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Brothers Creeggan Interview (2003)

The Gospel According To Andrew

Familiarity & Blood…

What makes Brothers Creeggan special to you, other than working with BNL or on solo work?The brother bond. It’s a chance for us to hang out and continue exercising the music thing we’ve had going ever since Grade 8 or so. For me it’s the highest in music I’ve ever come close to achieving, Jim takes things to new heights. He does what he does best and same for me and I think that makes a nice whole with just the right amount of overlap.Is the writing process very different between brothers, compared with when you work with another person? I feel like it’s intense no matter who’s working with whom but I guess with brothers there’s that extra bit of intensity and efficiency possible because of familiarity and blood.How has the band dynamic changed since Ian joined?He’s a unique cat with plenty to say about the world…his world view has influenced us I think to some extent…musically he’s brought a transy element that wasn’t there before, think of the new math possible when 1 and 2 are joined by 3 …

Exhilarated. Numb. Focused. Deaf.

Is it strange having an “outsider” in the band?
No.

What is your favourite Brothers Creeggan song to play live? Why?
In the quiz you should get a variety of answers but, I like tunes like Live at Montreaux and Why Won’t They Bite because they have improv built in and it’s always fun to try and take them somewhere new under the canopy of the song while the other two look on with expectancy. There are some tunes that are right in the sweet spot for singing… Scotch and Soda for one… Lila has this really nice built in momentum…

How did you feel playing at the Barenaked Circus?
Exhilarated. Numb. Focused. Deaf.

Where is your favourite venue? And why?
Ian has this theory that the best venue for us is wide and short. Places like the Ark in Ann Arbor Michigan, Happy Endings in Syracuse are like that plus the Ark has a real piano that sounds nice in the sound system.

What would be your dream venue?
Wide and short with a real piano where you can hear yourself sing through your own head cavity but feel the shake of the room when things have to rock.

Are you ever going to grace our shores with your presence?
yes probably and we haven’t shown up through lack of want. In fact we think the French would particularly like us.

Do you have one concert memory that is special to you?
As a performer: It happens every now and then: I have a momentary flash thought that we were the best band in the world for that particular moment. It happened last in Winnipeg Manitoba. I had a pretty special collaboration with dancer, Robert Glumbek last June. As an audience member: seeing From Me Flows What You Call Time by Toru Takemitsu played by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Nexus Percussion Ensemble, 3 nights in a row. Seeing Bill Frisell at the Montreal Jazz Fest in 1998 or so (once again 3 nights in a row). Don’t know why but these two (plus ongoing with Jaco Pastorius) inspire me to get on the piano or guitar and sing and come up with stuff.

Who are your favourite artists of the moment? The top 5 CDís in your CD player for example?
Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat suite for clarinet, violin and piano (mainly because I was trying to learn it for my project with Tom Allen), Mike Evin-January Muse, Mary Margarate O’hara-Miss America, Paul Simon-Rhythm of the Saints, Bill Frisell-Nashville.

Remember the pleasure

What was it like to play your first show on stage with BNL?
I remember I busted a blood vessel in my hand. I had no idea how to play congas. I remember the pleasure in picking out third harmonies and not really being able to hit Lilac Girl, I remember the unstoppable rhythm beam between Jim and Ed.

Was it difficult to stand in front of your friends in BNL and tell them that you wanted to go another direction?
YES. Very difficult and wide breadth kind of choice it was. Probably the most intense thing I’ve ever done. The second last time I had a good cry (the last was during the credits to Shine but hey).

What’s the best/kindest thing a fan has ever done for you?
Once a guy sent me all his university books that he didn’t need. We were talking and I was saying how interesting studying must be… I remember as a BNL we got recognized on the highway (401) which facilitated one of the smoothest lane changes of my life.

And the strangest/ scariest thing a fan has ever done for you?
Once a gal joined us and bought us dinner. We all assumed she was with one of us… I’ve found the cookie baking a little curious.

A fork into the forehead

Do you have a childhood memory with your brother that is special to you?

Yes several times getting up to be angry at Jim because he was practicing the electric bass with no amp while I was trying to sleep (with no amp all you get are the piercing slap sounds–sounds like….uhh I can’t). one time Jim came down the stairs furious after being sick of me practicing the same passage on piano way too fast–over and over again. That was a ROW. One time one of us threw a fork into the forehead of the other. I think I got the fork. Oh you wanted special…I remember the spontaneous embrace after we improvised with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra at Massey Hall in Toronto. Another time in England when the BNL van broke own, Jim and I skipped into a field and spent a pleasant eternity looking at ants and such and never spoke a word to one another.

What would you say was the biggest benefit that you gained from the traveling you did when you were younger?
The knowing.

Any dirt to dish on the other members of BNL?
No, they weren’t terribly interested in outdoor sports.

Do you have plans for NYE?
does that mean New Year? If so, maybe record a new album. Release Andiwork II. Coaching Basketball in January and February and rugby in the Spring. Some composing for various projects including at least one film.

Credits:

Interview by Stu & Bex.

With thanks to Andrew Creeggan!

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