2014 started with a ripe bang. Hanging Girl hit the stage in Oshawa, January 4th, live at The Moustache Club. We sold out the venue. As far as a band goes, we were in our prime. Scott Argyle manned the traps. Geoff Thompson rocked the bass. I was on guitar and we were fronted by the explosive Sick Girl. To this day, that was one of the most incredible shows I have ever been a part of.
Hanging Girl with the original line-up. Live at The Moustache Club.
Unfortunately it was all downhill from there. Personnel changes were our undoing, in a big way. Scotty was replaced by the uber-technical human metronome, Edin Ibric. Edin was flawless and incapable of error, but there was really no heart in his playing. I would look back at him several times during a gig and there he was, with the facial expression one might have reading a phonebook. He just wasn’t Scotty. Scotty was a wild-man and all heart. As unpredictable, and unreliable as he could be, he never let us down live.
Geoff’s replacement was the complete opposite. He was an absolute MONSTER on the bass. He had a menacing bass tone. He had a great stage presence. It was too much though. Much like Scotty on the drums, he was all offense and no defense. James Ware just couldn’t keep it in his pants. He came from legendary Toronto hardcore band, Dirty Bird. When I think of James Ware on bass, I think of a steam roller crashing down the Queen Street Hill in Hamilton with no brakes. James was one of my biggest bass playing influences for a long time, myself being a natural bass player. But he just wasn’t the guy for Hanging Girl.
Geoff Thompson may have looked like an eggplant. Geoff may have had the dumbest sense of humour, and the stupidest ideas you’ve ever heard (next to mine), but he was a rock solid bass player. Geoff was the type of bassist (think Geezer Butler, John Paul Jones, Flea, Mike Watt), that made a second guitar unnecessary. He had a groove and wrote the smartest bass lines I’ve ever heard in my life. His absence in the band was instantly noticed. Geoff Thompson is easily the best bass player I’ve ever played with. I wouldn’t hesitate to ring him up for any project.
Michael Flynn, also from Dirty Bird, came in on second guitar. Mike is one of the most talented guitar players I ever met in my life. I had always been a fan of Mike’s guitar playing. He had a great image too. He looked like he was 16. He was ageless. However his guitar work in Hanging Girl was thin and uninspiring. He favoured single-coil guitars over humbuckers. The guitar sound of Hanging Girl was built on the depth and ferocity of humbuckers. He was also more given to the sound of tubes, which also conflicted with the Hanging Girl sound.
This was the line-up that would open for The Mahones, and The Misfits. We also played another sold-out show in Oshawa. It wasn’t the same. The magic and chemistry was gone. We had another show coming up with Lee Aaron and knew there had to be a change.
Michael Flynn moved over to bass. The change was instantly noticeable. Two guitars were really mucking up the sound. Michael Flynn was a natural on bass and had a beautiful dirty tone. We rocked the Lee Aaron show, thoroughly blowing the doors off of every other band on the bill. But that was pretty much the way it was every show, even with our later inferior line-up.
At this point Hanging Girl started losing steam. There was way too much and too fast. In the span of 5 months we opened for Molly Hatchet, The Mahones, The Misfits, and Lee Aaron. There was really nowhere to go from there. It was either step it up and sign to 604 records (Theory Of A Deadman, Maranias Trench), or continue to slug it out playing street level shows. I decided it was time to pack it in. I had turned 41 at this point. It was getting old like me.
Musically I would remain dormant until the summer.
In July I found myself living back in Hamilton. I had a mission. I had reconnected with old friends, Brian Fowlie, The Fulton Sisters, Karen Halsey, Jay Prentice, Chris Crash, Mike Badgley, and Pat McHugh.
I got a call from Brian Fowlie. Green Jello (Green Jelly to idiots) needed a bass player. Would I be interested? Hell yeah! I had a week to learn a set’s worth of material. I learned them in two days. It was really easy because Green Jello were one of my favourite bands. I knew all the songs to listen to them. I was ecstatic when he gave me the list of songs we would be playing live.
Green Jello Suxx
Obey The Cowgod
Rock N Roll Pumpkin
Anarchy In The UK
Electric Harley House Of Love
The Bear Song
Misadventures Of Shitman
Three Little Pigs
The tour was great. It also made me some new friends in Bill Manspeaker, Rob Gabriele, Andrew Lauzon, and Dre Vogler.
The most relevant human being on the planet.
Green Jello live in Windsor.
Well now I’m living in a remote town that doesn’t even have traffic lights. I’m not rocking in any bands, but I am doing soundtrack and score work. That is extremely fulfilling for a cat like me. As much as I love performing live, I love the creative process the most. Also, that is where I shine. You’ve heard some of my work in commercials.
Lastly, I am engaged to a beautiful woman. Inside and out. Visually and personally, she could take your breath away, and I am honoured to be with a woman as powerful as she is. Together we have made decisions to improve the health and quality of our lives.
Thanks for tuning in, rapscallions. May 2015 bring you plenty of love and light.