Widening the gap

Six years between records means Wide Mouth Mason is itching to tour

  • Canadian rock band Wide Mouth Mason returns to Winnipeg this week. – Supplied

  • Canadian rock band Wide Mouth Mason returns to Winnipeg this week. – Supplied

Together for nearly two decades, Saskatoon soul power trio Wide Mouth Mason has been across the country and back many a time.

This month sees the Juno-nominated group setting out again on a much-delayed western trek, with the guys stopping in Winnipeg at The Oak on Thursday, Oct. 4.

Drummer Safwan Javed had some time to speak with The Uniter via telephone from Toronto before the band set out on an eastbound tour.

“There’s a lot of prep stuff happening today, a lot of fires that need to be put out and last minute stuff that has to be taken care of,” Javed says.

Javed says the band is anxious for the tour.

“It’s been a long time coming,” he says. “We were supposed to be doing this last February or March.”

The tour in support of the group’s latest album, No Bad Days, released in July of last year, was delayed with good reason.

“Gordie (Johnson of Big Sugar/Grady), our bass player, had carpal tunnel surgery, so that put us out for a few months where we couldn’t do anything.”

On top of that, lead vocalist Shaun Verreault welcomed a baby into his life during the summer.

“Effectively it’s been six or seven months since we’ve been out gigging, so we’re pretty excited to go and do a nice, chunky tour like this.”

Best known for such big shiny tunes as Midnight Rain, Smile and Why, Wide Mouth Mason has been performing since 1995.

In 2010, the group supported ZZ Top and Big Sugar on tour, with Johnson (who had previously produced 2000’s Stew) taking over bass playing duties from Earl Pereira. The next year the guys welcomed Johnson as a permanent member of the band, with Johnson producing No Bad Days.

Days was a first for the group, having been recorded live off the floor.

“It took a lot of time and energy in terms of honing everything to the point where we could just go in and bang it out,” Javed says.

Compared to traditional recording where each individual instrument or line is recorded separately, a recording done “live off the floor” captures the band playing together as a whole.

The group worked hard on the front end of recording, workshopping and playing songs live for months, prepping for their studio time.

The result was an album that most accurately captured the essence of the band’s live sound.

“We’ve always been lauded for our live show, and had fans say, ‘Can you make a record that sounds like that?’

“I think it’s a bit more raw sounding, and I think it’s a little bit, I don’t know if this is the right word, but I think it’s muscular. It’s the most muscular record we’ve made. It’s like a muscle car.”

Published in Volume 67, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 3, 2012)

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