The Nerve November 2007 Page
Volume 8, Number 11, Issue #77
508 - 825 Granville St., Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 1K9 604.734.1611 www.thenervemagazine.com email@example.com
12 FESTIVAL OF GUNS
The Don (a/k/a Editor-In-Chief and Publisher) Bradley “Common Law” Damsgaard firstname.lastname@example.org
Wiseguy (a/k/a Music Editor) Adrian “Barely Paying the Mortgage” Mack email@example.com Shotgun (a/k/a Associate Editor) Michael “Wanna Touch Tips?” Mann firstname.lastname@example.org
Yeah, we notice he doesn’t explain those pants... - Ferdy Belland
17 Hot Little Rocket
Hey, wanna play red rocket? - Hayley Muir
The Henchmen (a/k/a Design & Graphics) Kristy Sutor, Laura Jeffries,Toby Bannister
Surveillance Team (a/k/a Photographers) Femke Van Delft, Miss Toby Marie,
Clockwise from Left: Shawn Meehan of Krome, Adam Nation of The Great Outdoors, Mikey Manville and Jay Koenderman form The Manvils and Shiloh Lindsay,
Canada gets a little serenity now - Nate Pike
And another one bites the dust...
- Ferdy Belland
6 The Locust
What, people seriously enjoy this crap?
Plaster Caster (a/k/a Cover Design) Toby Bannister
10 6 19 9
Fire Insurance (a/k/a Advertising) Brad Damsgaard email@example.com The Kids (a/k/a The Interns) Hayley Muir
The Nerve is published monthly by The Nerve Magazine Ltd. The opinions expressed by the writers and artists do not necessarily reflect those of The Nerve Magazine’s publisher or its editors. The Nerve does not accept responsibility for content in advertisements. The Nerve reserves the right to refuse any advertisement or submission and accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. Printed in Canada. All content © Copyright The Nerve Magazine 2007. Est. 1999
7 The Most Serene Republic 5 Deadsure
The Muscle (a/k/a Staff Writers) AD MADGRAS, Cowboy TexAss, Chris Walter, Stephanie Heney, Adam Simpkins, Carl Spackler, David Bertrand, Waltergeist, Ferdy Belland, Dave Von Bentley, Devon Cody, Dale De Ruiter, Johnny Kroll, Andrew Molloy, Cameron Gordon, Brock Thiessen, Filmore Mescalito Holmes, Jon Braun, Jenny Charlesworth, Allan MacInnis, Jeff Topham, TC Shaw, Robyn Dugas, Steven Evans
Out-of-town Connections (a/k/a Distro & Street Team) Toronto: Brayden Jones et. al. Montreal: Douglas Ko Calgary: Mike Taylor Edmonton: Freecloud Records, Bob Prodor Winnipeg: Margo Voncook Regina: Shane Grass Vancouver: Mr. Plow, Stiff Josh Victoria/Whistler: Jono Jak, Lindsay
Coming to shoot a hot load of rock ‘n’ roll in your face!
11 Dweezil Zappa
Launderer (a/k/a Book Editor) Devon “Wedding Planner” Cody firstname.lastname@example.org
Weapons Cleaner (a/k/a Article Editor) Jon “Last Seen in N’Orleans” Azpiri, Terry Cox
- Dale DeFruiter
CAN CON Scratch Bruce McDonald Apocalypse #E’’
Sections 04 21 23 20 25 26 27 27
Cheap Shotz Live Reviews Album Reviews Film/ DVD Music DVD Books Crossword Comics The Nerve November 2007 Page
Cheap Shotz Lions in the Street Say, “Clowns!”
Nerve Mailbag MORE MOTORHEAD. -KYLE Kyle, thank you for your letter and all your valuable insights. Please turn to the CD section for Chris Walter’s review of Motorhead Live, and please don’t ever change.
According to rumours circulating for the last couple months, Chad Kroeger’s* label 604 Records planned to release an album by fine local rockers Lions in the Street on October 30. Ostensibly entitled The Years, it would have been the debut full length by the fourpiece, but with one small caveat; the band wanted nothing to do with it. Actually, that’s a really big fucking caveat, isn’t it? “It’s not representative,” explained Lions vocalistguitarist Chris Kinnon, in a call to The Nerve in early October “It’s old news.” The whole ugly scenario began when the band hooked up with 604 in 2003. The full-length was recorded in L.A. in 2005 under the band’s former name, the Years (geddit?). If things had gone according to script, the album would have been released by 604 in Canada and TVT Records in the US. Instead, plans to mix the record were scuppered. Kinnon cited disagreements and complications brought on by the two labels as the cause, claiming, “The fact is, they didn’t let us finish the record, or drop us. We were hung out to dry.” The band decided to move on, renaming itself Lions in the Street, and hiring lawyer Don Engel to inform TVT that the existing contract was “breached
Pink Floyd’s Animals - 30th Anniversary Tribute (Like You Care) In an grand effort to mark the 30th Anniversary of the release of Animals (possibly the darkest and angriest album Pink Floyd ever made),Vancouver’s Backstage Lounge and IMU Productions will play host to the entire album, performed live in real time in its entirety by a, er, ‘surrogate band’ (staffed by members of the Feminists, Brainchild, and Arctic), complete with mind-boggling and eye-dazzling visual effects and quadraphonic wraparound sound, all of it guaranteed to leave you whimpering in a piss-soaked fetal position in the corner, helpless to the lysergic hell. Also attending will be Japanese Cowboy (normally a Ween tribute act), performing Floyd’s 1971 epic Echoes all the way through. And if that isn’t enough for one happening freak-out, the evening also features sets by Windows 78 and Arctic - two modern psychedelic bands worth the price of admission alone. Come one, come all, come out and see how Roger Waters responded to the bitter social satire of George Orwell.You’ve seen Crystal Pistol too many times, anyway. Ha ha, charade you are. Misguided local musicians will pretend to be Pink Floyd on Saturday, November 3rd, at the Backstage Lounge
K-OS, as I understand it, is Canada’s reigning champ of hip-hop, funk, soul, reggae, and R&B (black people music). He is the winner of three Junos, six Canadian Urban Music Awards, a Source award, a Grammy nomination, and four rubber MuchMusic labias. K-OS was born in Trinidad, but raised by Jehovah’s Witness parents in a lily-white Toronto suburb, in servitude to the Great Octopus. Interesting story!! Much more interesting is how K-OS - that cheap crook - dine and dashed my brother, a bartender at the Cactus Club in Victoria.
K-OS popped in before his show on that fateful night. He accepted free shots for himself and his friend from the courteous, handsome bartender (my only brother, Stuart Bertrand, who’s since received expensive counseling and a Purple Heart for bravery). Little Bertrand (a patriot) recognized this modern Canadian celebrity on first sight. K-OS ordered donuts, chicken wings, and a fruit smoothie (not on the menu), then went crazy and pulled a stunt about his friend’s unactivated debit card that wouldn’t work, and the big, big hurry to get to his show. They booked out of there, never to return, leaving my only brother to pay the bill out of his own pocket – a pocket once filled with love, but now moist with the tears of deceit.
And why would 604 bother doing that? “Because they’re clowns,” offers Kinnon. So, to recap: 604 Records is like a psychotic exgirlfriend. But with a bigger lawyer than you. *Chad Kroeger is the vocalist-guitarist with Nickelback, and composer of the touching anthem “If Everyone Cared”. - Philip K. Dink
Is this the luxury life of a “platinum-selling Canadian artist”? Stealing booze, being a douche, pimpin’ around trying to get free shit cause you’re a big star? K-OS – buy his new album and poop on it. Clip out this section of The Nerve, and bring it to STU BERTRAND, c/o CACTUS CLUB,VICTORIA for one free back rub. - Dave Bertrand
This month, in a very special Who Gives a Fuck, filmmaker Bruce McDonald Cat or a dog person? Cat. Do you have a cat? Yeah. What’s the cat’s name? The cat’s name is Alice. It’s sort of adopted. It’s a roof top cat. What’s your current alcoholic drink of choice? Probably just a vodka martini with a twist. What’s the most vodka martinis with a twist you’ve drank in a single evening? Probably 11. Eleven? Wow. What’s the most embarrassing thing you did after drinking those 11 vodka martinis with a twist? Do you remember? Fuck, just being extremely sloppy and babbling. Just babbling and sloppy. What’s the best movie you saw this year? I would say…I like The Host. I thought that movie was great.Yeah, that was a total fave. What else did I see this year? I’ve sort of weirdly have not seen that many movies. I don’t know why, I’m embarrassed. The Lives of Others, I thought that was a good one. Does Halo 3 making more money in a single day than
Spiderman 3 in its opening weekend signal the end of big Hollywood studio films? I just read that! Holy shit, that’s amazing! What can you infer from that? Well I guess it’s just another franchise. I don’t know if it will signal the end of it but it’s definitely some kind of… I don’t know what that means exactly. But yeah, I’m curious about the pornographic equivalent. That’s interesting to me, I don’t know why. What’s your stance on pirating movies? It’s inevitable. I just read this interesting thing about books and reading and they said this author just finished his book and he wanted his publisher to [have] the entire book for free on the internet and the publisher was aghast. But they had some studies done and they realized that more books are actually sold by doing this. So I think if people truly love it, it’s like anything, they want to collect it, they want to keep something near them. So they’ll seek out the DVD or the thing, I guess. - Michael Mann
Records LABEL SPOTLiGHT: Mush Ado About By filmore mescalito holmes
Celebrating the First Decade of Dirty Loop Music
ream rises to the top, they say. The same must be true for mush. Cindy Roché and Robert Curcio have seen Dirty Loops Music Studios and its collaborative offshoot label Mush Records explode from a limited edition, limited selection vinyl project in late ‘90s Cincinnati to a full-blown, international, critically lauded, cross medium happening, with over 50 fulllengths and dozens of singles to its name. Not bad for a stopgap solution, eh? The formative days of Mush centered around Curcio’s personal propensity for atmospheric house. He quickly noticed, however, that many of the more electronic and hard to classify acts had trouble finding a proper release, including Lulu Mushi, Roché’s own downtempo alter ego. And so, in that pivotal year of our Lord 1997, Robert officially joined forces with Cindy in Ohio, and the rest – as I’m sure they don’t say – is vinyl. From there, trippin’ around San Francisco, New York, and finally LA, the Mush aesthetic expanded to include abstract African dub, electronic pop, turntablist sampledelica, indie-rock, leftfield folk, experimental ambient, Australian rap, and every
The Nerve November 2007 Page
and not enforceable,” according to Kinnon. An identical message was given to 604 by the band itself. Nonetheless, 604 unilaterally decided to fuck Lions over yet again by ignoring the band’s legal position, and allegedly pursuing its intent to release the album with that oddly familiar and some might say outwardly provocative title. “There’s no huge buzz that they’re going to capitalize on,” Kinnon told The Nerve. “At every opportunity, they’ve gone out of their way, either through neglect or malice, to make our lives difficult.” Kinnon then speculated that the unsanctioned release was an attempt to coerce the band into working with 604 again, a move that he described as “mean and despicable,” adding, “how can you go back? Never let the same dog bite you twice.” 604 Records was unavailable for comment at the time. Now, it seems that 604 has decided to not release The Years after all. As of press time, the label still refuses to comment on the situation, though a call to Kinnon provided a little clarification. “Maybe they never intended to do it, ever. It was just a ruse.”
adjective that has ever been followed by a hyphen and the word ‘hop’ (art, glitch, folk, and all manner of underground hip). For them, it’s anything goes as long as it’s good, and that’s a rare thing for modern label bosses. With the Mush offices now securely fastened in Los Angeles, initial genre specifics have been cast even further to the wind; the result of Roché and Curcio’s exposure to all kinds of local music there, as well as the kinky variety that tends to show up when you own a studio. The Mush ethos – a dedication to releasing what they consider innovative and challenging albums instead of merely flooding the market with radiofriendly unit shifters to fodder the fake charts – has seen the good name Mush rise through the ranks to sit alongside Anticon and Merck as one of the most important independent electronic labels in American history, if not the world. In part thanks to foreign distribution deals with Ninja Tune, Spunk, Tri Eight, and many others, Mush has launched or significantly propelled the global careers of a veritable who’s who of critical darlings over the past decade. This includes Aesop Rock, Fat Jon, Odd Nosdam, Jel, Busdriver,
Boom Bip, Caural, Her Space Holiday, Curse ov Dialect, Pedro, Bibio, Daedelus, Antimc, Clue To Kalo, and many more. The list, like the beat, goes on. Every year, more and more releases hit the shelves stamped mushy and the label’s well-earned fan base grows accordingly. The world would appear naked to me without it. Congratulations on your first 10 years, guys. There’ll be many more to come. Essential Recordings From The First Decade: Her Space Holiday – The Young Machines (2003) Fat Jon The Ample Soul Physician – Wave Motion (2002) Boom Bip & Doseone – Circle (2000) Aesop Rock – Float (2000) cLOUDDEAD – Ten (2004) iD & Sleeper – Displacement (2005) Nobody & Mystic Chords Of Memory – Present Tree Colored See (2006) Caural – Remembering Today (2005) k-the-i??? – Broken Love Letter (2006) Fisk Industries – EPs & Rarities (2007) Odd Nosdam – Plan 9… Meat Your Hypnosis (2001) Listener - Whispermoon (2003)
by Ferdy Belland
From Sparkmarker to Deadsure and Beyond
yan Scott has been a crucial personality in Vancouver’s rock underground for over 15 years, starting back when ‘indie’ actually meant something. Hailing from the dysfunctionally fascinating town of Cranbrook BC, young skaterpunk Ryan spent the winter after high-school graduation as a ski/snowboard bum in the Rockies before moving to Vancouver and fatefully meeting guitarist/activist Kim Kinakin, with whom he formed the pioneering, proto-emo quasi-hardcore unit Sparkmarker. “When I moved to Vancouver, I had no idea I’d be performing in bands,” admits Scott. “Kim Kinakin lived five houses down and was already gathering the original guys who became Sparkmarker. I told him I’d always wanted to play music, and he was surprised that we shared similar frames of musical reference… which was pretty rare back then. And in those days, like now, it was all about enthusiasm, right? The fact that you don’t know how to play is irrelevant …our first shows were horrific!” The rattletrap amateurishness didn’t last long. Sparkmarker nailed its name forever into the Canadian rock history books by promoting and opening for one of Fugazi’s earliest Vancouver appearances in 1993. Indeed, the endlessly touring, straight-edge community-minded ethics of Sparkmarker mirrored
the vision of MacKaye and Co., helping reignite an international interest in Vancouver’s underground rock scene. “It was so much easier back then,” recalls Scott. “We had 400 people at our first show … the allages scene in Vancouver was a completely other world. But I don’t think it’s fair to say that the enthusiasm in the general populace has dried up. The number of people you get out to a show is maybe a tenth of what it might have been in the past, but there’s so many more shows happening across Vancouver these days… It was a different time then and there weren’t so many options or distractions for artsy social lives. I remember promoting shows in halls, and there was very little competition. It was an event.You were pasting posters up over mainstreamcrap ads at the Town Pump, so you’re going to get anybody who considered themselves indie or underground or alternative or punk or ska or whatever – they were all there, in one place.” Sparkmarker released a handful of powerful 7” singles and stunning CD compilations (1995’s Products and Accessories is a brilliant introduction) before the steam began to peter out. “I left Sparkmarker around the end of 1994 and went back to school,” explains Scott. “Kim continued as the
I do get the sense that despite the bullshit, everyone’s starving for quality in their music and their art
lead vocalist; now he works as a graphic designer for Nettwerk in their LA offices…I did a few musical projects with friends to scratch my indierock itch, but I never performed that much until Deadsure formed.” Despite the MySpace explosion, where literally thousands of Tom-Dick-and-Harry bands have their own site with virtually no barriers, many music lovers still gauge their tastes against the irrelevant limitations of the mainstream music industry; but if modern-day ‘emo kids’ psych themselves up for a Deadsure show by blasting My Chemical Romance, their eyes, ears and minds will be blown open by witnessing Ryan Scott writhing on the filthy dance-floor, strangling himself with his microphone cord and screaming himself hoarse in an utterly unselfconscious display of sweaty bullshit-free emotion. And Gerard Way, with all his pre-processed ilk, shall be rendered useless to said youngster in less than 40 minutes – courtesy of the feeding-back, overdriven instruments of Deadsure. “There’s still a giant gulf between the underground and the mainstream,” Scott points out. “It bothers me to see styles of music broken up and broken up into smaller, more segmented genres and sub-genres and sub-sub-genres, with arbitrarily hardcarven boundaries that divide artists from other artists, and people from other people. But I do get the sense that despite the bullshit, everyone’s starving for quality in their music and their art.” Ryan reveals that Deadsure’s lamented disbandment is mainly about flagging energy. “Greg and I’ve [been] doing it for over five years,” Scott explains, “and we’ve gone through a million lineup changes… but we just don’t have it in us to keep plodding away, continually replacing band members. With this
record out and the nice two-week tour we did, it seems like a good time to close the book and start other projects.” So what does the future hold? “Greg and I are already starting something else,” states Ryan. “And I’m also playing in Owl Drug; we played a handful of debut shows right after Deadsure came home. Owl Drugs has two of the three guys from The Approach, and Paul from Red Light Sting. It’s a little different from the stuff I usually do, but it’s fun and it’s with friends. And that’s what important to me.” n Deadsure’s swan song CD is available at Red Cat, Zulu, and Scratch.
The Nerve November 2007 Page
ew Erections is out and San Diego’s the Locust are touring the shit out of everywhere to support their new effort in spazzy deliciousness. They recently spread like... well, like locusts across Europe, and lucky for you, you’ll be seeing the bug suits real soon because their next conquest is North America. Expect a good show. They dress as bugs and the singer once kissed a dude on Jerry Springer. Even though pretty much every journalist on the web craps their pants and is at a loss to describe the brutal sound the four costumed mayhem-men produce, New Erections is actually quite nice to listen to. I got a chance to ask the magical keebs man Joey Karam a few questions while he rested at his home in LA County.
Just Trying to Blend In
Nerve: Your website says that New Erections would be the soundtrack for World War I and II, if you had been around at either time. Have you ever thought about doing a soundtrack to a more modern war? Karam: A friend of the band wrote that. It’s not necessarily what we all think. We just really liked the visual imagery. No, I haven’t thought about doing a modern war. I think it would end up sounding like nu metal, and I’m not into that. How is New Erections doing? I have no idea. I don’t pay attention. As soon as a record is out, I let it go. I guess that’s not the best approach but I keep it at a distance. I am proud of what we did and however it is received is okay by me. A record to me is an object that reflects a stage in my life. It’s what I have to show for the last year and a half. I look back and guess I spent the time well! (laughs) As far as record sales go, I find those things more and more irrelevant as people tend to buy less. With the whole internet and downloading thing, I don’t think that is an adequate reflection of consumption. Are you looking forward to touring Canada? I am really excited to see more of the Canadian landscape. It will give me a chance to explore. In the past we have never done the middle of Canada. I’m excited even though some of the driving looks like its going to be pretty brutal. Do you have a giant bug touring van? Like the Groovie Ghoulies spaceship or anything? No, we just go via a regular van. It’s comfortable.We’ve had it for a while. I love the idea of having a crazy van to drive around in, but it seems that you would be a
By Dale DeRuiter target. It sucks, but I think we live in a world that’s a little harsh. I just don’t think driving through Texas in a space ship would make me feel safe. I understand you guys got some hate mail when you started getting successful. Just before we did Plague Soundscapes on Anti there was a little a bit of a backlash. For the most part though, a lot of people understood what we were doing and why we did it. The bottom line is we were just thinking, ‘This label can help us make a better record’. A lot of opportunities to do stuff we never did in the past, like sound editing, and quality and such. We just want a better product. There is always a bunch of purists that want a band to stay their own. I understand music is very personal and a fan might feel betrayed by a band they have known for a long time if, all of a sudden, the band goes outside of that fan’s comfort zone. That’s fine with me. That’s not a world I am a part of anyway. We are going to do what we want regardless. We are go-
ing to make the creative decision we need to make. You guys have had some pretty interesting merch in the past, like compact mirrors and fake Jack Chick tracts. Anything like that in the future? We are always looking for funny things to do. I don’t have anything in mind right now. But it’s always been a situation of these things entertaining us. If we think of something that is good and clever, we are not afraid to run with that idea.
I just don’t think driving through So this whole Texas in a bug suit thing - is some sort of spaceship would there deep meaning or make me feel safe. anything? Not really. After [original drummer] Dave [Astor] left the band, the bug suit thing started happening a little while after that. At some point there was a decision to add an aesthetic element to the live show. It’s nothing as serious as a band like the Residents where you don’t know who they are.
The Locust have been known to spend a lot of time on songs and never really shelving them and constantly re-working them. What is the oldest song on New Erections? The very first song on New Erections, the beginning of that song came from somewhere in 2005. Although we didn’t spend a whole year dedicated to that song. It sometimes takes a while because we are so picky and there are four voices. Making sure everyone’s opinion is expressed can make the process take a while. Even when a song is recorded, it’s a just a document of where that song is at that time. The music constantly evolves. We spend a lot of time on two minute songs, with the details of the song. Brevity has been key in the past as our songs were even shorter. Now we’re starting to explore space more, and that’s been interesting for us. We’re focusing on new dynamics. We know the music intimately. We know where it’s been but the casual listener might not. Not that the Locust adheres to any genre particularly, but I’ve noticed that sometimes the hardcore acts have some hate going on for other bands. Do you guys have any rivalries or anything of that sort? We don’t hold rivalries. The bands that I don’t like, I don’t pay attention to. I am indifferent towards them. We like to keep things diverse so we interact with a lot of bands that sound different. The Canadian tour, it seems, is set up to be more aggressive of a tour. Historically we like to tour with bands that vary. For the US part of the tour, we’re playing with bands that sound nothing like us. I like doing that so your ears aren’t being attacked all night. There maybe a common thread concerning ideals, but the music is all very different. That always makes everything fun and a good mix for the night. I appreciate when other bands do that as well. Who are you touring with in Canada? There’s a band called Child Abuse from New York. I knew a couple of them for a couple of years.Their sound is abrasive but more abstract than metal. In the states we’ll try to contact other bands and try to line stuff up, but we didn’t have very much control in Canada. I’m thankful though that the production company is taking control, because I think we wouldn’t be able to do a tour like this without their help. n The Locust plays at UBC Sub Ballroom,Vancouver on Nov 3,Velvet Underground in Edmonton Nov 5,The Underground in Calgary Nov 6,The Exchange in Regina Nov 8,West End Cultural Centre in Winnipeg Nov 9, Call the Office in London Nov 12,The Underground in Hamilton Nov 13,The Reverb in Toronto Nov 14, Babylon in Ottawa Nov 16
Twenty Year Itch
Scratch Records is Old Enough to Vote, Drive, Drink etc.
wenty years is a lifetime in music and then some. Take the Beatles, for example. The group called it quits in half that time. Or Morrissey and Marr - those two only took three years to get from The Smiths to Strangeways. And even by ’78, punk had already been assigned a “post” prefix.Yes, two decades in music is a long time indeed, making an event such as Scratch Records’ 20th anniversary one worth celebrating. And for three nights in November, that’s what the Vancouver record store, distributor and label will be doing - celebrating - celebrating with a handful of big, fuck-off parties with bands, music and promised hilarity. Destroyer will be there. Pink Mountaintops will be there. And maybe you’ll even be there. But before you head out to the shows (or don’t), perhaps it’s good to know a bit about how Scratch marked off 20 years worth of calendar days. The Scratch story starts back in Vancouver, 1987, when a 20-yearold kid named Keith Parry set up shop below the heart of Gastown. For a modest sum, Parry bought a storefront from an aging couple who ran a music retailer called Continuum Records. He rechristened the shop Scratch Records shortly thereafter, and gradually Continuum’s conventional rock stock gave way to more experimental sonic wares. Independent labels such as Amarillo Records, Homestead and Ralph began filling Scratch’s bins instead of CBS and RCA, and the albums of left-field artists like Daniel Johnston, Sun City Girls and the Residents soon replaced those of Billy Joel and Creedence. Basically, Parry made Scratch into a haven for the weird, the wonderful and the obscure - something that holds to this day.
The Nerve November 2007 Page
Mixed in with this business of selling music were alcoholdrenched in-stores, rock ’n’ roll debauchery and the overall alleviation of post-teenage angst. There are a lot of stories here from the early party days of Scratch - a lot. Rumours of shirtless, all-male dance parties, freak porn and merciless pranks abound, but since The Nerve is a family publication, perhaps you should ask Keith for the details. The last thing this publication needs is another lawsuit. However, like all things, Scratch had to grow up sometime, and in 1995 - or at eight years old - Parry packed up shop and moved operations to a bigger, roomier shop at 109 W. Cordova St. Here Scratch got down to business, literally. With a wooden Indian standing guard, Parry and co. began setting up Scratch Distribution, which would soon become an indie clearinghouse for music of all sorts in Canada, the U.S. and other privileged corners of the world. According to Parry, this move towards distribution came partly because they wanted to be “cultural ambassadors” not only in their own city, but nationally and internationally as well; something Scratch still strives to be at its current Richards Street location, where the company moved in 1999. Also, Scratch Distribution came along to help get the Scratch Records label up and humming. Since 1991, the label has put out roughly 60 releases and is now the home to left-of-centre rock outfits such as Black/Pink Mountain, Destroyer, Frog Eyes and Book of Lists. While some of Scratch artists have done more than well for themselves (Black Mountain, Spiderman - need I say more?), others, let’s say, have been less fruitful (Bugskull, anyone?).
PHOTO: HAYLEY MUIR
By Brock Thiessen
But ask Parry about sales figures and he’ll likely just laugh. After all, Scratch’s business is music, not money. And good on them for that. It’s this kind of attitude that makes these guys important to this city and, on a larger scale, music as a whole. And the fact that Scratch has been doing this for 20 years is pretty amazing and surely calls for celebration. Perhaps Steve McBean of Black Mountain sums up Scratch’s 20th anniversary best: “It’s one of those nice examples of if you’re true to something, it works out. And 20 years later, it keeps changing and blossoming. It’s really just one of those things nice about life, instead of the chain stores taking over.” n The Scratch Records 20th Anniversary Parties go down on Nov. 3 at Richard’s on Richards (Black Mountain, Climax Golden Twins, Mexican Power), Nov. 9 at Pat’s Pub (Thor,Tranzmitors, French Paddleboat,Vancougar, Weathered Pines), and Nov. 10 at Richard’s on Richards (Destroyer,Vote Robot, Pink Mountaintops, Riff Randells, Dustin Cole, Hilarity)
The Most Serene Republic (Want You to Listen!)
By Nathan Pike
We’re idiots in a new world, and not this world either, but a new world in which we have so much to discover.” So quips Ryan Lenssen, principal songwriter and keyboardist in Milton, Ontario’s the Most Serene Republic. “We started this when we were so young,” he continues, “with all of these ideas in tow and as we progress, as we knock down more walls, we’re faced with a million new hallways to explore. And that’s what’s exciting for us, the almost limitless possibilities of where music can go. We’re addicted to the infinity!” I am talking to Lenssen via the Bowery Room in NYC, as the band prepares to kick off a nearly two month North American tour in support of their newest offering and second full-length, Population. I notice that there’s a lot going on around our conversation, like roadies and band members alike running about, stuff being moved from here to there, other people’s conversations that glide in and out of ours while The Nerve office phone keeps ringing, thus cutting us off for brief moments with a beeeeep. But I think it’s fitting, since there’s a HELL of a lot going on in the music of the Most Serene Republic. Far from the “young and naïve” label they’ve been branded with in the past, TMSR are doing something very different with common song structure; stretching it into a completely different vessel and discovering new capabilities. “We’re trying to find new beauty in the exploration of sound, lyrics, and ultimately the music,” says Lenssen, “with elaborate arrangements and really well thought out melody counterparts, giving credit with past musical references to giants of the romantic period. That’s the kind of thing we’re into. It’s let us do some pretty abstract musical painting,
but if you’re angry, frustrated or scared, sometimes nothing gets that across more than a 5/4 beat at 180 BPM. That’s the sound of confusion.” To listen to this confusion, it’s no surprise that critics have been quick to weigh TMSR down with comparison and sacrificially sweep the band under the rug. Those who just simply hear the music might feel that there’s too much happening for it to make much sense. And it’s true; like I said, there really is a lot going on here. Sweeping and dramatic chord progressions, surprising shifts in mood and tempo, horns, piano, string arrangements, a self aware but still searching lyrical code - it’s all here. And one may say that it’s nothing new, it’s all been done before, but me? I think these kids are on to something. Says Lenssen, “It’s been interesting to see people try to classify us. But it’s clear once you listen to the two albums and EP that there are a lot of different shades to the colors we’ve been painted with. And I’m not sure why some people are so quick to judge, but I’m very pleased and thankful that people want to take the time to listen and understand our music as we envision it. I think what we’re doing is worthwhile, and not worth being called another Death Cab or Broken Social Scene. I really don’t see it; especially in the new work, and to compare so much is just lazy. It’s time to really listen to the music and
lyrics and to come up with something new to say.” Well, I’ll be the first to say that TMSR make some of the most unique music I’ve heard in a long time. A trait shared by a number of the band’s labelmates. Arts And Crafts seems to cater to a more wideopen and seemingly unstructured sound, thus giving its bands the freedom to create and express in uncommon ways. With the new album under their belt, TMSR are feeling more at home than ever before. But the journey was no cakewalk. Internal struggles and battles within the band, as well as the pressures of being on the road and under the spotlight while still growing up were almost enough to kill it. “We started off at war which I think is the interesting thing,” Lenssen laughs. “When we were touring Underwater Cinematographer and Phages we weren’t all that happy with each other. There were a lot of problems actually, enough to make us want to play them out on stage every night. But in the end it kind of helped us because we were hardly in a position to just give up the opportunities given to us, so we just tried to make do and channel that back into the music.” After a thoughtful pause, Lenssen adds, “And with that we’d just get louder and angrier when we’d play which also helped because I think people saw that we were more than just kids having the time of our lives. We were dealing with some
We were dealing with some pretty serious anger and depression, but we’re still here and stronger than ever
pretty serious anger and depression, while the world saw something else. But we’re still here and stronger than ever.” With Population, one can hear the requisite growth and awareness of a group of people still learning and feeling their way through life. It has an upbeat punch, but it’s also glorious, dramatic, and grandiose. At first listen you may think that TMSR have battled their demons, won, and are now celebrating. But as stated before, they have a million new hallways to explore and by the sounds of it, this is only the beginning. “A lot of people think that Population is a happy record and it’s not. It’s a hopeful record,” Lenssen says. “I did my best to cover the anger with fantasy and hope. In reality this record is really our relationship with modern day humanity. One person called it ‘the effects of technology on relationships’, and not romantic relationships either, but humanity as a whole and social relationships. And that’s how the record plays out, beginning with the blissful first stages of discovery, then it progresses into the standard relationship dynamic of finding the flaws in the beauty, and then everything comes crashing down, we enter into the battle where technology comes in to reveal itself and we battle it to the end. Finally it fades out with the last track, which is kind of our melancholy goodbye to all that once was, what we once knew, and now we’re trying to deal with what’s left of it.” n The Most Serene Republic play at the Pyramid cabaret in Winnipeg on Nov 9, Broken City in Calgary Nov 16, Starlight Room in Edmonton Nov 17, Sugar in Victoria Nov 21, and The Plaza in Vancouver Nov 22.
The Nerve November 2007 Page
The Nerve November 2007 Page
By Bill Mullan
is for Evil, without which there could be no Apocalypse. The Holy Bible is clear on that much. But there is no evil music, music and evil being pretty much mutually exclusive. Or, as some deep thinking French guy smoking Gitanes and dressed in black once observed, “Evil is that which is unnecessary.” And then Philip Random sealed the deal with his insistence that “nothing that could ever be defined as music could ever be unnecessary.” Which brings us to the problem of Engelbert Humperdink, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Europe (the power-wimp band, not the continent), Emerson Lake and Powell, the Electric Light Orchestra. “No problem at all,” insists Philip, “Whatever those evil robots may have cranked out, it certainly wasn’t music.” “Except for ELO. They have no place on that list. Hate them all you want for their sins of indulgence and overproduction, but don’t dare call them unnecessary. Someone had to tell us the weird and ugly truth about that middle part of the 1970s when the great hippy dream of the ‘60s was eviscerating itself with such peaceful and easy self-satisfaction. File them next to such fellow travellers as Elton John and the Eagles; not as collaborators with the enemy but as double agents working the dark heart of the zeitgeist, cranking out the hits, snorting their brains and occasionally delivering a fucking masterpiece.” Like ELO’s El Dorado Symphony (1974). Lyrically, it’s a mostly pointless excursion concerning the dreams of some ‘unwoken fool high on a hill in Avalon’, but music and production-wise,
“Yeegads! Jeff Lynne just goes brilliantly, excessively OFF, ramming Beatlesque psychedelia head-on into 1930s era Hollywood musical. Swirling choirs, soaring melodies, occasional rips of tortured electric guitar – it all adds up to something or other, maybe what it would sound like if Jesus and Satan stumbled into each other in some other universe where neither sought dominion, and ended up snorting coke together and doing karaoke versions of each other’s songs.” Which brings us to the tragedy of Elvis, whose very name is an anagram for evil (sort of). According to John Lennon, he died way back in 1958, the day he joined the army. Philip Random gives him another 10 years. “It’s 1968 and Elvis has a comeback TV special planned on NBC. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy have just been shot, the Vietnam war has officially gone to hell, the Beatles haven’t played live for years. But Elvis isn’t worried. He’s got a secret weapon for the show’s climax, a brand new song by Earl Brown called ‘If I Can Dream’ that might just save the world. ‘I’m never going to sing another song I don’t believe in,’ said Elvis when he first heard it. ‘I’m never going to make another movie I don’t believe in.’ And yes, Elvis sang ‘If I Can Dream’ on NBC with deepest belief, a performance that reached through the strange vacuum of the cathode ray tube and touched the hopeful soul of maybe all humanity.” He then proceeded to eat doughnuts,
Which brings us to the tragedy of Elvis, whose very name is an anagram for evil (sort of )
sing awful songs, make worse movies, and finally died nine years later, all alone sitting on the toilet, unable to move his bowels. This was not necessary. n
The Nerve November 2007 Page
Lost and Found
hard to have both mind and libido? While you’re at it, throw some heart and soul in there as well) twisting it into something unassuming, a kind of adult contemporary for young hipster adults, even influencing other acts, more white breeder music. Maybe that’s why I am so constantly disappointed and feel so thwarted by the people who make and listen to such music. I thought that they were capable of something more intriguing and compelling. Isn’t a large part of music the ability to communicate, to engage? A large part of what I look for in music is a window on another world, on another set of experiences. Camp? I’ll admit an affinity for such things, I’ve often enjoyed Eartha Kitt’s I Love Men album produced by Village People Svengali Jacques Morali.Yet a sense of humour is not a key motivating factor in my relentless pursuit of listening pleasures. In fact, if the source of the humour is unintentional, I often find it discomforting (see: kitsch). Which brings us to our featured release, number one in a series: is this a put on? Is this a joke? But before I elaborate with details I should impose my raison d’etre for this column: neglected Canadian music of personal vision, appropriately mostly Vancouver, mostly records. On with it! (clears throat). And to what pleasure do we owe this 25 cent treasure found, all seven inches of it, in a Powell Street furniture store, hmm? Its aquamarine logo relays label name Psi Records, a trident jutting out betwixt the two words. The label address is 1747 W. 3rd Ave.,Vancouver, B.C. I call the phone number, 732-3761, somebody answers with no knowledge of this record, catalog number 101.Year unknown. The group was the Outraged Husbands. The song “Zeus Creation” is the sound of a group of men boisterously chanting along with marching band style orchestration, “We are the men of the nation, we like the ladies in their place, so we say down with the women’s liberation and up with Zeus Creation! We like the girls who wear bikinis, cool chicks are never ever cold...” What follows next is an endless litany of household chore commands and how, after all that, a woman must “look like a doll” when outraged husbands return home. The song signs off with, “Men! Wonderful men! Sensational men!” And applause. It all clocks in at one minute and 54 seconds. The Outraged Husbands said what they wanted to say, and were succinct about it, only adding to the mystery. Flip the record over and it’s the exact same thing: you might wear one side out being always in the mood for skewed boisterism. Was this song a tongue-in-cheek response to Women’s Lib or was it a satire on the misogynist response to Women’s Lib? This record seems too out and out ridiculous to be made as a fear-based reaction to equality. They don’t sound threatened. Still, who or what was this mysterious Zeus Creation? Who made this record? If you know anything about this please inform me: email@example.com
Men! Wonderful men! Sensational men!
By Robert Dayton
So what have you been listening to lately?” he asked. An easy question when one is constantly excited by the curiosities that spring up from across the decades of records. I’d just gotten turned on to the innovative psych-tinged French Canadian album Quebec Love by Robert Charlebois. It was blowing my mind and I needed to tell everyone about this adventurous record. As soon as I told him about it he responded with: “Oh, so you listen to music for camp then?” Sigh. At least he didn’t say ‘kitsch’ (I heard that one plenty enough, don’t test me, you pricks), a word I deplore for its separation of subject and object, an elitist P.O.V. state where one engages by being above it all, by laughing at the object. Camp is much more inside than kitsch, the joke is usually shared, but my goodness, what a flip pigeonhole to be oh so carelessly lobbed in my direction. Anyone who knows me knows that I do hate to be pigeonholed, I idealistically feel that we are all too complex for that. Could I be guilty of doing the same? This fella had only moments earlier favourably talked to me of Magnolia Electric Company, a band that- to me- takes such music as Crazy Horse and CCR and does its best to interlekchuleyez it, thus draining it of its sap (is it so
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DWEEZIL ZAPPA Proudly Flying Dad’s Freak Flag By Ferdy Belland
t would seem that the unique prog-rock / jazzfusion / whatchamacallitisms of Frank Zappa’s impossibly vast musical repertoire continue to fascinate and delight the thinking rock fans of today. The sonic proof in that particular pudding comes at the hands of Dweezil Zappa, who’s rolling around the world with a crackerjack band, cranking out Daddy’s songs for the longtime faithful and the newly-converted under the moniker ‘Zappa Plays Zappa.’ “It went very well!” says Dweezil of his recentlycompleted European tour, calling The Nerve from his Los Angeles home. “What ultimately takes place is people recognize this for what it is — a celebration of Frank’s music. People really have a strong connection to the music and enjoy seeing it played live in a respectful and authentic manner. Whether it’s in Europe or Canada or America, we have pretty much the same kind of reactions. There’s multiple standing ovations, and after the show everyone’s extremely thankful and friendly and happy and grateful to us for doing this.” The first Zappa Plays Zappa incarnation hit Vancouver in December 2006, with a sold-out show that brought the SRO crowd cheering to its feet. It’s a notable show in Dweezil’s memory, and everyone else’s. “I love Vancouver!” Dweezil beams. “I’ve been there to play music, but I also have friends there. And I play golf there! It’s a nice place.” Dweezil Zappa was born in 1969, the second of Frank and Gail Zappa’s four children. He made a celebrity name for himself in the 1980s as an MTV video-jock and an Eddie Van Halen-style shred-king virtuoso, recording such cult albums as My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama (he did appear in Don Johnson’s “Heartbeat” video, but let’s not hold that against him). He branched into the acting world with cameos in Pretty in Pink, The Running Man, and Jack
Frost, and animation freaks should love the fact that he was the voice of Ajax Duckman. His considerable musical prowess crossed over to production, and he composed the theme for The Ben Stiller Show. Although certain cybergeeks revere Dweezil as a hip icon, they never dated Sharon Stone and Lisa Loeb. Dweezil did, but he’s been married to the wholesome Nordic beauty Lauren Knudsen since 2005, and there’s NOTHING geeky about that. As if proudly continuing his family’s musical legacy wasn’t astounding enough, readers should be megastounded to know that, in a move of classic Zappa genius, Dweezil’s been slaving since 1992 on what has become the most continent-shattering guitar wankout to out-shatter all wankouts. Entitled What the Hell was I Thinking?, the piece… aw shit, let’s just let Dweezil himself describe it: “I haven’t had much time to work on it, but I’m going to focus on getting some of it done — and finalized — during my next few breaks in the tour. It’s an interesting project; a continuous piece of music 75 minutes long with 40 different guitar players (note: past participants include Brian May, Eddie Van Halen, and AC/ DC’s Young brothers). I still want to get Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page to play on it. People will get a chance to hear it, for sure, but I’m not sure exactly when.” As for the ZPZ project, it’s become an ongoing annual concern for the Zappa Family Trust. “It’s what we set out to do,” Dweezil explains. “There’s certainly enough material to continue to learn and keep
having new material on an annual basis to present to people. There’s over 80 albums to choose from, which is insane! And there’s so much variety within the music itself.” Assembling a solid band with the collective smarts and muscle to tackle a 90-minute set of Frank Zappa songs is not as easy as forming an April Wine tribute, to be sure. This year’s ZPZ lineup includes keyboardist Aaron Arntz (Red Elvises), saxophonist Scheila Gonzalez (Lionel Hampton, Billy Preston Band), bassist Peter Griffin (Monique Powell, Edgar Winter), percussionist Billy Hulting (Rippingtons), guitarist Jamie Kine (Boneshakers), and drummer Joe Travers. These are the sort of killer musicians you will not see at the Point Pub jam sessions in Port Moody — but they’d be right at home at the Cobalt’s Fake Jazz Wednesdays! A special treat in this year’s ZPZ lineup is the inclusion of guitarist Ray White, who toured with Frank Zappa in 1976 and can be heard on the albums Zappa in New York, Tinsel Town Rebellion, and You Are What You Is. Although last year’s ZPZ lineup included such celebrated ex-Franksters as shredi-knight guitar god Steve Vai, drumming virtuoso Terry Bozzio, and saxophonist Napoleon Murphy Brock, diehard Frank Zappa fans might feel somewhat cheated by the absence of Frankster veterans this year around. “I did that on purpose,” reasons Dwezil. “I know Frank’s music remains very contemporary, but to present it to a younger audience you need to have some sense that it’s closer to their generation. And I didn’t want to front a band of people that was comprised only of people who’d played with Frank, because then it would be really easy for people to think that I was just trying to fill Frank Zappa’s shoes by slipping into one of his former bands. And that is definitely not what I’m trying to do.” Well said; after all, this is not the prog-rock Julian Lennon we’re talking about here, and Dweezil’s an amazing musician in his own right. Does he still have the time to pursue his own music? “I don’t have any time to think about my own music at this particular moment,” Dweezil admits. “When I’m not working on the Zappa Plays Zappa stuff, I have an 18month-old daughter who takes up all my time. Eventually, though, I’ll get a chance to focus on my own music again. I’m also looking forward to getting back into film scoring.” Frank Zappa’s music moves light-years beyond the basic four-chord formats of most rock music, so knowing how to score music certainly comes in handy when working with shit like “The Black Page” (a murderous drum workout so named due to so many written notes cramming the staff paper), or “Dynamo Hum”, or that song about making sure you don’t eat yellow snow where the Huskies pissed in it. “We knew we were going to have a lot of work to do on many levels, but luckily there were a lot
There’s certainly enough material to learn. There’s over 80 albums to choose from, which is insane!
of manuscripts that we worked from. We did have to do a hell of a lot of transcribing as well, and fortunately we had the master tapes to work with — which helped in extreme cases, where we really needed isolation on certain tracks to find out exactly what was being played. Sometimes it’s hard to hear who’s doing what in a stereo mix. And if there’s nothing written on paper…? We really dig in there forensically, and got it all written out properly, to the last note.” Dweezil continues: “A lot of people don’t know that Frank learned everything he knew about music by going to the library as a kid. He didn’t go to college, and that’s one of the main reasons why his music sounds so different. He had no boundaries in his music. I don’t have the same skill-set, in terms of being able to read and write music the way he could. I mean, he could sit down on an airplane with staff paper in his lap, and hear stuff going on around him, and write it all down, and there it was. That’s an insanely gifted ability – to hear music in your head like that and know how to write out the different parts, to know where the rhythms are, and what it sounds like in the end. I can’t do that! In my job I have to not only learn what I have to play as a guitarist, but I have to be well-familiar with what everyone else is playing, to make sure everyone’s doing it right. It’s a crazy amount of work!” And speaking of crazy amounts of work, Dweezil notes the heavy roadwork the ZPZ band is currently undertaking. “We’re playing places Frank never had a chance to go to. Last year we played in Iceland, which was pretty fun! But we’re also covering a lot of ground he played in his day. We played the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he got banned from! A triumphant return, almost 40 years later. We had a special arrangement of ‘Peaches En Regalia’ prepared, and I actually had Aaron Arntz play his organ parts on the huge pipe organ, these huge pipes which run up through the building; and yes, he did play ‘Louie Louie’ for a split second — we had to do that! And no, we didn’t get banned for doing it.” Frank Zappa being banned from the Royal Albert Hall because his keyboardist desecrated the worldfamous pipe organ by playing “Louie Louie” is an apocryphal rock legend, but Dweezil goes Mythbusters on us here. “Frank was working on 200 Motels at the time, and was working with the orchestra that was playing in the movie. Because the orchestra was expensive, the only way to get enough rehearsal time in was to book some concerts. And somebody in the orchestra complained that the music itself was obscene, due to this one instrumental piece they were playing entitled ‘Penis Dimension’. There were hearings held, and Frank actually won, but no settlement could be dispersed because the Royal Albert Hall is owned by the Queen – and you’re not allowed to sue the royal family under English law. So it was like, ‘Okay, yes, you win…now don’t come back!” Zappa plays Zappa hits the Orpheum Theatre in Vancouver,Tuesday, November 20. Nov 22 at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary, and Nov 23 at the Norther Jubilee Auditorium in Edmonton. Be there or shove your head into a toilet or something.
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SOCIAL DISEASE Spread the Social Disease across the globe! Feature song, “Love or War”, is a fuckin’ masterpiece. Check out how, as it begins, wah-wah guitars harmonize flawlessly with a long howl from vocalist Shane Stone. But it’s the incendiary playing of bassist Dank that establishes the pure barbaric strength of the song. The band says its influences are alcohol, weed, and pussy; I say whatever it takes to bring Vancouver pure metal rock. The speed and intensity of Social Disease is head banging worthy. These guys are out to damn all you sons of mothers. - Christina Paris
Parlour Steps Longtime Vancouver mainstays, the Parlour Steps are coming at you with their twangy soft roots sound. Second place winners of the 2005 International Songwriters competition, and with four albums to their credit as well a legion of adoring fans here at home, these local kids have been blowing minds with their live show for years now. Often described in press and by the band itself as ‘thought rock’, the Parlour Steps offer smart pop sensibilities and the beautiful, vocal interplay between singer Caleb Stull and bassist Julie Bavalis. Supporting their new album Ambiguoso, and having recently toured parts of Canada and the U.S, the Parlour Steps return to the stage at this year’s Festival Of Guns in the hope of turning you on to their thoughtful, stormy, West Coast feel. Don’t be a stranger; come see what this town has been talking about for so long now. - Nathan Pike
If you feel like you’ve heard Stand Down before, it’s because you have. It’s the offspring of Finger 11, Staind, Three Days Grace and any other 99.3 radio rockstars. It contains all of the same ingredients as any other pop metal band; the rough, raspy voiced lead singer, mixed with some slow galloping drum hits, and a decent guitar riff. At least two songs on the album have a part where everyone stops playing their instruments, the singer yells, they play again, stop, another yell, and then the song ends with a Creed-like wail of despair. Without Stand
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Down, you would not have all those fruitcakes that are too pussy to shave real mohawks so instead they do faux hawks, sporting their best blue polo and a pair of jeans. Oh, and don’t forget the leather wristband.You know, a friend of mine once said, “Anyone who says that Three Days Grace is their favourite band is saying that water is their favorite beverage.” Same goes for Stand Down.You know who you are! Pick up their new album at a Wal-mart near you! - Christina Paris
The BTUs As the live version of “Cult of Rock” started I felt the urge to run home and change into some high-waist, acid wash jeans and a matching denim vest. I never had the pleasure to see Kiss, Bon Jovi or the Ramones in concert, so knowing that I could have the chance to see a strange combination of all of them on stage at a BTUs show is… comforting, or something to that effect. It’s obvious these guys like rock ‘n’ roll and it sounds like they’re having a kick ass time playing together, so I can’t really say anything bad about them. They’re cheesey and catchy, so if they want to pay homage to the rock scene of the ‘80s, then I give them a big pat on the back. If your mom still has a mullet with four inch high curled bangs and those acid wash jeans I mentioned earlier, send her and her Plaster Caster friends to a BTUs show. - Hayley Muir
The Stumbler’s Inn The Stumbler’s Inn consists of the three Myrfield brothers and Chuck. Except for Chuck, they’re all really large men, burly and broad, a seriously intimidating Nanaimo bar band (funny, since they come from upscale Qualicom Beach).Young Graham’s surprisingly gentle vocal pitch and slapped bass adds the funk, soul, pop and sterling chops. Bandleader Al’s gruff lungs, unchanging facial expression and working man’s heartache brings the manliness, grittiness, and Neil Young-meetsLemmy songcraft simplicity. Jeff’s secret weapon (oompa keyboards) brings on the Doors comparisons, Hawkwind space effects
and irresistible top-end. Chuck brings an absolute down the middle clarity of purpose – the tightest, no-fuck-around beat this side of Bonham. The Stumbler’s psychedelic jam odysseys are in shorter supply these days ever since Graham almost died. But fewer barrels of ale and Tupperware containers of pot-brownies circling the crowd doesn’t mean the Stumbler’s Inn are any less heady, steady, and ready to axe your heart with lovingly crafted folkafunkified man’s man rock that doesn’t give a fuck. The Stumbler’s Inn are sponsored by the Holiday Inn, and regularly perform with no shoes. - Dave Bertrand
MUSIC t’s no secret Vancouver is a hot bed of undiscovered talent, producing and exporting some of North America’s best rock ‘n’ roll. And it’s in the underbelly of the city’s club scene that our talent is forged. This is the premise for the Festival of Guns. From November 15 - 18, The Nerve Magazine and music promotion company SPM Music have yet again produced a snapshot of what it is to live and experience live music in Vancouver. The only regret? Too many bands and not enough places to play! Nonetheless, we have assembled over 60 acts into 11 venues, for a four
day celebration of independent talent from Canada’s other city. Some of that talent is featured here in The Nerve, including a full-page interview with Calgary’s Hot Little Rocket (see page 17). But there’s so much more - just go to festivalofguns.com for further details, including a full schedule (next page), updates, venue information, and more. -Sean McKay Producer/Coordinator Festival of Guns
The Painted Birds I really love this band. I love any band that has the balls to step into a recording studio and allow themselves to be busted wide open, probed for sincerity, and come back a slightly disturbed version of their former selves. It’s all about growth, honesty and grit. And it’s been awhile (probably since the release of the first Retrograde album) that I’ve felt so strongly about a local “rock” act. I put the term “rock” in quotes because the Painted Birds are so much more than you would come to expect from commercial radio.Yes, most would consider the group safe and somewhat “radio-friendly”, but one look at the down to earth video posted on their MySpace and a glance at their playlist will reveal an edge that underlies their pop sensibilities. There are hints of Maynard James Keenan, Coldplay, and the now defunct (yet reincarnated recently as the Art of Dying) SunLikeStar echoing somewhere insdie the etchings of the Painted Birds. This is truly one of the better reasons to come out and support Festival of Guns this year. And is there a more suitable place to take part in the catharsis than the Media Club? The intimacy alone will be enough to leave you more than a little shellshocked. After about a dozen beers or so and about as many hugs later, you can amble down to the Stadium SkyTrain station for a safe trip home.* * $2.25 transit fare not included. - Edward Dinsley.
The Sessions Black Betty
With riffs bigger, dumber, fuzzier, and riffier than the riffiest fuzz riffs to ever dumb your big riff head, Black Betty is my favourite Sabbath-worshipping powerchorders in Vancouver. Well... Black Betty plus Grass City (who often share a bill). Most exciting to the discerning gentlemen is how those riffs ooze forth from a titanic SG strapped over the slender shoulder of sexy Ana Serena, who doesn’t even remotely resemble the archetypal dirty tattooed “rocker chick”, thus attracting a sometimes baffling fanbase of non-rock Westenders. The whole thing doesn’t really compute, but who’s complaining? Meanwhile Jonas Fairley, the other half of this duo, is a behemoth on drums;
the “lead” musician, effectively, while Ana steadfastly soldiers away. He’s also a singing drummer (and who doesn’t love a singing drummer?) or more accurately a wailing drummer, akin to Robert Plant or Burke Shelley or Ozzy Osbourne, or all three – combined – circa 1972. Jonas is my pick for the most legitimate vocal talent in town, right after the Pack’s Becky Black. He amazed in previous band Sir Hedgehog, but tackling double duty as drummer is an unexpected and staggering improvement. Great songwriters too; hear BB’s head-nodding, thick’n’dirty debut CD for proof. Not just fuzz for fuzz’s sake. Hot. - Dave Bertrand
The Hotel Lobbyists The Hotel Lobbyists are from parts unknown. The parts I do know however are fun and shit kicking. Not shit kicking like Granville Street on a late Friday night, but shit kicking like an early, hung over Sunday morning at your best bud’s house, a little baked and still drunk from the night before shit kicking. They have had a few line-up changes in the past, but it hasn’t effected their catchy, low res rock ‘n’ roll. These four gents are the funniest bunch you will ever have the pleasure of
touring, watching and wrestling naked with (I have done all three - thanks Jordie). Their songs are singalong and hand clapping friendly, so when you see them this early November for the Fest O’ Guns, feel free to do so and maybe, just maybe lose yourself in Yeti’s saintly beard and Jordie’s deep intense green eyes. They love the Smokes and the Pack. If those two bands joined forces it would be called the Smoke Packs. - Wally
What the hell can I say about an outfit that won at “Emergenza”, the world’s largest Battle of the Bands? My only memory of an event of that nature was a high school talent show wherein Crop Circle’s Ben Darbey took first place with his Nicko McBrain-esque drum solo. As you can imagine, this was a life changing experience for me, and probably as life altering as it was for the Sessions to travel to Rothenburg, Germany to compete at the Emergenza finals against 8, 000 other international hopefuls. Absolutely awesome. Obviously, there’s a reason that these sharp young lads brought their finely crafted tunes overseas. Maybe it’s the fact that they move onstage like a pride of sex panthers with an ulterior motive to charm the pants off of every girl in the room. Or maybe it’s because they incorporate synth-like cobra bites with snap mare snare hits mixed with equal portions of man-musk. I think I’ll leave these queries to those better versed in the field. Consider it fair warning, Sessions: if my girl at any point falls under the spell of your “snakecharming” abilities, you’ll be answering to a very surly Nerve contributor! - Edward Dinsley
16mm I dig bands with a sense of humor so when I was checking out 16mm’s Myspace I immediately decided I liked ‘em as I read their bio, which is basically the entire history of Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green included), swapping out Lyndsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Christine McVie, and Ms. Stevie Nicks for Matthew Moldowan, Jeffrey Josiah Powell, Dominic Coletta and Louise Burns. Unfortunately, I can’t figure out who the lead singer is so I have no idea who to send this love letter to. There’s something about his breathy,
over enunciated sound that makes my knees weak. I’d say it must be the ‘80s teenage girl inside me speaking, but I was born in ’87 so that doesn’t really work out. Whatever it is, I like it, which surprised me because the new-wave electro sound generally isn’t my scene. Another good dance band that is sure to sound even better after consuming Olympian amounts of liquor and/or other substances. And “Dante’s Peak” has taken over as the song I can’t get out of my head. - Hayley Muir
The Nerve November 2007 Page 13
The Nerve November 2007 Page 14
By Ferdy Belland
t the quirky triangular heart of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant district is the JEM Gallery, which opened its doors in June 2005 and has seen almost nonstop 24-7 hustle and bustle under the much-capable guidance of entrepreneurial duchess Carola Goetze. “This is the first art gallery I’ve had,” explains Goetze. “I’ve coordinated fashion shows, I ran a consignment shop for vintage clothing, and I volunteered at the Howling Pit Gallery. I’ve been involved in the arts scene forever, but when I first got the space, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it. I was going to open a clothing store, but the space dictated it once I went in there. And that’s how it became an art gallery – by design!”
A lifelong Vancouverite, Goetze is a proud veteran of the Smilin’ Buddha punk scene and has forgotten more DOA shows than many see firsthand today. Having mostly lived in the gallery’s neighborhood, the natural question arises: is Mount Pleasant truly one of Vancouver’s artsy nerve-centres, as advertised? “I wouldn’t say it always was, but it certainly is these days,” Goetze confirms. “A lot of my artists live in the neighborhood - a very real artist’s community here these days, for sure.” Asked to gauge JEM’s harmonious standing amongst the other businesses on the block, Goetze answers, “Well, everybody’s sort of isolated. I wouldn’t say we don’t get along... Sometimes it gets a bit antisocial, but not always. It’s more a sign of being busy than being cold and competitive. And there’s quite a few sister galleries in the area, which is always good - Antisocial, Blim, the Grunt, the Western Front, the Video Inn...” The JEM (acronym: ‘Just East of Main’) is a multipurpose arts venue, hosting many intimate live events as well as traditional art showcases. “The Furies did their CD release party here, and that was fun!” says Goetze. “The evening shows are usually well attended. We had touring bands from Regina pull up in their Winnebago - I couldn’t believe they were coming to the gallery!” JEM’s also promoted art events at the Waldorf Hotel, and even out in Langley (which can use all the culture it can get). “The location’s tricky sometimes,” Goetze admits. “I like having the gallery here, and I like having art in everybody’s face. We keep it open to the public as much as we can, so the art stays exposed. We keep a count of people who walk into the gallery every day, versus those who stop on the sidewalk and peer in through the window. Many people are still too intimidated to come into the gallery - even with the local vibe. Sure, the JEM’s an off-beat venue, but that’s how most people are with galleries in general; they’re afraid the atmosphere’ll be stuffy, or they’ll catch dirty looks from the staff, or they’ll be ignored, and they’ll feel like they don’t belong. We take great pains to make sure everyone feels welcome in the JEM.” Notable artists who’ve shown their work at the JEM include DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh, Jim Cummins (Vancouver’s beloved I, Braineater), Nicole Steen, Cosimo (“Chocolate Jesus”) Cavalero (who displayed eight chocolate saints for All Saint’s Day), and well-known tattoo artist Carnie Marnie. “The JEM’s known in other Canadian cities, and American artists also request showings. We’re establishing touring
By Allan MacInnis
ancouver punk photographer Bev Davies has known Carola Goetze of the JEM Gallery for a very long time – since about 1979, “when I first started going to shows,” Bev tells me. Carola recently showed some of Bev’s lesser-known non-punk images (including Madonna and Johnny Cash), alongside the work of Nerve photographer Femke van Delft. Those who missed Bev’s punk-themed January 2007 show can still see most of the 144 shots in albums at the JEM, though, Bev notes, “There’s a few missing ones that have sold, that I haven’t reprinted.” While you’re there, you might want to pick up a 2008 Punk Rock Calendar. Feeling much more handcrafted than last year’s Mint Records collaboration with Nardwuar, it’s available in a limited edition of 500, signed and numbered by Bev, and the photographs – black and white 4”X6” glossies, glued to high-quality paper – can be detached when the year is up. There are thirteen band images (plus a shot of the Smilin’ Buddha on the front and a tiny pic of Bev and Carola). Covered are: Buddy Selfish (an alternate identity of Ian Tiles of the Pointed Sticks, also present); DOA; No Exit; the Bill of Rights; the Modernettes; the Dishrags; East Van Halen (!); Death Sentence; Los Popularos (featuring Art Bergmann and Buck Cherry); Rude Norton; the Young Canadians; and my own favourite, December’s Subhumans shot. “Yeah, I’ve always called that photograph ‘...And the Entire Crowd Tries to Drag Wimpy Off the Stage,’ ‘coz it looks like everybody in the audience – except Mike Normal who is just standing there, looking so calm – is trying to drag Wimpy off the stage!” Gerry Hannah
described a similar night in his October 2006 Nerve interview with Chris Walter, where the crowd mobbed Wimpy and denuded him. Wimpy (aka Brian Goble, aka Rory Washtok) also makes a rather goofy appearance in the pic of Subhumans “fuck band” offshoot, Rude Norton, which also featured Nick Jones and Dimwit. “I love that picture. That’s Wimpy with the glasses on. Whether he needed those glasses or not...” (Bev trails off into laughter; the glasses are definitely not of the functional sort). The photo of Bev and Carola in the back is taken by Rabid vocalist Sid Sick, who, Bev reports, is the other person in the Rude Norton photo. “Carola invited a whole bunch of us back to her house after something at the Buddha. It was back in the day when I actually drank, and we were drinking vodka and orange juice in that picture; then we ran out of orange juice, and Carola suggested that we could use Tang. We were about to mix up the Tang with that water, and I stupidly suggested that there was absolutely no reason to add the water, let’s just put the Tang into the vodka. So we were like, drinking straight vodka, with a bit of orange colouring in it, which was a really bad choice. So I walked home at four in the morning, a few blocks from her house, and I never did make it in the house that night. I was afraid to go inside, if the ceilings would all swim around too much and do all that kind of crap. So I sat for a long time on the front veranda, and I passed out in the chair. A friend found me in the morning – ‘What are you doing out here?’ ‘Shh! Don’t yell at me,’” Bev laughs, then adopts a motherly tone: “If there’s any children reading this, don’t do this!” n
networks with other Canadian galleries, so artists can develop national audiences for their work.” JEM also functions as HQ for Goetze’s JEM Productions concert promotions (Modernettes revival, DOA, Manvils CD Release, and the Furies/Dishrags punk anniversary, among others), and JEM Records (which reissued the Dishrags CD, as well as future releases from the Dils’ Chip Kinman). Lord knows where she gets the multitasking moxie
I love having art in everyone’s face! for these one-person operations, but Goetze comes through time and again with cool DIY projects. “It’s all pretty fast-paced,” Goetze notes, “and then I get strange things in the mail, like the Library of Canada requesting CDs! I prefer being busy, rather than doing nothing, but there’s never enough hours. Sometimes I clutch my head and say, ‘shit, what have I done???’ So I learn as I go and try not to trip over my own enthusiasm.” JEM benefits from taking part in Mount Pleasant’s popular arts festivals. “Mount Pleasant artists sometimes get left out of other events like the East Side Culture Crawl,” she notes, “so the Swarms are good events to be involved with - people pass through all the different galleries, and people who normally wouldn’t visit the JEM will check us out. And we participate in the Drift - all sorts of shows and exhibits set up in different stores for a month straight; people wander about and are introduced to new things. One weekend a month the artists’ personal studios open to the public. Last year JEM had bands playing live as a Drift party, which went over famously. We stay involved and try to keep our finger on the local pulse.” Asked whether she sees herself curating the JEM Gallery in years to come, Carola Goetze laughs. “Oh yes - but I wish I had a secretary, a housekeeper, a big PA system... But I’m always enjoying my experiences with the JEM Gallery. It’s great! I never know what’s going to happen on any given day, who I’m going to talk to, who I’m going to meet. It’s always exciting!” n For information on current/upcoming JEM Gallery events, please visit myspace. com/thejemgallery
(In which we plug her 2008 Calendar)
PHOTO: KEITH KRISTMANSON
PHOTO: HAYLEY MUIR
The Nerve November 2007 Page 15
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