Michael Carney Canadian beardsmen the Sheepdogs are riding high again. Their…
- Posted on Jun 20th 2012 3:30PM by Karen Bliss
Frazer Harrison, Getty
Before the Sheepdogs were set to rock out at East Zwick's Park in Belleville, ON -- on an evening bill with Three Days Grace, Metric and Arkells on June 16 -- the Saskatchewan-reared band heard news of the stage collapse that afternoon before the Radiohead/Caribou concert at Toronto's Downsview Park which killed one person (now identified as Radiohead's drum tech Scott Johnson, 33).
"Before we got onstage, I was looking up at the stage and looking all around, and who was around," guitarist Liot Hansen tells Spinner. "It would be quite a tragedy if something like that did happen and we were there. Let's hope those things are limited in the future."
Hansen and bassist Ryan Gullen, speaking one-on-one in the media room after their MuchMusic Video Award win for Rock Video of the Year for "I Don't Know," have full confidence in the crews that erect these massive stages.
"For the most part, people who set up that stuff are very professional and very safe," says Gullen. "But stuff happens--- but stuff happens with all sorts of other things. You can't really fault that. It's just this seems to have happened a lot in the last little while."
A stage collapse last July at Ottawa Bluesfest injured one person; last August seven people died at an Indiana State Fair concert and five at Belgium's Pukkelpop Festival; and in August 2009, one person was killed at Big Valley Jamboree in Camrose, Alta. Weather was a factor in all these case, but it was sunny and clear in Toronto on Saturday.
"It's one of those things where it's an accident," says Hansen. "It's not intentional. I'm sure there are tons of safety things that are taken into consideration. You think about it no more than you think about getting on an airplane and potentially crashing."
On a happier note, the Sheepdogs -- rounded out by singer-guitarist Ewan Currie and drummer Sam Corbett -- are gearing up for the September 4 release of their Atlantic Records debut, Way It Is, produced by Patrick Carney, drummer of The Black Keys. The band recorded it in Nashville in January in just over two weeks, after being on the road for 11 months.
"He was pretty heavily involved in some of the arranging," says Hansen of Carney. "When we were hashing out all the songs in the studio, he was always there helping us along and new ideas and whatnot."
"He's really big on trimming the fat," adds Gullen. "You bring in a song with all the different parts and you'd try to trim it so that every part of the song is real juicy. I think that's one of the things we learned from him."