Wax Mannequin’s No Safe Home
With Saxon, the artist also known as Christopher Adeney celebrated fatherhood with a young boy of the same name. This time out, the always-offbeat Wax Mannequin might spotlight the strangeness on his sixth release, No Safe Home, with more subdued and sombre tones but that doesn’t mean the intensity of the tunes has lessened.
Recently releasing a series of Wax Mannecandles, the busts of his own head now contain Wax Mannequin’s entire back catalogue on a USB drive embedded safely within the prized art. More than novel, for Wax Mannequin, given his moniker, it’s surprising it took this long to figure this out – but with the epiphany, the candle has become a big focus for Mannequin’s latest performances when he wears one on his head and lets the burning candle wax drip across his face.
“They’re musical candles,” smiles Adeney. “I didn’t want to reprint all of the old CDs and then just drag them around. Everyone knows they’re not the keepsakes they once were, you just get them and stick them in your computer and throw them out. So I wanted to come up with a more novel or authentic way of presenting the music. So I put them in the candles and it’s working. It’s a little bit more labour intensive for me but the fans seem to enjoy it and it adds another element of artsy craftiness to it.
“It’s fun for me and I don’t think it’s too upsetting for the audience,” adds Adeney. “I get hooked on to something and stick with it for a while. It suited the direction of the music I’m making right now. I’m pretty proud of the music I write but I don’t know if it’s self-destructive or not but I always want to up the ante with the live show – give more than just a simple singer/songwriter performance. Some people appreciate that while others stay far, far away. That’s the way I like it.”
You have to get Wax Mannequin or be totally aghast or befuddled by his stage show – but that has always been this performer’s intent. Confident and charismatic, at times
“I find a lot of pop repulsive and the more I do this the more people I find I can communicate with,” reasons Adeney. “My number one job is communicating and making a connection with people. There’s a certain self-sabotaging that I do that I’m a bit more aware of than when I first started. And so I think I’ve kind of embraced it more. The wax and the candle thing is part and parcel to that. I think my songs are the best they’ve ever been and so I have to make them inaccessible in some way, so I put them in candles.
“You might look back at Sinead O’Connor tearing up the picture of the pope on Saturday Night Live years ago and think maybe that was the right thing to do,” adds Adeney. “Maybe a lot of people would disagree with me, but it was a bold thing that she did that destroyed her mainstream career but made her a bit of a legend. No one remembers Joe Pesci taping up the photo the following week on the show. Sinead still makes wonderful music but where is Joe Pesci? You’ve always got to fight against yourself a little bit. I’ve always liked artists that have done that.”
The authenticity of Wax Mannequin’s art is undeniable and his commitment to challenging himself as much as he challenges his audience has endeared him to a diehard cult following. His fans understand that they might not always understand what Wax Mannequin does on stage, but they revel in the brilliance of the man and the music behind it.
“Performance is a lot of fun for me and important for me but so often an extravagant show in some form or another can be seen as pandering but all along one of the more silent points I’ve been trying to make is that it is not,” explains Adeney. “The performing ties in with the music and your artistic voice. The spectacle is something I always have a fun time with but I don’t want to get carried away and be only about the spectacle. I’m a songwriter first and foremost.
“I try to represent the music in a different light live,” adds Adeney. “There’s all of this darkness in the lyrics of the songs so I love putting on a show where people get up and dance. There’s all of these astounding things happening while we all await the glorious collapse of everything around us. It’s our way to dance our way through the end times. It’s a loving debaucherous way to think about the world and for me to think about my music.”
Wax Mannequin plays this Saturday October 27 at Homegrown Hamilton with the Human Race and Richard Laviolette. $12 gets you in or $15 gets you in with a CD. Click on waxmannequin.com
While Mystics have only been together a little over a year and a half, they’ve collectively cut through the din and become one of the bands people are talking about in Hamilton. With a handmade cassette that only captures part of their exciting stage show selling out, Mystics offer up their debut 45 this week and hope to spread the word to more people.
“My previous band wrapped things up nicely, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep playing music but I figured I had some things to say,” notes lead singer and guitarist Matt Ellis on leaving his previous act, Rocket Reducers. “I started writing some songs and Kate had known Matt Winters (drums) forever and Kevyn Wright (bass) I’ve known from Sailboats Are White for a couple of years. I was having a hard time thinking of musicians that could gel well with the group – who want to play what we want to play and would be good to hang out and enjoy their company. For this group, a lot of the songs are mine but everyone puts in their own personal flair.
“I always played in more punk based bands but while this band has a punk influence, as you get older your tastes change a lot and you start to pick up on other things,” adds Ellis on the sound of Mystics. “You can pull from a wider pool of influence. I wanted to do more on the rock and roll side of things with this band borrowing from ‘60s garage rock but also taking from punk. It’s a slightly different twist on what I was already doing.”
Cassettes were hand dubbed and decorated by Ellis and the band personally to offer a more substantial memento of the band’s music to fans. One particular fan decided that he might want to help spread the word on the band and this week Mystics release their first 45 on Boppa Do Down records (the Blue Demons, the Von Drats).
“Anybody that plays music, whether it’s in their bedroom or they’re putting songs out themselves or putting them on a record label, I think the number one reason why you do something like that, why you should do something like that is because you find satisfaction from that and if other people do as well that’s cool,” notes Ellis. “Realistically it’s about what you want to do and what you want to get out. I enjoy cassettes and I know other people do. CDRs are such a cheap, throwaway thing and cassettes make you really sit there and listen to it.
“We started playing some shows in Toronto and we met Tim Hanna and he really liked our sound and demo tape,” adds Ellis. I’m avid record collector and I thought this was the next logical step. As much as you want to do things for yourself, you also want to put things out and make sure as many people as possible get to hear it. The label’s distributed by Get Hip in the US so hopefully we’ll be able to make some American friends and play for all the Yankee doodles.”
Fans from fifty to fifteen can find something to love with these Mystics and it’s that raw appeal that shines through on the two Jimmy Vapid produced songs on their new 7-inch release.
“The paisley shirts come out and they seem to dig it but a lot of the young people into punk come out and they seem to be really into us,” says Ellis. “We’re lucky to attract an audience like that.”
Mystics play this Thursday October 25 at the Casbah Lounge with Shitty Neighbors and Valley Boys. Doors are at 8pm and $7 gets you in. mystics333.bandcamp.com/
The Poisoned Aeros Return
Turbulence, the sole CD document of the Poisoned Aeros aptly summed up the band’s existence. When Lynn ‘Buckshot’ Bebee began the band a decade ago, musicians seemingly would come and go with almost every different performance, each time coming closer to what Bebee had imagined for her personal glam/punk rock and roll extravaganza.
The Poisoned Aeros probably hit their zenith with incarnation of the band featuring Johnny ‘Bud’ Timmons on guitar, Ludger ‘Beef’Bourassa on bass, Rosemary The Knife Stehlik on vocals and Dan Casale on drums but by the time that version of the band took the show on the road, the Poisoned Aeros seemingly hit a personal nadir. Business and creative differences came to a head and that line up couldn’t last but the members remember their time together fondly.
“Everything organically started to happen when this version of the band came together,” recalls Bebee. “There are so many musicians in Hamilton but the spirit of the musicians have to come through. And that version really gelled; we were in it for all and all in it for one. That’s when I dropped the Buckshot Bebee and the Poisoned Aeros and it just became the Poisoned Aeros because now we were a band. That was the original line up of the Poisoned Aeros because that’s when the name officially changed.”
The Poisoned Aeros became renown for a lively and colourful stage show, again bringing Bebee’s flair for the dramatic to the fore, creating sold out shows, talent contest wins and even a particularly buoyant showcase in New York City with spiritual influence and New York Doll, Sylvain Sylvain. But the good times didn’t last.
“We accomplished a lot but things changed and when it changed it wasn’t the same band, and that was that,” offers Bebee succinctly. “We did one last Halloween show and it was a really involved show with girls swinging on trapeze from the ceiling and models on stage. We went all out for that show but it was really like the last hurrah. For me, I knew the band was done.”
All of the members have explored other creative avenues, notably Bebee and the Secret Boyfriends planning to release their debut full length next year. But just ask Bebee about the fond memories of the Poisoned Aeros and that important music they made together when all cylinders were firing and her eyes light up. It only made sense to reunite for Halloween if all the members were into it.
“I laugh when someone tells me they’re retiring from music,” smiles Bebee. “It’s impossible to take the musician out of you. I thought, ‘reunite the Poisoned Aeros - why not?’ I loved these songs and when I brought it up to the boys, everyone was into it. Rosemary called me on my birthday to let me know that she wanted to join in as well and that was her gift to me. We reunited a couple of years ago and it just ended because we all had a lot of other things to do musically and otherwise. When we play together, there is just something very special and I think we all feel that. Even today, we fantasize and we talk about all the things we should do but it’s just great that we’re doing this one show and if something comes organically out of it, that’s going to be great but I don’t think we’re setting ourselves up for that kind of disappointment again.
“I am so excited,” adds Bebee with a laugh. “We’re all coming together this Halloween one more time and we definitely are going to make this a party, Poisoned Aeros style. We’re working on all of the theatrics but it’ll all be unveiled for the show. What else can you expect from the Aeros? This is just going to be fun.”
The Poisoned Aeros play this Saturday October 27 at This Ain’t Hollywood with Jumple and Kryptcreeper. Doors are at 9pm and this is destined to sell out. www.myspace.com/poisonedaeros V