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L.A. Beat

Sadies can’t wait to return to Lethbridge

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What do you call the Sadies? Psychedelic rock? country? Punk? Cowpunk?
 Either way, they are on the road again, and making their long awaited return to Lethbridge for the first time in many years.

 The Sadies. Photo submittedWhile their Februrary show had to be postponed due to Dallas Good breaking his leg in an unfortunate accident, it  has been rescheduled for June 27 and may be moved to a bigger room as tickets are close to sold out.

“I remember we played in a kind of converted warehouse. And the opening band was incredible. I think the guy who organized at that show was in the band. I’m ashamed I can’t remember the name of the band. It’s been four or five years, (possibly John Brooks’ project ‘Forever,’ playing at the Starlight Lounge),” reminisced drummer Mike Belitsky relaxing at home, taking a bite out of a peanut butter and jam sandwich, before  leaving on a western Canadian tour, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 8 in Thunder Bay.

“After all these years, I’m still eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” he said adding he is looking forward to hitting the road, even in the dead of winter,  with the band who also include Dallas and Travis Good and bassist Sean Dean.

“It’s been really cold in Toronto, so we’ve been in cold training. I love it, this is the life I chose and I chose it, but ask me in week when we’re stuck in a ditch somewhere on the Prairies,” he laughed adding he is looking forward to  playing the Geomatic Attic, Feb. 15.
“We’re still the Sadies. We’re a loud band, that’s why people like us.  But this whole tour is in sit down theatres, which we love because the audience is there to really listen to us. It’s different  than playing in a loud bar with people drinking and jumping around,” he said.
“We have a great sound guy, so he’ll make it sound just perfect,” Belitsky said adding it has been a while since they last last played Lethbridge, so they have a lot of material to play for their fans.

“It’s not like we’re just playing for 35 minutes, we’ll play a fair amount of ‘Darker Circles’ and we can draw from  a lot of our older material,” he said adding  the psychedelic feel of the new CD, which was shortlisted for a Polaris prize,  shows the continued musical development of the band.
“It’s a sound we have been developing. It’s not a radical jump from the last CD, but it is a radical jump from our first album, which was released in 1998, 13  or so years ago.

“If you listen to them chronologically, you can see how we ended up in the strange place we are in,” he said adding the band is pleased with being short listed for the Polaris Prize.

“We’ve been long listed  for it before, but never short listed. So we definitely think it’s great.  Because we don’t really fit into any genre or category. It’s a really great award. The people who  created that award should be high fived,” he said.
“It’s great for bands like us, who don’t fit in anywhere else. Because other awards like the Junos are so into classifying bands, bands like us get left behind,” he continued.
 In line with the psychedelic feel of the CD, the Sadies have released  the third video from the CD— a psychedelic epic for “Another Day Again,” which features the wolfman character from beloved Ontario children’s series the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, dancing to the beat  to a background of vivid swirling colours.

“I didn’t grow up in Ontario, so I hadn’t seen the series. I think it  (the dancing wolfman) was Dallas’s idea,” he said. They have also released videos for “Cut Corners” and “Postcards.”

“It’s a really fun  video . But it was really painstakingly done . But it really is funny. We even saw it played on MuchMusic, which is great because they have moved away from playing videos  and digressed into weird reality TV,” he observed.

The Sadies songwriting process is a collaborative effort.
“It varies, I play a little scratch guitar. Enough to bring to the band. One of the songs on ‘Darker Circles’  is parts of two different songs I wrote, which were morphed into one,” he said.
“Other times they tell me their vision and I’ll try my best to satisfy it. So it’s a really exciting process.  Because it really is a process. I get excited just thinking about it. We like to challenge ourselves,” he said adding , when not working on their own material, they work with a variety of other artists including Neko Case.

“She is a really  special person and  she’s very talented. We don’t have any plans to work with her again, but we haven’t ruled out. It depends on her schedule and our schedule. She might choose to work with other people next time,” he said  he had the opportunity to work with one of his idols — John Doe from the punk band  X.

“We all started out listening to punk music. We all definitely have punk roots. Even when playing a country song, it comes out.
 That’s not to say we play it like a punk band,” he said.
“But playing with John Doe was an experience. He’s a really great guy. And his band X was a huge influence on me. He lived at my house for two weeks so I got to hang out with him. He’s like the older brother I never had,” he said adding  the Sadies are also working on their second CD with Andre Williams, who they recorded with in 1999.

“It will be ready for release sooner than later, but I don’t want to say when,” he said adding they are also working on a CD with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip.
“It will be like nothing you’ve ever heard before,” Belitsky laughed adding they have to complete that project before thinking of a new Sadies CD.
“We have to get that off our plate first. But we’re working around his schedule with the Tragically Hip and our schedule. It’s a very unique sound  combining  what he does and what we do,” he said.

“We like to keep busy. It’s not like we can sit and rest on our laurels. We always need to be doing something. We think we have a pretty strongly entrenched work ethic. And we’ll keep on creating music as long as we can,” he said.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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