When I tell Crash Karma lead singer Edwin that the band’s new album Rock Musique Deluxe makes good driving music, he replies with one caveat, “As long as you don’t get any speeding tickets.”
Later, I find out that Edwin loves cars so much that he is an automotive journalist who tests them for various magazines. I had inadvertently stumbled onto a great way to start the interview.
Crash Karma will do some revving of their own when they perform at The Merchant Tap House on Sept. 27.
One reason this reporter enjoyed the CD is because it is something you don’t seem to hear much of these days — unvarnished rock and roll. Edwin agrees, “No you don’t hear much of this in its classic sense,” he says. “It seems these days that most teenagers would rather be deejays than rock musicians.”
The singer is very pleased with the results of the band’s second CD, however, especially since it seemed to take forever to make.
“The band funded the record and each of the four of us were busy doing many things so it was hard to synchronize times to lay down tracks,” says Edwin. “Then there was addressing comments that each of us had about the tracks, encoding and things like that.
“It was an enjoyable process, but it felt like it would never end.”
Just when everyone thought things were all done, “Our radio promo guy said he needed a single, so we went back into the studio and recorded Appetite for Life and Tomorrow,” says Edwin. “And I’m glad we did.”
The band hadn’t been together long when it made its first CD in 2010. It was an unlikely marriage of members from several top Canadian bands. Edwin had been the vocalist for I, Mother Earth, Mike Turner played guitar in Our Lady Peace, Jeff Burrows was and still is the drummer in The Tea Party and Amir Epstein was the bassist in Zygote.
Epstein was the instigator of the four coming together, something Edwin highly doubted would ever happen.
“We had played a lot of the same festivals with our respective bands so we’d watched each other’s shows,” says Edwin. “It was like we’d gone to the same high school, but we weren’t in the same clique.
“Mike Turner had produced Zygote so he knew Amir. One day over coffee Amir said how cool it would be if the four of us got together. I thought that’s never going to happen, but just said for Amir to let me know if things turned out. Sure enough he called me back. That’s what I like about Amir. He’s got the kind of enthusiasm I gravitate to.”
So while the first CD has a sense of its members feeling each other out, Rock Musique Deluxe finds them comfortable enough with each other not to go over the stop. “It’s more to the point,” says Edwin. “Also we tried hard to put more singable tunes on it.”
One such tune is What Ever Happened, which I would have picked for the first single rather than Tomorrow, which was what the radio people chose. “We thought that way too at first,” says Edwin. “We felt that What Ever Happened would have been a great summer song. But you have to trust your radio guys.”
As for what is his favourite on the 11-song disc Edwin says, “My favourites change from week to week. I really do try to sing ever song like it’s the last time I ever will so that’s my measuring stick. Originally my favourite was It’s For Love. I liked its groove. Then it was Tonight. Whatever Happened reminded me about things in my life that make me a little misty.
“The best part of all is that these songs all go together live which as the frontman was something that concerned me a lot.”
The singer says the album is deceptively simple. “There’s something about simplicity that’s not always simple to create. You take a Beatles song that only has four chords, but when you break it down there are a lot of nuances there that aren’t simple to re-create.”
A typical Crash Karma show will also include songs from its members’ musical past. “We throw in an I, Mother Earth song or a Zygote or an Edwin solo song,” says Edwin. “It varies. We did it initially to familiarize the crown with what we’ve done and we always do it with respect and reverence.”
Who: Hard rockers Crash Karma has just released its second CD and are touring Canada behind it.
Where: The Merchant Tap House, 6A Princess St.
When: Friday, Sept. 27.