Category: IME

Clarifications and the Golden Sharpie

I received a ton of email recently from one of my posts regarding “stepping out” of my current musical set up and looking for some different people to make music with. The emails fell into three categories: “Oh my god, what about IME”, “I have a harmonica and would love to tear it up yo”, and “Awesome bro, can’t wait to hear it”.

Maybe I should clarify.

First off, the ideas in my head in no way interfere with anything IME related. In fact, i’m more excited by the music we are making right now than ever before, and just want to push it out like the magical, solid gold, evenly-tapered musical turd that it is! Totally satisfying and sure to turn some heads.

As frustrating and chaotic as it can sometimes be, IME is my first love always… I have put way too much of myself into it to push aside. So no worries there!

That being said, the very fact that my entire musical effort can only be contained within the IME universe, has been a little disturbing as of late. Not for a lack of musical satisfaction mind you, only because I need to make more noise! Playing live especially really is about as happy as I can be and perhaps I can find a way to do more. (Quizás, quizás, quizás.)

I have so many aspects of my playing and writing that just wouldn’t fit in with what we are doing right now and instead of shoving them aside I think finally I want to try to do something about it. You have to understand that I basically quit playing guitar when we went on hiatus. Seriously, all of my gear just sat in storage, and as of now i sit here with my loose skin and old balls thinking, “why the fuck did I do that?”. I LOVE to play, and it’s who I am, no matter how hard I try to discover something else that might possibly define me. I’m just not that interesting outside of that, and it’s what I am stuck with… so I need to work it!

This time away definitely helped me as a player and I feel a lot more in touch with my hands. My head is filled with a million new experiences and overall I feel kind of “groovy” and a little more informed. Out of all of us, I am the only one who has never stepped outside of IME to stretch my legs so to speak… No solo records, no gigs, no jams, and definitely no working in the thea-tah. I guess I always felt like IME is kind of like my own playground in a way and I have definitely enjoyed a ton of freedom, just with a little more guilt thrown in.

So why bother, right?

Because I can…

Hiding in my hidey hole no longer makes me feel safe.

I have no idea what shape things will go, but I’ve already been hit up by some heavy cats that just want to do the same thing. You know, make a bit of a ruckus without really tipping the apple cart. At this point, I have my mind set on two projects. The first one is of course extremely guitar oriented with a ton of fucked up rhythms and grooves, and some surprising sensitivity. The second will just go according to who is with me. Could be pop, metal, funk… I don’t care really, as long as it’s fun and beats the shit out of what’s on the radio! It’s more like a sport than anything, and has the potential to be a pretty cool listen if I get off my ass and do it. So far, I love the response.

I’m looking for some pretty interesting players for both but I don’t know who just yet, and so far it’s really promising. Yet another reason not to sleep! Hey, if you have a thought about who I should play with, famous or not, I’m open to opinions. Uh… no guitar players (i’ll go out on a limb and say that I think I have someone for that). I should also note that I don’t dismiss the idea of the guys at all if they are interested, and if they connect at all with the music… love making music with these guys too! Again, It’s not about stepping away from my guys at all, I just want more!

I’m also looking at producing and mixing again. I really enjoyed doing that with other people but totally washed my hands of it after one experience that was profoundly horrible. I always like to think that most musicians are cut from the same cloth but learned that some are a complete waste of any effort or kindness. I witnessed many good musicians and business folk being hurt through the years, and for what? Somebody’s ego? Karma is a bitch though isn’t it? Failure is deserved as much as success. Yes, that’s the sound of one hand clapping. Enjoy.

I decided awhile back that I can’t let one experience define my own direction. I LOVE working on music and need to be back in touch with other people’s processes. If I can add to somebody’s experience, i’m in.

For the past 4 years I have also been working on some other concepts to help level out the playing field for new artists and hope to be able to talk more about it soon. A TON of red tape, but good things are worth fighting for. I’m also working on a new music documentary extremely close to my heart that I would love you all to know about soon, but of course i’m still working on a million details… You need to join me on this quest for musical truth.

Also still trying to organize my “Creative Mind Meld (and other forms of Assholedness)” tour and looking for input. The response has been overwhelming from people who would like to get in on this and get the ball rolling. Like i said in one of my posts, i just want to sit and have coffee with groups of people who sort of know me and talk, all issues on the table. Guitar, writing, production, business, philosophy… Be great to do it city by city if people can help me organize something. Let me know.

IME is also currently getting more dates together which I’m really excited about (hope to announce a couple soon) and we hope to start some more recording momentarily! Yes, that turd is like a golden sharpie painting our collective musical gitch!

So let’s get at it!

Ama a tu Mamá

jT

Of Meat and Fingers

Lately I’ve been getting swamped with a ton of equipment related emails and messages so I’ve decided just to lay out a few ideas here and give a basic overview as to where my head is at with my sound.

First off, i’m never truly happy with my tone. Ok, maybe that’s a bit of an overstatement as for the most part, it allows me to sound like me, and that’s all a player can really ask for. (Can’t blame the equipment!… i wish!). The best that I can sound is plugged straight into any amp, but we all know that it’s next to impossible to do so if i’m trying to cover 20 years of sounds! It goes without saying that I get bored really easy, and it’s a lot of fun looking for little bits of tonal inspiration. Kicking on the right pedal at the right moment usually leads to something good, be it a new riff or just pure satisfaction.

The key for me is my #1 black strat. Something really works between us and I can’t let her go. A lot has happened since i first bought it back in ’93, and the totally freaky thing is that right before the reunion shows, I took the whole thing apart to give it some love, and the neck date stamped on it is my daughter’s birthday. I never knew that. Chills. It’s a sign for sure…I know we are meant to be together.

I remember going to the Fender factory when we were recording Dig and sitting with Larry Brooks in their custom shop. I was completely overwhelmed walking around the factory floor… the smell, the sounds, … a million of ‘em hanging like sides of beef, sliding around from place to place, going through one process or another. Really incredible for me as my whole life I had worshipped the Fender Strat. Sexiest guitar ever… yes I still stare at one if it’s in the same room, and yes, it’s creepy.

Anyhow, I really had no idea what I wanted but my tech Rudy just said to roll with it and talk to Larry and figure something out. We sat in this little room that smelled of wood (and a hint of glue) with necks hanging all around and drew up the concept for two #1’s.

He handed me a couple of necks to find a profile where my hands were comfortable… but after me just saying yes to everything ( I never had a new guitar before so ‘no’ never entered my mind!) he decided a different tactic. He reached up and handed me ‘the one’. I swear to god it was like Ollivander handing Harry his fucking wand! Once I stopped wrecking shit in the shop, he told me the neck was the original prototype for the SRV Strat. It had this cool superglue finish on the back which I had never seen before, and my hand just gripped this thing like it was attached to me and I was 13 again! (I hope the door is locked!)

Now my ‘yes’ finally had some balls behind it and Larry new we had a winner. I wanted this neck with a brazilian rosewood board and a reverse headstock. A simple standard black Strat body with tortoiseshell guard, universal rout and a standard trem. The other #1 with a maple neck and a black Floyd Rose. Bookends! My one with the maple neck is floating around Quebec somewhere as it was stolen from Lee’s Palace one night when I lent it to some douche to play. What a turd. Nice. Not the guy who stole it, he was just seizing an opportunity. We found it eventually one day when we were touring, but what can I say to the guy who now had it, and who spent good money on it not knowing it was stolen. I hope he treated it well.

Perfect… I finally had a new girlfriend (x2). And the day they arrived at the studio in their tweed cases, I shit my pants. The rest is history… yes, I still occasionally shit my pants.

I get a lot of questions about pickups and I think I have never been happier. Im using an awesome combination of Andersons (H2+ in bridge, and two SC1s neck and middle) For some reasons, they really let me sound as close to me as I can. Next time you see us live, pay attention to my cleaner sounds using neck and middle. It’s the closest I have found to sounding like i’m playing through a maxed out Super Reverb and a tone i’ve been chasing for years. I can go from huge distorted sounds to SRV Fender tones in a pinch and these pickups are really helping me feel confident. They track perfectly and stick with me no matter what i’m doing. Some pickups just lose clarity or get mushy when hit with really dense chords and these things keep me feeling easy, knowing that everything is coming through clear. They match my guitars perfectly and together give me a great base to build on moving along the guitar cable over to the amp.

The amp I have always used for recording (and a lot of touring in the early days) is a Naylor SuperDrive 60 watt, 6L6 loaded head. It’s one of the first ones Naylor was making when they were located in Illinois (i think that’s where?). I’ve played other Naylors too but this one just works so incredibly well. The company had gone through so many changes that it’s inevitable that some design elements have changed since then, so I feel very fortunate to have this one. Apparently the new ones from the factory are just like the originals, but I haven’t come across one yet! Dying to. I have used this head on just about every single thing outside of Dig and it’s funny, but it’s been on the same settings (marked with tape and sharpie!) since I bought it. My ear just goes to these settings naturally or perhaps I’m incredibly lazy. I’m pretty sure it’s both.

The fact that I’ve been using this thing forever makes me worry about it all the time so I retired it from touring and just use it in the studio. Although that may change soon…

Live I have just been using my EVH heads and they are pretty stellar. Who knew that a raging player with a raging sound could give us such an amp with the best Fender clean sound ever? Didn’t see that coming. Must be the Fender connection! I only use the first two channels… one set at “Lenny” and the other at “Mean Streets”. This allows me to cover anything we do live. I may be adding a dual amp setup with my Naylor for dirty, and the EVH for clean but i’m still getting my head around that one.

So right there, you have my tone. That is basically it for around 80% of any given night. The problems and the variations arise when I start putting shit between all of this. As of right now (and the past two years), i’ve been using Fractal in a 4 cable set up. I have the Fractal giving me all of my pedal sounds (phase, trem, wah, chorus, pitch etc.) into the front of the amp, and also giving me my delays and verbs from the effects loop into separate power amps for my wet/dry setup. The one thing it does is keep all of my ‘pedals’ directly in front of me so my pedal board isn’t stacked a foot high and 8 feet long (remember, i’m lazy and I have short legs!) However, lately I am ‘feeling’ something inherently wrong with this setup. I can ‘feel’ this thing between me and the amp and there are some small things eating at me now that I know they are there. Maybe it’s user error so I’m going to keep working with this setup and try everything to get my ear to hear what it wants, but I have a feeling I’m going back to rack mounted pedals and straight into the amp if I don’t find the solution soon. Don’t know yet. Fractal is also coming out with another new model and who knows… they are pretty spot on with addressing concerns of players and always improving, overall it’s an incredible unit and i really want it to work. Maybe i’m just being crazy and have psyched myself out.

My cabs are now made by Port City. These are a bit of a game changer. It’s a totally unique design for me to use and I’m still adjusting because they aren’t like any cabinet I have used before. I’m using 4-2×12’s in a stereo wet/dry set up. The two overized 2×12’s have celestions in them (V30s in one, and Classic 80 in the other) and the outside effect cabs have Greenbacks in them. I’m always looking different speaker combinations and haven’t settled on anything yet so I just went with what I know. My ear is still working with these cabs and I know I will land on an awesome combination soon. The thing with these cabs is that they force me to play clean! EVERYthing comes out with a strange precision that keeps me focused a little more. There is no sterility associated with it, just clarity. For big rock, maybe this is bad but I think I can make it a part of my style with a bit of effort and a smidge of grace. In the end I have learned to be happy with most cabs when I don’t have a choice, (rentals when touring) but the problem really is only that I have two things: time and choice. First world problem perhaps. I had some really good feedback from people after the Oakville show (and my amps were barely on!) so we will see how this pans out.

Strings: DR 10-52.
Pants: 32 waist x 34 inseam
Muffin: lemon poppyseed
Other Food: tapas

Ok, i’m tired and there are ants all over me. Wtf? Lets keep this blog going on gear as I need to nerd out like the rest of you.

Closing thought: In the end I have come to understand that I sound like me, for better or worse, not because of the gear, but only because I have some gear that allows it to happen.

Fingers first, always.

That sounds horrible.

Ama a tu Mamá

jT

A Word From The Mother’s Hip… (Back to Basics!)

Just wanted to throw some new thoughts out there and touch base with a lot of you as i have been rather derelict in the communication department. I think i mentioned before that this is kind of hard for me didn’t I? Not so much the “speaking to you all” part as much as being consistent about doing so. You see, i get sidetracked pretty…. SQUIRREL!!… uh, easily.

A lot has happened over the past year to all of us on the personal side (not together, separately…) and things always seem to keep getting in the way of just doing what we know how to do. We’ve also been dealing with consistent craziness internally and on the business side of things that kind of hearkens back to pre-hiatus days. You know, those days of preferring to stay in bed with a pillow over your face rather than deal with anything? Hey, we all have them, right?

But seriously now, fuck all that. I’m really tired of being forced to deal with things of such minuscule importance to my happiness in the grand scheme of things … I really just want to play. This is how I deal! The time before reuniting was really special in a lot of ways for me, mostly in it’s simplicity. Write, record, rehearse, and perform with the people that you’ve actually missed more than you ever realized. These are beautiful moments. We all need them, and i wish them upon all of you. The rest is just insignificant horse-shit. (yes, i hyphenated that… It was deserving)

Jumping back into the game was never really our intention. We only really wanted to try and have fun. The success of WGTL was so amazing and surreal to us, and i just can’t be any more grateful for that, but at the same time it weighed like an anchor. The simple idea of trying to just be out there playing for all of you (which we could do every day if possible) really became a collective drain on us (some more than others) as it really forced us back into playing the game once again by other peoples rules (“we can’t book you here unless you are on the radio”, “we can’t give you enough to pay your crew because your single isn’t where it was in the charts”, “we’ll book you when another song is out” etc). Understood…. You’re welcome for the sold out building. That being said though, we have also developed some pretty stellar relationships which gives us hope that our new ideas of “how to be IME” in 2014 can actually work and are still extremely excited to try.

So you see, these little annoyances automatically force you to do something which is against the earliest ethic you understand as a musician … “wanting” to play, not “having” to. I admit, i am a total fucking child when somebody tells me to do anything. I thought that would change as I got older, but nope! Still getting my head around some of these feelings and i know, “shut up and fucking play guitar already!”…. I say this to myself everyday actually.

Enough time has passed where i really feel complete and honest in just “wanting” to play my guitar, hence my recent outbursts of creativity lately. Playing in Oakville recently gave me some affirmation of one basic idea: i’m a guitarist and a writer, i love doing both, and NOTHING will stand in my way of being what i’m supposed to be, even if i’m shitty at them…. I AM ME. It’s all i can be. And i need to do it more.

So putting bigger thoughts and feelings aside, i’ve been getting back at it in a big way. Sort of a pre scenery and fish feeling to tell you the truth, and it’s currently consuming me. We have recently built a new studio (The Mother’s Hip) that me and my brother are putting to really good use, and it now feels like music and creativity are my driving forces again, and i feel like screaming. Whatever sound this scream makes, time will tell, but at least my mouth is open.

Its funny, but when Chris shows up here and its just me and him jamming, it gives us this weird full circle feeling as it is how we started IME. Most of the music from Dig are riffs from that period. Just the two of us being together, playing with no real purpose but to make as big a sound as we can with only the ability and instincts that we had at the time. Nostalgia aside, the results now are really exciting.

As much as we actually prefer to have everybody together making music and having a laugh, our circumstances unfortunately don’t allow it. We play differently when its just me and him. We’ve been doing it since i was 13 and he was 15. Our instincts take over and we don’t really speak, we just keep playing and move as a unit to where the songs tell us to go. It gets my blood going when we get onto something …. yes, i still have blood, who knew? (no chocos here!) It’s great to stop thinking, put the cell phones away and just let things flow, always trying to play at the limit of our abilities. There are no rules. Heaven.

The other day we played and i went to bed freaking out and singing the riffs we hammered out. How long has it been since that happened? It also makes me feel like my own playing is getting better and better and keeps me striving to wring every tone out of my hands that i can find…. and i am gratefully finding so many new ones! The experience is putting me in touch with my capabilities as a player, and opening me up to discover more possibilities as a musician too. I think for my brother as well… He still thinks im an asshole though of course. (he’s only tired of me MELTING HIS FACE!)

So what the hell do we do now? Basically we have a really solid group of tunes shaping up that we are starting to be really satisfied with and want them finished. The next stage is starting to demo them so I can work a little deeper and get them into a comfortable shape for recording. We’ll have to get Byrnesy flown in to get familiar with the tunes and to start tracking too! Excited for that for sure! No timeline just yet as we are still jamming and I have this well documented habit of hitting “delete” depending on what side of the bed I woke up on!

Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard this before and blah blah blah…. (Yes i read the bitching on some pages, and shame on some of you for some of that other shit… being misinformed is a horrible excuse no?) but really i dont care. Things get done when they get done and its not for a lack of desire to do so… I can promise you that. You live your life, I live mine and hopefully somewhere in between we are sharing something beautiful.

But this is promising…. Very.

Another blog coming soon too. The ideas keep coming….

Ama a tu Mamá

jT

JIGGS SAYS HE’S GONE AWAY TO SPAIN

First off, I had been planning to release a new post right after the St. Catharines show to share some quick thoughts, and tell you what was immediately ahead, but it just wasn’t meant to happen. Sounds simple, right? My intentions were definitely good, but I became completely sidetracked and lost on this overwhelming journey of personal and professional discovery. It is only now that I feel focused enough to string more than two words together for you. I make no guarantees that they will make any sense but nonetheless, here we go.

I start this not at the beginning, nor the end, but right in the middle… sitting in a fucking plane and breathing hard. A release of stress perhaps, or anticipation of what lies ahead. All I feel is this strange turbulence… it will more than likely be a tad worse when we leave the ground.

It is only a couple of days after the St. Catharines show and my mind and body are finally starting to adjust. The chaos leading up to any IME show now, and the anxiety of just wanting to be a good fucking band for our fans seems to take a toll. More now than ever. I am not delicate in most ways, but I admit that keeping my fingers crossed hoping that we have our collective shit in order keeps me up at night. Lack of sleep and lack of rehearsal makes Jag a dull boy. (I feel a need to apologize for that third person reference! Sorry.)

Looking back at the shows, I really can’t be anything but satisfied. We now know that the “I Is Us” concept can work. I would be lying if i said we were supremely confident at the moment of announcing these shows, but as they approached, we just knew it would be okay. The potential for strange things to happen during an event like this is always one comment or question away, and has scared many an artist away from allowing a direct connection to their own fans. We aren’t perfect and don’t care if you know, so we put ourselves on display, invited you all to “have at ‘er!” and basically keep our fingers crossed. I have to say that we were completely floored by all of you once again. The intelligent and meaningful questions posed and a willingness to listen intently to our sometimes rambling, nonsensical chatter shows music fans everywhere that we have a really unique and special relationship with our audience.

Moving forward with this, we have more ideas and will be opening the lines of communication a bit more with all of you to see how you would like us to shape this thing! A huge thanks really has to go out to all of the people who helped us accomplish this:

Chris and Zeke, thanks for putting the entire thing together which I know was a huge pain in the ass. You kept all of us informed enough to keep us excited, and sheltered us from all of the bullshit that goes with your thankless job. Huge thanks, but next time I need directions to the venue. Daniel, Fatty and Chuck for continually showing up to rehearsals even though you either live extremely far away or work way too much! Our awesome crew of Mike, Adrian and Joe for putting in the long hours and making the best of bad situations and making the good ones even better.

This brings us to: “Why the hell were you sitting on a plane and breathing really hard?” Good question. In one moment I have this answer perfectly clear, and in the next, I am asking myself the exact same question.

You see, I don’t travel well. It is strange to say out loud sometimes but the facts are as follows: I don’t like loud sounds, I am totally uncomfortable and anxious around large groups of people, I don’t feel good in strange places, and I hate to leave home! Man, I really picked a solid career path! Yet here I was, sitting on a plane, on my way to Spain. (I hope it doesn’t rain, that would be a pain). Spain!! How did this happen!? I will try to explain Spain, the plane, the rain and the pain… as clearly as possible but it deals more with a feeling than any solid reason I can offer.

I have never felt compelled to do anything in my life more than go to Spain. Notice I use the word “compelled”, and not “want”. I feel like I had no choice in this. My personal and professional life has been greatly affected, even compromised by this obsession. I had let so many things fall by the wayside in this attempt to address what I now know was very necessary, to go. Simply put, an old obsession with Flamenco came back and hit full force right in my core and has basically taken over my universe. At this very moment in my life, something has opened my soul wide open and permitted me to absorb and understand this extremely deep and meaningful information. I know now that I wasn’t prepared to handle this when I was younger, but now it won’t let me look away, or allow me to treat it as a passing fancy… it constantly calls out to me, and I don’t know why. In order for my life to move ahead, I seriously need to find answers and understanding, and I need this to happen now.

People more or less know that i have a very obsessive personality but those close to me know that this is somehow different; the feeling is relentless, and in turn has made me relentless. I feel like I am on a strange quest, but one that my mind isn’t allowed to participate in. My body is just going where it is compelled to go, and my mind is really only along for the ride, and to deal with potential consequences. So off to Spain I go. Not Barcelona or Madrid mind you… there is only Sevilla for me, and hopefully there lies my truth.

So sitting on a plane and breathing hard seems pretty tame compared to what might happen when I get there… I really had no idea.

Sevilla, in the end, was all of the things I imagined it would be, yet my path to discovering this was absolutely different than I had imagined. I went into this feeling awkward and unsure as I have never done anything like this before, because it is totally outside of my comfort zone. Almost immediately though upon landing in Madrid and hopping on the train to Sevilla, (and completely stuffing my face full of Conguitos at the same time… fucking evil things!) I had an extremely strange sense of calm. Excited like a child yes, but surprisingly free of any of my usual anxieties. This is abnormal for me as I’m anxious just shopping for groceries at the local supermarket! It seemed to be the start of something good and an overall theme to the trip. I started feeling, well… normal!

My time there was probably the most interesting and enlightening time of my life. I had all of these plans to do this and to do that like a typical tourist, but soon realized that Spain had other plans for me. I lived very simply, controlled nothing and knew that other forces would now dictate my movements. Once I gave up this control and let things happen as they may, I felt relaxed and at ease with just about everything. I am learning that control isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be… as long as you have confidence and trust in the people around you (a foreign concept to me as of late, but hey, maybe in Spain! Go Team!!!). So a more authentic experience was offered and given to me via some truly awesome people, and I thank them all for this, even the ones I hated! (It meant more to me than you can imagine… en serio!) I had said many times on this trip that “I feel like I have been here before”. Never in my life have I experienced this sensation in all of my travels and even now I can’t explain it, but it had me by the balls and I couldn’t shake it. And even though I tried very hard NOT to be a tourist, unfortunately i’m cursed with the face of one! Thank god there were fucking Germans everywhere to distract the locals from my obvious whiteness!! I would have traded my baby blues in for browns in a heartbeat!

The search for Flamenco was of course, always in my mind throughout my trip, but I think I discovered fairly quickly that I was missing the point entirely. I needed to stop looking and just let Flamenco find it’s way to me. I don’t think it is a “thing” as much as it is a “feeling” floating in the air alongside you with every step. I believe that something inside of you must be willing to let Flamenco find it’s place alongside your deepest thoughts, and reach beyond the superficial of sight and sound. Now, the obvious thing to do is to just open your ears and hear it in every store, every passing car, see it in every image, etc., but I found the most meaning by just living alongside the people. Flamenco mimics the dynamic of their society: it resembles their conversation, their anger and frustration, the way they love, the easy way they treat each other, and in the way they move. (ok, and maybe in the way I screamed “Jodér!!!” every single time I ate fucking Salmorejo and Tostadas at Cinco Jotas!!)

Flamenco is the heartbeat of the Andalusian people, and it definitely reaches way beyond any single piece of music I could ever discover or performance I could witness. This is music with lineage, and one that gives great respect and admiration to past and present Masters. They are rockstars not for being “popular”, but for being the brilliantly gifted musicians that they are. There is a definite line drawn, and you are either a Master, or you are not. Mediocrity is not celebrated, it is scorned. Even the younger generation that was force fed the music of their parents and now only listen to other forms of music, still respect the music of their people. The same guy that worships Metallica would still stop and tip his hat to Paco De Lucia or Manolo Sanlúcar. Not because they are popular, but because they represent perfection. I truly love this. Even if this style of music isn’t a part of their lives, they are still humble and aware enough to recognize that it is in their blood, part of their identities, and there is no escaping it. Now, knowing this, how can I ever truly connect with this music unless I understand where it comes from? This music is so rich in history, and forged with the deepest of emotions that I truly believe it must be ‘experienced’ vs. ‘listened to’. You either get it, or you don’t. But be prepared if you do… trust me.

Okay, first off, let me clarify that this is by no means a declaration of my intent to take a huge left turn and go “Flamenco”! The last thing the world needs is another white guy trying to learn Flamenco, striving for mediocrity… there is nothing worse than bad emotionless flamenco, or bad Blues for that matter. These are styles best left to the masters unless you are blessed and have tapped into something special. The Blues is another pure form of emotion that people trivialized by attempting to play it having not lived it. These forms of music are sacred so just… well… don-do-dat!!!! However, that being said there is always something to be gained in absorbing the spirit of music from around the world vs. the notes. Inspiration never has to be so literal. If the Masters of Flamenco give me hope, faith and pride in being a musician, then so be it, i’m going with it! It is inspiration in it’s purest form. Joy.

I think that perhaps I have been extremely affected by rejoining the ranks as a “professional musician” in some of the best ways imaginable, but in some of the most horrific ways as well. Quizás, quizás, quizás! Not horrific in the classic sense, and I certainly apologize for potentially trivializing true ‘horrific-ness’, but to a musician, it does indeed ring true. This simple thought haunts me every day …Why do we do what we do? I should clarify, as this isn’t a commentary about all musicians (I already know this answer in a lot of instances), but more specifically, why do I do what I do? I always seem to be on this crazy search for this 14 year old kid-in-the-basement version of myself that played music just for the sake of music. Yes, he was an asshole too but looking back, it’s probably the happiest I think I have ever been as a musician. Think about it: I had no idea what success was, no concept of creative rights or wrongs, and could really give two shits about what people thought. It was nothing but dedication, inspiration, self innovation… and lots and lots of boners! Nothing has really changed actually, except the circumstances. I like to believe that I have had a career that was still based in these innocent concepts in many ways, but I am not sure I have entirely convinced myself yet. There is much more to learn, and so much more to do in order to make me a believer.

Please don’t think this is some “whoa is me”, or an “I’m such a fucking tortured artist” kind of story, it really isn’t. As humorous as I find some of those stories, like I said before; I’m not that delicate. (maybe a bit of a princess but hey, who isn’t!?) I can either drive a tractor, work in a factory or play music and still be a believer that life does indeed have meaning. I just wanted to share some things with you that I deal with everyday when I get out of bed in the morning, and hopefully you can relate in some way. My only real problem is the aforementioned “relentlessness” of my mind and how I need to cope sometimes. Maybe sometimes you feel the same.

Since the Re-Onion, I can honestly say it’s been fantastic playing guitar again. It has taken me 8 years of not touching a guitar to understand how big a part of me it is, and to fall in love once more. Internal and external horseshit aside, I’m feeling extremely connected to my guitar. It has become religious once again, and very similar to when I was a kid discovering new things everyday. Every single time I “step up to the plate” now when we play live, I feel I might finally be able to say something poignant and meaningful to you, or maybe even speak on your behalf. Maybe I am trying to convey an emotion you are having or perhaps one we share, or just massaging your musical souls… yes, happy ending included. Even if I fail, I’m always grateful for the opportunity to speak!

So where does this leave me? I have no idea. The future is of course yet to be written. I started to believe that this trip was a life changing event, but really it isn’t. It is only becomes life changing at the moment I decide to do something with the information and the inspiration obtained. Time will tell. For now, let’s just call it a game changer. Definitely a musical and personal game changer. Yep, that feels right! (is that a Judas Priest song? How come everytime I type it I sing it like Rob Halford?)

So for now, I leave for home packed to the gills with new ideas, new friends, and a new perspective… sitting on another plane and breathing hard, headed for home. This time, zero turbulence.

Andalucía, we will meet again… maybe… probably… later… soon.

love to all
jT

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We Gots The Nug…

Well, here I am sitting down in a small town McDonalds contemplating writing another blog (and apparently doing so) but not too sure where to begin. I am hoping that watching people stuff their washed out wintery faces with all kinds of nuggetry will spark something special. The strange contrast between what I am seeing and smelling with the wonderous sounds of Vicente in my ears is kind of groovy. (I think Nana over there is actually chewing in perfect rhythm to this particular Bulerias!) So, given my particular surroundings, I have a feeling this will be more of a “nug” than a “blog”…. bear with me.

Well the past year has been a bit of a blur, filled with awesomeness and a familiar kind of internal insanity that keeps things interesting and always ridiculous Even to this day I still don’t know where any of it is going, or myself for that matter. So maybe it’s best I attempt to break down the current state of affairs and see where it leads me.

(hold on a sec….. i’m currently using my powers to deter a gang of little monkeys to NOT sit beside me… no, no, no, no, no…….fuck. Enjoy your nuggets.)

So as a lot of you know, we have just started announcing more shows. Hooray. Actually I really mean that. (here, cut and paste these… “!!!!!!”) We have held off playing for awhile because we are thinking a bit more conceptually now and needed more of an overall strategy in order to make it interesting. Believe it or not, it has been a difficult thing to accomplish with so many moving parts and obviously, opinions. I’m notoriously bad with this “outside opinion” thing but luckily and thankfully I have people around me (Chris and Zeke) that are great at this whole “working with people” thing… I have a ways to go “apparently”. We basically ended up saying “fuck it”, put the IME blinders on, and went for it… and now I am once again “interested”!!

Overuse of quotations aside, we didn’t really think the concept is that difficult. 2 shows, one day: A late afternoon, intimate, “deconstructed” acoustic performance with Q and A, followed by 2.5 – 3 hours of a full tilt IME show. We know that tickets are fucking crazy expensive these days for all artists, and just want to make sure our audiences know that we are willing to work our asses off for it, and for them. (I recently had some friends pay $125 for tickets to see some supposedly iconic Canadian band and they played for exactly 65 min, no encore….. fuck…. that…..seriously… you…. old….fucks)

(wait……. why am I “hearing” this guy eat his fucking McFlurry?? What the hell is in there!! I have headphones on for christ’s sake … mierda !!)

Ok, while I can’t promise exactly 5 hours of music every night, you get the point. We just want to offer a real experience to our fans, and play what we want, for as long as we want. No restrictions, no rules. This needs a couple of things to happen in order to move ahead: a decent band, great fans, flexible venues, amazing promotion partners, and strong fucking legs. Outside of the leg thing I think we have everything in order.

Let’s go to the beginning: for us it was Oakville. We played the Oakville Center for the Performing Arts, and have to say that this experience opened our eyes to many possibilities. First off, the main reason we ended up here was a man named Ronnie Brown and I need to say thanks. He basically went way outside the box and said “I want them here”. IME in a “soft seater”….hmmmm. A gamble perhaps in a lot of smaller minds, but not his, and definitely not ours. He didn’t know what to expect, and neither did we. What ended up happening was a real beautiful thing as it was sold out, our fans were respectful to the theatre (which was a definite concern), we played as long as we wanted (3h 20m), did a kick ass Q and A after that, and all parties involved left feeling great. This is a huge deal and a sacred synergy for a band like us… this “Trinity of Satisfaction” (I think it exists in porn too…) Basically, we just want the people spending the money to be satisfied that this IME partnership is good for all, and I think we achieved this on the night. So a huge thank you to the awesome staff in Oakville and the fans for getting thing started off right! We will see you again soon!

While we didn’t include the acoustic portion at this particular show, we have always known it can work, with the right partners involved. So with the announcement of the next batch of shows, IME just wants to point out our more unique and open minded friends who have jumped into this concept along with us (and you).

April 25th – LONDON (london concert theatre)
We have been dying to get back here since the huge show in the summer. London fans are awesome and every time we are there we end up going home with a lot of things to talk about. Going back to do our thing here is huge for us and we are really pumped up. Of course this is the full monty, with an acoustic performance and Q and A for a handful of people before the bigger show. London is specially noted because FM96 were the first ones to play “We Got the Love” (and the full version too!…yes there is a solo in the fucking song!) and consistently stayed on top of this tune for what seemed like an eternity… this is unheard of these days it seems. Somebody bless these people for doing the right thing!! ( I’d say god bless or something but judging from the table next to me… he might be busy elsewhere!!) So a massive thanks to Mark Cameron, Brad Gibb, and the entire team at FM96… I think I owe you another song.

April 26th – St. CATHARINES (caw hall)
Again, a fantastic place for us to play. 97.7 HTZfm is one of those stations that has always been there for IME. Our history goes back all the way to the beginning with these guys and it’s awesome to move ahead on a concept together… just like uh… really… old….times. Again we will do the whole concept here if nobody dies the night before in London. (even then, we’ll improvise…) So a huge, full eye contact kiss on the openmouth of Paul Morris, Bruce Gilbert and the entire gang there!!

April 18th – OSHAWA (the marquee)
It feels like ages since we played here (well, since we played anywhere!) and we are really juiced up to try this out in the ‘SHWA with our friends at The Rock 94.9!! (sorry to use the term ”SHWA”…. it kind of makes me feel mildly inappropriate like using the term “taint” or “choad” in mixed company!) The Rock has been wickedly supportive of us and we are pumped to go and try this crazy thing out!! To Doug Elliot and the gang, we salute you and can’t wait to tickle the collective “SHWAS” of your fine community!

So this is it for now. We have more shows like this in May as well that we will announce shortly. What we are really trying to do is to bring this concept coast to coast, but first steps first. Be patient and just think, “those Ontario shows will suck compared to what we get out here, with all a’dem bugs having to be ironed out!!” That should make you feel somewhat better.

New songs on the go, but currently hating everything …. zzzzzzzzzz.

Fuck, I need to get out of here fast and escape all the nom nom nom …. and find me some om om om ! I’m getting a little edgy and almost all of my senses are rebelling. I’m feeling stressed and I’m pretty sure that although I didn’t eat anything, I’ll still have the cacarells …. grazie McDonalds.

(¡para mi cuerpo!, ¡para mi cuerpo!… te quiero mucho….) Gracias Tomatito.

hope you enjoyed my “Nug”.

jT

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The Legend of Johnny Reno (1941-2012)

Ok, I realize I haven’t said anything on here in a long time but I assure you the onslaught is a comin’.  For now though, it can wait, as I really just need to pay a proper and well deserved tribute to my biggest influence and mentor, my father Jack, (aka Uncle Jack, Sensei Jack, John, Johnny Reno, Jack Norris, the Summer Jesus, and of course, the Hamilton Hamaconda).

This week marks the passing of my dad after a crazy and mostly insane 5 year battle with prostate and bone cancer and I think writing about it to all of you today is A) incredibly therapeutic for me and B) a shitload better than some crappy ol’ facebook “R.I.P. dude, hevn jus gotza nutha angel yo!”.  Actually, I really don’t mind those but let’s keep it for the people we love as opposed to some whack job celebrity that people decide to suddenly care about.

So, as for this being some serious and somber O-bit… sorry, not gonna happen.  Dad would have hated that as it definitely isn’t the tone he wanted set with regards to his sickness or eventual passing.  He always enjoyed reading my blogs, cussin’ aside of course, and especially loved reading the comments from all of you!  What better way to pay tribute than to well, talk with you!  He really would have loved this!  I won’t go into too many deeply personal thoughts here as i’m still sorting through these particular feelings myself at the moment as you can imagine, so I’ll keep it based on what you guys are more in tune with and give a little insight into what makes us brothers tick. He was the mellow king of no-drama so a light hearted look it will be…

When I look back at my own history, there is no greater influence on my professional career than Dad.  While I always feel that I am in tune with the whole “where I come from” concept, a lot was learned or rather remembered this past week in the hospital.  It’s common for musicians to always site their influences and all that jazz in interviews, or to whoever will listen, and I am no exception (I wear them proudly on my sleeve at all times!!).  Going back a little further you have to ask yourself, “Why the hell am I even playing guitar? How did I get here?”  Was it as simple as hearing Hemispheres or Van Halen 1?  For me, no.  That particular bit of awesomeness happened a little bit later.  The gateway had to be pried open by somebody!  For me, it was Dad.

One of the biggest things that defined Dad for a lot of people was that he was a musician.  It’s one of those things that defines an entire household actually as it adds this really fun and crazy element to a home that a lot of people just can’t understand.  Very early in his life, his path was basically laid out for him, work in the factory by day, play music at night, and hope you make some money at one of them.  Growing up in Hamilton in the ’50s, and as the eldest of 7 kids, this was nothing new, just his everyday reality and some good ol’ fashioned survival, which never seemed to end!  I still remember him loading up the car after supper to get set up for a gig or rehearsal that night, not knowing then that he was, in his words, “busting his hump” just to support his three growing boys and stay at home wife.  Shit, I didn’t know we were expensive! Sometimes you would hear him returning home, dragging his gear back into the house after a gig, and with the smell of Moo-Goo-Gai-Pan wafting up the stairs, listen to him and Mom talk into the night, with a little bit of Van Morrison thrown in for good measure. The odd time we would sneak down to say hi, especially if he dragged one of his band mates along for some grub. (usually just some Italian guy wanting to add his homemade sopressat’ to the night’s haul!)   Biggest thing learned looking back: he was never late for work the next morning.

Outside of using music to support us financially, Dad was also the kind of guy never to shy away from playing, whether at parties or even a Saturday night barn dance with my banjo playin’ Grandpa.  These memories stick with me the most as it was the only way we got to experience Dad in his natural habitat, we were too small for the real gigs and these moments were like magic to us!  He somehow seemed taller, and well, more important. The memories of just how happy everybody was once the guitars came out really stuck with all of us through the years, and I would kill to witness just one more.  Now, for a time this was one of the traits that I could never get my head around, and as musicians we were at exact opposite ends of the spectrum in one respect: he always enjoyed making people happy with music at any moment and I selfishly believe I can’t make anybody happy with music but will begrudgingly try… when I feel like it.  I’ve since learned that music doesn’t work this way.  This bugged him I think although he would never tell me, but inside I think he was always thinking “Why are you being such a little asshole? Do you play? Or do you not play?”  No worries, he called everybody an asshole, even if he loved you!

Growing older it was pretty much the same week in, week out at our house until one fateful morning …

I remember the day I got my first instrument that WASN’T a cheap ass flute/recorder thingy like it was yesterday … it was a shiny silver set of Stewart Drums!  Yes, I was a drummer and yes, I kicked ass (feet o’ Ginger Baker, hands o’ Gene Krupa, attitude and hair… pure LARS).  Back at that time, this was a huge deal to a kid of 12 as you can imagine, even with the scientifically proven potential to shoot your eye out.  We had that thing set up in my bedroom and ready for punishment within 10 minutes flat.  Dad couldn’t afford the entire kit, mind you, so we used an old cardboard drum with a tin lid/tea towel combo for a floor tom.  Good to go.  A handful of lessons and one Carmine Appice instruction booklet later, (with included floppy 45 record) I was pretty much on top of Rock Mountain.  Dad kept the encouragement going even though I’m sure listening to me was akin to a baby giraffe falling down the stairs…  albeit with AWESOME hair!!!  ”Wipeout” was my bitch, and will never be the same…for anybody.

And then on yet another fateful morning 2 years later…

“Son, have you ever tried this here guitar?”  I was conflicted but I guess the writing was on the wall.  Apparently, while I was out frosting my tips, Chris was practicing drums too, and he made it all the way to the SECOND chapter of Carmine’s book!!  WTF???  Dad had noticed of course and saw an opening: “You see son, with THIS thing you get to stand out front where the lights can shine down upon that silky mane and bring further notice to that formidable cod piece… Chris has red hair and freckles, he’ll be fine back there….”  SOLD!!  I was 14 I think, and still had lots of clay yet to be moulded, and I had Dad to get me started in the right direction, so why not?  From that day on, there were countless times Mom or Dad would come downstairs and tell me to stop playing and go to bed, “It’s a school night for christ sake!!”  I think Dad knew what he was doing, and with his simple promise of one day being able to melt faces, my future was pretty much set.

Dad then went on to build us a bonafide rehearsal space in the basement which we then proceeded to abuse every…. single…. day.  We called it ‘the Cooler’ because he made it out of white styrofoam panels and it was either -20 or +100 degrees in there.  Maybe ‘the Thermos’ was more fitting.  It kind of smelled like glue but overall a pretty damn-cool-super-wicked-awesome place for us to hang with friends and play music.  Almost every single day after school, it was rehearsal. Rehearsal for what? Nothing, only to be better than we were the day before.  Dad would come home from work everyday and sit in the kitchen directly above us and read the paper, waiting for us to finish to give us either props or silence.  Props good… silence bad.  We always got good kitchen reviews for our Maiden covers, but I think it was just because he really liked Maiden.  (our first experience with a biased reviewer!)  He never really gave a negative criticism, except telling me that I sing like a cat with his tail caught in the screen door.  I was like Peter Brady for crying out loud at that time and I was changing… my cod piece barely fit anymore, my voice was warbly, and I was getting these crazy velvetine little ‘staches under my arms!!  Tough times indeed.  For this, I thank you dear Father, I have thought of you every single time I’ve stepped up to the mic for the past 30 years.  You and well…. chicks.

Work ethic was king to Dad.  This is exactly why Chris and myself work the way we do and the way we have always approached IME.  We rehearsed every day no matter what, and always got the work done before fun.  This applied to my Dad’s days in a shitty factory, my own days in a shitty factory, and most of all, as musicians (in a shitty business!).  Basically, you make your deal, and approach it the same way every day regardless of personal benefit.  Rule #1: If you accept the work, don’t let anybody down.  There are no sick days.

Funny story: one day later in high school or just after, I started seeing this ‘chick’ who kept hanging around rehearsals at the house, kind of getting in the way of what Dad considered to be our ‘work’.  She was a little older than me and smelled like Pina Coladas, a deadly combo.  He must have had a really bad day at the shop because when he heard us horsing around and playing just awful day after day in the basement, accomplishing nothing, he busted into the room pointed at her and basically said “YOU… get the fuck out, don’t come back, and YOU guys, get back to work and stop sucking!!”.  Man, he was really angry!  We had a Yoko before we even had a real band, or even understood what a Yoko was!  Dad did though, and thankfully handed down his Yokometer (pat. pending) to us as we moved along.  More bands should have this. Outside forces fucking everything up… sound familiar?  All things in life must be approached the same way, you are either in or out, including life itself.  Approach life as a ‘no dabble’ zone and things will always work out.  Outside of personal hygiene, we have approached EVERYTHING the exact same way and I’m reminded of this every time I smell coconuts.

One last funny thing about Dad.  He was a black belt in Judo and ran his own Dojo at one point in our basement (until the great flood of ’73) and right up until the end, he always insisted on wearing pants with a 29.5″ inseam.  He was about 68-69 years old when this topic came up again as we all never really understood why he was so uptight about his goddamn inseam.  His dead serious answer, “What if I was walking down the street and had to defend your mother’s honor?  I wouldn’t be able to roundhouse kick anybody if my foot’s caught in my pants!”  Lesson learned: no matter how old and seemingly crazy your folks get, there is always some nugget of wisdom on offer.  “With ears open, mouth closed, you will then be able to feast upon the knowledge buffet.”

So there you go, just a little bit of info on my Pops.  Just thought I would share some simple anecdotes about our sometimes crazy family and tell you that he was a good man.  A damn good man.  I kind of feel good sharing this with you all as he wasn’t really concerned with very many things outside of his family and friends, the band, and our fans.  He was always really happy when you guys seemed excited, and pissed when something was even remotely negative. (yeah i’m looking at you edLov3R1996!)  Believe it or not, through all of the years of us playing, all of the conversation online (all the way back to the Palace Chat!) and the countless shows he went to, he still recognized and remembered a lot of the names and faces he has met along the way.  He says continue to be nice to his boys and he’ll always back you up with all 29.5″.  Don’t be afraid, just breathe and be very still.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about lately is that a lot of you guys have actually grown up alongside us as well.  We all have parents or other family members advancing on in years and it kind of puts us all in this same crazy boat… this really weird zone of inevitable heartbreak.  My family isn’t any more special than yours, and we have and will continue to face the same types of crises as all of you… this is just our moment.  It seems that every day/week one of you guys loses somebody as well, and I just wanted to let you know we’re thinking about you.

If you feel so inclined, send a little shout out this way to my Mom, who’s been with Dad since they were kids, and has taken care of him for years and years dealing with this complete douche of an illness.  She’s got your back now, but she’s keeping her inseam a mystery.

Thanks gang… I feel really good writing this, and you are much appreciated as always.  Today is a new beginning for many things, and I am now more energized and ready for the new concepts coming for IME and myself.  We’ll talk soon but for now, it’s all about Mom and Dad.

So, while I admit that Johnny Reno wasn’t a household name or a true legend, he sure as hell was to us.

Be good to each other and love your mothers… for realz yo.

P.S. Dear Dad, I don’t know where you ended up, but if it’s any shade of white with lots of comfortable seating, don’t roundhouse kick anybody in the face who has a beard, just to be safe.  (pretty sure Jesus is a ninja or somethin’)  And if you smell coconuts… uh, yeah, good luck with that.

Love you always,

jT

 

 

Wednesday Bloody Wednesday

Okay gang… some goings-on in IME land that we really need to gab about.

First off, the success of everything from the shows, to the song, the amount of new fans, and reconnecting with so many of our old ones has been nothing short of incredible. You all know by now that we had no real plan to continue past the Sound Academy shows but kind of lucked into the incredibly fortunate position of being able to…. thank you for all of this.

Within the band, the conversation then became more about how to make it all work now that we live in different cities/countries, have other professional interests and more importantly, various family commitments. We all knew what we wanted to do, it was just a question of how.

There were so many logistical problems getting the past shows together where it felt like they were always an inch away from not happening! A scary thought for us… in basically 18 years of touring I can only recall 2 shows where we cancelled. It’s just not something we do.

The past run of shows taught us some very valuable lessons about how we need to do this moving forward to make it all work. The main issue we face for every show is whether Bruce is able to fly in and do them. We are forced to commit to every show many months in advance without really knowing if Bruce can even make it. (look at Van. show… tickets are on sale and it’s in November!). Bruce can never give a solid answer to us until much closer to the actual show date, so it’s always fingers crossed until we get the call. Much to Bruce’s credit, he has found a way to make it to every single one, sacrificing his work with the Blue Man Group, and taking time away from his new baby just days before the Nickelback tour!

This has led us down the path of at least discussing options regarding all of our shows. The repercussions of backing out of shows at the last minute would basically devastate us in many ways… the legal ramifications being the absolute worst, and giving our agent a heart attack a close second! We all looked at the way The Blue Man Group handles things when Bruce leaves to join us for shows and it presented us a very tempting albeit somewhat unorthodox option: the Understudy. Somebody on constant standby who can step in on a moments notice if Bruce can’t make it due to work, family or simply having a flight cancelled the morning of!

The idea of using an Understudy is nothing new in theatre productions but in a rock band? Never! The way we look at it, every other facet of IME’s existence has been operating outside of conventional processes successfully enough so why not go against the grain once again? It’s either make the attempt or never book another show.

So with open minds we started our search for somebody who could a) play the parts, b) understand and respect the concept, c) bruce enjoys working with and d) isn’t a douche. We were thinking about taking the remainder of this year to find the right guy and work with him to develop our show over a good chunk of time but that plan has been thrown out the window. The time is now… yes, holy crap!

ENTER THE CHUCK

We had always thought that Chuck D from The Salads could be a candidate for stepping in as he fits all of the aforementioned criteria perfectly and we’ve known him for ages. He had stepped in for Bruce on some rehearsals before the last couple of shows and really helped us get ready. Yes it was strange and at times we sounded like we were falling down stairs but we knew it could work over time. After all, one does not simply “fill in” for Bruce. He has crazy robot hands and scissor kicks for crying out loud! Not to mention being a fixture on stage left with us for almost 2 decades!

We got the call last week from Bruce that the inevitable has indeed happened and we will have to do the next round of shows without him. It was admittedly a huge holy shit moment as I wasn’t really prepared to deal with this just yet, but Rock waits for no man and we all jumped on figuring out solutions. My first idea was of course, “Fuck it… I’m going fishing!” (apparently I can get sued for going fishing. Who knew?). Once the shock of the situation subsided we put our heads together and implemented plan B. Chuck had no idea.

The time between hearing the news and the actual shows was pretty tight (w/Slash in Belleville and London) so we went into this crazy ‘crammin’ for the exam’ mode. Well, actually Chuck did. I started sending him audio tracks and notes and meeting with him, and Bruce started communicating with him and sending him iphone videos of some of the parts that might cause some trouble. (quick aside: Bruce cut the videos in his full Blue Man make-up as it was in between shows! Just sayin’!)

So I guess you get a pretty clear picture of the chaos of the last couple of days. Of course, we did a quick rehearsal to see where were at and were really shocked at the amount of work that Chuck has put in. Rehearsal was more or less flawless (outside of my brother’s clams) and I think we left feeling really relieved and confident that we won’t let anybody down. We’re nervous, Bruce is nervous and Chuck is probably shitting bricks. Daniel still refers to him as Not-Bruce. Chileans are very loyal, he’ll come ’round.

So. There you have it. Big changes for all of us but maybe a blessing at the same time. It has to be this way or we basically disappear again, and we just aren’t ready to stop. When Bruce does get that opportunity to join us for shows, he of course will, and without the burden of his home/professional life weighing heavy. It’s the way we have to proceed to be successful and keep having fun, and having everybody in our organization on the same page with this is paramount to success. Yes it’s fucking strange but since when have we ever played by the rules? When we do we fail. Never again.

So today we have a big crazy rock show to do. Here’s what I expect from the IMEnation:

1) disappointment. It’s like the tidal bore…It’s okay, I feel the same.
2) understanding of what we are trying to do
3) support for Bruce who is understandably devastated at the situation
4) support for Chuck who has dropped everything to help Bruce and IME out and allow us to continue playing
5) I don’t know… Maybe a pie or something

Bruce will be making a little statement as well so give him some love, and I will be available to handle some questions. I’ll get Chuck to put down some thoughts too as his perspective is entirely different and probably kind of funny.

So, with all of this being revealed, don’t get into any high school bullshit comments or I will probably just tell you off… I’m too old for that old style horseshit, I have enough stress right now. Understand first what we are trying to accomplish here, breathe a little, THEN type. Remember: We want this to work for everybody.

Wish us luck today and tomorrow. We will fucking rock both cities first and then regroup for the next adventure. Never a dull moment.

As always,
Love your Mothers

Jt

Creative Minds United! IME pays it forward…

Alrighty gang… time to run some new ideas past you to see what y’all think, and try and get you more involved creatively in all things IME.

I have always believed that there are way more creative people out there that you haven’t heard of vs. the ones that you have (or maybe I should say the ones that you are allowed to hear about?). Throughout my own career I have been consistently surprised and wowed by the creativity that many people possess, while at the same time deeply bothered at the chances that anybody will ever know them. To me, this is an unacceptable and unfair situation that really needs some solutions.

I really believe it’s all about opportunity, and that anyone can shine given the right set of circumstances. The same rule applies across all artistic mediums: put the right talent in front of the right audience at the right time. There isn’t a successful artist out there where this rule hasn’t applied. Ever wonder how some obviously god awful band, singer or actor became successful? Yes, the proverbial casting couch still exists, but really all it took was catching the right audience (who has something to offer) at the right time, and relating to them in some way. Seems kind of simple no? At this point in my own career I really think that IME and my company SegmentX, have enough resources to get more creative people noticed… why shouldn’t this happen to you?

Here is what I’m thinking:

We are looking for creative people to get involved with us on many different levels (including live visuals, merchandise, videos, photography etc.) and allow us to help you strut your stuff. We want to gather as many of you together for this project and use our own resources to get your work and ideas in front of as many people as we can, and perhaps help you advance your career, maybe find you some additional opportunities, and hopefully find ways to make you some money along the way! This isn’t about ownership of you or your work in any way, but we now have the opportunity to take our own good fortune and pay it forward to the people who helped make us what we are today.

IME has always been about working together with our fans to accomplish our goals, so why not make it more official? We want to take the idea of “fan participation” to a pretty serious level and allow you all to add your own creativity to what we do. I would actually love all other creative aspects of what we do outside of music, created by our fans (or somebody that our fans know). Can you imagine gaining some notoriety or even making money back from all of the bands that you are into? I may be dreaming but I really think there are some possibilities here, and we are currently working on some scenarios in which you just might!

We do not care about where you come from, what experience you may or may not have, who you know, or what your cat does in its spare time… Just be incredibly creative and be seriously involved in the concept! (it kind of goes without saying, don’t be an asshole! Natch!)

Current IME needs:

Merchandise
We will take as many designs as possible: shirts/stickers/posters, etc. We have upcoming shows and need a ton of ideas. Can be as simple or complicated as you like. Would like to pick 5 asap for upcoming touring throughout the summer so hurry. We also know many other bands looking for ideas and will gladly connect you with those opportunities.

Additionally, we will need designs for things like single artwork, web images etc. as do a ton of other bands. Even if what you design doesn’t fit our own immediate needs, your style may fit better with somebody else we know.

Visual Artists and Filmmakers
As IME moves forward, we want to include a lot of video within our live show and are looking for short films, graphic compilations and all kinds of other cinematic weirdness/awesomeness to play along with our tunes. Absolutely no rules here outside of making something fit within the timeframe of a tune. Brian and I are also going to start this new deconstructed idea/tour and want to include a ton of visuals within the set.

We Got The Love… and the next batch of tunes are begging for videos, not in the traditional sense mind you, just visual interpretations of our songs. We may even make ourselves available to be filmed for the right concept if it helps. You totally have our permission to go nuts and make something groovy with our tunes. We will promote the ones we like where and whenever we can. Hopefully getting you some attention from other artists needing visuals!

Photographers
We would love to find some really creative photographers across the country that we can work with to grab things like live shots, promo shots, candids, etc. When we get to your neck of the woods, we will grant you whatever access you need to help you get what you need.

Media
Even though we are currently “screaming” up the charts, (lol!) we still have yet to approach mainstream media to further capitalize on this momentum. I have a feeling that we probably won’t, actually. Here is our media plan: if you know of anybody with an independent blog, if you know of a writer you respect and trust not to be a douche, if you know of any business blogs that want to talk indie music strategy, or any other media person who ‘gets it’, just reach out to us and I/we will make time available to contribute. Mainstream could be cool too, but only with the right people interviewing, of course. Let good people know where to find us.

Web Designers
I have had a lot of talented people reach out to me regarding this but sadly have lost the contact information, so reach out again, please! If anybody has a handle on this, or any other good ideas that you would like to see, let’s work together and build something cool and unique for all of us. This is another area where bands always have a need, so let’s connect and see what’s out there for you.

Okay. I think that you get where we are coming from. We actually want to make IME the conduit for as many creative minds as we can find, and show the industry that the path least travelled has way more creativity on offer IF you put some effort into finding it. In my own experience, the label of “professional” is overused and meaningless, but to some it’s still important. Just remember: all it takes is one job to join that club.

We want to show people that good is good, no matter where it comes from. Time to shine a light on people who we feel deserve it. Time is of the essence so let’s get at it.

Send EVERYTHING you think we should have to ideas@imotherearth.ca and let’s see what happens… then you and your cat can come sit on my couch and tell me all about it.

jT

Songs, Shows and the current “STATE OF THE ONION”

Okay folks, it’s time to give a little update on where we are at with all things IME. Sorry it’s been awhile but hey… I was fishing (and golfing, and ATVing…. and napping).

Obviously a lot has happened since we played the Toronto shows and especially after releasing the song. So you’re not exactly alone in wondering what the next steps will be as we were wondering the same… methinks a plan has been hatched.

THE SONGS

“We Got The Love”… who knew? After being firmly entrenched in the top 10 across the country for weeks (and still climbing!) the obvious next step is to release another song. We absolutely didn’t see this coming and figured that as we aren’t really in the game in the traditional sense, this song didn’t even have a chance! Automatically, this is a deviation from the original plan as it forces us to acknowledge this very fortunate situation and actually do something about it! Do we walk away from it or continue? Hmmmm… I did swear that I would never do anything in music again if I ever felt that I was being forced to do something, but I think I have dug my heels in long enough, fought some of those old useless competitive urges, and can honestly say i’m really dying to get more music out… integrity still intact. (whew! that was close!)

That being said, I would like to note that the downloads on our site have been incredibly steady since the song came out. This again proves that if you give any music fan something to believe in, and keep the relationship simple and honest, they will always do the right thing and find a way to support it in one way or another. Your overwhelming support for us with this song through all of the downloads and radio requests compels us to do more for you. I mean seriously, how can we not? Trust me, we’re on it!

I would love to take a second to thank the radio stations across the country as well for really going for it, listening to your audience (requests have been a huge influence in getting us played) and for just being a part of what we are trying to do. It rekindles a little belief again in the system from us, and from music fans across the country. Hope you like the next one. Warning: it might be 26 minutes long, but i’ll edit the middle section out and get it down to around 4:12. Also note that the constant badgering from our fans will not stop! IMEnation, please make sure you take a sec and send some props along as well to the DJs and Program/Music Directors that you know are supporting us (and you). There are some really good music folk out there and they deserve a pat!

THE SHOWS

After the success of the Toronto shows, and the song all of a sudden being everywhere, it got us thinking of more ways to reach out sooner rather than later. Our initial plan was to try and put on some shows around Sept/Oct but some unexpected opportunities came up that allowed us to get out and play again. Here’s a little run down of the shows and how they came to be:

Owen Sound (June 30): We honestly weren’t sure about doing this one as our personal schedules were getting in the way. With Bruce living/working in Florida, it’s tough to just do a one off show like we would have in the past, not impossible mind you, just a little tricky. The other thing being that we are only playing for 45min which is around 5 songs for us! Lol! How could we make it work? Things really started taking shape when some other shows started to be added around this date, and being as the day consists of some really great bands and friends of ours, we decided to go for it! Really looking forward to it and can’t wait to rock! Of course the next day is……

Newfoundland (July 1): The idea of once again playing Newfoundland has been on our minds since this whole thing started up again. The offer to play in NL has been an on again/off again affair and it was actually the last piece of the July plans to come together. One minute we had a show, the next we didn’t… this went on for awhile, and we were beginning to think it wouldn’t happen this year. Thanks to all who are getting us back to the Rock! The shows are about as good as they can be for us out there and for Brian to return home, you can only imagine how pumped we are to make it back! Coolest thing about it is that we are headlining and can give our fans the 2.5 hours of music they deserve! Not to mention it’s Canada Day and it will be an absolutely insane crowd that’s ready to rock. They have always treated us like gold there and you have no idea how excited we are.

Moncton/Ottawa/Toronto w/Nickelback (July 7/9/11): Now these shows really came out of nowhere! When you get to shows of this magnitude, you can only imagine the politics involved in just trying to be a part of it, and being as we have none surrounding us, what chance would we have, right? Believe it or not, it was a surprisingly simple process of just asking. Really refreshing. The only thing we have to lose is a bit of pride if we were refused, so why not give it a shot! We actually share the same agent (Ralph James at The Agency Group) and figured it wouldn’t hurt just to float it out there just to gauge interest! Much to our surprise they said yes and to top it off, gave us an awesome slot as direct support in front of around 35k people a night (except Moncton of course which has our friends Three Days Grace between us). Many thanks to them for giving a band with no management, no label and no traditional industry backing a chance to do their thing in front of such a huge audience. This speaks volumes, to us, and to our fans. Thanks to all who made it happen.

It’s funny (and slightly ironic), but we had tried to play with them as far back as 2002 if I remember correctly, but with so much of the industry between us, I doubt the request even made it to them. With the industry not involved in our current existence, now we’re playing together… go figure! Lol! Love it! We always thought that although our styles may be different, we are both still rooted in basically the same thing: big rock, big shows and giving audiences something to remember… oh, and zero shoe gazing! Nothing better than an evening full of that, and I absolutely believe that their fans will be able to draw this same conclusion.

It’s a given that we will do our best for their fans on these shows to make the nights rock and we really hope to make quite a few new ones of our own along the way to join us on this new phase of our career. This is what it’s all about people! Reaching out! We are really amped to be involved and look forward to meeting the fellas and having a great time.

London, Belleville w/Slash (July 25, 26): These two shows were on the table even before we played the Toronto shows! It was really hard for us to commit to anything as we had to make it through these first shows and see if we still felt it. Obviously, we did! The London show is really special for us as the first radio station to jump on We Got The Love was FM96! Their support for us has been incredible and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to play there. We don’t forget this kind of thing… bigger plans for London to follow. I don’t even know how long of a set we get to play, but we are just happy to be there! (to top it off we’re playing with Slash! I mean, c’mon!!)

Belleville will rock as well. I don’t think we have ever played there and it’s going to be great to finally do so… and again, with Slash! Really looking forward to it!

That’s all to report for now but there are many more things to add. No details just yet but things are taking shape.

MOVING FORWARD

Who the hell knows? Lol! Once we are done with the July shows, there are a few concepts we are working on. One that I am really excited about is myself and Brian getting out there and doing some intimate/interactive shows where we deconstruct our tunes and present them in really different ways and get you involved in different aspects of it … get your creative minds and voices ready.

I am also about to do a follow up post that expands on this concept, as I want to get as many creative people involved as possible. Yes, this means all of you! Watch for it…..

Ok…. I’m spent and I now have to ice my iPad elbow.

Jt

WGTL at the WOLF

Ok gang… Just wanted to tell you that theWOLF in Peterborough responded in spades to your requests and polite badgering, and gave IME some spins… And yes, Mom heard it and is officially off my back! Yes, the system works!! Thanks for the help!

Also, big thanks to everybody at theWOLF for coming through for us and because you “Listened…. To…The….Listenerrrrrrrrs!”. (sing it to the tune of ‘the Mothers’ and you’ll understand that one!) Now the IMEnation can send some good old fashioned love your way! Now let’s get to work and do something cool for this town! Awesome!

Also, if anybody is ever in Peterborough, head down to the Red Dog and Pat will hook you up! (especially on Shirtless Tuesdays!) Great place that supports a lot of good artists, and full of IME friends!

Now i’m going to the mall to strut…….

Jt

HOLY SHIT! #1 for second straight week!!

Crazy! For the second week in a row, stations across the country are adding We Got The Love more than any other tune. What the hell is going on? We were just hoping to play some shows and you know, have a wee bit of fun with y’all! The truth is that we are blessed with a killer fan base that just won’t let up, (which also happens to make us tops in requests across the country as well!) Thanks a ton, it really means a lot.

It’s funny, but even stations that aren’t currently playing it are being inundated with your requests to play the song. One station even reached out to us to see if we could get you to ease up … Seriously, wtf is up with that? Oh, i get it, you actually DON’T want to play what your “listeners” want…sorry, i misunderstood. I get it, and i’m sorry we haven’t spent any money on advertising lately, we’re a little tapped at the moment… being “indie” and all.

On a more positive note, we really have been making some new friends in the radio world and have obviously found a whole bunch who get it! There are more good people out there than I initially thought… my apologies, i stand corrected! It’s funny but the idea of our independence is actually kind of cool to these folks, and we are thrilled that they are ‘taking a chance’ on us! Lol! Brian has done some really awesome interviews lately with a couple of stations (London, Ottawa, Edmonton) and the discussions have been spot on, and WAY cooler than they ever use to be. Definitely feeling ‘the shift’.

One thing to note is that we haven’t released an official bio or information package that outlines the strategy behind this, as we really have none. So in order to talk with us, we ask people to first read the blog, read your comments and actually become a part of this ‘happening’. They are responding favorably to the idea and it of course leads to good conversation. We just don’t have time for the fluff you know? Kudos to them for sure. All it takes is a little effort and it really makes us want to get to that city and do something in return for them. Seems like a solid game plan.

Want to hear something hilarious? Every station is playing the fuck out of the song except a couple of stations… One of them being The Wolf, right in our hometown of Peterborough! Fucked up right? 3/4 of IME actually live and have businesses here, and we all do things with our personal time to promote and build the reputation of this town wherever we go and for some reason they just won’t support us. (they never have actually, I don’t get it!) Sure they’ll play the usual stuff and even play some fucking band that draws 40 people to the Red Dog on Shirtless Tuesdays but c’mon already! To tell the honest truth, I’m beyond caring, but if I hear my Mom ask about it one more time I’m going to snap. For some reason, it matters to her and if you make my Mom upset, this will end badly… trust me. Don’t you love your own Mothers? Lol!

www.thewolf.ca, @thewolfca … You know what to do. Be kind… Sort of.

So thanks to all for the continued support. It’s really turning a lot of heads in the industry and you have no idea how wonderfully uncomfortable it is making people!

There is a bigger picture thing really taking shape here, and you guys are the reason it’s happening. Thanks to you all.

Strange this radio ‘success’ thing… wasn’t supposed to happen.

Jt

WE GOT THE LOVE… Officially at radio starting today !!!

Well gang, this is it! Time to officially mobilize the IMEnation and get people playing this thing. We all know it belongs on the radio but as we may have now become a little too independent these days (without anybody pulling $tring$ behind the scenes) but it’s time to convince radio stations the old fashioned way…. POPULAR DEMAND !!! Now, of course we have been told and understand that unless we formally ‘service’ the song to each station, the song won’t get played or even looked at, even though WE GOT THE LOVE is tops in requests at a ton of stations. It’s something we’ve dealt with our whole careers..We’ve played this game before remember?

Now that it is officially being serviced, AND you guys continue to be relentless in your requests, there isn’t any excuse for it not to be played. So, let’s go for it and see what happens. If it doesn’t fly, then we all know that there are other forces at play… I mean, c’mon!

The List! (be polite with your requests, and if they play it, thank them!) So a big IMEnation reach out and around to the following!

Live 105 Halifax
Q-104 Halifax
C-103 Moncton
Big John Saint John
The Fox Fredericton
KYK Saguenay
98.1 Radio X Quebec City
CHOM Montreal
Capitale Rock Ottawa
Live 88.5 Ottawa
The Bear Ottawa
K-Rock Kingston
The Drive Kingston
The Wolf Peterborough
The Rock Toronto
The Edge Toronto
Y108 Hamilton
Rock 95 Barrie
HTZ FM St. Catharines
FM96 London
Q92 Sudbury
Power 97 Winnipeg
Rock 102 Saskatoon
The Wolf Regina
X92.9 Calgary
CJAY Calgary
Sonic Edmonton
The Bear Edmonton
Rock 106 Lethbridge
Power 104 Kelowna
CIFM Kamloops
The Fox Vancouver
The Zone Victoria
XM The Verge
Sirius the Iceberg

Now, please note that some of these stations have already come on board with us and we are eternally grateful, while others have been featuring it daily and are on the verge of adding it to their rotation if we all nudge a bit harder… but some won’t even touch it because it’s over 3 min long! No worries about that, we get it…. but lets really support the stations that get behind it and remind them that there are still a ton of real music fans out there.

Thanks to all… Now off wi’ ye! Go forth and spread the good word….and the Love

Jt

Hay-soos-kreest! Last but not leest!

Holy crap! I forgot a few very obvious people to thank!

So they get their own page…..

Ok… One person who has been with us longer than we can even remember and who you all know is our beloved friend and percussionist Daniel Mansilla! How could I forget to thank him! (i’m such a tool!). Do you know how hard it is to find a percussionist that loves to rock? Virtually impossible! Daniel is more rock than we are actually … known for his late night shenanigans on tour blasting Humble Pie and Hendrix down hotel hallways, helping bus drivers stay awake throughout the night on long drives, and of course making kick ass sandwiches and soup for everybody if they “look hungry”… Thanks for sticking with us all these years and not changing one bit. It’s always been 5 brothers after all … (if we owned the rights to the fucking song, yes we’d change it!) Glad you’re with us, and so are the fans!

You might have also noticed a strange floating head behind my cabs during the shows. That was a friend playing keys by the name of Fatty Collins. Yes he’s so cool he’s even rocking the ‘F’ instead of the ‘Ph’. Matty D from Dodger hooked me up with Fatty and I thought it was a sign and totally weird that he actually lives just up the street from me! Who knew!? Funny, you might remember him from Canadian Idol as he made it quite far… Only to be told he actually needed to be ‘Ph’ instead of ‘F’. He actually said “I’m Fatty Collins… go phuck yourselves!” and kicked Zach Werner in the shins. God bless him. Thanks for digging in on these tunes and being there for all of the rehearsals. Sorry your keys were blowing up on you the second night but you still made it through in style, head still bobbin’ and weavin’ … I’m also sorry for glaring at you all week, it’s just my thing. Evil Jiggs is sorry too. Let’s do it again soon shall we?

There you have it folks. Keep these boys in mind as we move along. They are an important part of pushing and polishing this big musical uh…. thing, out to you live. (Yes, I almost said turd, but thought better of it…. Wow, I really HAVE grown!)

Jt

MY BIG FAT AND EVER GROWING THANK YOU LIST

Okay gang… This is my official BIG FAT THANK YOU list for the past events… These are people who understood the concept and actually “get it”. Please read, and if you ever bump into these people, you should give them a little shout out personally because without them, IME would still just be thinking about “doing some stuff”.

The Shows

First and foremost, a massive thanks and dirty man hug goes to Zeke Myers and the entire Sound Academy gang. Zeke has been after us for 8 years to play again and well… we just gave in so he would leave us alone. He has been an instrumental partner in shaping our re-onion, and planning and executing two sort of flawless nights of fun. His sensitivity to our concept was consistently accepted with a common sense approach that made sure he wasn’t the one “that ruined I Mother Earth” with these shows. He made it so that it was 100% our fault if the legacy became tarnished. Just how we like it. So thanks for that and here’s to looking ahead together.

Also manly yet very professional hugs to the great people around Zeke. Riley MacDonald, Mark Fortuna, Tony Grossi, Catherine Fowler and even “rest of staff”… (I don’t know you all but feel a little closer to you for some reason). The Sound Academy was gracious enough to let us use the facilities to “work our shit out” and didn’t make fun of us trying to relearn Meat Dreams. You deserve big fat raises along with the thanks…(well, not Tony and Catherine for obvious reasons) Just email Zeke, i’m sure he’ll take care of it.

There are a whack of Live Nation peeps who deserve a huge thank you. (I’m not sure if a bunch of promoters together is called a “whack”… maybe a pod, herd or den? Pretty sure they are called a skein when in a migrating formation though) Jacob Smid, Riley O’Connor, Brian Kehoe, Candace Valin and of course the wonderfully intimidating and divine Vanessa Arscott, a great big thank you to you and all of your staff for believing this pig could fly, and for asking people to pony up the dough to witness it. Hope we did you proud and we hope to work together again real soon like…. How’s your July looking?

The Edge 102.1 needs a thank you for getting involved and presenting the shows, and for years and years of support. Special thanks to Dave Bookman, Josie Dye, Dean Blundell and Ross Winters for helping us come back in this manner and basically showing the country what IME has always been about.

An intense full frontal full eye contact thank you to Jason Wells for keeping you all informed via website, facebook and twitter. He has worked together with my company Segment X for a long time and be assured, he knows more about you than your parents do … dirty birdies.

We also wouldn’t have been able to do this without Jacob Hamayda. Jacob has graciously allowed us to “work our shit out” at his studio and hasn’t complained once about the stuff we blew up or perhaps stole from him. (sorry you had to find out this way)

Our Crew

A massive thanks to our patchwork crew who came off nothing short of amazing throughout the week. These are the folks behind the scenes:

Sound: Chris Kaplinski. Chris and IME go waaaaay back and it was awesome to finally work together in this capacity. Thanks for a full week of hard work and two great nights. (and for not fucking with my tone!)

Lights: Jeff Sneyd. “Klinger” has been blinding us for a ton of years and we are thankful for it. Strobe seizures aside, it was great having you back in the fold. Thanks again for working with us throughout a long week of rehearsals and for the flawless shows.

Guitarland: Aron Gillman. Aron worked tirelessly building my rig from scratch throughout our 3 days of rehearsal as well as Bruce’s makeshift set up. We had a clean slate, boxes of pedals and switchers and miles of cable and through a ton of trial and error, got something up and running flawlessly for the shows. If you noticed, on the second night I even played my old beat up guitar with the writing all over it that I have had since I was 12-13…. Aron worked on that thing all week to make it playable and finished it right before hitting the stage on friday. Meant a lot to strap that one on. Thanks Aron for a great week, and just remember, theMothers is in E. See you in July. Shalom.

Drums: well, actually we didn’t even have a drum tech on these shows but at the last minute, our old drum tech Adrian “theTorso” Gorizzan just kind of popped out of nowhere. One minute there was nobody there, then I turn around and see the Friulano Phenom eating sandwiches and saying politically incorrect shit behind Bruce’s cabs. Thanks for just showing up and helping… loved having you there. Question: how did you get past security? Must have been the dress pants.

Film and Sound: huge thank you to Paul Taylor for organizing the documentation of all of the events for Segment X. Brandon Cooper from Dazmo for the awesome gear and for helping us accomplish what we needed to…So many cameras, so many people… All good. Michael Hurcomb Photography for getting involved and for the billions and billions of photos that rival even the best cell phone shots on facebook (yikes and egad!!) Saved By Technology for helping with our little software issues and sending in Steve Andrews for the recording on such short notice.

Other notable folks include Mark Fortuna, who bent over backwards for us throughout the week and handled every crisis in his abnormally calm and collective way. It’s disturbing I tells ya… makes me wonder what you have in your freezer. Also Ed Collins for keeping us up and running with the monitors even though we are old picky bastards… you responded admirable to our endless requests of “more”. Mike Kerwin, Dan Preston and Stuart Evans from Frontier Sound and Light: you guys are like family to us, ’nuff said. (you even know what we look like naked…. musically speaking.) p.s. Sorry about the milk crates.

On the Gear front: I just wanted to personally thank a few people who helped out in the gear department and in effect, got us up and running. Joey Osisek at Randall Amps for the absolutely kick ass awesome cabs I was using. They felt fantastic to stand in front of… can’t wait for the customs! (thanks to my old friend Steve Borisenko for introducing me… give some love to Nuno for me!) Mike McAndrew and David Koltai at Pigtronix: Stellar guys building stellar stomp boxes that help me sound way better than I do… like my sonic glue and ego boost…so much more to hear from these guys! Jessica Luther at Voodoo Labs. Ive been using their products for years and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon… simple and incredibly useful tools which every guitarist can’t do without. Joe Barlow at Long and McQuade Oshawa. Joe always knows what you need before you finish explaining and it’s why every guitarist gets told to “just go see Joe”. Stand up guys like Joe (who is also a kick ass player) should be the highest paid guy on the floor…. make it so L&M, it’s why we all shop there. Thanks for not making him wear a tie.

A very special kind of love goes out to the gang at Carparelli Guitars. What can I say? Mike Carparelli is a rare gem. Kudos for your tireless work getting high quality guitars into peoples hands, your constant effort raising money for various charities with your company, and most of all just being an incredibly decent human being. Of course Im happy playing your guitars, but most of all really just happy to know you… as more people should. Extra thanks to your right hand man Al Farrugia Ballach… Who actually has to put up with me on a more regular basis and hasn’t even tried to kill me yet, as well as Matt Antonacci from the custom shop for the beautiful neck! Support good Canadian companies like this people… We need more just like them!

On the personal front, just want to say thanks to Joel Carriere, Alan Cross and Nancy King for the kind words and good vibes you’ve put out there. Really appreciative to know people like you.

So thats it for now! As I keep remembering people I will add them in of course so forgive me if I have overlooked anyone…. It’s not on purpose! More thanks to come with regards to the recording of “We Got The Love”… Just give me a sec, I some other shit to do first!

jT

A 2nd Show Has Been Added!

Well gang… We promised that if you supported us we would find ways to do more for you! We don’t exactly know what shape that will take moving forward, but your overwhelming support for us on this very important first step points to the obvious… another show.

Understand as well that we really had no idea things would play out as successfully as they did regarding the show on the 23rd, so this idea to add another one happened rather abruptly. After a ton of requests from people who didn’t get tickets (and the scalper prices are totally unjustified! $200! c’mon guys…) We felt we had to do something…

The success of the first show as we all know, totally caught us off guard and as we planned the event awhile back, there were absolutely no options for a second. All of the dates surrounding ours were completely booked, and every venue in the city was taken (remember, it’s Canadian Music Week!). So last week this option to add this second kind of fell into our laps, the only catch being that it’s the night before! So how do we do this….

We know that a show before the original one isn’t exactly ideal, and it bothered us a little at first as we didn’t want our fans on the 23rd to feel slighted or put off in any way so together with Live Nation and The Edge a plan was hatched: basically, if you have tickets for the 23rd, you will be emailed a discount code for cheaper tix to the 22nd show, and the Edge will do another Inside Edge discount just like the first time around. In order to manage it, this will be a limited time offer starting Wednesday, Feb 8@10am, until Friday, Feb 10@10pm. The main public sale starts on Saturday. Cool so far?

We also have a crapload of tunes to pick from and we will be inviting fans to help us shape both nights. We will post something soon for you to make your picks! We feel that with an abundance of music and our terrifyingly loyal/knowledgeable fans, we can make both nights something to remember. There are some other cool ideas for the nights that we’re just figuring out so stay tuned leading up to the dates for more info. We will also have some new music for you momentarily which we can’t wait to show you.

After these shows though….. darkness. Just for a little while. We honestly don’t know when things will align and we are actually able to be together once again.

Now talk amongst yourselves…Im currently in the studio watching Chris huff ‘n puff through song number 2! (or is it number 8?)

It’s official….It’s a sellout!! ….

To the IMEnation… Just thought that we would share this with you first… On Saturday, within the first 5 hours of the public on sale, the show was officially sold out!

All we can say is “wow” …. Did NOT see that coming. We went into this just hoping to have a bit of fun reconnecting with each other, and to perhaps get a chance to play for some fans who have kept us in mind for the past 8 years. This has left us completely in shock and incredibly humbled.

The outpouring of support from fans across the country, even from the people who obviously can’t make it, has been nothing short of amazing. A lot of “thank yous” are in order and if you know us at all, you know we’ll find a great way to show our appreciation. Special thanks again to the Edge 102.1 and Live Nation for being the perfect partners and believing that this was at all possible in the first place.

The fact that together we have achieved this in a somewhat unconventional way really speaks to the type of fans that we have. I hope you realize how special this is to us. We have now officially become a band “for the people, by the people”… It will definitely be a night to remember.

The question now becomes: What do we do next?

DAY 2… the aftermath

Well, what can I really say? Last nights ‘reveal’ was about as surreal as can be, with the response more than a little overwhelming. It’s one kind of challenge to come back together as a band, but to actually lay it all out there once again for people to love/hate is a complete mind fuck. You would think that we are a bunch of cocky sumbitches that believe this whole thing is a no-brainer, but you would be WAY off! The pile of fingernails around my chair proves it.. and my aching little nubs…

We started this thing wondering if anybody would even remember us or care for that matter. Maybe we would come off as a bunch of old guys trying too hard? This happens all the time, so how are we different. A fate worse than death in my eyes! Seriously. The only reason to continue ‘talking’ is if you actually have something to say. Musically, I think we are spot on and staying true to what we are, so why not share? Whatever happens, happens… took me awhile to get to feeling that way.

The night went down in a pretty funny way. First off, we didn’t know exactly when Bookie was going to say anything, so the counter went right up until we knew his show started. So at 7, everybody had to sit through a bunch of tunes and facebook was lighting up with a lot of ‘wtf’s? Then ticketmaster goes and posts everything before Bookie could say anything and people started figuring it out. We were so close to achieving what every band these days hopes for: being able to keep something secret!

The funniest thing was before the announce Used To Be Alright came on! Hilarious! A lot of action online about that with people getting angry… insulted even. I was a little put off at first but then I realized that I actually like the song, and haven’t heard it in quite awhile. Chris, Bruce and myself wrote the damn thing so no harm! A good song is a good song… sounded fine to me. Wasn’t Bookies fault at all. Then I get a note saying Chris’ interview couldn’t go live because of technical problems and the announce is delayed! The whole night kind of had this groundhog day feel…. we could almost guess what was next. Brian was in his car driving home and i’m just waiting for the call saying he hit a moose or something… Finally it happened, Bookie was great as always, and there you go.

It’s too late to back out… right?

So needless to say, the support, the tweets and emails have been nothing but overwhelmingly positive and we are blown away. I’ve always known that we’ve had a special kind of relationship with our fans and last night confirmed it once again. Absolutely amazing and I wish other bands could experience it. Extremely humbling. The support from within the industry has been really great as well which I’m very surprised and thankful for. Thanks to you all!

BTW: everybody give a really big thanks to theEdge, who have always been there for us and worked hard to allow this to happen, (take a minute and let them know they are doing good things!) and to Live Nation for getting behind this idea and also making it happen, and of course Sound Academy for letting us have some fun in their awesome venue… hope we don’t break anything!

Now…. back on the treadmill… I hate this fucking thing!!!!

Jt

The Hiatus…

It was a really strange night.  The gig was awesome, and about as perfect as any band could ever hope for.  The venue was incredible, the fans were exactly as they have always been, and we played about as tightly as we are capable of playing.  Knowing it was the last one added something different into the mix.  The circumstances of the gig could easily have led to either a weird, sad, or an overall uncomfortable night, but once again our fans lifted us up, and it turned into this wonderfully private celebration between us and them.  By the time we got to the encores it was really settling in that this could very well be the last time we were together.  Afterwards, the dressing room was eerily quiet and heavy with emotion.  Definitely not normal…. we hugged one another and it was done.

The idea of actually taking a break really seemed to come from out of nowhere, it just sort of happened, and happened fast.  Although I have to admit that the seeds of our own personal discontent had probably been a long time in the making.  We had been going at it hard since 1989 and actually were a little burnt out as a band, and our friendship was being tested as a result.  So we didn’t announce a break up or anything, just a ‘last show’, and that we are taking time to really gain some much needed perspective on IME as a concept, and more importantly, our friendship.  Too many outside forces had tarnished both, and we thought it best just to step away from everything before our fans felt any negativity, even if it meant sacrificing all that we had achieved.

Maybe more bands should do this.  Slugging it out for no reason other than to make a buck is probably the most dishonest you can ever be to yourself as a musician, and is actually a blatant lie to a fan.  IME was never about that and we were smart enough to not let it happen.

Where the hell did we go?

I guess when you announce these kinds of things, you’re very much thinking in the now vs. “what the hell am I going to do tomorrow?”  Luckily, we were all smart enough to develop skills in other areas of interest while in IME.  I actually stopped playing guitar for 2-3 years, and felt that until I had something more to say with it, I wouldn’t touch it.  I did keep one on a stand in the corner for years and just stared at it.  Although I kept producing, engineering, etc., I think that grew kind of old after working with too many dumbasses that just didn’t get it, so I decided to tone it way down and focus only on things I felt emotionally attached to.  Now it wasn’t all bad mind you… some real gems in there too!  I also started my content company Segment X which has proven to be where I currently feel the most artistic satisfaction and excitement.  (More on this soon, big things a comin’ on that front which you will love!)

I’ll get the guys to contribute their thoughts on the past 8 years in future blogs as well as their thoughts on other things, but in a nutshell:  Chris became an agent, a talent buyer and is now GM of a kick ass venue.  Brian embarked on a fruitful solo career doing the alt-country thing (rather well too, go find those records!) all the while doing his tattoo apprenticeship, and opened a couple shops.  Bruce joined in with the Blue Man Group and plays a million different instruments for them down in the Orlando, Florida production.  He can really make that zither wail!

Needless to say, there’s a LOT going on.

Reconnecting

Overall, there wasn’t this yearning to reconnect as we had all things on the go, as well as all being busy taking care of and enjoying our expanding families.  Kids have a way of lulling you into this weird kind of contentment and the next thing you know, 8 years have passed and I’ve forgotten how to play Summertime in the Void!  While Chris and I have obviously been in touch (hard to escape him at thanksgiving dinner!), I hadn’t spoken to Brian or Bruce since the last gig!  Some circumstances changed that allowed me to talk on the phone with Brian on a semi-regular basis while he was out west tattooing, and I realized that we are still the same idiots we always were and nothing had really changed.  It was as simple as that, friendship resumed.

It wasn’t until many months later that we actually started talking about music.  The discussion wasn’t about reviving the past, recording, or playing shows as much as musically reconnecting, hanging out and making a racket!  It’s an easy thing to miss, as our “racket” was at least always challenging and interesting.  It was kind of hilarious that I hadn’t plugged into an amp for all these years, and Chris didn’t even have a kit!  We eventually got it sorted out and gave it a go, and I would say that within a couple of jams we had outlines of some good songs and started talking about some possibilities moving ahead.  Brian had moved into our neck of the woods from out west and being back together as friends felt surprisingly natural.  There is a reason we were all placed together in the first place.  The writing was on the wall… it was fun again.

Now the missing piece of the puzzle was obviously Bruce.  He had moved down to Florida, with a great gig going and a new family.  He was also very far removed from all of the good vibes we have received from fans over the years, or even knowing about radio stations across the country still playing our music. We were guessing that IME was about the furthest thing from his mind.  After reaching out, we were surprised to find that he was really open to finding a way to make something happen.  We still weren’t thinking live at this point, just to try writing a bit to see if we all still enjoy it.  So far so good….

The Re-Onion

Now the idea of the ‘reunion’ has always put me off a bit.  Even just hearing the word makes me heave a little.  I guess after being in the game for so long it’s easy for me to smell the proverbial rat.  The story goes:  band ends up despising one another and calls it quits; band gets back together because there is money to be made and egos to be fed; and, band tours country travelling separately, with separate dressing rooms, putting on miserable shows, and raking in the dough.  Smells like onions to me.

That’s just the way it usually is, sorry to say, but it’s definitely not the way it has to be.  I think getting back together has to happen naturally and as long as it feels good, and you feel that you still have something to add to the musical landscape, you keep going.  That’s pretty simple right?  This is the mandate since ending our ‘hiatus’.  First we reconnect as friends, then explore writing, and if we are still having fun, we play live.  There is no other reason to be back at it if it isn’t fulfilling.  Whatever happens beyond what we can immediately control isn’t up to us, and has no bearing on what we do next.  As long as we do this for the right reason, and stay honest to fans and to ourselves, count me in.  The minute it changes, I’m out, I think the fellas feel the same.  So a reunion it isn’t, a continuation, it is (that’s deep, especially if you say it in a Yoda voice!).

What happens now?

We have no idea.  We keep writing music, have been recording, have a show planned… and that’s all it needs to be for now, right?  We’ll see how it goes and plan for the future, it’s a huge first step for us.  I think we’ve found some interesting ways to give people what they want, without disrupting the lives we enjoy outside of IME.  It helps that we have no obligations on the business side of things to do the usual, you know: make record, make people understand record, make video, tour in support of record, try not to piss people off, etc.  “Having” to do anything kind of takes the shine off of living, especially for a musician!  Best of all, we don’t really need to measure our own success anymore, or even care about it.  There are no benchmarks or standards set for what we are about to do.  Outside of our fans sharing our excitement, and us just having fun, what else are we supposed to care about?  Am I missing something?

The single most important thing we need to do is rekindle the relationship we’ve always enjoyed with our fans, and with each other, and if everyone is still interested, we’ll continue….  Want more songs?  Want more shows?  All it takes is a little faith and commitment between us all and if we can do that, we’ll be around… if not, we’ll exit as gracefully as we did before.

Did I mention that the new tunes ROCK!!!??

 

Jt