Interview with Joe Montague
commitment to performance is what has driven our band, not a commitment to
making records. It (CDs) is an adjunct to what we do, rather than what we really
do. Bands that attract me are bands that have some sincerity to offer, whether
it is Clash or Green Day or a hundred other ones in between,” says Bob Hallett,
a founding member of the folk rock band
Sitting in the lobby of hotel
“We had a meeting, early on
in the band’s history in 1992 or ’93, whatever, and one of the things that came
out of that, is we weren’t going to recreate a previous generation’s folk music.
Rather than using blues, jazz or rock ‘n’ roll, we were going to use the
rhythms, melodies, the instruments and the language of
It (“Banks of Newfoundland”)
is a traditional song. Most of the traditional
Whereas a lot of bands tend
to drift away from their roots as they spend more time touring and spend less
and less time in their hometowns, or eventually move away, the members of
“The biggest thing for us is
the context. We don’t live in
Doyle echoes Hallett’s sentiments and uses the word ‘lucky’ to describe how he feels about not only living in St John’s but being able to breathe in, see and absorb the many things that inspire his songwriting.
“One important thing is, we
never set out to become a Canadian institution. We were very much about
As talented as
Doyle recalls, “Hawksley, Sean (McCann), Jeen O’Brien (contributing vocals) and myself sat down one night in the studio, and wrote “Love Me Tonight,” from scratch. It started out with Hawksley’s idea as to whether or not girl x would show up and soon it married to my thoughts concerning the ten minutes before a concert begins. You are eager to please the people who are out there, and it is about the whole question of whether it will go over well or if it won’t. I think that if I ever lost that angst before I entertain people, then I would suck.”
“Hawksley comes from this indie world. His own
performances are in this sort of odd cabaret style that he has invented for
himself. We knew that he was a superb musician and a superb creator of ideas,
sounds and melodies. We knew what each of us was capable of and we knew what
each of us wanted. We wanted somebody to come in with a completely different set
of rules, someone who would shake everything up in the box. We like Hawksley
personally, and we knew that he was more than capable of the job,” says Hallett
in offering up an explanation as to why they approached Hawksley Workman to
become involved in the band’s current album.
Doyle adds, “He (Hawksley) is all about music and all about spontaneity. Spontaneity is difficult for us to find, because we are all used to each other and used to our ways with music. We were in danger of doing nothing new. We were at risk of boring our fans. Hawksley got us to stop planning stuff, to break down the rules and to ‘live in the moment,’ for each day’s recording. This record is a portrait of the days that we recorded it and if we had recorded it two weeks later, it would have sounded different.”
“Over the years we have written a lot of the songs ourselves, but we also realize that to keep fresh, there is no shame in bringing other people into that process, like Chris Trapper and Alan’s friend Russell (Crowe), who have led very different lives, and have different perspectives. For some reason they can tap into our creativity and to our music. All of these experiments have been successful in different fashions, because whenever you are forced to think of things in a different way it is always healthy,” says Hallett.
One gets the sense when
talking to Doyle and Hallett that these two men still remain grateful for the
opportunities presented to them as the stature of
The first single to be released from Fortune’s Favor, “Walk On The Moon,” mirrors the attitude of the band members. “It’s about having the good sense to know in advance, what is really important. It’s not just about being in the band, but it is about having courage and having foresight, to know what it is that you are doing, and that your days are numbered,” says Doyle.
Hallett says, “One of the reasons that this CD is called Fortune’s Favor, is we realize that after fifteen years, this is (about having) one shot. Most of the bands that we started with, or showcased with at such and such an event are long gone. We don’t take our longevity lightly. We realize that it is a privilege. Songs such as, “Walk On The Moon,” and “Here And Now,” are about that. You only have one chance. We know that we aren’t going to live forever.”
The members of