Brendan Canning knows how to use his free time.
Since the hiatus of Broken Social Scene, he’s taken the opportunity to break free of the expectations his status as Canadian indie rock royalty has awarded him to release two solo records and tour smaller venues across the country. He’s using this break to relive his early days, when he was cutting his teeth playing rock music in the ’90s.
Canning will be at Zaphod’s on Saturday, November 19th as part of a small tour in support of his latest solo release Home Wrecking Years. Opening the show will be Toronto’s Shy Kids and American Lips, featuring Sebastian Grainger of Death From Above 1979.
The album and tour, while exploring themes of destruction and rebuilding, also represents a reprieve from the titanic machine that is Broken Social Scene. I spoke with Canning while he worked away in a cabin on material for their much anticipated upcoming release.
Speaking with Brendan, I couldn’t help but attempt to draw out comparisons between his solo work and his work with BSS.
“Honestly, this is my playtime. With my solo thing, the stakes aren’t as high and I let things get a little looser around the edges, more West Coast vibey. With this album it’s just me and my pal Dave Plowman producing the record and my band comes in to lay down great shit. We’re just left with whatever we’re left with. I enjoy that process. It’s kind of how I worked in the ’90s: clear out the living room, turn it into a jam space and just try and enjoy my time spent playing loud guitar music.”
The band and material for the album came to be while Brendan toured promoting his last solo effort You Got 2 Chill (2013). “It`s a collection from that era, end of 2013 into end of 2014. We booked the studio in spring of 2015 and then started to record. We wrote a bit in the studio too.”
The touring band consists of Greg Calderon, Mike Calderon, Graham Jones, Kevin Kane, Dani Nash and a full horn section. It seems that no matter what Brendan is working on, he likes a lot of folks on stage. “I like big sounds.”: Canning proclaims in a not-so-shocking statement. “It’s never been my dream to go out with an acoustic guitar and travel by myself for two months. I haven’t put the time or vision into that sort of thing.”
Canning is looking forward to performing once again in Ottawa. “The city has been very good to me since 1993 and Zaphod’s is a classic Ottawa venue. It’s the first place I played in the city in March of ‘93.”
He is looking forward to enjoying this no-frills tour before returning to the larger stages on which BSS will be performing. “I’m borrowing this van and we’re going to hit the 401, try and stay in cheap hotels. It’s not going to be about anything more than just enjoying an evening of rock and roll music, catered by whatever I happen to be craving that night and if I’m not too lazy, I’ll put on an iPod playlist. What more could you want?”