The Hidden Cameras
Da Bloody Gashes
Do Make Say Think
Deep Dark United
Full White Drag
WAVELENGTH #79 Sunday September 2, 11pm
Purveyors of: Country-meets-new-wave showmanship
this day and age when the most hyped bands often come off as some kind
of SCTV parody, it takes a group like Vancouver's The Buttless Chaps to
renew an audience's faith in the concept of band as entertainers as opposed
to fashion spread. Whether pulling off a ballad as lonesome as any of
Hank's or revisiting Jennifer Beals as a Flashdance "Maniac" - complete
with some show-stopping running on the spot - the Chaps have chops galore,
a great sense of humour, and are one of the best live bands ever. Miss
this show at your peril!!!
you guys are the latest boy band created by west coast svengali Carolyn
Mark, how does it feel to be in her stable?
Carolyn is in Toronto on the 9th of Sept... she said she is bringing our
new stage outfits for the next leg of the tour...
you ever been run out of town on a "rail"?
Sort of... death threats, you name it... but some people just don't get into
the Flashdance segment of the show... recorders sometimes don't go over
leave the pristine beauty of Victoria for the depravity and bad tattoo
haven of Vancouver?
For me personally I needed a change... Victoria is beautiful but 25 years
there made me feel like Kurt Russell in Escape From New York.
is the place where new wave and country meet?
In the delete bin of any record store.
did you think of Ralph Macchio kicking Steve Vai's butt with classical
chops in Crossroads, a movie ostensibly about the bluesman Robert Johnson?
Steve Vai played a good devil... but you have to bring ethics into music
somehow and I feel that Macchio's Karate Kid persona transferred well
into the world of horrendous guitar war movies... I wish he made more albums.
Ramone dies and everyone boohoos, John Lee Hooker dies and not a peep
from anyone, do you think this is a crime against humanity?
I think John Lee Hooker and Joey Ramone were both great... what about Chet
vs. Levi's, I hear true cowboys only wear Wranglers.
I wear Jordache... nicer fit.
there such a thing as Butted Chaps?
I'm not sure...
do you listen to and read in the van?
Saga and Louis L'amour westerns.
would win this mudwrestling match: Leanne Rimes or Dolly Parton?
I can't even visually process that one. I'm sorry, it's the lack of sleep.
by Nora Charles
WAVELENGTH #79 Sunday September 2, 10pm
Purveyors of: Solo harmonic guitar pop
may recall a low-key evening back in February (the week after our titanic
Anniversary Weekend, in fact), when Calgarian singer/songwriter Aaron
Booth treated us to his delicately finger-picked solo guitar tunes. We
love Aaron so much we asked him back, and Sept. 2 is a special occasion
- Aaron's "welcome to Toronto show." Yes, he has forsaken the oil fields
of Alberta for the humidity and rent-gouging of the Big Smoke.
"I was already spending
quite a bit of time out here with my own solo tours," explains Aaron of
his move, "and working with Snailhouse." (Aaron plays keyboards in the
Ottawa quartet led by the Wooden Stars' Mike Feuerstack.) "And Elizabeth
wanted to, and we like the city." The Wavelength show comes just days
after the newly wedded couple - Aaron married journalist Elizabeth Chorney
in July - move into their new home at Bloor and Euclid.
Future plans include
a "tour of the 401 with the Buttless Chaps in early September, a week-long
recording session with Dave Draves at Little Bullhorn studios in Ottawa
(featuring musical contributions from the Snailhouse/Weights & Measures/Kepler
crew), and a potential Snailhouse/Aaron cross-Canada double tour for November.
Other than that, Aaron is looking for "a cool guitar with a vintage character."
- Jonny Dovercourt
Sunday September 9, 11:30pm
Purveyors of: "The tones and drones of gay church folk music"
Pictured: Alex McClelland, Paul P, Graham Hollings, Justin Stayshyn, Joel
Gibb, Matias Rozenberg, Magali Meagher
Joel Gibb was 16, he was known and loved for the 'zine The Bitch. In it,
Brit-pop was lauded and deconstructed. Later, things became more witty
with his Glamour Guide For Trash. Both were self-publishing gems - funny,
wise and stylish like Joel himself.
Joel is the founder/singer/songwriter with The Hidden Cameras, a "gay,
folk, church music" outfit that sometimes hits on-stage numbers in the
double-digits (although the core four are Joel, Magali Meagher, Justin
Stayshyn and Mathias Rozenberg). The Cameras' first release, Ecce Homo,
looks at love, lust, church and various other things that make the world
more interesting. He even recounts at his small press days on "Ode to
Self-Publishing Fear of 'Zine Failure."
Joel has had the music in him for sometime (including a somewhat troubled
experience as a junior high composer for clarinet), it wasn't until 1996
that he began making documents of his music, "instead of just singing
things in my head." And, though Ecce Homo was released mere months ago,
Joel is already at work recording new material.
like to turn knobs and dials. I can mix things in minutes if I can get
my hands on it," he says, while lamenting the fact that his avocado and
tomato sandwich just wasn't filling enough. In the Hidden Cameras' short
history, they have made it their goal to make every show an event. Joel
picks a lyric from a song and turns it into the night's theme. So far,
there has been a skull show and a disease show. Wavelength will be the
Gay Ghosts Show.
the lyric "We proceed in stained bed sheets and hang on ourselves that
'we're happy,'" the night includes dancing by ghosts-for-a-night Paul
and Alex. It's also a rare treat for the Hidden Cameras to play a bar
(although they did it for a recent Vazeleen). They have played a university
in Rochester, an old folks home (where Joel and Mathias mixed "Hava Nagala"
and "If I Were A Rich Man" with Cameras originals) and, fittingly, a church.
One thing they haven't played is a mall.
went into the Eaton Centre for about two minutes during our last photo
shoot. Guntar (Kravis) took a couple of pictures and then security asked
us to leave. We were taking photographs of us riding the escalator, but
they came up to us right away." Proving the point that there's no escaping
the hidden cameras.
WAVELENGTH #80 Sunday September 9, 10:30pm
Purveyors of: Trash-rock excess... with slogans!
Pictured: Yannick Desranleau, Chloe Lum, Suhrid Manchanda
Bloody Gashes claims to be about pushing the limits. Whose limits? How
Su: We didn't claim shit. We do push the limits of rock'n'roll in intensity,
structure, concept, treatment. We push ourselves constantly to come up
with real off-the-wall shit that makes you go "damn, is this rock'n'roll?
Why do I have that funny feeling in my crotch?"
can put any words to any sounds you want... why dirty, distorted rock
with titles like "Now! Wave (S)explosion," "Glamapuss," "Sugatits" and
"Fuck Yr Sexuality." Why is this your expression?
Su: Depends on the "song". Some don't mean shit and Chloe uses
her voice either to propel our rawk destruction or to glide over the rumble.
Who needs words to sing? Scat scat scat. Some songs mean a whole lot,
like the as-yet-unrecorded "Say No to the Commodification of Rock
& Roll/Say No to the Commercial Vulgarization of Rebellion"; or "Now-Wave!"
which I wrote about my ex-girlfriend's tendency to masturbate in public
spaces and how not only should that make any dyke or heterosexual man
horny but also how that is an attack against the limitist charms of fascism.
Chloe: Because we wanna put the "rock" back into art-rock. It
seems more and more that to be considered "experimental", rock-based
bands have to pick between wanky, done-to-death post-rock, indie, or adding
electronics, while heavier stuff gets pushed into the punk-rock or hardcore
categories... Why those titles? Well, look at the time and part of the
world we were produced by.
lost a series of drummers. Most recently, Katie Farrimond. What's the
Su: Katie quit because she wasn't as serious about Da Gashes as we were;
even though she did it like a bitch and pulled out a week before five
out-of-town shows we had planned as a mini-tour. Yannick and Chloe had
put a lot of work into getting those shows and we had to cancel them.
Some people refuse to book us now, others have been more kind. We recently
had a guy who we worked with for a month and then quit, calling us "sell-outs"
because we were taking photographs to put into press kits that would hopefully
get us more shows and better distro. That hurt. But fuck him and Say No
to Morons with a warped romanticist view of the music industry (underground/overground)...
A couple of our cool friends (Suzuki Kid of The Unireverse, Louis of Les
Georges Leningrad) are filling in for now. We'll see what happens.
Yan: Katie didn't get along with this intellectual post-modernist game
that we are into via our art and music, so seeing that her interests were
somewhere into something more stable and conformist, we all agreed on
seems the members of your group have come from, gone to, and continue
to be in, some pretty varied, interesting and notorious groups. Would
you like to fill in your Toronto audience on some of the other projects
members of Da Gashes are associated with?
Su: The Unireverse/Les Georges Leningrad/Kubelka/Suzuki Kid.
Chloe: I played with noise/industrialists Phycus for quite awhile, probably
the most hated band in Canada. We set a lot of fires! My old group Kittenling
was pretty infamous for our nudity, blood, foam-rubber costumes, flame-shooting
robots etc. I'm also involved with the Neoist art movement (all involved
people are hated). Right now Yannick and I have a performance duo called
Nothing. We seem to get in trouble and/or banned everywhere we play including
Casa Del Popolo. One of our shows at Montreal's Lark Gallery ended in
fisticuffs with Radio Canada's avant-garde theorist Eric Letourneau. He
had it coming - what a rude arsehole! Yannick also played bass in the
now defunct biker rock band Les Morts (The Dead), who were notorious for
destroying bars across Quebec. Right now he and I have started a noise/grindcore
project to unleash on the masses: Scratching Elephant Gerald. Su is in
have two accomplished filmmakers in the group. Does this infiltrate the
approach towards making music?
Yan: I'm one of those. This kind of game we play with music genres and
structure... it pretty much reflects my own video production, which is an
exploration and a discussion on stereotypes and imagery of stereotypes.
But layering is something going on in my mind and is not pushed over by
any desire of starting some boring modernist exploration of whatever can
be endorsed by a commercial gallery or the academic art world. It just
comes from dreams, experiences, tries and misses, quick thoughts, even
mental lapses... like our music...
Chloe: Camille Paglia said that as the most popular form of art today,
rock musicians should be trained and surrounded as/by any other young
artist; in art schools. I personally got my stage beginnings as a performance
artist on the Ottawa gallery circuit in '95. My pieces having a large
spoken component, I started experimenting with vocal contortion under
the influence of artists like Diamanda Galas and Laurie Anderson. It was
quite a while later when I realized I could actually sing. I don't see
a direct effect from Yannick and I's filmmaking on our music (actually
for myself it's the other way around, a lot of my films and performance
works discuss rock, especially ideas of women's place in rock, in a social/personal/political
context) I, too, agree with Paglia and strongly feel that any artistic
endeavour you do informs the other. Also as visual artists, we have a
certain freedom many other musicians may not have in that we control our
public image beyond the music itself. We design our merch, records sleeves,
flyers, direct the tone of our photos and are at the moment working on
our own video (that will, with our usage of AVID and Final Cut, look as
"pro" and "slick" as any thing on MuchMusic, while
having a very different tone.)
pushes your limits?
Su: Ungrateful people. Overly confused people. People who don't know shit
from shove. People who yell out "discrimination!" just when things aren't
going their way. People who shit on my favourite pair of pants. Dogs that
talk shit. Girls who need a boot stuck so far up their ass that the laces
sprout out their nipples. Guys who need a footlong gash cut between their
nipples, and then get opened up so you can see their lungs and eeeeeeping
heart, and then get pissed on and slapped in the face. Ah, Monday morning...
Chloe: Le Shock, Lake of Dracula, The Locust, Arab on Radar, Royal Trux,
Neurosis, Lightning Bolt, Pussy Galore and Gerogerigegege musically. Other
than that, Raymond Chandler, Lester Bangs, Kathy Acker, Joyce Carol Oates
and Philip K. Dick push pretty hard in a literary stylee.
by Paddy O'Donnell
WAVELENGTH #80 Sunday September 9, 9:45pm
Purveyors of: Psych-Moog trio, or electro-freakout?
Pictured: Kosmic, Mr. Zero, SK
are an analogue synth trio from Montreal that has altered my perception
of doin' covers. I mean just doing covers? They have twisted my favourite
bands' (Hawkwind, Silver Apples, godspeed) tunes into something that could
only be described by Stockhausian quotes of celestial harmony and composition.
And then you suddenly realize that there is so much more to be said; especially
now with their new Katron EP (Total Zero). And this was what Alex "Cosmos"
Moskos had to say...
would you guys describe the music that you play?
I think that Brian or Joseph might disagree with me on this, but I like
to call it "electro-freakout". I like the term electro because mostly,
what is classified as electro (proto hip-hop, etc.) used Kraftwerk samples
(Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock", as one example), and by running that
lineage backwards it's only logical to start feeling the trace of it on
shit like Klaus Schulze or Suicide, or DAF or Eno. It's sort of running
a reverse march of pop-music history. I think Suicide and (German electronics
duo) Cluster are just as electro as Mantronix or the soundtrack to Breakin'.
The "freakout" is just this cheesy thing to add to it that conjures up
a sixties "happening" tranced-out thing, ya know, like psychedelic jam-hippies
in a field, which is an aesthetic we all dig on. That's the genre description
I neologized for it, but the standard marketing line is "psych-Moog trio"
which is less colourful but more graspable for those who need to truly
grasp the bugger.
Unireverse have an affinity for analogue synths. Do you guys consider
yourself exclusive to this type of gear?
I don't think we are entirely strict about it. I mean we love the sounds
produced by these things. That's the prime mover behind it. They are just
so great and it's all because they're analogue. Like it or not, we humans
are still analogue beings, and I think no matter how hard we try, analogue
signals will always be something we are more receptive to. Our sensory
receptors still work on analogue methods and so digital signals come off
as more foreign. The bonus with analogue synths is that you avoid being
the dork staring at a goddamn laptop for two hours.
new Katron EP was recorded and produced by Micheal Caffrey, formerly of
Ottawa's Beautifuzz. What was this recording experience like?
I grew up in Ottawa and Caffrey was this sort of local legend. The Beautifuzz
LP has always been a personal favourite of mine. We all witnessed Beautifuzz
lauch rockets of sheer beauty many o'time. I always dug Micheal's aesthetic
and we hit it off pretty well. (He copes well with Prog which is an admirable
quality). I just thought he was perfect for the Unireverse. So we did
it on this old 8-track reel-to-reel machine he has and he is now living
over top of this candle factory/hemp shop and he has his little workshop
set up off to the side. We set up all our gear in the middle of the candle
shop with all of these huge candles burning. We were surrounded by these
total over-the-top hippie-landscape paintings that looked like some vista
in a Tolkein novel and you expected Dragons to land and start munching
on wee Hobbits. There were hemp clothes everywhere and wax all over the
place. And to top it all off this giant candle shaped like a woman's upper
torso... life-sized... was hanging off the wall. We just got these massive
psychedelic vibes off the whole joint. One morning we recorded our version
of Pharoah Sanders' "The Creator Has A Master Plan". It was like 5am and
the sun was coming up in the window and all these candles and incense
were burning. It was perfect. We recorded the laziest, haziest, sun-fried
version of that tune ever. It was great and we just ran some cables into
Mike's little studio workshop, which as the weekend progressed took on
this total dub-shack ambience. Micheal had all these old synths and boxes
full of effects pedals and shit so we were set. He took to the music and
understood what we were aiming for immediately so it worked out well.
He might as well be in the band and in fact we've asked to him to play
with us at our record launch in Montreal and I hope to continue that relationship.
you always perform covers? Is there a criterion of what songs Unireverse
do cover? How do the bands being covered (namely godspeed you black emperor!)
take to this act of manipulation/admiration?
So far yes. All covers and we have no interest in changing that at this
stop. In a lot of the cases the originals get so lost in our versions
that we might as well call them originals. Some basic harmonic structure
from the original remains but it's faint. The decision usually comes on
what to cover while Brian and I sit like Lords on our couch getting baked
and listening to sides and someone says, "we should cover this tune."
Then Brian will arrange it in his head and teach it to me and Jo will
spend a couple of sessions finding the right beat on the Ace. I don't
think that the majority of the members of godspeed even know that we do
their piece. Mauro the bass player runs a club in Montreal and he's booked
us a few times there. We've played the song with him in the audience and
I think he's even somewhat flattered. Other than him I don't even know
who the rest of godspeed are, really. They have this spectral presence.
I hope they don't mind. I just hope Sun Ra's estate doesn't come after
us or something for doing his tune.
membership consists of known talented Ottawa/Montreal folk. Can you explain
your lineage? Are there any other projects on the go?
Joseph is also the Suzuki Kid, a hardcore beats manipulation act. He samples
beats and just mashes 'em up good and then does these sorta-hip-hop sorta-testimonial
rants on top of them. He's temporarily employed as the drummer for Da
Bloody Gashes as well. He used to play in Space City USA, which were a
somewhat known avant-rock outfit from southern-Ontario. Brian, as everyone
knows, was the founder of PhØcus, who delivered over ten years of insanity.
He has two solo things on the go. One is called Discipline X, which are
these really textured dense noisescapes created by looping old records
on our old Telefunken record player and slowing them down to like 16 RPM
and running them through effects. He also has this project with his girlfriend
in which they do lounge covers of drum 'n' bass hits. It's like Martin
Denny and Lenny Dee do Mickey Finn. I'm presently playing in Goa Gaja
which is this trance-rock outfit led by Philippe Lambert (aka Monstre,
just released a thing on Alien8) and Jon Ascensio (ex-Doughboys). I also
do a lot of experimental sound design through school. I used to play in
Kubelka, an avant-garage trio.
by Zig Zag Wanderer
MAKE SAY THINK
WAVELENGTH #81 Sunday September 16, 11:00pm
Purveyors of: Epic groove sprawl
Pictured: The Do Makes live at the Church at Berkeley
is proud to present international space-rock sensations Do Make Say Think
on Sept. 16. Drummer Jimmy P gets us up to date.
the Do Makes, are currently in the process of completing your third album.
Where does it stand? When can we expect to hear a finished product?
We are currently in the mixing phase of the album.
We hope to have it all mixed and mastered by the end of September and
shipped out to Constellation sometime after that. It won't be released
until the early spring, likely in March.
the first record was a nice soothing high and the second one was a serious
head-spinning blast of chronic, what will the third one be?
A nice soothing high of serious head-spinning blast
of chronic Do Makes to the power of three.
the Do Makes were all crime-fighting comic-book characters, what would
your names and powers be? (Yes, you can speak for the rest of the band.)
I would rather think of us as more like The A-Team.
They drive around in their van from city to city as hired mercenaries
who shoot up the countryside with their brand of military justice. We
too drive around in a van from city to city, country to country, as hired
professionals to deliver our brand of rock'n'roll justice.
The cast: Charles is Hannibal
Justin is Murdock
Dave and Ohad are Mr. T as B.A. Baracus (the role of a lifetime!)
And Jimmy P is Face.
us an example of how DMST is the exception to the rule of Constellation
Records bands being Serious Artistesª.
Well... we're not from Montreal.
last two local shows were at the rather prestigious Bloor Cinema and the
Church at Berkeley, respectively. What led you to choose the comparatively
salty Wavelength for your next gig?
We really wanted to do one more show at home before
Charles went on tour in the U.S.A. with a theatre production and before
Justin moves to New York for a while. We are all fans of the Wavelength
music series and I appreciate its significance for promoting local culture.
We're happy to be a part of it.
by Jonny Dovercourt
WAVELENGTH #81 Sunday September 16, 10:00pm
Purveyors of: Lo-fi blues implosion
Pictured: DDU say "happy birthday"
you're talking "art-rock" (which I don't endorse) there are two givens:
1. The Beatles are absolute shit.
2. Radiohead are worse.
Thankfully, however, I don't have to piss any of you off by saying these
things, because I'm not talking about art-rock: nay, the music of Deep
Dark United falls under a different heading, that of the almighty Freak
you're talking freak rock, there are two things you gotta know:
1. The Beatles are absolute shit and have nothing to do with freak rock.
Stop mentioning them.
2. There are two types of freak rock: Spazzy (i.e. Truman's Water, Uzeda,
Les Savy Fav, et al.), and Zen (Storm and Stress, Brise-Glace, US Maple).
Deep Dark United fall into the latter category, eschewing merely "freaking
out " or "spazzing" themselves while playing "riffs", instead causing
others to "freak out" and "spazz" upon watching them play something...
see, nobody wrote these songs. The songs exist somewhere, and chose Alex
Lukashevsky and crew as conduits. And thusly, out it comes, loose but
never falling apart, familiar yet not resembling.
you're left wondering why the fuck you ever bothered to listen to the
fuckin' Beatles in the first place. They're absolute shit.
WAVELENGTH #82 Sunday September 23, 11:00pm
Normal is the anarchist and feminist guitar and voice duo out of Vancouver.
Jean Smith (vocals), is writing her third novel Living On Eggshells, while
David Lester (guitar), publishes award-winning poetry, fiction and graphics
at Smarten Up! and Get To The Point. Mecca Normal has released nine albums
(K, Matador) in their 15 year history. Mecca Normal opens for Unwound
(Kill Rock Stars) on a September 2001 tour.
1986, when we released our first album, we interviewed ourselves on tape,
and sent it out as a press release. Here, 15 years later, is the next
opportunity we've taken to interview ourselves, this time in email.
Jean, you have a chapbook coming out for this tour, what's up with that?
I've just returned from Olympia where I hand-printed the cover from my
lino-cuts. Family Swan and other songs is a collection of specific and
personal poems, that reveals a universal sense of family tension. Parents
make weird accusations, accompanied by a "never to go beyond these four
walls!" warning. Altered by emotional abuse, it's the adult who does the
remembering. Unsettled feelings linger. Many of these pieces are new Mecca
Now we will both have new chapbooks for this tour.
Dave does very amusing political graphics, published by our small press,
Smarten Up! and Get To The Point. Dave, can you explain how you got involved
in the graphics side of the punk rock thing?
I'd just graduated from high school in 1976 when reports from England
started to appear in the music papers - punk rock seemed too bizarre to
comprehend. I believe I attended the first punk rock show here; Vancouver
was ready for the politically-fuelled punk rock ethic. In the late '70s,
when punk rock hit, I was the art director at The Georgia Straight, a
Vancouver weekly newspaper. I put the PMT (photo mechanical transfer)
camera to use, screening photos, reducing and enlarging images, preparing
camera-ready art for gig posters. From '76 into the early '80s, I also
worked on the collectively-run international anarchist newspaper Open
Road. My artwork - colour portraits of anarchists Mikhail Bakunin, Sacco
and Vanzetti, and the anarcha-feminist Emma Goldman - were included as
And you were in bands too, right?
I played guitar in a band called the Explosions when the original punk
rock scene in Vancouver coincided with a strong leftist atmosphere, an
opposition to the right-wing government of the day. Social unrest escalated
in a dramatic response to the erosion of labour rights, culminating in
a province-wide general strike in 1983. The radical, labour-funded, Solidarity
Times began publishing; I was employed as its designer.
I always had a feeling I'd missed out on all that action, that I wasn't
part of the original scene, now I look at my own history and consider
that people who came along after we did probably feel left out of the
scene we were part of. Good to remember there's always a new scene to
contribute to, to create.
In the original punk scene, bands played benefits for many causes including
End The Arms Race, Prison Justice Day, anti-poverty campaigns, Rape Relief,
funding for teen centres, legal defense funds for activists, opposition
to apartheid in South Africa. Of all the musical genres, punk rockers
were the most consistent supporters of radical causes. Although youth
and style oriented, there were occasions for general audiences, when D.O.A.
played a benefit show with Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, for example.
My brother, Ken Lester, was D.O.A.'s manager in the 80s. I designed many
of the band's album covers, posters, T-shirts, and stickers. Posters were
the main method of letting people know about shows and political rallies.
Now the battle for poster space is fierce, an anti-poster bylaw makes
postering somewhat risky, while teams of youths who look like punk rockers
are employed to strip posters off lamp standards. Communication at street
level, and the contrived civic denial of opportunity to do this, have
become a politicized issue. I self-published a series of posters on a
variety of issues - censorship, poverty, historic labour rights, anarchist
philosophies - and left them in public places for others to put up. Posters
that weren't announcing an event or selling anything looked very good
on the streets. I also design book covers for local independent publishers,
create print material for theatre productions and poetry events.
And in the mid-eighties we formed Mecca Normal.
We co-organized a series of tours in Canada, the U.S. and England called
The Black Wedge - we kicked off our first tour by selling out two nights
in Vancouver. No one had heard of such a thing. Political poetry? Sold-out?
We were a handful of anti-authoritarian poets and minimalist musicians
reclaiming our voices, taking back culture, setting our wild hearts free!
That last bit is from the poster: reclaiming our voices and setting our
wild hearts free. We borrowed D.O.A.'s tour bus, a big old school bus,
and drove the west cost playing clubs, a soup kitchen, an alternative
school, radio stations, parties, and the anarchist book store in San Francisco.
The Black Wedge tours continued for a few years - the name is still up
for grabs. Anarchist poets to the fore! Take the name and create a tour.
Like those bicycles in Holland - you just take them and leave them for
the next rider.
When The Black Wedge went through Olympia, Washington, we met Calvin Johnson
of K Records, and discovered a whole different underground, a whole new
"punk rock." A D.I.Y. aesthetic of making things happen rather than waiting
to be entertained by the corporate ogre - could this bunch of berry-picking,
pie-baking kids organizing themed dance parties and swimming-hole picnics
be political? Everyone happy, picking up instruments to join in the fun.
We collided with them in the summer of '86. Us with our smash the state
ferocity, and them with a bag of marshmallows and some extra sticks. Almost
fifteen years later we are still collaborating with them, or are they
collaborating with us? [laughs]
Indifference is a doomed state that disappears as soon as you put your
work out there for others to hear, read, see, and taste. Why wait for
the media to declare culture on sale now, better than ever? Be bold, follow
your passion - take a chance, choose a course of action, make it up as
you go a long, and see where it takes you.
See you there! [laughs]
How do you strike a balance between promoting Mecca Normal and the purpose
of the band?
Sometimes it feels like we have to step back from facilitating our movements
to remind ourselves of the reasons we are doing this.
Like the fact that we really want to play these songs for people.
Yes, and in another way it feels like how we function is part of what
the band is. Two people sorting out how to proceed, intentionally outside
of the mainstream.
I think Mecca Normal thrives in this atmosphere.
This current wave of positive energy?
It feels like it is building again, extending out, re-vitalizing what
was always good about creative collaboration; one to one, between communities,
continents, the world.
Maybe what's new is that the musicians and artists who have been around
for a while are acknowledging a positive swing while we are creating it.
It is happening through a variety of intentions, rebellious and intuitive,
artists fuelling and demonstrating a culture that works better than what
we currently have. People are finding places for themselves and what they
have to contribute within an open framework of potential. There is a sense
of helpfulness more than careerism.
I think musicians are making it known that they aren't giving up, or leaving
music to the corporate ogres to dole out to a predetermined youth culture.
The connection between globalization, capitalism and lack of accountability
for how quickly health care and other social infrastructure begin to decline
are becoming more obvious as we go along. The first anti-globalization
protests in this current wave of activism were here in Vancouver, at an
APEC summit about four years ago. Last week an official inquiry into the
behaviour of the police described their procedural tactics as inconsistent
with the basis of a democratic society. Since Seattle, where similar policing
abuses were employed, the world has been monitoring government attempts
to re-establish public boundaries, including the right to demonstrate.
Jean, can we wrap this up in a more upbeat manner? Something about Mecca
Normal continuing to find the possibilities of expression through voice
and guitar limitless.
more tour dates, and three new songs on our site: http://meccanormal.tripod.com.
9/7 Toronto, Lee's Palace (opening for Unwound)
Sat 9/8 Montreal, Spanish Cultural Centre (opening for Unwound)
Fri 9/21 Toronto, El Mocambo, a tribute to The Fall
Sat 9/22 Hamilton, The Raven
Sun 9/23 Toronto, day: Canzine, at the Big Bop, 1 to 7 PM, at a table
with our new chapbooks. Mecca Normal will perform a 30 minute set at the
end of the afternoon poetry reading. Night: Wavelength, at Ted's Wrecking
Mon 9/24 Toronto, live to air 10 PM to midnight EST on No Beat Radio,
CIUT 89.5 FM, www.ciut.fm
WAVELENGTH #82 Sunday September 23, 10:00pm
Purveyor of: Beat-mashing guitar abuse
A shock of electric blue hair bobs menacingly above the uneven cubicle
at the Lakeview Lunch. As I walk down the long row of empty tables toward
the window, I wonder how swift my punishment will be. Will she toy with
me for a while, or just go for the immediate attack? We went to OCA together,
and I heard the rumours, NEVER cross Maz Fusion. And I'm late. Thankfully,
all she does is dis my T-shirt, and I deserve it for wearing a Hanson
shirt. She then adjusts the microphone to her liking, I call her on it.
Maz: That is so totally
what I was doin'! [She's actually blushing!] Yeah, I'm brainwashed, eh?
That's how anal retentive I am ya know, it's like I can't even sit in
the Lakeview Lunch with a tape recorder without settin up tha mic perfectly,
ya know? Fuck, like a robot!
Yeah, so that leads into...
M: It leads into that I engineer my own music.
You do everything yourself?
So what does that involve exactly? Doing everything? You DO have a keyboard
M: Yeah, I have a keyboard player for live shows.
Ok, so you're pretty um...
M: I write the songs, I play all the instruments, I do the programming,
I record, engineer, produce, pay for it, by eating Kraft Dinner, like
any other anal-retentive control-freak would. [It's too bad you can't
see the look on her face when she says that.]
So have you considered the idea of working with other musicians, in light
of the fact that you consider yourself an ARCF?
M: Do you mean my project or other projects?
On your own projects.
M: In the last six months, I went thru three bass players, none of whom
even stuck around long enough to play one live show. Now, in my defense...
Did you scare them?
M: I don't know how much of that has to do with me, it was just like,
"hey you need to learn these songs," and they said, "hey I'm cool with
M: So, it's not like there's any surprises right? The surprise was, that
I actually meant it. That they actually had to show up in order to do
that, that I might be annoyed if they stood me up. And that seemed to
surprise 'em. See the whole thing is, and again in my defense, it's like
the whole point of this project is to find out what I can do, and what
I'm capable of... and you can't find that out about yourself in any kind
of collective situation, because it's always a bit compromised. When I
work as a musician myself, on other people's projects, I'm quite capable
of havin' no ego whatsoever and just keepin' my mouth shut and playin'
exactly what I'm told to play, note for note, if that's what they require
for tha song, right, and that's what I think gives me the right to be
a dictator, in my own fuckin' creative project... and I've had a lot of
ponderin' on the idea of bein' a dictator. It doesn't necessarily mean
bein' an asshole, and even if it does, I ain't holdin no one here with
a ball and chain, if I'm an asshole go start your own project.
You have a vision that you're trying to, you know, see happen. [Hawaii
5-0 theme music is swelling up in the background.] One thing that I was
really surprised about, what you're doing right now, is the singing and
the lyrics. It was really incredible to see you doing that, adding that
to your music.
M: Yeah, they'll be more of that on the next record. Actual singin' with
meoldies and shit. I'm terrified of that shit, man. I feel so naked using
my voice, if your guitar fucks up, it's still a separate entity from you,
it's an outside object, it's, my patch cables fucked, or my string broke,
M: When your voice yodels... You did that, man! You fucked up on this. I
so wanted to do it but I'm so scared of it and that's why I will do it,
just the same as why I will do publicity and just the same as why I will
step into the jaws of the fuckin' music industry and spit down its fuckin'
throat, because it terrifies me. Well there's no point sitting around
and wondering and being scared, you gotta fight. There's no point dissin'
something until you've really looked it in the eye too, man, you know?
Or you're not experiencing it.
I was sort of curious if you'd found any new ways to abuse your guitar
What are some of the items you've been know to use on your guitar?
M: See it's weird, I used to use a lot more items, but right now, because
I have the record, I'm doin' the material from the record. So I mean you've
got like, dustbusters, electric razors, numerous little muli-coloured
secret boxes, and a bunch of sticks and prongs. The record is basically
a document of five years of live performances, so that it can be documented,
so that people that liked that stuff can buy the record and I'll still
be performing that stuff live... So I still have toys left that I haven't
used yet, that I definitely wanna pull out and use on some songs and stuff,
Anything you want to tell us about?
M: No. [Sorry Wavelengthers, you'll just have to come and see Maz!]
OK, well, one last question, I'm just wondering what an outstanding moment
of your musical history might be, learning or performing or just talking
to somebody, something that really changed your path musically.
M: It's more like music changed my path life-wise, man! So there's no
outstandin' moments in it other than music happenin' itself. It's like,
I woulda been probably in serious trouble if I hadn't found a guitar,
I mean I was on the street when I picked up guitar and started playin'
it in a punk rock band and that's what basically gave me a meanin' and
direction... The fact that music happened was the biggest fuckin' surprise,
it was the biggest curse too... I still swear to God, it probably saved
my life and kept me out of jail, 'cuz I was a no-good angry person on
the street, man. I'm a rough, stompin'-around, angry fuckin' Johnny-Rotten-era
fuckin' English kid still, still a lotta "don't-fuck-with-me, fuck-you"
shit to deal with, so... The best moment is that I have a thing in my life
that can fuckin' give me somethin' that I'm good at, some people never
discover that, man. And for all that I curse to fuckin' hell the fact
that I'm in music sometimes, I think it must be much worse to never find
that in your life.
Thanks, now, where's the coffee?
WAVELENGTH #83 Sunday September 30, 11:00pm
Purveyors of: Rock-trio danger music
Pictured: J, Eric, Dave
White Drag were originally supposed to play Wavelength back on Feb. 4,
at the show that first exposed us to the glorious rock of The Constantines.
But family tragedy forced them to cancel that entire tour with the Cons.
Happier times now prevail, and the Windsor trio has a long-awaited make-up
date on the 30th, as well as a new LP "in the can," entitled The Independence.
This interview is composed of three questions from Jonny Dovercourt's
"original" Q&A with singer/guitarist Dave Mueller which never ran, and
three new ones which bring us up to date:
You guys are the nicest guys, but your music contains a great deal of
aggression and menace, especially your swaggerin' vocals. Is there anything
to this besides the usual music-as-means-of-venting-frustration explanation?
Menace? Aggression? These sound like the characteristics of a really cool
comic-book character. Swaggerin'?? I am proud of you for using this word
in a sentence... I guess this can be explained by our fascination with small
planets and bad drinking water..
influence has your hometown of Windsor had on you and/or your music? Any
hilarious stories about the casino are welcome in your response.
In fear of writing an entire novel for this answer, I will simply say
that without Windsor, FWD would not exist nor would it look and feel the
way that it does. Yeah... remember... Windsor is not alone... we have a big
brother named Detroit... and he has been known to supply a great deal of
experience in all areas necessary for building the massive corporation
that is FWD... What casino?
fave song on your CD Ambassador, "From Below," uses what I call the "math-rock
glide" riff... y'know: (rest)-duh-DUH-duh; (rest)-duh-DUH-duh; (rest)-duh-DUH-duh...
Why is this riff so goddamn fun to play?!
I am forwarding this question to J and Mike because they tend to have
some anti-positive feelings towards this song... I thank you for helping
to reinstate my case to start playing this song more... The riff is great
because it is so easy, yet sounds so good (at least to me and you!)... it
is especially easy for J, whos only has to flip a switch up and down continuously...
simplicity rules... hence, the difficulty in concluding that we are a math-rock
You guys have a new record ready to go, called The Independence. It's
rougher and tougher and dare I say, more defiantly "we are FWD" than the
first one. Would you agree with this assessment? Describe the circumstances
that led to its creation, and inform us of your current plans for its
The Independence was recorded in the spring of 2001 at the House of Miracles
with our good friend and rising star Andy Magoffin. It is the first true
capturing of what this band is all about. The last record we like, but
we also laugh at the fact that we had no clue what we were doing with
that record... we recorded it in Mike's bedroom secretly while his parents
were away... we released it ourselves... it was mainly just to get us out
of Windsor... to give us something to convince promoters to book us with.
Little did we know that we would end up touring the whole country twice
with it... and selling out entire pressings. But all along, we knew that
it was not the best representation of what we were all about... some of
the songs on that record were written when we were like 16 or 17... ha ha.
Most of the songs we have been playing at shows in the last year or so
are songs from the new record. So yeah, The Independence is a record that
we are really excited about... we are still working on details of who is
going to release it... and when... and where... we definitely want this recording
to be fully available, hopefully all around the world, with all the promo
to boot. But I guess most bands want that... we hope to have it out sometime
in the next 6 months... the sooner the better... we look forward to touring
with it, with our van headed towards the USA and beyond... as long as this
record helps us to keep progressing and moving forward, it will have accomplished
of the rumours of FWD's relocation to the Big Smoke?
Ha ha... yeah, I think some member(s) of FWD will be in Toronto full-time
come the time of our Wavelength show. Some other members will remain in
the wonderful world that is Southwestern Ontario... a lot of this all depends
on what happens with The Independence... Toronto is definitely the centre...
of what we are not quite sure yet...
lastly, the "tough question"... by participating in the independent rock
scene - spending money of guitars, guitar strings, amplifiers, recording
time and tape, pressing said recording onto CD, maintaining big gas-guzzling
vans, insurance premiums on same - are we not just slaves to the consumption-based
economic system our subculture is supposed to present an alternative to?
I think we are just slaves to the rock... four years at business school
was all I needed to learn that...
Note: We at Team FWD wanted to thank everyone at Team Wavelength for their
love and support during our almost-Wavelength appearance back in February.
And of course our good friends at Team Constantines for continuing on
without us like the soldiers of rock that they are... we look forward to
seeing you all soon... and making you all proud.
WAVELENGTH #83 Sunday September 30, 10:00pm
Purveyors of: Trance-country guitar duets... in space!
Pictured: Nora Charles, Jonny Dovercourt, Tascam four-track
you have eliminated all other possibilities, Sherlock Holmes instructed,
whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer.
the mysterious case of the Soft Gamma Repeaters, or SGRs, the answer appears
to be a magnetar, a neutron star with a super-strong magnetic field a
thousand trillion times stronger than Earth's.
the magnetic field actually slows the star's rotation and causes starquakes
that pump enough energy into the surrounding gases to generate bursts
of soft gamma radiation. These led to discovery of the first SGR in 1979.
For almost two decades, scientists speculated about the source, and eventually
proposed a new class of highly magnetized stars - magnetars.