One of the greatest collaborations in Canadian musical history is coming to an end tomorrow night at Massey Hall. The Rheostatics are bidding farewell to bassist Tim Vesely, who is leaving the band to spend more time with his young family and dedicate more energy to his side project, The Violet Archers. The break-up is amicable. Well, as amicable as these things can be. Custody of the Tarleks has yet to be determined.
Current drummer and producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda is also leaving the band, but the Rheostatics have lost drummers before: it is the departure of Vesely that brings the Rheostatics to an end as we know them.
Vesely, along with Dave Bidini and Martin Tielli have been together for 21 years. In that time they’ve established a reputation as one of the best live acts in the country and they’ve released a series of ambitious albums, including 1992’s Whale Music, which is regularly ranked as one of the top ten Canadian albums of all time. The Rheostatics are so literate, so hardworking, so resistant to selling out, and so good at what they do, that their fans tend to form an intimate connection with the band. Torontoist pleads guilty to suffering from this condition. Friday’s concert is guaranteed to be an emotional event for the whole crowd as well as a kick-ass rock show.
Tonight, a pre-farewell concert takes place at the Horseshoe Tavern. Tickets are available through Six Shooter Records. Fans who are coming in from out-of-town, or who just want to meet up with other Rheostatics fans before the show, are encouraged to arrive at the Horseshoe at 8:00 p.m. and gather around the front bar to swap stories and lament the end of an era.
Bidini and Tielli have stated that they intend to continue their collaboration in the future. Whether this collaboration will occur under the Rheostatics banner or not remains unclear, but both men have individual projects that will also be keeping them busy. Bidini is already an established writer and world-wide ambassador for The Best Game You Can Name. Tielli has a number of artistic and musical projects on the go.
As of this writing, a limited number of tickets are still available for Friday’s concert through Massey Hall’s website.
Also: CBC.ca has a great photo essay that tracks the history of the Rheostatics.
Photo by Sucking A Lemon from Flickr.