When it comes to the arts I feel a connection with things that were created before my time more than things created by my own generation, and if we are talking film, Woody Allen represents that ideal to me because he has made some classic movies that have stood the test of time and the films he continues to make drip of an old school film making mentality, and I dig that. When I finally got my arse into a seat to watch Midnight in Paris (in an old classic independent cinema on College Street in Toronto which was exactly how I figured this movie should be watched) it was ironic that the film was a commentary on how every generation seems to long for a generation before their own. The film also offers the opinion that nostalgia might very well be an excuse or a crutch when dealing with your own difficulties in the present (GOD DAMN you Woody Allen!).
That being said, I was drawn to The Sheepdogs immediately because musically they are a throwback to a style of music and an era that I connect with. It’s easy for me to say that they don’t make bands like Zeppelin, CCR or Crosby Stills and Nash anymore because hindsight is always 20/20 (and clichés are usually right and stand the test of time, which is what makes them clichés). I think somehow I can justify my own musical failures or the career shortcomings of friends by blaming it on “the times” but the reality is, every generation has probably done the same thing. The reason I have been captivated by The Sheepdogs road to becoming the first independent band EVER to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine is that they represent the coming together of the two worlds I seem stuck between; “then” and “now”. I think the band represents that for a lot of people who feel lost in some sort of generational purgatory and the entire Rolling Stone journey brings a dose of reality and hope all at once. The reality is the times may not be a ‘changin as much as we think because it still takes some sort of contest for unheard music to be heard. However, the HOPE is that it’s always possible to cut through the mainstream minutia that makes some of us feel so crusty and hopeless.
I might have enjoyed myself more these four days in New York City living vicariously through The Sheepdogs than any other time in my 20 years involved with music either as a performer or journalist. For the perpetual wannabe rock star from a small city in Newfoundland and Labrador who has lived the life of an independent musician in a barely breathing van touring across the country…this experience was inspiring. The adventure of being joined at the hip with a band from a small city from Saskatchewan who have been living that same touring life and now catching one of those big breaks we all dream of is difficult to put into words, but I will say that I had a goose bump or two. The Sheepdogs look and sound like they could have jumped out of a time machine from 1967 and won a contest happening in 2011 like two worlds colliding. A generation (then) where making music and getting it to the people seemed a little bit more honest and real colliding with a generation (now) where to succeed you need to be part of some reality show or competition because without an aggregate somehow our attention cannot be sustained over the time needed to develop and grow with an artist anymore. Good lord, Woody Allen would have a field day with me right now.
Look, obviously this win by The Sheepdogs had a bigger impact on me than just Canadian pride, but simply put, spending four days in one of my favorite places in the world with four really good dudes and being a fly on the wall through their journey of a Times Square unveiling of their own billboard, a performance on Jimmy Fallon and their own rooftop party thrown by Rolling Stone Magazine with guests like Ice T and Larry David, was a pretty amazing time. This was a rare opportunity to talk with a band on the brink of something potentially really big when they still drive a barely breathing van. The thing with our generation of gatekeepers and calculated music stars is that you can manufacture sensation, but if the artist you create the hype for is just a face with no substance then the only thing really happening is a revolving door of disposable music we don’t care about that influences a younger generation to aspire for something that will bring them a similar fate. By virtue of The Sheepdogs infiltrating this type of contest, it’s possible that it could one day be looked back on as a very important time in music…..at the very least it scored me some free Irish Car Bombs, a chat with Ice-T and some closure on Woody Allen f**king with my head.
I hope you enjoy the show,
Don’t miss Under The Covers With The Sheepdogs airing Thursday, October 6 at 8 pm ET on MuchMore.