THE LEAGUE OF NOTIONS IS LIKE A BOOMERANG THREE MUSICIANS EACH THREW BACK IN THE EARLY '70'S, CIRCLING OVER DECADES, MUSICAL GENERATIONS & WITNESSING A CHANGED WORLD. IT CARRIED EVERYTHING IT HEARD AND OBSERVED BACK HOME…
We caught up with Corey Cousineau (Vox/Guitar) in a trendy wine bar in downtown Toronto, sat behind us were Angeline Jolie and Jennifer Aniston who were busy 'shooting the shit', we ordered a couple of gluten free brownies and got down to business, here's how we got on....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
We're proud to have coined the term 'eclecto-rock' to describe our wide ranging yet surprisingly coherent portfolio of guitar, drums and bass driven songs.
You’re called The League of Notions, how did you come about choosing this name?
While we were scheduling rehearsals the emails would often have a potential band name as its subject – I began making a list of these and The League of Notions was one of the keepers. Among the names we discarded were: “The Self-fulfilling prophets', 'Bridge Engineer Tryouts' and “Spleling Bee Tonight”
How and when did you decide that you wanted to be in a band?
Personally I had some glee club experiences and was already writing songs and singing them, when I was approached by this infectiously crazy guy named Walter Johnson back in Detroit. He played bass and liked punk rock so things progressed rather quickly after that, kind of like falling off a cliff.
Three words that best describe you as a band?
Power trio balladeers
Your CD contains 17 tracks, that’s a whole lotta tracks for one album, did you consider splitting it in two and selling them separately?
Only in hindsight. We were full of enthusiasm and failed to consider the potential downsides of putting everything on the table at once. I'm quite sure we'll be making far more mature mistakes for the nest releases.
Where did you record the album and why at that studio?
We recorded at Kavasound Studio with Greg Kavanaugh since he worked with our drummer Phil in the past and has some serious studio chops. The studio itself is unassuming, set in the basement of a house, but the isolation is clean and the sound is great. He already knows all the studio heavies Phil brought in as guests, having worked with them on other projects.
Write a poem/quick song containing the words Plaid, Paisley, Polka Dots and Popeye….
Got a Popeye peanut parsley head,
A paisley peach fuzz beach ball head
A golf ball, football black plaid head,
All my thoughts turned to polka dots
All my thoughts turned to polka dots
In your opinion, what is the BEST album/record ever released?
I was privileged to experience the before and after of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band' LP.
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
Masquerade by Leon Russell – it's so wistful, powerful, complex, mysterious, and crazy lake a carnival worker.
First gig you ever went to?
Boo yah! I saw Rick Derringer, Robin Trower and Jethro Tull in Pontiac Stadium! Probably what, 1975? 1976?
First guitar riff you heard that sent chills down your spine?
You know that riff right at the beginning of 'The Boxer' by Paul Simon? I guess I was always a little partial to some of that Spanish guitar virtuosity.
We get loads of requests from Toronto bands to be included in our ‘Introducing’ section, what is it about Toronto that creates so many great acts?
Groovy people are drawn to Toronto, and they come here from all over the world. I've walked down a pavement and within the space of a city block and heard conversations in 5 different languages. And they bring their music. Me, I'm from Detroit, our bass player is from San Juan, and the drummer is from Liverpool. Ask about any scene – Rock, Reggae, Latin, EDM, Indie, Metal, Rap, Ska – it's all happening here in Toronto. It's the meeting place.
Name three people (alive, dead or fictional) that you would like as dinner party guests?
I think I'd like to put Socrates and Albert Einstein together at a table and watch the discussion go back and forth between mathematics and Philosophy. Then maybe I'd throw George Carlin in there to break the impasses.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
We'd be like The Shadow. “Who knows what evil, what undying love, what heart stabbing pangs of hope, what tempests of joy and despair, lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”
Describe one of your live shows?
“...they started off with some quirky pop songs, skanked through some smoking hot reggae, then moved on to those wacky jazz numbers with the odd timing bits...which all seemed to be the prelude to the show stomping blues rockers that propelled the final existence-questioning ballads right over the top...and they were drinking beer and cracking jokes the whole time”
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
Increasingly, we cannot ourselves cross the road without having our motives questioned. The chicken stands revealed as the animal testing subject for a much grander experiment on humans, where all motives are questioned in the name of national security.
What are your plans for 2014?
We have a bit of a backlog of new songs we plan to bring into the studio, and we'd like to expand our venue list a bit with some gigs outside of Toronto. How will we get to Massey Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
Angelina and Jennifer had been ejected from the premises after becoming too 'lairy' (one too many cocktails I presume), with that, no other than Robert de Niro and Al Pacino took their seats. Whilst I was considering approaching them with a classic line from Godfather Part II, I asked Cory some quick fire questions.....
Coffee or Tea? My preferred fuel of the daytime is coffee.
Coke or Pepsi? Water.
Drum machine or the real deal? Having worked with many different drummers in my years of playing I will have to say that all human drummers are crazy. And you need a little crazy in a band to make it work. Drum machines are worthwhile to rehearse to. Live drummers are required for live gigs.
Mac or PC? PC for me, due to my work environment mostly. Plus I'm still peeved about Apple swiping the name from Apple Records.
Massey Hall or Bovine Sex Club? I'd go Bovine Sex Club as an audience member, but as a band I'd guess you would pay me more for a gig at Massey Hall. Think big, right?
Taco or Burger? I'd go burger, mostly because I like a tidy lunch. This is why I don't do ribs.
Lemmy (Motorhead) or Ozzy (Black Sabbath)? OZZY all the way – he'll be a legend long after people have stopped mocking his incoherent speech patterns.
CD or Vinyl? By my count I probably have say 3-400 CDs, and about 3-4000 vinyl LPs. So it's vinyl by about 10 to 1.
The Rolling Stones or The Beatles? The Rolling Stones haven't been able to equal in 40 years what the Beatles did in 5. End of discussion.
Car or Motorbike? Widen these parameters – I only ride a bicycle.
Acoustic or electric? I play both, but I find there is more flexibility in the electric.
Angelina or Jennifer? Nice names, but I don't really follow celebrities. I'd have to look them up and decide, probably based on media bites in no way indicative of their actual personalities. Tell you what, why don't you set the two of them up for a dinner with myself, and I will get back to you on that.
Shower or Bath? I shower. It's quick and easy and uses less water. Plus I don't sit like a tea bag in my own filth until I get cold.
Tattoos or Piercings? All my tattoos and piercings are on the inside.
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino? Again with the celebrities. I will never win at Jeopardy for this reason.
God or Google? Many Gods, all in disagreement, one Google. Shall I champion Apollo when my friends argue against me? Shall I call upon the Para Brahman in my hour of existential need? Probably Google can offer better advice, if I can sift through the chaff.
Musicmuso would like to thank Corey for taking the time to answer our questions and we wish the band every success in the future. We'll keep you posted about any future newsworthy information from the band as and when it pops into our inbox....
Interview by Steve Muscutt