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Spring Cleaning

  04/09/11 10:09, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Monday Morning Musical Musings, Paul Bourgeois , Tags: goth metal, music, paul bourgeois, retrospective, stanley clarke, the blue monsters
Paul Bourgeois

We are spring cleaning today in my home, so I am spring cleaning my music articles.  Airing them out. Writing these articles is also a good way to get out of housework today, so don’t expect a long one because I could get hauled away at any moment to clean.

It’s been over a year now since Dan Grigor asked me to write for his new music newsletter, just short, light stuff about music.  BareFoot has come a long way since then, two NAMM conventions, interviews with a lot of prominent music people, including the legendary Stanley Clarke. I am rushing this one to you, because I am off to Helsinki tomorrow to jam with Eric at Henry’s Pub.   Rough blues club, but that’s ok.  I’m a jammer.  I like it rough.  I’ll let you know how that goes next week.

I’m from Canada. This story about a Canadian Alternative Band is also about pain and homelessness and hope and the past and music and the future of music.  All the good stuff that gives life meaning.

I’ve been living in Finland for six years now. I sing a bit and play a bit of harmonica and I have had the fortune and honour to play with some really solid musicians while I have been here. Well, solid and not so solid.  As I said, I’m a jammer and think rough has flavour. If it ain’t fun, don’t bother with it. There’s no point to burn yourself out for something you don’t love. In the end all you have is the knowledge that you have or haven’t wasted your life.

I love jazz and wish I could play better. I like Coltrane, T Monk, Return to Forever and Stanley Clarke and I have written about them. But you know, jazz is all about jamming, listening, playing with others. Maybe, even if you can’t fit yourself in everywhere, because not everyone can do everything, you can find a voice with others. OK, some people can do everything, but for some it’s chemistry. If you want to lead a band you can’t be too demanding. Everyone has a unique voice and maybe some band leaders who are too perfect don’t get that. There are voices and someone else’s limitations may shape the music, and that is a good thing, or can be.

Well. Whatever floats your boat, babe. I’m just lucky that the people that I have played with are good enough to shape themselves around my limitations. Just keep working, keep practicing, stay honest to yourself and the music and you will find people to play with. That’s what Heaven is, to be part of something bigger than yourself.

Living in Finland has given me a unique perspective on music. My background is Western Blues and Rock… Robert Johnson, Alice Cooper, Ozzy Ozbourne… Devil Music, you know. I have gone on about the how the morbid Finnish folk tradition leads to Goth Metal, and it is true. Metal is a major export here, and it is really good from groups like Lordi and Apocalptica. But living here I have been able to hear some incredible music which doesn’t have much play outside this country, people like Eppu Normaali, Värttinä (this is an old folk tale, an exorcism; a bunch of village witches are trying to scare the snake out of a poor old man), Ultra Bra, Juice Leskinen and the Leningrad Cowboys (this is a cover of Stairway to Heaven with the Red Army Choir, so you gotta, you know…).

I have been a band leader.  As I have learned theory I have tried to share that. I believe in working for something you love… er… with that thought I hear voices behind me. Spring cleaning. So I leave you with the strains of The Leningrad Cowboys and the Red Army Choir belting out Stairway.

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