Forest: I was wondering what kind of kids were you in high school? What did you listen to, who did you hang out with, what books did you read?
Reid: Um…what books did I read…I read one book once -- The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.
Dallas: I was really into Judy Blume when I was a kid: Blubber … Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was one of my favorite books. Hardy Boys and that kind of stuff.
Reid: I actually didn't read any books until I was out of high school to tell you the truth. (To Beverly) You probably read a lot of books during high school.
Beverly: I did. I'm trying to remember…I guess Nancy Drew would be pre-high school so that doesn't count.
Don: Kurt Vonnegut was high school.
Beverly: Oh, Kurt Vonnegut, (can't hear this part through noise)
Reid: Great Jones Street. Do you know that book?
Reid: It's about a rock star. That's the only book I remember reading. I always thought of it as an "adult book."
Don: Punk broke out when I was in high school too.
Forest: What did you listen to then?
Beverly: The Clash, The Damned --
Don: Yeah, the bands that were around. I was big into the local scene too. The Diodes, Teenage Head. Of course The Sex Pistols. I was big into the west coast scene too: The Dils, The Weirdos.
Beverly: I was kind of dorkier in high school. I was listening to Blondie, and I listened to reggae music, and I also liked Hound Dog Taylor. I liked a lot of country and blues in high school and I liked punk rock music too. I chewed a lot of gum and smoked cigarettes and really dreamed about my girlfriends. I did lots of research on girls in high school and tried to make girlfriends. High school was kind of sucky you know?
Forest: Yeah, I'm on my last year.
Beverly: Hang in there!
Reid: When I was in high school I ran the radio club. You weren't allowed to join, it was just my radio, because I didn't want people playing their music. It'd get really fascist. People would come up and say "How can I join the radio club?" and I would say, "You can't!"
Beverly: Well I'm glad you weren't at my high school.
Reid: I played good music though! But I played no Blondie or reggae.
(At this point Forest the interviewer, Brian the friend, and Don the drummer get into a discussion about Blondie and a reggae song which has been omitted from the interview.)
Forest: (to Don) How did you get Barely Pink started?
Don: Well that's a thing I do with my friend Andrew and it's mostly samplers and sequencer type stuff mixed with live instruments. When I was in Shadowy Men with Reid about seven years ago we won a gift certificate from a local music store and I bought a sampler with my money. Then I started playing with my sampler and I ended up working with a band called King Cobb Steelie doing sampler and sequence stuff with them and then I ended up joining that band playing sampler. After that it was mostly doing sampler things at home which led to Barely Pink.
Forest: How old were you guys when Shadowy Men came about?
Don: There was a pretty big range in ages.
Reid: I think I was about 26 when we started.
Don: I met Reid and Brian when I was about 15 or 16.
Reid: I've known Don since about 1978.
Don: I was a pen pal with a drummer in a band they used to be in Calgary.
Reid: In 1979 I was in a band with Don called Crash Kills Five. That was probably our third band. We don't count the Buggerheads gig.
Beverly: Oh my god, you had a band called the Buggerheads?
Don: Not really, it was just one show.
Forest: (to Beverly) What about you? How'd you get into bands?
Beverly: There was some girls in Toronto called Fifth Column and they were getting a band together and their bass player fell in love when they played at Michigan State so she moved there to be with her girlfriend, so they needed a bass player. Because I was friends with them they asked me if I wanted to play bass in their band and I told them I didn't have a bass and they said that's okay, they would get me one. Then I told them I'm really shy and I don't know if I could do it. They said that I don't have to face the audience so I said "Okay I'm in!" So then they taught me all their songs and that's how I joined Fifth Column!
Forest: Is Fifth Column still around?
Beverly: We haven't played in almost two years.
Forest: On CBC's Brave New Waves they referred to Fifth Column as a "perma-hiatus" band.
Beverly: (laughs) Yeah!
Dallas: I play in a band called The Sadies as well as Phono-Comb. I've just been playing around a lot and I would go and see Don and Reid when they were in Shadowy Men for a long time so I was able to work into it.
Forest: How did you personally meet Jad Fair and Half Japanese? On the CBC it was mentioned that you wrote a paper on Half Japanese.
Dallas: Yeah, it was my birthday and I got to go see Jad with Shadowy Men and I was doing a paper on punk rock. That's how I met him and we just hit it off so I kept playing with him.
Reid: He toured with Half Japanese.
Forest: There's been quite a range of people in Half Japanese over the years.
Dallas: There's probably been fifty or sixty people that have been in Half Japanese.
Forest: I did an interview with Two Dollar Guitar and Tim Foljahn from Two Dollar Guitar was in Half Japanese. So I've done two interviews and in both bands there's been someone who was once in Half Japanese.
Don: That should be your opening question from now on (holds his arm up in tape recording fashion): "When were you in Half Japanese?"
Beverly: That might make you an honorary member of Half Japanese!
Reid: You could say you've been in the band too.
Forest: Do you remember the first time you heard the song "House of the Rising Sun"?
Reid: Yes I do actually! My brother played piano in a band and they played a Boy Scouts jamboree. It was probably actually the first time I'd ever seen a band play -- I never thought about it! A guy named Dwight played guitar, and they had a drummer and this ringing piano! I think I heard "Wild Thing" that night as well.
Beverly: What about "Free Bird?"
Reid: I don't know that song actually! So that was my first show… I don't remember what they were called. I'll have to ask my brother.
Forest: Do you remember "House of The Rising Sun?" Your experiences? Was there ever a time when you were in a restaurant after something happened and it fit the mood perfectly?
Don: I was actually alive when that song was a hit. I just remember hearing it on the radio and I thought it was a cool song. That's all I remember about it. I love the organ in it!
Forest: Does "House Of The Rising Sun" strike you in an inner place?
Dallas: Andy Griffith. His version. We had that record when I was a little kid.
Reid: Andy of Mayberry!?!
Dallas: Yeah, well he's a contemporary M.O.R. sort of singer.
Reid: Did he whistle it? (starts whistling)
Dallas: uhhh…yeah! He did.
Forest: Do you remember?
Beverly: I'm drawing a blank. I don't connect an experience with it at all.
Forest: Well what about "Free Bird?" You mentioned that.
Beverly: Oh, I just learned about that song today! These guys were talking about it.
Reid: I don't know that song at all. Do you know that song?
Forest: Not really. There's a live record of a band that I have and at the start someone is yelling "Free Bird! Free Bird!" and then the lead singer said "Did someone say 'Free Bird'?" and they started playing it and then they stopped and said "nonono" and that's about it.
(Laughs are had by most)
Forest: (pointing to Brian the friend) He wants to know if you're rich.
Beverly: Rich? Rich…as in --
Don: My mother says as long as you have your health you have all the riches you need.
Dallas: We're broke! Obviously.
Brian: I just gave you thirty dollars (holds up several Phono- Comb things).
Dallas: You helped a lot.
Forest: What is your general source of income?
Reid: Ah…well we're freelancers.
Forest: Is music always your source of income?
Reid: Well…it's complicated.
(I shut my trap then and there and Beverly asked about Propaganda Trash so we talked about that for a bit -- that part being omitted so we don't seem narcissistic)
Forest: Is there a new record on the horizon?
Reid: We're recording an album around Christmas. That's one of the reasons we're doing this tour too, because we're working on a lot of new stuff. Playing live is like doing ten practices a night. It gets your energy going.
Forest: In my old band, we'd practice and that'd be just fine but we'd play a show and then go home and die.
Reid: Yeah it's really different -- it's an event. You kind of mimic how you're going to be in the studio with nerves and stuff like that. You have to be able to get what you can by being in front of an audience. Tonight we played a song for the first time at sound check that we've been working on and it was neat to see how it sounded in a bigger space actually, because it changed my perception of things.
Don: Our practice space is set up really tight so it's a completely different sound here. You can hear each other.
Reid: I could hear that tonight -- how great it'll be.
Forest: How often do you guys practice?
Reid: It depends what's up.
Beverly: Usually around two times a week.
Reid: If we're on the road or doing shows we don't much bother with practicing. Sometimes one of us will be out of town and the rest of us will get together and write. So it's uh…complicated! (laughs). Before we started touring we were practicing about three nights a week.
Forest: What are you folks listening to right now?
Reid: Delta 72 every night! They're great -- just amazing.
Beverly: Right now it's Barely Pink, Pan Sonic, the Neko Case record….
Reid: You have that?
Dallas: Belle and Sebastian.
Beverly: Belle and Sebastian -- do you like them?
Beverly: Really? I like them a lot. They're really cool. I think they're touring soon. What are you listening to?
Reid: Hmmm…that Low album.
Reid: Roger Miller always….
Forest: Uriah Heep?
Reid: Oh yeah sure -- a couple of beers and I'm right into there usually.
Beverly: By himself.
Reid: Yeah, that's true. I'm trying to think of what else I've had on the top of the turntable lately. (Points to Don) His turn.
Don: There's a group from Montreal called God Speed You Black Emperor that just put out an album that is really, really good. I've been playing that a lot. The last album by Autechre. Pan Sonic…I play Yo La Tengo a lot. I play Stereolab a lot.
Reid: Oh -- I listen to Pell Mell. A guy from that is going to do our next record -- Steve Fisk. That Low album. That hasn't been far from my turntable. It almost never gets put away to tell you the truth. It's always hard to think of what you've been listening to because you go through so many records. A lot of what I listen to ends up being bands that we play with that I've really liked. I imagine that when I get home I'll listen to a lot of Delta 72. And it's because they're great, not just because we've toured with them. Seeing a band live often changes your perception of what they're doing.
Forest: A lot of times I won't like a band on record and I'll go see them live and really love them. (Then they asked me what my friends and I listen to and when I mentioned Joan Jett, Beverly yelled "Yeah!".)
Reid: It can also work in reverse situations. Where you can like the record and go home and say "fuck this" after a show…I play the Fastbacks all the time. They're great Joan Jett-type pop!
Don: Did Joan put out a new record or something? Is that why you've been listening to her?
Forest: She did have a new one coming out but I heard that it got postponed or something. I've just been listening to her old stuff.
Brian: (Referring to an earlier discussion with Forest) I was right about how she has blond hair.
Forest: Yeah, he said she was on Ellen with blond hair and I didn't believe him. Then I saw a picture of her and was blown away.
Beverly: She was on an episode of Ellen? I didn't know about that!
Don: Yeah, they played the opening on one of the episodes -- like the coming out episode. I saw The Runaways!
Forest: Really?? Wow!
Reid: Tell the story!
Don: The Runaways played at this tavern in Toronto and I went and saw them when I was probably 16 years old. They came out and played their set and I thought they were amazing -- I was a huge fan of theirs. Then they left and said goodnight and everything, but there was still going to be another set. So they came back out like an hour later and did the exact same set and said all the exact same things in between songs! I don't think they knew that it was two sets -- I think they thought it was two shows. They thought it was a separate audience -- so everyone is sitting there moving their lips along with Cherie Currie. I was a huge fan of theirs because at the time their first album came out I was the same age and I thought it was so cool that they were that young and playing good music.