Back in the spring of 1993, I was 17 years old, playing in a band and doing my damndest to keep up with just about everything teenagers have to keep up with these days. Except Facebook didn’t exist. Neither did Twitter. Was there email? I sure as hell didn’t have an email address but maybe there was. So when it came to finding out about new bands, you had to rely on good ole word of mouth.
Via my friends in Eric’s Trip (yeah, I’m totally name dropping), I discovered a band from Toronto named hHead. The guys in the band were super awesome and got me and a band mate of mine into their show that night despite the fact that neither of us were of legal age to be in the club.
I ended up forging a pretty great friendship with hHead bassist Brendan Canning who would go on to play with other bands including By Divine Right and Broken Social Scene.
Canning now has a “new” band on the go, Cookie Duster. I added the quotes to the word new because they just released their debut effort When Flying Was Easy despite having been formed in the late 90’s. With all due respect to Brendan, he is not the only indie-heavyweight in the band; Cookie Duster also boasts former members of Change of Heart (Bernard Maiezza and John Richardson) as well as the wonderful Jeen O’Brien.
Cookie Duster’s record is a bit of a mixed bag but I mean that in the most endearing of ways. Listening to the record, it is clear that the group didn’t adhere to any per-conceived notions of what they should sound like. And When Flying Was Easy is all the better for it.
The MusicNerd Chronicles recently had the chance to chat with Cookie Duster main man Brendan Canning about the group, what the hell took them so long to get a record done, and what the future holds.
So let’s get this out of the way right off the bat, what is the status of Broken Social Scene?
Canning: We are taking a bit of a pause. That’s it. Everyone in the band had different things that we wanted to do so we are a little scattered in different directions right now. There is no animosity though.
So why the decision to release a Cookie Duster record as opposed to issuing another solo record as you did with 2008’s Something For All of Us?
Canning: With this band, it has been all about timing. We never intended to not work on a record, it was just a matter of getting enough good songs to make it worth putting a record out. It’s been in the works for probably close to five years. Playing with Broken Social Scene kept me on the road so we weren’t always able to focus on finishing these songs. But it was never solely a matter of needing a break from Broken Social Scene and that was what dictated getting to work on the Cookie Duster record. It was just the way that timing had worked out.
What I like most about the record is the fact that you seem to let the songs guide you and that it didn’t sound as though you were going for any one specific sound.
Canning: We definitely didn’t approach making the record with any kind of blueprint. Some of the songs are a lot more rock than others while other tracks are slower and more trippy. We just really tried our best to pick the best songs of the 20-25 that we had written and have the end result be a cohesive body of work.
Do you guys intend to take the band on the road at some point in the future?
Canning: We won’t be touring right away but are going to let the chips fall where they may for the next little bit. I’ve spent so much time on the road already, I just don’t want to be in a vehicle at this particular moment in time.