Simply Saucer reformed in 2004 tell us what the band has been up to
then? What are the future plans for the band?
The band reformed with original members Edgar Breau (me) and Kevin Christoff with the addition of Joe
on drums (Forgotten Rebels), Steve Foster on guitar (Stoked, Crawling Kingsnakes) and Dan
on guitar and theremin (Headphone Overtone). We gigged in Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa
Montreal and were then invited by New Jersey super Internet station WFMU to play at Southpaws
NY as part of a concert series with Oneida and Suicide. We also gigged in Detroit, Chicago
KY at the Terrastock Festival, did the SCION Garage Fest in Portland OR. In 2008 we
Catherine North Studios in Hamilton a new CD called Half Human Half Live. We did a private
concert in the studios which was recorded, some of which made it onto the CD, and also recorded
studio songs. It was released on Sonic Unyon Records. This past summer we returned to the U.S. to
the fabled Beachlands Ballroom in Cleveland, home of our rust belt counterparts, Rocket from the
Tombs and Pere Ubu. On
the bill was Detroit's Rocket 455, who had been influenced by our sound as
as MC5 and the Stooges. They are a great bandl We drove back up to De$oit where we played an
show in New Centre Park with our friends and then the next day went up to Jim Diamond's
just around the corner from Ford Stadium where we recorded 5 songs for our new release. The
Stripes have recorded there it's a cool place in an old funky tenement building, analogue tape,
gear. Joining us on the recording was Motown legend, the composer, arranger, keyboard
trombonist, McKinley Jackson who played the 83 organ on our tunes as well as the Fender
piano. Mckinley has performed with Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, John Lee Hooker,
Reed and was the musical director for Marvin Gaye's last tour. He is a great musician to work
and it was a real honor to have him on our recording. The band will be finishing up the album here
at Napier Park Studios. As well a new lo-fi recording of live rarities on vinyl called Saucerland
coming out on a Chicago label this year.
Your new solo CD "Patches of Blue" is your 2nd and first fully realized
solo studio effort. Tell us about the recording process of this new release and
musicians who came on board to accompany you on this wonderful new
title track, Patches of Blue attempts to evoke moods of romantic love, obsession, mixed with ennui,
foreboding embodied in imagery from nature
Road, is a recent soul pop number that is about breaking free from a destructive relationship, the
is ' now I'm feeling strong enough, acting out tough out on the Open Road..it's a bout a person,
has taken a lot of shit, passively, getting up the courage to leave
Rainmakin' Man was
inspired by a trip to Cape Cod a few summers ago and a voyage on a schooner.
I'd been down there had emotional ties, got the atlas out explored the geography let the
imagination take over
Kind of Love was a sort of reply to Lou Reed's Velvets' Some Kind of Love, it goes back to the early
the Sea and the Sun musically was inspired by the great Brazilian guitar player, Bola Sete
Bitter Rain I had been performing live with my own band, it's about love and abuse.
on a Carousel, my bossa nova song goes back to the eighties, i lost track of it and then re worked it
of Kerouac was inspired by my cross Canada hitchikin'experiences and a stay in Winnipeg
Country Girl's origins go back to early Simply Saucer where a version of it was learned by
band and performed at our now notorious Jackson Sq. mall show where the live side of Cyborgs
Revisited was recorded.
love me like a Train I wanted something with the simplicity of a Cash song or an Elvis ballad
Kingdom is a song evoking childhood memory in a weird tuning, a bit of Syd Barrett, Ray
influence coming out..
The music was
recorded at Chatham Gardens and Pine Street Studios under the able direction of
producer Michael Birthelmer. Michael
is a very accomplished songwriter himself and he cut his teeth at
Grant Avenue Studios
as an engineer there during the Dan Lanois era. All told it's taken us four years to
the project. I would come in with a song, record it with an acoustic guitar and a ghost vocal and
on the genre we would find musicians familiar with that style, not just 'able' to play the
but completely at home with it. Michael surrounded me with a stellar cast of veteran local
of whom have an international profile.
who plays electric 12 string, elec 6 and fiddle on it has recorded with Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell,
Dan Lanois, Sarah Mclauchlin and many others. He's jammed with George
and Eric Clapton. Bill is a guy who loves sports cars, travelling the world and his many ongoing
Simply Saucer bassist
Kevin Christoff played elec bass on it, he's a musician who has continued
the years to stretch his abilities he's been moonlighting in recent years with a local jazz
Griffith another local guitar player on it has recorded with Willie Nelson and Dan Lanois among many
and is a Hamilton phenom and winner of the guitar player of the year here multiple times.
guitar licks on Maria the Sea and the Sun and Girl on a Carousel were provided by Kyle Pace who is a
session player in town with a unique musical history.
Trebilcock who sang harmony vocals is a Juno award winning performer formerly with the Killjoys
outstanding performer, singer/songwriter, guitar player, producer in his own right.
the songstress on the album has recorded with Alice Cooper, Bruce Cockburn, Anne
Jully Black, Long John Baldry and a host of other international performers and is a
winning vocalist with a Canadian gold record with the group Sway. Colina arranged her own
vocals and her takes
were pure magic. She was in a word, dazzling, in the studio and a total honor to
drummer was my perennial choice. Paul Panchezak, who has worked with Crowbar, King Biscuit Boy
in his own band Trick Bag. Paul or'stickman' as he is called goes way back with me to the early days
Simply Saucer and provided the stunning bossa nova beats or blues, soul you name it whatever was
the recording with great flair and technique.
who plays fiddle, banjo and mandolin is from West Virginia and as a child played in the fabled
family's fields. He was a prodigy on anything with strings, worked as a much sought after
Nashville session player and
ended up in Hamilton after meeting his Canadian wife stateside. Wellthank
for that! He provides the Appalachian fiddling on Pennsylvania and Dreams of Kerouac.
Roth, the accordion player, keyboardist and orchestral arranger Boes back to the Yorkville Sound Days
Toronto, played with the Ugly Ducklings and Rick James, a member of Merryweather who were
Canadian band who went to LA and were signed by Capitol Records, was a producer at Grant Ave
during the Lanois Era, and now works scoring music for TV and film productions.
Michael Birthelmer played occasional piano guitar and mandolin, Chris Jamieson played
bass and rrick Bag member Mike Hickey fretless bass on Rainmakin' Man.
Are some of them older songs that were in your memory bank that were just
to be unleashed?
definitely I have a rather large storehouse of songs that I've written over the last 25 years and that's
David Byers (Shangs, Simply Saucer) and I have launched Flying inn Recordings to untangle my long
convoluted recording history, release live mobile studio recordings I've done and my'lost album'
of Ecstasy which I did at Grant Ave Studio in 1990. As well we will be reissuing Cyborgs
in 2013 and David Byer's upcoming solo album, a new Simply Saucer ambient recording and
When Simply Saucer broke up and shattered in 1979 I sold all my electric gear, bought a high end
guitar built by master luthier, Grit Laskin (who's instruments are now in Ottawa's museum of
listened obsessively to John Fahey records and began experimenting with finger style guitar
playing in open
tunings. I had very broad tastes in music everything from the Stooges to Bach to English
artists like Dando Shaft, Pentangle, Steeleye Span, Nick Drake to English jazz fusion bands like
Soft Machine and Keith Tippet, American icons like Miles Davis, John Coltrane to blues artists
Hopkins and Mississippi John Hurt as well as songwriters like Fred Neil and Tim Hardin so it
such a stretch to return to these and other early influences I had such as Donovan, the Kinks and
Gordon Lightfoot when
I began composing songs. Though I had left the music biz after the traumatic
daze of communal life with Simply Saucer I continued to write songs and maintain the
side of the equation growing in my abilities as a songwriter awaiting the right time to return.
Personal experiences usually
kick start a song but for the most part I'm not strictly writing personal
history or autobiography
as the lyrics are always at the service of the song and are allowed to go
a literary aesthetic takes them. As well, like songwriters such as Randy Newman, I often
a persona when I sing a particular song. My songs can be very theatrical as well as playful, Ray
was a big early influence. I enjoy ditties, English music hall, sailor chants, anything well written
What are some of the influences, new and old that drive you to create?
Music or otherwise?
my own musical influences are John Fahey, Ray Davies, Syd Barrett, English folk music, Lightnin
others really. Literary influences like William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor are ever
Hopkins, Yeats I love filmmakers like Robert Bresson, Tarkovsky playwrights screen writers like
French Acadian blood plays a role, French novelist George Bernanos, G.K. Chesterton,
East end Hamilton street life, live in a rough area of town currently replete with hookers,
street toughs, keen interest in politics, daily newspapers, distributors, subsidiarity, avante
vs. traditional balancing acts, I do like artists who are 'out there' like Captain Beefheart but
as well in the blues well that's a bit of who I am, father of wonderful children now grown up,
them at one time, made a stab at cheesemaking, contemplated 'going back to the land' ,
less a songwriter.
liturgy, the Wire, my folks were early Canadian settlers in NB (Canada), Acadian on my father's
he was a guard in penitentiary Guelph grew up listening to gruesome tales of prison round the
table, maybe that triggered an interest in the macabre and later my murder ballads, our kin
the land built settlements, were musicians some, grandfather Alef built and played flddles, till
cut a finger off at the sawmill somewhat hampering his abilities, father Edgar a sort of war hero
dashing adventurer, later after the Dispersal, Breau's in Louisiana, N. America's first cowboys,
smoking pipes, men cursing in church, dissing the aristocratic Spanish clery who they
back home farms stolen by the English! my father outraged hundreds of years later..colourful
relatives, rowdy fun loving,....mom's side were lrish Catholic devout and more reserved
my story and I'm stickin to it...