Vol. 21 No. 8 • February 26 - March 4, 2015 In Our 20th Year Serving Greater Hamilton

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by Ric Taylor
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 —whether because of his commitment to a musical vision or just a driven, positive outlook. “If memory serves, we came in from the 403, so it really seemed like this lovely tree–filled city full of possibilities,” recalls Frederick about the trip five Sudbury boys made to Hamilton. “Eric 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 shortly thereafter.” It was the early ’90s when The Walk — Frederick, bassist Forget, drummer James Prudhomme, guitarist Jim Cahill and singer Dave Allen — decided to make Hamilton their base of operations. They’d been playing since 1987 as high school students making noise in Frederick’s father’s warehouse. “I still can’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 five–nighter in Temiskaming. Everyone else was in school Thursday morning and we were a bunch of 16–year–olds drinking Southern Comfort at 11 o’clock in the morning. Things definitely could have gone downhill from there.” 1989 saw the band relocate to London in attempt to pursue their post–secondary educations and collective musical endeavours, but the plan was flawed. “When that didn’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 ‘Toronto assholes.’ In retrospect, it’s good that we did, because we never would have met all the amazingly talented people that we have. I do miss Hamilton, but it’s already not the city that I left.” 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. “If I could do it all again,” laughs Frederick, “I 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.” 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 band’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. “Obviously there would be a completely opposite version of the events as we saw them,” muses Frederick. “But just after we signed with MCA, I was talking to the wise and experienced Jason Avery at [the late] Bauhaus Café, 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. “I 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 weren’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 naïve, and I guess that’s why we were in a band and not ambassadors or something.” With his long–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, Frederick’s taken his talents to projects that encompass film, television and anywhere else that could use an instrumental flair developed at an early age. “ABC Friday Night At The Movies was broadcasting the James Bond movies in order every week back in the late 1970s, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve always liked cool instrumental music, so I think I’ve always been interested in anything that can use that. I’ll do just about anything to work with an orchestra of any size, as well. “One of the coolest things was working on Big Momma’s House, because the end of the film had this gospel–y funky thing going on, and just for fun, someone asked the contractor if Billy Preston was available — 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. There’s this one little piece that I wrote that we’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.” 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. “Not 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.” While Rave’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. “It’s a half–instrumental, half–song record called It Was The Greatest of Love Affairs that’s kind of groovy, kind of mellow. We went back to London at the beginning of this year to record vocals with Lisa O’Neill of the band Sing Sing, and Angela Tillett of Death by Chocolate.” Flux AD’s Julie MacDonald is also featured on the album. Burlington’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 they’re already a part of music history for another reason. Jersey’s latest single (“Generation Genocide”) was delivered to stations around the country but not via the stereotypical music industry weasel but rather through a new technology called Musicrypt’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 “Shed 8” near Hamilton Harbour for the video shoot for the single, which reportedly lasted for 10 hours. Jersey’smajor label–debut (on Virgin/EMI) is set for release August 5.
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