Caesar Sant is a four-year-old child prodigy with a gift for playing the violin.
- Posted on Mar 12th 2011 10:30AM by Jill Langlois
"I saw a band called Zeus -- I think it was about November of last year," frontman Rupert Morrison tells Spinner. "They came over to the UK [from Toronto] and played at a showcasing event -- I wouldn't have gone to see them had I not been in the room at the right time -- and they just blew me away. I think they're absolutely amazing."
"I thought they were just the most captivating live band," he adds. "They were so tight; they were just phenomenal. So I'm hoping to catch up with those guys [when we're in Toronto for CMW]. We tried to show them the sights when they were over here, so I think I'm due a bit of a party on Zeus' dollar."
And Morrison should know a good band when he hears one. Not only does he front the R.G. Morrison, but he also owns an independent record store called Drift Record Shop in his hometown.
"I worked in the precursor to the business -- it used to be called World Video and Music -- when I was about 16. I lied and said I was 18, and started working there. I worked there for a few years, and then I went to college, and I stayed in contact and was still kind of doing the buying for the shop.
"I kind of fancied that it was missing a trick, that it needed to put more emphasis on the music side of things. I kind of convinced them too, and it started to take off. When I came back from college I convinced my parents it would be a good idea to buy it."
Buy it, they did. Although, he insists it wasn't too difficult to convince his folks to go into business with him since they've been they're big music lovers themselves.
"My parents were very good; I was very lucky, they had a lot of records," says Morrison.
"We had a jukebox so it constantly had things on rotation. It played old seven-inches so we had a good collection. This was the mid-'80s, so I guess there were a lot of Smiths and Cure singles. There were also quite a few gaps from '60s rock and pop, and '70s glam records. There were also all sorts of strange pop records in between, but we could manually change them. We had about 400 on the go at any time, but we always had the ability to put anything on."
"We could always tell if my dad had been involved," he laughs. "There'd be all these freak records on there; you'd have these two children wildly listening to Zappa."
While those records were an influence on the R.G. Morrison, they certainly didn't dictate the band's sound. Morrison says they play a type of folk music, but with a few twists. And those twists don't always sit well with traditional folk musicians.
"For me, folk music is about singing about the culture that you're part of, and I think that, arguably, the Smiths and British Sea Power, they're more folk than somebody like Waterson: Carthy," he says. "I think they're singing about what they know. There's no pretense. They're singing about their own culture."
"I worked on a project last year in Austin called English Folk, and we took across the new generation of English folk bands," he continues. "And we experienced quite a backlash from the traditional English folk circuit because they felt that the bands weren't identifying with this kind of unspoken set of rules. And it made what we were doing very difficult. It made it feel like they were very insular, very protective."
If you'd like to get a taste for the R.G. Morrison's own particular brand of folk, you can check them out today at Live Near Bellwoods: The CMW Daytime Living Room Sessions at 3:20PM ET. Who knows, maybe you'll even see Toronto stalwarts Zeus -- recent winners of Album of the Year from the XM Verge Music Awards -- cheering Morrison and his bandmates on.