Tag Archives: Royal City

Ep. #100: Andrew Nathan Hood Interviews Me about Jim Guthrie

Andrew Nathan Hood is a published author who lives in Guelph. He wanted to interview me because he’s working on a book about Jim Guthrie for Invisible Publishing’s Bibliophonic series and so I said “sure.” For this 100th episode of the show, I present Andrew prying into my life by asking me about why we’re doing this, the band Captain Co-Pilot that I was in with Dallas Wehrle and Steve Lambke before they formed Constantines, people I used to make music with in Cambridge, Ontario, how I got into drumming via road trips in my parents’ car, lying to my parents about owning drums, lying about Superchunk and Tom Robbins, rear-ending my high school principal, storing illegal drums, Steve’s mom likes my drumming, playing the Albion Hotel in 1996, playing music with Jim, seeing Bluetip at 10 Ontario Street, merging hardcore and indie-rock scenes, punk rock, my tiny ex-girlfriend who caught Jim’s eye, the Hubble Bunk and Coby Dowdell, Holocron, Dioctave, Venus Cures All, Plumtree and community, recording a Captain Co-Pilot album with Jim and James Ogilvie, enjoying the Beatles, Justin Stayshyn, Stephen Evans, it got louder, the song “Where Have All The Heroes Gone?” and Jim’s notes on it, 517 the man, Jim might’ve been high, Steve McCuen and speech impediments, the gift of gab and generous humanity, Tim Kingsbury and nice, cool people in Guelph, the beginning of Three Gut Records, Gentleman Reg and his red minivan, Aaron Riches and Royal City and Leslie Feist, Aaron setting up Fugazi shows in Guelph and propelling people like Jim to do stuff, King Cobb Steelie and moving to Toronto, Lisa Moran and Tyler Clark Burke, my road managing Royal City’s first U.S. tour which lasted three weeks, Nick Craine, Feist being in Royal City, when crossing the border was easy, Nathan Lawr, it’s business and it’s personal, when Royal City stopped, the power of Constantines, seeing The Late Show with David Letterman and wearing coveralls for work like Steve Albini, the Constantines song “Nighttime/Anytime (It’s Alright)” and Jim’s notes on it, disbelief about things in The Believer, Andrew’s bare bum, why Jim is influential, Stuart Berman’s This Book is Broken, when Kurt Cobain died and live music venues went disco in the 90s, Arcade Fire, why people like Jim and his music, the fact that Jim wrote the “Hands in my Pocket” ad jingle, McDonald’s, Jim’s genius as a pop songwriter, Jim’s award-winning and lucrative work as a composer of video game soundtracks, Jim knows stuff, Jim O’Rourke, Stewart Gunn and Beethoven, Jim’s open-minded curiosity, making money by doing the thing you love and employing your skillset, the Jesus Lizard and American Express, Invisible Publishing’s Bibliophonic series, Tom Clancy books, why are we doing this again?, Jim gets surprised because he’s modest, Jim’s Juno nomination and our 2004 trip to Winnipeg, Canada has a small music scene, championing, Jim’s terrible car accident, the song “Before and After” and good lord, it’s done.

Related links: andrew-n-hood.blogspot.ca jimguthrie.org vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #96: Nathan Lawr

Nathan Lawr is a talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Guelph. Over the past 20 years, Lawr has been a go-to drummer for people like Jim Guthrie, King Cobb Steelie, Royal City, FemBots, Bry Webb, and more. When he emerged as a folk-pop songwriter in his own right about 10 years ago, Lawr’s love songs had bite and topical, political implications, which eventually morphed into his most outspoken band yet, the Afrobeat-inspired MINOTAURS. Lawr is also greatly invested in social change and democracy and has worked with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to develop the Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties. He has helped organize a 50th anniversary celebration of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association on May 3rd at Trinity St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto, which will feature musicians, spoken word performers, dancers and visual artists who have all come together to celebrate freedom of expression in the arts. Here, Nathan and I discuss ‘Uncle Natey’s Grump Shack’ and cheering up, why he’s working with civil liberties organizations and putting the ‘active’ in activist, how social media doesn’t necessarily encourage dialogue, how freedom of expression is non-partisan, how our freedom was infringed upon in World War I, getting younger/busy people interested in political discourse and fostering opinionated engagement, change and people in the streets, what the Donald Sterling/NBA fiasco teaches us about protective face-saving, Nathan’s fondness for H&M’s line of socks and how righteousness is undermined by accusations of hypocrisy, the theme from Peter Gunn and his history as a musician and music fan, the video game Spy Hunter, drum lessons, Fugazi and Primus, not loving guitars but being ok with pianos, knowing when to fold ‘em, playing in King Cobb Steelie and their pioneering approach to punk, the politically-charged city of Guelph and having tolerant parents, here comes the argument, how Nathan did not turn out a punk, my unfocused, unnecessary curatorial advice to people programming variety shows, arbitrary references to Feist and “farting on sandwiches,” why some famous people won’t vouch for things they actually believe in and why some topics are ‘hushed,’ Nathan’s ill-fated and traumatizing attempt to bring musicians and Toronto Police together for a hockey game to raise awareness about civil liberties, why talking shit out is important, Nathan’s great regrets about leaving the band Royal City and our fun American tour in October 2000, his future music plans, the MINOTAURS song “Make Some Noise,” and then we just spent the rest of the day farting on sandwiches.

Related links: minotaursband.com ccla.org vishkhanna.com

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I hop on the “I liked Arcade Fire first” bandwagon late…

http://media.guelphmercury.topscms.com/images/c3/bb/56cc3e9a42ec87c5fcbdf552facc.jpegI was quoted in a Guelph Mercury article today about the association between Guelph and Arcade Fire. In the wake of their Grammy win this past Sunday night, there’s been plenty of discussion about this band that “stole” a major award from Eminem and Lady Gaga. There are some people who don’t even know who they are when really, they’ve been hugely popular for close to six years now (i.e. they’ve played SNL twice, debuted at #1 on Billboard, have played sold out shows at Madison Square Garden, been on Letterman and Conan, opened for U2, performed publicly with David Byrne, David Bowie, and Bruce Springsteen, collaborated with major filmmakers, and been nominated for Grammys before, etc.). Any way, it’s also sparked a weird ownership discussion about the band among their fans and some media outlets–a kind of entitled, “We knew about them before they were huge and won a Grammy” line of thought I suppose. It’s all a bunch of noise really but now I’ve got myself caught up in it.

This morning, because of the Merc piece,  I began to reflect on my own association with the band and found some links to some of the earliest pieces I wrote about them. I’m sharing them below, not because I feel I’m owed anything or want any kinda cred for my efforts (which include paying attention to things and trying to articulate my feelings about them, and aren’t all that astounding, I realize). It’s just a kinda scrapbooking exercise I suppose. When I first saw Arcade Fire open for Broken Social Scene and Royal City at La Sala Rossa in Montreal in December 2002, it was a fluke that I was even there (RC often brought me on tour with them) but still, I knew they were something else. And now I’m feeling nostalgic about that era for the band and myself too, sure.

I’m nothing but ecstatic and pleased by all of this band’s success, not because I know them vaguely or was lucky enough to share stages with them when they first played Ontario or that I was able to write about their music when few others had the chance to. The fact is, they’re really one of the best bands in the world and they’ve been remarkably poised, composed, and grounded in the face of what I can only imagine is a freakish amount of pressure and scrutiny. They’re really great people making amazing music and I’m proud to have gotten to know them over the years.

So yeah, here are some links to things I’ve written about Arcade Fire since 2003. Enjoy.

A Nathan Lawr article that references AF’s first Guelph show in July 2003, which I organized.

A September 2003 review I wrote about their first EP.

A Unicorns/Arcade Fire combo piece for their first Hillside appearance in July 2004.

Funeral review, 2004.

And a preview piece on their 2005 appearance at Hillside.

And interview/reviews of Neon Bible and The Suburbs for Exclaim!

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