Volume 92, Issue 95
Friday, March 26, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Mason braves the Wave
Photo by Jason Stang
By Neil Malhotra
"They're really short."
This is Earl Pereira's impression of The Rolling Stones when his band, Wide Mouth Mason, had the opportunity of meeting them after one of the five opening slots the band filled on the Bridges to Babylon and No Security tours. "They have such an aura around them, they may be small, but there is so much power behind their recordings."
The shows with The Rolling Stones were just another step on the ladder for Wide Mouth Mason. According to Pereira, he and bandmates Shaun Verreault and Safwan Javed have paid their dues by travelling great distances to find gigs in their native Saskatchewan. "You've got to pay the price. We've gone from making a lot of money playing covers to making 100 bucks opening for Big Sugar."
Pereira adds in the early days, the band was motivated to play in front of people. "It wasn't about money it was about playing in front of packed houses across Canada."
Wide Mouth Mason's endless touring and phenomenal reputation has lead to invitations to some of the most revered festivals in the world, including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. "The world's discovery of Wide Mouth Mason" was proclaimed the highlight of the festival by the event's organizers and Van Morrison requested for members of the band to join him during his performance at the festival.
Pereira prefers to downplay the acceptance his band has received from the various festivals which range from blues to jazz to pop/rock. "It makes you feel more like an artist we thrive on playing in front of different crowds because it makes you change the way you play."
The band has recently realized their second major label album, Where I Started. The album has experimental moments, but it is more of a progression of their self-titled first album, combining various elements power pop, jazz, hip hop and blues.
"Dave [Leonard], our producer, helped guide us into our own sound," Pereira says. "We just focused on a sound people can identify with."
Perhaps the most experimental work on the album comes in the form of record scratching on the lead track "Why," provided by the band's friend, DJ Muchi Mambo. Pereira explains the process in which the work relationship came about.
"We recorded the track in Vancouver and we were jamming on the track. We were looking for a different twist and we thought we would try [scratching] and in the end we said, why not?"
On the advice of their producer, Pereira and Wide Mouth Mason decided not to focus on the stage and just make a "record" in the studio. "David had a rule that we couldn't ask how we would play these [songs] live. He said for us to worry about that later and assured us that we could put together a version of each song to play live."
The time has come for Wide Mouth Mason to put the material to the test on an extensive two month tour of Canada which will take them from coast to coast. To help pay for the tour and to make sure the band has the best road crew, the band has enlisted Durex Condoms as a sponsor and has put together a public service campaign with Health Canada.
"We had joked about a condom company as a sponsor about a year ago and then one day our manager went to Durex and they were like 'I can't believe someone hadn't thought about this before,'" Pereira says. He concludes they did not want to be promoting sex, but rather educating people about safe sex. "We approached Health Canada, who also jumped on it and that legitimized it for me."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999