Connelly rediscovers his Shadowy spirit

Friday November 22, 2002

It's a theme song now almost as recognizable as Hockey Night in Canada's: the simple ditty that opened every episode of The Kids in the Hall, "Having an Average Weekend" by Toronto's Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet.

Brian Connelly played the gloriously twangy guitar for the mostly instrumental trio that disbanded around the same time that the show went off the air. After bouncing around many other projects in the interim, Connelly has returned to the spirit of those Shadowy days with his new instrumental trio Atomic 7, aided by stand-up bassist Clinton Ryder and drummer Mike Andreosso.

It's been some time since Connelly last played in Waterloo.

"Phil's Grandson's Place comes to mind. I think I was 12 at the time," the jocular Connelly says over the phone from Toronto. "It's been ages and ages. After I met Bernard (Kearney, co-owner of The Jane Bond), I decided that if that man owns a club, I need to play it."

The Bond's swinging atmosphere is actually the ideal venue for Atomic 7, given that their debut album, … Gowns By Edith Head, is neck-and-neck with Carolyn Mark's Terrible Hostess for the title of Party Album of the Year. While Connelly balks at the notion that he's ever done anything differently than Duane Eddy or Link Wray, Atomic 7 does seem a natural progression of the Shadowy Men blueprint .

"Everything I'd been working on for about five years before we recorded this album was other people's things, and I'd forgotten what it felt like to play the noisy, three-piece instrumental stuff. I guess the thing that I learned during that time was that everyone brings their own personality to the songs. So even though I'm still using the same approach that Shadowy Men took, this band is totally different. We're also testing our recipes to see which ones taste good and which ones collapse."

One thing that does remain thoroughly consistent with the Shadowy Men legacy is Atomic 7's wicked sense of humour. Songs with titles like "Artistry in Nachos," and "You Ain't Havin' Fun Till You're Dialling 911" just demand to be heard.

"I can't really say whether songs inspire titles or vice versa," Connelly says. "But I can say that every song on this record was inspired by real people and events, who shall remain nameless."

Connelly is also using his new band to pay tribute to some little-known Canadian combos like The Esquires who, he says, never had the luxury to be as well documented as Shadowy Men.

"There was a huge instrumental scene all over North America in the late '50s/early '60s but it's nearly impossible to find any of that stuff except on a few compilations that came out in Europe. It's really great that there are still a lot Shadowy Men fans keeping that music alive, and one of my intentions with Atomic 7 is to keep some of that older music breathing, too."

Keep the martinis coming.