Volume 91, Issue 44

Friday, November 14, 1997

calling wood


Murphy doesn't stop for red lights

By Jamie Lynn
Gazette Staff

Heartbreak filled the hearts of pop music fans a few months back. The news had become official that one of Canada's musical treasures, the Superfriendz, were breaking up after just two albums. The Superfriendz saw some success with their first album, Mock Up, Scale Down and especially with the hit single "Karate Man," but it was the release of Slide Show, the band's second long-play, that allowed many to realize how much the band had to offer. Slide Show demonstrated extraordinary depth in the band's songwriting, but, unfortunately, it was the lack of a catchy single that made this album a bit of a commercial disappointment.

Matt Murphy, the band's ex-lead singer and guitar player, shed a little light on this truly unfortunate situation. "The main problem that broke the band up, really existed from the very start and that was trying to manage three songwriters, but at the same time trying to be fulfilled creatively [because] you start to have your own little territory for writing and if you go into other people's territory, it creates a bit of tension.

"After the last tour I realized the band had gone as far as it could within its little strata, because the obvious next step would have been to try and find an American deal, but I just couldn't put my name on a piece of paper [committing to] five more years."

Murphy is quick to add, however, that "we still get along great, it's just that it got stupid. You don't make music by editing yourself in that way. I want to put myself in a position where I'm not editing anything."

If there is some good news to come out of this rather sad state of affairs, it's that Murphy seems very excited about focusing his energies on his new project, Flashing Lights. This particular band is a three-piece that was assembled by Murphy, in which he writes the songs but has the other guys contribute to the finished product.

So, haven't heard much about Flashing Lights yet? That's probably because they have gone through three name changes and have only been playing together for a few weeks. Murphy, nonetheless, seems extremely excited about his latest venture.

"It sounds real corny, but it's basically a dream come true, because it came together so quickly. I wanted a band that could really think fast on its feet, on stage in particular, so that we could have a little bit more spontaneity."

Flashing Lights have only played live so far, but the band plans to record some demos some time this month and begin to work on an album early in the new year. While Murphy had described the band's premiere gig in Halifax as "nerve-racking," the band is now just enjoying their new experiment, which is turning into a surprising success.

"We try different things all the time and that way mistakes turn into beautiful mistakes. I mean, my guitar playing is basically mistakes that I turn into interesting things. I try to write a whole bunch of different stuff [and] I think that people who liked the Superfriendz are going to like this too and hopefully they'll like it better."

While the demise of the Superfriendz was certainly a tragedy, it is refreshing to see a band break up for creative reasons, instead of due to egos or money. Each member of the Superfriendz is busy working on other projects and Murphy seems to be headed in a very positive and productive direction himself. Flashing Lights certainly aren't going to let his musical lights burn out.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1997