Clarknova rides the
sweet tobacco wave
By Chris Curry
the deer!" says drummer John Lord when asked about Clarknova's love/hate
relationship with the potent liquor, Jagermeister, making reference to
the deer on the bottle's label. During a past show at the Reverb in Toronto,
fans were offered a chance to get crazy with a sip of the sweet nectar,
courtesy of the band.
Clarknova are currently touring Ontario with Scratching Post and Sho Core
on the XL Indie Tour. When asked about how he felt about getting paid
to play for a tour sponsored by Export A, guitarist Dan Preston replies,
"I smoke too much and I guess I think of it as they've taken my lungs,
so I'll take their money."
Last year when Clarknova played on the XL tour, the potential success
of the band took a major hit.
The record label that released their debut album Host folded,
leaving the band without any national distribution of the record. Despite
the fact that they had two singles being played on Muchmusic and radio
stations, the loss of nation-wide exposure was a major hindrance to the
"It was pretty sad; the band had to go re-stock the shelves at record
stores in each place we had a show. If we didn't play nearby, or couldn't
drive out somewhere to put out the CDs, forget it you didn't see
our disk," says Preston.
2002 has been a year of change. A new album, a new record company and
a new guitarist has recharged the band. The new album Annexia
takes their sound to a new level, featuring matured song writing and solid
music from start to finish.
Each track fits well into the framework and the overall impression of
the sound brings a favourable comparison to other Canadian rock bands
such as Finger Eleven, The Headsones and I Mother Earth. In fact, Jag
Tanna, lead guitarist and songwriter of I Mother Earth, produced Clarknova's
new album and played guitars on all but one track.
The connection between Clarknova and IME's Tanna began two years ago when
then lead singer, Edwin, left IME to pursue a solo career. In their quest
for a new singer, Tanna came across singer Steve Kulba and was impressed
by both his sound and presence
"Steve and Jag really got along and kept in touch," says Preston.
"This and Jag's familiarity with the band's sound was the reason
why Steve approached Jag to ask him to produce and perform on Annexia."
With Jag's touch on the sound of the record, Clarknova found renewed interest
from record labels. Shoreline Records signed the band, gave them complete
creative control and gave them a nation-wide distributor through EMI.
Near the end of the recording sessions for Annexia, long-time
friend of Clarknova, Dan Preston, was introduced as the new guitarist.
When asked how it felt to be the "new guy" Preston replies,
"I don't really feel like I'm new, it's more like coming home. I've
been around these guys for the last 10 years and I've been involved in
the production of their albums, so I'm completely comfortable with the
music and band members.
"My only concern was that of being allowed creative input into future
songwriting, but as soon as I talked about it with Steve and Chris, they
let me know that they were excited about my input. They know I really
enjoy writing music".
Clarknova will be hitting Call The Office this Thursday as part of
the XL Indie tour. Admission is free, though smokes are not. Doors open
at 9:00 p.m..