WHO: Jazzberry Ram
WHEN: Feb. 27
"We get drunk, stick flaming pieces of toilet paper up our bums and run down hotel hallways!"
Not everyones ideal television debut, but a hell of an attention getter. Vancouvers Jazzberry Ram has been receiving tremendous exposure (no pun intended) across North America, and bassist Allan McInnes says their appearance on The Chris Isaak Show is just the start.
"Gosh I cant even remember the last time we were in Whistler," exclaims McInnes. And its really no surprise, as the band performed 156 times in 2000.
"And I think thats just the 156 we can remember, that we actually have written down somewhere. There were definitely others, like with our alias Spazzberry Glam. We did a couple of charity shows, so its probably even more than that."
Some of Jazzberry Rams regular gigs included Boise, Idaho and Seattle, Washington.
"Yeah, go figure. I dont know whats up with that. We were driving back one time from Utah we also have a strange following in Provo, Utah and we dropped off a CD in a bar, people liked it, they started asking us to come back there and they gave us one weekend a month. And it gets bigger each time we play there."
And how does their high-energy pop ska sound go over in the land of milk an honey?
"Theyre all a bunch of Mormon kids in Provo. They dont drink. They dont smoke. They dont swear. But man can they dance! Its kinda bizarre Theyre a funky little bunch of Mormons."
However, McInnes says those crowds cant compare to the reception they get across Canada. Their shows in the Maritimes are "nuts", but the band also holds a fondness for Vancouver where they apparently "set the ejection record for The Town Pump, for the most people kicked out and the most number of fights in one night."
Other slightly tamer shows had the quartet opening for a wide variety of bands, including Run DMC, Wide Mouth Mason, Chantal Kreviazuk and D.O.A.
"Were kinda like the chameleon of bands. We blend into any situation because we do a bit of everything. D.O.A. was a bit different. With that we could rock out a bit harder. And sometimes its nice, having all these punk rockers expecting you to be a punk band and you start playing this funky, rap, hip hop and they were a pretty cool crowd."
Perhaps the biggest surprise is the number of major networks and cable series picking up Jazzberrys music. Besides that unforgettable cameo on The Chris Isaak Show , their songs have been added to the soundtracks of Time of Your Life starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, ShowTimes Madison and the cartoon series Ratz, and the drama Higher Ground on Fox. Theyve also been spotted on The Mike Bullard Show and The Jim Byrnes Show .
However, McInnes says they could use a little help breaking through on MuchMusic. Jazzberry recently received a government grant which meant being able to shoot a video with a budget for the first time. Lead vocalist Drew Stuart came up with the concept for the video to Free Beer.
"Its about how rock and roll saves you," laughs McInnes. "Free beer is kind of a metaphor live life, eat, drink, have fun because you dont know how long its gonna last."
The band previously put out two lower budget indie videos, but for the first time MuchWest did a full interview with Jazzberry Ram, including footage of the making of Free Beer. McInnes says the video is starting to get requests, but encourages everyone to go online at email@example.com to help boost the video into light rotation.
Its ironic that the band has finally managed to release a video for the album That Sound We Make , just as theyre beginning to think about heading back into the studio.
"Three out of the four of us have been writing like crazy for about the last two years since the last album. Weve learned so much just being on the road, and listening to so many different types of music, and spending so much time in the States with a different culture and it is a different culture than Canada and were pooling these songs together," McInnes says.
In the past, each song has largely been a collective effort.
"On this one though its gonna be tough. Each of us has somewhere between 10 and 15 songs were trying to push, which is also good because it makes it competitive and makes us want to write better songs to outdo the next guy."
The bands goal is to be in the studio by summer with their fourth CD released by fall, followed by a cross-country tour.
In the meantime, Whistler is the first stop on a two week ski hill tour through B.C. and Alberta.
"Basically a paid vacation the resort gigs are always a lot of fun," laughs McInnes. And perhaps a touch safer than flaming toilet paper.