More than just a carpet burn
By Jennifer Leonard
Shag is their name and the sound is the same.
Pop punk, alternative, west coast grunge. So many terms attempting to describe what we have already heard, over and over and over again. Is it Green Day, Nirvana, Bush. . . or Shag?
Pre-interview, I tune into the tangled sounds, crude vocals and unkempt drumming of Shag, vintage 1995. What's that? "Blister in the Sun?" Didn't fellow Torontonians superGARAGE cover this to? Not really sufficient fuel for excited question-firing.
Early in the interview I get the feeling Shag's vocalist, Hendrick Carswell, has little to talk about and less to say. Alhough he is talkative enough to assure me the band has a fresh dynamic thanks in part to the addition of bassist Carlos Arevelo and his contribution of jazz-tinged funkiness to the thick, matted mess of the Shag that once was.
"Our sound has changed dramatically over the past year-and-a-half," he says. "We've become really colourful."
Believing Shag has developed its own sound, Hendrick continues, "We have a unique blend that you can only really understand by hearing it and seeing it."
Currently, Shag is busy recording its first album and performing on random dates. Band members Hendrick, Arevelo, Andrew Carswell and Joe White recently played a benefit show at Lee's Palace in Toronto for the striking teacher's union, in the company of Blue Rodeo and Lowest of the Low. The band was a finalist in HTZ-FM's Rock Search '96, and is beginning to witness growing numbers of fans at their Toronto concerts.
When asked about the band's live performance, Carswell replies simply, "We are aggression." Carswell also claims the band members are known to act out whatever is appropriate to the moment. Carswell's guitar-playing brother Andrew might feel like sitting down, while Arevelo endeavours to jump 12 feet into the air. Hendrick, meanwhile, is busy with his self-proclaimed Bruce Lee routine, "kicking ass."
Shag performs tonight at Johnny's Rocket Room, and if nothing else, the band brings a sense of bravado to the stage.
"Maybe one day you can say you saw us when we were just starting out, at a little club," Carswell says.
Gazette file photo
IN ENVY OF LONG HAIR. Shag dreams of a profitable future