(October 14, 2007)
Q: Hello, how are things going these days?
A: You’ve asked at a good time! We’re just sitting in Vancouver waiting to start a tour across to Toronto to release the video for Gored. This is the first cross-Canada tour we’ve done since I came across solo in ’99. So we’re very excited!
Q: Let’s start with a short introduction of Tom Glenne 5.5. Who is the Tom Glenne 5.5?
A: Well the band consists of myself and a rotating cast of musicians, depending on where we are and where we’re playing. For instance, the Amsterdam band is an Isreali singer songwriter (Rotem Perach), Canadian songwriter who lives in Amsterdam (Richard Summerbell), an Argentinian drummer (Melissa Beltran), and myself. Next time I am in Amsterdam I might be able to get one of those players again, but the rest of the band would be new players. I hope to bring some of the Toronto band from Canada next trip.
Tonight here in Vancouver the band will be myself, Paul Kolinski (in from Toronto to tour across the country with me), and Chris Meglic (Victoria drummer). Tomorrow it’ll be just Paul and I at Squilax. Hopefully we’ll add Ory No’man on harmonica on this tour. You see the band is always different – which is what we like. It’s always fresh this way!
Q: How would you describe the music that you’re making?
A: Improvisational rhythmn and blues.
Q: Who are your biggest influences when it comes to song writing and sound?
A: My father was a painter so I think watching him work made me do what I do the way do it, imitation or contradiction. Heard a lot of classical when I was young, sang in the church with my mom, listened to AM pop music, Motown etc, got into rock and metal, then got turned on to rap and punk rock. Worked in college radio. Went to jazz college, and lived with some reggae and electronica DJ’s in Toronto. It’s all a big swirl now.
Q: The Tom Glenne 5.5 obviously has an international character. How did this develop?
A: By playing with different people from all over the world, improvising onstage. I’m still in touch with a DJ in germany I played with almost a decade ago once. Still in touch cause we remember what we made up. The Amsterdam band is the same way.
Q: There are several albums released, the latest of which “Free Rock” has been reviewed by Inner Ear. What would you say are the biggest differences between the 3 albums?
A: The first CD is very arranged, not improvisational at all. It’s tense and aggressive but also covers a wide range of material. The band is crack Cancouver hardcore players (Gabe Mantle from GOB on drums and Greg Buhr from The Manvils).
The second one is a roots rock record made at Ryerson in Toronto. It’s happier, simpler and more welcoming.
The latest came about because the band suggested doing it – and it’s recorded live like an old jazz record. Certainly was a breakthrough for us in terms of defining our sound and showing what we do that is unique. It’s slow and death infected (it’s dedicated to an ex-tg 5.5 drummer who was dying of stomach cancer at the time), but very emotionally real.
Q: What album would you consider your favourite album, and what song would be your favourite song? And why?
A: Wipeoutpop by Trucks Leaving is my favourite record. It’s brillant, soulful, smart and so Toronto.
Q: We’ve been talking about your music for awhile now. If people would want to purchase your songs or albums, where can they go?
A: You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you CDs. www.yap.com also has contact info – and we can process credit cards, etc. through there also. We’re not really set up with an internet store yet – that’s probably going to come this winter when the new video (see our myspace page) comes out.
Q: Are there any other websites that we can go to if we want to know more about the Tom Glenne 5.5?
A: Yeah – I blog 5 times a week and post new shows and info often at www.myspace.com/thetomglenne55. That’s the best place to go for new material and live stuff, as well as video links.
Q: If you could pick one band or artist that you could tour with, who would it be? And why?
A: Well, I’m on tour now with Paul Kolinski, who has a great band The Silent Five. A Silent Five/tg 5.5 tour would be heavenly. Then again, if we could tour with Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, or James Brown – man the list goes on!
Q: What if you get the chance to do a song on a compilation CD that you know will be heard by a lot of people in the music industry. The catch however is that you have to do a cover of a song you really don’t like. Would you still do it, or would you say: ‘no thanks.’?
A: Simple ‘no’ I think.. We’re not good at sucking up.
Q: What do you think of the development of internet promotion and advertising? How much of an impact can it have on a band or a musician? Do you believe it really helps?
A: We want to reach people. Internet, live, whatever. I’m certainly not savvy about promotion in any medium – I hope what we do attracts more competent envoys than me. There’s little hope otherwise!
Q: What funny/silly rituals do you have before you go on stage?
A: About a week before I’m a total wreck. That’s as silly as it gets.
Q: Okay a few random questions now.
Q: What is the worst song ever, and what is the best song ever?
A: No offense to the writers who’re obviously better at this than I am – But I can’t stand The Lion Sleeps Tonight (listen). heard it too much in church camp maybe. The best song ever has yet to be written.
Q: The Beatles, The Hollies, Bob Dylan, or The Rolling Stones?
A: I like options – The Hollies. ‘Bus Stop’ (listen) is classic. ‘Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress’ (listen) gave me a hardon when i was ten. ‘Carrie-Anne’ (listen)!
Q: Day or night?
Q: Club venue or arena venue?
A: The biggest room we can overfill
Q: CDs or digital music?
A: I am a music addict. I don’t care who suffers as long as I get the best and the most. I’m too poor to be carting around the latest tech tho. I’m picking cassettes for the van.
Q: Okay, final question. What are your thoughts on people downloading music, both legally & illegally?
A: Do what you need to do. I’d do what I am doing for free, and anyone who cares about this enough to matter is too. Music is bigger than capitalism.
Oh yes and please send me money at address listed at www.yap.com immediately. I need it to keep thinking this way.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.