If there’s one lyrical axiom Torontoist can relate to this year, it’s off Haligonian Joel Plaskett’s “Lying on a Beach.” The song, from the well-received solo album LaDeDa, touches our hearts in several places, but none more so than when he sings, “I should be working on my manners, but I’m working on my website.”
If Plaskett belonged on any website, -Ist or otherwise, it would most likely come out of Halifax, Nova Scotia (hello Halifaxist?). The guy oozes East Coast. Of all bands in the ’90s influx of skinny Nova Scotia indie rock (Sloan, Local Rabbits, SuperFriendz, Eric’s Trip, Rick of the Skins, Plaskett’s own Thrush Hermit), it is arguably Mr Plaskett that is carrying the torch for area now.
So after Thrush Hermit, you went solo. And after you went solo for two albums, you are now going solo again. What gives?
Well this is the fourth record with my name on it..It’s my second solo record, my first came out in ’99. Then I’ve got two records with my band The Emergency, and this is again a solo record. So I’m 4 records in I guess.
Hello? What about Thrush Hermit?
I was with Thrush Hermit for the better part of ten years, so I guess I’m eight records in.
So why solo?
I just wanted to approach it very loosely. Well, basically, I didn’t want to…take the time…to rehearse it. Ha ha.
We’ve heard this your version of Springsteen’s Nebraska.
Well, that’s been said more by critics than by me. I love that record, but it makes me a little nervous to say, “This is my Nebraska!” It’s not as dark and solitary as Nebraska.
Okay, let’s say this is Nebraska. Is there a Born in the U.S.A. en route?
Yeah. I guess if this is my Nebraska, then I’m looking forward to my Born in the U.S.A.! Watch out. I’ve got my work-out program set back home. I’m gonna get big just like Springsteen did before Born in the U.S.A.. Got my bandana. No but I actually love that album. A lot of people criticize the Boss for that album, but I embrace it.
How’s your tour?
I’m doing this tour solo acoustic with my friend Pete Elkas (of the Local Rabbits), and he joins me for a few songs. But it’s much different than opening for the Tragically Hip, which we did last year.
Let’s talk Canada. Halifax, where you’re from, versus Dartmouth?
I actually live in Dartmouth now. It’s a little scrappier. Both great places.
Why did you slam Kelowna, B.C. on your album?
When Thrush Hermit was on our last tour there, we just had a miserable experience there, with the promoter. And the people there were just being really really rude to us. A guy came up to me after the show there, and seemed really nice. He was like, “Hey man are you in the band?” He was this big, jockish dude, you know. And I said, “Yeah, man.” And then he was like, “YOU SUCK!” And it just seemed like people turned on us there. And we had a bad show this tour. So not much luck. But I did tear a strip off them on my latest record, so…I do have some family there though.
Joel Plaskett plays three (3!) shows at Hugh’s Room this weekend, with Pete Elkas, Valeri Gore, Matt Barber and Kate Maki opening up. Tickets are 15$ in advance and 17$ at the door. Listen to “I Love This Town” here