"Canada is our home and it's where we like to play" says The Watchmen's Ken Tizzard (far right)painstaking photo by Myek OıShea|
Since their debut album, McLarenFurnaceRoom, The Watchmen have taken the Canadian music scene by storm. Now after four very successful albums, they have become one of the nationıs top bands and are gaining recognition throughout the rest of the world.
Danny Greaves, Joey Serlin, Sammy Kohn, and Ken Tizzard have had a lot of experience playing together. Ken, the bass player, who joined the band after the first album explained, ³Danny and Sammy are first cousins. Theyıve known each other all their lives and started playing together at a very early age. They knew Joey from kindergarten. The band officially formed about ten years ago. They had a different bass player back then, named Pete Lowen who is an excellent guy, and a great bass player. But after the first record came out, he decided that he was going to get married and the road was a bit too much for married life, so then they found me. That was about six years ago now, when we put out In the Trees, and weıve been carrying on since then.² Tizzard also mentioned that all four of them played in a number of different bands before they got together, and that they still do from time to time.
In the beginning, Tizzard and the rest of the band played for fun, but quickly realized what they wanted to achieve. ³For me personally, when I was a teenager I played for fun, but then I realized that this was all I really wanted to do. And then it became a different thing, I moved to Toronto and started trying to be in a band and make a living at it, and thatıs really rough, itıs a hard thing to do. Youıve got to be prepared to spend a lot of years being broke.
Eventually, the idea of making money at it wore off for me, and then it became just an enjoyment of music thing again. That was somewhere around the time that I met up with The Watchmen and they were all on the same vibe. This is what we want to do, and weıre going to do it come hell or high-water.²
The Watchmenıs latest album and tour is not only taking them across Canada, but it has also taken them overseas throughout Europe and Australia. ³Europe was great,² said Tizzard. ³We did Denmark, and Germany, and all through Holland and England. It was good, but I mean itıs a different market over there. They are really into the Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls, so if you have a guitar, they donıt know quite how to take you. Germany was good, though. They are still really rock and roll oriented.² Tizzard went on to describe the bandıs time in Australia as ³brilliant,² and said that they were headed back there in February.
The Watchmen also went down into the States and toured with The Tragically Hip for a brief time in August and September. However, Tizzard hinted that there was no place like home.
³Canada is our home, and itıs where we like to play.²
As far as penetrating the U.S . music scene is concerned, Tizzard is not really sure if that is important to the band or not, but says that they are in the process of entering their market. He explained that the band is planning to make some headway in the U.S. in the upcoming year and said that they enjoy playing for anyone who wants to listen. ³The more markets you have, the more time you can spend playing, and the more areas you can go to, which is kind of an important thing.²
Musically the band is influenced by each memberıs different tastes and preferences. Tizzard notes that there is no single genre which influences their music, but rather it is a collaboration of diverse styles. ³Joey is a big blues guy, Danny likes opera and classical, and I like classical, jazz, and hard-core. Thatıs what I grew up listening to and playing. Sammy is a major pop guy, so when the four of us get together, we have all these different influences coming in. No matter who is writing the song, itıs going to go through this weird Watchmen Machine,ı and from there a Watchmen song comes out.²
During the production of the bandıs latest record, Silent Radar, Tizzard explains that the band wanted to create an album which portrayed the energy delivered in their live shows. ³There is more energy on that album than any of the other records,² said Tizzard. He also talked about how the band was able to achieve a greater level of comfort in the studio during this production, and credits a lot of that to their new producer, Adam Kasper.
According to Tizzard, The Watchmen are very happy to be back on the road, but admits that there are ups and downs to touring as well. ³You definitely feel the strain, and you just feel it in your muscles. Youıre achy, youıre tired, itıs like working out every day, and eventually you get fatigued.²
Tizzard explains that enduring the tour and keeping the energy level up relies heavily on the audience and crowd participation. ³Energy for the show, as silly as it sounds, comes from the audience. We get up on stage, with probably the exact same amount of energy every night, and depending on what comes back, weıll either go up, or stay there. Itıs always going to be energetic to a certain point, but if the crowd feeds back, we feed off that. We love interacting with the crowd, getting the vibes of the room, and just working that whole thing. Itıs a big part of the show for us.²
Tizzard also points out that The Watchmen are glad to be back in Regina. ³Weıve been here a lot over the last ten years, and I like this town. Itıs a fun place, and thereıs always a great crowd here.²
So what do The Watchmen have planned for the future? Well, after this tour is over, they are going to take some much deserved time off. After that, they will begin writing again in January, with the odd show here and there. For the most part, however, The Watchmen are planning to focus on their next record and see where that will take them. At any rate, fans need not worry about the future of The Watchmen. As Tizzard put it, ³Weıre going to keep doing this for the rest of our lives, one way or another.²