Volume 95, Issue 4

Thursday, June 14, 2001


Rock'n'Roll is saved - Static in Stereo to the rescue

Modern music little more than marketing

Disc of the week

Rufus proves he's Queer As Folk

Rock'n'Roll is saved -
Static in Stereo to the rescue

By Andrea Chiu
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
Static in Stereo’s Todd Kerns explains why lovers of his music had to wait so long.

At first glance, Todd Kerns fits the rock star stereotype.

His tall, relaxed figure has the dyed hair, the jewelry, the clothing and the tired look one would expect. In this case, his “tired look” has been caused by extensive promotion of his band, Static in Stereo.

Although he fits the physical description of a stereotypical rock star, Kerns is devoid of the stereotypical bad-ass attitude that generally goes with it. In fact, he's polite and friendly during a lunch hour interview at a busy downtown pub, where we sit in the non-smoking section and sip iced tea.

Formerly the frontman of Age of Electric, Kerns has found a new musical home with his two brothers, John and Ryan, and drummer Scotty McCargar. As a quartet, they've just released their self-titled, debut album.

When asked why the time between Age of Electric and Static In Stereo has been so long, Kerns says he has used the time as a period of reflection, resisting the pressure to perform publicly.

“I'd rather do it when we feel like doing it,” he says. “We made the album with a more honest and clear vision.”

Since its creation, Static In Stereo has sought to revolutionize rock n' roll in a way that recognizes their earlier influences. “The idea of the futuristic look on the [album] artwork is kind of funny because it's sort of more representative of the fact that our roots may be from the '60s and '70s,” Kerns explains.

“It wasn't until after we made [the album] that we felt strongly about it and said, 'this is different' and it's a pretty good dose of rock and roll.”

The sound Static In Stereo aims for is not necessarily of one kind. Kerns just wants to make good rock n' roll — something he thinks the music industry is lacking. “All other genres are wide-open, except good rock n' roll,” he says.

Kerns has said in the past this record is the band's attempt to save rock n' roll by making an original album. However, some may consider the fact that Static in Stereowas created with the aid of some of Canadian Music's most popular figures, contradicts the bands aim for a distinct sound.

The album was produced by Steven Drake, (producer for the Odds, 54-40 and The Tragically Hip,) mixed by Nick Blagona and the Tea Party's Jeff Martin, (whom also co-wrote and sang background vocals for the song, “Super Drop”) and includes some tracks co-written by Matthew Good.

Kerns defends these collaborations by explaining he's simply working with good friends and the mix of musicians only serves to create a unique new sound. “What Static in Stereo does is odd because every band, whether it's The Tea Party or the Matthew Good Band, even if you took the same song, everyone's going to have their own sound,” he suggests.

Saving rock n' roll is no small task, especially for a relatively new Canadian band, but setting high goals while remaining realistic is important to Kerns and his bandmates.

“I want to focus further. Age of Electric was always just scratching the surface at getting overseas or in the States — it was always very frustrating,” Kerns recalls. “But at the end of the day, if you end up releasing records in this country and that's it — well, that's the way it is. The idea is to take it further — as far as possible.” 

While attempting to save the music industry and rock n' roll may seem pretentious, Kerns feels he is just aiming to raise the bar and experiment.

“For me, it's like, I'm just gonna try and do something different, fuck it,” he jokes. “It's really just music, it's just rock and roll.”

And with that, Todd Kerns was gone — taken away by the publicist to dine with some radio guys. How very rock starish.

Static In Stereo's self-titled album is available in stores now and watch for a tour later this summer.

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