Monthly Archives: May 2008

Statement#17 from JC Penny

I get asked a lot why I spend so much time covering the evolution of Dirty Penny. “Don’t you have better things to do?” friends and my mother say to me. The truth is I spend a lot of time. I basically am allowed to be around them anytime I want except their bedrooms. I was hanging around Lovely Louis and JC Penny last night. They we’re drinking and smoking at JC’s place on the front porch on a sofa exposed to the elements. I offered commentary and I GOT A GIGGLE from them ONCE. These guys are the most conceited assholes on the planet. But they’re brilliant.

The following note by JC was handed to me on a napkin with bits of chewed bacon on it.


people of the night. you know who you are when i say that to you. you find unusual pleasures. you stay up late. you talk to yourself under your breath.

your car was never meant for space. you roll up your windows with a panicked look on your face. dont forget that you can dream even when awake. dont forget to fight when you need to.

the young girl and boy. barely 19. he’s driving the car. she’s super clean.

people of the day. you know who you are when i say that to you. you have normal pleasures. you don’t stay up late. you smile as a habit.


Rehearsal – tues may 20

This rock reporter is waiting outside Glenn’s rehearsal studio, located in an old sock factory turned run down loft/studio spaces for almost exlusively young filthy white musician men. Young women sometimes enter but are ephemeral. The toilets are revolting and shared. The twinkle they get from their rock and roll boyfriend singing a G’nR love song into their eyes on an old sofa is snuffed upon their first need to take a pee.

It’s 5:30 and storm clouds gather. This reporter is bicycle only so an early arrival, organise notes, and a cigarette….

JC Penny arrives first, also on Bicycle. He is wearing a purple moomoo and a neon green helmet. He looks like a child. Crossing the street his face twitches 5 times, probably from internal dialogue that is completely independent from the moment. It’s a wonder this man can cross the street. He asks if the others are here and i reply negative. He takes off his helmet slow and deliberate. Gloves and sunglasses methodically wrapped and curled into helmet’s bowl. This is a biker thing. JC Penny is a consumate biker. He has several bikes and is an amateur mechanic. Helmet held under arm and ritual completed, he suddenly attacks his hair with his other hand as if infested by bugs. He makes a sound like “ng-a-ng-a-ng-ng”, then is fine. There were no bugs. His head was itchy. JC is naturally histrionic.

Inside the space, drummer Candy is setting up, lead guit Lovely Louis and key/rhyth Yoko doing the same. JC is on a stool in front of mic staring at the floor, leg bouncing. Yoko walks over and looks behind JC. “What?” JC says. “Checking if you were 2 dimensional, if you had a back,” replies Yoko.

Bass Sugar Bear arrives 30 minutes late. No one cares. They are already playing music. Five minutes later a bass sound joins the sound.

DP is writing a new song today. LL mostly arranging between takes by conversation with members, “..second chorus, can you drop out.. album is story songs so we need room for..” Candy takes on directing, too. Yoko, Sugar Bear, and JC follow along. It’s an alt-rock song. It sounds great because I’m a DP fan. DP’s got SOUND. New listeners always poo-poo DP because they’re not technical pros. Too bad for them.

LL asks JC what the song is called. JC owns the naming of songs. “Uh, Space Car Date,” he says. “It’s about a date and they’re in a car and they drive to the ocean and it’s so beautiful as they approach it and they get so happy they give the car wings and they take off over the ocean and into space but then they start to panic and roll up windows and try to turn back because cars aren’t meant for space, I dunno I’m writing it as we go…”

Reheasal ends with an actual rehearsal of Pretty Boy Floyd. There is conflict. JC wants it slower so he has time to deliver the lyrics. “It’s a freaking story,” he argues. The band wants faster so they can rock out. They find a middle which makes them all smile. They pack it up and go home without saying goodbye to yours truly. I lick my wings and wash my hands without soap or water.

The Drake – May 12

DP started off the evening with lead vox JC Penny promising “we’re gonna play some ACDC for ya!” to a cheering desperate-for-something-unpretentiously-entertaining Drake crowd.  It was a lie.  ‘Cigarettes, Whisky, and Wild Wild Women’ (TaDa! 2007) began with lead guitar Lovely Louis’ fingers beginning to blur and they were off.

The band just gets better and better.  This is not a huge compliment.  They’ve been playing for years and while ‘tight’ isn’t the first word you think sitting with a cocktail 30 feet away and 5 minutes into a DP show – ‘sound’ is.  They’ve got sound.  And that sound is… 

(It’s wrong to say a band has a sound and then compare them to another band.  Remember that, music slaves.)

DP’s sound is like a garbage truck moving across a neighborhood: slow power, you can’t stop it and you don’t want to.  You’ll lose.

DP served a hard rock course with no towelettes for 30 minutes.  JC Penny, full of autism and suave, provided the usual David Byrne marginal monkey visuals.  One wonders about this man’s brain.  It is either not there or too much so.  Bassist “Sugar Bear” did his trademark pogo sticking on the songs where you could tell he likes his parts best.  Lovely Louis lead user of the guitar as just a tool for sound was in a surgical mood, providing contrast to JC Penny’s quasi-wrong singing style.  Was Louis operating on JC on purpose?  We like to think so.  But prolly not.  People who play rock are moody. 

Nobody left the room.  Everybody stared at the rock spectacle frozen, in fear perhaps that the unpredictable zero self-conscious lead singer’s attention is drawn. 

Ex-drummer Sarah “The Glue” Quinn was invited up to sub for ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’.  Good to hear her simple, rock steady sticks again.  Current drummer Candy is so full of tricks it’s a completely different Penny.

“I hate ACDC. Why the fuck did you say that?” started Louis on JC outside the Drake post-show.  “Cuz it’s the Drake and I’m mister contrast.  I could have said Boston or Foreigner…” (the 2 bandsmen obviously falling into a comfortable R2D2/3P0-esque nagging) “…would you have preferred Boston or Foreigner?”

LL – “No, I would have preferred an introduction to the first song of our set to a crowd of people, many of whom have never seen us before, several of which will now never see us again because ACDC sucks.”
JC – “ACDC doesn’t fucking suck.  You’re ACDC.”
LL – “Don’t ever say that to me. I stopped calling you Peter Gabriel when you asked me.”
JC – “I sound nothing like Peter Gabriel.”
LL – “You sound a little like Peter Gabriel, except without the hitting the right notes part.”
JC – “Peter Gabriel sucks.”
LL – “You suck.”
JC – “You suck me.”

LL – “I would have preferred Foreigner.”
JC – “Do you even like rock?”
LL – “I like good rock.”
JC – “You like gay rock.”
LL – “Bauhaus isn’t gay rock.”
JC – “It’s as gay as they come.’
LL – “I pity you.”
JC – “You’re mustache is crooked.”
LL – “Thanks for not pulling down your pants this show.”
JC – “I left my sexy underwear at your mom’s.”
LL – “Oh!  Who-da-man!  Who-da-MAN!”
JC – “You da man.”

The 2 “friends” disappeared back into the Drake for more beer presumably.

On a final note, Elvis Mondays still rocks after a million years going as a place for live indie music on any Monday night.  The sound, space, and bands are all the right size and taste.  This reporter feels he has rediscovered Elvis Mondays and has already entered “BORED?  Elvis Monday” as a recurring weekly 9pm alert in his blackberry.

Preparing for the Drake #3

Tomorrow evening DP does the Drake’s downstairs at 9:30pm.  1150 Queen W.  Good luck.

Saturday noon saw DP rehearsing at Glenn’s again.  Glenn wasn’t iimpressed with the early booking and commented passive aggressively “I feel pretty good considering I went to bed at 6am.”  It was clear that Glenn accepted the booking to make up for the Melissa Manchester incident 2 weeks prior.

Drummer Scott “Candy” Fletcher arrived 40 minutes late with “traffic” as his explanation.

DP mangled a couple of songs for their upcoming set and began to worry when Candy, the veteran who has been in dozens of bands since his teens, evaporated the sour mood envelloping the band in an instant: “Bad rehearsal, good gig,” said Candy, to which the rest of the band nodded and mumbled “ya” and “hmm..”

Keys/rhythm guitar Richard “Yoko” Lachman brought a six of beer for the morning.

Lead guitar Louis and Yoko discussed at length the correct mix of their dueling guitar parts in ‘Sage against the Machine’ from their upcoming full length release of the same name.  Since Yoko bought his effects box it’s been like a Yugioh battle between the 2  but one that is between evenly tempered canadian men.  Finely crafted missiles of emotional sensitivity set the tiny rehearsal space on fire: “I’m hearing you about the distortion but..” and “I like that flange a lot for a lot of parts but I’m not sure..” Meanwhile, the other bandsmen drifted into an improvisational cover of ‘Girl from Ipanema’ setting the whole scene into a masterful absurdist light.  Imagine Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ with propeller hats on the soldiers.

After rehearsal, JC Penny, Yoko, and Louis went to see Iron Man and that’s the last anybody’s seen of them.

Preparing for the Drake #2

Dirty Penny roared thru their rehearsal this last tuesday at Glenn’s space in preparation for their monday gig. Glenn wasn’t there but left a woman, Basia, to open the door for the band. Asked if they were considering other rehearsal spaces because of the Melissa Manchester incident the previous week, DP lead singer JC Penny said “we wouldn’t be here if we were and Glenn doesn’t have to be our friend.”

Lead guitar Lovely Louis arrived 50 minutes late. JC Penny was the first to greet Louis with a “Bonjour!” to which Louis replied “Don’t fucking bonjour me!” nearly knocking down the lead singer in the hallway.

Drummer Candy issued a statement after a run through of ‘Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild Wild Women’ (TaDa! 2007): “That’s my new favorite song from TaDa!. It has replaced ‘Bomb Ardier’ as my new favorite.”

Located a few streets west of Ossington, The Drake Hotel is perhaps the most pretentious spots in the City. Filled with desperate scene people not able to admit they just want to find someone stable and start a family before their looks catch up with their inner beauty, the basement is the place to be. DP looks forward to playing the basement again because the sound is awesome.

Rehearsal ended with Basia, having not heard DP before, praising the band’s sound, associating them with “Celtic” roots and a band called ‘Mute Math’ which only Candy knew. She was completely insincere.

Preparing for The Drake #1

Dirty Penny got stiffed by their regular rehearsal space this last tuesday. Rich “Yoko” was first to arrive and saw none other than Melissa Manchester in the space with musicians. Glenn, the rehearsal space owner, was quoted as saying “Sorry, man, I had to take this one..” to Yoko at the door before letting it close slowly on his face.

Yoko, Jason “JC Penny”, and Scott “Candy” stood outside in the Toronto night saying “I was looking forward to playing tonight” and “when’s the gig?”

Jay “Sugar Bear”, who had forgotten to show up for rehearsal, was pleased and a little worried about his atheism in light of current events.

It’s unknown as to whether DP will continue to use Glenn’s rehearsal space.

Raja’s “Lovely Louis” Mexican appendix operation of 2 months ago is a success. Louis said on the phone earlier today “It’s fine, it’s happy” in reference to the operation.

The Drake Hotel Show on Monday May 12 will be featuring “La Poutine” as one of the songs that will be played with extra effects in the begining prayer part, says JC Penny. “Yoko bought a box,” he added.

DP hasn’t released any further details about their upcoming Drake performance.

2 sentences in this release are false.