Tag Archives: Hillside Festival

Stuart McLean did me a favour in July 2008

Upon the passing of broadcasting legend Stuart McLean, I remember the following story about an interaction I had with him:

In my first few months working on-air at CBC Radio 3 in 2008, I came up with a bit wherein I did an impression of Stuart McLean’s popular program, Vinyl Cafe, but all the stories would be boring, vaguely dysfunctional ones about my own family.

When I casually mentioned to colleagues that I’d invited Stuart to be on the episode, they all told me I was nuts. He was the biggest star in CBC Radio and I barely even worked there. Well, I asked him to do a thing and he did it. I wanted him to really lay into me for making fun of him and he was amazing. He went after me and my family with such funny ferocity that I was overwhelmed. He really enjoyed playing ‘Angry Stuart McLean’ and it was amazing.

Afterwards, he told me it was great and he loved it. Total pro and forthcoming with his time. I’d see him at the Hillside Festival from time to time after that and he was always cool. I’m so sad he’s gone. By all accounts, he was good and generous man. That was certainly my experience with him.

Here’s what the exchange between Stuart and I sounded like:

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Ep. #271: Andy Shauf

Andy Shauf is a talented songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist who originally hails from Saskatchewan. Over the past four years, Shauf has released critically acclaimed and vibrant pop records whose dark textures contain clever lyrics and infectious melodies. He made quite a statement with 2015’s The Bearer of Bad News and has possibly even topped that wondrous record with this year’s conceptual LP, The Party, which is out now via ANTI- and Arts & Crafts Records. He’s been busy touring and will be playing the Hillside Festival in Guelph the weekend of July 22 before heading across the United States with case/lang/veirs. Here, Andy and I discuss being in Winnipeg vs. being in Regina, the East India Company restaurant, Portage and Main, missing home and moving to Toronto, renting a condo and buying a piano and a bed, elevators are hell, dizziness and astronaut material, entering outer space on a big plane, celebrity condo, Andy’s excellent cross Canada adventure to get a new van, on the level, making The Party in a former CBC Radio studio in Regina, Jason Plumb of the Waltons, recording and working in seclusion, people who think they know what to do, the live band, being a multi-instrumentalist, drum lessons, attending a Christian high school and not thinking about that stuff too much, Olivier Fairfield, Josh Daignault, Colin Nealis, the band Fet.Nat, poaching musicians, The Party and Blake Edwards’ 1968 film starring Peter Sellers called The Party, the loose concept of The Party, drinking alcohol at a party, dumb things Andy does at parties, party life, The Party’s characters like Jeremy, Sherri, Alexander, and Martha, character studies in songs and giving them lives, “Jack and Diane II,” getting into Randy Newman, pop-punk and Elliott Smith, finding his voice and writing 100 songs, artistic trajectories and foresight, critical feedback loops, Saskatchewan gives you time, when Andy’s music transcended Canada and he got busy, gradual success, writing one new song, playing the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the song “To You,” and then things elevated.

Related links: andyshauf.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #270: TUNS

TUNS is the mighty new Halifax/Toronto supergroup featuring Chris Murphy, Matt Murphy, and Mike O’Neill. Chris Murphy has ushered some excellent music into this world, both as the co-curator/co-founder of the murderecords label and as a quarter of one of the world’s finest and most successful rock bands, Sloan. Matt Murphy is an accomplished journalist who has worked for CBC and Vice Canada and is one of the most dynamic musicians and showman anywhere, who’s likely best known for his work in the Super Friendz. Mike O’Neill is a busy and gifted screenwriter and sound engineer for Trailer Park Boys and Black Jesus who has released criminally under-appreciated solo records since disbanding the wonderful indie-rock duo, the Inbreds. So, if it’s not clear already, when it comes to thoughtful pop and rock music trios, this TUNS configuration couldn’t possibly be more top shelf. The band’s self-titled debut record will be out August 26 via Royal Mountain Records and they’ve been playing select shows of late, including an upcoming performance at the Hillside Festival in Guelph on Sunday July 24. I met up with TUNS at the Pho Asian 21 restaurant in Toronto recently and we had a revealing conversation about Mike’s desire for Vietnamese food in Toronto, working with Trailer Park Boys co-creator Mike Clattenburg on a new TV show about a guy who re-locates raccoons, the song “Back Among Friends” and what it captures about TUNS, Zeppelin covers and joy, positive pressure, recycling things and writing new songs, Mike’s inventive bass playing, the writing process and its progress in TUNS, Chris’ songwriting, giving the singer some, the song “Look Who’s Back in Town Again” and various TUNS Easter eggs, the song “Lonely Life” that Mike sings, whomever sings generally wrote it, Mrs. Claus, lyric collaboration, wisdom and experience and democracy, magical harmonies, being in Sloan for 25 years, “Gimme the Keys” and the extreme rarity of Sloan members’ doing solo work, Eric’s Trip and Elevator to Hell, realistic TUNS, being perceived as ‘Halifax Pop’ artists, the Technical University of Nova Scotia, the lawn jam, why Halifax people seem to get along so well, footloose and fancy free, friendly competition, strength and talent, an influence like the Police on a song like “Mind Your Manners,” talking about the band U2, also R.E.M., The Unforgettable Fire, The Joshua Tree, the “Sunday Bloody Sunday” drum beat, Larry Mullen’s parts, filling and leaving space, scrutinizing Chris’ lyrics in TUNS and also in Sloan, self-awareness and self-consciousness, entitlement, purposeful pronouns, new stuff by TUNS will be more like TUNS, thinking about time and relationships, not a throwback, a Golden Girls analogy, too much like Sloan, hits, making music for fun, Royal Mountain Records and the self-titled TUNS LP is out August 26, a world premiere of the song “Back Among Friends,” and then Chris got the cheque.

Related links: tunsmusic.com royalmountainrecords.com vishkhanna.com

Listen, subscribe, rate/review on iTunes. Now available via AudioBoom.

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