Volume 93, Issue 12
Wednesday, March 18, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Ballads of sex and death with a smile
Gazette file photo
BET THIS GUY LOVES HIS REDHOODED SWEATSHIRT. Alun Pigguns brings his own unique sounds to Call the Office on Saturday night.
By Mark Pytlik
When it comes to singer/song writers, Toronto-based Alun Pigguns is a dying breed. Although the charismatic everyman has been in the business for over 10 years, he still shows absolutely no signs of pretension.
The ex-Morganfields frontman is on the verge of releasing his long awaited solo debut Balladesque, a record which will hopefully thrust him back into the musical spotlight.
A down to earth and humble individual who augments his speech with pointed cuss words and half-mumbled jokes, Pigguns has a penchant for the amusing anecdote. When asked about the thematic content of his new record, he responds with this doozy.
"Last night I was coming home from a gig in Hamilton on the six o'clock bus completely fried out of my mind," he smiles. "And it occurred to me that maybe I should call [the record] Songs About Dead People and Fucking." Is he being serious, or clever? "That's really what I write about," he claims. "Death and fucking. But not at the same time they don't go together."
Pigguns has spent the better part of life after the Morganfields working behind the mixers in one of the most prestigious recording studios in Toronto. His experience as a sound engineer with Chemical Sound has helped expose him to a wide variety of recording techniques and methods.
"I ended up assisting on and engineering Sloan's Navy Blues as well as a whole bunch of other albums," he says. Those experiences inspired him to start work on what would eventually become Balladesque. "I was even able to record a lot of my record on down time there," he says.
Early word is that these songs about death and sex are set in a particularly bleak musical landscape. "Yes. It's pretty stark, it's a darker acoustic record," he concurs. "It's a sad album I don't know why." Does he agree the best songs are born out of sadness? "When you're happy you're not playing guitar," he offers somewhat helpfully.
And helpful he is. In fact, Pigguns is so down to earth that he seems willing to talk about almost anything. Ask him about a chance encounter with Alanis Morrissette in a bar years ago and he's happy to oblige. "She was still a bit of a dancing diva at the time," he recalls.
According to Pigguns, they spoke briefly over a drink (she didn't buy, he notes amusedly) and that was that. "It was when her dancing days were over and everyone said she was finished," he says. Does he have any comment on Morrissette's horrendous return to dance as showcased in her latest video? "It fits in with her music at least," he smiles, before breaking into laughter.
As for his own music, Pigguns says the next little while will be spent dutifully touring behind the record, which will be released independently in October. "I like the ability to completely run how you [come] across," he reasons. "When you have your own record out, it's your own number one priority."
Alun Pigguns plays Call the Office with Darlene Sovran and Dave Merritt on Saturday.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999