The Scenics @ Green Room Thursday Oct. 15th
Canadian punk icons The Scenics theoretically need no introduction, but since Canadian punk is so often overlooked (or eclipsed... at best) by music critics who focus upon the binary relation Nueva York/London, it's probably a first-class scheme to provide you with a little background...since so few of us spend our hard earned nickels and dimes on obscure punk LPs and end up so broke that we have to befriend those two guys named peanut butter and white bread for at least a week.
Anyways, The Scenics were around from 1976 to 1982 (which means they didn't have time to collide head on with that abomination of a musical era in pop culture called the mid-80s) and eventually released a full length album on Bomb Records...but you know what, that's all tedious nerdy info that you can shove down your own throat if you click here and here.
Consequently, three things you have to do:
1-Check out some footage on youtube
2-Switch number 1 to number 2 and vice versa; GO SEE THEM LIVE
3-Get yourself a copy of The Last Pogo
(4)-Scroll down and read that short interview with Mark Perkell
R: Ralph Elawani (poutine)
M: Mark Perkell (drums)
R (stream of consciousness) : ring, ring, ring, glad nobody picks up the phone 'cause I'm tired and consequently unprepared...oh, hey what'
R: Hi, may I speak with Andy please?
M: Andy's not here at the moment, may I know who...
R: Oh, well, (stream of consciousness : yes, yes, yes!) my name is Ralph and hum, I simply wanted to ask him a few questions regarding his band and...
M: Oh, hum, I'm the drummer
R: (stream of consciousness : calisse...)
R:Oh, how great. Sure, we'll...ok. Good. Gimme two seconds, I'll pick up my notes
[Ralph coughs, sits back (doesn't really have notes) and lights a smoke]
R: How does is feel to get back in the van and start where you left off?
M: Honestly, almost as same as it was... [laughs]
R: As any card-carrying punk rock nerd can tell, The Scenics didn't, at least sonically speaking, match the '77 4/4 Chuck Berry-inspired punk rock sound (a la Slaughter and the Dogs, The Kids, 222s etc). How were you guys received back then? Did you have a following or was it too arty for punks and too punk for the arty crowd?
M: That's interesting 'cause we did attract some people but the fact that we sounded the way we did was definitely part of the "getting attention" problem. I think people's ear kinda evolved in the late 80s and early 90s, which is great and which also means that bands like My Bloody Valentine for example, were able to reach a wide audience, even though they came up with songs that were "weirder" and pop at the same time.
R: So how did you get into "weird" music?
M: Interestingly enough, I think it dates back to when I first heard Jimi Hendrix...and it somehow branched out to other things. Mind you, Andy was also interested in different types of music, and we had played in various small bands before The Scenics. I mean, I'm still pretty much interested in all sorts of "non-rock n roll" types of music, whether it be jazz or what have you...
R: You guys did tour a bit, what kind of circuit was it like?
M: I actually joined the band in 1980, so I guess Andy could tell you more about the early years, but we did get to play outside Toronto. I remember playing some venues in Ottawa and other cities, although I'm pretty sure we didn't play Montreal.
Moreover, we got gigs because of a friend named Garry Topp, who was a booker and at some point he got a tape via Andy and became serious about booking us.
R: I guess you must have opened for a few big names?
M: Well, we opened for Talking Heads at the New Yorker, which was kind of amazing for us. We did other shows with hum, [pause] Telephone (from France), The Viletones etc.
[The Scenics also played gigs with The Government and The Troggs]
R: Well, I can't wait to see you guys perform, I'm sure you'll have a blast.
M: Thanks man [pause] what's your name again...sorry I'm terrible with names...though I will definitely remember the name of that website [i.e. Midnight Poutine]...that's original.
M: Yeah Ralph, sorry for that.
R: No worries
M: Alright, see you then.
R: Thanks ...hum... Mark [laugh]
Let's Get Rad Again Presents:
Thursday Oct 15th
At Green Room
Early Show, door @ 9pm
Photo via The Scenics' myspace page