KIM MITCHELL -- Marchin' To The Beat Of A Wild Party

 

 

 

RAH RAH OLE!

On his brilliant new album, I Am A Wild Party, Kim Mitchell once again distinguishes hmself as an unrivalled rock 'n roll visionary who marches to the beat of a different drummer.

 

Three of them, as a matter of fact.

I Am A Wild Party boasts the metronomic mastery of Greg Critchley (Regatta), Matt Frenette (Loverboy) and Lou Molino (currently with former Yesman Trevor Rabin) -- all of whom provide kick-in-the-gut rhythm to match Mitchell's eager onstage intensity.

"They're all monsters," agrees Mitchell. "But each has his own thing, his own project. So drummers, send in your resumes. I'm going through them like a deli goes through bologna."

 

Primarily recorded at Oshawa's Civic Centre -- a place where rousing celebration is a competitive sport -- and mixed at Vancouver's Little Mountain Sound by Mike Fraser (Aerosmith, The Cult, David Lee Roth), the album is a tribute to the career of Canada's favorite rock 'n roll son -- a cordial, unpretentious human being who's sold over a million records in Canada as a solo artist and leader of one of this homeland's most beloved bands, Max Webster.

 

"I wanted this album to a little memento for the people who came out and supported me," states the multiple-Juno-Award winner. "I've never really been a fan of live albums, but when Tom (Berry, Kim's manager and president of his label, Alert Records) brought it to me, it made sense in the whole grand scheme of things.

"I've really enjoyed playing live lately, a lot of people have come out to see the band and witnessed a musically tight show where everyone is communicating."

 

Supported by the passionate bass and vocal work of Peter Fredette, the synthetic atmospheres of keyboardist Greg Wells, the aforementioned trio of skinslappers and the imaginative worldscapes of longtime lyricist Pye Dubois, these eight slices of prime Kim Mitchell should satisfy the palates of fans past and present, and be considered an appetizer for those of the future.

There are updated favourites of infectious rock anthems Go For Soda -- taken from a MuchMusic Big Ticket Special recorded at the Kee To Bala -- and the exciting Lager & Ale. There's the feverishly wild Rock 'N Roll Duty, the hard-hitting piledriver That's The Hold, and a hypnotizingly sensitive version of All We Are -- equally representing Kim's previous trio of albums -- akimbo alogo, the Juno-winning Shakin' Like A Human Being, and Rockland -- which landed Male Vocalist Of The Year honours at this year's Juno ceremony.

 

A couple of concert classics have also finally made the transition to tape. Recorded live off the floor at a rehearsal studio were the vibrant I Am A Wild Party and the frantic Deep Dive. And even Max Webster fans will rejoice with the inclusion of the gritty, tundra tough BattleScar.

Those admirers of Kim Mitchell -- the guitarist -- are finally getting what they axed for. Kim executes a number of stimulating solos that threaten to blow his hands off.

"Fans have been asking me, "Hey, where are your solos?', since songs on the studio albums are often restricted in length," says Mitchell. "So we opened up the arrangements and I'm flailing quite a bit on this album."

 

As for the high level of energy and delirium that's communicated through the mix, Mitchell is overjoyed with Mike Fraser's magical touch.

 

"I feel very fortunate that Mike had a small window of time available among projects," said Mitchell. "Everything is kind of bleeding into everything else. I wanted it to fart and burp and make it sound like it's coming from a P.A. system. It makes it more real for me. And Mike's a fan of the guitar, so he mixed it upfront and got some brilliant sounds."

 

 

Fans who suspect that a live album may signal a creative hiatus for Kim Mitchell better hang onto their summer swimwear.

"I'm writing today," Mitchell allows on the day of this interview. "And that will lead me up to the point where I start rehearsing for a summer tour. Then it's back to more writing in the Fall and the recording of a new album."

 

While I Am A Wild Party provides more music for those, as Kim jokingly refers, "with moose antlers, fins and wooden legs," he admits he's stumped when trying to imagine a common denominator between his fans.

"I don't even get a mental picture of a Kim Mitchell fan," he states. "I just imagine a pick-up truck, a sandy floor and a cassette melting in the tape deck."

One thing's for certain. As summer's up, and you feel yourself taking a deep dive down in the middle of the mass confusion, coming up for air, and looking for a flag and a blood transfusion, you can find surefire solace with the most musical fun this side of the social spectrum: I Am A Wild Party.

 

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