On the heels of the release of their much-anticipated new album, Champ, and about to embark on a massive tour supporting Passion Pit, Ontario rockers Tokyo Police Club are busy, busy young men. It’s a wonder they could take a second out to contribute to our Father’s Day fest, but keyboardist Graham Wright and his cool dad Todd did not let us down. In fact, they totally made us smile:
Dads can be protective. Was he ever cautious about you living the crazy musician’s life?
Like any good parent, he was definitely concerned when I decided to skip getting a higher education in order to pursue some damn fool dream of being a touring musician. When I was younger, he used to tell all these funny stories about his time in a touring band, which all struck me as romantic and wonderful. It was only much later that I found out they were meant to be cautionary tales, discouraging me from that life. Whoops.
What fatherly advice has helped you out along your way?
It isn’t exactly musical advice, but my Dad always went on about the importance of responsibility – finishing what you start and never welching on your commitments. In an industry full of flaky creative types, I think having that sense of responsibility and professionalism has really helped our band endear itself to people. He also told me that I should always walk a lady home at night, which isn’t musical at all but is nonetheless excellent advice.
Does your pop have any hidden talents?
I wouldn’t call it hidden, per se, but he’s an excellent trumpet player. When he was around my age, he played in a big band called Free Soil. They had a hit single in Trinidad! Most of his aforementioned cautionary tales involved sleeping in the wheel well of their van, sleeping under a table at the airport in Trinidad, and sneaking an entire big band into one hotel room. Also, their drummer breathed fire during the show, which is something I am intent on incorporation into my musical and/or everyday life. He also played trumpet with Lighthouse in rehearsal once. I’m hoping to have him play on one of my records sooner or later.
If he had to choose: Beatles or Elvis?
Given the fact that I grew up listening to Beatles records and never once heard an Elvis song around the house, I’m going to go with The Beatles. But he’d probably pick Buddy Rich over both of them…
From Graham’s dad, Todd:
When did you realize your Graham had been bitten by the music bug?
Graham always enjoyed music around our home. He especially enjoyed listening to me play trumpet scales for hours on end. If that did not convince him to become a musician, then it was possibly the horror stories I told him of my brief days on the road in a band called Free Soil. In truth, it was probably more obvious when he was in Grade 10 and he started playing at coffee houses in town and at the high school. Along with Dave, Josh, and Greg (and some others), they organized the school coffee houses. Their original band, Suburbia, was built from that experience. We knew he was quite interested in the music scene based upon the amount of time and energy he was putting into these activities. Then it was books from the local library about the music business that really gave me a sense that he was serious.
What’s your favorite Tokyo Police Club song?
I managed to get a copy of the preview CD and I am really enjoying “Bambi,” “End of a Spark” and “Hands Reversed.” It may take me a while to pick a favourite from the new CD. From the past it is also hard to pick just one, but “Tesselate” stands out from Elephant Shell and also “Citizens of Tomorrow” from the first EP. “Tesselate” has that great opening guitar part and funky bass throughout, and Citizens is just plain fun rock with some interesting shifts. I like Greg’s drum work on that one and the bass is pretty fine too. I’m a sci fi fan, so the lyrics struck me right away. Keyboards are exceptional through all of the tunes, of course.
Did you ever bring Graham to a concert when he was growing up, or vice-versa?
We did some Toronto Symphony concerts with the family when the boys were younger, but I don’t know if that counts. Graham and I went to an Elton John concert when he was in grade nine. It was at the Air Canada Center and we had pretty good seats. It was a good concert and the first big rock concert I had been to since I was in my teens. It went into a couple of encores, if I remember correctly, and I was up well past my bedtime. In the vice-versa side of things, Graham took me to a Leonard Cohen concert for my birthday last year in May. It was wonderful, as I have been a Cohen fan ever since I studied his poetry in high school. I like to think that I had something to do with introducing Graham to this wonderful Canadian artist. Graham lists Leonard Cohen as one of his influences. Going to the concert in Kingston, Ontario with Graham and a few of his friends was a really great way to celebrate my birthday. One of the highlights of our days together…there were quite a few encores in this concert and I was definitely up past my bedtime. Graham drove us back to Toronto as I tried to sleep without bugging him too much about his driving habits.
If you had to choose: Beatles or Elvis?
Beatles. I grew up through the ’60s and the Beatles were always there. I remember listening to Sgt Pepper for the first time in my cousin’s basement. The creation of a new sound, the poetry in their music and the “cool” factor were all quite evident at the time, and their genius is increasingly apparent since then. I have come to enjoy the work of Elvis more as I have grown older and his influence on the music world has been just as significant, but I still stick with the Beatles as my choice. There’s that trumpet solo on “Penny Lane” that does it for me. If more bands used brass effectively, the world would be a better place, don’t you think? I know Graham agrees. (It must have been all of those scales he heard when he was younger.)
Fuente: LimeWire Music Blog