Vancouver’s MT Vessels drift into the spotlight with new single and video


By Steve Newton

MT Vessels threw a record- and video-release party at the Town Pump last week. As part of their prize for taking the Spotlight 85 “Battle of the Bands” contest last March, the group had two of their songs pressed, to be distributed nationally by MCA Records, and a video made to be shown nationally on MuchMusic.

The single, “Take the Phone (Off the Hook)” bw/”Valentinos”, was recorded at Mushroom Studios in April and May, and produced by John Webster, keyboardist for such bands as 44, Red Rider, and Idle Eyes.

According to MT Vessels singer/frontman Bobi Muckle, Webster–who had also produced such local talent as Annette Ducharme and Agent–was chosen from a list of a dozen potential producers to do the job.

“He’s a musician, you know, so he has a soft spot for the whole creative things, which some producers don’t.”

The single is being played locally by CFOX and LG73, sponsors of Spotlight 85. Its accompanying video was filmed at Richmond’s Cable 10 studios, directed by Courtney Smith, and should be showing on MuchMusic any day now.

Since recording the 12-inch, MT Vessels have had two member changes. Bassist Steven Drake has left to devote his energies to Those Nerve Tubes, and drummer Michael Root has joined the Paul Janz band. They’re being replaced by bassist Kelly Cook (formerly with French Letters) and Okanagan drummer Aaron Anderson.

With their polished arrangements and sharp commercial instincts, MT Vessels beat out 17 other acts taking part in Spotlight 85. The group hadn’t actually performed anywhere live before the contest, but Muckle denies that they were formed solely to try and win its valuable record/video package.

“I’ve had this band in the works for several years,” he says. “If it wasn’t Spotlight 85 it would’ve been something else that would have actually done it. We were just lucky that we were able to come out under the watchful eye of the music industry and media.”

To read my interviews with Vancouver rock musicians dating back to 1983 go here.

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