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Noosed and Haloed Swear Words

There once was a rock and roll band who called themselves Nabisco Fonzie Thrush Hermit. These four young lads, Joel Plaskett, Rob Benvie, Ian McGettigan & Cliff Gibb traveled across Canada to promote their record Clayton Park1. They had a show at The Opera House in Toronto with The Flashing Lights and Local Rabbits; a bill which can only be described as perfection. I had a ticket to this show, it would be my first time seeing Thrush Hermit live. Hermit front-man, Joel Plaskett was sick. Bugger. At least the show with The Flashing Lights and Local Rabbits was more than enough rock and roll for anyone.

Thrush Hermit announced new dates to makeup for the missed tour, and unfortunately it was on a date I couldn’t attend. Thrush Hermit broke up.

Since then, I’ve seen Joel Plaskett, The Joel Plaskett Emergency2, Tigre Benvie3, and Camouflage Nights4 too many times to count.

Thrush Hermit are not the greatest band in the world. They were hokey and immature and sometimes downright horrible.

There were always highlights to their work, but a lot of lowlights, too. The band seemed stuck in the grunge sound of the early nineties, a sound that had previously pushed their compatriots Sloan to the foreground of Can-rock. The grunge sound on their records seemed more and more out of place as the nineties progressed. They did slowly evolve out of it, and move into a mesh of grunge and pop on their record Sweet Homewrecker. And while you can see a definite improvement in the band on this record, it wasn’t until 1999 when Thrush Hermit released their final album, Clayton Park that they had a record that was a complete departure from anything they had done before, and a complete masterpiece.

Clayton Park is a balls-out rock and roll extravaganza. Yes, there’s a large supply of guitar-wankery, and one must be in the right mood for that form of wanking, however, all 11 songs on the album are damn good! The second half of the album, however is where the band truly shines. It’s all Plaskett, but they create something which is so very unique to the band and their future solo output.

Let’s all get down to songs for the gang.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Hermits are playing in Toronto. Last night they played at the Starlight Ballroom in Waterloo, and you can watch that show below, I haven’t watched it yet, as I’m seeing them in person on Friday.

  1. Not to be confused with Clanton Park, in Bathurst Manor. []
  2. With and without Ian McGettigan. []
  3. Rob Benvie’s temporary solo act. []
  4. A band featuring Benvie and McGettigan. []

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