I am a poster prototype. Put me on your imaginary wall, or suffer the consequences.

I’ve been messing around with poster ideas for the Mackenzie Hall show. I’m no master when it comes to the art of poster design (I’ve never once done it before), but this is what I’ve come up with. I was tempted to stick with my initial design that featured pictures of me looking completely insane and poked some fun at the “mystique”. Then I decided it was probably better to go with something that just tells you when I’m playing and where. I made a collage out of a few of the many pictures Bree took of me during the CREATIVE NIGHTMARES photo shoot, and I kind of like the way it turned out. I’m sure it would look sexier if someone with graphic design prowess took a crack at it, but I think it does the job well enough.

I was iffy on the font, so I kept on tweaking it a bit and came up with this revision:

I thought that might look a bit better/cleaner/more professional. But then I thought the date started to look funny and lonely at the top, so I did this:

I need to make a decision very soon. As in, before the end of this week. I don’t know what looks best anymore. Is it too busy? I think the first version might be, a little bit. Does it look better with lowercase letters? I’m kind of torn between the second and third revisions, but I don’t know. What would look most pleasing hanging on a wall? What do you think?

I’ll tell you what I think — I think this new album I’ve been talking about for a while now is about a day away from being done. It’s about stinkin’ time. I just need to tweak a few mixes, finish adding a bit of wallpaper to two songs, make sure my projected song sequence works, and then we’re off to the races.

You know how I said I felt like the second half of the album was missing something but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was? It turns out what it was missing was exactly what I was kind of avoiding — some tiny songs. The album needed a few quick jump-cuts and diversions to mix things up a bit. So instead of adding another eight-minute track (which might have been one of my favourite things I wrote for the album depending on how it turned out at the recording stage…but it’ll show up somewhere else before long, I’m sure), I added a few tiny songs. I also threw in a few songs that were written very late in the game.

I find it funny how I went into this expecting to do one thing and ended up with something that scarcely resembles what my original concept was. This is what tends to happen with almost every album, and you’d think I would have learned by now that it makes no sense to come up with a plan when the plan is going to end up getting torn to bits in the end. But this time I really thought it would stick. I thought I would put together a collection of long, dense, unpredictable songs, swimming with dissonance and multiple personalities.

And I guess there is some of that here. But only three songs fall into the “sort of epic” category. Several extended tracks just didn’t end up making the cut. It felt like things would get a bit samey if every song was eight minutes long and kept shifting endlessly, with unpredictability somehow leading to predictability. That doesn’t even make any sense, but there you go.

Of the twenty or so songs I put down on paper when I started, only two are on the album. Everything else came out of left field as I kept coming up with new ideas and tossing things aside because they didn’t feel right for this album. There’s at least another album or two worth of material that got left on the cutting room floor. And I’m talking about new songs that have been written over the past few months, without taking into account all the other songs I still need to tackle. That’s just…frightening.

Even now, when the thing is practically finished, it continues to shift. An instrumental track I wanted to put near the end of the album doesn’t feel appropriate anymore, so out it goes at the last minute. A jerky kalimba-led instrumental I planned on tackling is out as well, replaced by a one-minute a cappella interlude that was written at about three in the morning a few days ago while brushing my teeth.

What is it about late night before-bed activity that makes all these songs come tumbling out when I’m not even thinking about music?

I think the album is still the most disjointed and unpredictable thing I’ve done in a while, and it’s meant to be, but it isn’t disjointed in the way I thought it would be.

Here, for no real reason, is one of my favourite moments on the whole album, stripped of its clothing.

As usual, pardon the bedclothes. My sleep is a little askew at the moment. In the context of the song, it’s almost like a Beach Boys vocal harmony moment or something, which is pretty bizarre for me. But I like it.

On a different note, if you make music and you have a soul, watching disBand on MuchMusic will probably make you want to kill yourself.

This is the show that gave us the “band” Stereos, who are responsible for some of the most repugnant, insipid, shit-caked pop “music” ever produced. And I mean that with my whole heart. Their songs are so horrific, they’re an insult to most of the rest of the stuff that falls into the category of bad music, which will now need to be re-classified as “sort of tolerable compared to Stereos”.

Kind of like the time I went camping in 2002. It wasn’t a great trip. I didn’t know many of the people I was with and I ended up drinking so much I literally couldn’t see or stand up for a while. But before things got out of hand, one of my fellow campers presented a jug of some weird bastardized Long Island Iced Tea mixture he’d made himself. It tasted disgusting. Later I took another swig from that jug after drinking a bunch of straight eighty-proof liquor and it was transformed into the best thing I’d ever tasted.

The lesser of two evils, you see.

But back to this show disBand. You’ve got the Treble Charger dude acting as a musical guru to people who either have very little talent but are capable of scraping a few chords and words together (and thus are equipped with all they need to become overnight sensations, assuming they have model-level looks), or actually have something somewhat interesting going on before it’s beaten out of them because they’re not considered commercial enough. He does his best to lead them down the road to mind-numbing mediocrity. The voiceover narration from the “artists”, talking about what they’re experiencing and learning during it all, is so trite and faux-sincere in the faux-est of faux-sincere ways, it makes my penis shrivel and attempt suicide.

At root, the whole concept of the “talent search” TV show is a little ridiculous to me. At least with Star Search back in the day it was sort of about people who had some skill. Now, with (Choose Your Country) Idol and the like, it’s either a glorified karaoke contest where the singer with the least amount of personality and the most malleable looks takes home the prize, or it’s a search for the next Auto-Tune-enhanced pop sensation who can be moulded into sounding just like that other Auto-Tune-enhanced pop sensation before them, and an excuse for everyone involved to embarrass themselves on TV.

This could turn into another one of those profanity-fuelled rants of mine. And we don’t want that. So let’s cut it off right here with a picture of monkeys in sunglasses and suits.

There we go.

I’ll let you know when the new album is packaged and available and all of that exciting stuff.


  1. I like the third one best. I think the date and critical info stands out better.

    I’m a friend of Margaret and Matt Romain from way back – went to highschool together.

    Good luck. I wish I could attend! I’m in Kingston.


  2. Thanks Susan…I ended up going with the third one, because I liked it best as well. Seemed to strike the best balance between not looking too scary and making it easier to read the things that needed to be read.

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