Monthly Archives: March 2008

ask your wife about think about life

Think About Life are jamming downstairs right now. I’m upstairs and I’m thinking I might bake them a batch of cookies or something. I love this band so much, I want to marry them. Tomorrow morning the boys are flying out to SXSW in Austin, Texas. I wish them luck. I’m going to stay in Montreal and tough out the winter. Someone’s gotta hold down the fort.

Last night at around ten o’clock I was fooling around on the internet and wasting time and feeling kind of mopey when all of a sudden I stood up and said “[Robocop voice] I must go. Somewhere there is a party happening.” And I ran down the stairs and right out into the crisp winter world of Griffintown.

And I went back inside and put some pants on, and then I headed up to the Black Dot for a rock’n’roll show. It was Fake Shark Real Zombie, Special Noise and Snake Master. I got there too late and just missed the Shark Zombie band, which was a disappointment because I liked their name. Fake Shark Real Zombie. Throw a robot and a ninja in there and you’d be all set. And a cowboy. And a pirate.

I’ll tell you why I like Special Noise. It’s rad how just two guys can create music that is so detailed and still manages to rock so hard. Watching Special Noise is like going to the museum. Let’s go see what’s happening in the Kick Drum Room. That’s just crazy. Now I’m going to wander over to the Guitarist’s Left Hand exhibit. Whoa, check that out. The drums weren’t even miked but they were so loud they made the floor shake under my feet. And Jef’s guitar playing is mesmerizing.

Special Noise action shot.

Snake Master came on and they were metal up your ass. Heavy as shit with enough catchy parts to keep my head nodding if not banging. The drummer has the best drum faces. He does the whole-point-with-the-stick thing and once or twice I think I saw him kick a crash cymbal with his bare foot. But the most entertaining part of the band is probably Jonah’s between-song banter. He’ll be screaming his throat off for an entire song and when it ends he’ll say something like, “Hey guys, did you know that the ocean is literally hundreds of feet deep?” and it’s so silly that you’re laughing before you even realize that it’s funny. (Maybe I should spell that ‘literolly.’)

After the show I headed up St. Laurent with Scoops Dujour, who was wearing his heavy bike chain around his torso like some kind of medieval Gothic warlord motherfucker from a distant-futuristic past. We said our goodbyes and I ducked into Blizzarts. I wanted to check out Sarah’s Mixtapes night because it had the sweetest little flyers I’ve ever seen, designed like a miniature cassette with an actual strand of tape hanging out the bottom:

I met up with Andrew and Robin from the Subset band. Andrew, who had read my previous post on Facebook and had bought me a smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz’s. He needs a shout-out for that.

(That was between bands at Subset’s debut show last week at Barfly. I don’t know if Andrew knows what happened to the leftover cornichon. These two giggling girls at the bar had it and were daring me to take a bite. I said, “All right, what did you do to the pickle. I suppose you put it in your snatch.” And my instincts turned out to be correct. So I took a bite and everyone went “AHHHHHHH.” It tasted pretty nasty but maybe I’m just not that into pickles.

And that was my first ever night at the Barfly. I like that place. I enjoy thinking of the word “barfly” as an adverb.)

Anyway, the music last night at Blizzarts was a mixture of old favourites like Pixies and The The mixed in with a bunch of stuff I didn’t recognize. It was chill. I’ll be back.

They were projecting The Warriors onto a screen behind the DJs. Robin and Andrew were talking about how it would much fun it would be to start a violence gang. So I kicked them both in the nuts and went home.

send for the new gun

Hello friends, I’ve decided to make the three A/V albums available as free downloads. You can download the CDs as individual zip files or grab all three in a single handy torrent file.

There is a Paypal button for donations but don’t feel pressured to donate anything. This is more of an “out with the old, in with the new” type of situation.

I recorded a live set at Friendship Cove a few days ago and extracted a couple of jams for you. Check out the news sounds here–

xo philip

miracle storm

A copy of Canada’s music magazine is sitting on the kitchen table at Friendship Cove.

“‘Plaintive vocals,’” said Graham. “There’s a lot of ‘plaintive vocals’ going on these days. A lot of ‘murky beats.’”

He stood up and headed towards the stairs. “A lot of people are ‘eschewing tradition.’”

I wound up not going to see Dog Day. I had a long bath, time slipped away, it’s a long walk, I don’t feel like going out by myself… plus I have a headache. That’s it, that’s my excuse. My head really does hurt. The truth is, I fear I might just be lame.

I’d been looking forward to taking a nice roadtrip this weekend. The phone rang a few days ago, someone calling for Jack, and it turned out to be none other than Mackenzie, my old roommate and bandmate from Halifax. He mentioned something about taking a bus to his solo shows in Ottawa and Quebec City and I said “Dude. Give me some gas money. I’ll totally drive you.”

That was going to be fun. But then the biggest storm of this winter or of several winters slammed into town on Saturday morning. Apparently there was a ten-car pileup just outside of Montreal, dozens of cars off the road along the highway. I was almost thinking we might try it, but as soon as I went outside and witnessed the whiteout for myself, common sense prevailed and we called off the trip. Shame, really… I’d been looking forward to getting out of town.

Miracle Fortress were jamming downstairs when I opened the door to the roof and stuck my video camera outside. The sound floated up out of the skylights, up into the storm. The roar of the wind probably annihilates all the audio on this post, but it sounded so nice.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

the abominable snowman

Yo man. What’s the good word? “Sasquatch”? Yeah, that’s a pretty good word.

I am about to sit down to a joyless meal of bread crusts and gruel. I’m in Montreal. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to pay the rent if I decide to stick around this place. These are lean times.

I do have some skills but the city doesn’t want to know about them. It looks like I might be able to get a job stocking shelves at American Apparel. I might do it. Or I could probably go work in a call centre, phoning people up and trying to con them into joining pyramid schemes and paying for directory listings and whatnot (here’s a friendly warning for our southern neighbours: some of these people are making a concentrated effort to defraud as many Americans as possible). And that is a sample of the typical jobs available for Anglos in Montreal.

I didn’t move up here with much so I don’t have much to sell. I considered trying to sell my car. I drove the thing into town and then it just sat in the driveway for a month. You don’t really need to own a car in the city. It’s almost more of a liability than anything, especially in winter. But selling my car would be like selling the lifeboats on the Titanic. It’s my ace in hole–if things wind up getting super-shitty here, I can just get behind the wheel and head right straight back to Gaspereau Forks.

I also thought about selling my guitar, my Gibson SG. I’ve been playing electronic music for so long that guitars feel kind of quaint and anachronistic to me now. It’s been almost three years since Colour TV played a show and since then I’ve rarely picked it up. I’ve had this instrument for fifteen years so it would be weird to part with it. Although perhaps the guitar has been a bad-luck charm for me. These distorted chords have been the soundtrack to fifteen years of bad decisions.

Anyway, I’m not going to sell my guitar because it turns out I’m going to be playing with this band called The Counselors. My friend Sebastien has been teaching me the songs and we had our first loud practice a couple days ago. We’re playing in Toronto on Monday, March 24 at the Horseshoe Tavern.

I might as well throw this out there. There’s really nothing keeping me in Montreal right now. If you know of a decent job that might be suitable for someone like me, let me know, and I will move there. I’ll leave next week. Anywhere in Canada. Although if it’s Vancouver or Toronto you’ll probably have to pay me more.

Being a musician, travelling from town to town, playing for people every night… sure, that is my favourite way to live. But the whole starving musician thing can wear you down after a while. There are thousands of people out there who are more talented than I, and thousands who are better at gaming the system than I am. I have friends who seem like they can score a round of grant money for every time they leave the house.

I’ve never received a grant, never even applied for one. It’s because I have this morbid fear of filling out forms. My hands sweat and I feel like I’m going to hyperventilate… go ahead and laugh, anyway, that’s why I suck at being famous.

I think I could be perfectly happy to have a job where I sit by myself all day in some dimly-lit editing suite and move stuff around in Final Cut Pro. And after work I just go home and watch a movie and get drunk and go to bed like a normal person. Cash a cheque every couple weeks. That would be rad!

I miss my grandmother and my nieces and all my family and friends on the East Coast. I’d like to go see Dog Day tonight but I have this weird feeling… like I haven’t earned the privilege of having a good time.

february recap

Let’s see how I made out last month with living the Total Montreal Experience.

Total entertainment budget:
= $0.00
Total entertainment expenditures:
= $7.00

These expenditures break down as follows.
–Three dollars on a pay-what-you-can show at a punk house over across the canal. I had to pay them something; these are my people. The wall was covered in gig posters… I think I saw a Risky Business flyer up there somewhere. They hauled all the furniture out of the front room and set up the bands. It was packed. I didn’t know anyone there, of course. The PA speaker had a label on it that read “Party Machine”:

A heavy French band called Kraken performed and I closed my eyes and let myself get swept away in the rumble. They had a super deep and powerful sound, and yet somehow managed to work some handclaps into their songs.

–I spent three dollars to get into a strip club in St-Henri. The strip club was right next door to this free Time’s Up night of weird DJs. I’d seen it billed as “Weird Punk Night” and I’m not sure what that had led me to expect, maybe robot costumes and lots of green lipstick, but actually the clientele just looked like normal music show people and I believe one of the DJs played “Raining Blood” by Slayer.

A few of us had to wander over to check out this strip club and it was about par for a strip joint with a three-dollar cover. One of the strippers was this fantastic android that sparked a whole discussion about nipple implants. I mean, certainly she’d had breast implants and we’re all familiar with those, but could those bizarrely protruding nipples possibly be real? I was reluctant to get too close to the stage for fear of losing an eye.

I was assured that nipple implants are certainly a fact of modern science but nonetheless found it strange that she had two of them on each breast.

–One dollar went to the mandatory coatcheck at Club Lambi on the night of the lunar eclipse when I went to see Think About Life (roommate’s band, guest list) and documented that strange night with a video of a bunch of famous Canadian indie-rockers doing the Om Nom Nom Nom.

Guest lists were a big help in my quest for the Total Montreal Experience. I did get to see a decent number of shows in February, thanks to: guest lists; free shows; playing on the bill; living in the place where the show is happening; special events; and, in one instance, sneaking in (what’s the point in paying your punk rock dues if you don’t get some basic punk rock skills out of it?).

Total restaurant budget: $0.00
Total amount spent on eating out: $0.00

–No Patati Patata for Philip. No breakfasts at Cafeteria. No sushi, no shish-taouk, not even poutine. I have barely laid eyes on a Montreal bagel.

On St. Laurent I stared for a long time through the window at this sizzling grill, drooling all over the sidewalk outside a restaurant whose name probably translates into English as “Carnivore Heaven.”

–A lady I know was kind enough to buy me a smoked meat sandwich. To this day the memory of that taste lingers on my tongue in sensual repose.

In conclusion: so far, I have partially enjoyed the Total Montreal Experience.

~ –download A/V cd for free