Appropriate signage at NYC protest
I've been in total denial about Gord Downie. Pretending I didn't know about it or something - like the terminal cancer mentioned on the news belonged to someone I didn't know... a stranger. I know he's still alive, but the news brought about so many memories and emotions.
Bowie and Prince this year. It was sad because their offerings were so iconic and deeply imbedded in all music today. I find myself personally much more sad about Gord. Maybe because he's still so young. But also because the Hip are/were OUR band. Canada's band. Like our little internal memo that not many other people understood. Like The Kids In The Hall or Road To Avonlea. It's also weird to even think or write about Gord like it's the past tense, knowing that he's not only living and breathing at this moment but about to give Canada one more ass kicking tour to say goodbye.
As a young kid, Downie taught me that pop music could be poetic. I remember being 9 years old, writing down the lyrics of "Locked In The Trunk Of A Car" on a piece of paper - copying it from the mail order CD booklet, dissecting the words and trying to understand what he could possibly be talking about.
Gord showed me that music on the radio could be entertaining and artful at the same time. It could be thoughtful. That rock stardom need not be about posturing a particular lifestyle image, but about literacy and depth, giving a fuck about interesting things and daring to discuss hard truths in song. That there are more things to write about in this world than just lust or romance (but also that lust and romance are magical enough topics that they deserve to be described with care and abandon).
I owe The Tragically Hip and Gord Downie particularly a great deal of gratitude for their impact on me as a kid... I think of my brother and sister and I, guitars in hand, singing in unison, wondering what the hell the "Paris of the prairies" was.
I've only met Gord once, but he was exactly what I'd hoped - kind, funny, articulate... The kind of person who could be cuttingly witty without making anyone else around him feel uncomfortable or outside of the joke.
Mr. Downie, a lot of people love you. I love you. May you finally find a place to happen - thank you for making stops along the way.
We imagined it and then it happened. #ImagineOct20th
It's past midnight, so it's release day. New music. Surprise!
2. Hang With Me (Robyn Cover)
3. Race To The Bottom
4. Forgetery Redux (Feat. Tegan Quin)
5. Kitsch Redux
More from me in the AM, but for now...
My mom and dad were cautiously supportive of me wanting to make a life in music, but urged me to do post-secondary first. I'm so glad that they did so. Without a handful of professors who cracked my head wide open, I don't think I'd be able to put the chaos in my head into songs. In the spirit of Father's Day, here's me and my pops circa 2006, convocation of a BA in English at UBC. I'd done my first ever tour of BC and Alberta 2 months prior. My dad changed his initially skeptical tune about me being a musician not because of some socially recognized milestone of quantifiable "success" (whatever that is). He became wonderfully supportive when he saw how hard I was working and that I was taking the challenge seriously with a long term vision. Thanks for the love, Dad! Happy Father's Day