While revising Have Not Been the Same for the 10th anniversary edition, it was very much on the mind of all three co-authors that the last 10 years has been incredibly fruitful in Canadian music, and left a recorded legacy even greater than the time period of 1985-1995 that we documented in the book. We also felt that it wasn’t enough to just put out a new, improved version of the book: we felt that the music we discuss had to feel alive, not out of print and hidden in a dark corner of a campus radio station’s soon-to-be-dismantled vinyl library. And so while my co-author Jason Schneider is working on Vol. 2 of this series, which will unearth out-of-print classics and make them available again—including the long-sought-after title track (!!!)—I asked current artists to pay tribute to Canadian acts that inspired them early on.
I feel blessed to know many incredible musicians personally, and so that helped narrow my scope when it came to who to invite to be a part of this. I also wanted to focus on the new, so while I could have asked some legends associated directly with the book to cover their contemporaries, I wanted people who made some of my favourite records of the last 10 years to be the first people I approached. Unbelievably, over 25 of them responded positively, and the 19 heard here managed to record a track in time. Interest was so strong that I could easily commission a second installment at a moment’s notice.
I couldn’t be happier with the end result: every single artist gave this their A-game, and it’s clearly audible what a labour of love this was all around.
All proceeds from this project will go to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the leading such facility in the country (and right across the street from me). I feel like every musician I know—including myself—has been affected either directly or indirectly (through peers) by the issues that CAMH deals with every day. And there are more than a few tragic tales in the book about artists who lost precious time, talent, or even their lives to personal demons that plagued them. The life of creative people is as complex as it is rewarding, and sadly addiction and mental health are occupational hazards.
Without further ado, here’s the track listing:
Pop Goes the World (Men Without Hats) – The Burning Hell
In Contempt of Me (Jr. Gone Wild) – Corb Lund
What Was Going Through My Head (Grapes of Wrath) – Great Lake Swimmers
Daylight (The Nils) – Owl Mountain Radar (Jim Bryson and Chris Page)
I Will Give You Everything (Skydiggers) – Bry Webb (of the Constantines)
The Lines You Amend (Sloan) – Forest City Lovers
Happens All the Time (Eric’s Trip) – Light Fires (Gentleman Reg and Ohbijou's Jamie Bunton)
Grace, Too (The Tragically Hip) – Selina Martin with the Faceless Forces of Bigness
Too Cool to Live, Too Smart to Die (Deja Voodoo) – Mark Davis and Lorrie Matheson
Your Sunshine (Hardship Post) – Jill and Matthew Barber
North Window (The Inbreds) – Cuff the Duke
Throw Silver (Mecca Normal) – Hidden Cameras
Buddah (Al Tuck) – Snailhouse
Odette (Circle C) – Veda Hille
Teenland (Northern Pikes) – Andrew Vincent
Bound for Vegas (Art Bergmann) – Geoff Berner
Shaved Head (Rheostatics) – Neil Haverty (of Bruce Peninsula)
When You Know Why You’re Happy (Mary Margaret O’Hara) – Little Scream and Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre)
We Got Time (Bob Wiseman) – Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene)
Have Not Been the Same Vol. 1: Too Cool to Live, Too Smart To Die will be available on Zunior.com on November 15. Artwork by Nick Craine. Mastered by Andy Magoffin. Liner notes by myself and all contributing artists.