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Monday, April 25, 2016


Sandbox was an alternative rock band formed in 1993 in New Glasgow. The band consisted of Paul Murray on vocals, Mike Smith and Jason Archibald on guitar, Scott MacFarlane on bass and Troy Shanks on drums. Paul Murray is a nephew of singer Anne Murray.  Sandbox was formed by Mike Smith in New Glasgow in 1992. They debuted with the 1993 indie EP, Maskman.

Their debut album Bionic was released on July 23, 1996. The album spawned their most well known single, "Curious", which reached No. 34 on Canada's RPM Singles chart and No. 8 on Canada's Alternative chart. The song also received regular airplay on MuchMusic. They were nominated for Best New Group at the Juno Awards of 1996. They also won three East Coast Music Awards. A second album, A Murder in the Glee Club was released in November 1997. The album was produced by Don Fleming who also produced albums for Hole, Stone Temple Pilots, and Teenage Fanclub.

Following the dissolution of the band, guitarist Mike Smith went on to play Bubbles, a popular character in the Canadian cult hit television series Trailer Park Boys. Bassist Scott MacFarlane played for Crush and Gordie Sampson. Jason Archibald graduated from Dalhousie University in 2001 with a degree in medicine.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Clarknova was a 5 piece alternative rock band from Newmarket, Ontario. The group originally formed in the early 1990s under the name Tribal Stomp, and released 2 records, one entitled Blue and a second, self-titled album, Tribal Stomp. This record had 2 singles, "Breathe" and "Stain", with videos for each that received play on Canada's MuchMusic. In 1998, drummer Shayne Wakefield and bassist Dave Alexander left the group and were replaced by John Lord and Chris Ferguson. With this lineup change their sound evolved, causing the band to take a new direction and a new name, Clarknova.

In 1999, Clarknova released their first LP entitled Host. It was produced by Paul Northfield & Brad Nelson, and recorded at Great Big Music in Toronto, Studio Morin Heights in Quebec, as well as Newmarket Multimedia. The album included a re-make of their previous single "Stain" retitled "Re-Stain," this track had additional production by Mike Kerwin and was the only Tribal Stomp track that remained in Clarknova's setlist. The album was well received in the Toronto area, due to extensive self-promotion at concerts by the band. This in turn, caused 102.1 The Edge in Toronto to be overwhelmed with requests from fans to play the single "Johnny Under," causing the song to be inserted into high rotation. The band toured regularly throughout this time acquiring a growing fanbase.

In 2002, the band recorded their follow-up album Annexia with Jagori Tanna from I Mother Earth as producer. Plans were set to release the disc, when guitarist Scott Wilson left the band due to personal reasons. Later, while touring the record, the band lost their second guitarist, Greg Caines, to similar circumstances. Scott was soon replaced by Dan Preston, who had performed engineering duties on both Clarknova records, and played guitar on the track "Exile At Home," and Greg was replaced by Pat Davies. The first single "Drown," followed by "Please Them," the video for which was played regularly on MuchLOUD. The band also released a third single entitled "Start Again (Velocity)." After a nationwide tour with I Mother Earth and Scratching Post, the band eventually broke up. The original line up of Kulba, Wilson, Caines, Ferguson and Lord reunited after seven years to perform one show only in Newmarket on December 18, 2010 as a part of York Aid at Glenway Country Club. A guest appearance from Dan Preston, who was in version 2.0, joined the band for the last song of the night "Johnny Under".

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Mother Earth (The Brian Byrne Years)

In late 1998, IME returned to Toronto and reunited with Paul Northfield, who again shared production duties with Jag Tanna on the new sessions. These sessions were chronicled on the internet by Bruce Gordon, long considered the most fan-friendly member of the band (Gordon was known to answer fan emails dating back to the Scenery and Fish years). Armando Borg returned in the place of Conte on percussion, though Mansilla remained IME's main percussionist. Rush frontman Geddy Lee was also brought in to provide bass for the album track "Good for Sule". While the Tannas were still the main contributors, they described the creative process as more open than before. The result was Blue Green Orange, released in mid-1999. It was somewhat of a departure from earlier work, opting for more textured, spacier sounds and less of an emphasis on the band's hard-rock reputation. Still, the lead single, "Summertime in the Void", was a major rock hit in Canada and showed that the band was still commercially viable with a different singer and a change in sound. Subsequent singles "All Awake" and "When Did You Get Back from Mars?" also received solid radio and video airplay, but it was apparent that the band's commercial prime was over. The album's Gold status was seen as a disappointment by many compared to the previous albums. Tanna and Northfield won a Juno in 2000 for Best Recording Engineer, and the album was nominated for Best Album Design, but it received no musical nods.

IME came off the road and in 2001 the band members settled into their own Toronto studio, The Mother's Hip. However, this period was plagued with problems. Brian Byrne had ruptured his vocal cords and required surgery. Christian Tanna broke his forearm and was unable to play drums. After those injuries healed the band decided to scrap the entire session, which was reportedly filled with radio-friendly material, and start from the beginning.  This occurred after a false story circulated in the media that the album was finished and tentatively titled Save the Last Disco. Furthermore, the band also dealt with the EMI release of Earth, Sky, and Everything in Between, an album of B-Sides and live recordings from the EMI years.  The Tannas and Gordon issued a statement insisting the record was unauthorized and was nothing more than a cash grab by EMI. Edwin offered no comment on the album.

IME then went to work on the proper new album in 2002 with producer David Bottrill (alongside Jag Tanna), taking only a short break to headline the Canadian MTV Campus Invasion Tour, then releasing a song as a preview of the new material. The song "Juicy" was pressed as a promo single for the Vin Diesel movie xXx, and despite no push from the label and no video, it received rock radio airplay on its own. It was later included on The Quicksilver Meat Dream, released in early 2003. The album was an even larger departure from past works, with industrial elements replacing the Latin percussion (but not Mansilla, who still toured with the band), and a heavier, more progressive sound than ever before. However, Universal was unimpressed with the nearly-finished product and demanded radio-friendly singles, so the band returned to the studio to appease the label.  Lead single "Like the Sun" was another Canadian rock hit, but despite its popularity, it failed to sell the record. Due to the dismal sales and arguments with the Tannas over the direction of IME, Universal withdrew all support from the band, leaving it to fund small tours and second single "No Coma" on its own. The song failed to be officially added to rock radio, the video received very limited play, and with that the band decided to end the album's run after only seven months. The band provided the theme songs for the MuchMusic TV shows Much on Demand and MuchLOUD, but otherwise went unheard in the media for the rest of the year. Universal officially dropped IME at the end of 2003.

In November 2003, I Mother Earth performed a special show in Barrie, Ontario, entitled "Live off the Floor". Largely considered by those present as their greatest live performance, the intimate, nearly four-hour show featured the band performing in the round of the Georgian College venue, with the crowd on all sides. IME played most of its back catalogue at the show, and it was thought to be the band's final performance. 

Following the band's hiatus, Brian Byrne started a solo career, releasing two albums and one EP. Bruce Gordon joined the Blue Man Group lineup and pursued numerous side projects. Jagori Tanna founded a new studio and record label, UpperLeftSide music, as well as the production company Segment X Productions. Christian Tanna organized local Toronto rock and jazz events, and was in management roles with both UpperLeftSide music and The Venue, a concert-oriented nightclub in Peterborough.

In January of 2012 the band got together after a 9 year hiatus.  A new song was offered up for download titles "We Got The Love" and numerous shows were planned, then more shows were added and even more into 2013.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I Mother Earth (The Edwin Years)

The brother duo of drummer Christian and guitarist Jagori Tanna (a stage name adopted through an admiration for Carlos Santana) met vocalist Edwin at their shared rehearsal space in 1990.  Edwin asked the brothers to form a band with him, and the three came together in 1991, taking on Franz Masini as a bass player. The band came up with the name IME, as in "I Am Me", but later decided the letters should stand for something. Jag Tanna ad-libbed the name I Mother Earth and has always insisted it has no special meaning. The band, represented by a professionally-recorded five-song demo, played a mere thirteen shows over the next year. These were noted for their jam sessions, poetry readings, and murals painted in the background during the songs. At the end of the year, the band was in the middle of a bidding war between labels. IME ended up being signed to EMI in Canada, and Capitol for the U.S. and internationally.

I Mother Earth travelled to Los Angeles in 1992 to record its debut album with former Guns N' Roses producer Mike Clink. During these sessions, Franz Masini was fired, leaving Jag Tanna to re-record the bass parts by himself. At the completion of the album, Masini was replaced by Bruce Gordon, whose band Rocktopus was breaking up at that time. With the lineup solidified, the band underwent an intensive international tour to support its debut, Dig, in mid-1993. Considered an anomaly in the "alternative" era and often mistaken for heavy metal, the album combined traditional hard rock with grooves, extended jams, psychedelic lyrics, and the Latin-based percussion of Luis Conte and Armando Borg. Dig spawned four singles, the first three of which actually originated from IME's demo tape and were later included on the proper album. "Rain Will Fall" and "Not Quite Sonic" were released in the summer of 1993, and "So Gently We Go" and "Levitate" were released the following summer. All four garnered respectable radio and video airplay in Canada, as well as rotations in the U.S. and Europe. The latter two singles in particular charted well on Canadian rock radio. The album itself won a Juno Award in 1994 for Best Hard Rock Album, beating out IME's childhood idols Rush for the award. This cemented a long relationship between the two bands, which started with IME opening for Rush the night after the Junos. By the end of the album's run, Dig was a Gold record in Canada.

After the exhaustive touring ended, IME ended up in different studios in Toronto and Morin Heights, Quebec in 1995. In these studios, the band worked on its second album, co-produced by Jag Tanna and Paul Northfield, who was most noted for producing Rush. Daniel Mansilla replaced Borg on percussion, and became the band's permanent touring percussionist. Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson also made a guest appearance on the song "Like a Girl". However, signs of dissension in the band were already showing. For the first time, Edwin revealed to the music press that he had no creative control in the band and that such a situation gave him "no reason to be (t)here". He had also spent a great deal of the sessions away from the band, recording the album Victor with Lifeson. Still, he remained with IME as the group recorded Scenery and Fish, released in mid-1996. The album, which combined IME's trademark sounds with a slightly softer, radio-friendly approach, was a critical and commercial success. In particular, the singles "One More Astronaut" and "Another Sunday" pushed the band into the commercial elite in Canada, the former cracking the Top 20 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Chart in the U.S. Subsequent singles "Used to Be Alright" and "Raspberry" also made solid showings on radio and video. In 1997, IME was nominated for a Juno Award for Group of the Year. The album was nominated for the Best Rock Album Juno, and was a double Platinum record in Canada. The band's newfound fame also pushed sales of Dig over the Platinum record mark.

Around the end of the tour schedule for Scenery and Fish, IME shocked many fans and reporters when it announced that Edwin would be leaving. From that point on, the band mentioned that Jag Tanna wrote the majority of its music (during jams with his brother and Gordon), that Chris Tanna wrote all of the lyrics, and that Edwin had no control whatsoever. This and musical differences prompted the vocalist to leave. Citing unmanageable tension, the band and Edwin mutually agreed to part ways. The remaining members insisted that they would carry on under the I Mother Earth name, and announced they would be searching for a new lead singer. IME also publicly criticized a show by Franz Masini's new band, which was advertised as "featuring members of I Mother Earth", as a blow to its own name and image. Edwin fulfilled all his contractual obligations with the band, including the Edgefest '97 tour, and left in mid-1997. IME itself ended up in disputes with both EMI and the band's management (Capitol had inexplicably dropped the band prior), and subsequently broke ties with both. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Following the breakup of the band One Free Fall, vocalist Ken MacNeil and bassist Jim Moore continued working together, hooking up with former Doughboys member Scott McCullough (guitar) and Mitch Perkins (drums) to record the EP Wake Me in 1994. A video for the song Wake Me would become a minor hit on MuchMusic. Released on Handsome Boy Records, the EP was popular on Canadian campus radio, and led to a major label distribution deal with BMG Records for their full length album Fluke in 1995.

Led by the hit single "Misogyny", which featured a video consisting of clips from Canadian filmmaker Bruce LaBruce's film Hustler White as well as Canadian singer Danko Jones, Fluke was the band's commercial breakthrough, also spawning the single "California", and earning a Juno Award nomination for Best Alternative Album. The album was produced by Chris Wardman, who also played guitar on the tracks "Groovy Dead" and "California".

In 1996, the band contributed a cover of "Let's Break Robert Out of Jail" to the compilation album A Tribute to Hard Core Logo. Also in 1996 the song "Punk" was included on soundtrack to Chris Farley's movie Black Sheep.

The band's follow-up album, Sophomoric, was released in 1997, including the singles "Empty Cell" and "Oh No Joe". Perkins left the band that year and was replaced by John Lalley. Perkins left the group due to creative differences, he continues to play regularly with bands in the Toronto music scene.  In 1998, Rusty released Out of Their Heads. The band broke up two years later, playing their final show on November 25, 2000.  In April 2011, Chart magazine reported that Rusty would be re-uniting for the 2011 NXNE festival

Rusty Live at Snowjob '96 (Full Performance)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Black Mountain

Since forming in 2004, Black Mountain has released three LPs, Black Mountain (2005), In the Future (2008), and Wilderness Heart (2010), and two EPs, Druganaut (2004) and Bastards of Light (2008) on the Jagjaguwar label. The "Stormy High" single was released in 2006 on Suicide Squeeze Records.

Their self-titled album was chosen as one of's Top 100 Editor's Picks of 2005. In the Future was a finalist for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize and was also nominated for "Best Alternative Album" in the 2009 Juno Awards. The song "Stay Free" from In the Future was featured on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack.

Leader Stephen McBean also heads another similarly named band, Pink Mountaintops, who are the more experimental side of McBean's musical abilities. Black Mountain is the front line band for Black Mountain Army, a collective of musicians, artists and friends in Vancouver. In an interview the band said "Black Mountain is just the five of us. The Black Mountain Army… which has kind of gotten blown out of proportion, it was kind of just a joke, because everybody thought we were this hippie collective, like we all lived in one house. But it’s basically just our friends at home in Vancouver, just our extended family of creative people that we know."


This site is just something I'll be doing for fun in conjunction with Spreading The Jam.  I, as you probably know, love music.  I love to soundtrack my life.  And, while I could do this entirely to Pearl Jam, I often like to throw something else in the mix just to keep things interesting.

Pretty much anything from the 90's is a good bet to keep me motivated throughout my long nights at work.  But, every now and then, something new comes my way and it opens up a whole new world of artists and bands that I would have never heard before had it not been for a band, or a song, or whatever that drifted into my ears.

This site, I hope, is intended to be used as an information depot for your ears.  I won't be just posting anything here.  As the blog title suggests this is for Canadian Rock only.  Don't despair visitors from other countries, Canada has a very diverse musical culture especially in the genre of rock.  We have had everything from grunge, classic, alternative, metal, prog, stoner, and just striaght up melt your speakers rock.

So whenever I get the chance I will post some info about a band or an artist I have come across or I think you should listen to, or take a second listen too if you've heard them before.  There is no regular schedule for updates, like I said this is kind of side project to Spreading The Jam so when I have down time from there (which means PJ is not touring) this site will be updated.

And one more thing.  Each post I make will contain musical goodies, but for some reason I fear legal action (LOL) so all downloadable content is for preview only, if you like what you hear go out to your local HMV or record store and buy an album to support some great artists.  All downloads can be found in the comment section of each post.

Thanks for stopping by... eh.