HAMILTON MUSIC NOTES
June 19-25, 2003
From an inauspicious genesis in a Wellington Street
shanty to the grandiose soundstages of Hollywood, it was
evident Jason Frederick was destined to make his dreams
come true â€”whether because of his commitment to a
musical vision or just a driven, positive outlook.
â€œIf memory serves, we came in from the 403, so it really
seemed like this lovely treeâ€“filled city full of
possibilities,â€ recalls Frederick about the trip five
Sudbury boys made to Hamilton. â€œEric Forget had been
diligent enough to show up to Hamilton early and find us
a suitable house to wreck, and I came the day after so I
claimed the attic. And the best years of the band followed
It was the early â€™90s when The Walk â€” Frederick, bassist
Forget, drummer James Prudhomme, guitarist Jim
Cahill and singer Dave Allen â€” decided to make Hamilton
their base of operations. Theyâ€™d been playing since 1987
as high school students making noise in Frederickâ€™s
â€œI still canâ€™t believe that we all convinced our parents to
give us their minivans so we could leave town on a
Wednesday or something to play a fiveâ€“nighter in
Temiskaming. Everyone else was in school Thursday
morning and we were a bunch of 16â€“yearâ€“olds drinking
Southern Comfort at 11 oâ€™clock in the morning. Things
definitely could have gone downhill from there.â€
1989 saw the band relocate to London in attempt to
pursue their postâ€“secondary educations and collective
musical endeavours, but the plan was flawed.
â€œWhen that didnâ€™t work, we quit the scholastic pursuits
and moved to Hamilton, because we thought it was close
to Toronto but far enough away for us not to turn into
â€˜Toronto assholes.â€™ In retrospect, itâ€™s good that we did,
because we never would have met all the amazingly
talented people that we have. I do miss Hamilton, but itâ€™s
already not the city that I left.â€
Once in Hamilton, The Walk House, as the home just
around the corner from The Corktown was dubbed,
became the center of a small universe of friends and
musicians and a stronghold where people always seemed
to gravitate to party.
â€œIf I could do it all again,â€ laughs Frederick, â€œI would
have bought a camera the day we moved in, and by now
have compiled a touring photographic essay called The
People Who Have Urinated Off Our Front Porch.â€
Trafficking in rock n roll cut with an artistic bent and a
keen sense of melody, The Walk easily moved to the next
level, opening for anyone and everyone, with highlights
including the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Tony
Bennett. The bandâ€™s communal approach and diligent
road work garnered them praise, American management
and the elusive major label deal but the big time debut of
Turbine was also the headstone for the band.
â€œObviously there would be a completely opposite version
of the events as we saw them,â€ muses Frederick. â€œBut
just after we signed with MCA, I was talking to the wise
and experienced Jason Avery at [the late] Bauhaus CafÃ©,
and he said that, in his opinion, all the bands that he
knew were done as soon as they signed with a major...
and I guess he was correct.
â€œI think we had gotten to the point where, being an
independent group for so many years, we had kind of
learned how to be a micro version of the record industry,
which most groups learn to do. When we were ready to
record the follow up to Turbine, we clashed with the
company people because we already knew how to make
records and videos and book tours and sell merchandise,
etc, and ultimately we felt that they werenâ€™t willing to
provide us with the support that we needed to create a
grander version of what we were doing already up to that
point. A little more diplomacy probably could have
benefited us greatly, but we were still naÃ¯ve, and I guess
thatâ€™s why we were in a band and not ambassadors or
With his longâ€“time band in shambles, Frederick finished
his music degree at McMaster University and then drove
off to grad school at USC in the rebuilt 1985 Chevy Impala
his dad gave him for a going away present. Almost
instantaneously, the reports were coming back that
Frederick was studying the most recent Star Wars movie
during the actual sessions.
Since then, Frederickâ€™s taken his talents to projects that
encompass film, television and anywhere else that could
use an instrumental flair developed at an early age.
â€œABC Friday Night At The Movies was broadcasting the
James Bond movies in order every week back in the late
1970s, and Iâ€™ve been hooked ever since. Iâ€™ve always liked
cool instrumental music, so I think Iâ€™ve always been
interested in anything that can use that. Iâ€™ll do just about
anything to work with an orchestra of any size, as well.
â€œOne of the coolest things was working on Big Mommaâ€™s
House, because the end of the film had this gospelâ€“y
funky thing going on, and just for fun, someone asked the
contractor if Billy Preston was available â€” and he was, so
he just showed up the next day, with big gold sunglasses
on. I told him how cool he was, and he was very nice about
it, because you could tell he knew. Thereâ€™s this one little
piece that I wrote that weâ€™re both playing on that still
pops up on my demos and I always put Featuring Billy
Preston on it because how many times in your life can you
do that? It was around then that I realized that you can do
almost anything here.â€
Last year, Frederick trekked to Air Lyndhurst in London to
record the score for 101 Dalmatians 2 and realized a
dream when they used the same orchestra that plays on
the James Bond scores. Still, he keeps his feet on the
ground and remains in contact with his old friends.
â€œNot too long ago, Dave Rave and Glen Marshall and a
whole traveling show of musicians came down and we
recorded a bunch of tracks that form the basis for his
latest musical offering.â€
While Raveâ€™s release is set for the end of the month,
Frederick admits he has been working on his own album
with a little help from some friends.
â€œItâ€™s a halfâ€“instrumental, halfâ€“song record called It Was
The Greatest of Love Affairs thatâ€™s kind of groovy, kind of
mellow. We went back to London at the beginning of this
year to record vocals with Lisa Oâ€™Neill of the band Sing
Sing, and Angela Tillett of Death by Chocolate.â€ Flux ADâ€™s
Julie MacDonald is also featured on the album.
Burlingtonâ€™s Jersey have been mucking up the punk
scene for almost a decade and look to leap to the next
level with their recent signing to EMI Music Canada. But
theyâ€™re already a part of music history for another reason.
Jerseyâ€™s latest single (â€œGeneration Genocideâ€) was
delivered to stations around the country but not via the
stereotypical music industry weasel but rather through a
new technology called Musicryptâ€™s Digital Media
Distribution System (DMDS). As a first, the song went
from recording studio to the label offices and finally to
radio stations across the country via the internet and
completely protected from piracy and illegal use by one
million bit encryption and biometric authentication.
This past Saturday, Greg, Johnny, Jordan and McNab
gathered a throng of friends and fans at a warehouse
called â€œShed 8â€ near Hamilton Harbour for the video shoot
for the single, which reportedly lasted for 10 hours.
Jerseyâ€™smajor labelâ€“debut (on Virgin/EMI) is set for
release August 5.
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