PUBLISHED IN THE KITCHENER WATERLOO RECORD Thursday, January 21, 1999 TO ADVANCE A JANUARY 27 UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO SHOW
By Nick Krewen
For The Record
You'd better watch THE WATCHMEN.
Singer DANNY GREAVES may try to throw you a curve when the band returns to Waterloo this Wednesday night for a Federation Hall performance.
Greaves, 28, admits he's been adjusting some of the lyrics in a few of the Winnipeg rock foursome's better known repertoire, including their latest album Silent Radar, just to keep everyone on their toes.
"I changed the words to `Stereo' and a few other songs to see if anyone's listening, to see if the band's listening, or see if I'm listening even," explained Greaves Wednesday morning from a Toronto hotel.
"It's a great exercise -- just to put me on a level where I'm thinking about something. When you're thinking you can do something special or different."
Has anyone caught on?
"I don't know," Greaves responds honestly.
"I think the band has noticed, but nobody has said anything. I think they know I'm doing my own thing, and I'm trying to make it work for me. If I'm changing it, they probably think I have to change it. It's creation."
Greaves, who co-founded The Watchmen at the age of 13 with drumming cousin SAMMY KOHN, childhood pals JOEY SERLIN on guitar and bass player PETER LOEWEN, is a stickler for ensuring that The Watchmen never get too comfortable, even though their streak of four straight gold albums suggests a breakthrough of sorts is in the cards.
He says the band, which includes five year Loewen replacement and St. John's native KEN TIZZARD, will purposefully challenge themselves on this Southern Ontario and Maritime leg of the tour booked to end mid-February.
Some bold experiments are promised next to such proven favorites as "In My Mind" and "Any Day Now," and there's a possibility the tour could extend to an Australian visit and maybe a U.S. release for Silent Radar.
"We're pulling out a tune or two that we haven't played in six or seven years," explains the soft-spoken Greaves.
"We're also making a conscious effort to play new songs. We'll be playing a song or two a night, none of which have words, but I'll be making them up as we're playing.
"Some of it will be nonsense, but it's the passion of the delivery and what can be taken from it."
Greaves says if he creates words that are meaningful, he'll retain them.
"If I don't recall them, then they probably weren't worth remembering in the first place."
Instead, the singer hopes the intensity of his band's performance will compensate for the unfamiliar ground. He theorizes that interpretation can supersede the quality of the song at certain times, a lesson taught when The Watchmen played a number of German music festivals last Spring.
"I noticed the power of music," Greaves admits. "People didn't really know what I was saying, but it was the emotion that came forward. It's not just the music and the words that they liked -- they reacted to them on a very different level.
"By the end of our sets at those German festivals, people moved physically closer to us. It happens to me, too. I listen to a lot of world beat and operatic stuff, and I have no idea what's going on. It's the emotion of music and how the certain notes are hit that affects me. I think it's pretty amazing."
In fact, Greaves extends the same philosophy into the Watchmen's music. He feels that no one song can be defined.
"Any songs are about how you feel when you hear them," he explains. "That will obviously change based on your mood and where your mind is at. So depending on how I feel when I get on stage -- if I'm mad, drunk, hungover, thinking about home or travel -- the song always seems to be the soundscape for all those feelings.
"I think that's the way people are too. Even though you hear that a song like `American Pie' is specifically about this...it brings with it so many memories, To say a song is about something to me just kills it and stops it dead in its tracks. The longer a song evolves and the meanings shift, the longer it lives."
THANKS: Philip Bast
1992 -- MclarenFurnaceRoom -- MCA
1993 -- In The Trees
1996 -- Brand New Day
1998 -- Silent Radar -- EMI Music Canada
©1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink
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