Tuesday, August 26, 2014
The Watchmen recently released details of the Deluxe Edition reissue of 1994's In the Trees, which will include a whopping 34 tracks. It features the original album remastered, demos for all of those songs, 5 unreleased demos, live tracks from a Netherlands radio performance, and a 2000-word essay on the band/album.
Can't think of many Canadian artists from that era that have gone back and put out special versions of their records. Blue Rodeo put out a box set celebrating their first 25 years. The Hip's Up To Here is a cherished record, and they haven't put out an expanded edition, even though it was remastered. Sloan did it with Twice Removed, and they did it properly. The Watchmen took a big step forward on their second album (drummer Kohn once said that one song on the first album was "one long wank"), soundwise and songwise, so I am not surprised it was a success and still resonates for fans and for band members.
I asked Kohn, The Watchmen drummer extraordinaire, how the deluxe edition came to be a real thing.
"Eight or nine months ago I started thinking about (the album's 20-year anniversary). I have always been the archival master, in charge of the Vault, which is a big shoebox in my parents' basement. And I'm still the guy that picks up Mojo , scours Pitchfork, and likes to find cool exciting stuff and rarities. I thought it would be cool for fans to get a fresh look at an album that didn't have much gimmickry to it."
What were your bandmates' responses to that idea?
"I think they were thinking, 'Here goes Sammy again...', but once I started forwarding contracts, Joey (Serlin) called me and said, 'Do you want to come to my studio so we can listen to this shit?'"
Kohn suggested that band members don't have the same "quality control attitude" that they used to share. I distinctly remember asking Daniel Greaves why the band didn't put out their own release before getting signed - I'm pretty sure that was back in 1991 when Barenaked Ladies were selling truckloads of cassettes. Greaves looked askance and replied, "I don't want some shitty tape out there!"
"This thing is not without its flaws, it's a warts and all look at what I think is a great album, arguably the best collection of songs, " Kohn says. "And you can hear some pretty significant changes on the demos...Lusitana didn't have a chorus, Danny was just scatting, and All Uncovered you'll hear some differences."
And if that's not enough, there will be a book coming out on Eternal Cavalier Press in the fall by author Vanessa Azzoli about the band, revolving mainly around the In The Trees era. Heck , I even saw a Tweet the other day about a craft beer called Night Watchmen, also out in Sept and sure to be found at Motel Bar.
Of course, with all this nostalgia, the question of new music is always going to come up. The band gave away two new tracks, Trampoline and Miss Monday Morning, 5 years ago and nothing new since. Writing new songs for The Watchmen is not a priority, but is it a possibility?
"That would be the next logical step," admits Kohn. "But I can't really imagine us hammering it out in a room. I think it's up to those guys."
The Watchmen - All Uncovered - Full Documentary from ReilMunro on Vimeo.
34 Dead Street
In My Mind
IN THE TREES Track listing:
1. 34 Dead St.
2. Boneyard Tree
6. All Uncovered
7. In My Mind
9. The South
10. Born Afire
11. Vovo Diva
12. Middle East
13. Nothing (Demo Outtake)
14. Take My Fever (Demo Outtake)
15. Hurting Place (Demo Outtake)
16. Dragon (Demo Outtake)
17. In The Trees (Demo Outtake)
1. 34 Dead Street (Demo)
2. Boneyard Tree (Demo)
3. Lusitana (Demo)
4. Wiser (Demo)
5. Calm (Demo)
6. All Uncovered (Demo)
7. In My Mind (Demo)
8. Laugher (Demo)
9. The South (Demo)
10. Born Afire (Demo)
11. Vovo Diva (Demo)
12. Middle East (Demo)
13. Lusitana (Live)
14. All Uncovered (Live)
15. Boneyard Tree (Live)
16. Middle East (Live)
17. In My Mind (Acoustic)
Amazon pre-order here, release date is Sept. 16.
iTunes preorder here, the release date is Sept. 16, but the acoustic version of In My Mind is available now .
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Youth Decay recently released this little ditty entitled Little Winnipeg. Don't know what it's about yet, haven't figured out all of the lyrics. Can any of you tell me?
Youth Decay includes guys that have played with Comeback Kid, Living With Lions, Misery Signals, and Lowtalker, The Grave Life, Carpenter, Daggermouth, and Aspirations.
You can get the song for free on a New Damage Records Summer Sampler . It includes The Flatliners, Danko Jones, and Gob, among many others.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Art Bergmann is back with a new tune called Drones of Democracy, taken from an ep entitled either Songs for the Underclass or Slogans for the Underclass, I'm not sure which. The 4-track ep should be out in the fall on Weewerk Records.
"The making of a sleeper cell. Drones manufactured in the heart of America. How to explain the use of advanced weapons, cluster-bombs, made to shred tanks. Weapons used on innocents, man, woman, and child alike. If you think Neil Young wrote this, well yeah, I wanted my own Cortez." -Art
So we are finally treated to some new Artmusic, the first since 1995's What Fresh Hell Is This. If you've been paying attention here, you already know how highly Scruffy treasures Bergmann. Clearly he still has things to say, can't wait to hear the rest.
Drones of Democracy
Some older ones from back through the ages to refresh your memory.
My Empty House
Stop the Time
Dirge No. 1
Young Canadians - Hawaii
Message From Paul
Our Little Secret
The K-Tels- Don't Tell Me
Poisoned - Yeah I Guess
Bound for Vegas
07/25-27 Calgary, AB - Calgary Folk Music Festival
09/06 Vancouver BC - Commodore Ballroom
Artwork at top of post by David Cran.