Volume 93, Issue 29

Thursday, October 21, 1999


Take a bite out of life

Stagmummer prepare for the end

Evening tale never falls

Stagmummer prepare for the end

Gazette file photo
REMEMBER THAT TIME WE SAW THOSE ARMADILLOS SCREWING? THAT WAS AWESOME. Hardcore pharmaceutical rockers Stagmummer come to Call the Office tonight.

By Mark Pytlik
Gazette Staff

The members of Stagmummer are either complete eccentrics, or they have their tongues planted so firmly in their cheeks that it's difficult to get a straight answer from them. Either way, they're an intriguing lot.

The quartet formed in 1993 after meeting each other as pharmacy students in Winnepeg. Aside from sharing a love for pharmaceuticals, they discovered a mutual admiration for hard rock – eventually Stagmummer was born.

After recruiting local victim's rights advocate Jack Balles as their vocalist, Stagmummer released a pair of acclaimed records, the most recent being Nutcracker, which was unleashed last month.

Perhaps more intriguing than the band's history is their ongoing connection with drugstore pharmaceuticals. Balles maintains it has little effect on the music. "We're not a psychedelic band," he says. "Not in the same way that Culture Club [was] a drug band, anyway. We're a pharmaceutical band. What we're doing is really looking into options how we're going to be able to sustain things in the post-apocalyptic world."

My ears perk up slightly. Ah yes? The apocalypse you say? "It's gonna be tough – you're gonna need freeze-dried food and a variety of pharmaceutical help, so that's what we're there to provide," Balles advises. "We're going to have to prepare ourselves and make sure that we have a variety of sizes of rocks so that when we are in the shelter we have [something] to suck on."

Makes perfect sense, really. But now on to more logistical matters – how did the band manage to secure the services of uber-producers Steve Albini (Nirvana) and the stutteringly monikered GGGarth (Rage Against The Machine) for their respective records? "It was just a matter of calling them up and once they heard the majesty that we had to offer it was easy," Balles offers.

Obviously not one for modesty, Balles quickly continues by preaching the band's live virtues. "It's the kind of entertainment that hasn't been seen since Christians were thrown to the lions," he announces. "There'll be some nudity, some blood and a lot of high-calibre musicianship. It'll give a lot of the idiots in London, Ontario something to be proud of. It'll be something they can finally tell their kids about without having to lie."

Not that there's any reason to worry about our children, what with the impending apocalypse and all. Does anyone in Stagmummer care to speculate on when the world will end? "I don't want to give an exact date or anything," Balles says. "That would be arrogant."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999