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Hello, My Name Is Gord

| March 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Q&A With Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie

IE: How do you balance The Tragically Hip with your solo career?
Gord Downie:
I don’t really worry about balance. Just like anybody, I move from one thing to the other. I’m into the process of discovering things and chasing surprises. It’s not a tough transition, because I pretty much write every day and I’m always looking for an outlet.

IE: What inspired the title of your new album?
I took the title from the book Son Of The Morning Star: Custer And The Little Bighorn [by Evan S. Connell]. I’m not an aficionado, but it provides a detailed account of The Battle Of Little Big Horn that I don’t think you’d typically find. It’s about Custer and the various characters as they converged on the battle site. The Grand Bounce describes the term soldiers used when they were planning to desert.

IE: How did you get hooked up with Chris Walla from Death Cab For Cutie as producer on the project?
We met at a festival in British Columbia where we and Death Cab were both playing. Chris came backstage and said he grew up listening to The Tragically Hip. He’s a very curious guy, really nice and easy. We talked over the phone for months as schedules converged with one another and then two summers ago we converged in Canada. I showed him some songs, we laid them down with the band [The Country Of Miracles], and he went away and mixed it on his own. As each mix arrived, it was like getting a great gift out of the blue and it was fun and surprising.

IE: How would you classify your songwriting these days?
I’d probably say I’m an emerging songwriter, someone who’s always learning something new . . . I don’t have any great expectations, but I love doing it and exploring the guitar. I like writing the words and what they’re trying to say and then the pattern of what the next sound should be since there are so many choices.

IE: What can fans expect from your current solo tour?
We spent last summer touring festivals of a disparate nature — jazz, folk, rock, blues — and I’m proud of the nimbleness. Last fall, we did a proper tour across Canada and [this spring in America] will be a modified version of that. We’ll have [guitarist] Dale [Morningstar] and [vocalist/guitarist/bassist] Julie [Doiron] and strip it down to the woods. It’s going to be closer to how the songs sounded when I was teaching them to Chris Walla.

IE: What are the goals for the current season of your career?
As we speak, I’m writing, recording and pushing forward with the guys in The Hip. We’ll be putting out songs and playing this summer. I’m moving from one thing to another, just to keep it interesting as opposed to here comes a record that you spend 18 months recording and touring in support of and then spending a year on your couch relaxing. I don’t know, but I think those days [in the music industry] might be gone.

Gord Downie & The Country Of Miracles appear in support of The Grand Bounce on March 29th at Park West. Q&A By Andy Argyrakis.

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