Lost Fingers take old tunes for a spin

If you have ever found yourself listening to 1980s pop staples like Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon and thought it could use a little sprucing up in terms of originality, The Lost Fingers just might have exactly what you are looking for when the group performs tonight at Moncton’s Capitol Theatre.

The Quebec-based group has seen its name growing in popularity in this country as well as international territories based upon its unconventional choices of cover songs and the style in which they are performed.

Released this past November, the group’s third record Gypsy Kameleon, features its unique gypsy-flamenco take on tracks by artists including Kim Mitchell, Glass Tiger, Rush and Dolly Parton among a handful of others.

Early in a conversation with Lost Fingers’ guitarist Byron Mikaloff, he clarifies that the group prefers to stay away from the term “cover,” preferring instead to call the songs they play “remakes.”

“We really take these songs and bring them a creative step further,” he explains. “We would rather invest our energy in creativity than just simply trying to reprise the songs note for note.”

Though Mikaloff originally hails from British Columbia, his bandmates Alex Morissette and Christian Roberge are from Quebec, opening the door to the group to perform songs in both French and English. The band’s newest record is entirely sung in the English language while its predecessor, 2009’s Rendez-vous rose was a French offering.

“We tend to do songs in both languages, no matter where we are playing.

“We really feel it is important to leverage our ability to sing in both languages. It helps give these songs a cool flavour,” Mikaloff says.

While you might wonder about the feasibility of playing in a band that has found much of its success thanks to remakes of other people’s songs, you had best reconsider your position.

Mikaloff shares that 2010 was a “more sane” year that saw the band play upwards of 200 shows all over the world.

“2009 was crazy busy for us as a band,” he starts. “We played more than 300 shows that year and I think each of us found it was a little much.”

So although the band had the opportunity to travel as far as away as Moscow, Greece, Madrid and Barcelona, Mikaloff says a less hectic tour schedule is really best for all involved.

“As it stands, each of us does not have time for any projects outside of The Lost Fingers. We aren’t home all that often and trimming back our show schedule in 2010 was nice. Having that room to breathe is really important.”

Article published in February 25, 2011 edition of the Times & Transcript