Our buddies over at Playground.is just sent us the fourth installment of their groundbreaking video project/series, and it might be the best on yet. If you are still unfamiliar with Playground, it is a relatively simple/genius concept: bring together a band, or an artist, and a room full of people to create and record a song in just one sitting.
This time around, they hooked up with Bend Sinister and headed over to Zulu Records, where they were joined by another 100 random people, or temporary band mates, to record a version of “The Road Divided”. I’ll pass it over to Adam and Kev to give you the low-down on how this one came to be:
“If you take a random sample of 100 people you’ll find all of them can sing (and 30 or so could put a Welsh choir to shame), at least 12 can play guitar, and one diamond in the rough can play a Wurlitzer like he was born doing it. That’s what we were hoping anyway.
The story of PGI#4 goes back about four years to when we first came across Bend Sinister’s album Stories of Brothers, Tales of Lovers. Exclaim mag called it “possibly the most musically accomplished rock album by a Canadian artist this year”. It’s that good. And they’re even better live.
In January (a few days before PGI#3) Rob Calder of Boompa Records (boompa.ca) put us in touch with the band and the wheels started turning. Despite their heavy schedule of tour commitments, moving their jam space and some minor brain surgery (true story), the guys started deconstructing a song and rebuilding it with roles for an extra hundred band members.
The guys wanted lots of guitars, percussion, big vocals and someone to play a Wurlitzer. When we sent out the invite for the event, there was a fair amount of finger crossing that the people who RSVP’d would be able to pull it off. We needn’t have worried – especially as we had Watasun and Jeff Bryant in the crowd.
The venue was also a big score – Zulu Records has been an intrinsic part of the music community here since 1981, and as soon as the doors shut at 6pm we went to task turning the place into a make-shift recording studio. Doors for the event opened 45 minutes later so we had to haul ass. Luckily we had a team of volunteers who killed it.
The song for the night, The Road Divided, wasn’t written about a record shop, but it is layered in the nostalgia of small family-owned joints that got run over when the big box stores moved in nearby. In Vancouver, HMV has come and gone but Zulu Records is still standing proud after more than 30 years in business. You can take that as a single digit salute from Vancouver music lovers when it comes to buying tickets, vinyl, and CDs. We love local.
Speaking of local, this event’s libations were provided by the good people at Main Street Pilsner. Not content with just donating the beer, the owners came down and handed out the bright red cans of miracle liquid, and by the end of the night we’d quaffed the lot.
As a non-musician the song sounded pretty complicated, so we built a 12’x8’ map of all the parts and stuck it on the wall – Adam got the duty of pointing to each part as we went through the song. He originally wanted a big foam hand on a stick to aid in the pointing efforts, but the local dollar store didn’t sell hands. They did have bright yellow stuffed platypus, which once attached to a pole is obviously the next best thing. So if anyone ever needs a semi-aquatic mammal with a stick up it’s ass just drop us a note.”
Leave a comment