Thanks to some submissions from Wide Mouth Mason fans, we’ve added dates to the Gigography section, including links to fan-generated content for recent gigs at the Shell Theatre’s Performance Series on February 17th and the Thunder Bay Blues Festival on July 9th! If you have content you’ve created that you’d like to see on the site or gig memories you’d like to share, contact the Chef de mission!
Source: The Free Press
By Phil McLachlan, The Free Press
Posted: Apr 20, 2017 at 12:00 PM
Legendary 90s Canadian Rock band, Wide Mouth Mason, performed on Saturday during Fernie Alpine Resort’s closing weekend celebrations.
The rock group that has produced 10 albums since 1996, drew a crowd of local followers who have been with them since they began.
Although the band has switched a few members throughout its lifetime, Shaun Verreault continues to perform as the group’s lead singer and guitarist.
Verreault picked up an acoustic guitar as a child, but shortly after hearing Prince knew he had to switch to electric.
The album that skyrocketed them into the speakers of people’s stereos across Canada was their 1997 self-titled album. Now, the band is celebrating 20 years of success.
In that time they have built up an impressive resume, including touring with the Rolling Stones, ACDC, ZZ Top, as well as being the first North-American rock band to tour mainland China.
Twenty years later, the group continues to put maximum enthusiasm into the craft they have mastered.
During the post-show interview, a fan approached and said “I haven’t seen you guys play in a long time, and you’re not mailing it in at all. Great show.”
To this, Verreault responded, “You get to a point in your career where you can be doing it for the sake of still doing it, and making some dough. But for me it’s about progressing as a musician and as a songwriter and playing for people who have been seeing you for a long time or playing for people who haven’t seen you before.”
After a six-year hiatus in 2005, the group produced another album in 2011. Asked if he thought this would be their last album, Verreault said he knew he would be a ‘lifer’.
Since then, Verreault had a daughter, and he didn’t want to be a facetime dad and be gone all the time.
“I really didn’t want to be on the road, watching her first step on facetime,” he said.
At home, with his daughter, he learned a new instrument and wrote a lot of music. So to Verreault, it was time well spent.
Music has given Verreault everything. Through it, he has seen the world, met most of his friends and had out-of-body creative experiences that have taught him how to do everything.
“You learn math, philosophy, structure, perseverance and design. You learn all these things by learning music. It’s given me all of that and more,” said Verreault.
In addition, Verreault believes music is so important in a child’s life, and he will be passing on his knowledge, love and passion to his daughter. In fact, she is already writing music.
“Kids are musical until someone goes, ah no, no, that’s noisy, you’re doing that wrong,” he said.
Verreault has seen many changes between the modern music industry and the ways of old. In the 90s the infrastructure was very different. Bands did not have the independence as they do now. Before, someone outside of the group had the upper hand in much of the decision making. Verreault sees the modern music industry as having excelled in independence. He’s glad bands of today have more of say in the direction they go.
As well, technology has changed tremendously to the point where anyone can record a good idea if they have it.
“If you have a good song idea, you can record it on your phone. So it comes down to how good are your ideas?”
“It was true in the 90s and it’s true now, and it will continue to be true, that no matter what the business is, no matter if you’re getting famous from your demo going out or yourYoutube video getting seen by somebody, if you have a really great song idea, it can change your life,” said Verreault.
Even after ten albums, the group is still pushing forward and is set to release their next album very soon.
“Every time, you’re trying to find a thing you’ve never done before, even if it’s been 20 years.
“You end up in a basement, looking at each other going, alright, what’s the next song going to be? That part of it never changes,” said Verreault.
Source: 24 Hours Vancouver
By Joe Leary, 24 Hours Vancouver
Posted:Wednesday, April 12, 2017 11:33:45 PDT AM
Shaun Verreault has fronted the Canadian blues-based rock band Wide Mouth Mason since the mid-’90s. A veritable guitar master, Verreault will be performing Saturday, April 22 at Steel Toad Brewing Company in Vancouver. He spent 24 Minutes with Joe Leary.
Going way back, what was the moment that you recall that music resonated with you? Was it a particular song or artist that made you want to make music?
Prince. When I heard the beginning of “When Doves Cry” and the end of “Let’s Go Crazy”; I knew I was gonna have to learn how to play guitar.
What kind of musical training did you undergo?
I took guitar lessons in Saskatoon at a school run by a classical guitarist who employed a wide variety of gigging musicians. Though I had a couple of year-long periods of the same teacher consistently – one fusion shredder guy and then a hardcore jazzer – depending on who was around each week, I might walk in to spend an hour with a country chicken-picker or a metal tactician or classical player. Between that and playing trumpet in the school band, which exposed me to orchestral music and the likes of Miles Davis and the book of standards, I got a crash course in diversity that made a huge impression on me.
It’s hard to believe that Wide Mouth Mason has been around for over two decades. How did you form the band and did you ever imagine that it would have this durability?
A couple weeks ago marked the 20th anniversary of the release of our first record. I’d played throughout elementary and high school with Safwan, Wide Mouth’s drummer. From me on my first acoustic and he on pots and pans, to last weekend at a festival with the current day Masons, he’s been my constant musical and comedic companion. I knew early on that I’d be a lifer. Music’s been my gateway to seeing the world and finding my way around in it. I figure, when you learn how to do a thing, it teaches you not only that thing, but a process to learn how to do everything. I’ve projected those musically-learned patterns over every endeavor undertaken since, and it’s been like a skeleton key.
Is there a key to longevity in the music business?
Stubbornness and resourcefulness! I don’t even mean on the business side. I mean as a creative person. I’ve set myself challenges every couple years: you don’t get a pick anymore; you don’t get any effects pedals for a year; you have to play everything with a slide until you actually kind of can… Don’t get complacent. Push yourself, and in this current climate, finding other ways to make a living that facilitate and support music-making.
What advice do you offer to aspiring guitarists that see you shred on stage and want to follow in your footsteps?
Even if you’re not a singer, sing along with what you’re playing when you practice. Let your voice lead you around, not the patterns your fingers have memorized. Play melodies on just one string for an hour. After an hour, allow yourself the next string too. See how you can translate physical shapes of things in the world onto the guitar neck. Listen to styles of music you don’t usually. Learn how to play Cannonball Adderley’s solo in the Miles Davis song “Milestones.” If you always play sitting down, practice standing up. If you don’t play with a drummer, find one to play with. Jam along with records. Before you think you’re ready, figure out songs you like using your ears, not tab. If you usually use distortion, play clean for awhile. If you’re an acoustic player, try an electric with lots of gain. “Diversifind” your way to your own voice; and keep looking in different places. I feel like it took me about 30 years of playing to find a corner of the room that was more my own than someone else’s.
Finally, how has fatherhood changed you?
I’m more musical than ever at home. My daughter and I continuously sing and improvise on guitar or trumpet or percussion instruments and Lego and Play-Doh. Maybe that’s the best advice for up and coming musicians: Be as fearless as a four-year-old.
Wide Mouth Mason will be performing at the Tail Creek Mud and Music Festival on Canada Day! Tickets for the festival are available on the Mudfest website. The all-ages show sees Wide Mouth Mason take the stage at 7:00 pm.