Speaking of the Weakerthans and awards, they just won the Verge Award for artist of the year. Verge is XM Radio’s Canadian alternative/indie station, and this is a fan-based award (something like 45 000 people voted for their favourites of the bands ‘in regular rotation’ on the channel). Like the Polaris Music Prize, the glory comes with a nice chunk of change – in this case, CDN$25 000. I’m not sure if Natalie Yanchak (of the Dears, who were also nominated in this category) considers the prediction in her rather catty blog post to be negated or fulfilled: “It’s gonna be a free for all, and some totally corporate band who hired a bunch of kids to vote everyday for them is going to win. And that’s what some bands want, which is great.” (despite her dismissal of the idea, she was nevertheless thoughtful enough to provide a direct link to the voting page for her readers).
I can, however, guess how Weakerthans’ frontman John K Samson’s former bandmates in Propagandhi might feel, given their account of Samson’s departure:
For the next 3 years, we rode the tail-end of the punk-rock explosion. When the smoke cleared and we were putting together Less Talk More Rock, it was becoming evident that Jordy and I, the rural metal-heads, were cut from an entirely different cloth than little John-John, the urbane poet. He just didn’t seem to enjoy getting attacked by nazi-skinheads or sleeping on piss-soaked mattresses in lice-infested italian squats anymore. Go figure.
So shortly after we recorded LTMR, we shook hands, performed a mutual culling of the herd and like all good revolutionary anti-capitalists, got into an argument about money. Eventually, we worked out our differences and helped John into his proverbial Golden Parachute, which he has apparently, thus far, rolled into $80,000 worth of pennies with which to buy gourmet peanut butter and bread made of gold. Weird!
Personally, I’m happy to see the Weakerthans get the recognition I think they deserve.
EDIT: Natalie of the Dears stopped by in the comments to say that she was ‘happy with the results.’ All’s right with the world.