Simply Saucer’s Baby Nova
While Edgar Breau had chosen to focus on the future and a solo career for decades, the fans demanded a revisitation of his work with Simply Saucer. When international magazines and rock stars like Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore won’t stop talking about how important and influential Simply Saucer is, Breau felt compelled to explore that side of his musical talents once more. Since Breau resuscitated the band that originally lived somewhere between ’73 and ’79, Breau has flourished within both solo and band worlds and the demand for Saucer material has only increased as of late.
The third incarnation and deluxe edition of Cyborg’s Revisted is being, er, revisited by California label, In The Red, in the next year or so. Chicago label Logan’s Hardware recently released the Reckless Agitation 5 song EP vinyl release in a Frisbee with live recordings from between 1975 and 1977 and that label is also tapped to offer a double vinyl release of Saucerland with live recordings that span from 1974 to 1978. Breau now leading a new incarnation of Saucer is poised to give the fans what they want and offer a collection of all new studio recordings, Baby Nova.
“I like that the idea that there are some collectible releases with different formats,” muses Breau on the last Frisbee vinyl release. “It goes into the novelty category for me at least but it certainly was a fun thing to do.”
Focusing on keeping that fun spirit of the original band alive, Simply Saucer went to Detroit in 2011 and ended up doing a special recording session at Jim Diamond’s Ghetto Recorder Studios.
“The band had obvious Detroit influences in the Stooges and MC5 and even going back further to Alice Cooper, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels and all the Motown music I had around the house growing up – but we were on a bill with four Detroit bands and we’d found that these bands – like Jeff Meier’s Rocket 455 and Danny and the Demolition Doll Rods – had been in turn influenced by Simply Saucer,” recalls Breau. “We had a following in Detroit and a lot of them came out to the show. That’s where we met McKinley Jackson who played on two of the songs on the record. He’s a composer, arranger, songwriter that had worked with Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and John Lee Hooker. He’s a real monster musician and the Invictus Label, his band was the studio band for that label and he’d written songs with Holland Dozier Holland and the guy had major credentials and that just added to the project – the whole Simply Saucer going to Detroit, soaking up the influences and making a record.
“Jim Diamond had worked with Jack White and the White Stripes,” adds Breau. “It’s an analogue studio with vintage gear so we recorded to tape. Jeff Meier organized it. We chose to record Simply Saucer songs written in the ‘70s. The song “Baby Nova” was one of the songs we wanted to record with the Lanois Brothers [Daniel and Bob Lanois] back in 1974 but we ran out of money and it ended up only a six–song session. When we went into the studio now, I had to re–write the lyrics – I’d forgotten some of them – so I did a lot of that right there in the studio.”
The Simply Saucer incarnation featuring Joe Csontos, Daniel Wintermans, Steve Foster, Kevin Christoff and Breau took five nuggets to properly record in this influential and inspirational backdrop and came up with some stellar performances. It’s taken some three years to assemble the recordings and choose the right label, but this weekend, Baby Nova is officially offered to the world.
“I recorded my own solo record before we started Baby Nova,” notes Breau. “I had been working on that for five years. I’ve been in touch with various labels and trying to get the right fit for the record. In the meantime, that version of the band broke up in early summer 2013. I started talking to Craig [Caron] and Leah [Visser] at Schizophrenic Records and they had various ideas on ideas they wanted to release with the band. We did some vocal overdubs at Steve Foster’s Napier Park Studios. There was a lot of work put into this record. That’s why it’s taken three years.
“I wasn’t that familiar with the label but I really liked Craig and Leah,” adds Breau. “I heard the Gord Lewis/ Cyril Jordan (of the Flaming Groovies) release they did and the Chris Houston release, Einstein’s Brain. They seemed to take a lot of care into the releases. Anything they said they would do they’ve done and it’s been a fantastic relationship with them. I think we did some great work with the recordings and the record looks great.”
With a now more fluid membership, the latest incarnation of Simply Saucer features Breau with Kevin Christoff (bass), Mike Trebilcock (guitar, vocals, skull Theremin), Paul Panchezak (drums), and Colina Phillips (analogue synthesizer, vocals,) and Breau is excited to perform this music live for the fans that have demanded it – but keeping in mind just how fun this whole second life for Saucer is.
“We had a synth back in ‘74 and ‘75 so it really was an integral part of the sound of the band that has finally been restored,” smiles Breau. “It’s exciting to have that back into the mix. Plus Colina has worked with Bruce Cockburn, Bryan Adams and Alice Cooper so she brings some prestigious abilities to the band. Mike Trebilcock just may be my favourite songwriter in the city. I’ve always been a huge fan of Mike’s. We’ve talked about recording another record with Mike sharing some of the songwriting with me. Paul I’ve known since the ‘70s. Paul has played on my solo albums so it was easy to bring him in. And of course, Kevin is the other original member of Saucer and probably my best friend.
“I felt very liberated in the studio and just wanted to let it go when we started recording the songs for Baby Nova, “adds Breau. “I give my hats off to the band because they gave their all on these recordings. It was a very live in the moment type of recording and I’m proud of what we have here. For me, this recording was a return to the very kind of raw proto punk sound of the earlier inception of the band. That’s where Simply Saucer is at now. When we play live, I would say it’s going to be retro–future–proto–punk – high energy with a professional presentation but this is about having fun and we always have a good time.”
Simply Saucer plays this Saturday July 5 at the Casbah featuring a Light Show Extravaganza courtesy of Dan Zen and DJ set from This.Is.Underground.Radio. Doors open at 8pm. Click on schizophrenicrex.com or simplysaucer.com
Exile On King Street
What was originally meant to help Brodie Schwendiman celebrate fifteen years of music promoting, snowballed into a larger production that slightly misses the month long celebration in June but remains a unique celebration of Hamilton musicians. Kevin Barber has been a local musician for some two decades but has recently become more involved in producing and promoting local talent in the clubs and via his video podcast, the Barbershop Podcast. This week, Barber wrangles a couple dozen locals to offer a special tribute to an important inspirational album of lore.
“Years ago my band, Captain Easy, we played the first two songs off of the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street album as the first two songs of our set,” recalls Barber. “We thought that was the greatest one – two punch. We were doing that when Hess Street was rocking with ten bars of live music and the idea of doing a tribute with a bunch of musicians called Exile on Hess Street began. It’s an idea that has always been floating around in the back of my head. A few months ago, I started doing a monthly local showcase with Brodie and the old idea of Exile came up. Doing it at the Casbah, it became Exile on King Street.
“The Exile album is kind of like that dark pearl in music,” adds Barber. “You start researching this album and you learn about this drug soaked, dark, mysterious album recorded in the south of France with an incredible list of people visiting during the sessions. As a musician and music fan, I loved that era of the Rolling Stones. The album itself is really raw, and you can hear the mistakes but that’s what Keith Richards was going for and somehow still has a magical quality to it. Reproducing it is an incredibly ballsy thing to – it’s a classic piece of rock and roll history – but that’s what we’re doing. We wanted to bring some of the people that have played with Brodie over the last fifteen years and do something special for an event and so you get Exile on King Street.”
With a live band including guitarists Frank Koren and Terry Edmunds, drummer Nick Burson, bassist Link Andrews, keyboardist Lily Sazz, saxophonist Sonny Del Rio and backing vocalists Maggie Ciere and Grace Darling –a host of vocalists take their stab at having moves and more importantly melodies like Jagger. Singers including Luke Bentham (The Dirty Nil), JB Reed (The Human Orchestra), Ginger St. James, Snow Heel Slim, Sonny Del Rio, Marra and Frank Koren, Christa Bradbury, Trevor Rogers, Iggy Pasalic, Duane Rutter, Tim Gibbons, Tom Wilson and more will contribute to helping Barber bring Hamilton’s version of this seminal rock and roll album to life.
“It sounds like the fricken record,’ beams Barber on rehearsals. “I wasn’t looking to mimic the album but showcase Hamilton talent and the vibe is there. These singers, male or female, younger or older, they’re all just killing it. Doing my podcast, I ran out of my rolodex of guys my age after about a year and I started getting introduced to a lot more younger talent in Hamilton and realizing just how good they are. I thought this music could resonate with a whole new generation of musicians. So it’s not going to be a bunch of geezers playing to a bunch of geezers. It’s going to be something for live music in Hamilton. You see the same group of people at the same shows. This record will be a real showcase for both age brackets – young and old. Even though the record is from 1972 it transcends the genre and it’s an awesome vehicle to put these musicians in so that they get a chance to shine.”
Exile on King Street happens this Thursday July 3 at the Casbah. Doors open at 9pm with the Monarch Project opening the festivities and tickets are $15 at the door. Click on barbershoppodcast.com
Julliana LaChance’s Get High
One of the most unique additions to the local scene is an artist and musician with a slightly different perspective and a novel instrument to present. Julliana LaChance is a long time artist and musician even though she’s just in her mid–twenties – trained on the Bandura (a Ukrainian plucked string folk instrument that combines elements from the zither and lute) since the age of nine; she’s releasing her third collection of songs this weekend called Get High, showcasing a variety of her artistic talents.
“I have always been surrounded by musicians and people extremely passionate about music,” says LaChance. “I have always been a visual artist that made music, and now I am more focused on music because it’s an extremely powerful way to reach and connect with people. In many ways, it’s easier than visual arts because you can break through to another level and it’s easier to transport. I’m always painting new bodies of work, I have over 300 paintings in my collection and the music supplements it and brings them to life. I get so excited for all the art and music I’m going to create during the rest of my life.
“I’ve been playing bandura for over 19 years,” adds LaChance. “My real experience came from busking in British Columbia and where I really put the hours getting to know this instrument intimately. That’s also where I got a lot of material for my early EPs Starflower Moonchild and Queens of the Universe from the six summers I spent living outdoors, travelling and playing bandura. Originally, the bandura players were the kozac warriors, the travelling bards, and freedom lovers. I really feel that spirit fully when I am writing, playing and performing. I had been predominantly a visual artist in pretty much every medium, and then had this strong desire to record my original songs accompanied by the bandura. It was like this feeling that if I didn’t, I would die unfulfilled and life would have had no purpose. I am really devoted to being of service to the world; I really want to make the world even more beautiful.
With her goals set, LaChance brings an unusual instrument into the pop rock world with her new recordings and if you think the title, “Get High” is incendiary or provocative then you’re not far off the mark.
“I grew up on punk rock, grunge and Zeppelin,” admits LaChance. “When I play I feel like am playing rock and roll, but this EP definitely sounds like dream folk music. I feel Get High has the essence of all these genres. All the music I write is sparked by strong emotions, ideas that are difficult to express in everyday words. Music and the art give a medium to contain the message as well as the essence of the experiences, stories and lessons learnt.
“My intention is to connect with people through song, and create really beautiful awe inspiring music that touches the heart and resonates at a gut level,” adds LaChance. “The songs are prayers, praises and appreciation for all the experiences in my life. It’s about doing what you love, and getting high off of what you love to do. It about getting high from listening to music and being taken to that sweet spot. Get High is about all the years spent trying to understand the universe and forgetting about being human. It’s also about my experiences of the past four years without alcohol and drugs and finding new ways to get high. For me it was symbolic and ironic because I have been feeling even higher since I had stopped drinking and drugs four years ago, and started to really get to know myself. Art is all up to interpretation so whatever it means to you I hope it brings you happiness.”
With the new CD in hand, LaChance gathers some like minded musicians to offer an interesting showcase featuring her music and visual art to celebrate her newest release and perform these songs live for the first time.
“I am so extremely excited to perform at the EP release because I love performing so much,” says LaChance, “It’s when I can shut off my mind and connect with people through music. I am going to perform all eight songs from Get High, that I have never ever played live for anyone yet. Anyone who loves music will enjoy this show. It is a special treat to perform with this instrument, experience what I have been talking about and hear my best work yet.””
Juliana LaChance plays this Saturday July 5 at Homegrown Hamilton with Richard Laviolette, the Human Race and more. Show starts at 9:30 and $5 gets you in. Limited edition CDs are $5. Click on julianalachance.com
Hachey the MouthPeace 2014 Tour Kickoff
Jason Hachey started beatboxing when he was 15, taking his drumming skills into a new direction inspired by the likes of Rahzel and his debut disc Make the Music 2000. Some 14 years later, Hachey the MouthPeace has developed into a national talent. He became a go to side man for everyone from the likes of Nilla and Lee Reed to even Brian Melo adding his extraordinary talents to a variety of music but with his solo debut, it was time for the MouthPeace to enter the spotlight and take centre stage.
With his 2012 disc, Outside the Box, Hachey won special instrumentalist of the year at the Hamilton Music Awards and became the MuchMusic Beatbox Championship in 2013. His mesmerizing mouth makes Hachey a wonder to watch and as he gears up to release a brand new collection of songs by the end of summer, this weekend, Hachey the MouthPeace kicks off a summer tour with a fundraiser for his hometown.
“I’ve been riding the MuchMusic wave as much as I can and it’s really opened some doors for me,” offers Hachey. “Having that accolade has bumped up my resume to get more gigs with festivals or a tour. It’s been helping me out a lot that way. That’s the mission; I’m trying to be the headlining act as much as I can.
“With Outside the Box – it was the first recording with not only beatboxing but also with me playing keyboards, vocoder, rapping and singing. It gave people a chance to see how I could do so much more outside of the beatbox,” he adds. “Over the last two years, I focused on my live act and let alone being busy with my family and work, after two years, but I knew I had to put out another album. That should be done by the end of August. On the new disc, I’m doing more singing and doing a little more than just cocky punch lines fans have come to expect. The new album has more about my life as an artist, as a beatboxer – the struggle of being an independent artist and pushing boundaries as much as I can.”
While he works on the finishing touches of his new collection of songs tentatively titled Tragic Magic, Hachey is determined to get his name to the masses with a tour that isn’t in limousines or even in a touring van that fans can imagine. Hachey is setting himself on a solitary DIY venture, him a bag and a bus. He’s heading out on his first headlining tour, performing three weeks of gigs at clubs and festivals in British Columbia and Alberta.
To help finance the tour, Hachey is putting on a show this weekend featuring performances with a bunch of the hip hop artists he’s developed alongside – a show of respect with Slur, Stealth, Transition and Ceeno Evol, as well beatboxing from Killer Beatz, Heat and even his cousin Chris Hachey.
“I’m flying out to Vancouver with my gear, luggage and merch,” says Hachey. “I fly out there and then bus it back from city to city. I’ve done three tours before with Blind Mule and Kirby, six of us crammed into a van with our gear. This will be more work because I’ll be making some cash to bring home with me. I’m doing hip hop shows and festivals and I’m sure I’ll be doing some busking. It’s all based on the beatbox. It’s a showcase of Hachey the MouthPeace the MuchMusic Beatbox Champion. The big festival stage, clubs and bars and even on the streets. I’m hoping by the end of the tour it isn’t so DIY. That’s reason number 326 why I want to keep pushing it – I want to get a crew together, management and public relations and stuff. I just want to play the music.
“This is a fundraiser for my travel costs – to get a little kick start to start this tour,” adds Hachey. “There are a lot of reasons to check out this show. I’m playing songs from the new album. I’m having live art on stage while I’m performing from the Demon. We’ve got some of Hamilton’s best hip hop and I’m proud to share the stage with these people. We’re going to have a huge cipher to close the show with everyone involved. With all that – plus you get to see my pretty face on stage.” V
Hachey the MouthPeace plays this Saturday July 5 at Club Absinthe with Slur, Stealth, Transition, Ceeno Evol, Killa Beatz, Heat, Chris Hachey and Kryme One, with live art created by the Demon. Doors are at 9pm and $10 gets you in. Click on Hacheythemouthpeace.bandcamp.com