Caesar Sant is a four-year-old child prodigy with a gift for playing the violin.
- Posted on Sep 13th 2012 12:00PM by Aaron Brophy
The response for back-from-the-dead Vancouver shoegaze rockers Mystery Machine won't likely match those stars, but with Western Magnetics, the band's first album in 14 years just released, and an eastern Canadian tour anchored with a slot at Hamilton, Ontario's massive free Supercrawl street party, now's the chance to discover (or rediscover) a lost gem from the '90s.
One of the last "alternative" acts signed to Nettwerk Records before their radical shift to becoming a "music company" that managed the likes of Avril Lavigne and Barenaked Ladies, Mystery Machine put out three albums of Swervedriver-y multi-guitar attack noise. They toured across Canada multiple times and made a dent at Canadian campus radio. But lackluster sales of their 1998 album Headfirst Into Everything got them dropped. Then the band disappeared. They didn't break up, though.
"Well, it was definitely a hiatus but there was never any finality to it," Mystery Machine lead singer Luke Rogalsky tells Spinner. "I think we definitely left the door open to never play again as well as to maybe play again, so there was never any expectation there."
Rogasky says the band -- now made up of himself on vocals/guitars, Bean on guitar/vocals, Shane Ward on bass, and Mario Nieva on drums -- would still get together to play and record, though.
"We would get together to play sporadically," says Rogalsky. "We'd record things in my living room a lot just to have an excuse to hang out. But in the last couple years we decided to pull together all these old recordings and demos and songs we'd recorded. These were straight from demo sessions we'd recorded in '98 right up 'til things we recorded in 2008-09. And we ended up with a collection of about 30-40 songs, a half-dozen of which we thought were actually presentable."
Having a half-dozen good songs was part of the reason for Mystery Machine's comeback. But another part had to do with simply coming to terms with their awkward relationship with the "music industry." Never particularly savvy when it came to the hustle, Mystery Machine simply didn't care about that side of things.
"Monetarily, the money was never a big deal to us," says Rogalsky. "And it never will be. And I think that was almost to our detriment because we weren't... we were asked to care about money by Nettwerk and we couldn't bring ourselves to do it.
"The music industry left a bad taste in my mouth to a large degree. And I possibly left a bad taste in the mouth of the music industry's mouth as well. So I think a long break was just organically necessary. I don't feel repelled by it anymore. And I certainly did for a number of years, so I think that in itself is really positive. And we're just coming from an older, wiser place where we can appreciate it that much more."
What Rogalsky says he appreciates most about Mystery Machine's return is simply playing again in front of people.
"Everyone looks back on their life and what are the most significant moments I've had?" says Rogalsky. "And a lot of cases with ego-driven musicians playing's the most satisfying moment in that way right? And people want to relive it to a degree. But also if there's an audience for it... I was thinking of Pavement. They were gone for 10 years and they came back and played to rooms that were 10 times the size of anything they would have played back in the day. So I think there's a sense of that, too... Not saying that that's where we're at, but it's just about reconnecting with what you've done.
"We feel really fortunate that we got to spend our 20s in this carefree way. Like, I didn't have to think about a job until I was 29 years old. So I wouldn't change a thing about it. So we feel really fortunate. And now it's the same type of feeling and it's more big picture stuff. It's about the relationships we have with each other and how we built them. They were built in a van over a decade and there's no other life experience you can compare that to.
"And we feel rather fortunate to have been there at all."