Gord Downie is a genuine hero of mine who has redefined rock ‘n’ roll music in Canada. Over the past 30 years, he’s led Kingston, Ontario’s the Tragically Hip, who write and perform songs that are uncommonly challenging and great, improbably becoming one of Canada’s most popular and influential bands as a result. The band kicks off their Man Machine Poem tour on July 22 in Victoria, which may well be the last time they cross the country together. Away from the Hip, Downie has written poetry, acted in films, collaborated with people like the Sadies, and formed another band called the Country of Miracles whose notable membership includes Julie Doiron, Dave Clark, Dale Morningstar, Josh Finlayson, and John Press. During an interview conducted on May 20, 2010, Gord and I discuss The Grand Bounce liner notes, foxiness and beans, pie makers and connectivity, revelations, desertion, Evan S. Connell and Son of the Morning Star and “the grand bounce,” things and people we desert and fight or flight, the sound of the Country of Miracles, relationships with music, his dedicated bandmates, his role as a player and musician, the shift in production from Coke Machine Glow to Battle of the Nudes to The Grand Bounce, using words up, “The Drowning Machine” collaboration with Buck 65, the water and God, Rich can’t swim, getting the Country of Miracles back together from time to time, a David Bowie ringtone, working with Chris Walla, missing the band, summer lovin’, a collaboration with the Sadies, Hip plans, calling on the songs, the song “The Dance and its Disappearance,” Crystal Pite and Kid Pivot, and then we danced.
Related links: thehip.com vishkhanna.com
Dave Ullrich is the founder of Zunior.com, one of the world’s first digital distribution services for independent music, which celebrates its tenth anniversary with various enterprises, including a new tribute album by Tony Dekker and a big festival at Sandbanks Provincial Park on Sept. 13. He was also a founding member of the excellent indie-rock band the Inbreds. Here, Dave and I discuss Allen’s Pub on the Danforth in Toronto, Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip and the Inbreds, growing up in Oshawa but making the Inbreds in Kingston, hiding your Oshawa, k-os rapping upside down, Cuff the Duke owning Oshawa, my pilgrimage to Mike O’Neill’s childhood home and memories of that episode, playing cover songs at an O’Neill Collegiate Vocational Institute battle of the bands in an outfit called the Fresh Steaming Turds, the forgettable U2, I know the R.E.M. discography pretty well apparently, loving Zeppelin and Bonzo, why the complexity and fury of punk is often equated with simplicity and rudimentary playing, sincerity in music, Proboscis Funkstone Records, the rise of cassettes, the riff-y, fingerpicking early days, luck + preparedness = success, these are the breaks, I challenge you to dislike the Inbreds, Lewis Melville, Rheostatics, Guelph, when the Inbreds turned down a Foo Fighters tour opening slot to break up, sneaking low-profile records to Dave Bookman who got them to superstars, angering the Tea Party while Foo Fighters munched on KD, a circuitous route to scooping the White Stripes, starting the prescient Zunior.com digital music delivery service 10 years ago, vinyl sales and holding a piece of wood, leveraging the spirit of indie-rock computing, Zunior platinum, the top 10 moments in the history of Zunior, suprising Rheostatics, the Zune, solar power, Egger plays live, Peanuts, Boxing Day, patron saint Stuart McLean, making commercials with Scott Cudmore and Martin Tielli, the joy of the label and Wax Mannequin, getting into e-books and working with rock writer Martin Popoff, predicting the future for music consumption, flirting with Rdio and musical curation and discovery, vinyl might have a cost ceiling, major labels are like cockroaches, the new Tony Dekker Sings 10 Years of Zunior album and how it came to be, the Zunior 10th anniversary show in Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County on Sept. 13, the song “At the Airport” by Old Man Luedecke, and then it’s the right time to say goodbye.
Related links: zunior.com inbreds.com vishkhanna.com
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