R.D. Cane photo
Waking up to a new band!
The words “Sunday Morning” may conjure up many images. Waking up in an unfamiliar bed after a distorted Saturday night or be it a slow and gentle sunrise at home, a spiritual experience or be it a sermon of the word. How do two old friends and members of Vancouver’s confrontational ‘90s powerhouse Tankhog rise up to a new musical project? A band recognized by a notorious reputation for onstage and tour havoc. What comes of this, takes on a fateful twist.
Vocalist Bruce Wilson had always kept a journal. He lived in many cities across North America, from parts of Florida bordering on Alabama to New York. During a purge and a turn in his life, these notebooks found their way into a dumpster. So, the story told, is that one day in an unexpected message, someone had found the journals.
Enter 2014 and the band mates are still friends, this chapter leads off with a book that is penned by Wilson. “Words written from the protagonist’s voice,” he explains. A narrative, where the many outcomes or “dualities” of a Sunday morning play out; a spark inspired during a writer’s residency at Vancouver’s Waldorf Hotel just before this creative hub had changed hands in 2013.
These discovered journals lead to the foundation of Wilson’s new novel and with words that invited melodies; enter longtime friend Stephen Hamm, the bass player from Tank Hog, Slow and The Evaporators. Hamm takes a seat at the piano and composer’s chair. A musical partnership is rekindled and it was apparent that Sunday Morning should become the name of this project.
The resulting work and melodies had encouraged vocal harmonies. During that time, Wilson had been speaking to long-term friend Leah Commons. The two had known each other since their early teens and, coincidentally, she was interested in doing something musical. “I had sent her the lyrics, but had no idea that she could sing,” says Wilson, who was astonished with what she sent back to him. “So, in the book, there is a love interest,” adds Hamm. “We have one song where Bruce and Leah switch off lines… and there are harmonies.” From here they engage a musical lineup with bass player Coco Culbertson, who played with The Gay, and drummer Justin Leigh from Pluto. A former collaborator from Tankhog, guitarist Kevin Rose returns and he is also known for his work with the atmospheric band Coal.
Their collective life experience imaginatively fuel the music and characters. As much Wilson and Hamm are both excited by the fun and capable of thrashing out an energetic three-chord punk song, this project is about extending their artistic parameters. “Why pretend that we are 25?” the two laugh. This is a collective alliance that can draw from the eclectic well of pop music and cultural genres. Spanning a musical and geographical real estate that is equally fed from the rich Alabama waters of the Muscle Shoals sound, as much as from the raw streets of New York City’s punk music beginnings.
They call their own shots and with an album laid down at Afterlife, a Vancouver studio known for their vintage gear. What comes of this may be musical mystery at this point, as they are in no hurry to reveal all the details and for a hint you will have to catch them live.
Join Sunday Morning on Saturday, July 12th at the 2014 Khatsahlano Music Festival for an afternoon performance to hear their next chapter unfold.
- More Betty