Volume 95, Issue 41

Wednesday, November 14, 2001
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10 years later and Sloan's still Pretty Together

Outside the Box

By Divine Right spreads love across universe

Disc of the Week

By Divine Right spreads love across universe

By Andrea Chiu
Gazette Staff

Jose Contreras is having an adventure in downtown Toronto.

The goal: find his car.

The starting point: a fancy hotel.

"I'm walking around a hotel with a cell phone looking really hilarious. Yeah, it's so 'rockstar,'" jokes Contreras, frontman of Indie rockers, By Divine Right.

While Contreras and BDR may not yet be household names, they have generated quite the buzz in the music industry. This has been further fuelled by the summer release of the band's latest album, Good Morning Beautiful.

Contreras describes the album as a musical smorgasbord, which, like their previous releases, offers samples from a variety of influences. The album is indicative of the band's incredible positivity and he calls it, "a love letter to the universe."

"I like my life; I love it," Contreras says. "I trust in the path. Everyone's got a beautiful path to walk and I look forward to my path and I do my best and I love as best as I can."

A happy-go-lucky rock musician is hard to come by these days. Even those perpetually happy Sloan boys write a few sad love songs once in a while.

Unfortunately for cynics, BDR is for real – they really are happy.

Contreras' positivity dates back to By Divine Right's conception in 1989 and, even though there have been numerous lineup changes since, he sees the band's revolving door of different members as a benefit.

"It's been pretty constant with fresh faces. It's just the way my project works, but it's always been a positive thing. It's always meant a new stage of growth and happiness," he explains.

"All I can say is I'm a very lucky person to be working with all these totally incredible musicians. Right now, I've got the most talented band of musicians as well as personalities – beings of love," he explains.

After wandering through the Eaton Centre, Contreras has finally made it to the parking garage, but he's starting to arouse suspicion –what does one smoke to achieve such a high level of optimisim and outlook on life?

Their name "By Divine Right" and a few song titles, such as "Angels" and "Supernatural," might lead one to think they're a Christian rock band.

"Religion? No. Spritiuality? Yes. I want my life to be amazing, so I'm not going to ignore one of the aspects of being human, which is the spirit, the mystical," Contreras explains.

"All I can say about [my positivity] is kudos to my parents for giving me so much love. If [By Divine Right] is positive, it's out of good karma that we've gotten so lucky.

"By Divine Right music tends to conjure up this crazy spirit. We're not going to get back at the bullshit by trashing the place – we're going to get back at the bullshit by feeling the love. I think there's something revolutionary about something we do, it's just not piercing our dicks," he says.

Contreras genuinely wants to spread the love, through his music – especially through the band's live performances that have a reputation for getting even the most boring, industry types excited about music.

After finally finding his long lost car, Contreras drives out of the parking garage maze with a few words of advice: "Bring a shaker."

By Divine Right plays Thursday night at The Spoke. Admission is free.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001