Tag Archives: Ninja High School

Ep. #185: Steven Kado of Blocks Recording Club

Steven Kado is a Toronto-based musician and a co-founder of the Blocks Recording Club label in Toronto. Founded in 2003, the Blocks slogan “Don’t try, do!” led them to put out 70 releases by then-fledgling artists like Owen Pallett, the Barcelona Pavillion, Katie Stelmanis, Ninja High School, Matias, Bob Wiseman, the Phonemes, Les Mouches, Hank, and many more. On May 9, Blocks retires from the music biz with a celebratory party at the Tranzac in Toronto (292 Brunswick Ave) featuring performances by Nifty, Austra, the Barcelona Pavilion (2002-2004 lineup), Bob Wiseman and Picastro’s Liz Hysen, the Phonemes, Hank, Matias, Ninja High School, and Les Mouches. Here, Steve and I discuss the legacy of Blocks, what Toronto was like and what it’s like now, why some people hate Toronto, why some people from Toronto defend it, people who come to Toronto just to make it, trying to make Blocks a co-operative and aligning it with other local co-ops, knowing your city’s cultural history, what’s coming up for his own music, the secret guest at the Tranzac this Saturday is Les Mouches, the Bob Wiseman song “Neil Young at the Junos,” then it’s time to stop doing and trying.

Related links: blocksblocksblocks.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #107: Friendly Rich

Friendly Rich is a strange but great man who originally hails from Brampton just outside of Toronto, Ontario. He is a singer, songwriter, educator, impresario, and instigator who has released 10 albums to date, including his latest, Bountiful, which is out on June 24 via the Pumpkin Pie Corporation. Friendly Rich and his band will celebrate its release with a show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on July 24, which follows a sojourn across Europe in June and July. Friendly Rich recently visited me at my home where we had a spirited chat about prepping for a walk down to the Guelph Farmer’s Market, the joys of Eric the Baker, how my son doesn’t want to be on the show, how my wife and I don’t like carrying our son anymore, Goldie Hawn, John Cage, and Silence Guelph, living in Oakville, petunia spotting, the impact of the provincial election on Guelph, Rich gets self-conscious meeting the general public on our interview stroll, a firetruck at a crosswalk, the Regent Park School of Music and Saturday Night Live’s Hal Willner and Kevin Drew and Daniel Lanois, the Brampton Indie Arts Festival was a visionary thing, pranking bad mayors, my son the difficult interview subject, Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo and Marc Ribot, when the BIAF got different, slaughtering lambs in Brampton garages and filling blue boxes full of red blood, why is Friendly Rich so weird, Nudetella, infiltrating the system with subversive performance art, running into Charlie Cares busking, Raynaud’s syndrome, Rich drops a fiver inside Charlie’s case, Charlie sings us “Wildwood Flower,” locking things up, running into musician/NDP candidate/Hillside Festival founder James Gordon and peppering him with the tough questions, Arthur MacInnes has a nice shirt and is an old, Fugazi road-trip buddy, Meral the Turkish food chef whom I still owe a dollar, delicious böreks, the “Sausage Samba” saga, regulation sausage in Germany, combining the worlds of Star Trek: The Next Generation and sausage auditing for a music video that has been championed by Funny or Die and Team Coco, running into visual artist Gillian Wilson who should not be a stranger, my wife needs money, Gregory Pepper is cleaning out the eavestroughs, Art on the Street, goat’s milk, Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s death train, “Penis Suitcase” and the super strange funeral ritual of the king of Zambia, my son eats peppers like they’re apples, darkness and childlike innocence, running into Matt Collins formerly of Ninja High School and currently in the band Dutch, my former linemate Bruce Lynn, still clamouring for Eric the Baker, getting Rich a Guelph apple and talking to farmers about the apple-splitting trick, making our way to Eric the Baker, Friendly Rich is prolific, purple juice interruption, Adrian Celentano, sausage rolls and blueberry tarts, my guestlist, arriving at Eric’s, Rich buys a chocolate weiner, my son tries to steal some madeleine cookies, meeting Eric the Baker, the song “Penis Suitcase,” et en fin.

Related links: friendlyrich.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #106: Brad McInerney & Mike Deane of Kazoo!

Brad McInerney is a founding member of the Kazoo! concert series in Guelph. which is celebrating its eighth anniversary with two shows in town this week. On Thursday June 5, the Salt Lick Kids are reuniting to play the Jimmy Jazz with Sackville’s Kappa Chow, while on Friday June 6, Esther Grey, my Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet tribute band, …FROM a Shadowy Planet, Start Something, and a surprise special guest plays a show at the James Gordon Outreach HQ, located at 32 Essex St. The other day, Brad, his Kazoo! colleague Mike Deane, and I met at Mike’s house in Guelph to discuss things like Kazoo!’s exact eighth anniversary, Ninja High School, Households, the Maynards, Van Gogh’s Ear, 106 Huron St. and house shows, Rockets Red Glare and Jeremy Strachan breaking a bass string in the living room, punk rock squats, Hamilton Ontario, Caledon Village, the Grange St. house/Burnt Oak collective, the hilarious Burnt Oak/No-Fi feud, Ell V Gore, how Kazoo! began, Diamond Rings, transient towns, I start eating dinner, Mike’s history as a show promoter, my amazing job at a car rental company, the Poultry Palace, Montreal was a bust, when Mike met Brad, checking in on my dinner, etiquette, Señor Chipotle, going from playing music to setting up shows, making things better, enriching communities and DIY networks, the influence of Fugazi, selfish community-building, putting Guelph on the map, Rancid, NOFX, and Ramones, Martini, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, being in a band as an 11 year-old, Start Something, random notes and delay knobs, Cake Bomb Bolivia, Elbow Beach Surf Club, stopping the rock, Le Cyc and Polydactyl Hearts Collective, let’s start a band, Jazz, nursery school bands, Aaron Levin from Weird Canada, the general health of Guelph’s live music scene, transients and residents, the best Kazoo! Fest ever took place in 2014, selfless community-building, people who stick around town and do/make stuff, Guelph is too white and old, many things in Guelph don’t interest Mike, the overabundance of stuff to do in Guelph, Macdonell St. at 2 AM and pee floods, someone broke into my car and stole my mints, Guelph feels bigger, strangers at shows are good, Brad calls Mike and I on booking our own bands to play this Kazoo! 8th Anniversary show, Don Pyle is a superb drummer, I forgot that I played Kazoo! shows with Wax Mannequin before, a rundown about these anniversary shows, Olive the dog, excitement, the Start Something song “Hard Times,” and then it’s over. Or is it?…

Related links: kazookazoo.ca ticketbreak.com/event_details/7590 vishkhanna.com

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