December 7: Solo Record From Paul Langlois

Very little is known about the record – much like the man himself. This record could be hiding in the shadows waiting to kick ass on December 7, 2010.

At a charity event in Kingston a fan captured this clip:

K-Rock in Kingston has been playing the first single, “Can’t Wait Any More.”

Here’s a potential setlist:
My Next Mistake
If I Were You
Fix This Head
Broken Road
Things I Should’ve Said
Come My Way
Shattered Down
Homeless In Aspen
Can’t Wait Any More

Keep an eye on Ching Music for more details!

The Record: Hip going strong 26 years later


Twenty six years after they burst on the Canadian music scene in a riotous, pre-grunge explosion of hype, hope and a heroic kick in the pants to the boring synth-pop then in vogue, it’s interesting to compare the fortunes of Kingston-bred rock titans The Tragically Hip with their behemoth Irish counterparts, U2.

Both bands — combining arena-styled anthems with quirky self-reflection — have boasted remarkable longevity and fervent fan loyalty in an industry known for flavour-of-the-month pop concoctions and eating its young.

Both showcase charismatic, poetically minded leaders — U2’s Bono and The Hip’s Gord Downie — whose social conscience goes beyond rock and roll, Bono with his celebrated humanitarian work, Downie with his support of environmental issues.

Both display flashes of tongue-in-cheek humour that prick their earnest images and deflect charges of pretence (well, mostly), U2 with a week long gig on David Letterman that saw band members shovelling snow outside NBC, The Hip through Downie’s deadpan appearances on TV’s Corner Gas and Canuck cult hit Trailer Park Boys.

More significantly, perhaps, both bands are rewriting the book on aging gracefully in rock, having just released mid-career albums — U2’s No Line On The Horizon, The Hip’s We Are The Same — that fight the ravages of approaching geezerhood with edgy, experimental songs that attempt, with some success, to reinvent the wheel, musically.

The differences? U2 is one of the biggest bands on the planet. The Tragically Hip? Er . . . not so much, though we Canadians can’t get enough of ’em.

“We’re essentially an indie act down here,” Downie, who turned down an interview request from The Record, told The Toronto Star before a gig at the 2007 South By Southwest rock festival in Austin, Texas.

“There are certain places where we arrive to a lot of acclaim, if certainly not to screaming girls at JFK (airport). At this point, we’ve had not one shred of national-profile-enhancing anything. We’ve played on Saturday Night Live (in 1995) and got not even a Rolling Stone review. Nothing. Which I’m not lamenting, really, but it gives you an idea of how we’ve been doing it, which is 50 people at a time — literally.”

Band members profess not to care, having attained Godlike status in Canada through mesmerizing live performances and iconic hits like Blow at High Dough, New Orleans is Sinking, Little Bones, Fifty-Mission Cap and Bobcaygeon.

But it’s generally acknowledged that the biggest impediment to worldwide success — and this may be the thing that makes them truly great — is the defiant indie sensibility that infuses everything they do.

“We haven’t had that one song,” Downie told The Star. “I think (Canuck music legend) Randy Bachman said that about us once. My tight-lipped response to a radio interviewer in New York . . . was — after I thought ‘(Bleep) you, Randy Bachman,’ under my breath — that he’s probably right.”

But there’s more to it: Downie’s penchant for rambling lyrical excursions, literary song references to Raymond Carver and Wallace Stevens and the band members defiantly un-rock and roll image as minivan-driving family men.

And at this point, let’s face it, if you’re not a videogenic 20-something gyrating around a stripper pole on MTV, you’ll have more luck unloading CDs by standing on the corner of Frederick and King.

But The Hip — as firmly embedded in the Canadian psyche as maple syrup, Mounties and bad Canadian sitcoms — are past all that lobbying-for-attention stuff, opting to take care of business, to reference Bachman’s own famed anthem, for a fan base that, in the best possible way, verges on fanatical.

“I throw myself on the altar of song and I see my own personal musical life in fast flashes of faces and names and colours and sounds,” Downie told Maclean’s magazine in a stream-of-consciousness riff on the musical muse that endears him to many.

“And I get lost in the euphoria of standing up there like Howlin’ Wolf or Otis Redding or David Bowie with a mike in my hand and an audience that’s ready.

“I’m really riding something up there, and it’s a hell of a ride. . . . I go for it: I sing, I dance, I listen to this great band. I do what the music urges . . . it isn’t a rehearsed routine.”

It may not give The Hip the U.S. cache they have long deserved, but that just makes Canadians love them even more. Tragically Hip Kicks Off ‘Same’ Tour

Inspired by the wide sonic sweep of its new album, “We Are the Same,” the Tragically Hip plans to play a lot of music during its upcoming North American tour, which starts today (April 27) in Kitchener, Ont., and currently has dates booked into September.

Frontman Gordon Downie tells that the Canadian quintet plans to play lengthy shows with an intermission. “We did that once, about 10 years ago,” he recalls. “I think we decided with this (album), we needed to do something where we could expand the margins and really work on the dynamics, from a pindrop to blow the doors off.”

He says the Hip’s audiences can expect “lots of songs” from the new album but also a generous selection of older music to provide context for the fresh material. “I just think our list of songs has grown to the point where we need to incorporate a lot of songs from our past,” Downey explains. “We’ve been rehearsing pretty hard; we’ve got 90-odd songs we’re going to touch on at least once [during the tour]. So hopefully it’ll keep people on their toes a little bit. It definitely keeps us on our toes. We just want to do something different, somehow, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The presence of an extra utility musician, playing keyboards and providing background vocals, will also help the Hip “touch a lot on the rest of our sound,” according to Downey. “It’s making a lot of songs sound brand new again. Like ‘Gift Shop;’ there’s an intro to that that’s pretty atmospheric that we couldn’t really touch before. It’s certainly making us better, ultimately, all the way across.”

Downey says the band will likely document the tour in some way, either by recording or filming, though he notes that promotional activities such as a closed-circuit movie theater broadcast in Canada and a series of short films on the Hip’s official web site “command all my psychic energy. But I imagine we will be doing something over the next 10 months.”

“We Are the Same’s” 12 songs were culled from roughly 40 ideas the Hip came up with and pored over with producer Bob Rock. But Downey isn’t sure what will come up with the unused material.

“Ultimately you always vow you’ll put them on the next record, but you never do,” he says with a laugh. “When you start winnowing them for [the album] you don’t work on the other ones much, so they stay in an uncompleted state as you move forward with the ones you’re interested in. They all have titles. They have melodies. They’re still there, but what we’ll do with them I can’t say.”