Come what Mays | Music | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Come what Mays

Chris McCluskey has his ears to the ground.

For those who have picked up Sam Roberts’ latest, Chemical City, and haven’t read the liner notes yet, I’ll save you some work. Matt Mays appears on track five, “Uprising Down Under,” which he recorded with his buddy last year during Australia’s beautifully warm winter months.

“I went to Australia and went surfing for a couple weeks by myself, travelled around, stayed in hostels and stuff,” explains Mays. “Then I travelled north and went up with for another couple weeks and surfed up around a place called Byron Bay where the old church was where he recorded.”

The choice of recording spot—a coffee orchard complete with exotic Australian wildlife—provided an ideal climate for distinctive creative perspective.

“We just went out on the deck in the middle of the night, and I had a guitar and he had a guitar. He had the song sort of done, but we needed to play it a couple of times to get it out,” says Mays. “I gave him my honest opinion on things, we got an arrangement together and basically just sat on a couple of chairs facing each other and laid it down in a take or two.”

Trippy times

Every person has one band they are thrilled to talk about. For guitarist Christian Simmons—who has multiple band associations to his credit including Burdocks, The Hold and Attack Mode—that group would be near-mythical east coast legend Eric’s Trip. Simmons will realize a dream of sorts this Saturday when he plays as part of a tribute to the defunct quartet he lists as his biggest influence.

“My first band was an Eric’s Trip cover band, only it was just me and my brother in my room every day for hours,” he says. “By high school I was going downtown every day, going into Dischord and Taz and hoping to find some random out-of-print record that obviously wasn’t going to be there. I did manage to get the Warm Girl seven-inch though.”

Eric’s Trip—Julie Doiron, Rick White, Mark Gaudet and Chris Thompson—was the first Canadian band signed to Sub Pop Records in the early 1990s. The thickly distorted pop group broke up in 1996. Jessie Stein of SS Cardiacs, Dale Fahey of Spincycle Squared and Matt King of Windom Earle round out the all-star tribute line-up. Simmons says he’s especially excited the actual Eric’s Trip is re-forming late this summer for a much anticipated reunion show in Sackville, NB, at the Sappy Records Music Festival .

“I’ve only seen them once, so I’ll definitely be heading over there,” he says.

For those who need additional education before heading to New Brunswick, make plans to be at Stage Nine on Saturday. Museum Pieces and Husband and Knife support.

Grassy roll

The nice guys (and girl) of alt-country band The Grass have trouble putting their instruments away. The collective, with a sound in the Dartmouth tradition institutionalized by The Guthries, hope to follow-up January’s Mulgrave in July.

“We’re going to do our bed tracks in two weeks at The Music Room and record the rest of it at Soundmarket,” says bassist and vocalist Willis Ryan. “This one’s a little more rock and a little more polished.”

If you’re a fan of The Grass, you have a pair of chances to help them pay for their album, April 20 at Frigate and April 21 at Gus’ Pub.

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