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Volume 90, Issue 96

Wednesday, March 26, 1997

red, white and blue


Open up your mouth and taste this jam

©Gazette file photo
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Wide Mouth Mason is poised to traverse the music world with its self-titled major label debut.

By Carey Weinberg
Gazette Staff

Yesterday, the music world was dealt an auditory hand from the mouths of babes. Wide Mouth Mason's first major release hit record stands, marking the embarkation of a cross-Canada tour.

It is so easy to connect with these guys. Getting signed to Warner did not inflate the egos of the Saskatoon natives. They were both down-to-earth and interesting – not something one might expect from an up-and-coming rock outfit whose band members' average age totals blackjack.

You'd never know of their youth by talking or listening to them though. They have vision beyond their years that shows in their music and their attitude. As far as indie integrity goes, they possess none of it. Their music is fairly commercial, entrenched in '70s blues rock and akin to the Black Crows in sound. They cite Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and Jimi Hendrix as some of their influences, but have other influences that run the gamut of the musical spectrum – and not always bands they like.

"Seeing the worst bands can be influential in a positive way," singer/guitarist Shaun Verreault says. One must appreciate a musician who lacks pretension, mustn't one? It would be easy for these guys to simply reject disparate music, as indie fans will surely trash the band for its generic sound, but members of WMM prefer to add what they hear into their musical repertoire.

As we speak, I find the trio to be sharing a vibe, or simply being on the same wavelength. I had to battle with MuchMusic for their attention but pressed the right buttons from time to time:

Me: "Are you guys influenced by other trios?"

Shaun: "Well we try not to sound like any other..."

Me: "Bands like King's X?"

Earl and Shaun: "Wow! Yeah! They're wicked!"

MuchMusic ceases to be interesting. Honestly, their faces lit up like Christmas trees. In many respects they are cut from the same cloth but, according to Verreault, are in "different enough spaces to make it interesting." Spatially speaking, the boys in Mason have no jarring notes.

Speaking of spaces, where are they set up? "Right now our home is the '95 Astro van we live out of," Verreault says with perfunctory nods from his vanmates.

Communication without words is common for the band.

"We have a non-verbal experience on stage," drummer Safwan Javed says. I'll look out into the audience and see them bobbing their heads, look at my bandmates and see them bobbing in synch and then notice myself doing the same thing."

It's this kind of connection translated into music which I believe will perpetuate this band from relative obscurity to possible small 's' stardom quickly. Wide Mouth Mason has that certain youthful exuberance combined with a very philosophical outlook on their position as artists.

"Art's weird," Safwan quips. "The connection between people and the artist is integral, but essentially artists are selfish."

This selfish attitude, which represents the three unique angles of Wide Mouth Mason, ties into what appears to be the band's main concept: "Whatever it sounds like, as long as it comes out honestly from the three of us," Verreault claims.

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997