INTERVIEWS, ARTICLES, RECOMMENDATIONS AND OTHER WRITTEN REVELRY
Chris Birkett is an award winning producer, arranger, and composer as well as a talented singer, guitar player and percussionist. His music collaborations with A-list artists like Sinead O’Connor, Alison Moyet, Talking Heads, The Pogues, Bob Geldof, Quincy Jones, Thomas Dolby, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Steve Earle have sold over 100 million records and earned a Grammy, four Junos, the Polaris Music Prize and three international AMPEX Golden Reel Awards for excellence in the music business. His career began in the 1970s as a guitarist, playing in London clubs before touring with Memphis artists Rufus Thomas, Ann Peebles and King Floyd.
At 23, Chris was performing with the pop group Love Affair, whose song "Everlasting Love" ruled the UK charts. The following year, he joined the band Omaha Sheriff who had just signed a major recording deal with Tony Visconti, manager of Good Earth Records and producer for David Bowie and the Moody Blues. With Visconti as a mentor, Chris expanded his career to include producing, engineering and mixing many UK and international hits including Sinead O'Connor’s #1 hit "Nothing Compares 2 U".
In 1991, his London studio was a beehive of activity that was rated #2 in the world on Billboard’s top studio charts. At the same time, Chris’ own single “Where Do We Go From Here?” was picked by Ed Bicknell (Dire Straits’ manager) to play alongside U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Marley, Tears for Fears and Queen on Polygram’s “One Voice One Love” album with proceeds going to CARE International’s African famine relief fund. In 1993, Chris left the UK for France and built a recording studio inside his chateau near Bordeaux. There he produced albums with the Buena Vista Social Club and other world-class musicians, including Etran Finatawa, whose album received the best world music album by Songlines Magazine in 2006. He then moved his studio to Paris, where he released his second album, “Freedom” and received growing acclaim for his work with world musicians like Algerian sensation Ali Amran.
Although living abroad, Chris was no stranger to Canadian music, having produced three albums for Canadian artist Buffy Sainte-Marie, including her comeback album “Coincidence and Likely Stories in 1991 and the Juno award-winning album “Running for the Drum” in 2009. In 2012, he moved to Canada, opened a recording studio in Toronto and finished work on his third album "Be Creative" featuring performances from many talented Canadian artists including Glen Milchem (Blue Rodeo) and Rick Emmett (Triumph). Now a permanent resident of Canada, Chris’ latest credits include Buffy Sainte-Marie’s fourth album “Power in the Blood” (including the title track) with Jon Levine and Michael Wojewoda and “Medicine Songs” which he co-produced with Buffy, both on True North Records. Chris is currently busy performing at venues across Toronto, speaking at industry conferences (including Indie 101 in Manchester and Toronto), and creating new recordings for a range of talented Canadian musicians.
Chris has joined with Shari Tallon, to create The Free Spirits. Together, the duo — Birkett on guitar, drums, bass, and keys, and Tallon on flute, keyboards and vocals — are unlocking sonic synchronicity with a debut album, 11:11, and its premiere single “The Power of Our Love.”
The group prides itself on being more than just what meets the ear; The Free Spirits are a musical collaboration shedding light on life, the world, and how artists can help be a positive force for truth and change, they say. Kasey recently had the chance to pose a few questions to Chris via e mail (safety first) during the CO-VID 19 quarantine.
ABOVE : Chris Birkett rocks the cashbah
First off Chris, given all this pandemic madness, how have you been spending your quaran-time?
Apart from writing a lot of new music, I’ve also been enjoying making Quarantini’s (Martini’s made during isolation).
Well played Mister! Let's talk about your new project The Free Spirits. I got kind of a Peter Gabriel vibe from "The Power Of Our Love". Was he an influence and did anyone else have a profound influence on 11:11?
Although I worked with Peter in the 90’s and have always been influenced by him, the 11:11 album was more influenced by some of my fav bands from the 70’s Yes, Gentle Giant and Jean Luc Ponty to name a few.
I'm up late and I often tend to get a little pensive in such a scenario. In terms of being a free spirit, I feel in a way that because of things such as technology we're less free as a race than we used to be. Yourself?
Well, you can’t use technology to write songs ! Every stick has two ends. Technology has helped me a lot in terms of record production and capturing ideas. I used to spend days editing analogue tape to get singers in time and in tune, but now it’s a piece of cake. If it wasn’t for my voice memo app on my iPhone I would have lost hundreds of song ideas that usually come to me in the middle of the night. I love this about technology. On the other hand the cell phone seems to have separated us socially. I have a song about this called ’Tweet Me Right’ (Video link : https://youtu.be/vW9oP8qvpqM ) . It was inspired by a trip to Dublin as a part of Bob Geldof’s ‘You Bloom’ festival. I was in a bar and I looked up at a sign which read “The Wi Fi’s broken. Try talking to someone”. I put this line in the song.
With The Free Spirits, the group prides itself on being more than meets the ear. Can you explain a bit about the group's ethos?
The Free Spirits is a project between myself and Shari Tallon and was born out of my desire to form a Band rather than a solo act. Most of the songs on the album are inspired by my spiritual insights gained through my studies with the Gurdjieff Institute in London and further on the Alice Baily teachings. My time spent in India at The Oneness University and more recently my reading and study of the Urantia Book have expanded this direction.
Certainly, your desire to bring about positive change through music is nothing new for you. Your song “Where Do We Go From Here” was featured alongside Dire Straits, Bob Marley, U2, Peter Gabriel, and Queen, among others, on 1993’s One Voice, One Love compilation album in support of CARE International. How did you come to be involved in the project and what do you remember about the song selection process? Were you asked for something specific?
In 1993 I had just released my first solo album called ‘Men From The Sky’. Dire Straights manager Ed Bicknel heard the album and phoned me saying “This is the best album I’ve heard in 7 years”. He asked me to come for a meeting and during that meeting he phoned the head of Polydor records and got me a release deal on the spot. Polydor were putting together an album to raise money for the Sudan crisis, working with the charity Care International. They picked the song called ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ as part of that album. All the songs selected on that album had a World Peace message, that’s what they were looking for.
You engineered "Johnny Come Lately" from Steve Earle's Copperhead Road which sees Steve performing with The Pogues. Sounds like quite a wild session! Tell me about being in THAT room.
It was a “wild session” I remember Shane MacGowan coming in to the studio late for the session with a bottle of Whiskey and mixing it 50/50 with coffee before he started playing. There’s a video of this event on youtube. Steve Earle was very emotional because he had always been a fan of The Pogues. (Video of that session here : https://youtu.be/fK_TZY7pihU7 )
I would be remiss if I didn't ask about your work with Sinead O' Connor, especially her incredible rendition of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U". 30 years later what springs to mind when you think of those sessions?
One of the most remarkable things about Sinead’s version of the Prince song ‘Nothing Compares 2U’ was that it was a “first take” vocal. The track came together rapidly as did most of the ‘I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got’ album. The song got to around mid 40’s in the UK charts and then the BBC decided it was not a hit and it started to drop out of the charts. It was the video that brought the song back to life. Sinead did a very emotional performance on that video and it changed everything. The unique thing about that track is that there’s no Bass on it. I wonder if anyone noticed that :)
Recording can be stressful. Do you have any tips for keeping things light in the studio?
Yes, you need a ton of patience and a good sense of humor. My philosophy is “Don’t worry about the destination - it’s the journey that is the most rewarding”. I try not to let goals get in the way of performance. Being a producer is being “Middle Man” between the artist and the record label. It’s the artistic version of the classic A&R man. The labels “goal” is to sell records, but the artist’s “Goal” is to express their feelings and ideas. The two things don’t always correlate. That’s why you need the humor. If you get too serious and worried about keeping everyone happy it would kill you.
Of course, sometimes things go wrong. Any studio disasters or comical close calls you'd like to share?
I had many disasters in my early days of studio work. I started as an artist and my first real recording experience was with Tony Visconti (David Bowie), who signed my band ‘Omaha Sheriff’. Tony became my mentor. Through him I got into working as an engineer. When I started on the other side of the glass I had no experience in tape handling. I recorded my first horn session with Dexys Midnight Runners on the wrong side of the tape. I also ripped a huge ‘V’ shaped hole in one of Thomas Dolby’s tracks on ‘The Golden Age of Wireless’. I learned very quickly from these types of mistakes.
Some artists have a tough time producing themselves but you seem to be able to remain objective with your own work. How can an artist help set themselves up for success when it comes to self producing?
I think the best advice I can give to a self producing artist is “don’t take yourself too seriously”. I’ve seen artists destroy their best performances by being too “anal” about stuff that doesn’t really matter. Don’t get hung up on the intricacies of sound, it’s performance and song content that attracts people to your music.
What's next for you?
I have so many projects I want to do, I just hope I can do them all in this lifetime :) Near term: my musical The Age Of Awakening. All the music is ready but I’m waiting to find the right script writer. My next solo album will be called ’Songs from a Hawaiian Hotel Room. I wrote around 15 songs while working in Hawaii with Buffy Sainte-Marie on her latest album ‘Medicine Songs’. After that I have a project called ‘The Happy Campers’ most of the songs are ready to record for this one. Then, another follow up album with The free Spirits called ‘Keep The Party Going’. Songs for this album are co-written with my band member Shari Tallon who plays Flute, Keys and adds vocals.
Lastly, Your pre show ritual of a shot of Jack Daniels just before taking the stage was part of my ritual too (and probably countless others). You've said this was for your voice and not your nerves. I found that I often guarded my voice a bit without the Jack and it worked well to loosen me up. What does the Jack do for your voice?
It all started with a gig at The Linsmoore Tavern in Toronto. I had caught a rotten bad cold and could hardly talk. I felt that I should cancel the show but my fans were already there waiting. Someone suggested trying a shot of Jack. It worked. My voice came back as clear as a bell (with a few cracks in it). So ever since this experience I like to have just one before I go on. It seems to be the best way to lubricate the vocals chords :)
Thanks so much Chris. Should I find myself in Toronto, the first Jack is on me!
Gratefully accepted :)
The Free Spirits’ “The Power of Our Love” and 11:11 are available now. You can keep up with Chris via his website at https://chrisbirkettmusic.ca
BELOW : Check out The Free Spirits single "The Power Of Love" at
Rapscallions, Bill Moseley is a fascinating specimen. First off, he graduated from Yale and worked as a journalist writing for magazines ranging from the science and science fiction based Omni Magazine to the humorous National Lampoon and medical mag, Psychology Today. At 29 years old he made his film debut in Alan Rudolph's Endangered Species as a taxi driver. After another small part Bill got cast as the now iconic Chop Top in Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. How does the then unknown actor known as Bill Moseley land a role in a sequel to one of the most influential and beloved horror films of all time you ask? He made a parody video called The Texas Chainsaw Manicure. A screenwriter friend named Peter S. Seaman (tee hee) who co wrote Who Framed Roger Rabbit, managed to get the tape to director Tobe Hooper. Tobe liked it. Impressed with Bill's portrayal of Texas Chainsaw Massacre's maniacal character The Hitchhiker in this parody, Tobe told Bill he would keep him in mind should he ever do a sequel to TCM.
Tobe kept his word and 2 years later there was Bill, meeting the director for the first time on set. Special effects legend Tom Savini was hard at work on Chop Top's signature cranial make up when Tobe approached the men. "What do you think?" asked Savini. Tobe opened his mouth and out came the first words he ever spoke in Bill Moseley's presence...."Needs more puss" replied Hooper. "Clear or amber?" Savini fired back. Without missing a beat, Tobe answered "amber" and walked away. As strange as this meeting and conversation may have been, Bill was nevertheless impressed. This was a director who knew what he wanted...right down to the color of the puss.
While Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 wasn't revered by many horror fans in the same way as it's legendary predecessor (and what film is?), the sequel nonetheless build a sizable cult following. Some fans expected a more horrific film that was closer to the tone of the original. In fact, Cannon Films themselves who were producing and releasing the movie expected the same. However, Tobe took a brave stand and steered the film in a more satirical and darkly comic direction. Not everyone got the joke (including, once again, Cannon Films) but a good portion of those that did now consider TCM 2 to be an underappreciated and uniquely entertaining film made with an intelligence and wit missing from not just many genre films of the era but also of the genre today.
ABOVE: Bill Moseley as Chop Top in the 1986 film, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2
Bill would reprise his role as Otis in 2 sequels to date (2005's The Devil's Rejects and most recently 2019's 3 From Hell) and also appear in Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween, animated film The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto and fake trailer Werewolf Women Of The S.S. for the Quentin Tarantino/ Robert Rodriguez collaboration, Grindhouse. Moseley also made his return to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise in Texas Chainsaw 3D (this time in the role of Drayton Sawyer, originally played by his friend, the late Jim Siedow in TCM2) and starred in the sci fi, horror musical Repo! The Genetic Opera and the radio related chiller, Dead Air among other things.
But wait, there's more. In the early nineties, Bill met avante-garde guitarist and future Guns N' Roses axeman, Buckethead and the two began a musical collaboration that would last nearly a decade. He contributed vocals to two songs "Onions Unleashed" and "I Come In Peace" from Buckethead's 1994 album , Giant Robot and one track "Jowls" on the masked guitarists most enduring and best selling album , 1999's Monsters And Robots. The two then formed the band Cornbugs with Deli Creeps drummer, Pinchface and later Travis Dickerson on keyboards. Cornbugs released five studio albums and a few compilations along with a pair of DVD's between 1999 and 2007. Then sometime around 2009 Bill received a strange phone call from Buckethead who explained he wouldn't be in touch for a while. He wasn't kidding. Bill hasn't heard from him since.
The beat would go on however and Bill formed another band called Spider Mountain with Rani Sharone from Stolen Babies which released it's debut (and to date only) album called, No Way Down in 2010. Bill's most recent album is 2017's Bill & Phil : Songs of Darkness And Despair which finds him recording and performing with legendary Pantera frontman, Phil Anselmo .
Like I said, Bill is a fascinating specimen.
Leading up to Bill's appearance at Astronomicon 3, Kasey had the opportunity to pose a few questions to the fascinating fellow that is Bill Moseley.
BELOW : Check out Bill in the trailer to Rob Zombie's, 3 From Hell
Bill there's quite a lineup at this thing and you do a lot of these conventions, is there anyone you are looking forward to meeting for the first time or looking forward to catching up with at the event?
You know, I'm always happy to see Richard Brake, my cast-mate from 3 From Hell. He'll be there and I think we're doing a panel together so it'll be nice to reminisce about working on 3 From Hell with Rob Zombie, with his beautiful wife Sheri, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Pancho Moler . We've got a lot of great stories about the film so that's certainly one of the things that I'll be looking forward to. The other is I'm going to do my Chop Top photo op. I actually still have the original costume which I still fit in, which I think is more about good genes than good diet (laughs). The make up is going to be done by a girl named Nora Hewitt, who actually won one of the seasons of that show Face Off and she is really good at doing the Chop Top make up. I've done a few photo ops with her and she is awesome. I still have my original Chop Top teeth and coat hanger and the whole deal, so that's really going to be one of the highlights of the whole weekend.
I heard that you once signed a bleached cow's hoof, so what are some other fucked up things that fans have had you sign?
You know if I can get a magic marker on it or a Sharpie, I'll sign it. I've signed lots of breasts and butt cheeks. Certainly, the bleached cow's hoof was a one off. I certainly hadn't seen that before and I haven't seen one since and I hope that's not an incentive for people to start going out and bleaching coo hooves and bring to me.
Yeah, you'll be in Detroit or whatever and you'll get 300 of them.
(laughs) Oh, I hope not
Let's say there is a zombie apocalypse. You can take 3 albums with you to quarantine, what are they?
I would take a Fleetwood Mac album called Then Play On, which is old Fleetwood Mac when they were a guitar group before adding Christine Perfect (later Christine McVie)...before, you know it became popular. I would take Sgt. Peppers and I would take....I think the first Led Zeppelin album.
Well played Sir! Now that Fleetwood Mac album, it's been a little bit but I I definitely love the early stuff and Rumours, post Rumours it gets a bit dicey for me. Was that with Peter Green on that record?
Oh Yeah! Danny Kirwan, Peter Green. Oh man! Absolutely.
Those guys were just fuckin' stellar. Mac is so good. And for anyone out there who hasn't heard anything pre Rumours, by all means, go and check it out because it's an entirely different band. Really a completely different sound.
Yeah I'm talking even pre Kiln House! There is another record that I'd probably even trade in for that first Zeppelin record and that would be Clear Spot by Captain Beefheart.
Kind of a deep cut.
Yeah, so I'm going to have to cut Led Zeppelin loose even though I love them dearly. Let the zombies eat whom they will.
Here's some more info about Astronomicon 3 from it's official press release :
Astronomicon 3, the Detroit area’s newest pop culture convention, has added even more guests to the eclectic lineup of pop culture icons appearing at the convention the weekend of February 7-9 at Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights, MI.
In celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the cult-classic Clerks movie franchise, Jeff Anderson (“Randal”), in his first-ever convention appearance, with reunite with fellow actor Brian O’Halloran (“Dante”) for a once-in-a-lifetime fan experience. “I'm really excited to be returning to Astronomicon,” O’Halloran says. “The first year it snowed 10 inches and the fans still came out in record numbers. This year I can only imagine how many people will come out to meet myself and Jeff Anderson for his first ever comic con!”
From inside the squared circle, Astronomicon 3 has announced the appearance of WWE and Total Divas superstar Alexa Bliss, former pro wrestler and animal activist Amy Dumas (aka Lita), WWE Hall of Fame wrestling legend Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and WWE superstar The Boogeyman.
As previously announced, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles creator Kevin Eastman will make his first Astronomicon appearance at this year’s convention. “I am so excited to get the 2020 convention season started at Astronomicon,” Eastman says. “Team Eastman hopes to see you there! Cowabunga!”
Anthony Michael Hall, the iconic “Brat Pack” actor known for his roles in The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, War Machine and Halloween Kills, has also joined the eclectic roster of guests. Says Hall, “I’m excited and looking forward to coming to Michigan in February. It’s going to be a fun show with lots of great people in attendance. We hope to see you there.”
In addition to Hall, Thomas Ian Nicholas (American Pie franchise, Rookie of the Year, Halloween Resurrection), RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad) and Alex Vincent (Child’s Play franchise, Curse of Chucky, Cult of Chucky) will join previously announced actors James Jude Courtney (Halloween), Tom Atkins (Halloween III, Lethal Weapon), Robert Carradine (Revenge of the Nerds), Bill Moseley (Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devils Rejects, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Charles Fleischer (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Nightmare on Elm Street, Back to the Future 2), CJ Graham (“Jason Voorhees” from Friday the 13th Part VI Jason Lives), Richard Brake (Game of Thrones, Rob Zombie’s 3 From Hell, 31), Walter Phelan (House of 1000 Corpses), Nathan Baesel (Leslie Vernon, Cold Case, CSI: Miami) and David Howard Thornton (Terrifier’s “Art the Clown”).
“In the words of Captain Spaulding, if you like blood, violence and freaks of nature, join me at the third annual Astronomicon convention,” says Bill Moseley. “It's one hell of a show, and I'll see you there!”
Astronomicon 3 promises to fulfill the pop culture cravings of fans attending from far and wide, with even more guests, including hockey legend and four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty; comic book writer Dirk Manning; Comic Book Men star and podcaster Ming Chen; creator of “Art the Clown” and director of horror phenomenon Terrifier Damien Leone; rapper Mickey Avalon; special FX artists Rob Miller (Face Off Season 8), Nora Hewitt (Winner of Face Off Season 9) and Get Dead Crew’s Megan Grant; MTV VJ and Scary Movie franchise actor Simon Rex aka Dirty Nasty; Troma Entertainment co-founder and The Toxic Avenger actor Lloyd Kaufman; James from the Dave & Chuck the Freak radio show; tattoo artists Saint Karlos and Steve Pelkey; speed painter/artist Dave Santia; cosplayers Ginoza Costuming, Ashlee Kalthoff of Disfusional Studios, Envy the Green Fairy and League of Enchantment; Ghostbusters Detroit; and Majik Ninja Entertainment artists AMB, Alla Xul Elu, Blaze Ya Dead Homie; and Astronomicon masterminds Twiztid,
The all ages event will not only feature appearances, signings and photo ops with many additional activities – including live music performances, Q&A panels, cosplay and tattoo contests, a free play video game room and tournaments, a scavenger hunt and trivia. Confirmed in-costume photo opportunities include CJ Graham dressed as Jason Voorhees, Walter Phelan as Dr. Satan, David Howard Thornton as Art the Clown and Bill Moseley as Chop Top.
Astronomicon 3 will take place at the Wyndham Garden in Sterling Heights, MI. Additional information on tickets, lodging, VIP options, full guest information, vendors and more can be located at www.astronomicon.com.
ABOVE : Canadian hard rockers, Sven Gali. Lead Vocalist Dave Wanless in ripped denim.
Formed in 1987 with a combination of musicians from Hamilton and Niagara Falls, Ontario, Sven Gali started out like many bands out there, playing mostly covers with a few originals thrown in. In 1989, shortly after changing their set list to mostly original material the band replaced drummer Steve Macgregor with Rob MacEachern. On the strength of their original songs and live shows, they were signed to BMG Canada, after playing some key gigs in New York and Los Angeles. They were signed to a seven-album contract, with international release through BMG subsidiary Ariola. As they began recording an album, the band collectively decided to fire MacEachern and hire on drummer Gregg Gerson. Gerson, their third drummer, had previously played with Billy Idol, Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger, and Mick Jones. With this new lineup intact, they released their debut album in 1992.
Sven Gali's self titled debut was produced by BMG Canada's David Bendeth who would later go on to produce Paramore, Breaking Benjamin and Papa Roach among others. The album included the singles and videos for "Under The Influence", "Tie Dyed Skies", "In My Garden", and the ballad, "Love Don't Live Here Anymore". It also included a cover of the Teenage Head song "Disgusteen" featuring guest vocals by Frankie Venom. The band made four music videos, all of which were on regular rotation on Much Music. The video for "Under the Influence" won the MuchMusic Best Metal Video award in 1993 and Sven Gali eventually went gold in Canada.They spent the next few years on the road delivering their high-energy live show from St. Johns to Victoria, and across the USA, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and the UK, headlining and supporting acts including Wolfsbane, Foreigner, Meatloaf, April Wine and Def Leppard.
The 1993 Juno Awards recognized Sven Gali and they were nominated for two awards, “Most Promising Group”, and “Hard Rock Album Of The Year" Shortly after this, the band began to work on the second album. They recorded in Seattle with production duties handled by future Queensrÿche guitarist Kelly Gray. Prior to this, Gerson left the band and was replaced by their fourth drummer, Mike Ferguson. Ferguson and Gray had previous played together in a Seattle band called Dog Daze. The album, called Inwire (1995), featured guest musicians Christopher Thorn of Blind Melon, and Candlebox's Kevin Martin and Scott Mercado. This second album had a distinctly different sound, which the band called an experiment, and which was influenced by Gray. Many old Sven Gali fans did not respond well to their change of sound, and the band were heavily criticized for what was perceived as jumping on the grunge rock bandwagon. The band toured behind Inwire until 1996, when the group disbanded.
On August 11, 2007, Sven Gali reunited and played live for the first time in over 11 years at The Moose N Goose in Thorold, Ontario. Rob MacEachern returned on drums as a member for the first time since being ousted during the recording of the band's debut.
Guitarist Dee Cernile was diagnosed with cancer, and two benefit concerts were held for him on August 1 and August 7, 2009. Originally it was not known if Cernile would be able to play, so his brother Walter was tapped to fill in if need be. Cernile did play guitar on both nights, and according to former Slash Puppet vocalist Mif, "if I didn't know any better I wouldn't know that there was anything wrong with the guy, he was shredding all night!". Dee Cernile died of lung cancer on February 25, 2012, gone too soon at age 46.
Twenty-five years after their self-titled debut album went Gold (50,000 units) in Canada, they are back with a monster new song called “Kill The Lies” recorded with David Bendeth returning to produce the band for the first time since their 1992 debut. Released on June 10th, 2018 the new track is no throwback to the 90’s, but a heavy, modern rock song that doesn’t look back. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the single will go to support cancer research in the name of founding guitar player Dee Cernile.
The band are also hitting the road and playing some select dates in July and August with the 2018 lineup including all 3 remaining original members: Dave Wanless (vocals), Andy Frank (guitar), Shawn Minden (bass) as well as new members Sean Williamson (guitar) and Dan Fila (drums) from Canadian metal powerhouse and BMG label mates Varga.
BELOW : Sven Gali's music video for "Under The Influence" which won the Muchmusic Video Award for Best Metal Video in 1993.
With the release of their new single and announcement of these new tour dates Kasey had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Sven Gali's lead vocalist Dave Wanless.
First off, welcome back! The new single is out. Does it feel like you've come full circle with David Bendeth producing as he did with your first record?
Yes, it was a very different experience; there was no stress at all, just a collective effort to write a song together. Sharing memories and hanging out.
Response to the new track seems to be pretty positive and it's good to see that part of the proceeds from the sale of the single will go to support cancer research, what was the writing process like with "Kill The Lies"?
We had a song that was never finished, played it for David and he liked the lyric. We went to New York started working thru it and it completely changed into what it is now. It quickly became a totally different song with everyone contributing.
The band is heading out to do some shows for the first time in quite a while. I know you've certainly been on stage over the years with The Betty Ford Band and Dee's benefit etc but definitely there are some challenging vocal parts on those Sven Gali songs, have you had any of those "Oh Shit" moments where you feel a bit like you've painted yourself into a corner?
My range has changed a little, but I think for the better.. I promised myself if I can’t do it, I don’t wanna go fake it. Leave Sven Gali in the minds of the people the way it was 25 years ago. After some rehearsals it started feeling good, so I prepared by singing often and working out to get into game shape.
Speaking of The Betty Ford Band, I'm from Kingston, home of The Tragically Hip. I think I saw a video of you guys covering a Hip song... "Blow At High Dough" maybe?
Yes we played a few Hip songs, how can you not!!
I've long said that Sven Gali are one of many Canadian bands that are hugely underrated. Who fits that bill for you?
Great question… not so much underrated but I really like Ian Thornley, great voice. I expected him to really take off... not to discount what he has done, very talented.
Dave, I have to ask you about Sven Gali playing Muchmusic's Snow Job '93 in Whistler. I thought that was such a smokin' set and a great example of a band firing on all cylinders. Not only did you guys sound incredible but during "Under The Influence" you did so while dodging snowballs coming from every angle, mooned the crowd, threw drinks into the audience and at one point I think you got hit in the nuts with a snowball. Take me through what you remember about that gig. (Video following article)
It was funny; the Toronto Star I believe reported the fans did not like the band … far from the truth. We stirred them up and had a blast. We didn’t care if we were on TV. That was a Sven Gali show. During commercial breaks Dee was throwing snowballs into the crowd that our guitar tech was giving him. That erupted, and it was hold on to your hat from there. I could not see a thing till the last second because of the lights. We had a blast, I remember walking off stage. Looking back and seeing the Much Music VJ trying to close out the show hiding behind the gear as snowballs whistled over his head. We went to the after show party at the pub and when we walked in snowballs started again in the club. My left nut still hurts.
Speaking of "Under The Influence" and Much Music, Sven Gali won MuchMusic's Best Metal Video award in 1993 and it's rotation would have helped the record to go gold. I really miss the live performances from the Much environment and now there aren't really even videos on the channel. We have Youtube and other things these days but I really feel we took a big step back and that void hasn't been filled. What are your thoughts and if Sven Gali were trying to break now...what would you do outside of hitting the road?
I have watched things change over the years; I wonder sometimes how things would have been different if we had social media back then. Everything is instant… but for me 1 thing will never change and that is the energy of a live show. When the band is giving it and the crowd is immersed in the energy, a great feeling.
Say, in the "Under The Influence" video, any idea what the fuck that chick covered in? Is it just mud or what?
I have no idea. That’s funny, never thought of that before. I got so sick after that video in an old factory, fans blowing shit everywhere and me breathing it in for hour, I’ll never forget that.
You've been on the road with Def Leppard, Meatloaf, April Wine and a whole host of others. A lot has been made of this so of course I've heard you guys were known to get a little wild on the road every now and again. Care to share a great road story?
Uhmmm.. so many…. So we were in England... the bus driver said we will be passing Hadrian’s wall, built in 122 AD, I love history so I told him to wake me up as we would be passing the wall around 6am. So the bus pulled over and it was a beautiful morning, dew in the fields, sun coming up and the sheep were grazing in the pasture. I saw the wall and crouched down to feel the stone. I was having a moment wondering who was the guy that put this rock here and the life they had. I felt a splash on my arm. I looked to my side and Shawn was pissing on the wall right beside me, destroying my moment. As that happened the boys also got off the bus we all had a Sven Gali Jackets on and for what reason I don’t know but we all dropped our pants and ran after the heard of sheep. We thought it would be a great promo. There is a great picture of the band running thru the meadow, shot from behind with just tour jackets on with sheep running for their lives. Andy has that shot. Great T shirt! Random fun. Good way to start the day little jog.
Lastly, you've got a lot of fans out there that would like to see you perform and hear more from the band, if all goes well would you cats add more dates or record some more songs?
For sure, we are taking it day by day. We will be playing all over and hope to record another track this fall. We appreciate all the support; it’s been great to get up there again with the boys and our new band mates Dan and Sean. We look forward to the show and promise we will leave nothing in the tank when we leave.
Thanks for taking the time Dave. Kick ass and stay safe out there mate!
BELOW : Sven Gali performs "Under The Influence" live at Whistler, Much Snow Job '93
JARED : I love singing and playing drums to this song. I performed it at a solo concert once and it always gets me.
MIKE: It's about a car, classic song that's as cool to listen to today as it was when it was first played.The lyrics are masterfully crafted and allow the listener to day dream a bit into the future society Geddy sings about.
EDDIE: The slow, quiet intro always puts me in a state of quiet contemplation, which is usually the thing I love most about a long drive. It picks up and changes moods, almost like changing scenery in the countryside. It is very meditative for a Metal/Hard Rock piece.
It started with an idea...to make music that was raw and organic, filled with energy, melody and bite. Veteran rockers Michael Artale (founding member of the band Constricted) and Jared Feldman (founding drummer of the band Dead Superstar) had taken their bar-room chatter and founded a new band with just a name, "Everest" and a mantra: "The Only Way Out Is Up".
Everest was influenced by the sounds that the legends of music left behind. With groovy hooks and an undeniable heaviness it’s no wonder they sought out lead guitarist Eddie Becker to flesh out their new sound. Eddie brought the missing ingredient to the recipe that is Everest. Now with the flash of an old school lead shredder, and Eddie's larger than life stage presence Everest was ready.
Everest began to rise up, excited by the songs they were crafting in the studio. Their first single "Loaded" was born from the ashes of the emotion, surrounding the band member’s lives. The vibe was heavy, and powerful. Arresting vocals, pounding drums, and wailing guitars over grooving rhythms that catch the listener and take off into an anthemic chorus, “Everybody get Loaded, Everybody be free".
Then along comes single number two "Take A Ride", a burning rock number with a groove that cooks with dirty rhythms and lead guitars that draw you in. Everest beckons "Come Take A Ride With Me Now" Now is the time for Everest music to be shared with the world. With a team of music industry pros Engineer Dan Leo, Producer Frank “Bones” Laudicina (Down The Drain Productions), Promotional & Marketing Guru Tom 'Smitty' Smith and Video Director Kirk Farrington, Everest is ready to launch a campaign of songs and music videos.
Like and follow Everest on facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/pg/EVERESTBANDNY/
BELOW : Check out Everest's video for "Take A Ride"
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