Volume 91, Issue 73

Friday, February 6, 1998



Metamorphosis not mainstream

By Clare Elias
Gazette Staff

Has anyone else noticed how mainstream music has gotten a little too happy? Finger Eleven's guitarist Rick Jackett certainly has. "It's all party music that paints this perfect picture," he comments. Not everyone can relate to this type of music, so this Canadian ensemble is raging with something different.

The band, formerly known as the Rainbow Butt Monkeys, has formed Finger Eleven, bringing a new perspective into their metamorphosis. "Back then we really didn't have a grasp of who we were and what we were after, but now we have a better focus," reveals Jackett.

The change came gradually and naturally for these five musicians who now view their music as less distorted, even though they're all big fans of riffs and power. With two guitarists the voice and melody can succumb to their dominance. "Instead of just using volume to get the feeling, we wanted to use the lyrics as well," Jackett says.

Finger Eleven is not abandoning their heavy vibe, but new influences are instilling a calmness which seeps through. In the days of the Rainbow Butt Monkeys, their songs were strongly inspired by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam. "We were a young band following our influences of mainstream," Jackett says. Today, the maturing band takes its varying musical interests from Jeff Buckley to Tool and incorporates them into their sound, but without taking them to heart.

The band's evolving sound can be heard on the new track "Consolation Day," which is off its forth-coming release, Tip. "Not every song has to be something we rock out to a heavy sound," says Jackett. As their musical tastes broaden, the band's awareness of their place in the Canadian music industry heightens. "Right now I don't think there is a place for us in the Canadian market," claims the guitarist. With this realism there is also optimism. "When you're not playing what everyone deems mainstream, then you have to believe in what you're doing – we do."

Finger Eleven is not an anti-mainstream band. They have confidence and a spice of arrogance which propels them forward. "People will eventually catch on and if they don't it's their loss," says Jackett. After being let go by their record label for sounding "too heavy," their intensified attitude will hold them in good stead. "We didn't fight it, there was this security blanket gone, but we also saw it as a relief," says Jackett, reflecting on Finger Eleven's work with Our Lady Peace's producer before being squeezed out by new management.

The band's musical satisfaction stems from staying real and true to themselves. The quintet tries not to sway from its purpose and get swept into the commonality of the music scene. "I see a lot of bands out there not taking a chance, they're just-middle-of-the-road," observes Rick. "We're not breaking new ground, but we're not going to write songs so we can be heard on the radio."

Rainbow Butt Monkeys have swung into Finger Eleven, bringing with them a new sound which is aware of its melodies and members that are aware of themselves as musicians.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1998