MY SON THE HURRICANE: Aiming High With New Album "Ride The Bullet"
The term “number one with a bullet” was coined to describe a #1 song on the Billboard Top 100 that, when accompanied by a “bullet” icon, indicated rapid ascent up the charts. For local brasshop collective MY SON THE HURRICANE, taking aim at the charts with a bullet of their own might not land them at number one with Billboard, but based on their tour schedule, it will definitely take them across the country.
RIDE THE BULLET is the newly released title track from the band’s upcoming full-length album, which was recorded at Jukas Media by engineers Darren Magierowski and Jill Zimmermann (July Talk, Alexisonfire). The album is the first to include vocalist Sylvie Kindree since she joined the brass-kicking force of fortified funk, and is marked by a slightly toned-down version of frontman Jacob Bergsma’s kinetic vocal delivery. What really matters, however, is that the nine new tracks on RIDE THE BULLET successfully capture the intensity of the band’s full-throttle live show. Featuring special guest Darren “Mista D’Dumas” of The Salads, a full string section, grand piano, and contributions by a whopping 24 talented musicians, RIDE THE BULLET is a typically oversized but incredibly focused MY SON THE HURRICANE offering.
As the song lyrics in the standout track “Parade” suggests, “this is our parade, it will not be delayed,” which explains the busy 75-date-and-counting tour schedule already laid out for the band this summer. As part of that tour, MY SON THE HURRICANE will be in St. Catharines, March 30th, hosting a special advance listening prior for local fans prior to the album’s official release April 12th. In promotion of that event, drummer and founding member Danno O’Shea took time to chat with GoBeWeekly about the new album, the tour and the story behind the song “Milhouse.”
GoBe: Dumb but obvious first question – how excited are you about the new release.
DANNO: You know every time we’ve released a record I’ve had some trepidation about it. This is the first one where I could not wait to get it to people’s ears.
GoBe: What is it about this release that has you so excited. I did read the advance press suggesting you’ve managed to capture the band’s live energy on record.
DANNO: That’s the big thing. We’ve always been so confident in the show. The show has always spoken for itself but we never felt like we could capture that lightning in the bottle. We really had a great time in the studio and actually caught that lightning for once.
GoBe: That’s saying a lot, having seen your live shows in St. Catharines, Elora and last year on the Welland waterfront. How did you manage to successfully capture that lightning.
DANNO: I’m not really sure what the recipe was this time. It was just the right players in the right studio and the right songs. We really had a diverse group of band members bringing in different songs with the only caveat being only the best songs wins.
GoBe: Given the band’s up to 14 members, is that an issue when it comes time for song selection on an album.
DANNO: Somebody has to have the unfortunate boss position. I get the final choice. But it’s just becomes clear once you get it. When you get 10 or 12 people playing those songs, it becomes very clear what is holding up, what is the real deal and what songs should make the cut.
GoBe: Is that a challenge, with multiple people coming in with different ideas and imagined through a different filter. Does it make for a very disparate collection of songs?
DANNO: I think what’s neat is that there are certainly members of the band who are not commonly playing this type of music. Maybe they’re more jazz focused or focused on other areas. But because we’ve been together on the road for so long it gives them a voice to do something very different, to make something more raw or more loud or more dancey. So it’s pretty exciting that we get to do that.
GoBe: Ride The Bullet kicks off with a raucous instrumental entitled “Milhouse.” That’s the story behind that song.
DANNO: (laughs) That is maybe the dumbest song I’ve ever written. I always joked that it should be played after someone kicked a field goal. I'm not sure why it was made. I’m a big fan of keeping the working titles of songs. I wanted that one to make the record because it’s how we open each show. I feel like it’s the perfect example of ‘this is what you’re in for.’ We don’t limp in at all.
GoBe: I love it. It’s very reflective of the band and a great invitation to open the album with. I just interviewed Anvil and they have a signature instrumental called “March of the Crabs.” This is your “March of the Crabs,” the perfect instrumental reflection of the band.
DANNO: I’ll have to check that out!
GoBe: Was “Ride The Bullet” always pegged as the album title. And what are the stand out tracks in your mind.
DANNO: We had really been playing around with titles, but that song I thought was really a good example of what the sound is now. It’s not as much Jacob screeching, it’s more flowy, more dancey, more groovy and intense. In press I’ve been having a hard time saying what my favourt tune is. I love the last tune because it’s so odd. I think the tune “Parade” on there is the most like us. It’s anthemic, it’s fast, its everything we tried to make come across on this album.
GoBe: The band has been together a while now and has grown significantly; your scope of awareness is higher thanks to your relentless touring. What’s the state of mind within the core members now. You’ve seen your efforts so far pay dividends, but you must be aware there’s still a long road ahead. What’s the thinking at this point philosophically and existentially for band members.
DANNO: (laughing). Step on the gas. Expand. After each touring cycle we recalibrate and we see what worked and what didn’t work and what to make better. And we’re far from a polished act. We’re doing the States, we’re doing Europe, this year we’re doing big festivals. We’re going all over the place. The goal is to try and make this our only fulltime job.
GoBe: Seems like a smart goal. You have to play a lot of gigs to pay all those musician salaries.
GoBe: You’re telling me. I was just telling someone how much I wrote off as band members this year. It’s a painful number to deduct.
GoBe: I’ve seen your tour schedule, with takes you across Canada and into parts of the U.S. We get a listening party in March, but I see a TBA date in Niagara in October. Is that going to be a headline gig at Meridian as you triumphantly return from conquering the world?
DANNO: Actually, that’s funny, because Jason at the Meridian Centre has been doggedly hounding me to play there. The date in October is for a festival that’s not yet announced. Our date in March is just a signing and meet-and-greet. We find at local shows we don’t have enough time to meet people who come and see us or we meet them after the show and we’re totally gassed, because it’s full throttle for an hour and half. So this is a more social event.
GoBe: Out of curiously, do any band members ever weigh themselves after a show. There’s so much constant motion, it must be a great workout.
DANNO: I know Jacob and Sofie are in a constant state of hydration. I speak for myself that I’m probably the biggest physical member of the band, and it’s hard. I’m not getting any younger, but it’s good. It’s like cross-fit training for seven months of the year. We have rules about the dancing, do your own version. When someone signs up to the band they didn’t sign up to be a professional dancer. But I think that even from the guys who are least comfortable, whenever it gets going, it’s hard not to join in and do it. Even Jacob who says it’s hard loves to do it. Even me at six-five sitting behind the drums.
GoBe: What’s the most satisfying part of being in the band for you personally.
DANNO: Satisfying? It’s not lost on me, it’s never lost on me at the shows, the amount of people coming to see us. When we play these big festivals, I love to hug the band after and tell everyone what they mean to me. And we get to pay these guys to do this. There’s just so much good. We do school shows too and we perform for grade schools and promote positive male and female role models. I believe in mentorship. I wonder if some of the younger guys in this group wonder how special this is.
The RIDE THE BULLET listening party is open to the public. The date is March 30th, 3:30pm at Mindbomb Records.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
03.01 - Stratford, ON @ Revival House
03.02 - Collingwood, ON @ Collingwood Legion
03.05 - Windsor, ON @ Olde Walkerville Theatre (Mardi Gras)
03.09 - Peterborough, ON @ Peterborough Folk Fest Presents: at The Red Dog
03.16 - Londonderry, VT @ Magic Mountain
03.23 - Sudbury, ON @ Northern Ontario Microbrew Festival
03.29 - Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
03.30 - St. Catharines, ON @ Mindbomb Records *Album Signing and Listening Party*
04.05 - Barrie, ON @ Mav’ricks
04.12 - Waterloo, ON @ Maxwell’s
04.18 - Banff, AB @ Wild Bills
04.19 - Sunnybrook, AB @ Sunnybrook Hotel
04.20 - Edmonton, AB @ Polar Park Brewing
05.03 - Erie, PA @ The King’s Rook Club
05.05 - Philadelphia, PA @ King Fu Necktie
06.28 - Manitowaning, ON @ Wiikwemkoong Art and Music Festival
07.05 - Orillia, ON @ Mariposa
07.06 - Orillia, ON @ Mariposa (early show)
07.06 - Toronto, ON @ Beaches Jazz Festival (evening show)
07.11 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Founders
07.12 - Ludington, MI @ Mitten Bar
07.13 - Harbor Springs, MI @ Blissfest
07.14 - Harbor Springs, MI @ Blissfest
07.24 - Thunder Bay, ON @ Waterfront Concert Series
07.26 - Winnipeg, MA @ The Pyramid
07.27 - Winnipeg, MA @ The Pyramid
07.28 - Saskatoon, SK @ The Black Cat
07.31 - Banff, AB @ Wild Bills
08.02 - Canmore, AB @ The Drake Hotel
08.03 - Calgary, AB @ The County Line Saloon
08.07 - Quesnel, BC @ The Occidental
08.09 - Haida Gwaii Island, BC @ Edge of the World Music Festival
08.10 - Haida Gwaii Island, BC @ Edge of the World Music Festival
08.11 - Haida Gwaii Island, BC @ Edge of the World Music Festival
08.16 - Robson Valley, BC @ Robson Valley Festival
08.17 - Robson Valley, BC @ Robson Valley Festival
08.21 - Thunder Bay, ON @ The Foundry
08.23 - Burnstown, ON @ Neat Cafe
08.24 - Petawawa, ON @ Beach Stage
08.29 - Killington, VT @ Sherburne Memorial Library
09.14 - Kitchener, ON @ Belmont City Bestival
09.28 - Thomas, WV @ The Purple Fiddle
10.04 - Owen Sound, ON @ Heartwood Concert Hall
10.05 - St. Catharines, ON @ TBA
10.12 - Sarnia, ON @ Paddy Flahertys