Monthly Archives: July 2008

Statement#6 from JC Penny

JC Penny sent me the following message yesterday. I received it at 10:46pm.


Alex, you’ll want this somehow for your book. It’s something I keep yelling inside my head regarding Dirty Penny and my role as front word man: it is that in the ladder of overall quality of musical entertainment for the experience of others, we are average. Trust me. I know what I’m talking about. I have 5000 drawings in my basement.


Bassist Jay “Sugar Bear” Larson OUT! (99% sure)

So it’s true. Bassist Sugar Bear has quit Dirty Penny. Yours truly discovered this while at JC Penny’s home sitting across the table yesterday evening while he and his daughter ate fettucini. I was hungry as well and luckily there was a walnut bowl near the flower piece on the table. He and is daughter we’re discussing the flowers – daisies dyed with colouring of pink, violet, etc.. They were wilting. Penny asked his daughter:

“So those flowers we’re nice a longtime weren’t they?”
“ya, they just need some sun.”
“just some sun and they’ll be okay?”

A pause from JC Penny here. The small talk of wilting flowers has sprung the issue of death with a loud SPROING! You can see it on JC Penny’s face. Will he give her a small picture of the terrible truth as parents must do from time to time?

“ya, just some sun and they’ll be okay.”

Not today.

I crack a nut trying to be quiet but the nut screams “rape!” despite my efforts. Both Penny and is daughter look at me revolted for a moment then continue to work on the fettucini. It seems even his daughter is aware of my position as long term journalist/documenter of Canada’s most brilliant rock band. I am allowed everywhere except bedrooms. Being treated like an insect was not in the deal but it’s a small price for exclusive ‘backstage’ seats to such talented musical minds.

A few moments pass, chewing with my lips fully sealed, when Penny splutters “Ha! Toodles, boyfriend. That’s your postal code now,” and I’ll bet dollars to bran flakes he means Sugar Bear. Penny is a compulsive free association mumbler. It was disquieting at first. There’s violent imagery sometimes. He might be a high-functioning Turrets case. However, I think I have alligned my antennae to the purpose.

I still am overwhelmed by anger sometimes that they haven’t told me yet. I AM YOUR DOCUMENTER! I ruined my fridge door last night slamming it over and over again. I lost 2 bags of milk. The milk surrounded my feet and calmed me. I thought of DP’s song BubbleJuice from TaDa! and put it on. I went back to standing in the milk and listened. How can anybody make a song about mocassins, tutus, melons, spin class, Nanalan (a CBC kids show i think), tigers, pigs, milk, and bubblejuice (whatever that is) and somehow make it all feel contemporary? Really, you could put this song between Madonna and Springsteen on top 40 and soccer moms and truck drivers wouldn’t even blink!

Clearly, goodness is not a required fuel in art’s furnace.

“Sage Against the Machine” at the Horseshoe Tavern, July 8

WHERE’S SUGAR BEAR?  DP bassist Jay “Sugar Bear” Larson was not present last night.  I am a little pissed.  I endure countless ignominies following this band around, documenting.  In exchange I was promised complete disclosure, except for bedrooms.  I would write the book and then make enough money to go back to grad school.  I’ve been in the hospital for 4 weeks after a speaker tower fell on me at a DP Rehearsal.  It was a little bit my fault.  I was dancing to HipHoperation and that song makes me lose it a little.  I stumbled and next thing I knew i was in front of my building, propped against the glass window next to the buzz-in door.  It was nice that they left me close to home, and I believe them about my wallet falling out while I was being carried to the van.  I never expected a visit in the hospital but I had email!  They could have sent me a note!…

So last night, instead of Sugar Bear there was a very, very happy little mustached man playing bass.  He looked like he’d just won the lottery and I would agree.  If he’s not a temporary replacement, congratulations,  sir.  You’ve joined what is probably the most awesome band in Canada.  And I didn’t think it was possible, but you’ve managed to make DP look even more ridiculous as a line-up of men.

My gut says Sugar Bear is gone.  There had always been tension in the band between Sugar Bear and JC Penny but I was saving all that for my book.  It’s not fair.  Pardon my writing, dear readers.  I am upset.  I am a little pissed.  I’m a trained journalist, a Ryerson graduate!


About 100 people crowded the back room of the Horseshoe Tavern last night.  The freak violent storm that swept Toronto just an hour before surely brought down potential attendance, but in a way it made those there a little more alive for the evening.  Lead Vox JC Penny was like a retarded Steve Tyler, pardon the slur but no other term fits what this man did to himself and to those looking at him last night.  It’s a little bit perverse, dirty, childlike.  The fluorescent green bike helmet didn’t help.

They made mistakes.  Lead guit Lovely Louie nearly assaulted rhythm/keys Yoko during Bomb Ardier.  There was a bad oops and Louie bolted across the stage at Yoko which was terrifying.  Louie is a big man.  Yoko is a tiny man.  But Yoko is a “head-down” musician and didn’t notice so Louie had time to diffuse.

Drummer Candy made everyone’s heart fibrulate with his kick and most of it was thrilling.  The mysterious bassist backed everything up just fine.  He looked like he was at the best smurf party ever.

The set ended and some brave people approached JC Penny and stammered praise.  A mob surrounded the merch table.  Ghandi would have been pleased.

Then it was all over but the summer is young and it belongs to Sage Against the Machine.  The most important record of the new millenium made by brilliant men who are nonetheless assholes.

CD Release of Sage Against the Machine – Tues July 8, 2008

Dirty Penny has released an album for 2008. It is the greatest oeuvre of popular culture since U2. I have played this album over 900 times since receiving it in my hand one month ago. It gets better and better really slowly. It is a weird drug that goes from obnoxious to relaxed in no time flat.

They play the Horseshoe 10pm tuesday.

The cover for the contentious 2008 release