ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Choking the Music Industry
By Anna Coutts
Critics’ favourites Choke, a punk-rock band from Edmonton, are known
for their unique, eclectic sound. The Gazette caught up with bassist Clay Shea
during a break from their hectic tour schedule to discuss punk-rock and touring.
How does it feel to be one of the most critically acclaimed punk rock bands
I don’t really know. I mean, we have never really thought of ourselves
as being critically acclaimed. I think we’ve been successful doing what
we want. We’re just happy that we get to make music, the one thing we
truly enjoy doing. It’s not really about financial or commercial success
If there was one person or thing Choke could choke, who or what would it be?
I think we would choke the music industry. I don’t know, I just think
pop music is such a sad state of affairs, and I harp on it a lot. [Pop musicians]
are manufactured to sell, and I find that very frustrating, because when you’re
touring you meet so many talented people who are doing this because it’s
what they love. It’s sad to think so many of these talented musicians
are likely to end up living below the poverty line.
You guys are said to love touring. What about touring makes you love it so
Touring is just so satisfying. It’s getting to do what you absolutely
love to do and it lets you feel that you are actually successful at what you
do. But we’ve slowed down lately because we have become more domesticated.
We have a bit of homesickness lately, which we never used to have. But touring
is still really relaxing for us, because for us, our art has become our work.
It’s very cool.
It’s amazing that in 10 years you have managed not to lose a single
original member. What’s your trick to getting along and sticking it out
I think it is because as we grew as a band, we grew as friends. Over time
we have really gotten to know what strong points and weak points each of us
has. We know where to go and where not to go. I guess it’s just easier
to deal with each other because we know each other so well. I mean, I remember
on our first tour together we were a little sick of each other by the end.
After that, it just took a little subconscious work for us to sort out our
differences and get along. Now, it’s all good.