Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Scenics Interview & Show # 431

The Scenics are a Toronto based Proto-Punk band that originally formed in 1976 and split up in 1982. Formed by Ken Badger and Andy Meyers who also served as the principle song writers, The Scenics were different from others in the Canadian Punk scene at the time.  They embraced the attitude and immediacy of the DIY late 70s Punk ethos and at the same time they had a style all their own. Mixing elements of Velvet Underground, The Byrds, Television, and other bands such as Pere Ubu, Roxy music, The Scenics built up a devout following during their formative years as a band. In 1979 they released their debut album Underneath The Door, they also appeared in the Punk documentary The Last Pogo and on its soundtrack. After playing for a few years and releasing one more single in 1982 entitled Karen, The Scenics called it a day.

In 2008, The Scenics returned with the album How Does It Feel To Be Loved? an album made up entirely of Velvet Underground covers recorded during the bands heyday. A DVD version of The Last Pogo film was issued the same year which included bonus vintage footage of The Scenics playing on Canadian cable television. A new interest was generated in the band and they even began playing some live shows together again. Another album featuring previously unreleased material was put out in 2009 entitled Sunshine World, an album made up of studio recordings from 1977-1978. The band embarked on a mini tour around this time playing in places such as Toronto, London, Montreal and Ottawa.  Around this time the band also began working on new recordings for a forthcoming full length album that would eventually be released in October of 2012.

Deadman Walks Down Bayview
was released to positive reviews and displayed the band in a mature, yet unique point of view. The songs that make up this album are somewhat reminiscent of music heard from the band’s past, but The Scenics were never a band to follow trends or to repeat themselves. Even when they were playing in the late 70s Punk scene in Toronto, The Scenics were different and had their own sound. They are often described as a Proto-Punk sounding group and on Deadman Walks Down Bayyview the band expands their song writing capabilities while still keeping their youthful edge lyrically.

The opening track “Dark Cave” musically is reminiscent of Velvet Underground as the lyrics emphasize the secluded atmosphere around working a full time monotonous job. “Fox”, “When You Come Around”, and “Oh Boy” all display different sounds referencing music from bands such as Velvet Underground to The Byrds, and Television. “No Sleep” arrives with a Rockabilly-like rhythm, “Miami” comes in at song six with its Guided By Voices sounding influence as the lyrics “I want my own camera” are repeated over and over again. Songs like “I Can’t Be Careful” displays the bands more slower melodic style and a song like “Farmer” goes into experimental Psychedelic directions.  It may have been thirty years since The Scenics have released new material, but Deadman Walks Down Bayview shows that The Scenics still have the chemistry and essence that made them so interesting in the first place.

Listen to an extended version of the interview that I did with Ken Badger of The Seenics on Revolution Rock here:

Music Video for Dark Cave:

This Week's Play List:

1. Chuck Berry – Let It Rock
2. Frankenstein 5 – It’s A Cryin’ Shame
3. Crystal Swells – Harsh Flux
4. Riff Raff – I Wanna Be A Cosmonaut
5. The Bloody Five – (I Wanna Go To) New York City
6. Alright Alright – Bingo Bango
7. Purple Hearts – Just To Please You – The Guy Who Made Her A Star
8. The Scenics – Dark Cave
9. The Scenics – Great Pile of Leaves


10. The Scenics – Miami
11. The Scenics – Do The Wait
12. Dot Dash – Lateral/Vertical
13. Tame Impala – Why Won’t They Talk To Me?
14. Andrew Bird – When That Helicopter Comes
15. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – Ignore That Door (Live August 17, 1978 Max’s Kansas City)
16. Indian Wars – Already Home

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for November 20. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

No comments: