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Volume 91, Issue 13

Thursday, September 18, 1997



Please don't cry for me Valentino

©Jonathan Sugarman/Gazette
PLEASE SEE US AS NON-GENDERED MUSICIANS. Kingston quartet Weeping Tile presents its own unique brand of diverse rock tomorrow night at the Spoke.

By Lisa Weaver

Gazette Staff

Sarah Harmer is quite honest about her life's project; the four-year-old Kingston group Weeping Tile. "I am extremely difficult to work with," she jokes, referring to the reason for the constant revolving lineup of the band. In reality, however, Harmer insists that all the changes have been positive. She defines this as "the evolution of musical collaboration." Everyone involved had "different styles, different ideas" and left the band because of "personal changes." Harmer seems to be pleased with the current lineup. "We're all a rocking unit, everyone is a team player, not to get too corny on ya," she adds.

A lot of the songs on Weeping Tile's latest release Valentino are diverse in genre – ranging from punk to pop to country. This is a reflection of the band members themselves who also have diverse musical tastes. "There is nothing really in the van that gets played [a lot]," notes Harmer. "But our old drummer liked Steely Dan so we had to kick him out of the band," she says with a laugh.

When asked if the band sets out to create any specific sound, Harmer is quick to dismiss the idea. She says the songs "Judy G." and "Old Perfume" weren't intentionally written with a country sound in mind. "I kind of got back to just writing a song that could stand on its own," she explains. She also admits that the band wasn't too structured in the creation of Valentino. "We are basically just recording all the songs we've got, and choosing which ones make it."

Sarah Harmer describes a feeling of a "tight community" in the exploding Kingston music scene. Usually, she says, "most people in the audience are your friends in other bands." The local scene is mostly centred around a recording studio called the Funhouse, which became a kind of focal point for people when it started up a few years ago.

Harmer writes most of the lyrics for the band, although newest member Sticky wrote and sings the hidden track on Valentino, entitled "8 Guitars and a Broken Nose." Harmer doesn't prefer to write while on the road, due to the privacy factor. "Hotel rooms I guess are the one moment of reprieve," she reveals. "I'll just lock myself in the bathroom and sit on the side of the bathtub and write music or something – because it's at least a little bit of a space."

In one brief moment, Harmer's tone changes completely. Having just asked her opinion of the current attention being paid to women in music she states firmly, "I think it's a bit of a non-issue. I think that treating women in music as a trend is kind of cheap and degrading."

Weeping Tile has even been affected recently – because they are a female-fronted band. "We played a show at McMaster University with two other bands, and once we got there, we saw on the sign that they were calling it the Little Lilith Fair – unbeknownst to us," Harmer says, recalling the event with contempt. Harmer says she knew the other two bands – Dayna Manning and Flux – but hadn't put it together. "Oh, I see the connection," she says with mock enthusiasm, "...there's all women in the bands."

This is where Sarah Harmer gets angry and rightly so. "These are great bands and it's past the point. I mean, fucking girl groups – the Supremes – the attention on girl groups should have died out right there."

Harmer feels the actual fact of women in rock as inspirational role models for other aspiring female musicians is great. "But I think that as a marketing tool or trend it's bogus. I just think," she declares strongly, "that it should just be rock bands rocking – and not the emphasis on the fact that they're male or female. There – print that!" she exclaims, drawing in a deep, calming breath.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997