Q & A with The Swallows

We parents can be a cruel bunch. Half-way to daycare this morning, I noticed my daughter in the backseat with a furrow in her brow. The reason? While it’s only a hunch, I believe the reason she was less than pleased with her Dad at that specific time was the fact that, despite her attempting to catch a quick cat nap, the volume on The Swallows newest record Demystified was getting increasingly louder as the drive went on.

Led by Blue Rodeo drummer Glenn Milchem, Demystified is the band’s fourth full-length effort. The group’s early work featured Milchem playing all of the instruments on record but has evolved into a full-fledged band, allowing Glenn to step out from the behind the drum kit to assume vocal and guitar duties. Unlike his day job though, The Swallows newest record doles out the rock by the handful.

Glenn and his wife Monica recently welcomed a new baby boy into their lives but he still graciously took the time to answer some burning questions, the results of which appear below.

Where do you currently call home?

Toronto, ON

Why do you live where you do?

I started playing in bands here when I was 18, commuting from the suburbs.  I remember carrying my drums on the train sometimes.  After a while I was playing in several bands and made the move to the big city.  Started having kids and I’ve been stuck here ever since.

First record purchased and at what age?

First record purchased with my own money was either School’s Out by Alice Cooper or Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, can’t remember which.  I was 10.

When did you start to play music?

Started playing bongos and ukulele at age 8, got my first drum kit age 10. I started playing guitar a few years after that.

What three records could you not live without?

It’s impossible to pick only three.  I name the following three records with the provision that if you asked me tomorrow, I’d probably pick three completely different records: Heart of The Congos by The Congos; Jouney in Satchidananda by Alice Coltrane; and Electric Warrior by T.Rex.

Who or what is getting too much attention these days?


Who or what is not getting enough attention these days?

The Swallows

What has been your most memorable show?

If I have to narrow it down to one, I’ll say with Blue Rodeo at the SARS benefit in Toronto in 2003 with The Stones and AC/DC headlining, just because it was so vast. The people in the crowd looked so distant and tiny, like dots in a pointillist painting.  There were about 450,000 of them.  They sounded very quiet from the huge stage when the songs ended because they were so far away.  When the Flaming Lips played, it was like you could hear crickets chirping.

Worst career moment thus far?

There’s a plethora of humiliating moments to choose from….  Doing a U.S. club tour opening for the Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies comes to mind as a memorable low point.

Most extravagant rider item?

The Swallows don’t have a rider.  We get beer tickets.  The most extravagant thing on the Blue Rodeo rider is probably a vegetable juicer.

Why should people care?

People should care because caring is good for you, it replenishes you.  Not giving a shit is actually a lot more draining.

Demystified is available now from Milchem’s label Magnetic Angel and distributed in Canada by Outside Music. Check out the band’s Facebook page for a taste of what you’ve been missing.