Created in the bowels of lead vocalist and guitarist Jason Taylor's basement in 1993, Toronto's Made gradually worked their way upstairs to the garage. Now, I don't say this to imply that they are a grungy, feedback kind of Nirvana band, but rather to imply that this is a band with a raw feel to their music. Sure, you might be able to call them lo-fi pop, but in these musical times of slick, pop productions, Made bring rather a flair for the moment to their songs, capturing the initial feeling.
Made began harmlessly enough some four years back, but it wasn't until 1995 that they seriously committed themselves to the notion that they could make a living from their music. Or, maybe not, says Taylor: "I don't agree with that, I've always been serious, I suppose it depends on what you mean by serious. It's probably Alison's quote... damn bio writers." Responds bassist Alison Maclean, "Ya, it's probably mine. I always wanted to play music, but that's just when I started to think about it more."
"I wouldn't say it was the furthest thing from our minds, but I think more recently that it became feasible," continues Taylor. "Before, we had a floating bass player, but now we have a permanent bass player and we're solidly four. We feel more secure. When you first start out, you dream, 'Wow! I'm going to do this for a living,' but now it seems feasible."
Armed with nothing more than a serious commitment and a new CD, entitled Bedazzler, Made looked to get out of the garage and into our homes. Then they found the tool they were looking for. They found the garage door opener as it were, in the form of MCA Records (now Universal Music). The door was opened, the driveway driven over and they escaped into the world. With major label escapes however, comes major label pressures and I assume that flying from Toronto to Vancouver for a promotional tour is a new experience for them.
"Ya, it's weird," admits Taylor. "I'm not a big fan of flying -- I like my feet firmly planted on the ground -- but it's nice. Four hours and you're there. We did this drive last year and it was brutal. It's 17 hours to Thunder Bay (from Toronto) and you're not even out of Ontario yet. It's sick."
On that note, Made played a showcase for Vancouver's music biz finest recently. And...
"The sound was weird on stage... oh, it was fine!" exclaims Maclean. "I mean how can you expect a band to do a showcase for a group of industry people anyway, it's very nerve-racking."
"They're not there for the band anyway, it's the free food and beer," says Taylor. "It's like, 'These guys fuckin' suck, pass me another beer.' We're doing a real tour in March. We'll be doing the States, too. You start out in your own city and then you build up and do your province, then the country, etc... I guess America's important. I mean, there is a whole world out there, but it's got 300 million people. From where we live, you drive south and you've got 20 million people, which is almost the population of Canada, two-thirds anyway. I'm not going to lose sleep over America, but I would over Canada."
Aah, Canada, the land of the free... and the frozen. The band just finished the video shoot for their first single, "Hairdown." Maclean shivers at the thought:
"It was COLD! We were on top of a hospital roof in Toronto. When I got home and took my shoes off, my toes were blue, but I got my colour back in a couple of hours. I'm sure we look mighty attractive in the video, with snot running down our noses. There were make-up people coming out and wiping our noses all the time."
"From where the drum kit was set up in the middle of the roof, you could see the patients and the whole time I could see this one woman looking at me, it was unnerving. You're playing as hard as you can, so some of the patients complained about the noise. I felt bad the rest of the day."
"It was COLD!" emphasizes Taylor, so maybe it was. "It was scary, there were no barriers or anything. Initially we were going to go on an office tower, but they don't let you shoot up there, so we went to a lower tower. It's weird, a hospital letting us shoot a rock video on their roof. It was the director's idea and we liked it. The first lyric of the song is, 'Sitting on top of a giant, making noises.'"
Talk of hospitals brings up Mike Harris, the vilified Ontario premiere who's cutting things like shelters, education and hospitals. And our own Glen "No Fault" Clark, who is set to line ICBC's pockets and take us on his own death ride to complement his thefts from the Forestry Renewal program.
"You know what," says Taylor, finally. "We shouldn't complain about it until we stop doing all this stuff." He picks up the latest issue of Drop-D and lets it fall to the table. He's right, I'm thinking Drop-D, the print edition, should be on recycled paper, and until that day happens [ed. Anyone offering to pay the extra cost? Didn't think so.], I should stop complaining.
It's that to-the-point honesty that makes Made a garage band But, it's the desire to be a guest on the Simpson's that make them a pop band. "Yeah, a guest spot on The Simpsons would be cool," laughs Maclean. "Or even if Beavis and Butthead made fun of us... 'is that like a chick in the band? huh uh huh huh uh.'"
So being perfectly honest and being the label jockey that I am, I will call them a garage-pop band for purposes of this interview. But more importantly, Made is out, on the loose and in March they will be playing in a town near you. I wonder if they'll play the Garage Pub again? Hmmm.
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Please read this first. Thanks.