Volume 91, Issue 86

Thursday, March 12, 1998

3,770 strong and growing


Jonah Stone's Stoked

©Gazette file photo
TWO OUT OF FOUR ROCK STARS CAN'T LOOK AT THE CAMERA. But they can sure rock. The Jonah Stone is with Hashimoto at Call the Office tonight.

By Mark Lewandowski

Gazette Staff

Phil Deschambault has led The Jonah Stone into battle and now he's ready to step into the ring as a battling boxer in the band's new video. Conceived by fellow Winnipeger Guy Maddin, the video for "In My Entirety" has Deschambault fighting off all comers in an expression of the band's ambition and motivation.

"Maddin would not allow the video to be shot in colour," jokes Deschambault, commenting on Maddin's maintenance of artistic integrity. The video comes on the heals of the band's first album as The Jonah Stone called Kicking at the Smoke.

"We toured for two and a half years as Not Goin' to Vegas and then as 'The Jonah Stone, formerly Not Goin' to Vegas'," Deschambault explains. Then adds,"[to] keep getting booked for over two years is a measure of success so when we changed names we already had a good [fan base].

So with a new name and album in toe, The Jonah Stone is back on the road reminding Canada they are a band to be reckoned with.

"We are happy with the new album and we've been getting good radio play," claims Deschambault. The production of the album fell on the shoulders of Doug Olson – famous for his work with The Watchmen, Weeping Tile and Smashing Pumpkins.

The name may change but the song remains the same.

"I don't want to call it rock because people will think it's hard and I don't want to call it pop because they'll think it's bubble gum. I guess we're a pop-rock band," Deschambault concedes. But don't assume this quartet is just trying make it on the radio.

"Our goal is to [make music] for a long time. We don't want to hit any huge pitfalls," Deschambault summarizes, effectively alluding to the state of the Canadian music industry. Upon further interrogation, Deschambault reveals that some record labels "are too hard on the bands. They just shoot them out and see what happens." But he is quick to add that he doesn't speak from personal experience.

"It's five big record companies vying for the same act," Deschambault reveals. "Just let us develop," he pleads, speaking for Canadian musicians as a whole.

"There are a lot of strange rumours going around right now," Deschambault says, alluding to young artists of whom some labels take advantage. He adds, "Canada is a strange place to make music."

Few artists have the chutzpah to reveal the not so rosy side of life in the land of 'big' labels, but The Jonah Stone is a band known for living on the edge. Their pop-rock hybrid is distinguished most by a frontal 'non-power chord' and the Bowie-esque vocal stylings of Deschambault. Not to mention his striking resemblance to the Edge.

Life on the 'edge' can drive some musicians to being the house band on Tiny Talent Time, but not stone cold Deschambault.

"When I get home I like to relax. I listen to Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley. I've been a writer my whole life. I just write music and I love it. It gives me a vocation."

The Jonah Stone plays Call The Office tonight.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1998