We auditioned two other drummers. Julia Cleveland is the house drummer at The Rex and Leanne Davies who is a brilliant painter and drummer. We chose Justin. Are we racist? Sexist? Is Salman Rushdie still alive? Probably. One of us has recently been doing work for the Freemasons, not joking. He likes them. Their principles are optimistic and their symbols are elegant, but it’s boys only. Is that wrong? Is a boys only club dedicated to fighting evil wrong? Why not join the Rotary which is co-ed? Their Four Way Test is basically everything awesome about The Bible in 0.001% of the blah, blah. Here’s a quick interview with Justin and you decide.
Q1. If this was an interview for Rolling Stone magazine and the interviewer had just asked the dumbest cliche question in a series of dumb questions and you took the opportunity to say what you really think what would that be?
Ok first off asshole, thanks for taking the time to interview me. Second, you seem like a really nice man or woman but when it comes to choosing questions and it comes to YOU choosing them, a good questions chooser you are not. (Drop the mic. Interviewer crushed.)
Q2. If you were a billionaire with no responsibilities what would you be doing right now?
I admire the efforts Bill and Melinda Gates so I’d probably be a full on rapist. NO, NO, NO! You’re writing that down wrong! A philanthropist, a phil-an-thro-pist! Geez.
Q3. What’s your favourite comfort food?
Comfort pie. One part chopped couch, two parts blanket and a pinch of trashy tv.
Q4. What’s wrong with you?
I play drums for no money. It’s a disease. The first step is admitting you have a problem.
Q5. If you had a time machine, when and where in the past would you go and what are your thoughts on the physics of time travel?
Can I only go into the past? I’d want to go to the future. Let’s say 40 years so I’m not totally lost. Justin Bieber would hosting the 127th Oscars and I could be like, “I know him! He was a pop music singing douchebag in my day.”
I’m a tech-enthusiast so I’d want to see the true beginnings of AI. I’m excited, fascinated and terrified by that. I think we’re about 30 years away from the lines beginning to blur between man and machine. And my thoughts on time travel? It’s probably possible in some technical way like we could maybe send a dozen electrons into the future by half a second. But I don’t think it’ll ever be possible for us human folk.
Q6. If your doctor just told you, you have 6 months to live what would you say to her?
That’s amazing! Normally I live each day like it’s my last. What a gift, Doc. What a gift.
Q7. How big are you?
I just showed you like five minutes ago in the bathroom. What? Now you want to see it again? You know already. Small. Embarrassingly small!
Q8. Where’s Osama Bin Laden?
Answer A: Let’s plan a night to watch Zero Dark Thirty.
Answer B: Osama Bin Bama-Care. I don’t really know what that means but it feels right.
Q9. If you could change society in one way what would it be?
Equal pay for women. And making this question #1.
Q10. Anything you wanna add?
I can only hope to be half the drummer that Scott was. I had the honour of seeing him play with Dirty Penny once and I was blown away! Meeting him briefly after the show, I could tell that he had a great personality and a kind heart. I’ll try to do you proud Scott. Rest in peace.
There was nothing mean about Scott “Candy” Fletcher. In the 8 years he has been Dirty Penny’s drummer, not one of us can say he has ever said a mean thing about anyone in or outside the room he was in. He was a shit-hard drummer. Our fans called him “The Machine”. He was the best musician in our group.
Scott passed away last night at Toronto East General Hospital.
JC Penny as “The Emperor of Canada”, Dirty Penny at the Horseshoe Tavern, Feb 5th 2014
That was a helluva show. Dirty Penny has been playing for 13 years. We’re really good at our sound now.
Hi, I’m JC Penny, the singer.
So for every show I like to do a character, a little bit of theatre for the eyes. Other bands have criticized us for this. They say “If you were a real band you wouldn’t need that crap.” And we say “Your show sucked.”
For this show I chose ‘The Emperor of Canada’. I wanted to find a voice for him so I researched the past christmas addresses of Queen Elizabeth II. I’ve always been a fan of her style. Her speeches are concise but her choice of words are trully those of an aristocrat. For instance, she would never say the word “sex”, she would say “the removal of each other’s clothing”.
So I went hunting for past Christmas addresses videos and discovered THERE ARE ONLY 4! I might suck at internet research but I spent 45 minutes looking and found only these.
1957 – Sandringham House in Norfolk – The first televised Christmas Broadcast or ‘Queen’s Speech’. (she was cute, I would’ve totally hit on her at a club if I was in my twenties)
1984 – From Windsor Castle – The broadcast also includes the newly born Prince Harry with his brother and parents, along with film of the Royal Family and the Spencers interacting with each other on the day of Harry’s christening. (I’d hit on her at a club now)
1997 – from Buckingham Palace – She starts this one by addressing Princess’s Diana death. It’s also her 50th wedding anniversary to Prince Phillip. (I would talk to her at a club for hours or hit on her with enough liquor)
2013 – She starts this one with “I once knew someone who spent a year in plaster cast. He read a lot and thought a lot and felt miserable.” (I would talk to her at a club for hours)
Hi, it’s the lead singer, JC Penny. How’s it going?
I made this album cover. It came to me years ago when I started writing the songs for our new record (drops Sep 21, 2013) and trying to put myself in the shoes of a mother of a fallen soldier.
I think it’s likely that every soldier’s mother in Canada has that standard military portrait of their son or daughter that is taken after they finish basic training. It sits beside a lamp or hangs on a wall.
Portrait of the late Cpl. Stuart Langridge with parents. Click to go to the National Post article about this young man’s last days.
I reasoned that this portrait becomes terrible and undeniable in the homes of the mothers of fallen soldiers. The album is dedicated to these devastated women and so the cover is a snapshot of the world from their eyes. They see their baby’s faces in that portrait, not young men and women.
The rest of the band says the cover is “creepy”. I see that. It’s weird to see a baby head on a full grown body. Plus, I think they feel like they’re gonna be robbed of that moment when they get to hand their new record to their friends and family. A record with this cover will not be seen by our ageing parents or preteen kids. I tried arguing from this point of view. I said that our music for this record isn’t happy anyway. It’s going to appeal to educated rockers with dark sensibilities. Maybe this is the record that skips our families. I didn’t get far with that one.
Most of the band didn’t outright reject it. They expressed their discomfort but let the primadonna (me) have the final say. On the other hand, it could be that they talked about it while I was in the bathroom and decided to get Raja “Lovely Louie” Khanna, lead guitar, to persuade me to drop it. He did over drinks one night. I could have pulled the artist visionary card and said “You guys don’t see the impact of this cover in the long term,” or the primadonna card “No. This conversation is over. The cover stays,” but I already pulled that card recently on something else so..
The next interesting thing that’s happened is that the venue for our CD release show at The Junction Music Fest rejected this poster on which I used the baby soldier cover image:
This venue bills itself as equal part art gallery and pub. Now, I’d expect this reaction if it was a picture of Jesus doggie-styling a child-prostitute with a needle in his arm. However there’s nothing purile about this image and an art gallery still rejected it. When I told the story about the venue to my friend who has been a lead singer for 20 years and has produced many albums he said “wow, you got a good album cover.”
I’m starting to think it’s not just that my cover is a bit icky to look at. I think I might have made an image that is too icky to talk about. And I did it without cocks or boobs or intravenous needles. Of course, If we were The Arcade Fire the cover would’ve been lauded as an edgy political piece, compelling and damning. Oh, Canada.
When Sasha Baron Cohen was interviewed last year by Strombolopoulos in his The Dictator character he was asked “So, Dictator, how do you like Canada?” to which he replied “I like it very much. Your people are like my people: quiet.” Unfortunately, I find it hard to argue with this silly man’s point.
Dirty Penny has had a terrible ride making this record. 3 producers in 4 years, many depressions, some fights that were not about the record but clearly about the record, over-budget, despondency, murder (of insects), the bassist is pissed off because he’s been in the band for 4 years and he’s still not on an album.
It’s not anything like our other albums. It’s a big grim political rock record for and about the mothers of fallen soldiers. It’s not very long though. It just reaches the 30 minute mark on album length. Does this mean it’s an EP?
So this is good. We’re playing at Axis Gallery and Grill on September 21st, two months from now. We’ll be playing the whole night, all 3 albums back to back, and releasing our third.
For more comedy about the making of our third record see our Facebook page.