The Dudes are one of Canada’s national music treasures. Or at least frontman Dan Vacon’s beard is. Vacon, “The Dudes’ major creative force” according to the always-accurate Wikipedia, isn’t afraid to speak his mind, as Music Emissions writer Gilles LeBlanc recently found out. After crisscrossing Canada earlier this year, The Dudes are returning to Toronto for a show at Lee’s Palace on Friday, October 19th. (See here for ticket info!) Vacon took the time to answer Gilles’ questions prior to an appearance at the Halifax Pop Explosion. Give ‘em some love will ya on Facebook, or follow @wearethedudes on Twitter.
So glad to have you back in Toronto – Canada as a whole is a much better place with new music from the Dudes playing! How has your cross country tour in support of Barbers, Thieves and Bartenders gone so far this year?
Thanks for the kudos! It’ll be so fun to come back! Our initial Canadian tour in support of the new album was pretty great. AND injury free! We finally had a rad show in Winnipeg. Windsor still sucks, Victoria’s still a miracle, Toronto’s still a champ.
The cover of your latest album reminds me a little of Pearl Jam’s No Code, with all the seemingly random photos. Did this cross your minds at all, or is it just a coincidence? And do your releases have some sort of “naming convention?” (They’re kind of similarly titled if you think about it.)
When I put together the art, I was thinking how much I loved this one Bison album photo project. I think it’s the best way to tell a really long story to folks who have no time to read. It gives a little candid insight into our crazy lives and our magic friends.
We called it Barbers Thieves and Bartenders after a line from our last album. It’s kind of how a movie will name itself after a line in some character’s big moment. Like, when Grace Jones says “What a view!” and Christopher Walken says “To a kill!” or when Michael Ironside says, “In an hour, he could have Total Recall.” Or, Charlton Heston’s “Soylent Green is PEOPLE!!!” Except it’s the sequel getting named from the original. Thus, cooler.
I have to ask what the rationale behind the “karaoke versions” is; if that doesn’t scream party time, I’m not quite sure what does…
Yeah, we threw the Karaoke tracks on the B-side for party effect. It’s also aces if you want to get down with your loved one but don’t want to hear my voice creeping in all the time. The back ups are still there though. Like Bob and Brock were hiding in the closet.
Having stayed independent your entire careers and your music remaining consistently awesome, what would you say are the biggest changes to the industry that you’ve seen around you?
I don’t really think too much about the music industry. We just make songs, play shows and get rad. We’re pretty effing lucky. Is there still an industry?
I’ve never actually been to Calgary, but I friend ask me recently for whatever reason what the music hot spots are there. How would YOU answer this? (I know there’s a bar called Cowboys)…
Calgary has an amazing scene. If you want to see shows here, come to the Broken City, Palomino or the Republik. There’s so many more, but those are the ones I can walk to from my house. Don’t go to Cowboy’s. Ever. It’s where thoughtfulness goes to get stabbed.
Did you guys follow this year’s Polaris Prize at all? Thoughts on Feist’s win? And give me a prediction or two please of which albums will be in the running for #Polaris2013!
We don’t follow the Polaris Prize. It’s an eastern Canada circle jerk. It’s irrelevant. We love Feist though! We predict it will be 95% Ontario/Quebec bands and a couple out of touch selections from the west. Just like usual.
I especially love your new(ish) song “American Girl”. For a band that’s been around as much as The Dudes have, which US city would you say is most like Canada? Could be for any reason, whether it’s friendliness, food, beer, or even pretty girls!
Canada is too big and different to compare to a country as diverse as the US. Everyplace is like Canada, full of great folks and full of jerks too. We like to party in Montana!
In this new era of song placement, what are some of the opportunities you think are a good fit for The Dudes?
I hope we get some more song placements. It’s the best way to get your music working for you while you do your other life. We’ve been getting a lot of sports-related placements so far. Small local TV spots too. I want “Tear It Up” to be on a zombie-style video game.
With a band name like yours and the type of music you play, what would you estimate is the current bro-to-hipster ratio at your shows?
I think we cast a pretty wide net with our songs. Feeling good isn’t really exclusive to any particular group. We’re The Dudes. But everyone is. Cool guys, nerds, jocks, ladies, bodybuilders, suits, lady bodybuilders in suits. You name it. Anyone could be partying at our shows, anyone could be playing us in their cars.
If you were given the opportunity to curate your own festival, who are 4-5 other bands/artists you’d want to play “Dudefest?” (What else would you call it?) And…GO!
I got to curate Sled Island last year. It was magic. If I could do it again, I’d make sure to have…. uhh…. Graveyard, Ladyhawk, Shotgun Jimmie, Sunparlour Players and maybe the Cribs. I could go on forever…
*Photos courtesy of TheDudesMusic.ca