An interview I did with Saskatchewan doom rockers Shooting Guns!

BeatRoute Magazine


Anything but a shot in the dark, the straight-from-the-hip firepower of Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns gives them free reign to put a positive spin on the task of being harbingers of doom. Muted in their pursuit of concordant mayhem, the instrumental outfit excels at laying down heavy harmonies and gut-wrenching riffs that plunder the vaults of heavy metal history for molten riches and gritty glory.

“In short, we are Saskatchewan’s answer to sonic dismemberment,” says Shooting Gun’s bassist Jay Loos.

Plying his “instru-metal” trade in cahoots with coconspirators drummer Jim Ginther, guitarist Keith “Keef” Doepker, bassist Zach Low and guitarist Chris Laramee, synth-player Loos was thrilled to commit Shooting Guns’ heavy-psych railings to vinyl with the release of their towering sophomore LP, Brotherhood of the Ram, in October of 2013.

“Basically, as the name implies, we create somewhat deafening distortions that will leave you either…

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My write-up of a fantastic modern-traditional album!

BeatRoute Magazine

Rodrigo y Gabriela 9 Dead Alive


It’s been five years since we have heard original material from the freakishly talented Mexican guitar duo known simply as Rodrigo y Gabriela. Amalgamating classical and flamenco guitar styles with rock and heavy-metal influences, the long-awaited 9 Dead Alive finds the two-piece powerhouse paying tribute to noteworthy individuals of the past.

Wire and wood generate instrumental magic, as the fulsome acoustics and intricate fretwork on opening track “The Soundmaker” taps into the muse of guitarist/luthier Antonio de Torres Jurado. All the while, the fragile vistas of “Megalopolis” and the doggedly optimistic “Misty Moses (inspired by Harriet Tubman) set the historic scene for the Trans-Siberian juggernaut “The Russian Messenger” (inspired by Fyodor Dostoyevsky). Organic, intuitive and brilliantly emotive, the stirring sonic portraits that comprise 9 Dead Alive are deeply reverential and yet completely invigorating. Class, consider yourselves schooled!

By Christine Leonard

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How Did They Create That Cover? Western Living


National Magazine Awards

The finalists for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards have been announced — including ten nominations in the Magazine Covers category.

In a new blog series titled How Did They Create That Cover? the NMAF chats with the creative directors of the Magazine Covers finalists about how their covers were made. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at things we may or may not think about when we pick up a magazine and devour its pages.

Today we chat with Paul Roelofs, art director at Western Living and creator of this nominated cover:

NMAF: Was this cover always what the magazine had in mind to depict the story, or were there other ideas? 

Paul: Not at all what we had in mind. The September issue is a landmark issue for us each year and features a large editorial package called Designers of the Year. It is a competition that WL hosts in…

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Classic Calgary! #YYC #ADL301

BeatRoute Magazine

Thee Oh Sees' 2012 performance is one of Broken City talent booker Alan Lindsay's top ten memories. Broken City begins its week-long 10-year anniversary party next week. Thee Oh Sees’ 2012 performance is one of Broken City talent booker Alan Lindsay’s top ten memories. Broken City begins its week-long 10-year anniversary party next week.


Since I was still in high school when Broken City first opened, I don’t know too much about the first couple of years. But, I can tell you that, for the past six years that I have been coming/working here, there have been some amazing nights. Here are top ten favourite moments and memories of Broken City.

1) The first ever time I came to Broken City, I was 17 and 3 Inches of Blood were playing here. Before the show, they played an all ages show at a community centre. My friends and I all went to that show and then were planning to come to Broken City and try to sneak…

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Recommended social video: How to Pick a Lock with Hairpins – Demonstrative DIY

Let’s call it a “Life Hack”.

We’ve all wondered what it would be like to be a professional safe-crackers.

A nimble-fingered, keen-eared tumbler-tuner.  Mom always hoped I’d wear a steth0scope one day.

Somehow this always involves a black catsuit and a flashlight small enough to be held between one’s teeth.

*Insert Clouseau-esque theme music here!

Remember that episode of King of the Hill where Hank breaks into the second-floor of their rented Mexican apartment building using a car key and brute force?

I’ve always wondered what I’d do in a similar situation…

NightHawkInLight to the rescue!  

(No, seriously that’s what he calls himself.)

A prime example of content that is best communicated through video, NHIL’s narrative is clear and concise. These (apparently) easy-to-follow instructions are accompanied by footage of how to perform each step. Using a clear dummy lock device he takes you through the basics of opening a locked door with just 2 simple hairpins (aka Bobby Pins – so named for the bobbed hairstyle).

I mean, who doesn’t carry such thing around in her purse?  Innocent enough, alright.

Better forewarn the neighbours so they don’t call the fuzz when they see me trying this out on my side door!


Recommended social video: UFC Fight Night 40 – The Unofficial Companion

Joe Rogan Experience – Fight Companion : Aired live – May 10, 2014


Powerful Joe Rogan, an official Ultimate Fighting Championship commentator, is usually ringside calling every bout. And he is far-and-away the best at what he does.

But last Saturday he was relaxing in his Californian podcast studios with friends while his co-workers did the live television broadcast from Ohio.

At his leisure, Joe invited friends Aubrey Marcus of Onnit fitness, fellow stand-up comedian Bryan Callen, and professional mixed martial artist Brendan Schaub to join him in watching the fights on TV while recording their reactions for posterity.

I say “Posterity”, but, in fact, the number of people who download Joe’s podcasts in one month exceeds the number of people who signed up for Obamacare during the entire registration period!

And all this while quaffing red wine and loudly chowing down on deli pickles from Chicago.  Joe goes on to explain that he has blocked Twitter followers for complaining about his pickle munching, or “Go fuck your mother.” as he likes to say.

It was a tremendous night of fights with Matt “the Immortal” Brown (once again) proving why he’s my favourite fighter.

Still, after multiple listenings, I’m not convinced that video really enhanced the experience of listening to Joe and his friends “Oooh and aaaah!” over the proceedings. For obvious copyright reasons, he was unable to show any of the actual fight footage being aired on TV.  Listening to it over the headphones the next day I had to laugh out loud at some of the jokes they were tossing around. Pretty crass stuff, but all in good fun. They really know how to take the piss out of each other (with love).

At home during the live event, I was drifting between my television and PC so I could listen to the pod-banter during the all-too frequent commercial breaks.  One day this will be a merged experience where PC and PVR are synchronized! I can’t wait!

Overall, I thought it was a fun and insightful bonus to what was already a stellar night of free mixed martial arts action.

Joe may have been speaking with his tongue firmly planted in his cheek when he said he was quitting his job with the UFC to do independent podcast commentary, but I do hope that he revisits this scenario in the future.

For my part, I’m totally down with the notion that casual and unscripted podcasts have their own merit. It could be as easy as flipping on a camera while I’m doing my live radio program.

Now, who wants to watch D~Jedi Christine use a lint-brush on this dusty ol’ Budgie LP?

Youtube link:

Recommended social video: RipTide gets Animated by Crooked Line

RipTide – In The Middle of the Nite – Official video by Stefan Glerum & Crooked Line

  • Come along for a night out with a group of clandestine street racers in this explosive music video…


Fans of the original Heavy Metal animated movie will feel right at home with these images set to music.

Or is it vice-versa?

Amsterdam-based illustrator Stefan Glerum teamed up with animation studio Crooked Line to create this animated music video for DJ and producer RipTide. Crooked Line was responsible for bringing Stefan’s illustrations to life for the first time.

If you’re familiar with animated marvels like MTV’s Downtown, Archer (get out of my head Bob’s Burgers), and the Venture Brothers you’ll enjoy the sleek line-work and rapid fire POV angles that accompany the throbbing electronic soundtrack provided by RipTide.

That’s right I’m calling the song a soundtrack. Which is rather backwards when you consider that the drawings were made to compliment it.

I have friends who design videogames to accompany their music, so I can appreciate the relationship between the two mediums with the understanding that they are not mutually dependent, but rather enhance one another in an artistic sense.

The idea of having someone animate one of my radio shows or interviews is intriguing.

Consider the collide-a-scope media-upmashery of Tetrix:

Or, the visual whimsy of West Coast beat maker and gaming wizard Nate “Mantrakid” Schmold:

As with the infamous Dark Side of the Rainbow cross-over — I’d like to try setting alternative soundtracks to some of my favourite films.  Please check out these other examples of synch-ups between films and albums: SyncMovies

Did you love Akira?  Did you tolerate Tron?

Then Neo-Tokyo is about to explode!  Again.

Watch it on Vimeo:

RipTide – In The Middle of the Nite – Official video by Stefan Glerum & Crooked Line from Crooked Line on Vimeo.

  • High and tight, this music video came together as part of the collaboration between digital speedracer RipTide and the Jäger Music DJ program.

Illustrations: Stefan Glerum

Animation: Crooked Line

Recommended social video: Watching Game of Thrones Between the Lines

A rather entertaining video podcast that provides a glimpse into the possible historic inspiration for George R. R. Martin’s saga A Song of Ice and Fire.

The narrator’s voice is a tad high pitched and fast-paced, but there’s a lot to cover when you consider all of the connections this video draws between Martin’s fantasy realm and actual figures and events from the historical period known as the Middle Ages.

World_Map_of_Ice_and_Fire_by_Other_in_Law*Westrosi Map by Aidan Moher

A visually compelling tour of the key characters and political schema of the books that spawned the popular HBO Game of Thrones television series. Parses the noble houses of Westros with England’s War of the Roses. Although I think called Ned Stark a Richard the Third is just poppycock!

Frames GoT as a “soft adaptation” of world history between 476 – 1492 Common Era.

I especially enjoyed how they drew upon Umberto Eco’s “Travels in Hyperreality” to explain how writers/directors use this era as a backdrop upon which to stage decidedly modern dramas. Identifies our human desire to project our own needs upon past events in order to tell stories that we find relevant today.

Pretext, irony, barbarism, romanticism, decadence, identity, philosophy, tradition, the end of days!!! 

It’s all here and presented in a manner that approaches An Inconvenient Truth.   Behold!

Episode URL:

 Between the Lines: Game of Thrones

“History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings of antiquity.”
Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC), Pro Publio Sestio

“I prefer my history dead. Dead history is writ in ink, the living sort in blood.”
George R.R. Martin, (1948 – ), A Feast for Crows

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I love it when Wikipedia quotes me!

and here

Podthoughts: on creating and publishing…

What goes into crafting a podcast worth listening to?

  • Creating and publishing my own podcasts is an exciting prospect.  And perhaps a SCARY one, too!

I have long wondered about what kind of conversation, insights, and observations I could share outside of the format of my weekly radio program, which is chiefly music-focused.

As with my freelance writing, I always prefer to have a starting point that’s been predetermined. Case in point, talk to this female saxophonist, Christine Jensen, about her new album and what it means to be a Canadian jazz icon. Then we can break it down from there: who are you, what do you do, why do you do it, how do you do it, what surprised you the most about doing it? You get the idea.

I hope that my interview podcasts featuring King Buzzo and Damian Abraham reveal something about those artists that even the most stalwart fan would find interesting or unusual. Indeed, my favourite aspect of interviewing people is when you flip over a stone and find something living underneath it. Like a devoted metalhead who reveals that he’s deeply into beekeeping.

For example had the pleasure of interviewing Nergal of the Polish death-metal band Behemoth. He was pleased that I had done so much background research on him and knew that he had a degree in museum curation from the University of Gdansk. In hindsight, I was thrilled to the core by his sexy baritone voice and a podcast version of our chat would certainly have brought that extra-value across to the listener, as opposed to the stony silence of the mere pulp-and-ink print version.

*Nergal and Behemoth

Gdansk macabre!


Basically, when plotting out a podcast, I try to adhere to the same rules I’d use in creating a radio program, except for my usual on-air edict of “Less talk; more rock!”

Try to keep it clear and simple. And, for the love of all that’s holy, establish some sort of key talking point; a central topic or concept that you can (hopefully) circle back to by the end of your conversation/podcast.

Even if you wander into uncharted territory, keep your audience in mind. Refrain from in-jokes. I tell callers to my radio show, who request such, that “Shout-outs are boring and lame.” And they are. It’s okay to take a pause now and then. What seems like minutes to you is really only seconds on the other end of the broadcast. Catch your breath, swallow that spit, laugh a little, Google that fact, take a sip or a rip. These are all normal activities. But don’t fritter your time (or ours) away either.  Roll on!

Consider the working motto of noted movie director Ed Wood:

“Great! Print it!”

Ed_Wood_photoOne take wonders?

I like the idea of creating podcasts in one big go!

Just as my radio show is two-hours of live and uncensored creativity, a podcast can be put out with little or no turn around time.

Yes, you can do it in ONE TAKE — IF :  you pay attention and keep it tight. Have something to say before you go on the mic! Tell yourself that there will be no post-recording editing. Set a timer if you’re concerned about length, or better yet just talk until it’s talked out.

After almost two decades of DJ-ing and announcing off-the-cuff, I’m used to looking forward — not back. One and done!

That’s not to say we shouldn’t self-edit and strive for perfection in what we do! You MUST go back and listen to your own material. It’s the best way to pick up on the little improvements that will sculpt and polish your productions.

Do I really “Pop my Ps?”  Yes, yes you do.

Little tangents and sideways alleys of thought and discussion are the real meat of the matter. We all know so-and-so had a big hit with “That Song”, but the real pleasure comes from hearing about the singer-songwriter’s passion for homemade jams, jet-skiing, and rescuing hedgehogs.  Or whatever…


And, as you can see, I have a predilection for awesome imagery. Podcasting is another opportunity to present imagery in the form of video-casting. Just need to figure out the old soft-focus camera techniques they used on the original Star Trek. What was that? Vaseline on the lens? Genius!  She looks like an angel!

It’s a lot of personal exposure. The stakes are high in that regard, but there’s also an ocean of existing (and ongoing) podcasts out there. Sink or swim, but know that there is definitely a “TRY!” in this game.

So much to cover; so much fun to be had!