Kim Mitchell hits 40 and just keeps getting wet with life



By Steve Newton

Used to be that whenever you saw Kim Mitchell’s name on an album’s liner notes the name of his lyricist, Pye Dubois, would be right there beside it. But Dubois’ moniker is nowhere to be found on Mitchell’s latest release, Aural Fixations. Seems the long-time songwriting collaboration had a parting of the ways.

“Creative relationships are like romantic relationships and business relationships; they go through lots of dynamics,” says Mitchell. “I was doing a little more editing, and Pye had to be there for getting the word ‘and’ changed to ‘the’. He likes to have his hands in the deli tray; he has to have his fingers everywhere. And that dance was just getting awkward.”

Although he speaks of Dubois with a frustrated tone, Mitchell asserts that the two tunesmiths have remained friends—and are even talking about writing again. At any rate, not having Dubois on the team hasn’t resulted in any drastic change in the Big M’s sound. He’s still doing his duty by serving up raunchy rock and catchy ballads.

“You know, a lot of artists will sit down and tell the press: ‘I wanted to try something different,’ and ‘I wanted to do this.’ Me, the only things I worry about are melodies, choruses, bridges, grooves, vibes, sonic textures, engineers, today’s lunch, and what time to go home. As far as the creative side of music, it will always be me, and it will always sound the same, because I’m kinda like a sponge, you know. I go around getting wet with life, keeping my eyes and ears open, and then when I get dripping wet, I just wring it out in my little eight-track studio.”

One thing that has changed for Mitchell recently is his touring band, which no longer boasts the stalwart presence of former Mitchell mainstay Peter Fredette. Seems Fredette got stolen away by that other icon of Canuck rock, Tom Cochrane.

“Yup, Tom waved the big pay-cheque in front of his face,” quips Mitchell. “But listen—we all understand that people have to make their 150 bucks a week, so I don’t blame him for that. I think it’s a great gig. I like Cochrane’s music. And it’s doin’ well.

“But I was speaking with his [Fredette’s] home-town newspaper, in Ottawa, and they have very mixed feelings about Peter being with Tom Cochrane, from the standpoint that in my band he got featured, and in Tom’s band he shakes a tambourine and plays rhythm guitar and sings background vocals all night.”

Fredette or no Fredette, Mitchell claims he’s happy with how his current live band—bassist Rob Laidlaw, keyboardist Lou Pomanti, and drummer Greg Critchley—is working out. Toronto’s clown prince of hook-filled guitar rock promises to be “plowin’ some furrows” when his stripped-down band plays the PNE Exhibition Bowl on Saturday (August 8).

“I’ve got a band that’ll blow people away,” says the just-turned-40 rocker. “People who are open to new things really love this band. I mean, I’d be nervous about playing if these guys weren’t gettin’ me off, but they are. We’re getting each other off, and I think that’s where the beauty of music lies.”

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