Tuesdays August 18th

One To Midnight: a name to remember

Once in a while, you get to meet a band that you know will get the recognition that they deserve in a near future.  I had the opportunity to spend some time with the guys from One To Midnight, but also with the people involved in their organization.   

I got to the site of La Festival d’t de Beloeil on Friday and met the band’s singer John Jed and drummer Rick Lee.  After a small chat, we decided to head for a Bed & Breakfast which the band was using as an headquarter.  Alain Forget, owner of Gte Beaux Brunelles was kind enough to lend us his kitchen for the interview.  He opened up a bottle of wine and we sat down.

Lots of questions were asked in the previous interviews that the band had given about their association with the Montreal Canadiens, but I wanted to know more about their music, their process and their motivation, so you will see only one questions about the habs.

I’ve been looking over the media and there are been a lot of attention especially because of the Montreal Canadiens supporting you by attending to your album launch.  I do you feel about all that attention?  Their was some attention before, but how is it since the club or some of the players have endorsed your music?

John Jed:
Well you know, it’s a gift.  When we played for the Montreal Canadiens at their party, they are passionate guys and we are passionate guys and I think that this is the common denominator in between the Montreal Canadiens and the One To Midnight Family.  The passion for sports, the passion for music, whatever drives you to be the best that you can at what you do.  For them to endorse us was a gift.  We didn’t planned for it, the album launch was planned, but Mathieu Dandeneault is a really good friend of mine as well as other players, so when they showed up to the launch it was mind boggling.  I cannot stress the word enough that it was a gift.

So how as it been since the launch?

Well it has been the circus of rock & roll!  
We had a phenomenal launch and we had 
a great support mechanism like the Montreal 
Habs.  We are slowy learning how to fit within 
that circus of rock & roll.  The infrastructure 
weren’t ready for this type of launch.  The Montreal rock scene is a great rock scene, but is isn’t opened has it should be.  Were trying to jump over some issues that we had with some radio stations.  Where trying to get our fare share of the pie.  Were just trying to make our way, but it is surely a great ride.

You’ve been working together for 14 years. Were the Montreal Canadien’s approach the steppingstone to say let’s do an album?  Even if the album was in the process, was it the event that told you to do it right now?

Rick Lee:
We had written a lot of stuff throughout the years and we were in studio recording some stuff, but I think that the Montreal Canadiens making us do some gigs encouraged us, kinda “Guys you got to put this out there”, so that gave us a good kick in the pants to say let’s do this, just take it more seriously than we already have been so we pushed the envelope and we had good people involved with us.  One of them named Jay Lefevbre, which is the brother of Sebastien Lefevbre from Simple Plan.  He had worked with Bob Rock and he came in using the same structure that we had and spiked it up.  As soon has we saw what he was talking about, we just went with it.  We just worked song after song, hooked up with our record company and everything just exploded, its just took of from there.

As far as the recording process, 
was the director leading you through 
the process or just giving you advice? 

He literally walked into the studio were we practiced and listen to about half of one song and literally said to me: “Rick speed this up, Johnny, just change a little bit the groove out there…”.  He’s a musician himself and he can play all the instruments, so he knew everything.  He basically put that last stroke of brush on each one of us.  We said let’s be opened minded about it and did the stuff that he said and we said wow.  The songs were a little faster or a little slower a little less singles, a little more vocals and he just put a little brush here and there and if their was conflicts, you said what you had to say. He just said if you have something to say, well fight about it, and he learned that from Bob Rock.  

When we had a preliminary meeting with Rick and I before meeting with the rest of the band, that was made very clear, as Jay said tracks are the tracks.  If you start with good tracks, you have a good foundation, you can’t help but evolve on those foundations and the rest of it was just fine tuning.  But at the and of the day, Jay and One To Midnight had one hell of a magic storm going on and we had tracks that were legitimate, but also hard and we produced what you hear on the album which is real rugged genuine rock & roll.

You have been together for 14 years.  Do you think that it gives you an edge on other bands which would get their first hit right after forming?

I wouldn’t call it an edge.  

I think that I would say that we do not have an edge on everybody, I think what we have is a certain purity and legitimacy.  We are beyond pretending and after so many years together.  Rick Lee will come up with a beat and Johnny will come up and write and Cool Hand will come along, DJ Power Surge will just join in and the guys knows were I am going and I know were they are going and I think that what rock & roll is all about.  We don’t have to look at each other, we don’t need to think.  Were just acting raw.

I have listen to some of your stuff, you sing songs like Round and around and Taxi, then you listen to songs like show me the way  and you see that you have a pretty wide range of songs, including more ruff songs and a couple of pop songs.  What are your musical influences.

Rick Lee and DJ are big Kiss Fans

John is a Bon Jovi fan, we like Bon Jovi to, we like Journey, we like U2, we like Styx, we like Peter Gabriel, the 80’s, the 90’s, but then again we like also Led Zeppelin and other 70’s stuff, but I guess these are our influences and a lot of people say that we sound, even if they say that we have our own sound, when they come and see us live, they see us jump around and act together, we go to the crowd, we get people on stage sometimes.   They cannot say that we are show off, we are part of them, we are just a bunch of guys having a good time.  That’s what we do.  We like also Nickelback.

I do not think that when we make a song, we start with stuff and say I am going to take this influence and this influence, it’s more genuine feeling based on a true event or an imaginary event, it is usually very spontaneous.  So if we are writing and feeling pop, then it will be a pop song.  If it is a hardcore and I feel aggressive, it will be a hardrock song.

When you are in your writing process or your composing process, would you start with the lyrics or you guys start jamming, or you have a little idea of what you would like to do?

I would say it is a little bit of both, but I would say usually that I would come with a text and a melody and pan it on the guys the guys that will take it from there and we have been together for so long that they feel my sentiment.  I don’t have to introduce the song, I’ll come in with the lyrics and the melody and I could come up and say I hear this on drums and I hear this on bass, but One To Midnight are my brothers, so I usually come up with a song and they do the rest.  It’s just like magic.

You guys have been around the block many time and have done many shows, who is the person, either opening act or somebody that you worked with or somebody that came along that impressed you the most.

I think who has impressed me the most was 
Prince.  As crazy  as it sounds, when I was a 
Prince show. I thought to myself, my god this 
guy has no holding back.  It’s a 100% pure 
instinct and there is no way that the show 
is scripted.  It was on the purple Rain tour and 
I said this is the way its got to be.  It was pop, 
but to me it was true rock.  This guy rocked.  
A 100% driven, no holds barred, just unbelievable energy.

One act that comes up to me was Lenny Kravitz also.  It was just out there.  

I have looked at a lot of stuff on the web, your web site, youtube and you start to be well known looking at the hits on your name.  While browsing through the web, I have noticed that you have made a special song for a girl named Valerie.  Listen to the song, and it really touched me.  Could you tell me how this project started.

Like all great projects, it was someone that knew someone through our bassist Johnny.  We got a call saying that their was a girl and here’s her story.  She is loosing her eyesight.  On top of it she has a problem with her nervous system where she can’t feel anything, so even if she looses her eyesight, she can’t read brail because she can’t feel the tip of her fingers.  The whole story was told to me in two minutes and I said, I’m in.  And  I knew that when I signed in that the rest of the brothers would go along.  I talked to our manager Serge Comeau and told him here’s the deal and he said if your in I am in.  We put the show together for this special girl, which is an incredible lady.  The morning of the show, I got inspired, so I wrote the song.  So that afternoon just before the sound checks, I sang the song to the guys and like I said before it was magic.  So that evening, we sang the song live in front of a full auditorium and we brought Valerie up on stage.  The girl is amazing.  We are struggling and fighting to build a career and building and supporting our families and she is fighting for an education.  She is at an another level completely.  It also related to other people that are fighting cancer and quadriplegic.  People in our surrounding that got obstacles and for us as artist it touches us.  The whole Valerie project is just a heart project.  

Everything that John writes is always something that Johns felt.  I’ve been with the band for 14 years and it always been one of John’s stories.  He comes up with it and we just move forward on it.  People might say that it sounds like something, but it is always genuine heartfelt songs.  That what it has been and that’s what it will always be.

Where would you see yourself on 5 years

For me 5 years from now, I would say getting to another level while doing what we always loved doing and also continuing helping people in need.  To me it has always been music from our heart to other people’s heart.  If we can help somebody and put a smile on their face that day.

5 years from now, I would like to be known around the world.  We will be on our multiple album and multiple tours.  I hope that we will be in the same frame of mind that we are now.

In the next 5 years, we are among the top 25 acts in the world.

What would the song on your MP3 player that you have that you might be a little shy to say that you have on it.

I would say Michael Jackson.  Even though that it is not as rock, but we like it.

If I would have a MP3 player, which I don’t, I am more of a CD guy, but if I had, I would have I would defiantly have some Michael Jackson.

I have to say that I had a lot of fun doing that interview that night.

The night after I went to meet the band’s 
record company owner at their get together 
before the show and he showed me a 
special piece of gear.  They had a special 
guitar made especially for the band on the 
form of the Montreal Canadien’s logo.  This 
masterpiece was made by JLB Lutherie by 
Jean-Luc Bouthiller.  This guitar was to be 
used by Cool Hand Luke on the seventh 
song of tonight’s set.

I didn’t spoke to the band that night as they were getting ready for the show, but I could notice that they we psyched about the gig.  They left on a pickup truck and I headed for the stage for pictures from the pit.

The band got on stage shortly after and what I saw was  genuine rock band, playing from their heart and most of all having genuine fun on stage.  You could see it from their interaction on stage, but also by the way John interacted with the crowd.

They played their songs, but also played some U2 covers as well as Crazy Train from Ozzy Osbourne, which is always a good way to gain the crowd that not have known all of One To Midnight’s material.

I think that I had the chance to meet a band that will go far and hopefully as I told them at the end of the interview, will be able to meet them back on their first world tour.

Tuesday, August 11th
AC/DC Rocks Montreal!
Rock legends have lived again to their reputation by giving an amazing performance last Saturday at the Olympic Stadium.  The stadium was filled and was ready for scorching guitar, heavy riffs and great staging.  AC/DC answered to the expectation with a huge stage (which took 3 days to assemble) including a 1:20 replica of a locomotive as the centerpiece.  The band did all their greatest hits plus a couple of songs from their Black Ice album.  Conclusion, the fans really got their money worth.
P.S. Sorry for the lateness of my article, but my gear got stuck at the airport for 8 days, giving me no access to update and post.