I’ve been spending my free moments filling out these exhaustive forms to collect The Dears’ neighbouring rights royalties. Its a bit of an involved process: I have to list every musician that played on every song we’ve ever recorded. We’ve never done song-by-song album credits, but now I see why some bands do it that way. Gang of Losers was easy; I had to get Murray’s help on No Cities Left because there’s a lot going on there; and for End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story, I just listened to the tracks to see which ones had strings on them.
I don’t often listen to old Dears recordings. Maybe once a year I’ll listen to our old albums or put them on for Neptune to dance to (Jazz Waltz No. 3 in B-flat is still one of my favourites). But I certainly hadn’t listened to Hollywood for a long time. I realised how much that record was ahead of its time: it smashed the mould that cast most of Canadian indie rock. Listening especially to Partir, Par Terre really made me realise how that was some next level shit.
Listen to Partir, Par Terre from End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story.
In 1999, no one in Canada was doing anything like that: strings over a filmic, jazz-rock instrumental waltz. We did a concert with 12 people on stage and that idea was mind-blowing (now it’s standard). 2000 was the time of either the power trio or sugary, goofy pop: usually a gang of white guys writing guitar-driven arrangements. Everyone was still trying to be like Sloan. Nobody wanted to put our record out: we sent it to every established independent label in Canada and the US and nobody would touch us.
So we trudged through the prepubescent Canadian indie rock wilderness, forged a path, and then quickly got swallowed and overtaken by others with loftier ambitions. I guess we have to take responsibilty at least for that: for being the uncompromizing, difficult and adamant artists that we are. Today, however, I am very grateful for the fans that we have attracted: these are intelligent music listeners. The people we have worked with and met along the way have really been amazing. Things change, seasons change, people change, and nothing in Dears-land ever really stays the same, but I’m proud to say that our identity gets stronger with each year that passes.
An introspective rant that turned into a “The Dears in 2008” rally cry: how appropriate.