Volume 91, Issue 82

Thursday, March 5, 1998

Lady Liberty


Making a permanent mark in music

By Clare Elias
Gazette Staff

"I have some money and 10 songs," says Shane Smith to his brother Chad and their friend Paul Thorsteinson. And that's how The Perms got started.

For about a year and a half, The Perms have been trying to reach their goal of entering the music scene full-time. "Each time we're closer to our reality," says the guitarist Thorsteinson, who considers himself to be the soul brother of the band.

In the meantime, the group is maturing in sound, style and lyrics. Despite minor setbacks on the road (two ditches, a weird porn encounter and a U.S. border search), The Perms are improving the dynamics of their music.

"The experiences of being on the road are shaping the way we see things and varying our lyrics," says Thorsteinson. Their first album, Tight Perm, is filled with love songs and the trio is expanding their new music to include "songs more about life because being out of the town you grew up changes your outlook."

The success of The Perms, in terms of having their name known in the industry, is forcing the band to practice harder and prepare for bigger and better things. The independent band is enjoying its freedom of creativity, but also admitting, says Thorsteinson, "that if the right label came along we wouldn't exactly turn our backs from it. But for now we're right where we want to be in the Canadian music scene."

For the guitarist, his purpose for being a part of this scene is the opportunity to leave his mark. "I want to finish my life and look back and see that I've done something, or at least left some kind of dent." Thorsteinson says he realizes that the best way he can do this is to use music as his vehicle.

Perhaps this need for immortalization comes from The Perms' influences. Drawing upon the music from their childhood, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Joe Jackson have helped shaped the sound of the band.

"We couldn't get away from our parents' music – there was just no escaping it," says Thorsteinson. Without denying the strong family influences, the three members took their own musical tastes from Weezer, Tool and early music from Sloan to complete the Perms' pop groove. The wide range of musical sounds has also created a varied audience ranging from 10 years to 50, says the guitarist.

Without any more problems, The Perms can establish their name in the Canadian industry and perhaps even in the U.S., but that's if the U.S. border patrol doesn't try another search. Hey, maybe that will give them new lyrical ideas.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1998