Archive for the ‘Big Sugar’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Ultrasound Showbar [2nd GSMW Night 2] (February 26, 1994).

Second annual Green Sprouts Music Week held at Ultrasound Showbar Feb 25-Mar 1 1994. Setlists for all shows were fairly similar in content focusing mainly on the 25-30 songs that they would use for consideration on Introducing Happiness which began recording the following week. Rare performances of Poor Mouth, Green Xmas, Floating, Symphony and a crazy mash up encore of Cephallus Worm/Uncle Henry/Greens Sprouts Theme/Soul Glue. The band also noted working titles for the album included Revenge, You Are A Treasure, Skookum, Twaddling and Art If You Squint.

The quality of this recording is better than night 1

The show starts with Dave Clark asking, “Does anyone know the sound that sled dogs make when they bark?  They go Hi! Hi!, because they bark so much they don’t have voices anymore.  Bidini says “Dave knows this because he was once a sled dog.”  Tim chimes in, “we also met a llama at Exotic (erotic?) cat world in Orono, Ontario.  He said hi, hi.  Then it spit on you–because he liked you.

Then Martin says “Dave Bidini fresh from reading erotic poetry.”  (In last night’s show he said he would be reading erotic poetry).  Dave says, “I’ll read some more to you if you’re good… or bad if you know what I mean.”

They begin the night with “Poor Mouth” a rare song that I don’t really know but it sounds familiar.  It’s a slow song with some noisy sections.

Before Introducing Happiness, Clark asks, “How many people here have cats?  Be proud, Walk tall.”  Then Tim jokes, “This is a new song about cats.  Actually this is a new song.  They’re all new songs tonight.”  An All New Revue!  Clark: All New Revue Screw You!

For Fishtailin’, Clark says This song is not about Cats, nor about Dogs.  This one is about Birds, but nobody got it–it just went over there heads. Bidini: “What Catskills dive did you hear that joke in, it’s an old bad joke?” Clark” “You just killed the flow of the gig.”  The song opens with some finger napping and after a verse Martin says he likes the snapping and Dave says he likes Tim’s falsetto singing.

The begin “Michael Jackson” and Dave asks, “Where’s the Michigan table tonight?  Welcome!  Sorry to hear about Michael Jackson and stuff.”  Then he segues, Dave Clark is the only person I know who when I told him Nancy Kerrigan won the silver he went alright!  Clark responds, “Dave, it’s so hip to hate Led Zeppelin these days, that’s what the kids said in high school but I still loved them.”

After the song, Clark shouts out “Tim Mech all the way from the Mechheads….  a smattering of applause… if they only knew.”  In This Town has kind of goofy opening, as does “Me and Stupid.”  It opens with some crazy lurching almost seasick-sounding sounds.  Martin says that’s track one on our next record.  During “Stupid” in the quiet middle Dave states, “

Middle if song “Something is about to happen.  Two shores away a man is hammering in the sky.  Perhaps he will fall…”  The end of the song the band chants “pike trout bass smelt.”

So Bidini asks about smelt: How many smelt can you eat at one sitting?  I once ate 115.  Clark: “I’ve never eaten smelt in my life.”  Bidini, “I’ve got the bones in a jar.  Clark: Did you shat them out?  Bidini: No!  It is a nona food–an Italian grandmother delicacy.  Then he tells the story: “I went fishing with my dad and we chucked the giant net into the Credit River listening to AM radio with excellently bad Canadian radio from the 70s.  Martin says, “I’ve known you all this time we’ve been together 8 years or whatever?.  Bidini, “I’m glad we’re talking about this now.” Clark: “you should join that Iron John program.”

It’s a pretty complex introduction to “Oneilly’s Strange Dream.”

After the song, Clark says, “I saw Mark Hamill on that Conan the Barbarian show and he was kind of a sexist pig.”  Bidini: “Same with the Howard Stern guy.”  Martin jokes, We’re taking it even further than Vegas were recording in Tahoe.

Then Dave asks, “Acoustic guitar or electric guitar for this song? (Electric wins in landslide).  “Electric it is!”  Every decision you inch us towards will have a profound impact on our musical lives.  Be responsible.”

Dave then gives a lengthy introduction to “The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos.”  He says it was originally a song that Tim and Martin sang when I got married two years ago at my wedding (at the bowling alley?).  Someone asks, “Did you marry the girl that you met when you went back to your old horse riding school?”  Clark asks: Bugsy Malone?  Dave says “Bugsy Bidini, you got it.”  I write the song and sang it and Tim said enh?  then Tim said “I’ll sing it” and now he sings it. It’s about an old band that was famous in Toronto (well, not really famous but were excellent) in the middle to the end of the 80s and this is about them.  Before starting he mumbles, the beginning is tricky and then asks, “Tricky beginning or not?”  Tricky!  we need to practice it once, we’ll do it really quietly so they can’t hear.  It’s funny how short the song is after all of that.

“Full Moon Over Russia” is pretty quiet, and then there’s a wild middle section during the “I don’t care, I don’t care” part.  Dave says do you care, and Martin shouts, “Don’t do that I hate that.” Then there’s a nonsense jazz breakdown.

During the banter Clark asks, are they calling the CIS Russia now?  Bidini says “It’s not the CIS”  Clark: “CIS, CSI,  C-sis?”  returning to the Olympics: Clark responds “My favorite Olympian is Ross Perot.  Martin asks “Dave what are you suffering from?”   “I’ve got Olympic fever.  I get the chills every day around 1 o’clock if I don’t watch channel 9.  The all white network, Jesus Christ.”

And then they have some fun with the Canadian sportscaster Rod Black:

But Dave how did you really feel about that performance in the last song it didn’t measure up to your expectations, did it?” …. “I guess you’ll just have to go home and face all the people who pinned their hopes and dreams on your performance.”

Martin starts “One More Colour” and then says, “This is another song that I have anxiety starting.”  Dave announces, “You can share in that anxiety?  How much did it cost you to get in?”

Opening “Jesus Was Once a Teenager Too,” Dave says “This is for Robert Lawson who came by and gave us a tape of the National Anthem.”  (Not sure what that means).  And then they take a five-minute break.

After the break, Bidini welcomes everyone and invites them down into the “promecium” (the pit).  Clark corrects: “proscenium” a fan shouts “paramecium,” “Prometheus?”

These five days are dedicated to the Green Sprouts Music Club.  You can write to us and we can be friends.  And then they a play a song that I’ve never heard before called “Margaret Atwood.”  This appears to be the only recording of it, which is a shame because it’s pretty interesting with a catchy chorus and some wild guitar wailing.

Dave tells a story about Tim Ecclestone getting another player into a fight with a bruiser from Philly.  And then they play “Green Xmas.”  Clark says, “It can be Christmas any day you want.”  Bidini says, “that’s kind of your motto: every day is Christmas.”  Martin sings a short improv “Every Day is Like Christmas.”

Introducing “Floating” which was never recorded, Dave says “This is a song about taking acid and being 30000 feet above sea level, something we’re all very familiar with, I’m sure.”  This recording is much better than last night’s and it really lets you get a better sense of how interesting this song is.

Someone shouts out “Ditch Pigs.”  The band discusses it and requests and how this is not in the program but they never do it, so Clark agrees.  But Martin forgets the words and no one else can remember them.  He asks someone Do you have the song cued up?  And someone plays a recording of “Dancing Queen” (!).  They get through the end of the song and then immediately start up “The Royal Albert.”

Martin says that “Symphony” is a new song composed of many parts.  Bidini says that he’s going to relax back there behind the drums–that’s what you do back here, right?  It’s a really pretty song, but the recording gets a little muddy here, sadly.

Bidini asks Clark about his microphone which leads to a discussion about Gil Moore, the drummer from Triumph.  Gil Moore would get blind drunk, play really poorly and sing his ass off but he could only hear himself in the monitors and no one could hear him in the big giant rock stadium.  Clark concludes: “You know what they say igna…” someone: “breeds bad rock” someone else: “breeds Triumph.”  Shhh.  Martin comments, Rik Emmet’s a nice guy, right?  Bidini: “Rik Emmet’s a great guy.”

Then someone compliments Dave on his suit.  He says Gordie Johnson (of the band Big Sugar) lent Dave his suit  (and lent him his hot bum too).  Then you hear someone playing Blondie’s “Call Me” (!).  The crowd gets quiet so they tell them to say something.  Someone shouts various things and then “Legal Age Life,” which they agree to play.  It’s an acoustic jam pretty far from the recording, but a lot of fun.  In the middle of it things stop.  Then someone scream “hurry up” and Clark creates a vulgar erotic story that involved having sex with the man.  And then they resume he song.  It’s followed by “Earth/Monstrous Hummingbirds.”

In introducing the band, Clark mentions “Timothy Warren Vesely)–there had been a contest in a previous show to see if anyone could guess his middle name).  Someone requests “Memorial Day” and Bidini says, “We don’t do that anymore.  We’re waiting for John Cougar to do that song.”  They play a delicate “Take Me in Your Hand” instead.

Bidini mentions the Big hockey game at 9:15 in the morning tomorrow  Canada hasn’t won a gold medal in Olympic Hockey since 1952.

Then they start talking album names, like the ones mentioned above.  One other one is : Rheostastics Talk Too Much.

And then Tim gets two songs “Row” with the slide guitar and “Claire” (announced as a song by Desmond Howl).  “Claire” is wonderful with a noisy drum section in the middle.

Despite the requests for “Torque Torque,” the encore is another romping fun sloppy Cheap Trick song “I Want You to Want Me” ( I think Clark is singing?).  And then the crazy medley mentioned above: “Cephallus Worm” a weird enough song to begin with which segues into “Uncle Henry.”  Before it ends they begin a wild “Green Sprouts Theme.”  Someone asks how would Bruce do it?  Who cares?  And then they jump start “Soul Glue” but after just one verse they launch back into the frenetic ending of Green Sprouts and before that can end, they play the final verse of Uncle Henry in a pretentious operatic style.

Be here tomorrow when the Wooden Stars are there.  It’s out matinee show.  It’s only six bucks tomorrow.  Tea and biscuits and no profanity, bring the kids.


[READ: July 18, 2017] “The Main Attraction”

I’m never exactly sure what criteria are used to get someone into Harper’s.  Especially the short (typically excerpted) fiction in the beginning of the magazine.

It is usually an established author, very often in translation.  But the statement about this entry is particularly noteworthy: “Bennett’s first novel Pond was published in July and this is from a manuscript in progress.”  Wow, that’s seems to set the bar a little low, and yet I really enjoyed this strange excerpt.

Anyhow, this excerpt is fascinating for a few reasons.

It opens with this odd bit:

The idea of going out to dinner came about very suddenly–I wanted schnitzel–after having had absolutely no feelings at all toward it going out to eat schnitzel suddenly seemed vital, inescapable, in fact, as if preordained.


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harp febSOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Scherzo Pub, Kingston, ON (October 15, 2000).

rheoscerzoThis show has some fun art work to go with it.  The notes say:

“Rare original drawing by local artist “tully” drawn during the october 15 2000 rheos gig at the now defunct scherzo pub, kingston, ontario. the story goes that “tully” goes to shows, does a drawing of the band, and just leaves it on a random table for someone (like me!) to find it. i actually found it on the floor!”

The other joke on the set list over here is the Smoke that carp joke which is from Martin talking about something before the set even starts.

They play a lot of songs from the then unreleased NotSS.  The version of “Four Little Songs” is crazy fun–lots of wildness, and a superfast ending.

In addition to playing “Majorca” they play two songs from Introducing Happiness and then talk about Martin’s guitar with the maple leaf on it.  They challenged Gordie Johnson from the band Big Sugar to put a leaf on his guitar. Dave says that not only did he put the leaf on his guitar (on the back) but he plays O Canada at every show now.

In the middle of “Junction Foil Ball” Dave talks about how much he struggled to get the riff (earlier Martin said Dave was very proud of the riff).  It’s a very lengthy talk with demonstration about the riff–quite amusing.

The end of the show has what sounds like an acoustic unplugged set.  Not quite acapella, but Don is only playing the tambourine.  It sounds like perhaps they are in the crowd or near the crowd or something.

Srheoscerzo2o for “Record Body Count,” the crowd sings along beautifully and “Bead, Meat, Peas and Rice” is also done in this format.  For “Northern Wish” Martin say he’s going to start it acoustic while the rest of the band goes back to their instruments.  It’s a great version of the song. In fact all three are wonderful, and it’s cool to hear them sounding so different.

There’s another long chat from Martin about Burton Cummings and how they saw him playing a casino.  It’s very funny.  Then he insists on a “golden drag” on his cigarette before starting the next song.

The disc ends oddly with “Take Me in Your Hand” also done in that acoustic format as the earlier songs–which makes me think it should have been earlier and was placed at the end by mistake.  It sounds great either way.

This is definitely a great show and one for any Rheos fan to enjoy.

[READ: March 5, 2015] “Family Life”

I had recently read something about Zambra that made me want to read him, and then, here he was in Harper’s.  I like serendipity.

This story was translated by Megan McDowell, and I gather is part of a collection of stories called My Documents which will be out soon from McSweeney’s.

This story is a simple one, although it has an unusual beginning.

Martín is headed to a house for a job.  He is to house-sit for a family while they are away for four months.  I enjoyed the way the family members were laid out for us to meet: in alphabetical order: Bruno, the husband, Consuelo the wife (well, actually not the wife, because they never married although they act like a married couple) and Sofía their daughter.

We learn that Bruno sand Martín ‘s fathers were cousins.  Martin’s father has just died.  They barely know each other, although they did know each other when they were kids.  But Bruno tries to strengthen this familial connection, because it builds trust.  Otherwise they have a stranger in their house for four months.

When Martín arrives Sofi runs past him (“These days kids don’t say hi”) chasing the cat Mississippi.  Consuelo is friendly and gives him instructions, which largely entail looking after the cat (who has a swinging door which is open all the time).  When Martín looks at a large hour glass, Sofi runs up and says it last 12 minutes.

To pass the time Martín plays Sofi in chess.  And when they get bored, he changes the rules so that the object is to get beaten, which Sofi enjoys more.

While Sofi is going to bed, Martín and Bruno talk.  Bruno suggest that he “use the time to have ago with one of the neighbors.”  Martín thinks (but thankfully doesn’t say out loud) that he’s like to have a go with Bruno’s wife.

After they leave, Martín discovers a photo of Consuelo and puts it up on the wall.

Martin plans to try a different route every day (different stores, different roads) so as not to make an impression on anyone in the town. But one day Mississippi doesn’t return from his nightly stalking.  Two days go by and Martín grows concerned. So he puts posters up around town.  But when he emails Bruno he doesn’t say anything.

A few days later he sees that someone has posted lost dog posters up over each one of his lost cat posters.  He calls the number (while drunk) and talks to Paz, the woman who put up the posters. He complains about what she has done. The next day she does around moving her posters off of his.  He gets some courage and goes to talk to her about their lost animals.

A week later he sees a dog that looks like hers and he calls her.  They go looking for the dog but don’t find it.  Then, after a month, Mississippi returns. He is beaten up , bloody and gross.  Martín takes him to the vet and gets medicine that he must apply to Mississippi every night.  When Paz calls him, he tells her about the cat and she comes over.

Paz scrutinizes his house–the photo of Consuelo–and he creates and elaborate fiction about his former life with Consuela and their daughter.  How they are broken up and he is reluctant to date.  Later, they have sex and start seeing each other every day.

Things are going quite well, although of course, it is all based on a lie. And the time of Martín’s departure (and Bruno’s family’s return) is coming up.  But the sex is great and he really like her.  She even invites him to go to a wedding with her.

What will happen when it’s time for Bruno and Consuela to return?

This is an unusual story (I guess) to start with because I’m not sure if Zambra’s other fiction is anything like this.  This story was erotic and a bit salacious and was predicated on a lie.  I enjoyed the idea of the main character being someone else and then realizing that he could be that person forever.  (Even if that’s not an original concept).  But Zambra’s handling of the story was really good and I’m interested to read more from him.

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relishSOUNDTRACK:RHEOSTATICS-World Next Door Festival, Winnipeg, MB (September 5, 1998).

wndI was pretty excited to hear this outdoor festival version of the Rheostatics.  I knew the show would be short (and it is at about 45 minutes), but i imagined the entire feel of the show would be different in this setting.  What surprised me is that the recording is taken from a CBC radio broadcast of the show (which in and of itself is pretty cool).  But the recording is terrible!  The sound is bad and there are dozens of stops in the tape.  Bummer (especially when Aliens gets cut off).

Perhaps the most enjoyable part is when Dave says there’s going to be a double neck guitar war between Martin and Gordie Johnson (he was the front man for Big Sugar, a band I don’t know.  They apparently headlined the festival and he plays a mean double neck guitar).

Strangely enough I can’t find out anything about this festival which apparently doesn’t exist anymore.

[READ: March 5, 2014] Relish

Sarah read and really enjoyed this graphic novel. She said I would like it too and she was right.

This is a collection of memories from Knisley.  She writes about growing up in a family of foodies and how at a very young age she at anything.  She even began to crave unusual foods (in one short piece, she says that as a child she craved sautéed mushrooms).  But what’s cool about the story is that although she was raised in a snobby food way (you she see her father’s reaction to McDonald’s and her mother’s reaction to ketchup) she still appreciated junk food. She says, “Anyone who can fail to rejoice in the enticing squish/crunch of a fast food French fry or the delight of a warmed piece of grocery-store donut, is living half a life.”

At the end of each chapter is a recipe for something from the book.  The recipes are pretty simple, although some of them have extravagant ingredients (like her Chai Tea which sounds amazing, but is frankly too full of expensive ingredients for me to ever make–cardamom pods, star anise? No way.).  However, her recipe for marinated lamb sounds delicious and uses only the most basic ingredients. (more…)

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