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May 16, 2006

Hello! It's been an eventful spring so far with visitors from Norway, trips to the cottage, Toronto and Niagara Falls (it's cheesy, I know, but grew up in Alberta, and I just couldn't help myself)! I was also treated to a night at the Drake Hotel! I've always been interested in architecture and interior design, and I can say that this place is simply brilliant! I'm looking forward to my next stay. And perhaps I'll even get to play a show in one of their bars!

Two things have happened lately that really kicked my musical inspiration into high gear. The first thing is that I started jamming with Glenn Nuotio in preparation for our upcoming show at the Black Sheep Inn in June! I'm going to have the pleasure of sitting in with him for a few of his songs before getting on stage and playing with Casey Comeau & the Wilderness Club!

I always admired people who could sit in with other people. Sitting in makes you a better musician because it expands your musical style and most importantly, it forces you to listen. It may seem simple, but listening is a skill which, I'm finding more and more, is rare in musicians. You have to listen to know what is APPROPRIATE for a song. And adding to a song can also include NOT playing, which reminds me of a conversation I once had with Sean Dean from The Sadies after they played a show with The Unintended in Montreal.

After the show, Sean asked me if I could hear his bass. I told him that no, I didn't hear it, but that I FELT it. He was relieved. He went on to explain that he had to concentrate on underplaying the bass with The Unintended. I agreed that it was a good strategy, because at times, four guitars were being played. It would have been too much to have another instrument fight for that space rather than just support the music. I told him that I'd rather play with beginners who know when NOT to play, than with virtuosos who can play fifty notes per second but can't NOT play.

Speaking of Sean Dean and The Sadies, the second recent huge inspiration for me was seeing them back Jon Spencer as Heavey Trash last Friday. It was by far THE best show I had ever seen, and I see a lot of shows! For anyone who knows me or who listens to my radio show, it's no secret that The Sadies have been my favorite band for the past seven years. To put it lightly, they've been the object of my fascination, especially Travis Good.

This past Friday, the reasons behind my borderline obsession became quite clear to me. The Sadies make it look so easy. Their skill as musicians make most people want to go out and buy instruments. And they make musicians like my ex-boyfriend want to cut off their hands and give up playing because they know that despite years of practice, they will NEVER be that good. Whenever I see them play, however, I'm reminded of why I play music. It's not about being a diva and being the center of attention. It's not about getting compliments. Playing music and sharing it with other people, performers or spectators, for me is a passion that is so deep that to ask me to stop is like asking me to quit breathing. And that just isn't possible.

Marie-Josée xx

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