ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 4, 1996
Any new bands wondering how to approach the writing of their bios—those pesky but crucial info sheets sent out to music journalists in the hope of scoring some ink—could take a tip from Edmonton’s Mollys Reach. The secret to winning a rock scribe’s heart, or at least commandeering his pen for a couple of hours, is not to take yourself too seriously.
U2’s already done that.
What I want to see is the kind of self-deprecating biographical tidbits Mollys Reach offers about its members, such as the fact that drummer Steve Derpack wears his pants “quite high”, that guitarist Lyle Bell has a “caffeine problem”, and that the band’s other guitarist, Randy Diachuck, is “the consistent low man in Scrabble”.
Now that’s something I can relate to.
It also helps if a new band explains how or why its name was chosen, although in the case of Mollys Reach that’s moot. Any red-blooded Canadian TV-owner must know that it refers to the café in Gibsons where The Beachcombers was set.
“Some of us grew up in small towns where all we got was Paupervision, the CBC,” explained Mollys lead vocalist Sean Rivalin, calling from Montreal on the day that his band’s new CD, Hi-Fi and Stereo, was released nationwide by BMG Music Canada. “I’ve seen every episode of The Beachcombers, and when we first started we had a really bad song about Bruno Gerussi. From there we got the name, and then dumped the song ’cause it sucked.”
Gerussi may be gone—the band members observed a moment of silence for the venerable actor when he died of a heart attack last year—but Mollys Reach is hoping it can follow him into the annals of Canuck TV history with the video of its first single, “Poppysong”, which you might see on MuchMusic if you don’t blink.
“They have the heavy, light, and medium rotation,” said Rivalin, “and I think we’re on diet rotation right now. It gets played on The Wedge, which is okay, ’cause that’s sort of where we wanted it to begin with—other than, say, the Top 30 Countdown. But we’ve got a label behind us now, and product on the shelves, so we’re gonna be submitting it again soon, and maybe they’ll put it into a better rotation.”
Hi-Fi and Stereo, sarcastically named after the band got repeatedly knocked for the “small” sound of its 1995 indie CD, Persephone, contains four beefed-up versions of songs from that disc, including the aptly titled “Poppysong”. Rivalin says he’s pleased with the band’s new major-label distribution deal with BMG, which has already resulted in the much-coveted distribution of free beer.
“We were in Toronto for Canada Music Week and schmoozin’ in the BMG hospitality suite,” said the 25-year-old Rivalin, whose band plays two Starfish Room dates this weekend, opening for Sandbox on Friday (April 5) and the Super Friendz on Saturday (April 6). “It was great, because our CD was playing, and we were gettin’ drinks served to us by the president of BMG Canada, who is just the nicest guy.”
So did that brief sojourn in the music industry’s lap of luxury give Mollys Reach’s members the feeling that they had “arrived”?
“No,” stated Rivalin without pause, “it just felt like at least we’re goin’ in the right direction. We’re not just playing to 10 underage kids at a bad skate park in Edmonton or something like that.”