C'mon: Hot space for rent

Hot space for rent

C'mon (L-R): Randy Curnew, Katie Lynn Campbell and Ian Blurton
Photo: Steve Payne

C'mon pause just long enough to warm things up for next leg of adventures

Ian Blurton didn’t write a note of music for the entire month of December.

That’s a long time for a guy who, aside from that "crazy" reprieve, has basically been working for two years straight. But Blurton, whose current band C’mon has him so inspired only exhaustion will slow him down, knows the old rhythm: a break from writing, a few more shows and then, when he finally gets back home in T-O, sleep – for days.

"The immediate plan is to get in the car and drive to Canada," he says on the phone from New Orleans, the place where bassist/vocalist Katie Lynn Campbell (also Blurton’s girlfriend) calls home. "We haven’t actually played a show in Toronto for quite a while, so that’s our major thing right now… We did a benefit for New Orleans in November instead of doing our own show there, so, after all the airplay, it will be interesting to see how it goes. But then? The plan is to take it easy, recharge the battery and figure out where we want to go next."

Getting the love

C’mon is a power trio – intent on capitalizing on the power part – so clearly road-dogging is crucial. And anyway, those who have played with Blurton know that for this guy, the live show is not a casual showcasing of tunes, it is the modus operandi of the band. (Past projects and involvements like Blurtonia, Bionic and the renowned Change Of Heart, his first band of major note, have all provided him with plenty of collaborative possibility.)

"We get off on playing live a lot," admits Blurton. "We’ve gotta play live. We kind of go crazy sometimes if we don’t do it."

Do it enough and it can become addictive. Between the "wild shit" that happens regularly and the wild shit that doesn’t ("Once I cut myself open and ended up completely covered in blood for the entire duration of the show"), whatever personal reward there is for getting up there and pummelling "loud, hard and fast" comes back tenfold in the way of admiration.

"Oh, we get pure love. We get love all over the place. I mean, just because we’re hard doesn’t mean we’re in people’s faces. I mean we all love The Ramones and their songs are so wicked. You could sit down and play them on an acoustic guitar and they’d probably have the same impact, but The Ramones chose to do it the way they did and for good reason."

Blurton drops Ramones references freely and frequently, but ’70s pop punk is only part of the C’mon identity. This is a band with a very distinct idea of who they are, why they are and, especially, where they fit. And after two EPs and two full-lengths – 2004′s Midnight Is the Answer and In the Heat of the Moment, which came out last summer – the three of them deliberately place their band’s sound in rough, ragged and wide-spanning company. (Blurton, on guitars and vox, is joined by ex-Blurtonia member Randy Curnew on drums, and Campbell, who also plays in Nashville Pussy.) To quote newmusiccanada.com, "Detroit (MC5, Stooges) meets Australia (AC/DC, The Saints) amid trace elements of punk (The Damned, Crime), late ’60s London (Hendrix, Sabbath), current rock (Turbonegro, Queens Of The Stone Age) with a little bit of boogie (ZZ Top)." The idea being, with this framework in place, there’s loads of room to move and space to grow.

"Yeah, after The Ramones’ eighth record, they probably could have packed it in," deadpans Blurton. "But our scope is wider – Link Wray to Turbonegro – so I think our palette and our template is pretty big. I don’t assume that will disappoint any time soon."

Photo: Paula Wilson

Four’s a crowd

Things are going quite nicely for C’mon. (Side note of interest: C’mon do not have a manager and they could use one. But no one will manage them. They have no idea why. Presumably, it is because they are "crazy." Interested candidates should send resumes to cmon@thisiscmon.com.) But when you consider the very important fact that Blurton, who’s long donned the moniker the King of Canadian Rock, has had enough experience to retire (I didn’t say that), it makes sense to think that there’s something particularly worthwhile, challenging, exciting and special about this project, which, as far as we can tell, is happening for all the right reasons.

"It all started from Katie and I wanting to start a band together," he says. "But also, the last few bands I’d been in had been four-pieces with two guitars, and just playing as a trio made sense. It’s a reflection of all my favourite bands. Be it ZZ Top, or the Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Melvins or whatever – there are a lot of trios that really kick ass."

People who downsize can tell you that playing as three is obviously a whole lot different than playing as four. More responsibility. More pressure. Less entanglement. And maybe, most notably, more space.

"As a trio, you definitely notice that there is more space. Three members, yeah, but we always say that Volume is our fourth member and Space is the fifth. It think it was Dizzy Gillespie who said, ‘What’s more important is the space between the notes than the notes themselves,’ and I think that’s true," he says.

"Can I describe how in a two-and-a-half-minute song this happens? Well, this is getting intellectual! I don’t know… you’ll know if you come party with C’mon!

No, no, no. It’s just the whole concept of hot space. It’s that millisecond when the whole band stops and you launch into a chorus – that little millisecond is as important as the ripping guitar solo that you’re about to attack. You know?"

With guests Starvin’ Hungry
At Casa del Popolo, Jan. 27

Posted in