The following is part 3 of a series on the burgeoning Weird Canada scene and Saskatoon’s place within that scene.
Josiah Hughes of Grown-Ups
“If you’re willing to work and put some effort into the things you want to do, you can do anything. It’s rewarding in any aspect of life to just do something, do it well and not worry what anyone else thinks.”
That’s Josiah Hughes. Remember the Justin Bieber/Black Flag joke shirt accidentally turned meme? We can all thank (or blame) Hughes for that. Since receiving a cease-and-desist order from Black Flag’s label, SST Records, Hughes has continued to find other ways to be creative, mainly as guitarist/vocalist of Calgary’s punk darlings Grown-Ups. Along with drummer and wife, Sara Hughes, and newly-acquired bassist Andrew Giles, the band has exercised originality and DIY ethics in nearly every aspect, from recording their songs by themselves to self-releasing their own cassettes and vinyl. It appears this wasn’t enough. Conceptualized over beers on a beach in Ontario, the band, in partnership with Scotch Tapes owner Al Bjornaa, decided they would be releasing a lathe record shaped like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial!
(For those who need a quick explanation, typically, conventional vinyl records are mass-produced by stamping a metal master disc into heated vinyl. Lathe-cut records are slightly different, as they are produced by a lathe machine that cuts micro-grooves into a polycarbonate disc. This model is used as a “test press” before the records are mass-produced.)
When asked about the tribute to everyone’s favourite extra-terrestrial, Hughes responded, “It was supposed to be [shaped like E.T.] but there was a manufacturing issue with that. The art for the record is shaped like E.T. though. The lathe itself is black.” After prying for more information, Hughes revealed that the idea initially came from wanting to press one song onto a hockey puck as opposed to a standard vinyl record. After realizing that the financial cost of such a project might be too great, as well as potentially physically impossible, the band looked to a different, seemingly more natural idea for alternative record pressings.
“Sara, our drummer, is obsessed with E.T., so it kind of became a natural thing to write a song about E.T., which is how the idea initially came about.” Grown-Ups wrote and recorded a song praising E.T., as well as a B-side that salutes Calgary hot dog institution Tubby Dog. Bjornaa loved the idea, offered to release the lathe through Scotch Tapes and went to work, producing a limited run of 50 copies, which quickly sold out.
Not only have Grown-Ups received some growing albeit minor interest from Canadians in their physical releases, but also in their constant flow of live performances across Canada. When asked about the prairies and Saskatoon specifically, Hughes noted that the band has visited twice and longs to return.
“[Saskatoon] was a lot different than what I expected it to be. I thought it was going to be one of the shittiest places on earth, but I was wrong!” Perhaps their more memorable Saskatoon appearance for most show-goers was their performance last year on the stage of Amigo’s Cantina last year in support of hardcore heavyweights Fucked Up. Recalling the experience of opening a few shows for Fucked Up, Hughes observed, “You can tell that [Fucked Up] love it and are thankful they get to play music for a living, but at the same time, you can see becoming a career musician and playing hardcore as your job might become kind of scary. Overall, that tour was a lot of fun and to be able to tour and hang out with a band of that calibre was really great.”
An ever-moving force, Grown-Ups are anxiously awaiting the release of a brand new album available this spring. Newly-founded Portland, OR record label Modern Documents is releasing the band’s upcoming LP entitled Stopped Caring. It will be limited to 300 copies and pressed on white vinyl.
For more information, please visit http://grown-ups.tumblr.com/, where everything the band has recorded so far is available for free download.