After over a decade toiling with commercially successful rock acts The Watchmen and Thornley, Newfoundland-bred bassist Ken Tizzard is stepping outside his comfort zone. Now residing in Toronto and acting as his own agent, promoter, tour manager and publicist, he released his debut Quiet Storey House… An Introduction on July 1.
“This is sort of an introduction record to what I’m doing,” he says. “I did my first symphony show July first of this year with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in Kitchener-Waterloo, and that was a brilliant feeling. There was a full orchestra backing me up on bass and singing. I couldn’t believe the rush I got from it, it was so powerful.”
For his July 28 performance at The Seahorse, Tizzard will be accompanied only by electronic samples and, of course, his bass. He is using his five date, two-week Atlantic Canadian excursion to test the boundaries of his new project and hone a concise live show before piecing together a band.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to get the music and my own arrangements together,” he says. “I’m thinking at this point drums, guitar and keyboardist…and erasing all the sampling for the live show.”
Tizzard is enjoying the freedom of working unaccompanied. While he describes The Watchmen as being a fantastic creative working environment, Tizzard longed for a greater voice than his brother-in-law Ian Thornley’s band was designed to offer.
“We had a great time, it just got to the point where we realized it wasn’t working the way it was,” he says. “Me and the drummer, it just kind of worked out at the same time. You know, ‘The touring’s kinda done, the record’s kinda done,’ it was the time. Are we ready to do this again?”
While he concedes not everyone understands his current bass-centric direction, his experimental project is capturing the essence which characterizes the definition of genuine artistry—and he has brought his wife and kids along.
“I am travelling with the family this time, and we decided just to stretch it out a little bit, have some fun and relax,” he says. “I really wanted to get my head straight, because when I get back at the end of August/September I am going to be really busy putting the band together and organizing more symphony shows. The whole solo thing will become more of a special thing.”
An islander music fan’s loss was its Halifax counterpart’s gain on July 23. Rollo Bay’s Shoreline Festival was beleaguered by a wicked combination of unpredictable weather and below-target attendance, forcing the three-day event to close a day early. Springing to the organizers’ aid, Sonic Entertainment Group assembled a number of local acts with some freed-up time for a last-minute show at The Marquee Club. Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Wintersleep, In-Flight Safety, The Novaks and The Remains of Brian Borcherdt took the stage following five hours of hasty promotion to an energetic near-capacity audience.
Don’t plan to do anything this September other than attend shows. Halifax comes into its own with rumoured and confirmed appearances from The Rolling Stones, Sloan, Metric, Atmosphere, Dinosaur Jr., Corb Lund Band…deep breath… Billy Bragg, John Prine, Sarah Harmer, Dwight Yoakam, Nickelback and Great Big Sea.
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