Hi guys. I know you may be asking for my late pass on this one, but.. we’re alive! Damn! I just ran out of Twinkies so I’ve finally emerged from my bunker. You would think I’d have learned my lesson after Y2K. Here I am now with mountains of bottled water and stacks of Duracell. I mean, I got shitloads of batteries. What are you supposed to do with AA batteries in the event of an apocalypsee anyhow? Like, as if you’re going to be combating mass looting and poverty with an electric razor? How am I supposed to keep up-to-date with all the goings-on of end times without the benefit of a remote control for my TV set? Only to persevere courtesy of some evangelist motivating my will via cassette. Thank *insert diety here* for my Sony Walkman. Seriously, am I buying the wrong size or something?
Anyway, I’ve since left the bomb shelter, so here is an extra long (pause) edition of The @wreckedangle Weekly in an attempt to compensate for my brief bout with agoraphobia. In the meantime, I hope the rap fans out there filled the gap by checking my review of OG Hindu Kush’s In 3D. Not a lot of great homegrown hip-hop out there but these dudes have it. Shout outs to all the ding-a-lings out there who blew their life savings on judgement day ad campaigns, btw. I was actually primed for the clock to strike past 6PM because all I could be sure of was one thing: Judgment Night has a badass soundtrack.
On with the show…
• JACK RICHARDSON, REST IN PEACE •
Whether you realize it or not, if you are a Canadian, you are already familiar with the contributions of Jack Richardson. Regarded as the godfather of the Canadian music industry, Richardson is perhaps best remembered by his production work for the Guess Who, beginning with a split album which led to their breakthrough debut, Wheatfield Soul. He continued to man the sessions up until their final LP, Power in the Music, at which point Burton Cummings (@burtoncummings) quit and the band dissolved. During their time together, the team earned a wealth of platinum and gold plaques, hit the top of the charts on several occasions, and garnered the distinction as the first Canadian group to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Richardson also went on to produce the likes of the Irish Rovers (@TheIrishRovers), Bob Seger (@BobSeger), Alice Cooper (@RealAliceCooper), Badfinger, Kim Mitchell (@TheKimMitchell), and many more. He also has a special association with the Juno Awards (@theJUNOawards). At the 1986 ceremony, he was awarded with the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award. In 2002, the Junos attached his namesake to their Producer of the Year award. As you would assume, Richardson is a member of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and was presented with SOCAN‘s (@SOCANmusic) special achievement award in 1998. In 2003, he was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada.
He also served the Canadian music industry as a whole by training two generations worth of students coming out of the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College (@FanshaweCollege). Beginning in 1985, Richardson taught audio production at the London, Ontario institution up until his retirement in 2007.
Richardson is also the father of GGGarth Richardson (@gggarthfader), an accomplished producer in his own right who brought us classics such as the self-titled Rage Against the Machine album, and offerings from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Jesus Lizard, the Melvins (@melvinsdotcom), and Nickelback (@Nickelback), among others.
The Richardson family is requesting that those wishing to honour his memories and contributions do so by donating to the annual Jack Richardson Music Awards (@jrmalondon), a fund set up to support local artists in London.
Truly the end of an era for Canada.
- To make a donation to the JRMAs, click here.
- To read Jack’s obituary, click here.
- For Jack’s Facebook memorial page, click here.
- For an interview with current Music Industry Arts coordinator, Steve Malison, click here.
• TYLER, THE QUEER-HATER? •
As the popularity of OFWGKTA (@ofwgkta) continues to skyrocket, so does their element of controversy, as well as their number of detractors. Whether catching flack for their alleged devil worship or their increasingly-violent stage shows, the Odd Future gang continues to steamroll the hip-hop game in unapologetic fashion.
Having just turned 20 years old, OFWGKTA leader Tyler, the Creator (@fucktyler) has now drawn the ire of indie rocker Sara Quin, one half of the Canadian duo, Tegan & Sara (@teganandsara). Quin – fresh off the heels of her own (terrific) collaboration with Theophilus London (@TheophilusL) – has a difficult time understanding how the group’s explicit lyrical content has been able to translate into widespread commercial success.
Being openly gay herself, Quin posted a statement on her official website to fully address the situation. “When will misogynistic and homophobic ranting and raving result in meaningful repercussions in the entertainment industry?”, the statement begins. “When will they be treated with the same seriousness as racist and anti-Semitic offenses?”
Apologies for the editorial but just a few thoughts:
1. Didn’t we already go through this with Eminem (@Eminem) and Elton John (@eltonjohndotcom)? I’m not trying to excuse any form of hate (which OFWGKTA doesn’t incite through their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, in my opinion) but does this really need to be spun into another PR campaign under the guise of “activism”? When will people learn that admonishing controversial musicians only serves to increase their popularity?
2. Sara Quin has long made it apparent how desperate she was to collaborate with a rapper. Now that she has done it, she is speaking on hip hop. Mildly comical. It’s clear she’s new to the game, otherwise, she likely wouldn’t be taking things so seriously and so far out of context.
3. At the risk of sounding like one of those rednecks who denies their own racial prejudice because “they have a ton of black friends”, Sara is at least aware that Odd Future have a lesbian member within their ranks, right?
4. When, as a global race, are we going to begin moving past sticks and stones? I agree that words can be weapons, however, if you are an artist yourself, how can you take someone else’s expression so personally? Art is subjective. Sometimes it is challenging. Sometimes it offends. Sometimes, you’re not even sure it deserves to be referred to as art at all. Either way, your opinion really has no bearing on the vision of another. Either agree or disagree and let the next one evaluate for themselves.
And before anyone calls for my head, no, I don’t condone ignorance. However, I disagree with the idea that anyone arbitrarily dropping an F-bomb is automatically perpetuating hate. In this instance, the fight should be against stupidity and immaturity, not bigotry. The age of the crew members range between 16 and 24. Let a kid grow up a little before expecting them to be an adult. Eminem went through the same thing. Now he’s winning Grammys. KEEP IT MOVIN.
(For the record, I personally agree that there is a double standard when it comes to misogyny and homophobia when compared to instances of extreme racism and anti-semitism. However, hypersensitivity and gross overreaction often leads down a path towards sensationalism, not solutions. Stop caring so much and quit validating the anal-retentives.)
- For the full statement from Sara Quin, click here.
- For Tyler’s oh-so-eloquent response to the whole debacle, click here.
• AND SPEAKING OF ANAL-RETENTIVES.. (HOLY SHIT) •
Thanks to our dutifully elected Conservative majority, Canada is bracing itself for the whitewash (pun intended) of right-wing policy that seeks to devour our nation with its insatiable god-fearing thirst. As is often the case, the arts community were among the first to undergo the scrutiny of our new overlords, given its stigma as a bevy of free-thinking heathens.
In an effort to show how the current regime is prioritizing actual issues, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Mr. James Moore (@JamesMoore_org), has attacked Vancouver punkers, Living With Lions (@LWLband), and criticized FACTOR – the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (@FACTORCanada) – for financially supporting the latest release from the band.
The offending LP, entitled Holy Shit, has been packaged in order to resemble a bible, complete with a Poo Testament , and depictions of Jesus Christ (@Jesus_M_Christ / @jesus) portrayed as an escaped butt nugget. When it comes to the Conservative Party of Canada, this type of antagonism is on par with pissing on a hornet’s nest, so suffice to say, it quickly became a national issue.
Black Box Recordings (@weareblackbox), the Canadian label home of Living With Lions, were quick to issue a statement, apologizing for the offending artwork, as well as pledging to return the FACTOR loan of $13,248.00 in its entirety. The record has been pulled off domestic shelves and will be re-released in the coming weeks.
Although BBR and LWL were quick to lie down, clearly, there is a bigger issue at hand here, as Conservatives were willing to cut nearly $45M in arts funding in 2008, and certain Republicanadians are willing to put censorship above expression so long as it bumps them up a few spots on the wait list for the tea party.
Sun Media in particular seems especially hell-bent on making government subsidies a thing of the past for struggling artists, with Ezra Levant of the Toronto Sun and Ian Robinson of the Calgary branch leading the charge of the extremely butthurt.
Other members of the Canadian music scene were fast to react. The legendary Joey “Shithead” Keithley (@DOAJoe) of D.O.A., also a past recipient of government funding, states, “I think you can kiss FACTOR goodbye, or at least they’re going to get their funding cut in half. Here’s the bottom line: Maybe on the next D.O.A. album I’ll be writing about puppy dogs and helping little old ladies across the street. If it doesn’t qualify, then the Conservatives won’t give you the money and unfortunately that’s the way they think.”
Nathan Lawr, drummer for Toronto indie rockers, the FemBots, summed things up far more succinctly: “Well, besides subsidizing some of Canada’s non-neediest musicians, now, FACTOR is a censoring body.”
How you shall thrive when the curmudgeons of previous generations eat their last hamburger.
- For an early article which includes statements from Moore’s office, click here.
- For the official statement from Black Box Recordings, click here.
- For the official statement from Living With Lions, including some cleverly choice quotes, click here.
• THEY PUT THE “U” IN UNION-BUSTING! •
Irish-rockers U2 (@u2com) – led by second-coming-of-Christ figure, lead singer Bono (@paul_hewson) – recently made a brief stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Two days prior to their show at the Canad Inns Stadium, the band was set to film a few spots for their upcoming documentary feature. However, things failed to get off to a smooth start when the band and crew were greeted by picketing members of the IATSE – the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 63.
Known as well for their campaigning and activism as they are for their intensely whiny songs, U2 opted to hire workers taken from Mid Canada Production Services and the Burton Cummings Theatre, both of which utilize a non-unionized workforce. This has led the IATSE to apply to the Manitoba labour board in an effort to have those workers certified.
IATSE president, Matthew D. Loeb, commented directly on the matter by stating, “This is nothing short of union busting. The members of Local 63 have been working in legitimate theatre and at every major concert event in Winnipeg for over 100 years. They had agreed to match the costs of any non-union labour provider working on the U2 concert. The International will continue to support the efforts of the members of Local 63 to ensure that labour standards are maintained.”
However, this apparently set U2 road manager Jake Berry off the deep end, who threatened in retaliation, “We don’t have time to deal with this. We’re just going to ignore it. We’ll just never step foot in Manitoba again.”
There is evidence to suggest that the actual dispute at hand lies between the IATSE and True North Sports & Entertainment, new owners of Winnipeg’s returning NHL franchise. Tensions have grown between the two ever since the opening of the MTS Centre, at which date True North decided to end its contract with the IATSE at all of its venues, including the aforementioned Canad Inns Stadium.
The U2 visit may have been an opportunity for the IATSE to attempt backing the band into a corner. “It just didn’t make sense to us: If they’re so interested in human rights, why would they prefer a non-union work force? A unionized work force promotes workers’ rights”, says John Gallagher, business agent for IATSE Local 63.
Barny Haines, an IATSE representative, says, “I find it peculiar, with respect to U2 and the persona of the band when it comes to human rights. I find it questionable for U2 to say it won’t return here because of an attempt to exercise the rights Canadians have celebrated for decades.”
Bono, the oft-outspoken frontman, was unable to be reached for comment, presumably because he is running out of the time needed to make a singing Spider-Man convincing.
- To see a clip detailing how badly the Edge sucks, click here.
• ROBBIE ROBERTSON RECEIVES ORDER OF CANADA •
The living legend, Robbie Robertson (@r0bbier0berts0n), received an investiture as an Officer of the Order of Canada on May 27, 2011 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
Robertson, an active musician since being a teenager, his career began to pick up traction when he linked up with Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins and took over lead guitar duties for his band, the Hawks.
Upon his departure from the Hawks, Robertson and fellow departees Levon Helm (@levonhelmramble), Richard Manuel, Rick Danko, and Garth Hudson formed as Levon and the Hawks, later to become the Band. In 1966, Bob Dylan (@bobdylan) hired the Hawks to be the backing band for his revolutionary first-ever electrified performances. In 1976, their final concert was documented in the Martin Scorsese-directed classic, the Last Waltz.
Upon the dissolution of the Band’s classic lineup, Robertson dabbled in production, acting, and film composition, in addition to his own solo albums. In particular, his 1994 LP, Music for the Native Americans, received high praise for showcasing the work of aboriginal artists, as well as writing music specifically inspired by his Mohawk heritage, helping to introduce Native music to a much wider audience.
On a side note, actor Michael J. Fox (@MichaelJFoxOrg) was also among the 43 total inductees to receive the Order that same day.
- For the official video to my favourite Robbie Robertson song, click here.
• QUICK THOUGHTS •
It would suck if any of my opinions in this week’s column offended anyone’s beliefs or ideologies. However, I can’t exactly make any apologies. If you feel so inclined, tell me why u mad son. I live for that shit.
On that note, got DAMN, it feels good to be back. I’ve been pent up worse than a pre-pubescent boy and I have been dying to get it cracking again.
Canada’s Walk of Fame wants you to create A Song for Canada and they’re offering 25K + studio time in exchange. Get on it. Contest ends July 15.
How about those Canucks (@VanCanucks), huh? Thanks to Mats Sundin for permanently tainting Vancouver hockey for me. Anti-Canadian or not, I have to pull for the Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins).. my high school classmate Rich Peverley is gonna help bring that Cup home to #Guelph!
And speaking of Guelph, can you believe that the reformed Kyuss (@kyusslives) (minus Josh Homme, obv) is coming to my hometown? One of only three Canadian dates. Whoever booked that show has balls. Ridiculous, but awesome.
And speaking of sports, shouts to Jose Bautista (@joeybats19) for earning the distinction as the best player in baseball right now. Dude is killing the all-star ballots too. The Blue Jays (@BlueJays) are in a dogfight in the AL East and the Wild Card spot, and the ‘Dome is still lucky to get 10,000 fans out a night. SMH. Stop sleeping.
In other sports news, Arsenal F.C. (@Arsenal) had a bitterly disappointing season. Heavily favoured to win all four pieces of hardware and they finish the year empty-handed. Now they face talk of Fabregas heading to Spain and Nasri wanting to leave for Man United (@MUFootballClub). So sad. At least Wilshere and van Persie provided some positives this year.
Ireland played lousy but they still managed to get a 2-nil result over Macedonia in their most recent leg of Euro 2012 qualifying. Word.
Game of Thrones, Treme, and now new seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Breaking Bad are set to make their returns to the box.. nice to get some consistently great programming back on the schedule.
So Coldplay (@coldplay) have once again been accused of plagiarism. Look, I know Chris Martin thinks he’s “down” since making a fan out of Jay-Z (@S_C_) but if you want to sample other records, at least try and flip it.. stop going the shameless Puffy route.
On a separate U2 note, Bono was hitchhiking in Canada recently and was picked up by Gilbert Brule of the Edmonton Oilers (@NHL_Oilers). Brule and his wife were then invited as special guests of the band at their show that night. However, rumour has it that even with the comped tickets, if they could do it over again, Gilbert would have kept on driving. Ever since meeting Bono, they have been unable to rid the smell of cabbage rolls from their pickup truck.
This song “Gucci Gucci” by Kreayshawn is killing me right now. Hate if you must but the shit knocks, I can’t front.
Canadian rapper D-Sisive (@dsisive) recently penned An Open Letter to Jay-Z and Nas. I concur with his sentiments. An album like that would flip the game on its head.
Shouts to Gil Scott-Heron who passed on May 27. Rap forefather.
THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED.
Don’t forget about your pops on June 19. He loves you even though he is too emotionally crippled to show it.
You already know the deal.
Comment, Share, Like, ReTweet, Repost, etc.
And then follow me on Twitter, @wreckedangle.