January 22, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 62  

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The Patients have been released — watch out!

By Brian Wong
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
ROCKIN' IN THE LIVING ROOM. The Patients like to indulge in beer and cigarettes as they tune their guitars.

When the boys in The Patients aren’t playing music, they spend their time doing other life-enriching hobbies. Lead singer and guitarist Stu Stout reveals their extra-musical activities: “We get revoltingly drunk... and talk shit.” Sounds like what any patient would do once released from the ward.

But there’s nothing ailing this Toronto band. Formed just two years ago, The Patients are not only the first band on new label Permafrost Records, they’ve also released an EP produced by the busy Andy Magoffin at his House of Miracles studio here in London. In the past few months, they’ve played shows with some of Canadian indies’ finest, such as The Constantines and The Parkas, with whom they share a bill tonight at The Spoke.

Then again, to say that “nothing” is ailing The Patients might be a misnomer. For example, there’s still that rotating drummer issue.

“We’ve been going through drummers like Kleenex lately — it’s all very Spinal Tap,” Stout explains, attributing the lack of an official drummer to commitment issues and not sharing the same musical vision and aesthetic. Currently, a previous drummer is sitting behind the kit for the tour, where the band will be playing new songs in addition to the ones on their EP.

Since its release in November, Mary Clair La Flair has been getting acclaim for its catchy pop-rock, and going into the studio, the band intended to keep things loose.

“Other than not recording a piece of garbage [laughs], we just wanted to make the best-sounding record we could,” Stout says, adding it was important for the tracks to be recorded live off the floor, giving the songs their rawness. “There’s a whole whack of other stuff in the studio that happens on the fly — and just to have a sense of playfulness with the record, adding an element of spontaneity.”

The Patients do still have some definite plans in the next few months, going on tour across the east coast this April and then into the studio to record their full-length album.

And although it may seem like a lot of musicians are completely disoriented in where they fit into popular music, the future of The Patients is headed in the right direction thanks to a frontman articulate in his appreciation of his heroes.

“Townes van Zandt is one of the best songwriters to come out of the latter part of the century. He’s just incredible in terms of lyrics and economy. And I think the thing that gets a lot of people with Lou Reed is the compassion he has for the characters in his songs — his willingness to use uncomfortable subject matter. There’s certainly an element of that in our music — confronting your demons — but I certainly wouldn’t compare myself to Lou Reed or Van Zandt — that’s some pretty stiff competition.”

You can examine The Patients tonight at The Spoke, where they play a free show with local heroes The Parkas and The Heard Mentality.



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