BY: FRIDAE MATTAS
CMW has come and gone, this is how the rest of the festivities went down. Are you ready? Grab a snack; this is a novel of three days crammed into one, you’ll be reading for a while, but at least there’s pictures!
If you don’t know who Slash is, clearly you are a newbie in the world of rock n’ roll guitar greatness or just lost. Slash’s real name is Saul Hudson; he is one of the best guitar players of our time. Hudson started in the music game as lead guitarist in the immensely successful band “Guns N Roses”. Slash recently released his first self titled solo record April 6th. This year CMW landed Slash as a Celebrity Keynote speaker and his interview was on Thursday March 11th, it was madness! Comparing last year when Gene Simmons of Kiss was a keynote speaker to this year’s Slash keynote, I would say Slash’s crowd was crazier, although Gene does win for the most diehard weirdos in KISS makeup.
Slash was interviewed by CNN’s John Roberts co-anchor of “American Morning” and CNN Anchor Kyra Phillips. John Robert’s was one of the first Much Music VJ’s when the network launched in 1984 he’s the original VJ. The questions Slash was asked were derived from the writings in his published memoir “SLASH”. They asked him about Axl, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, little pieces of his childhood and what led him to this point in time. Frankly, if they had some audience questions thrown in there, it would have been a much more interesting interview. Many of the queries seemed rather redundant, below par considering they were coming from someone who hosted “The Pour Hour”.
I was able to get inside away from the clutter of people and press or so I thought! I ended up in more of a zoo at the centre of the circus, the press pit. They utilized the right side of the stage as the front end media area. They had a whole other section near the middle of the venue off to the right side that housed hundreds of videographers and photographers. Being in the front lines is ridiculous, always ducking, trying to balance and achieve feasible footage and photographs. All this focus needed while dudes are climbing on top of me just for the same shots every other photographer was getting. It reminded me so much of Fashion week but there wasn’t as many psychotic divo stalkerazzo’s causing drama. There were so many things you could have talked about and I’m glad they at least asked Slash about his love of guitar and how it still affects him the same way today, “There’s something about a guitar that is just innately sexy, and still to this day when I open a guitar case there’s still that sense of awe.” said Hudson, I agree one hundred percent!
Now to play like he does! Haha…Ya right, it’s like trying to be Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn! There’s only one, you can’t replicate the original. Slash jibbered about how cutthroat the music industry is and to be very careful who you trust as you gain success, there is that chance your best “friends” will fuck you over. It’s true though, how well do you really know these people around you, don’t be so gullible.
“It’s all about the music, about protecting and keeping that sacred, being able to function and have control over it and not letting somebody else do it.” – Slash
Slash gets my respect for more than just the obvious, the comment he made shows his genuine self. “I’m not much of a money minded person that’s always been sort of my character defect, I never did this for the money, so I never really cared much about it but at this point I’m sort of like going, we need to pay attention to what’s going on.”
He speaks with such rare honesty I completely understand why Slash and Axl don’t mesh. Hudson was talking about his solo record and he mentioned that he wasn’t sure if the artists he wanted to work with would agree to work with him. As he was explaining the story his expressions were so animated like a little boy at show and tell. He was so amazed at the fact he had no problem working with those he chose. I like his perspective on some things, he seems like a chill Larry keepin’ it real. Watch the video clip of him talking about Michael Jackson and Ray Charles
The funniest thing I remember from that particular event was at the end. The whole room launched at the stage, I had to go on the stage to escape getting crushed from the rush. Everyone wanted to touch, talk and get a picture with Slash; it was far more insane than Gene’s Q&A. I’ve seen it hundreds of times before with other artists but it still amazes me how uncivilized and wild people really are. It’s all about the balancing of Mind, Body and Soul, not one over the other. Back to the funnier stuff, there was this extra trashy woman in her mid forties, possibly older with super fried bleach blonde hair and feathered 80’s bangs. Basically her tragic garb and facepaint made her look like she just rolled off the set of Trailer Park Boys! This woman was pushing people hard-core trying to get to Slash, as was everyone else. Tried to film the madness but it was too crazy to get any viable footage, two seconds after I put my camera away I look up and I see trailer geez staring at me like I was wearing her clothes. That wasn’t the last I saw of her, later I went out for a smoke and voila…She was staring at me like I stole her money, only this time she had her daughter with her, who joined in on the staring session. The feeling I got was that the daughter is an “aspiring artist”, I feel sorry for her, the spitting image of her trailer trash stage mom 20 years younger. Picture “Kelly Bundy” uglier, cracked out with super ghetto “Shoppers Drugmart” extensions. The “Trailer Twins” weren’t the only ghetto weaved Shoppers blondes I ran into that day who were acting like they wanted to start something! I swear! There are way too many insecure Britney-abee’s trying to initiate drama with me just for existing. I don’t know what their damage was or is but the whole thing seemed very bizarre, however they did make me laugh adding to the many moments of amusement. Countless laughs during CMW, fun times with amazing people as always!
Next up at CMW headquarters I was to check extremely talented platinum selling British Jazz-Pop musician Jamie Cullum. I first found out about Jamie a few years back, I had to see him live. Thought I was going to miss this interview and performance but reached just in time to get some great coverage. The Concert Hall was nicely decorated, so pretty with all the deep bright colours, the floor however was so weird to walk on, very uneven. I’m surprised I didn’t nose dive at least once because I am a natural klutz and the way the carpet was covering these boards the floor was calling my name. Cullum was interviewed by Music industry legend Ralph Simon, currently CEO of Mobilium and he was Co-founder of Zomba Music Group, now part of Sony Music Entertainment. This discussion was a more vibrant talk than the earlier nooner with Slash. Both parties were comfortable and had more personality, it wasn’t just the interviewee or vice versa. One of the questions Ralph asked Cullum was how he came to be on Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino”, in short Cullum stated they met through Eastwood’s son Kyle. Watch Jamie talk about the song and perform it. He delivered exactly as I expected, a remarkable talent is Jamie Cullum check him out if you can.
The first stop of the evening was to be Domenica at the Tattoo Rock Parlour. I hit the venue a little too late missed the whole set, only caught the last song. I filmed the track but the audio did not turn out. I tried to fix it but she was drowned out by the band, it doesn’t matter if I stood at the back or next to her mic’s speaker, levels were way too low. I will have to see them again, that’s the second set I missed but I’m getting closer. I may have missed Domenica but I did catch Dean Lickyer finally! I kept missing their shows for about three years now; everyone has been ranting and raving about them, hello! I’m naturally curious so of course I really wanted to know why! Dean Lickyer is from Stoney Creek, Ontario; comprised of Joshua Alvernia – Vocals, Sean Royle – Guitar/Backup Vox, Justin Bosso – Bass/Back up Vox and Zander Lamothe – Drums. At the end of CMW 2009 Dean Lickyer won best band, awarded $10,000 by Gene Simmons and now are signed to Underground Operations.
They were first discovered on Much Music’s “Disband” I don’t watch that show, I’ve only seen a few episodes. I still have yet to see Dean Lickyer’s episode of Disband but that is fine by me I would rather see them live. Once they hit that stage and the singer Joshua Alvernia started to sing I understood what the hype was all about. This band is what every new band even some signed artists need to pay attention to, showmanship! You can’t be scared of the audience even if there’s only five people, you gotta make it seem like there’s thousands! Get interactive with them, show some genuine personality The larries in Dean Lickyer all have charismatic stage personalities which are expressed as they play. Alvernia has a charm about him, he works the stage to his advantage. He is everything a front man should be when performing without an instrument. Magnetism and devotion emanate from each member as they execute their blend of old school rock and roll with a fresh touch. They are so young and have a long bright successful future ahead of them! You have to go see Dean Lickyer if you haven’t, you need to! Watch “Witchin Hour Moon” from the set.
After DL’s set I migrated to a few other venues then back to the Tattoo for My Darkest Days set. The First time I saw My Darkest Days was at the Rivoli for North By Northeast 2009, they were one of the bands I kept missing but I think I have more than made up for lost shows. Since then there have been many changes with the band even from the CMW set at the Tattoo. The original My Darkest Days band is Matt Walst – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Brenden McMillan on Bass and Doug Oliver on Drums. They added new member Sal “Coz” Costa on Lead Axe who joined the band in 2009 and new live member (He did not play this set) Reid Henry on Keys/Guitar. Oh yeah and if you don’t know, they are now signed to Island Def Jam/Mercury U.S.A. & 604/Universal Canada. I’m not going to go into detail about the set, I will cover another show one last time with the updated band.
There is no right or wrong in music, you can’t deny someone their art. If it’s causing ears to bleed, by all means that’s when someone has to say something but don’t you worry, I will always state my opinion! My Darkest Days did put on a fantastic set, everyone I talked to was more than pleased with the Tattoo performance if not impressed. Love them or hate them, the band of larries that is My Darkest Days are going to reach colossal heights. They have mass appeal and can be marketed to many; I would say they are Canada’s new school “Bon Jovi” in development. My Darkest Days will surpass their “Guru’s” band, if they can keep their shit together; continue practicing hard, keep their Yoko’s at bay and stay grounded, otherwise it will hurt badly when you fall, it will leave a scar not just a mark. Check the interview I did with MDD last summer prior to the member changes. You can also watch newbie tunes like “PornStar Dancin” from various sets on both FTV Facebook and YouTube.
It was now Friday Yeahyah! The next evening of musical adventures! Friday’s are always fantabular days for me. Kicking off the night was “The Set”. The band recently signed with Wax Records and originally is from Vancouver, BC only just migrating to Toronto to finish recording their debut record scheduled to drop in June. The single “Already Know” is available on iTunes and for request on radio. I was hoping it was going to start off on a good note and it did! This band is like a collection of energy bubbles! They were so into their music, feeding off of the massive crowd of people. I was surprised to see so many people show up for an opener. Martin Macphail, Dean Rode, Tristan Tarr, Harrison Bourdon and Chad, they are “The Set”. The vocals were a little pitchy during some tracks; I liked the tone of his voice. They were having technical difficulties as have many bands before them; it was after all the Tattoo! I think the venues sound system has mood swings from band to band, day to day, year to year. Next it was off to float around and see if there was anything captivating enough to keep me entertained.
Nothing spectacular to keep me in one venue. The next band I hit up was “Hail The Villain” There was a crazy line up, I knew I should have reached earlier because it was a free show at “The Hideout” not very big and “HTV” is fucken fantastic, definitely the best band out of Oshawa. The band is Bryan Crouch – Vocals, Joseph Stamp – Guitar, Chad Taylor – Bass and Drew Dockrill – Drums.
She tried to get the crowd hype but they were so boring, as if they were too cool for the tunes.
At Showcases artists don’t put on a full show but Nikki’s doll’s were wicked, it would have worked better if they were in different spots on the stage. The stage looked a little empty with them all the way at the back not moving, I did like the idea and where she was going with it. Other than the sound issues, she needed more variety with her dancing the choreography was getting a tad cyclical. Some white girls have a problem with not being able to naturally move their hips to the rhythm, it’s not their fault they have no flavour, they were born that way. Miss Awesome has her own unique flavour but please darling wear boots that are made for dancing, if you cannot dance in your boots, no matter how cute and how much they go with your outfit! Stay aware, here’s the link to Nikki’s smash hit song “All The Little Things“
The last band of the night that I really wanted to see was Minority, after a brief moment of chillage at The Bovine where I saw a wicked metal core band “Titan” from Toronto who I need to see again! It was so hard to film one tune while the Bovine was a rammed sardine can. I had to get out of the Bovine it was too small, too many people so I migrated over to The Hideout. Minority was on at three am and The Hideout was one of the few bars with a patio open until 4am. This time it was breezy to bypass the line, inside it wasn’t as crowded but there were more people moshing because there was more space near the stage. This was my first Minority show, I missed half of it and couldn’t take any photographs because my memory cards were full, what else is new! The singer, he brought it, such a powerful voice and he delivers with clear conviction. Minority is a Hardcore Progressive Metal band they are: Dan McCann – Vox, Scott Degroot – Axe, Eric Lightfoot – Drums and Stefan Horning on the Bass. I thoroughly enjoyed their performance; Minority’s set was probably one of the best of the festival. Check a video
The Indies – Where do I begin this brief little jibber? The band that peaked my interest was The Constantines who were not to perform until the end of the night wrapping up the awards. I arrived late and the media room was not all that interesting this year. Granted, they gave us access to the actual venue room through the media room which was a miracle because last year they made us walk around. The usual Canadian bands were present like The Arkells, USS, October Sky and new to my eyes is Mariana’s Trench who won several awards! Who knows they could have been at The Indies last year but I don’t remember them all, most band larries look the same to me. Pictures speak a thousand words and that is what I am leaving you with, some Indie shots! I must give a huge thank you to the Planet3 Team and everyone who helped me out! See YA’LL next year!