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Moneen talks 

The Toronto rock stars hit town for two shows in one day, and they’re stoked. Matt Charlton tries to hide his disappointment.

No one wants to write about the happy band. The one that seems to get along, has enthusiasm for touring and the unshaken hope for the future success of their music. Where’s the scandal? The road weariness? The ego-battles? That’s the stuff that makes for a really gripping story.

This doesn’t appear to be the case with Moneen. The Toronto-based collective’s lead singer Kenny Bridges is calling after what could be assumed was a grueling weekend-long video shot for their new single “Don’t Ever Let Locke Tell You What He Can’t Do.” Unfortunately, everything seems to be going just fucking great.

“It was a lot of fun,” says Bridges of the shoot. “We kinda wanted to take a step back with this one, because we’re so busy touring right now. We didn’t have the time to come up with a treatment like we had in the past, so it was kind of neat to see what other people could come up with.”

The single is the first track on the band’s latest release, The Red Tree. The most developed and realized release from Moneen to date, the album offers 11 wordily titled tracks made up of the outfit’s trademark aggressive punk-rock sound.

Moneen formed in Brampton, ON in 1999. After releasing an EP, it soon returned with its debut full-length, Theory of Harmonial Value. The group then signed to Vagrant Records and released its acclaimed sophomore effort, Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?.

Along the way the collective has garnered a reputation for being one of the hardest working and most dynamic live acts in the country. Their schedule has seen them tour internationally at an almost unrelenting schedule.

Far from daunted by this, Bridges seems borderline thrilled about the group’s hectic schedule. “It’s funny, my dream was always to jump in a van and drive to California and play shows,” he says. “Now that we’ve been to California it’s like, wow, I had a goal and a dream when I was young and I actually succeeded.”

The group took a break from this schedule last year to write and record The Red Tree. It was in this time that the members re-established many of the relationships left lingering by their schedules and developed a fondness for a more grounded life.

“I think during that year we grew a lot as people,” says Bridges. “Now touring feels a little harder than ever. We were on tour so much before that, that I think it really kicked in that we really like being at home with our family, girlfriends and friends. Now that we got a taste of that, it’s a lot harder to leave home than it ever has been before.” Score.

“….but we still love touring, it’s our favourite thing to do.” Shit.

Now, with the band back in full motion again, Bridges expresses a desire to take things to the next level. While speaking of his hopes for the band’s new video, he explains a dilemma most growing bands eventually encounter.

“It just feels like you have to do a video now, no matter what. If you don’t do a video, there is no way you’re gonna get to a certain other level. I’m not saying that we want to strive to be friggin’ big rock stars. It just feels with this record we’re kind of teetering on the edge. We’re really lucky because we have a great fan base, but we’re playing with these bands now that have kind of found their way to the other side. It’s just nice to see, cause we’re trying to find a way to get there without selling our soul.”

So, as the band prepares to head for that elusive next level, it’s with a firm grasp on what got it to where it already is. Whether it will make the step or not remains to be seen, but what is certain is that Moneen will probably have a pretty great time trying. Bastards.

Moneen w/Boys Night Out and the Junction, October 7 at The Marquee Club, 2037 Gottingen, 2:30pm (all ages) and 10:30pm, $17.50, 1-866-908-9090, www.ticketpro.ca

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