Working hard and waiting for the feast
By Paul Fruitman
Here's a myth Dan Shwetz would like to debunk. The Last Supper guitarist/ vocalist refuses to believe Canadian music is unpopular south of the border.
"I think Canada is being looked at right now as a definite source of music," he says. "People are being nice to us and I think it's because we're Canadian."
Shwetz speaks from personal experience. Of the 100 dates The Last Supper played last year, many were south of the border in well-known venues. In that time, The Last Supper found open arms south of the border.
"If anything, people are starting to act like it's a small world," Shwetz claims. "People know Canadian bands and sometimes the ones that aren't huge here. I think with stuff like Hayden breaking down there, it really helps."
For its part, The Last Supper has yet to break anywhere. The band is still independent, releasing its debut album on its own Vamp Records and touring cross-continent in its own fixed-up van.
But things are starting to happen. The band's video for its debut single, "Ignorance," was featured on MuchMusic's Best of '96 Indie Spotlight and a second video, "Sailing," should air soon. The band will also be participating in this year's Canadian Music Week, expanding its performance base.
"[Our shows] are really hit and miss," he says. "We'll do a show and there will be 10 people and then the next day we'll do a college thing and get 400 people. Our basic goal right now is to do some festivals and keep playing."
Continuing to play has been high on The Last Supper agenda, both as a way of getting its name out in the public and an avenue through which to improve on the band's unity.
And the outfit's new members have figured greatly into the equation. With the departure of Sam Skanger and Matt McCarthy this year, The Last Supper now features a fresh lineup of Shwetz, Peter Walker on guitar, Michael Perkins on bass and Kevin Holmes on drums.
One might think the fresh members may make The Last Supper's sound lag, but Shwetz insists the band has gotten tighter. He admits this task is less difficult due to the lack of complexity in the band's music.
"It's alternative," says Shwetz. "It's just rock 'n' roll. It's nothing fundamentally breakthrough."
But much of the competition The Last Supper faces is breakthrough and cutting edge. The electronic revolution is fast gaining ground in musical circles and threatening to kill the "alternative" The Last Supper preaches. But Shwetz is skeptical of how powerful this new high-tech movement is.
"I think with younger people it's like, 'This is hot, I'll listen to it,'" he says. "People have horrible attention spans. I don't think electronic music is sweeping everything. From experience, I think rock 'n' roll is still there."
If rock is still there, The Last Supper is hungry for it. The band has three songs which will be featured on a snowboarding video due out in three weeks and will continue playing and chipping away at the stone.
"Success is there," Shwetz says. "It just takes a lot of work."
Gazette file photo
THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS. The members of The Last Supper watch the drawbridge go up and dream of big-time success. The band is currently touring Canada and the U.S.