Idolize this

Chris McCluskey: always watching and listening.

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Chances are you’ve noticed the Juno nominations appear slanted towards Canadian Idol acts. For instance, Rex Goudie is nominated for Artist of the Year, yet he has not been an artist for a year. John-Angus MacDonald of The Trews isn’t impressed.

“These people enter a competition and were groomed by the industry for success and then they’re trickled out the next year by the new winners, just…it’s such a scam. Or not a scam, it’s transparent,” he says affably, adding Idol-affiliated acts received eight nominations. “I think everybody sees it, and even bands like Arcade Fire and all these great bands being relegated to the alternative category which is not broadcast. It’s like the ghetto of the awards, you know.”

MacDonald—and the Trews’ large fan base—was initially staggered to learn the band was left off the Juno ballot in 2006. The apparent snub has triggered a positive reaction elsewhere in the Canadian music industry—radio station 102FM The Fox in North Bay, Ontario, is accepting trophies from its listeners to pass onto the band in its overwhelmingly successful “Trophies for The Trews” promotion, a story picked up by CBC’s The Hour. Although pleased with the consequent response, The Trews were caught off-guard by the cold shoulder.

“We were a little bit surprised…we kind of just assumed, and you should never assume because then you’re just going to set yourself up for disappointment. And then after an hour or so of rationalizing and cussing them out we were just like, we’ll move on, you know,” he says. “What we’ve earned is a sold out show in every city we’ve been to on this last tour, which is to us way more important.

“I don’t want to rant against the Junos,” says MacDonald, “because in the past they’ve nominated us in a time in our career when we needed the press…but I do think what it comes down to is viewers. That’s why Pamela Anderson is hosting and that’s why they’ve paid so much to get Coldplay, it comes down to how many people tune into CTV at eight o’clock that night. It just comes down to dollars and cents, so I don’t really take it to heart because I know it hasn’t got a hell of a lot to do with artistic or career integrity.”

Local talent

Local artists to keep an eye on this weekend—in likely non-televised Juno Awards action—are our four Haligonian nominees. Rap recording of the Year nominee Classified represents the hip-hop community, Wintersleep’s Jud Haynes is up for CD/DVD Artwork Design of the Year, Joel Plaskett to vie for Songwriter of the Year and Denise Djokic is up for Classical Album of the Year.

Rumours and sighs

Juno 2007 hopeful k-os is currently recording the follow-up to Joyful Rebellion at Hollis Street’s Sonic Temple. No word at press time if the multi-talented Canadian hip-hop icon will be performing as part of Broken Social Scene at the Halifax Forum on April 1, but we hear he’ll introduce Coldplay on Sunday.

Final unsubstantiated Juno rumour of the week: Reese Witherspoon and husband Ryan Phillippe will present an award. Final horrible, subtantiated Juno of the week: the Black Eyed Peas will host an after-party at the Palace on Sunday night. Ten bucks gets you in; you’ll probably need more to get into the VIP room, where Fergie and the boys will likely hold court.

Where will you hold court? scene@thecoast.ca

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