will help you figure out how much or how little tongue arch to use for each given register. Also, play ascending half-note arpeggios, first tongued and then slurred, all the while listening for the most resonant and focused sound. Pay attention to the feel of your tongue arch, the placement of the vowel, and how much or how little tongue movement there is from one register to the next. Also, experiment with moving the actual placement of the arch further forward or back in your mouth. You may find, as I do, that when playing higher registers, you move the arch further forward towards your teeth. Be conscious of how far forward or how far back to the throat the tongue arch is. Experiment to discover what works best for the most resonant sound with the least effort. The sensation was a harder movement for me to grasp at first but be patient with yourself. I like to sometimes think of the tongue as a moveable speed bump and try to think of placing it closer or further away from my teeth. For me, I have found that above about a high E, moving the arch further forward towards my teeth gives the air behind the arch more room to build up compression. Then, when the air gets over the arch, it has more velocity. I feel like the notes resonate and focus better in that register. If I were to use the same forward arch for the middle register, I feel that my sound remains too pinched and not as full or resonant. Everyone has a different set of chops, and we all have different shapes and sizes of oral cavities. Someone with a higher or lower upper palate than yours may have to use a different amount of tongue arch than you would. What really works for another person may not

work for you. You need to experiment, using your ears to really listen for the most resonant and vibrant tone to find out how much tongue arch is right for you. Practice to the point that muscle memory allows you to feel confident that you are always playing in the most efficient way possible; this will help you in situations with less-than-ideal acoustics. It is always good to feel like we are filling up a room, concert hall, or another type of venue. The truth is, sometimes that is not going to be possible. It is even harder when amplified instruments and sound systems enter into the equation. I have been in many situations where I know the microphone is picking me up and I can hear the sound is getting out to the audience, but right where I am playing, it is very hard to hear myself. When I have tried to over-blow the situation to hear myself well enough, I find I am able to play like this for a few tunes; however, the point of diminishing returns comes quickly. Being able to rely on muscle memory for how my chops work and where the tongue arch feels best means I am playing most efficiently and I can trust that the notes are being played without over-blowing. I then have to trust in my sound and the fact that it is getting out to the audience. This is an excerpt from Paul’s new book, Trumpet Voluntarily – A Holistic Guide to Maximizing Practice Through Efficiency, containing more expanded information on this subject as well as 19 chapters with music examples and exercises. The book serves as a guide to teach the player how, what, and when to practice. It will be available soon through



Niva Chow is an explorer, film producer, multi-instrumentalist, and co-lead vocalist in the band Dearly Beloved.

By Niva Chow

An Introduction to the Theremin


he theremin is an early analog electronic instrument that works on radio frequency signals – no physical contact is needed. It was invented in 1918 by its namesake, Russian physicist (and spy) Leon Theremin, who was researching how to measure the density of gas. He realized that the closer his hand came to the gas meter, the higher the squeal it would emit.

The Theremini has an added digital bank of programmable sounds instead of the single classic sound that is associated with traditional theremins.

The Instrument Using tubes and coils, Theremin created an instrument using electromagnetic fields. The resulting instrument has two circuits – a vertical one for pitch and a horizontal one for volume.  Users manipulate the field with the proximity of the hand to the two antennas. The invention of the theremin is often cited as the beginning of electronic music. The most revered theremist is Clara Rockmore – a childhood violin prodigy who had to retire at a young age due to medical issues. Fascinated by the possibilities of the new instrument, she proved to be inspiration for Leon Theremin, who considered her his muse. He had even proposed to her. Her classical upbringing and perfect pitch gave her a special insight into the theremin and she convinced Leon to modify the instrument by giving it five octaves instead of three. This year, on the occasion of Rockmore’s 105th birthday, she was featured on the Google homepage with an interactive theremin Google doodle. Often called the mother of electronic music, she performed as a soloist with the NY Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Leon’s dream was for every household to have a theremin, much like a piano. RCA’s attempt at commercialization, launched right after the 1929 stock exchange crash, was not successful. In the ‘50s, synth innovator Robert Moog resurrected interest in the theremin, with his building and selling of etherwave theremin kits as a young hobbyist. His music fervor continued, eventually coming into his own and being inspired to create the Moog synthesizer and brand. Moog Music continues to market etherwave theremins and has since created the Theremini – a digital hybrid theremin that operates with the same mechanics of the original.

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In Music That unmistakable sound has been used for soundtracks and scores and by many modern artists like Led Zeppelin on “Whole Lotta Love,” Captain Beefheart on “Electricity,” The Pixies on “Velouria,” and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion on “Dang,” to name just a few. My style for Dearly Beloved definitely leans more towards the Jon Spencer tradition, less focused on the traditional note structure of Rockmore. It’s more about adding to the texture, creating a myriad of sounds that I further distort and bend with the use of a series of effects pedals. My faves in the chain are definitely Meet Maude by Fairfield Circuitry and the Pitchfork by Electro-Harmonix. It’s an ongoing journey, playing the theremin – a unique device that lends itself to constant experimentation. Our latest album, Admission, is the first Dearly Beloved album to feature the theremin. It’s included on “Who Wants to Know,” “Currents,” and “Boxing Days.” Have a listen for a few examples as to how this unique and odd instrument can be used to create special moments in many types of music.

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June Garber is one of Canada’s most accomplished jazz vocalists. Her luscious, masterful interpretive skills and on-stage personality capture audiences and draw them in. Her new album, This I Know, weaves a tapestry of emotions – love, joy, pain, sadness – presented in some wonderful jazz songs that are not often recorded.

By June Garber

Spinning Spiderwebs Thoughts on Connections & Performance


here is a definite art to live performance. You must at all times feel the connection between your audience and your heart. I call creating this connection akin to sending out delicate spiderwebs.

Before the Show You begin weaving these webs before your performance by connecting to everything around you. You must ground yourself first. Sometimes you will be performing with tried and true musicians with whom you are constantly working; sometimes you walk in cold, with people who you have never met before. How do you ground yourself? There are many methods that people use. I can only speak for myself. If possible, I like to walk onto the stage before a show. Most times, there is indeed the opportunity to “feel your space.” This is an important step in grounding yourself. If you can make yourself comfortable on the stage, you can then begin to relax into your given space – nerves notwithstanding, because they will always be there, but that adrenaline is needed to create the energy that you will need for your show. Know your show, including an outline of what you want to say before each song. It must never be rote, because that will come off as somewhat mechanical and does not leave you any room to be “in the moment.” When I say “in the moment,” this encompasses many things. I was fortunate enough to spend a good part of my career in live theatre. When you study theatre, there are many methods that can be used to help you with your performance art – for example, the Stanislavski method, which teaches you how to use “emotional memory and

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physical action.” This can help you to “inhabit” a song. I choose only songs that connect to my soul, whether it be a ballad or an up-tempo tune. You have to connect to a song, otherwise how can you possibly share it with your audience? I think this is a vital part of your performance.

At the Show You must connect with your audience. These are the spiderwebs. You send out delicate threads to those who are watching and listening to you. Feel their responses; be open to them. The silent and powerful vibrations that they send back to you will profoundly change your performance. This may seem challenging, but as artists, we must hone our sensitivity to be able to “feel” their reactions. At the end of a song, we all know their feelings by the applause that we get, but I am referring to the reactions during the song. Your musicians will feel this as well, and their playing will begin to meld with you, so that the entire song is enhanced by this shared energy, creating that indefinable magic that we all hope for. I always say that the “jazz angels” are with us!

In the Studio Just as we connect in live performance, the same must be said for singing in a recording studio. For those of us who are fortunate enough to have this amazing opportunity, it is a completely different environment and method of singing compared to live performance. It is just as creative and complex, but needs an approach that is much more

intimate and delicate. When an actor is on a stage, their performance is bigger, and they are playing to the “fourth wall.” By this, I mean that they inhabit the stage with no connection to the audience at all. They inhabit the world of the play and try to have you, the audience, inhabit this world with them. This is a private world, so we observe, with a voyeuristic attitude, what is occurring in this capsule. When the same actors are involved in film acting, every nuance of emotion can become huge on screen, so less becomes more. The same goes for recording in jazz. Every note is magnified, so our vocal techniques must be very, very different. Your ability to connect is also much more difficult. You are not getting the feedback from a live audience, so what can you rely on? You have to again choose songs that connect to a basic truth within you. There must be no artifice at all. You can never afford to be emotionally absent. Strident, powerful voices have to be tempered during a recording session. One’s entire technique has to change, but the emotional intent has to remain the same. I end off by wishing you all much success in whatever genre of music you choose. All great music brings joy to those listening and to those who are performing it. Send out those silken threads!

Making the Most of Sum 41’s Return to Form on 13 Voices


By Adam Kovac. Photos by Jonathan Weiner.

he nostalgia wafts as thickly over the Rockfest crowd as the smell of moderately priced beer and sweat. As vendors carry their trays of suds aloft, the sun beats mercilessly down on the crowd of punks and metalheads and rockers. Just like those genres share little in common philosophically but a love for loud guitars and drums, the diverse audience members bond in their love for sunny days spent drunkenly moshing. While many in the crowd look too young

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to drink, thousands more are long-past the age of majority. The lineup reflects that. While the kiddies will go nuts for Bring Me the Horizon and A Day to Remember, their older siblings are likely more pumped to revisit the early 2000s with Limp Bizkit, Korn, and Blink 182. Hell, even mom and dad might be admiring Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro’s stunning refusal to age as Jane’s Addiction makes yet another comeback. It is a festival made up largely of rock stars who refuse to die, career wise. Even Ice Cube is still legit, despite trading in his NWA cred for the Are We There Yet? film franchise.

And then there’s the act whose neardeath experience had nothing to do with a flop album and everything to do with the painful fragility of mortality. Sum 41 are not billed as they once might have been; there are still hours to go until dusk as they take the stage. Whereas once they might have been listed as headliners, on this year’s promo posters, they’re relegated to the fourth row, behind Maynard James Keenan side-project Puscifer and an anticipated, albeit cancelled reunion: at the eleventh hour, emo pioneers At the Drive-In would announce their slate of tour dates were postponed.

And yet, as Sum 41’s set time approaches, the mass of fans is so dense that audiences wandering in from other stages can do nothing but mill hopelessly at the back, giving up on any illusions of getting anywhere near the stage. Guitarist Dave Baksh, the prodigal son of the band who has finally returned after years in exile, kicks into the bouncy main riff to “Hell Song.” It’s an apt opener for a group that’s had an all too close brush with the death, darkness, and despair in recent years. They have been through hell and this festival, the tour it’s a part of, and a new album, are stops on their road out of it.

Sum41’s Cone McCaslin, Dave Baksh, Deryck Whibley, Tom Thacker & Frank Zummo

It’s simple. Deryck Whibley should be dead, and he knows it. In a phone interview months after the Rockfest performance, and two years after falling into a near-fatal alcohol-induced coma, the Sum 41 vocalist seems almost shocked to still be around. His health is at the forefront of his mind: answering a question about the writing of the new record, 13 Voices, he almost subconsciously slips into a speech about how lucky he is to still be breathing. “The process was different for me because I was writing and recording it but at the same time I was recovering from just getting

years. A brief relationship with Paris Hilton and a scrutinized marriage to and even more public divorce from fellow Canuck pop-punker Avril Lavigne has made him an unlikely target for tabloids. His unusual circumstances have forced him to get remarkably comfortable talking about things most people would prefer to keep very private. “It’s just a natural thing for me to be open with things because that’s how I’ve always been with music, just talking about what’s going on. So much about my life ends up being public; even when I try to keep it private, it sort of gets out there. My marriage or my divorce or this whole thing, it kind of just comes out. I guess I just allow it and sort of speak my side of it.” Whibley and his cohorts used to write songs about idolizing the hardest partying bands in the world – remember, Maiden and Priest were the gods that they praised and Mötley Crüe seems just as ingrained in their DNA as Green Day. They combined the hard-partying image of a gaggle of David Lee Roths with the sonic bounce and snotty attitude of Tim Armstrong. The music video for their debut single, “Makes No Difference,” featured the type of suburban house party their fans probably fantasized about throwing for their high school classmates, getting wrecked

f secondchances “It’s just a natural thing for me to be open with things because that’s how I’ve always been with music, just talking about what’s going on. So much about my life ends up being public … I guess I just allow it and sort of speak my side of it.” – Deryck Whibley

out of the hospital. That was a really difficult recovery for me. It’s been about four months to even get out of the hospital. I was there for liver and kidney failure…” A bender that had lasted for years had finally taken its toll. In an interview with the CBC, his first since his release from hospital, Whibley recalled pounding a bottle of vodka every day for the six months preceding his collapse. Aside from his organs failing, he had nerve damage in his feet, necessitating months of intense physical therapy just to walk again. Physical damage aside, he was also learning to live without booze for what was likely the first time in his adult life. That would be hard enough for a bar band singer, but Whibley has lived in the public spotlight for

like an Ozzy hotel room. That pretty much summed up Sum 41’s entire ethos. But like the Crüe’s Vince Neil, Ratt’s Robbin Crosby, or tons of other rock stars who threw on a tattered denim vest and gave the devil horns, when the hangover hit, it hit like a bitch. “From the first time I saw him after it all went down and he had gotten out of the hospital, he was pretty skinny and I was kind of scared because at any point, he was kind of at a tipping point when I saw him,” recalls Baksh. “It could go either way, health wise. And then I saw him again and he looked younger than he did the first day I met him. I’m really proud of the guy for just soldiering on and staying on the good side of what can be a really bad habit that’s bad to beat.” C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 35

Whibley’s revival is not the only one Sum 41 has experienced in the past two years. In 2006, Baksh announced his intention to step aside as Sum 41’s lead guitarist, giving the band’s fans an explanation that seemed understandable, if a little simplistic: Baksh, whose nickname “Brown Sound” was derived from his love of Eddie Van Halen as much as his skin tone, was quitting because the band wasn’t metal enough. The reasoning seemed to make sense. For years, Baksh was presented as the fleet-fingered metal-lover who brought finger-tapping guitar solos and crushing riffs to the band while Whibley was the punkish power-chorder who was more focused on rhythm. Of course, nothing is ever that simple and that explanation has turned out to be almost entirely bullshit. Whibley’s romantic life might have forced him into public exposure more typical for a Kardashian than a native of Ajax, ON. Baksh was spared that and explains his departure in vague terms of familial duty. “There was pretty much no truth to that. The reason I came up with that explanation was because my family was going through a terrible time at that moment in time,” he says. “So, to bring any attention to it would have been counterproductive to making things better. Without going into detail, I basically just lied that it was musical differences, that whole cliché.” Still, the guitarist’s departure did suspiciously precede a shift in the Sum 41 sound. On 2011’s Screaming Bloody Murder, the tone was more garage rock than the punk-metal hybrid that had formed the basis of much of their past catalogue. “These are all coincidences,” says Whibley. “That record, I admit I made a conscious decision that I was getting kind of bored of doing the metal kind of stuff. It sort of felt like it was getting boring. It just happened to be at the same time he left. That whole thing of it wasn’t metal enough for him or he wanted to go focus on more metal and I wanted to … that was stuff that got created for us.” While his former bandmates soldiered on, Baksh would spend the next nine years dealing with that family issue and remaining active musically on a reduced schedule, 36 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

forming a band called Brown Brigade with a cousin, putting out another record with hard rockers Organ Thieves, and eventually joining punks Black Cat Attack after producing a record for them. Almost a decade passed, enough time for his family to heal. And then the time came to come full circle. Baksh joined Sum 41 onstage at the 2015 Alternative Press Music Awards, sparking rumours that were soon confirmed: Brown Sound was back in the band. The first day back, playing all the old songs, Baksh said there was just a natural flow. “It was pretty crazy. A lot of emotion came back. You try to keep it together so you can hit all the right notes in the song, but it was really nice. We were in Deryck’s front living room, basically, jamming. We were so close-knit and it felt really natural. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than that.” Upon his return, all was not as it was.

issues to be ironed out after a nearly decadelong absence. “We never wanted Dave to leave. It was never a bad situation where it was like ‘Fucking leave already.’ It was sort of a surprise,” says Whibley. “We’d noticed his attention was sort of waning at the time but not to the point he was going to quit or wanting him to quit. Now that he’s back, I said to him, ‘Stay this time. Let’s finish what we started.’” While the guitars were always front-andcentre on Sum 41 albums, that three-guitar attack has still noticeably beefed up their sound on 13 Voices. But while Baksh and Thacker both have their spotlight moments – most notably a wah-wah shredding solo and harmonized leads on album highlight “Goddamn I’m Dead Again” – the focus is always on hooks that just so happen to be laid on top of crushing riffs. In that regard, the new record is a definite continuation of the band’s work on earlier albums Chuck and Does This Look Infected?

“The beauty of it is that with every dark moment that [Deryck] expresses, he also resulted with a good message … You can be in a really dark place with alcoholism and it can take you to the full-on depths of your soul. He’s been there and he came back to tell a story.” – Dave Baksh Original drummer Steve “Steve-O” Jocz had left in 2013 and was replaced by Frank Zummo. Baksh’s own spot with the band had been filled by Gob frontman Tom Thacker, still an official member, while bassist Cone McCaslin remains the longest-serving member next to Whibley, laying down the low end for the majority of the band’s 20-year history. Meshing back into the band meant Baksh wasn’t just picking back up where he started; he had to find his place all over again. “The way we do it is, everyone just plays on their strengths,” says Whibley. “Tom’s really good at certain things like guitar riffs and stuff like that, single note guitar riffs like on “Fake My Own Death.” There’s a guitar riff, a single note thing that starts off the song which is the main part of that song. That’s all Tom playing that stuff. Then there’s some crazy guitar solo-y stuff, Dave’s got a fluid, sort of fast style. When he does solos, they have this sound to them. He’s got this voice in his guitar playing. He does that kind of stuff and rhythm is sort of my thing.” While there was work to be done musically, there were surprisingly few personal

The songwriting was done at a relaxed pace in the members’ respective homes, a process that Baksh says allowed everyone to relax and also let Whibley heal at his own pace. “It was one of the coolest processes I’ve ever been a part of, because there was no stress of being away from home,” says Baksh. “We got to record our parts in our own personal studios and when I get to do that, I get to focus, I get the best take that I’ve done. A lot of that stuff is one solid take. You can really get that magic take when you’re just sitting there, focused. And in between takes, when you’re kinda frustrated with your playing, you get to pet your cat.” Music-wise, songs were built from the ground up. Whibley handled most of the production duties, allowing him to futz with arrangements on the fly from his home studio. “As I’m writing, I’m usually recording the stuff that ends up becoming the actual final version. I just let them grow over time,” he says. “I’ll have real takes of what I’m going to do. I’ll have the drums done and I’ll start adding rhythm guitars and things like that. As I’m writing, I’m adding more or taking


A look at each member’s go-to live rig Deryck Whibley (Vocals/Guitar) Fender Black Telecaster Thinline (with humbuckers) Fender Custom Shop Telecaster Thinline (with Fishman piezo bridge pickup) Fender ‘68 Telecaster (with Fender ‘50 single-coil pickup) Kemper Custom Profiler Amp – “’87 Marshall Jubilee” Kemper Custom Profiler Amp – “Modded ’69 Marshall Superbass” Kemper Custom Profiler Amp – “’79 Marshall Jump” Kemper Custom Profiler Amp – “’62 Vox AC30”

Cone McCaslin (Bass/Vocals) Fender 2002 ’59 Reissue Precision Bass (x2) Fender 2010 ’59 Reissue Precision Bass (with re-issue Jazz pickup) Tech 21 Sans Amp Rackmount Radial JDI Direct Box MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe Pedal Dean Markley Strings (Nickel Steel 48-106) Dunlop Pics (1.14 mm) Audio-Technica Wireless Sennheiser IEMs (with JH Audio moulds) Tom Thacker (Guitar/Vocals) Gibson Les Paul Standard Heritage Cherry Sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standard Goldtop Kemper Profiler Amp Roland A-88 Keyboard Apogee Duet Audio Interface Apple Mainstage Software

away and then I leave space for Dave or for Tom to come in. We’ll throw bass on last just to make sure vocals are there and guitars are there and bass isn’t stepping on anything.” Lyrically, you would think this would be a dark album. The track listing would certainly back that up: “A Murder of Crows (You’re All Dead to Me),” “Goddamn I’m Dead Again,” and “Fake My Own Death” are the first three songs. Further down, you find ominous titles like “There Will Be Blood” and “War.” That gloominess is a lie; 13 Voices is a joyful return. Whibley spent months not being able to properly talk or play guitar, and was left with just one thing: faith that things would get better. If anyone can relate to themes of emerging into the light, it’s Whibley’s own bandmate. “The beauty of it is that with every dark moment that he expresses, he also resulted with a good message,” says Baksh. “I think that’s one of the things he had talked about wanting do to, lyrically, on the new record. You can be in a really dark place with alcoholism and it can take you to the full-on depths of your soul. He’s been there and he came back to tell a story.” Onstage in Montebello, QC for Rockfest, Sum 41 are hitting the verse of “Hell Song.” Whibley picks at his Telecaster and the tweens and millennials and 30-somethings go at it in the sizeable mosh pit.

Dean Markley Strings (10-52) InTune Picks (.72 mm) Dave Baksh (Guitar/Vocals) PRS Single Cut (x2) Kemper Profiler Amp Kemper Footswitch Mission Engineering Control Pedal (x2) Audio-Technica Wireless Dunlop Gator Grip Picks (2.0 mm) Dean Markley Strings (12-54)

Metal Snare DW 9000 Series Pedals & Stands Remo Drumheads Zildjian Cymbals • 7.5-in. Volcano Cup Zil Bel • 15-in. A Custom Master sound Hats • 18-in. Oriental China Trash • 19-in. A Custom Projection Crash (x2) • 19-in. K Custom Small

Trash • 21-in. A Custom 20th Anniversary Ride Roland SPD-SX Sampling Pad Roland PD-8 Pad Remo Cajon Latin Percussion Shakers Ahead Frank Zummo Signature Series Sticks Porter & Davies BC Gigster Ahead Cases KickPro Pillows

Frank Zummo (Drums) SJC Custom Drums (mahogany shells with custom Shep- ard Fairey Art) • 24 x 16-in. Kick (with Kelly SHU internal kick mic mounts) (x2) • 13 x 7-in. Rack Tom • 16 x 13-in. Floor Tom • 18 x 14-in. Floor Tom • 14 x 7-in. Metal/Maple/

“Everybody’s got their problems,” he sings. “It’s just a matter of how you solve them.” Months later, Whibley will look back at this concert as a turning point – the first time he realized that his band was in no danger of becoming a nostalgia act, that his lyrics still mean something to a lot of people. And for the first time, he can enjoy it without the haze of alcoholism. “When you’re writing songs, you don’t really think about their longevity. You don’t really expect them to take on a life of their own. You just sort of write songs,” says Whibley. “We’ve played some big shows and festivals, but not every crowd is always singing every single word. This crowd was. It was one of the first times I realized some of these songs are really resonating...When I was drinking, I felt like I could only take in so much. You would recognize it, but being sober, you see so much more of it. It has more of an impact, whether it’s good or bad. You just feel more.” Sobriety, resolved family problems, a new appreciation for success: it’s maturity for a band that was once defined for its lack thereof. Now, they can be judged on their musical merits and not, as Baksh puts it, “respect for how many beers we used to be able to drink.” That doesn’t mean outgrowing their back catalogue; it means finding new meaning in the songs that are making them, dare we say, respectable members of the

pop-punk older guard. “Fat Lip,” arguably their biggest hit, saw them singing about not wanting to become casualties of society and that still holds true, just in a different way. “We’re all having kids, so it’s just like, I don’t really want a child that just plays by the rules and goes and settles for less than what they feel they can achieve,” says Baksh. “I believe that’s what that song is all about, you know? Life can give you a fat lip. Get the fuck up and soldier on.” The past few years have been nothing but problems for Sum 41. Family troubles, divorce, brushes with death. It’s heady stuff for anybody, least of all a group who made their name with hijinks and funny videos and lyrics about storming through parties like their name is El Niño. There is an appreciation for what they’ve got, for the strength it takes to persevere. But that doesn’t mean Sum 41 has entirely grown up. That’s not what being a rock star has to be about. Everybody’s got their problems, but overcoming them doesn’t have to mean losing yourself in the process. “One thing in being a musician is you’re sort of allowed to never really grow up,” says Whibley. “You don’t really feel much different. You can still relate to that teenage side of yourself because you still sort of are that person. You just have some more real life problems and situations to deal with.”

Adam Kovac is a freelance journalist based out of Montreal. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 37

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Fitness Tips Fit ffor Musicians u c

By Mike Schwartz

Body Weight Squat With a hip-width stance, ensure your back is upright and chest is tall. Keep the weight on your heels, keep your knees from wobbling in or out, and push your butt back as if you were sitting in a chair and slowly bend at the knees. Keep your arms out in front of you for balance.

WHY? Well, the squat is, in my opinion, the most complex primal movement a human can do, meaning almost all of your body needs to be engaged to pull it off properly. That’s great for a few reasons. One, you’re using more energy, which helps with weight loss. You’re also breaking down tissue, which will come back stronger after rest. These two results – burning calories and building muscle – are two of my clients’ most common goals. Musicians are no different. Primal movements are also functional. That means when you need to lift something – say a big bass cabinet – you can do it with ease and efficiency. The squat will help the whole body move more effectively, and that’s important for all musicians. WHO? The squat is a relatively safe exercise for anyone unless they have back or knee problems. In that case, talk to your trusted health professional before you start rattling off squats to avoid aggravating your back or knees and possibly injuring yourself further. A couple of safer exercises would be to just stand with your back against a wall and bend at the knees or sit down in a chair and stand up without using your hands.

engage muscles in between your shoulder blades and in your core so that, over time, you are better able to stand up straight. You will also increase your range of motion in your shoulders and start to relieve that tight feeling in your neck. All of this will help you avoid looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame while rocking out on stage. Who? If you’re experiencing soreness in the upper back, neck, or shoulders, you need to be doing this drill. As long as you don’t have any serious shoulder or neck issues, you’re set. How Many? Again, start small. I generally recommend two or three sets of 10-20 wall angels for beginners. Do that a couple of times per week for best results. REMEMBER… If you’re having problems keeping tight to the wall, brace your abs and bend your knees so you slide down the wall a bit until you’re there. If you’re still having problems with the movement, you can always try laying on the floor and doing “snow angels,” slowly working your way up to the wall. In this case, it’s likely a mobility issue in your shoulders and that’ll just take some time and patience.

Forearm Extensor/Flexor Stretch Grab the fingers of one hand and pull back towards the wrist until you feel a nice stretch on the bottom of your forearm. Hold for 15 seconds at first, and 30 seconds later. Next, push the back of your hand down and away from you and hold for 15 seconds at first, and 30 seconds later.

HOW MANY? Start small. I generally recommend two or three sets of 10-20 squats for beginners. Do that a couple of times per week and you’ll be on your way to building up some strength to help your drummer load in and fit into those skinny jeans again, rock star! REMEMBER… Ensure that you keep your back straight, head up, and that you keep your heels on the ground. If you notice your knees starting to cave in towards one another, that could be an issue. If anything hurts – like, sharp pain hurts – stop squatting and contact me. I’ll help you get sorted out.

Wall Angel Standing with your back to a wall, ensure that the crown of your head to your hips are pressed “shirt tight” to the wall by bracing your abs (as if someone was about to punch you in the stomach). Slowly begin to raise your arms from your side and slide them up the wall above your head, keeping them tight to the wall with the rest of your body. WHY? Musicians are notorious for poor posture. Forward head tilt, rolled shoulders – you name it. The nature of our job puts stress on maintaining a proper posture with heavy instruments slung around our necks and shoulders many hours at a time. Physically, that will wear anyone down. The wall angel is a movement that combats this. It helps

WHY? Most musicians use their hands or wrists to play their instruments. Holding a particular position over a long period of time, we tend to see a build up of junk in those areas and one of the best ways to alleviate that is through counter-stretching. This stretch provides more mobility to the wrists and forearms, which is important to increase the amount of time we can comfortably hold an instrument. Remember, we aren’t necessarily going to be able to reverse the effects of the lifestyle, but if I can show you ways to help manage and last longer in the game, that’s going to keep you happy. WHO? Drummers, guitarists, keyboardists/pianists, brass and wind players – basically, every musician that hasn’t already seriously damaged their wrists. HOW MANY? I like to suggest two or three sets of about 30-second holds either way on one hand, then switching to the other hand. This ensures that you’re spending enough time getting into the “meat” and effectively increasing the length of the tissue. Be gentle, of course. REMEMBER… Just watch that you’re not causing any burning, sharp, or tingly pain to the areas you’re stretching. You’ll gradually see an improvement over consistent exercise, so be patient and take it easy! C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 39

Neck Rolling Gently look towards the sky while breathing in through your nose. Upon your exhale, slowly roll your head down and around so that you’re looking at the ground. Slowly inhale while rolling back to the top.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch Take a kneeling position and gently push your hips forward until you feel a nice stretch on the front of the rear leg. Slowly reach to the sky with the opposite hand. Breathe in through the nose and exhale while you reach across your body. WHY? Two-fold. First, many musicians that sit to play their instrument complain about tightness in their hips. This stretch helps to isolate that area and will gradually relieve that tight feeling over time. Second, almost anyone I have ever talked to about exercise, musician or not, has brought up soreness in the lower back. The way the hip flexor (or, more accurately, the psoas) works is it ties in to our pelvis and actually can be the source of lower back pain that many people describe. In a nutshell, if the muscles in your hips are tight from being compressed all day while you practice or perform, you’ll likely experience that dull, achy feeling in the back. Plus, many of us have to haul gear, so with limited range of motion in the hips, we’ll tend to see more lifting injuries in working musicians. WHO? Basically every musician ever. (Starting to see a pattern?) As long as you don’t have a knee problem, you should be stretching out those hips. If you have a knee problem, contact me for a great standing variation to stretch out those bad boys. HOW MANY? I like to suggest two or three sets of about 30-second holds on either hip. Just alternate back and forth a few times. As with the aforementioned forearm stretch, this ensures that you get some quality stretch factor on the target area and eventually open up the range of motion. I also like to graduate folks that are getting a good response into more of a dynamic stretch, where they can move a bit more in the stretch position to help functionality and work out a few more tight spots. Again, take it slow and only go as far as you can without feeling that death-like burn where there’s no coming back. I’m not likely going to be there to help you off the floor, so go easy at first! REMEMBER… Be careful not to let your hips shoot forward to get a really far stretch; instead, think about curling you tailbone under and gently pushing forward until you feel a slight stretch on that front hip. Over time, you’ll get closer to the ground, so don’t sweat where you’re range is off the top, champ. 40 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

WHY? I use this one for folks that deal with a lot of daily stress – guitarists, keyboardists, drummers, or anyone else that places physical demand on their upper body for performance or practice regimens. WHO? As long as you’re not prone to dizziness, this is a super effective way to help promote some mobility in an area that is generally very tight amongst musicians. It’ll help to alleviate stress and a majority of the people I work with list tension in their neck and shoulders as a limiting factor to them playing their instruments for as long as they want. HOW MANY? Match this one to your breath and use your head like a clock, with 12 o’ clock being the top of your head. Inhale on the way up from six to 12, exhale on the way back down from 12 to six. Go for 5-10 times clockwise, then 5-10 times counter-clockwise and feel how much looser your neck and shoulders feel! REMEMBER… Use caution and go slowly. You are dealing with your spinal cord and neck and boy oh boy, some people are prone to tweaking these areas. If you typically wake up with kinks in the neck, this one is especially good for you. Go slow with any movement and only to the point of “gentle stretch.” Don’t force anything and stop immediately if you feel any burning, tingly, or sharp pains.

The Rock Star Workout for Every Musician Ever This is a sample program that will help to introduce all of these movements to the beginner in a safe and effective manner. Please consult your doctor before starting up a new exercise program. Use this first thing in the morning, as a warm-up before you play, or right before bed. It’s all about starting small and building habits. It should be completed every other day for up to four weeks, and then used as a warm-up and supplemented with a more progressive and individualized exercise and nutrition program. Complete two or three sets of the following: 10-20 Bodyweight Squats with 30-second holds per side of the Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch in between as rest. 10-20 Wall Angels with up to 10 Neck Rolls in each direction. 30-second holds of the Forearm Extensor/Flexor Stretch on either forearm.

Three Power Fuels To help fuel my clients’ bodies for maximum results, I implement a sport performance approach. I’ve found the relationship between a high-performance athlete and a touring musician is surprisingly similar with regards to lifestyle demands and stress factors, both physically and psychologically. Both careers are prone to crazy amounts of physical wear and tear from overuse or repetitive motions and poor posture, which result in high levels of physical stress coupled with less-than-ideal travel conditions, poor nutritional choices, and sleeping arrangements. The psychological demand from the hectic work schedules, sleep deprivation, and pressures to perform consistently weigh heavily on the body’s ability to recover. So musicians should treat themselves like athletes – especially when it comes to the fuel they choose for their body.

1. Water with Fresh Squeezed Lemon Yep, go figure. First on the list is water. That essential thing to life. Research shows that an alkaline diet is beneficial in many ways, including for improved strength and cardiovascular performance. When loading gear and performing at full throttle all night, these two things become very valuable. So, keep that water bottle handy and filled with fresh lemon-water. Your body will thank you.

2. Organic Natural Nut Butter Especially on the road, almond, macadamia, cashew, and peanut butters go great with many convenient diet options and combine a healthy mix of carbohydrates, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and a little bit of protein. As long as this stuff is eaten conservatively, it provides a nice blend of all three macronutrients in one cost-effective place. Be sure to go with the natural, organic stuff to limit the amount of moulds and toxins you’re ingesting. (Yep, nuts have natural defense mechanisms to reduce their appeal in the wild.) While I can totally appreciate the want to get more bang for your buck, stay away from the major brands as they’re full of extra junk and a ton of sugar; instead, opt for the stuff that has a nice separation – a clear oil up on top of the nutty goodness that needs to be stirred and refrigerated after opening. Nut butters are great for spreads on rice cakes, as a dip for an apple, celery, or cucumber, or heck, you can even eat it on its own.

Three Must-Haves for Musicians on the Road I get this a lot: “How do you stay fit, eat well, and not explode while on the road?” I’ve included my top three pieces of equipment below to help answer the call...

1. Gym Bag Self-explanatory. Without a full gym bag, your likelihood of exercising is slim to none. Heck, if we’re being honest, even when you intend on exercising, you’re not making any promises to actually do so, so let’s eliminate as many roadblocks as possible. Pack that bag with three pairs of athletic socks and boxers, a pair or two of sweats or shorts, and some loose fitting athletic tees. Anything comfy. On top of the clothes, a good pair of training shoes (for the gym) or running shoes (if you’re just running) is a must. No gym on this tour? Cool. Bring your stuff anyways and pack a skipping rope and travel roller for the Rock Star Workout you now have!

2. Cooler Where do you plan on keeping the produce, peanut butter, and beer? (Just kidding about the last one – throw the lemons in there for your water instead.) Over the years, one of the best uses of space on every tour I’ve done was a medium-sized cooler. You can pile enough groceries in there with some ice to last to the next town, top things up, and keep on trucking at a fraction of the cost of buying Timmies or McD’s every three hours. (No hate on Tim Hortons; I still enjoy an occasional double-double to hit the road the morning after a gig...) Plus, the gang can just prep food on the go, so you can kill some drive time. Win-win.

3. Your Own Pillow You’ve probably left the house without your pillow and there’s no turning back. I don’t know if there’s a greater faux pas in the world of touring. Your pillow brings a sense of home that’s key for keeping yourself sane and comfortable and minimizes physical wear and tear on your body. Recovery is key! I happened to think that it would be okay to tour across the country to Canadian Music Week 2016 without my pillow. Big mistake. Never again…

3. Bananas For those with an intolerance or straight up allergy to nuts, this next one is for you. Keep a bunch of bananas around while on the road. They are a slow-digesting carbohydrate with a ton of great health benefits. Also, if you are allergic and can’t dip the banana in the peanut butter, they are one of the best monomeals out there. (A monomeal is a meal comprised of a single raw fruit or vegetable food source.) I like bananas on the road because they typically last longer than other raw foods (just keep them out of the dark), they hold me over longer than other fruits and vegetables, and they provide a shot of energy without the crash that other higher glycemic fruits (like watermelon or mango) tend to cause. For longer travel days, this sustained energy is great for the body and mind! Keep your potassium levels up, keep the hangry musician away, and grab a bunch of bananas for your next tour. 

With over 10 years experience as a touring musician, certified personal trainer, and holistic lifestyle coach, Mike Schwartz has written the book on how to survive the rock star lifestyle. Based out of Calgary, AB, he specializes in movement, nutrition, and mindset coaching to help fellow musicians and industry members become the best versions of themselves on stage and off, each and every day. Please contact Mike directly to inquire about his tailor-made, in-person and online highperformance coaching services and follow him on social media if you’re looking to survive that rock star lifestyle! @coach_schwartzy on Twitter & Instagram

C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 41


touri ng


ouring as an independent band is a pretty unique experience. When you’re starting out, you’ll spend a great deal of time blindly groping through the murky mass of venues and promoters, looking for someone to take a chance on your band. It’s hard work, and it takes a lot of time. Booking, promoting, and playing your own tour can feel like a full time job. In fact, if you do it enough, it can quickly become your full time job. And in this particular job, you’re starting from the very bottom of the ladder. With the booking behind you and your wheels on the road, you’ll realize that independent touring is a far cry from hotel rooms and hospitality riders – quite far, in fact. You’re not (usually) making fans 50 at a time; you’re not even making 25 at a time. When you’re touring independently, you’re much more likely to be making between 5-15 fans every night, and that’s if you’re in top form, so you had better hope that they come back! I don’t want you to think that all you’re going to hear from me is groaning about how hard independent touring is. I love touring. For the past two years, my band, The Middle Coast, has toured Canada over 150 days per year. I think touring is a rite of passage and that every band or artist should tour, at least to some extent. When you set out, you’re hoping to play some music and make some fans, but touring does more for your act than simply build a fanbase. Sure, that’s a huge part of it, but there’s a lot more. Musically, nothing tightens up a live show like a tour. No amount of rehearsal compares to the connection a band has after 10-20 consecutive shows. Beyond tightening up the set, touring gives you the opportunity to test your show, see what works, and experiment with new ears every night. For many bands, touring is what takes them from good to great. Booking your own tour teaches you business skills and gives you insight into the industry that will be useful for the rest of your career. Negotiation, ambition, organization, fiscal responsibility, problem solving – touring gives you a very useful skill set. “On the business side of things, [working with] artists who have toured independently streamlines the conversations,” notes Jeremy Giacomin, an agent with Paquin Artists Agency. “We don’t have to explain door deals or ticket prices or backend to anyone who has done this for themselves.” If you’re making your music career a priority, you’re probably considering hitting the road. Before you do, I want to make sure that you have learned at least a few of the lessons I (and many other independent bands) have learned through years of DIY touring. 42 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

Does Touring Make Sense for You?? Some bands were created to be “live bands” – road-loving groups of musicians that are best experienced from the centre of a sweaty dance floor. These guys and gals need to be on the road to advance their career and make new fans; however, other bands or artists, for various reasons, don’t need to take this approach. In my experience, there are two approaches that artists take when it comes to touring strategy. Some bands (the “live bands”) hit the road early and don’t stop, building a grassroots fanbase, developing a great show, and allowing their career to blossom from there. This approach requires commitment, organization, and an excellent head for strategy. In order to be efficient, you have to be smart. Other bands choose to wait. Instead of spending their time booking and playing tours, these bands will work their local scene until it’s exhausted, write a bunch of songs, and build up their team. It’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that, much like booking a tour, takes up a lot of time. The benefit of this approach is the possibility of skipping some of the hard, cheap touring that many indie bands go through. This requires great management, a smart team, a tested, road-ready show, and undeniably good music. Both approaches can work, and each has merit. It also doesn’t have to be a black and white choice between touring and not touring. For most artists, it makes the most sense to maintain a balance of both: a healthy, well planned tour schedule and a lot of behind-the-scenes writing and team building.

Should You Wait to Tour? Attica Riots, an alt-rock band from Winnipeg, MB, never toured as an independent band. Weekend shots, local slots, festivals, and one-offs abound, they had never really hit the road for any length of time; instead, they spent their time crafting a great show and building a full team, starting with management, an agent, then label support, and the list goes on. All of the sudden, the summer of 2016 found them on the road supporting Rooney and Bleeker – two bands with much bigger names. “We’re a band that played a lot at home,” says Bobby Desjarlais, the lead singer of Attica Riots. “We were constantly in Winnipeg, playing at different venues and writing and recording. At that point, it was about refining the band and refining the show. We were lucky enough to get our record into the right people’s hands and that got us on tour with those bigger bands.” That was their first tour. There was no messing around trying to get a hold of promoters; they had people on their team making it happen. And it worked! On the other hand, The Bros. Landreth – another Winnipeg-based band, anchored in alt-country and folk rock – achieved great success through a heavy touring schedule. Now, they’ve built up one of the most feverish grassroots followings in Canada, bar none. “Touring was a super deliberate choice for us,” explains David Landreth, the band’s bass player. “The choice was born out of a love to play, and the fact that we played over 500 shows over the course of a few years made us an infinitely better band.” When it comes to figuring out what the right approach will be, there are a number of factors that come into play. One of the most important to consider is your current lot in life. If you’re recently married, maybe with a kid, you’re probably not going to want to tour as much. I’m not saying you shouldn’t, but realistically, you’re probably not going to want to; instead, you’re better off spending your time writing and working on the business side of your music career. The genre of music you’re playing also makes a difference. If your music has a large, complicated set-up, that can make independent touring very challenging – not impossible, but challenging. You may be better off building your hometown audience before hitting the road. Other acts have great potential for radio, and may choose to explore that route before heading off on tour. On the other hand, if you’re making folk music, Americana, etc., you basically have to tour. These are live genres that don’t have huge radio support. There are not many other feasible ways to build up a fanbase. The most important thing to take from this is that touring is not always the right move, but when it is, you have to do it right.



Tackling the Road Booking Career-Building Shows One of the biggest lessons you’ll learn when you head out on the road is the ability to recognize the difference between opportunities and good opportunities. When you start touring at the beginning of your career, you’ll end up getting plenty of opportunities to play. People say that the gigs and venues are drying up, and that’s true to some extent, but there are still lots of places to play. That being said, there are some places and venues that you probably shouldn’t play. When you’re an independent artist, you really can’t waste your time playing shows that aren’t doing anything for you – that aren’t growing your career in any way. You need to learn how to recognize and book career-building shows, and aim to play as many of these as possible. What makes a career building show? A captive or built-in audience. Generally speaking, this means opening slots at quality venues. Headlining a tour sounds like it would be pretty fun and may seem glamorous, but it doesn’t feel very glamorous when there

are 20 people in the room and 12 of them are eating nachos and loudly discussing the latest episode of Stranger Things. At some point, you need to realize that you simply are not big enough to headline a tour and have that tour effectively build your fanbase. If you’re planning on touring on your own, forget trying to headline a night and booking a local opener. That should be your last resort; instead, start researching bills well in advance and find shows that are already happening. Send a bunch of emails to the promoter, venue manager, to the band managers, and to bands themselves. Opening a show will guarantee you a far larger audience than you would otherwise have had. “We’re constantly looking to get touring and support slots,” notes Giacomin about his less-established artists. “Those slots are essential, partly because you’re associating yourself with that higher calibre of band.” Opening slots are the best kind of builtin audience. Often, if a bar has a built-in audience, the people that are there don’t

care about the music. If you’re opening someone else’s show, at the very least, the people there came to see music. Opening slots are hard to secure at the best of times. For many artists just starting out, shows with truly captive audiences are easier to book. Often, these are house concerts, special events, or festivals. Here you have the opportunity to make a few more fans than usual, even if the venue is a little bit unconventional. This can work well for some bands, and work poorly for others who may not have a set-up or sound conducive to a more intimate setting. The benefit of captive audiences is what created a market for an organization like Home Routes, a company that sets up house concert tours across the country. Whether you’re playing a sweet opening slot or an intimate house concert, you need to play a killer show and get as many of the people in attendance on your mailing list and social media as possible. The whole point of doing these shows is to eventually headline a show and have 100-plus fans of your music there. This is just a faster way of making those fans exist. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 43

Shows with Potential for Industry Attention Playing showcases and industry events can be super valuable if you manage to get the right people to come out. Specifically, we’re talking about people in the industry that can make a difference in your career. It’s way easier to make genuine connections and talk to industry people in a meaningful way when they’ve seen your set. Before they saw you play, you were just another name on a poster and an email in their inbox; now, they know what you’re all about. The key here is putting in the work before the show or conference and inviting people out to your show. At conferences and showcases there are dozens, sometimes hundreds, of bands. Putting in a little bit of time trying to make a connection before the event will give you a huge leg up. At the show itself, you need to make sure that you shake hands and thank your invitees in person for coming out. Then, follow up the next day and see what happens from there. It can take a lot of showcases and a lot of invites before a relationship actually materializes, but that’s okay. It’s completely fair for someone to watch your band for a while – see what you’re like to work with, gauge what the interest of other industry people is, and see how hard you work before making any kind of commitment. Having industry attend your show is important beyond just meeting them and making a connection. There’s this weird thing in the music industry where nobody wants to admit they like an artist first. Everybody wants to wait and see who else is on the bandwagon. If you can put a few industry pros in the room at a show, you better believe they’re scoping out the crowd


The Middle Coast

Attica Riots

Shows in Markets that Matter When you start gigging more, you’ll realize that there are a lot of markets to play. These smaller markets are great for routing a tour and some of them have really great scenes and/or venues. After you play these markets a few times, you’ll have nice little pockets of fans and friends across the country. These markets do matter. You need those fans as social media followers and people who buy your merch and otherwise support your music. But the truth is, not all fans are created equal. My band is from Brandon, MB. Sure, we can get 350-plus people out to a headlining show in our

hometown. Sadly, nobody really cares about that – nobody in the industry, anyways. We care, because we love where we’re from and we’re going to make a good sum of money on that show, but nobody else does. If you can put 350 people into a room in Toronto, people care. The big centres are where the tastemakers are. They’re where the agencies are, where the industry is based, where the big magazines and major media outlets with the widest reach are covering. Most importantly, most of the people (potential

fans) are in big centres. That means there’s no ceiling. In a city like Brandon, you can only grow your fanbase so much. There are only so many people who a) like your type of music, b) will go to see a local band, and c) like live music at all. In a big centre, there are simply more people, and thus more potential fans. The ideal career-building show is in a large market, to a captive crowd, with a healthy guest list of industry professionals that can make a difference for your career. Always keep that in mind when you’re booking an indie tour.

Why Career-Building Doesn’t Always Mean Money-Making Here’s the thing: career-building shows usually net you very little, to negative dollars. Opening slots are often paid $150 or nothing at all, because it’s a good and enviable opportunity. Showcases are usually unpaid or pay-toplay, and you’ll end up spending a bunch of money getting there. Thankfully, in Canada, we have grants to help artists make these shows happen. Still, the best you can really hope for is to break even. This is the tough reality many artists face when they make the decision to focus on career-building shows: you’re making less money. And that 44 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

can be hard, especially when there is money to be made elsewhere. According to the philosophy of booking career-building shows, the choice between a $400 guarantee in a smaller market and a decent opening slot in a large market is clear. Kind of. Trust me, you should definitely play the opening slot, because that guarantee will still be there next weekend. On the other hand, sometimes you need to play for the money. Just keep in mind that if you only ever play for the money, that may be all you ever do.

green means go

Making the Best of Every Opportunity Recognizing the difference between opportunities and good opportunities is the first step towards booking highly effective, efficient tours. The second step is capitalizing on every opportunity you have. Even at a show that is not obviously “career-building,” you can still make fans and move your career forward. Here are a few things you can do to make every show “career-building”: INVITE LOCAL INDUSTRY You would invite every industry person you can think of to an opening slot in Toronto, so why not do the same in every single market? There are people in every scene that are the movers and shakers. Promoters, venue managers, artists – you need to get these people out to your show. Especially on your first few tours, you may find yourself playing venues that are… less than satisfactory. If you don’t want to get stuck playing that venue again, you need to get someone from the best venue in town out to your show. That way, they’ll know to book you next time.

The Bros. Landreth

MAKE PERSONAL CONNECTIONS WITH HARD-TO-REACH PEOPLE Every city has a festival. Every city has a concert series. These are great gigs, but it can be hard to get in touch with the people that book them. Touring outside of those busy times is the perfect opportunity to do that. For a while, my band was in the habit of going to the offices of the local festivals and playing an acoustic show. Even if you don’t get booked, at least they know you exist! NETWORK WITH FANS LIKE YOU WOULD WITH INDUSTRY Don’t be afraid to make the first contact with potential fans. Most people (myself included) are shy about going up and starting a conversation with a stranger; however, the one time I’m not shy about this is right after I’ve played a great set. Go up, introduce yourself, give them a download card, and get them on your mailing list. Get them to follow you on social media. Become friends. Make fans. When you get someone on your mailing list, follow up with a thank you right away. Literally, the next day. Try to make the thank you personal, and be friendly. This makes a great impression.

Jeremy Giacomin of Paquin Artists Agency

USE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA If there’s one time to amp up your social media presence, it’s on tour. You’re doing so may interesting things throughout the day, there is no excuse not to post at least once each day. Make sure to interact with fans who post pictures of you – you want to make lasting, long-term fans. FINAL THOUGHTS If you take even half of what I’ve written here and put it into action, you’ll be leagues ahead of most bands that are hitting the road for the first time. There will still be learning curves, struggles, and plenty of mistakes, but you’ll learn. And it will get easier every time. 46 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

Liam Duncan is musician and writer based in Winnipeg, MB. He likes to make music with his band The Middle Coast. Check them out on Facebook.

Advice from the Academics: Canadian Musician’s Percussion Special BY RICHARD MOORE

Considering Canada is home to some of the finest post-secondary music institutions you’ll find anywhere, for this year’s focus on percussion, we spoke with six of the busiest drummers living and working in the country. All six somehow mange to juggle intense performing and teaching schedules, but all have taken the time to share some advice with drummers looking to break into the music industry – or who are on their way to doing so.

The Players Terry Clarke has been teaching at the University of Toronto’s Jazz program for the past 13 years. His long and acclaimed career has put him alongside such jazz greats as John Handy, The Boss Brass, Oscar Peterson, Guido Basso, Moe Koffman, Ed Bickert Trio, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Lew Tabackin Big Band, and Toots Thielmans. He is also a member of The Order of Canada. Paul DeLong is active as an educator, clinician, and performer. He is currently a faculty member at Humber College and has taught there for the past 29 years. His drumming career is a varied one. You may see him in the pit working a musical theatre gig (Rent, The Lion King, Hairspray) or playing clubs with his own bands (Bucket of Fish Orchestra, Pretzel Logic), or playing an outdoor concert venue to thousands with Brass Transit. DeLong has written two drum books: DeLong Way to Polyrhythmic Creativity on the Drumset and Musical Phrasing on the Drum-Set. Alan Dowling is a drummer, music educator, and conductor. He teaches in the Music Performance program at PEI’s Holland College. He is an active performer in many genres and has played and recorded with many artists covering a myriad of styles. His decades of experience include working with Doug Riley, Measha Brueggergosman, Irish Mythen, Dennis Ellsworth, Meaghan Blanchard, and many others. He has performed at jazz festivals across the country and made guest appearances with Symphony Nova Scotia and the PEI Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Kelso has been teaching at Humber College for the past 14 years and heading up its Percussion Program for 12. He maintains an active performing career outside of his busy teaching schedule that includes a “who’s who” of artists and bandleaders alike in Canada. He currently performs with Hilario Duran, Odessa Havana, Natalie MacMaster, and his own group, The Jazz Exiles. On the educational side, his new DVD, Musician First, Drummer Second, is currently available. Larnell Lewis is a younger player on the scene whose name has been spreading like wild fire. He teaches at Humber College and has been on faculty there for eight years. He juggles performing and teaching with studio work, jingle sessions, and a busy touring schedule with Snarky Puppy. His first solo record is due out sometime in 2017. As a clinician, his 2016 clinic dates have included a tour of Europe as well as parts of East and West Africa. Anthony Michelli has a long list of performing and teaching credentials. He is on faculty at York University (15 years), Mohawk College (16 years), and Centennial College (two years). He’s currently performing with Matt Dusk, Artie Roth Quartet, Nikki Iles, Martin Speak, Rez Abbasi, Jerry Bergonzi, and many others. He is a graduate of Mohawk College, York University, and the University of Toronto. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 49

The Institutions Quoting Clarke, “The University of Toronto’s Jazz Program is attempting to ‘keep the torch lit’ as far as the tradition of our North American ‘classical music.’” The program offers a four-year Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance as well as graduate degrees in Jazz at the Master’s and Doctorate level. Ensembles include two big bands, 12-piece bands, and vocal ensembles. Humber College’s four-year Bachelor of Music degree is unique in its diversity and technologically cutting-edge facilities. Over 50 ensembles ranging from big band to bluegrass to West African give students a breadth of options to learn. Students also have the option to petition for an ensemble that isn’t currently offered in the program. The college annually invites guest artists and clinicians to work with students and faculty. The 2016/17 academic year includes visiting artists Steve Gadd and Snarky Puppy, while last year’s invitees were Pat Metheny and Will Kennedy. The Holland College School of Performing Arts in PEI provides a post-secondary opportunity for students to develop their artistic skills and share their passion of music, theatre, or dance. In the two-year Music Performance Diploma program, students learn to interpret and perform

many contemporary styles from country to Celtic, rock to R&B, jazz to world music, and more. Students take core music courses using official Berklee curriculum and learn the ins and outs of the music industry. The Berklee – Holland College Pathway program allows students accepted to Berklee to take part in a one- to two-year Music Performance program at Holland College. York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance, and Design offers a four-year degree program in music (Bachelor of Fine Arts) as well as graduate degrees in composition and musicology at the masters and PhD level. Studies include classical, jazz, and world music performance, composition, musicology/ethnomusicology, as well as media and technology. Special guest artists have included Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Dennis Macrell, and John Riley. Mohawk College, like York, offers studies in both classical and jazz performance. It’s a three-year diploma-based program at the college level that boasts an excellent faculty, library, and synthesizer lab. Guest artists and clinicians have included Larry Carlton, Jerry Bergonzi, Rez Abbasi, and Dan Wiess.

The Panel CM: How does teaching inform your playing, and conversely, how does playing inform your teaching? MK: Teaching and performing go hand in hand – the yin and yang. As a teacher, I’m continuously learning. Teaching makes me a better performer; and performing makes me a better teacher. PD: Students keep me current with new drumming trends that I can build into my playing. If I learn something new on the gig, I can then teach it to my students. AM: My live performing and teaching are reciprocal experiences; they inform my life as they offer something to the [student]. The reaction or non-reaction is a result of our interaction, which is something to be aware and observant of and not taken advantage of. LL: Students are constantly informing me about new drummers and groups. This keeps me current and connected with youth, and allows me to be open to new ideas. AD: The ability to play well [as a performer/ teacher] is a given these days. Faculty members who have performed professionally for many years can bring their skills and real world experiences into the classroom. TC: Teach from experience. At first I was afraid of the idea of being a teacher, you know, the 50 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

whole idea of verbalizing what you know. But once I got started, the stories and ideas just flowed. As a result of teaching I now practice more than I ever have. CM: Can you talk about the performing scene today and how it has changed in the last 30 years or so? AM: There are still places to play, but perhaps there aren’t as many. The studio scene has definitely changed and that model is not really carrying on as it once did when it was thriving. Many drummers are creating content via home studios and video formats to be distributed online these days, which has become some sort of new platform. Perhaps it’s a solo drum/instructional one, but I am not sure what it is and how it relates to music performance. I do believe that there are opportunities to play live but they have to be either nurtured or set up by the individual more than ever before since there are a lot more aspiring musicians entering the pool. MK: The scene has changed in a lot of ways. The session work has decreased substantially. Today, students have to use the internet and YouTube to promote their careers. AD: The number of venues offering live music has definitely decreased over the last few decades. We prepare graduates to work in many situations by training them in many different genres. All

students take music history and performance ensemble courses in [many genres]. They also learn the technical skills, such as theory, harmony, ear training, and arranging to become wellrounded musicians. Our program also offers several music business courses, such as marketing and finance that are aimed specifically at the music industry. These courses give graduates the skills to run their music business like a small business entrepreneur. CM: What advice can you give to young drummers looking to make a career in music? What sorts of things should they be thinking about in terms of educating themselves for the music industry? TC: As far as requirements for high school grads entering the music business, one must do one’s homework regarding the dos and don’ts of such pursuits. The contradictory nature between art and commerce, right brain vs. left-brain, can be confusing. They have to be diligent in keeping their eyes on popular culture, since eclecticism is the order of the day, more so than ever before. They also have to become savvy regarding marketing and planning their “brand” of music, producing recordings, and knowing how to promote their product. Sometimes the “artistic” component of their art form gets lost and they have to strive for a balance between all aspects of the music business while remaining true to their own vision of their own music.

Photo: Darrell Theriault

Alan Dowling · EastCoast Drumcraft 2006 Custom Maple Drums with Black Oyster PearlWrap · 16 x 18-in. Kick · 12 x 14-in. Mini Floor Tom · 8 x 10-in. Tom · Yamaha Maple Custom 6.5 x 14-in. Absolute Snare Drum with Wooden Hoops · Sabian Cymbals · 20-in. HHX Legacy Ride · 17-in. HHX Legacy Crash · 16-in. HH Thin Crash · 14-in. HHX Legacy Hi-Hats · LP 1970s Cowbell · Rhythm Tech Live Shaker · Vic Firth Steve Gadd Practice Pad · Protection Racket Cases · Ahead Cymbal Bag · Anthology Gear Wear Leather Stick Bag · Yamaha Hardware · Gibraltar Hardware · DW Hardware · Tama Hardware · Vic Firth Sticks · AJ2 Drumsticks · Live Wires Brushes · Split Brushes · Birch Tala Wands · Roland Electronics

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· Yamaha PHX Series Drums with Textured Natural Ash Finish · 18 x 22-in. Kick · 15 x 16-in. Floor Tom · 8 x 12-in. Tom · 7 x 10-in. Tom · Yamaha 5.5 x 14-in. Steel Recording Custom Snare · Yamaha 7 x 14-in. Steel Recording Custom Snare (aux) · Zildjian Cymbals (L-R) · 14-in. K Custom Session Hats · 14-in. A Custom EFX · 8-in. A Fast Splash (Stack 1 Top) · 8-in. ZXT Trashformer Splash (Stack 1 Bottom) · 20-in. or 18-in. A Custom Crash (Stack 2 Top) · 10-in. ZXT Trashformer Splash (Stack 2 Bottom) · 22-in. K Custom Dark Complex Ride · 18-in. A Custom EFX · 16-in. K EFX (Stack 3 Top) · 12-in. Gen16 Splash (Stack 3 Mid) · 14-in. Oriental China Trash (Stack 3 Bottom) · 12-in. Z3 Splash (with Hi-Hat Clutch, used on Snare) · Yamaha Hardware · Yamaha FP9500C Double Chain Single Foot Pedal · Yamaha Electronics · DTX-MULTI 12 Electronic Percussion Pad · DTX XP80 Trigger Pad · Evans Drumheads · Promark Drumsticks · Rebound Balance RBH550TW · TB5 Brushes · MT3 Multi-Purpose Mallets · PMBRM1 Medium Broomsticks · Hot Rods

Photo: Neal Burstyn

Larnell Lewis

LL: To young drummers coming out of high school, get to know the drummers in your city that are working on the scene. They are doing what you want to do right now. Go and watch how they perform in a live concert setting. Doing this can help your perspective and understanding of how different moments in music can affect the audience. Also, spend your time learning and understanding the music that’s being played in the particular scene that you want to join. AD: I would strongly recommend that young drummers start to prepare for a music career while in high school. First of all, decide if this really is your passion and that you are committed to working very hard for it. I recommend studying with a well-trained drummer while you are still in high school to learn the basics of good hand and drum set technique, reading music, theory, and ear training. These essential skills will not only make you a better drummer; they will also prepare you for a post-secondary music program audition. The music industry is very competitive and earning a diploma or degree in music will make you a better musician and prepare you for many different musical situations. It’s important for musicians today to become familiar with technology and also learn the business side of the music industry. PD: I would say that young drummers should not put all their eggs in one stylistic basket. Learn all the styles you can, get your chart

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reading together, make sure you can play with a click and make it feel good, and make sure you have great sounding gear. You might also want to consider going to a college or university music program where you’ll not only improve your drumming skills, but also learn music theory, arranging, composition, and get great experience playing with the wide variety of ensembles that are offered. You’ll also learn how to navigate Pro Tools and learn some music production skills, which are good things to know these days. MK: You have to know more than just your instrument nowadays. You should obviously be able to play your instrument well, but you should also know how to play a lot of different styles convincingly, be up on some technology – Logic Audio, Pro Tools, Sibelius, etc. – have your social media skills together, learn how to compose music, have some video skills for online presence and networking, and play with as many people as you can. Oh, and never sign any record company contract without taking it to an entertainment lawyer first. AM: One of the first and most important things I would suggest to younger aspiring musicians is to have fun while you take advantage of the time and resources you have around you. Life gets busier as you get older, so be aware of that. Check the ego at the door and try to remain open minded, curious, and take interest in all styles and forms of music and try to learn a few instruments in addition to the drums. If you

Anthony Michelli · Sonor Delite, Designer, Ascent & Vintage Series Drums (8-22-in.) · Paiste Cymbals · 21-in. Signature Dark Energy Light Dark Ride · 20-in. Masters Dark Crash Ride · 18-in. Signature Mellow Crash · 17-in. Signature Dark Energy Crash · 14-in. Signature Dark Energy Light Dark Hats · 602 Modern Essentials · Evans G, UV, Power Center Reverse Dot, EQ4 Onyx & Reso 7 Drumheads · Vater Drumsticks · Anthony Michelli Intenational Artist Stick Model · Wire Tap Wood Handle Brushes · Specialty Sticks & Mallets · Prologix Practice Pads · Cympad Cellular Foam Washers · Canopus Bass Pedal Bearings & Snare Wires · Moperc Percussion Congas & Bongos · Earthworks Audio DFK1 Series Drum Mics · PreSonus Studio 192, Studio One 3, Preamps & Other Studio Gear

are able to, get out to hear live music as much as possible and ask a lot of questions. Perhaps, find a mentor or teacher that you like and be accountable and organized with your time and focus even if you aren’t sure of a specific direction yet. Trust the process, get started now, and go full steam ahead because there is room for everyone on the scene; you just have to constantly work to find it. Be prepared, patient, and persistent. When the opportunity comes, you will likely be ready to take that next step. CM: Any practice tips you want to impart on young aspiring drummers? PD: My practice tip is to work on things that are directly related to making a living in music. Forget the gospel chops and work on your time and feel, your chart-reading skills, and get comfortable in a variety of styles. The chops can come later! MK: I think that younger drummers sometimes focus on their chops and technique a little too much. Hey, chops are a great thing to have but it’s so important that any drummer realizes the importance of laying down a good, serious groove. Being able to make a song feel good is what will keep any player getting hired. Take James Gadson for example. He’s in his 70s and people still love playing with him because of his incredible feel. Everyone can use a drummer with a great groove and no chops but no one wants a drummer with great chops and no groove. AD: There are many different things to practice, but never lose sight of the importance of regularly playing with other musicians. Some practice tips for drummers thinking of studying at the college level: Work on groove and

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Mark Kelso

sounding musical. Practice with a metronome at different tempos. Develop sight-reading skills for snare and drum set. Get comfortable with different grooves and styles of music. It’s always good to study with a drum teacher to make faster progress in these areas and to ensure that you don’t develop bad habits! AM: I would suggest that if you are an aspiring student trying to further yourself in music, you should make a clear practice routine for yourself and include important things like: playing steady and consistent time; playing different styles and various tempos within those styles; working with a click or metronome; learning to read rhythmic notation; rudimental work for hands and feet; learning the basics of using brushes; trying to practice piano as much as you play drums; practicing specific things before you just sit down and play; playing along to recordings to try to emulate the feel and relationship of the drums

with the other instruments; asking yourself how committed you are to improving and setting some clear goals; learning the melodies and form of the music you are playing; listening to live music and paying attention to the nuances that are happening onstage; learning repertoire of the style of music you are playing; and researching the major artists in the style you are studying or hoping to learn. LL: Work on speeding up your process and ability to learn songs. Learn how to play quietly while still maintaining energy. Take small breaks while practicing – 25 minutes of practice, then a fiveminute break and repeat. Be patient with yourself as far as development goes; some things will come to you easier than others. When you find the hard things, break them down into smaller exercises that challenge you to focus on the individual things you’re not able to do. Find ways to make your practice time fun, and lastly, practice along with albums and songs that have both real drums and programmed drums.

· Yamaha Maple Hybrid or Recording Custom Drums · 22-in. Kick (Maple Hybrid only) · 20-in. Kick · 16-in. Floor Tom · 14-in. Floor Tom · 12-in. Tom · 10-in. Tom · Yamaha 5 x 14-in. Maple Hybrid Snare · Yamaha 6 x 14-in. JR Signature Snare · Yamaha 5 x 14-in. Maple Custom Absolute · Yamaha 6.5 x 14-in. Manu Katche Brass Snare · Paiste Cymbals Master’s Collection (Jazz & Latin) · 22-in. Dark Ride · 20-in. Dark Ride · 20-in. Sweet Ride · 20-in. Dark Crash Ride · 14-in. Dark Hats · Paiste Cymbals 2002 Series (Pop & Sessions) · 22-in. Traditional Flat Chinese · 22-in. Ride · 18-in. Thin Crash · 18-in. Med. Thin Crash · 14-in. Twenty Series Hats · Various PSTX Stacks · Evans Drumheads · HeadHunters Mark Kelso Groover Sticks · HeadHunters Various Creations · Moon Gels

Paul DeLong

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Photo: Neal Burstyn

· Gretsch USA Custom Drums in Satin Azure Blue · 16 x 22-in. Kick · 16 x 16-in. Floor Tom · 14 x 14-in. Floor Tom · 9 x 12-in. Tom · 8 x 10-in. Tom · 6 x 14-in. Snare · Sabian Cymbals · 18-in. Chinese · 18-in. HH Crash · 17-in. HH Crash · 16-in. HH Crash · 13-in. HH Fusion Hats · Crescent Cymbals 22-in. Ride · Remo Drumheads · Vater 55BB Sticks · Yamaha Clickstation Metronome · Shure 425e In-Ear Monitors · Behringer Mixer

Terry Clarke · Ayotte Custom Jazz Drums · 16 x 22-in. Kick (for Big Bands) · 16 x 18-in. Kick · 15 x 15-in. Floor Tom (for Big Bands) · 13 x 13-in. Floor Tom · 8 x 10-in. Tom · 6 x 14-in. Snare · 20-in. Zildjian K Ride (with rivets) · 20-in. Wuhan Ride (with rivets) · 18-in. Paiste 602 Crash/Ride · 18-in. Paiste 1970 Flat Ride · 17-in. Traditional Crash · 13-in. UFIP Hats · Gibraltar Hi-Hat Stand · Canoplus Cymbal Stands · Ludwig Speed King Bass Pedal · Remo Ambassador Drumheads · HeadHunters Drumsticks & Signature Brushes

TC: With regards to practice “tips” for young drummers, the prime directive and essential direction of any practice routine is to never forget the purpose of their workout: that of a “musical” performance. The common pitfall of young players is over-zealousness coupled with overactive hormonal changes, resulting in overworked muscles – again, a matter of

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balance. Remembering that playing drums is a “means” to an end, the end meaning music, rather than using music to glorify their own ability to play their instruments. I would over emphasize the practice of playing slowly to solidify your time feel, the feel being of utmost importance. The ever-elusive “pocket” is the whole point of our being there – being able to

“lock in” the time in order to make our fellow musicians feel great playing with you and solidifying their respect for your musicality and hire-ability. Good luck! Richard Moore (PhD, ABD) is a freelance drummer and percussionist based in the GTA.


Dru is a JUNO Award-winning, Toronto-based R&B/soul singer and songwriter. A former member of the group In Essence, he was nominated for another JUNO earlier in 2016, picking up a nod for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year for his single “Déjà Vu.”

By Dru

My Secrets to Songwriting


n my eyes, songwriting should be very natural and unforced. Years ago, a very talented songwriter named Rupert Gayle, who co-wrote on both of my albums to date – The One and On the Brink – said, “When you are songwriting, the song is already in the room; we just need to pull it down.” That rang so true to me and has helped me to take the pressure off when it comes to writing phrasing and lyrics. It helped me focus more on the feeling that I’m trying to convey. I believe the whole process of songwriting should be based on an initial emotion and not on current slang or trendy phrasing. My process consists of three main components: music, vibe and freestyle, and lyrics.

friend may have told me about their personal experience. I believe music should always come from a real experience. I will then build a musical melody with my producer that I feel properly conveys the subject and emotion we’re focusing on. Once we get the initial musical loop, I will go into the recording booth.

Vibe & Freestyle

Music Before I go into the studio, I think about the musical vibe of the song I would like to create that day. For example, it could be a love song, a song about life, a song about triumph, or a song about failure. It depends on what happened to me that week or month or could even be based on a story a

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When the musical loop is in its initial phases, I will tell my producer to turn the microphone on and I will go into the booth and start singing the first melody and lyrics that come to my mind. It could make absolutely no sense and some of the words may not even exist, but it conveys an emotion when you listen back. You should never over-think anything and trust your instincts because your initial reaction to something is usually the truest. After listening back to the freestyle, I will then section out parts of the melody. I will decide which piece of the melody sounds like a chorus or like a verse or a pre-chorus or an intro or outro. Once that’s all mapped out to my satisfaction, that’s when I start piecing in lyrics.

Lyrics When writing lyrics, I like to pay attention to the words that I believe sing well. There is often a hundred ways of saying the same phrase. What makes our job as songwriters interesting, to say the least, is finding the

phrase that best fits with your melody and arrangement, but still gets your point across in a direct, clever, yet simple way. I like to keep my concept simple and sometimes kind of vague. I think that we sometimes don’t give music listeners enough credit; I feel they want to be involved in creating the story in their minds – the story of what they feel the song is trying to relay. So if you keep it intentionally vague and open, it helps the song become more universal and the masses will be able to relate to it somehow. Sometimes, I feel people go too deep with songwriting and that can potentially alienate a significant number of people who may not have experienced a situation like the writer has, or maybe hasn’t experienced it in the same way. I do not put too much pressure on lyrics; I pay more attention to the emotion and the feeling of what I am trying to say. Nine times out of 10, it’s the simplest phrasing that makes the strongest and most direct connections. After a song is finished I will listen to it everywhere – in the car, at home, back in the studio again after a couple of weeks... I will critique it and I listen for different things that can be improved. I will then go back in the studio and tweak the song, making the changes that my producer and I feel it needs. After that, it’s off to mixing and mastering…


Noah Mintz is a Senior Mastering Engineer at Lacquer Channel Mastering in Toronto. With nearly 20 years of experience specifically and exclusively in professional audio mastering (and many more previously in audio production), Noah’s philosophy has always been “less is more.” With a strong emphasis on “vibe,” Noah’s sonic signature has been left on some of Canada’s most successful indie and major-label acts.

By Noah Mintz

The Curious Case of Mastering

Your Boy Tony Braxton’s Adult Contempt


ixing engineer and friend Howie Beck called me up one day and told me he was mixing an interesting album and that I might be mastering it. He had a question about delivering the clients some reference mixes (usually somewhat pseudo-mastered). I asked him who the artist was. He told me he wasn’t yet able to say but that he is a Canadian radio personality. That narrowed it down to a surprisingly large amount of people. His question didn’t narrow it down any further: How can I make a mix sound like it was from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s? I thought about this for a bit. Someone might want an album to sound musically like it was from that era, but rarely sonically. Digital was still young at that time and the Sony 1630 UMatic tape was the prevailing mastering format, CDR still not being a mature technology yet. Many albums from that time sound thin and weak when compared to albums that were released before digital and after digital matured. I answered that I thought it would be best to emulate the radio compressors of the time. I told him to use a three-band multiband compressor and compress and reduce the bottom and top more than the middle. Having only a small understanding of how radio compressors worked back then, it was more an educated guess than actual knowledge If this effect was required for the mixrefs, I was curious on what the mastering would entail. When it did come time for mastering and I was hired to do it, it was revealed that the artist was Shad and that this was going to be a very different album for him. While Shad is best known for hip-

W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M

hop, this album was going to be a throw back to the sound of Phil Collins, INXS, and The Partland Brothers. I was told to master this album differently… creatively. Don’t do what I’d normally do; rather, do what I might not do – tough call for a mastering engineer used to “less is more” and “do no harm.” I was told to use whatever I had at my disposal to make it sound like it was released in 1990. I almost considered pulling out our old Sony 1630 converters but using digital technology from 1988 felt like taking it way too far. Instead, I decided to take “different” differently and master up one song, as a test, seven different ways. Here is an explanation of the different test masters, which you can hear at

compressor with a slow attack and auto release, into a Fairchild compressor with 1-2dB of reduction, a FabFilter Multiband EQ with a pretty heavy setting based on an EDM preset, and finished with a Pultec EQ with some bass boost and cut, and 20 kHz cut. This was about 10 times more processing than I would normally use, but I thought it sounded pretty good, all things considered. I was also pretty sure this wouldn’t be the one they choose.

3. Layback to 1/2-in. Tape (15 ips) …and an analog mastering path. I recorded the mix to 1/2-in. tape via a real Ampex 102 Master Recorder.

4. Layback to 1/2-in. Tape (7 ips) …and an analog mastering path.

1. All Analog Mastering

5. Record to Lacquer (45 rpm Vinyl)

I used my dCS DA Converter into a 4 K boost on my Neve 2087, a 64 Hz boost for the kick on the GML9500 EQ, then a midcut on the Sontec. Low and top boost and cut on the passive SPL. (Boost and cuts on the same frequency is part of the design of passive Pultec-style EQs.) Finally, a Manley VariMu tube compressor for some gain reduction into a Burl Bomber AD converter. The Burl (as opposed to my audiophile dCS) is a converter with vibe.

…and analog mastering path. Having a record lathe here at Lacquer Channel afforded me a rare opportunity. We took the unprocessed mix and cut an acetate master with it at 45 rpm. We then played it back into the DAW via a Techniques 1200SL and applied the same analog processing that was used on the analog master.

2. All Digital Mastering I went a bit crazy on this one. Since they asked me specifically not to do what I normally do, I tried out some plug-ins I don’t normally use. I started with the UAD ATR 102 1/4-in. 456 tape at 7 1/2 ips for a more sludgy sound into an API 550 EQ with a 15 K boost and a 50 Hz cut, into an SSL

6. Lacquer & Tape (15 ips) …and analog mastering path. We also took the acetate and laid it back to tape just for that added processing.

7. Lacquer & Tape (7 ips) …and analog mastering path. In the second part next issue, I’ll tell you which they chose and how we used that approach for the final product.

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Paul White is Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sound. Trained in electronics, he has been recording music since the 1970s. He also performs and mixes live gigs, and is the author of a number of music recording textbooks.

By Paul White

Miking the Drums

From The SOS Guide To Live Sound


good drum sound always starts with a well-tuned drum kit, and provided that the kit is fitted with heads and snares in decent condition, you should be able to have it sounding decent fairly quickly. Where the room acoustics are favourable and spill isn’t a problem, a stereo microphone pair a metre or two in front of the kit will actually give a very natural reinforcement of its acoustic sound, but this is never an option for a fully amplified band, as the spill level will be too high.

Kick Drum For smaller gigs, a mic on the kick drum may often be enough just to add the required weight to the direct sound heard by the audience. Kick drum mics are usually dynamic cardioid models able to cope with high SPLs, and often specifically voiced for use with bass drums. Assuming the kick drum has no front head, or a front head with a largish cut-out, a fairly standard mic positioning would be just inside the drum shell, pointing towards a spot roughly halfway between the shell and where the beater hits. If you don’t have a suitable mic stand, you can sometimes get acceptable results simply by lying the mic on top of the damping blanket inside the drum. A kit with no hole in the front head can be miked in front, if you want a particularly deep sound with no attack, or from behind for more click, as long as you can place the mic somewhere where the drummer won’t kick it.

a snare close mic in favour of a more natural overhead-based strategy. However, most prefer a snare mic, as the snare-driven backbeat is such a fundamental part of rock music. A dynamic cardioid model is usually chosen for this job, generally placed 50 mm or so above the snare rim, pointing in towards the centre of the top head. A capacitor mic will give a slightly more open sound with more of the wiry rattle of the snares audible, but you’ll probably have to engage the onboard pad to avoid overloads. A second mic is sometimes used below the snare to pick up more of the wire sound. If you feel you need this, remember that the polarity of the lower mic needs to be inverted using the desk’s phase switch, as the bottom mic is facing in the opposite direction to the top snare mic.

Overheads Cardioid capacitor or back-electret mics are usually chosen for overheads because of their extended high-frequency response. These should be mounted around 2-3 ft. above the cymbals, at a point that achieves an even coverage of all the drums and cymbals. If you have put close mics on most of the other drums, you can use a significant amount of low-cut filtering on the overheads. In most cases, you’ll find that you’ve already got more hi-hat than you’d like coming down the snare mic and overheads, so you’d probably only resort to a close mic for the hi-hat in a very large venue with a drummer who didn’t hit the hi-hats very hard.



The next step up on the drumkit miking scale is to add a close mic on the snare, or one or two overhead mics. Some engineers like to use as few mics as possible and, providing the balance is OK with just kick and overheads, are often happy to dispense with

Toms can be miked from just above the rim, pointing across to the centre. A key consideration, just as with the snare mic, is that the drummer should be able to play normally without risk of hitting the mics. Dynamic cardioids are a favourite, once again, but

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there will often be an excessive amount of boom in a close-miked tom, benefiting from a degree of damping on the top head. Drum damping can be achieved by taping folded tissue or cloth to the edge of the top head of the drum, or via the sticky polymer patches that many drummers have adopted. Damping pads usually go fairly close to the edge of the head, in a place where they won’t be hit and where they are not directly beneath a microphone. Take care not to over-dampen the drums while listening to them on their own, as they’ll probably sound dull and lifeless with the full band.

Final Tips While it is always better to get the sound right at the source, noise gates can be used to tighten up close-miked drum sounds by setting a short release time. For bands playing in smaller venues, clipon drum mics make a lot of sense as they remove the clutter of a separate boom stand for every mic on the kit. The clips, which clamp onto the drum rims, are designed to offer a degree of vibration isolation and make it easier to place the mics where they won’t be in the drummer’s way. Even the more affordable, all-in-one drummic sets can produce very acceptable results, although the kick drum mic in a budget set often leaves something to be desired, so you might want to think about upgrading to a reputable dedicated kick mic. This is an excerpt from The SOS Guide to Live Sound: Optimising Your Band’s Live-Performance Audio, a book/ebook from Focal Press by Paul White. Reprinted by Permission of Focal Press. The title is available through


Paul Sanderson is a lawyer in private practice with his own firm, Sanderson Entertainment Law ( He is the leading author of legal publications on arts and entertainment law in Canada. His publications include Musicians and the Law in Canada (Carswell Legal Publications), now in its 4th edition, and Music Law Handbook for Canada (Seraphim).

By Paul Sanderson

Music, the Law & Money Streams Part 1

Concerning music law and an artist’s various money streams, three main questions arise: • What is music? • What is the law relevant to music? • What are the monetary streams for music that aren’t grants/loans? 1. What Is Music? For our purposes, “music” means: a. musical compositions; b. recorded music, i.e. sound recordings; c. the performance of music, i.e. performers’ rights for their performances in a sound recording. 2. What Is the Law Relevant to Music? In essence, the rights acquired by music are copyrights granted under the Copyright Act. To understand these rights, you must know the basics of copyright law and understand how the copyright administration system operates. Administration for our purposes means controlling third party copyright licensing and the monetary flow from licensing. First, what are the rights? Three main copyrights arise when a sound recording of music is produced, namely: • musical copyrights; • sound recording copyrights; • neighbouring rights, including the maker and the performers’ share for their performances embodied in sound recording. These rights, the law, and the money streams in relation thereto will be our primary focus in this article.

Music Rights 1. Musical Copyrights There are five main rights: a. mechanical – the right to reproduce music in a recording;             b. public performing –  the right to perform music in public; c. synchronization –  the right to synchronize music with visual images, such as in film, TV, and advertising; 62 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

d. e.

print rights – the right to reproduce music in print form; subsidiary rights – these are the other rights from which economic value from music accrues, such as the rights to alter and translate a work.

2. Recordings: Copyright relevant to audio recordings, not including the music, discussed above, consists of: a. a sound recording copyright that allows one to sell, license, and distribute copies of the recordings; b. the maker’s share of neighbouring rights; c. performers’ rights in their performances embodied in sound recordings which are copyrights and part of the neighbouring rights regime granted in the Copyright Act; d. the right to be paid blank tape levies. How Does the Copyright System Work? In practice, the economic value that accrues from music and copyrights is conveyed by contracts, primarily copyright assignments and copyright licenses. Assignments are transfers of ownership of copyright. Copyright licenses grant the right to use copyright from a rights holder but do not transfer copyright ownership. By far the most prevalent transactions in the system are licenses.

Who Are the Main Players?   1. Copyright Collectives

What are they? A collecting society is defined in the Copyright Act as an organization engaged by or for those who, by assignment, license, or agency, are authorized to act on their behalf.   What do they do? A collecting society must fulfill two main functions: a. Operate a licensing scheme;


Collect and distribute royalties.

What are the main copyright collectives relevant to music? a. Reproduction rights organizations such as CMRRA, SODRAC, and CSI for digital mechanical licensing; b. Public performing rights societies such as SOCAN; c. Re: Sound, a neighbouring rights collective; d. Connect Music Licensing for licensing audio and audiovisual recordings; e. CPCC, which administers blank tape levies; 2. Music Publishers & Record Companies/Record Production Companies These are also key players in the administration of a musical copyrights system as we have defined music, but they are not copyright collectives. Music licensing, i.e. exploiting music and deriving revenue therefrom, is the main activity of music publishers and the licensing and sale of recorded music is the main activity of record companies and record production companies. 3. The Copyright Board This is one other highly relevant player in the system. It is a quasi-judicial tribunal which is subject to federal court review. It has a statutory mandate under the Copyright Act to set tariffs that copyright collectives can charge. It oversees tariffs that amount to almost a half-billion dollars annually. In part two, we’ll take a closer look at money streams. This article is adapted from the author’s lecture on February 21, 2016 at the JAZZ.FM91 Jazz Connect Conference. Please note, this article addresses the situation in Canada. The issues discussed can and do vary in other countries. This article does not address the money that can be had from loans and grants from government sources such as FACTOR or arts council funding, etc.

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Hughes & Kettner GrandMeister Deluxe 40 Amp Hughes & Kettner has released the 40‐W GrandMeister Deluxe 40 tube amplifier head, which pairs analog all‐ tube tone with smart control features. The GrandMeister Deluxe 40 uses the new Deluxe Tone Technology circuit design in conjunction with tone‐shaping components inspired by the brand’s flagship TriAmp Mark 3. Each knob and switch setting can be saved, stored, and recalled in up to 128 memory slots at the touch of a button, and the onboard effects settings are saved along with the gain and EQ knob values. The standard Hughes & Kettner technological features are also included, such as onboard Power Soak, Tube Safety Control, and the Red Box AE’s DI speaker simulation. Also, there’s a free optional GM40 Remote app for iPad that lets players watch, touch, and control all of the amp’s features on one screen, as well as backing up and sharing sounds. For more information, contact Yorkville Sound: 905-837-8777, FAX 905-839-5776,,

Roland DJ-808 DJ Controller Roland has released the DJ-808, a DJ controller co-developed with Serato that features a four-channel mixer, built-in drum sequencing, vocal processing, and Serato DJ integration. Expanding on typical DJ controller features, the DJ-808 includes a built-in Roland TR-S drum machine with 606, 707, 808, and 909 kicks, snares, claps, and hi-hats. It can also control the Serato Sampler within Serato DJ. The VT Voice Transformer can pitch the user’s voice to match the key of the Serato DJ tracks, while two AIRA Link ports let the user connect compatible synths and electronic gadgets, and produce a live remix, with a USB cable. There are intuitive knobs and faders, adjustable curves, a removable crossfader, and touch-sensitive RGB buttons for Hot Cue, Roll, Sampler, Sliver, Pitch Play, and TR drum machine triggering. The DJ-808 also offers deep Serato DJ control via built-in DVS support, dedicated loop control buttons, and controls for Serato Flip, Hot Cue, FX, and Key Sync. For more information, contact Roland Canada: 604-270-6626, FAX 604-270-6552,

Sabian Big & Ugly Crashes & Hi-Hats


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Sabian has expanded its Big & Ugly cymbal collection with the introduction of new crash-friendly sizes and hi-hats. The 18-in. AA Sick Hats are designed to be thin, very dry overall, and very controllable. The 28 holes allow them to breathe with virtually no airlock. If the user prefers more body, less air, and the ability to play patterns without holes getting in their way, they can flip them over with the hole side down. There are also the 14- and 16-in. AA Apollo hats, and the more affordable 14-in. XSR Monarch hats, which are ideal for drummers who have already incorporated Big & Ugly models into their set-up and want to add articulation, control, and a fatter sound. Big & Ugly crash-friendly sizes include the 18- and 20-in. AA Apollo and the 18and 20-in. XSR Monarch. For more information, contact Sabian: 506-272-2019,,

Moog Minimoog Model D Synthesizer Moog Music has resumed production of the Minimoog Model D synthesizer after more than 30 years. This three-oscillator monophonic instrument is housed in a hand-finished aluminum chassis and locally-sourced Appalachian hard-wood enclosure. It preserves the component placement and through-hole design of the original analog circuit boards, employing military-spec precision resistors and custom-reissued transistors to complete the circuit. Though no changes have been made to the original sound engine or audio signal path, the Minimoog Model D now includes a series of functional modifications to expand the instrument’s sonic capabilities beyond the factory specifications of a 1970s production unit. These modifications include a Fatar keybed with velocity and after pressure available via top panel CV jacks, a dedicated analog LFO with triangle and square waveshapes, CV outputs for pitch, gate, velocity, and after pressure, basic MIDI integration, and a mixer overload modification, which when engaged allows the Minimoog Model D to conjure thicker and more overdriven sounds. For more information, contact SFM: 514-780-2075, FAX 514-780-2111,,

Peavey Robert Randolph Signature PowerSlide Peavey has released the Robert Randolph Signature PowerSlide. Incorporating all of the features of the original Peavey PowerSlide, the Robert Randolph signature model includes an adjustable belly rest, an added single-coil pickup, and upgraded hardware. The ergonomically-designed Peavey PowerSlide combines the features of a traditional lap steel, a resonator, and a conventional steel guitar. It can be played in multiple vertical and horizontal orientations thanks to its four-point suspension and patented multipoint “Y” strap system. Designed to position the fingerboard to the left of the player’s body, the shape allows full access to the playing surface. Other features include volume control, “sail” patterns to help easily identify octaves while playing, and a magnet-loaded pickup with exclusive variable-coil mode control. For more information, contact B&J Music: 800-268-8147, FAX 800-777-3265, bandj@jamindustries. W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M

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HOT Cort AB850F Acoustic Bass GEAR

Cort Guitars has released the AB850F acoustic bass guitar. The AB850F features a full-size, jumbo body that measures 110-135 mm and is available in natural or black finish. It features a dovetail neck joint and Venetian cutaway for easier high-fret access. Advanced scalloped X-bracing provides added sturdiness beneath the surface. The spruce construction is designed to provide a balance between strength and flexibility with a versatile sonic character. The AB850F’s mahogany back and sides are bright but natural with a strong and warm midrange. The bass has a 43 mm nut width at the neck and a standard 34-in. scale length with a 22-fret rosewood fingerboard with dot inlays. It comes equipped with the Fishman ISYS + EQ, featuring a two-band equalizer, LED tuner, and phase control along with Sonicore pickup. For more information, contact Coast Music: 514-457-2555, FAX 514-457-0055,,

Blue Yeti Pro Studio USB Microphone Blue Microphones has introduced the USB Studio Series, which includes the Yeti Pro Studio USB mic. The Yeti Pro Studio is an all-in-one vocal recording system that combines the high-resolution Yeti Pro professional USB and XLR microphone with PreSonus Studio One Artist recording software and advanced studio vocal effects from iZotope. Featuring custom, handcrafted templates by Grammy Award-winning engineers for voice, instruments, and more, Yeti Pro Studio provides the tools to easily record multi-track projects with high resolution sound. It also features three custom capsules and four different polar patterns, plus hi-resolution sample rates up to 24-bit/192 kHz. The Yeti Pro Studio also includes a stereo XLR output to connect to professional audio gear. For more information, contact HHB Communications Canada: 416-867-9000, FAX 416-867-1080,;

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Boss GT-1 Guitar Effects Processor Boss has launched the portable GT-1 guitar effects processor, which is driven by the GT-series engine and gives access to a large selection of amps and effects for all types of music. A streamlined interface enables quick and intuitive sound creation, while an assignable control switch and expression pedal provide real-time effects adjustment. And by connecting to Boss Tone Central, users can download free pro patches, editing software, and more. With the flagship-class GT sound engine, the GT-1 provides a selection of COSM amp tones, including vintage amps and Boss original amps. Specialized effects like Acoustic Simulator, Guitar Simulator, and others provide numerous tonal options, and there’s also a looper to enhance practice sessions and stage performances. The modern design features no hard edges so it doesn’t damage the gig bag or guitar in transport. There is both AC or battery power and up to seven hours of battery life is available. For more information, contact Roland Canada: 604-270-6626, FAX 604-270-6552,

Grover Pro Percussion Will James Signature Snare Drum Grover Pro Percussion has released its first ever artist signature concert snare drum. Working with St. Louis Principal Percussionist, Will James, a 4x14-in. snare drum has been designed specifically targeted to percussionists on the audition circuit. The Will James Signature Snare Drum is designed to have a range of musical expression beyond the expectation of a single drum. Its features include master tension adjustment, three dedicated snare balancing adjustments, proprietary Independent Snare Pressure Adjustment (ITaP),coated cable, uncoated cable, and wire snares. There are also Contempo tube lugs, die-cast rims, a CNC machined 10-ply, cross-laminated maple shell, 45-degree single-slope bearing edges, and high-gloss sparkle fade finish. The exclusive Rim Guard provides added security when playing quiet passages close to the rim and the soft rubber guard can be removed and used on other drums as well. For more information, contact Grover Pro Percussion: 781-935-6200,,

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HOT RTW MM3 MusicMeter Loudness Meter GEAR

RTW has announced its entrance into the music industry with the newest addition to its loudness metering range, the MM3 MusicMeter. The MM3 provides a flexible way to implement loudness metering into music-based applications. The MM3 MusicMeter features vectorscope, PPM/TruePeak, or VU real-time analyzers, loudness vs. time charts, as well as numerical and graphical loudness display and zoom modes. The display can be adjusted for vertical or horizontal modes to accommodate the needs of its users. Supported audio inputs include analog, SPDIF, and USB, and an SPDIF output delivers a buffered stereo signal or downmix from a 5.1 stream. The MM3 MusicMeter is compatible with RTW’s USB Connect software package. This software equips its user with a direct audio signal transfer and additional control from within a DAW environment. For more information, contact Sonotechnique: 514-332-6868, FAX 514-332-5537,,

EarthQuaker Devices Transmisser Resonant Reverberations Pedal EarthQuaker Devices has released the Transmisser Resonant Reverberations pedal. The Transmisser is a modulated reverb with extra-long decay fed to a highly resonant filter. It is not meant to sound subtle or recreate classic tones, but rather create a soundscape-y backdrop for guitar experimentations. It features modulated reverb with filter, expression control over the resonant filter frequency, and control over the harmonic content (i.e. overtones) of the reverb trails. With its interactive and intuitive control feature set, the Warp control adjusts overall tonal character and response. There is also silent relay-based soft touch switching and true bypass. For more information, contact Search & Distro Music Equipment: 519-512-0216,,

Allen & Heath Xone:PX5 DJ Mixer Allen & Heath has launched the Xone:PX5, a new 4+1 channel DJ performance mixer. Equipped with the Xone VCF filter, three-band total kill EQ on all channels, and a new internal Xone:FX engine, the PX5 also features a 20-channel USB soundcard with Xone:Sync and MIDI integration. The PX5’s FX engine features the Xone:Xcite library of performance-focused effects, coupled with familiar hands-on controls. A hybrid FX mode combines the internal and external send and return FX for advanced effects processing. Meanwhile, the Xone filter system includes HPF, BPF, LPF, resonance control, and frequency sweep, plus the option to route the Aux channel and External Return to the filter. The internal 20-channel 24-bit/96 kHz USB2 soundcard is class compliant on Mac and enables five stereo channels to be streamed into the mixer from performance software, whilst the new Xone:Sync engine features comprehensive MIDI clock options, enabling the connection of external software/hardware instruments. For more information, contact Erikson Pro: 514-457-2555, FAX 514-457-0055,,

Yamaha YHR-871 Custom French Horn Yamaha has released the YHR-871 line of custom level Geyer-style French horns that evoke the YHR-861. These new French horns are designed to offer a redefined sound with a wider range of tonal characteristics for performing passages that require added nuance. The new models include improved design elements from the YHR-861 that help shape a rich, centered tone. To help achieve a classic Geyer horn sound, a thicker rim wire delivers a rich, centered sound and the gold brass leadpipe and round main tuning slide provide consistent feel and sound characteristics. For more information, contact Yamaha Canada Music: 416-298-1311, FAX 416-292-1171,

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M-Audio M-Track C-Series 2X2 & 2X2M Audio Interfaces M-Audio has released the M-Track C-Series 2X2 and 2X2M audio interfaces. The M-Track 2X2 and 2X2M give musicians the ability to produce 24-bit/192 kHz studio-quality computer-based recordings with an intuitive design. Featuring a metal chassis with a large machined-aluminium central volume knob, the M-Track 2X2 and 2X2M feature M-Audio’s Crystal lownoise preamps and A/D converters. Each 1/4-in. instrument input features a specially-designed gain and impedance stage to provide accurate representation of a guitar or bass plugged directly into the interface. The M-Track 2X2 is equipped with one balanced XLR+1/4-in. combo input and one 1/4-in. instrument input, while the M-Track 2X2M is equipped with two balanced XLR+1/4-in. combo inputs, two 1/4-in. instrument inputs, as well as fivepin MIDI input and outputs for connecting external MIDI gear. The M-Track audio interfaces include a software suite with Steinberg’s Cubase LE, the C-Series Virtual Instrument Suite from AIR Music Technology, and 20 well-known AU/VST FX plug-ins from the AIR Creative FX Collection. For more information, contact inMusic Canada: 877-981-9910, FAX 581-981-9913,,

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Dixon Precision Coil Bass Drum Pedal Dixon is now shipping the Precision Coil bass drum pedal, which features a new spring design engineered to deliver more responsiveness and ergonomic action. The pedal features a specially-selected coil spring enclosed in a chamber with a direct connection to the axle/cam assembly. Fewer moving parts creates a more efficient transfer of energy from the pedal board to the beater, providing a feel that shadows the motions of the playing foot. The pedal is also designed to maintain power, rebound, a full dynamic range, and sensitive rhythmic control. Additional features include independent foot board height and beater angle adjustments, spring tension adjustment, and an easy-access hoop clamp for personalization. For more information, contact Peate Musical Supplies: 802-8794977, FAX 866-234-8052,,

Numark PT01 Scratch Portable Turntable Numark has introduced the PT01 Scratch portable turntable with a DJ scratch switch that enables portable turntable enthusiasts to play records with real scratch effects. The PT01 Scratch offers the company’s first adjustable scratch switch on a portable turntable, enabling DJs to add their own custom scratch effects when the unit isn’t plugged into an outlet. The adjustable switch accommodates scratching with either the left or right hand. The PT01 Scratch also features a special non-slip cartridge system, meaning the stylus stays in solid contact with the record’s grooves regardless of playing angle or external vibrations. Other features include a built-in speaker, USB connection for recording to a computer, 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM settings, and RCA outputs. For more information, contact inMusic Canada: 877-981-9910, FAX 581-981-9913,,

Waves Greg Wells ToneCentric Plug-In Waves Audio is now shipping the Greg Wells ToneCentric plug-in, which is part of the Greg Wells Signature Series. Created in collaboration with Grammy-nominated producer, musician, and mixing engineer Greg Wells (Adele, OneRepublic, Katy Perry), ToneCentric is a musical harmonic enhancer based on Wells’ favourite pieces of analog gear from his studio, including a 1950s mono tube compressor, tape machine, and custom vacuum tube console. It is designed to add analog tone to individual tracks or entire mixes, in the studio or live, with a simple single-knob interface. For more information, go to

Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Monitoring Headphones Sennheiser has released an updated version of its HD 280 PRO monitoring headphones with a new design and improved comfort. The most visible change is the headband, which features differently designed padding that keeps the sensitive fontanelle area of the head free from pressure. This, along with a weight of 285 g, is designed for stress-free use for long hours. The headband length can be adjusted in more than a dozen increments while the swivel joint and the rotatable ear cups ensure an ideal fit around the ear. The HD 280 PROs boast a THD of 0.1 per cent and a very detailed, linear reproduction, spanning a frequency response of 8 to 25,000 kHz. Their impedance of 64 ohms ensures universal connectivity. The headphones feature a single-sided, coiled cable with 3.5 mm/6.3 mm plug. For more information, contact Sennheiser Canada: 514-426-3013, FAX 514-426-3953,, 70 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N





































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HOT GEAR Fret-King Elise ‘GG’ Gordon Giltrap MKII Fret-King has released the Black Label Elise ‘GG’ MKII, which was designed in conjunction with British guitarist Gordon Giltrap. The completely redesigned Elise ‘GG’ MKII employs a two-piece, centre joined mahogany chambered body with a double-carved solid maple cap and a figured flame maple veneer, finished in an antique sunburst. The direct-mounted Tune-O-Matic bridge with inlaid ebony trapeze tailpiece provides improved tonal transfer and sustain that resonates along its easy-access mahogany set neck and ebony fingerboard. The Wilkinson neck mini double coil and standard bridge double coil provide a wide variety of tones, thanks to the Vari-Coil control that allows the player to progressively wind down the pickup to achieve single-coil tones. For more information, contact Audio Distributors International: 450-449-8177, FAX 450-449-8180,,

Radial BT-Pro Bluetooth Direct Box Radial Engineering is now shipping the BT-Pro, a Bluetooth direct box designed to capture the wireless transmission from a Bluetooth-enabled device and convert the signal to a balanced line for use in a PA system. The BT-Pro employs a T-shaped access cavity with the antenna located behind it. This is protected by a milled Sintra insert made from a closed-cell PVC that allows the wireless transmission signal to pass. This allows reception distances of 40 ft. or more. The BT-Pro is made from 14-gauge steel with an I-beam frame. A book-end cover creates protective zones at each end for the volume knob, switches, and connectors. The BT-Pro is powered by an external power supply, either with a USB power adapter or a USB port from a laptop. Two top-mounted LEDs will toggle as it awaits paring. For more information, contact Radial Engineering: 604-942-1001, FAX 604-942-1010,, 72 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

Sonoma DrumCore 4 Plug-in Sonoma Wire Works has released DrumCore 4, the AAX/VST3/AU plug-in for Mac OS and Windows. An upgrade to the DrumCore 3 and KitCore 2 plug-in drum instruments, DrumCore 4 now works with most popular 64-bit recording software and includes 24-bit audio loops, MIDI loops, multi-velocity sampled drum kits, groove browser, song timeline, mixer, effects, and more. Royalty-free recordings of celebrity drummers are provided as tempo-adjustable GrooveSets in a wide variety of styles. Users can create their own grooves using the included drum kits, which are MIDI-mapped and customizable, making DrumCore easier to use with external controllers. For more information, contact Sonoma Wire Works:,

Pioneer XDJ-1000MK2 Multiplayer Pioneer DJ has released an enhanced version of its USB-only XDJ1000 deck, the XDJ1000MK2. The XDJ-1000MK2 incorporates features from the top-of-the-range CDJ2000NXS2, including a 7-in. full-colour high-resolution touch screen, enhanced track browsing functionality, and support for playing full-resolution FLAC and ALAC files Using the Track Filter feature, DJs can more quickly find their next track. It filters tracks by BPM and key, and the new Matching feature displays suitable tracks the user has previously tagged in rekordbox when they're mixed with the track that's currently playing. Users can use the Qwerty touch-screen keyboard to search for keywords, then scroll through results onscreen or with the large rotary dial. They can analyze and prepare tracks in rekordbox and the screen will display at-a-glance information such as wave zoom, beat counter, phase meter, and key analysis, as well as provide instant access to pre-prepared cues, loops, and customised rekordbox settings. For more information, contact SFM: 514-780-2075, FAX 514-780-2111,,

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TECH TOOLS ArtistWorks provides access to online music instruction regardless of location or schedule. It’s meant to create a fun, convenient, and affordable place to interact with and learn from renowned musicians. ArtistWorks features over 35 musical artists with tens of thousands of students in 88 countries. There is an extensive bluegrass, jazz, and classical curriculum online with thousands of video exchanges in the archive. There are tabs and backing tracks to support the lessons and the technology is designed to make the user experience responsive and user friendly.

Renowned drummer and award-winning educator Thomas Lang has launched his own subscription-based online drum school at Thomas Lang’s Drum Universe. The site features exercises for drummers of all levels. Subscribers can watch hundreds of HD video lessons and download play-along tracks and communicate with Lang directly via direct message in the forum. Lang will react to students’ requests and respond with personalized and customized content for subscribers. Students can also upload their own videos for him to evaluate, correct, and offer personalized feedback on their technique, playing, and progress.

NoiseTrade was created to help artists and labels connect with fans through the exchange of free music for email addresses and postal codes. Artists upload their album or song and offer it as a free download in exchange for the downloader’s email address. The info the artist receives can be used to build an email database and connect directly with fans. NoiseTrade lets fans leave a tip if they like what they hear. There is also an embedded NoiseTrade widget for artists to share their music elsewhere on the web. The service is free for both artists and fans. 74 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

RecordGram allows users, with one tap on their phone, to lease beats for a small fee, record audio and video, keep track of their lyrics, monitor their vocal performances, and share their creations in-app with other RecordGram users and across all other social networks. Producers can upload full instrumentals to the app for users to play with, and get a share of the income from the in-app use of their tracks.



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EMPLOYMENT Montreal-based distributor of commercial sound & musical instrument products looking for sales representatives in all Canadian territories. Please reply to:, Reference #2234.

SERVICES REQUIRED: Electronic Keyboard Service Technician – Independent Contractor SUMMARY: The Electronic Keyboard Service Technician will provide inspection, evaluation, maintenance, and repair services for Yamaha keyboards subject to industry standard methods and service procedures and techniques of the highest order. The Electronic Keyboard Service Technician will provide services as an independent contractor and not as an employee of Yamaha Canada. All services coordinated by Musical Instruments Service Manager. RESPONSIBILITIES: • Yamaha specific Work-Order repair protocol to be utilized to complete all warranty and nonwarranty related service to Yamaha keyboards • Accurately estimate cost of repairs subject to Work-Order to determine proper course of action for replacement or repair • Communicate clearly and professionally with Yamaha Canada Music personnel as required, in person or otherwise • Proactively notify Yamaha Canada Music management of issues that could adversely impact the quality of Yamaha products • Consultation with MI service manager for direction with clear communication and full support in the process at all times is required REQUIREMENTS: • Specific Yamaha electronic keyboard experience preferred • Current references within the MI industry required • Must possess and provide appropriate professional quality tools This Independent Contractor position – Electronic Keyboard Service Technician is of a part-time nature with negotiable remuneration and hours. All interested candidates are encouraged to forward their qualifications via Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.   76 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

Audio Distributors International (ADI) is seeking a sales representative for the Province of Ontario. Well-established national distributor of professional audio, sound reinforcement and musical sound equipment as well as musical instruments requires professional sales and technical representation for Ontario. Applicants must be self-motivated, available full time and located in (or willing to relocate to) the Toronto area, have a vehicle and possess good knowledge of the music and pro sound and recording markets. Sales experience is an asset. Compensation package and conditions to be discussed. Independent sales reps are encouraged to apply. Please email resume to

Yamaha Canada MI Electronics Technician (Experienced) SUMMARY: The in-house MI Electronics Technician will provide inspection, evaluation, maintenance, and repair services for Yamaha electronic musical instruments, subject to industry standard methods and service procedures and techniques of the highest order. The MI Electronics Technician will provide services as an independent contractor and not as an employee of Yamaha. All services coordinated by Yamaha Musical Instruments Technical Service Manager. REQUIREMENTS: • An accredited college diploma in Electronics Technology combined with practical experience in troubleshooting professional audio equipment at the component level • Repair experience specific to Yamaha electronic musical instruments • Strong aptitude and ability to troubleshoot and repair • Excellent communication skills and work ethic • Current references within the industry • Basic computer skills and tools • Keyboard repair experience DAILY SCHEDULE WORKLOAD: • Complex electronic bench work re: Yamaha MI and Steinberg products only • Troubleshooting, providing estimates, and repairing: power amps, solid state guitar amps, electronic drum modules and pads, keyboards, mixing consoles, self-powered speaker systems, powered monitors • Maintain SAP W/O system This Independent Contractor position, Musical Instrument Electronics Technician is of a parttime nature with negotiable remuneration and hours. All interested candidates are encouraged to forward their qualifications via rwells@ Only applicants with the qualifications described above will be considered.

Vancouver Island for sale. Turnkey operation. For more details, call 647-888-7887.


CELESTION - EMINENCE - B&C RADIAN - GOLDWOOD Case and enclosure hardware, connectors and speaker accessories too! Upgrade, repair or build your own pro sound or guitar rig and save. WE STOCK SPEAKERS and related parts for musical instrument, pro sound, home stereo, home theater, commercial sound, and for just about everything else in between. Get them from Canada’s only factory authorized distributor. Dealer inquiries welcome. Q-COMPONENTS 638 Colby Dr Waterloo ON N2V 1A2 Toll free: 1-800-363-6336

Conquering Life’s Stage Fright - Three Steps to Top Performance Mark Schulman has performed for more than a billion people in his 27-year career as the drummer for some of the greatest musical artists in history, including Pink, Foreigner, Cher, Billy Idol, Stevie Nicks, Simple Minds, Beyoncé, Tina Turner, Velvet Revolver, Dave Koz, and many more. In Conquering Life’s Stage Fright, Mark reveals three core concepts, entertaining stories, and exercises that you can immediately employ to transform anxieties related to any type of presentation, communication, or performance into a confident world-class performance. Order your copy today at Music Books Plus! HL12602 $25.96 CDN plus S/H & tax., 800-265-8481

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If you are an unsigned Canadian artist and would like to be featured in Showcase, visit Submissions are free - all you need is a Reverbnation account with a high-res photo. You can check out tracks from our Showcase artists via Canadian Musician on SoundCloud. Visit for these and many more fresh sounds!

By Ken Kelley

Olivia Penalva

Big Little Lions

Vernon, BC’s Olivia Penalva has been on stage since she was 11 years old and had recorded her debut album by the time she turned 13. In 2014, her song “Fight For You” garnered her a Top 15 placement in the reverred International Songwriting Competition, and just a year later, her success brought her to a Top 10 finish at the Ottawa Bluesfest’s She’s The One competi-

Never let anyone convince you that longdistance relationships, musical or otherwise, can’t work. Big Little Lions is proof that anything is possible. Comprised of B.C. resident Helen Austin and Paul Otten, who calls Cincinatti home, the pair first came together when Otten produced Austin’s 2014 JUNO Award-winning album, Colour It. It was amidst that collaboration that the folk-inspired Big Little Lions was born. The last few years have seen a flurry of acclaim come their way, including a top prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and a Canadian Folk Music Award for Ensemble of the Year. Earlier this year, the duo released their latest studio offering, Just Keep Moving, another solid effort that should keep the awards and accolades rolling in.

What: Pop Where: Vernon, BC Visit:

What: Folk Where: Chemainus, BC Visit:


Three Sheet

What: Hip-Hop Where: Halifax, NS Visit:

BIG LITTLE LIONS tion. More recently, her 2015 single “Ferris Wheel” saw the talented young singer pair up with producer Brian West (Nelly Furtado) and the track went on to secure well over 1,000 spins on Canadian radio. Each of those accolades and experiences informed Penalva’s approach to her latest EP, Weightless, an optimistic and infectious pop offering that reaffirms her status as a force to be reckoned with.

Boasting a highly-touted live show that bursts with energy from the moment the sextet takes the stage, Halifax hip-hop group Three Sheet is riding high on the success of their third studio effort, Heart to Make It Perfect. And why shouldn’t they celebrate? Since forming in 2009, Three Sheet has toured countries as far as Taiwan and is a multiple East Coast Music Award nominee and Music Nova Scotia Award winner. Heart to Make It Perfect is the group’s most ambitious effort yet, having expanded their lineup to include keys, a sampler, and DJ. Now, Three Sheet is set to show the country that there’s more to Canadian hip-hop than just “The Six.”


Ken Kelley is a freelance writer based out of Moncton, NB. In addition to writing for various media outlets in Canada and the United States, Ken is also a founding member of Moncton rock band The Monoxides. 78 • C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N

“The CV4 was Macy’s mic for her lead vocals on 90% of the vocals. It’s such a great mic, you put it up, it just sounds good right away. This mic had a really great balance, it was present, cut through the stuff, and it wasn’t too sizzly, and the body of it felt really good.” – Zoux

Producer, Engineer, Keyboardist (Macy Gray, Beto Cuevas, Run DMC, Bobby Brown)

Studio Microphones • Live Microphones • Signal Processing • Personal Broadcast • Headphones

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1875 55th Avenue, Dorval, QC H9P2W3 Tel: 514.636.9971 Fax: 514.636.5347

Canadian Musician November December 2016