Volume 91, Issue 80

Thursday, February 19, 1998

warm buns


More driving dreams

©Kevin Knight
"I WISH I WAS A LITTLE BIT TALLER, I WISH I WAS A BALLER..." The blokes from Swervedriver rarely like to discuss their height impaired fourth member, who also once had dreams of playing basketball. Oh well, pop fans will get to hear them live out their musical dreams at Call The Office on Saturday night.

By Jonathan Hale

Gazette Staff

In February 1994, Swervedriver performed to a sold-out crowd in Toronto's Opera House in a set that mesmerized the crowd in one minute with a song like "Duress" and then blew people over with the wall of sound known as "Rave Down." On this occasion, the audience was left in awe of the event, anticipating nothing more than the opportunity to see Swervedriver again.

But the group never returned to Canada, despite the band member's wishes and their fan's dreams. And regardless of this four-piece's talents, Creation Records didn't respect their indie rock form and, in return, the band didn't care much for Creation as a home.

Bassist/vocalist Steve George returns us to 1995, when the band was finally ready to release its third full-length album. "We were looking to get off Creation for a while, but in the end they got rid of us a week before Ejector Seat Reservation came out, which was the worst possible time. They were completely absolved of any responsibility for tour support or advertising."

Instead of harping on what was, Swervedriver moved on to Geffen. The band was ensured a wider deal (thus securing North Americans for the fourth album) and so the fourth album was created, despite the lack of touring done on the third release. This new endeavour would be called 99th Dream and with the release set at mid-1997, Swervedriver seemed ready to move on in the music world, but the world run by Geffen had a different idea.

"After our artist recruitment person had been sacked a few months before [the album's release date]," began George, "it was looking kind of bleak for us anyway because there was no one in the company who was particularly interested in us. So we expected the worst and sure enough they dropped us about a month before the album came out."

This time, the band kept 99th Dream and shopped it around to different labels. The album will get its release in North America on Feb. 24, thanks to the New York label Zero Hour.

After all of this, the most pending question to be asked of Swervedriver is about the car references on this latest achievement, and George kindly reviews how the concept of Swervedriver being an automotive-loving band was derived.

"I think [the car fascination] got blown out of proportion from the first EP, Son of a Mustang Ford," he begins. "After that [there was] "Duel" on Mezcal Head that was named after the Speilberg movie, but even by then it was a bit of a joke, really. And then on Ejector Seat we did "Son of a Jaguar 'E'," which was a little joke about turning it into an English car instead of an American one. I think because 'Son of a Mustang Ford' was the single that broke the band, people are more into [the car fascination] than we really are."

In retrospect and only after noting that 99th Dream was far more eclectic in topics, George adds, "Well, 'Expressway,' that's pretty car orientated."

He continued on the topic of cars, noting why it can be seen as an intriguing subject. "The concept of the car is wonderful, isn't it? You just shut yourself in and drive away. It's a nice bit of escapism."

Kind of like Swervedriver live, but unlike driving, it is too rare an opportunity to experience the incredible intensity offered by the Oxford quartet.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1998