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City, Music

Joel Plaskett: No Emergency, but call 911 anyway

Posted by Drew / January 17, 2007

jp064.jpgSave Saturday January 20th to go and see Joel Plaskett (sans his band, the Emergency) at Sala Rossa. He's been rightfully getting raves for his albums and his live shows. (MP editor John MacFarlane is a huge fan [ed. note: that will convince everyone]) and a night spent with him is exactly what we all need now that winter is getting serious.

Plaskett's earnest love for dorky rock riffs and his delightfully non-ironic lyrics are matched only by his on-stage enthusiasm. If you miss it, you’ll be sad.

Read on for MP’s exclusive and scintillating interview with Joel Plaskett.

He wins.

MP: Let me throw out a question posed by one of your fans on a local message board. Do your friends call you JP? If not, do you think they should? I think that this guy on the message board would like to be your friend; and then, I think he would call you JP.

Joel Plaskett: My father called me JP as a kid and still does sometimes. Matt Mayes
calls me JP but I don’t get it all that often. JP Cormier is a well known guy here in the Maritimes so it might cause confusion. I don’t mind it. It’s better than “Hey, Plaskett”.

MP: You seem like somebody who can comfortably manage contradictions,
or, if not contradictions, then extremes of sorts: living as both the local Halifax lad made good and tireless globetrotter; ably alternating between your solo and band projects. I am sure other examples abound, as well. So, the question: Are these tense divides or, quite simply, are you the lucky one who is having and eating his cake at the same time?

Please answer in 10 words or less.

JP: It’s sweet cake but I eat it walking a tightrope.

MP: I have read you spent a couple of years working a numbing and dull
job at the National Archives? (I think.) Do you have any survival tips you can share for those working a full time job that feels like its emptying all sense of self and all chances for joy?

JP: That job was boring but not as mundane as some jobs and I had the
fortunate knowledge it was contract work with a finite end. Survival advice for others is tougher. I told meditation is helpful but I have no experience with it. Lying on a Beach in the sun is my only
advice. Pick up a copy of Ladeda for the details.

MP: Who do you love listening to these days? Who is blowing your mind?

JP: I’ve been obsessing on the early JJ Cale records for the last three or four years. I keep going back to them because he creates music that is super laid back and I’m high strung, so it’s really untouchable to me. In the last month or too I’ve been getting back into the Violent Femmes, a discovering some Ethiopian jazz and Barrington Levy.

MP: A Pro User says: If you like Joel Plaskett you will like Sam Roberts. Shall we take this as proof that artificial intelligence is fundamentally clueless or does that segue make sense to you?

JP: All I can say is that I am Joel Plaskett and I like Sam Roberts.

MP: Your show has just ended. Your down at the bar and you overhear
someone say:
Your heart beams.
What is the comment?

JP: “Holy shit, did you see that? Paul Newman came to check out JP!”

MP: Revenge is sweet. The best revenge is success. Then, is success sweet, too; or is it sweeter to live in a state of anticipation over things to come?

JP: Success is subjective. I think I’ve been successful and yet things continue to get better. I thought Thrush Hermit was successful too. Al Tuck is one of my favorite songwriters. He plays to small audiences and doesn’t sell many records but the “success” of his songs is that they are undeniable classics, regardless of who’s heard them. Matthew Grimson, another one of my favorite songwriters, has a song called “Revenge” which goes “Revenge...such a sweet word...Revenge...spell it... R-E-V-E-N-G-E.”

MP: Do you have a DVD player in your touring vehicle? Wait, who drives when you are doing solo shows?

JP: No DVD player, although I suppose I have a laptop if we really wanted to watch something. I do most of the driving although the band is happy to drive when the control freak gets tired.

MP: Australia has welcomed you with open arms. Australia is Canada turned upside down. Do you have the sensibility of a Canadian turned upside down? Or inside out? What's the Australia love all about?

JP: I sure felt upside down when I got to Australia. The change just kept falling out of my pockets. I met great people there who seemed to really get what I do, regional lyrics and all. I think it’s a Commonwealth thing. I’m going back with the band in March.

MP: Internet faux naïf Jeremy Lavine writes of the shift to secular

“Instead of satiating the gods, many of these "scientists" have
tried to control El Niño with "science". They put up expensive
fish-attracting-buoys that run on flashlight batteries. Imagine,
fighting the power of the gods with flashlight batteries! Needless to
say, this didn't work and everyone died. “

Indeed. What do you think is as foolish as trying to fight the power of the gods with flashlight batteries?

JP: Trying to answer some of these questions with a straight face :)

[Truer words have never been uttered, my friend. Not by me anyway.]

MP: You have won Juno awards. I believe you have been on a CBC television show, too. Do you ever wake up in a cold sweat and worry that you are becoming a Canadian institution? Or, do you think, hey, why not that would be great?

JP: I’ve never won a Juno award but I have been nominated a few times, both by myself, with the Emergency and with Thrush Hermit. I feel very fortunate to have received the attention I have so far, but there is still lot of work to do before I’m institutionalized.

You, Mr. Plaskett, are a funny, funny, man and a good sport. And I am a bad researcher.

Check out the following sites for more Joel Plaskett Emergency info. and look out for an MP3 on MP's weekly podcast.



christy / January 17, 2007 at 02:22 pm
Is he... is he okay? He looks like he could use a hot mug of tea... and maybe hugs.
cat / January 17, 2007 at 02:48 pm
He simply looks like the quiet hero that he is. And like he is from the Maritimes. Which is where all the quiet heros come from. But I'm not biased...
spectraversa / January 20, 2007 at 02:22 pm
joel owns the hearts of many, and is on tenure for the new year's eve party at the marquee.
golu dolls / March 20, 2019 at 02:59 am
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Herbal Powder / March 20, 2019 at 06:22 am
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