The Damn Truth are performing SUNDAY @ 5PM for a very special Osheaga Get Together Fall session
If you’re worried about the state of rock music in the city of a thousand steeples then you don’t know The Damn Truth and it’s time you were told.
I had the pleasure of having front woman Lee-la Baum and lead guitarist Tom Shemer on the line for a quick five questions the other day and their light and enthusiasm was more infectious than Covid.
Originally this was supposed to appear in my patented Best Kept Montreal SoundCloud as a mini little talk radio style interview piece, a free wheeling free associated “podcast” of sorts for those of you born after the reign of Stern and in the midst of Rogan… But because I’ve recently been cursed or perhaps due to the stars or moon’s wane, or the use of too much speaker phone, everything went to sh*t on the audio file, and now I am left to try and bottle their electricity and eccentricities with mere words alone.
These guys rock hard, but at the heart of this quartet is a family on the lam, crossing international boarders in search of adventures, with a thirst for the good things in life. They blaze their own trail, on their own terms and that there is a lesson we can all pool from.
Here’s the transcript below:
Lee-La: Hey Guillaume, how’s it going?
Lee-La: 9:30 in the morning and already fantastic?
(I’ve been caught, I made sake last night, and didn’t come home alone, I was gifted a bike that we each had a hand in spray painting gold, I did not go quietly into the night, it’s too early for this)
After a few pleasantries:
G: So you guys are playing Osheaga Get Together, how do you feel about that?
Lee-La: I’m so excited, it’s been way too long since we’ve played an outside festival, and the energy is so high, I can’t wait man.
G: Amazing.. So do tell, what is the full Goddamn Truth and are there to many false Goddamn lies going around?
Tom: Well I can only speak for myself but I’ve found that, when we started The Damn Truth many years ago I found that the Montreal music scene wasn’t very…
Lee-La: Inclusive of us?
Tom: Yeah, but not just not inclusive of us but not inclusive of a lot of people, you know, like if you didn’t go with a certain style of easy pop arrangements back in those days, you were “out” ya know? And we felt, at the time, we felt really good about what we were doing and we felt that, or I felt that, if you really put your time and your heart and attention and passion into the work that you make that that is the truth. That’s what the truth is.
G: The Truth of your vision for music type thing?
Tom: Yeah, music, style, fashion, art.
G: So, being rock stars, how does having a kid, how does parenting affect your music, touring, shows, recordings, how easy is it to manage that?
Lee-La: Bringing a kid into the world is probably the farthest from easy right? (laugh) There’s a lot of really sleepless nights before even having him and thinking about how we’re going to make this work and honestly our previous album is really a lot about that, that sense of unknown and of fear of and for the world and questioning how we can bring a new soul into this whole thing, this broken planet of ours.
G: These broken systems
Lee-La: And then our lives and our perspectives and everything kind of changed because we had this incredible family support system, we went on the road with him when he was 2 months old, Tom’s family came in and toured with us, my dad goes on the road, these friends of mine go on the road, so he’s just been thrown into this life and he really loves it. And we’re really lucky that he does… I guess… there was never a question… I knew I wanted to have a family, Tom knew he wanted to have a family and yet we also, you know, have a dream that we can’t let go of or give up on and so we just gotta make it work.
Tom: I started to figure out that being a rock n’ roll parent is really about, community, it’s about the community around you that, if you don’t have those people around you than it’s not going to work, you won’t be able to make it work, but we’re lucky enough that our people our parents, you know, we’re a family collective, we’re a family to our kids and when we spend six months on the road in a band together, it’s not torture, we all love each other, we’re one big family and we’re having fun and if it wasn’t for that, it wouldn’t work.
Lee-La: Not to say that there weren’t some very very screamy afternoons, where family members didn’t wanna, ya know, kill themselves after listening to him screaming for hours and hours, ya know, it’s not all flowers and roses but, all in all it’s really been amazing.
G: That sounds like a dream for a million people, that sounds like you guys are living millions of people’s dreams.
Tom: The biggest issue that we have doing what we’re doing is that there is no road map, you know? There are no examples in our lives, like we can’t really look at our parents or at an aunt and say “oh, they did it like that” you know? Our lives are so different from what’s come before us that it’s really hard sometimes, I didn’t know much about home schooling and didn’t know many musicians who take their children on tour, ya know, people who did it like that.
G: It’s like you’re breaking new ground within your own lives.
Tom/Lee-La: Exactly, yeah
Lee-La: Right, we’re kind of just making our own rules and hoping we don’t f*ck him up.
G: He’s probably gonna be the coolest kid in every room for life, at least one of them.
Lee-La: (laugh) We hope so man… he’s gotta learn a little humility and modesty maybe-
(we all laugh hard!)
Writer, Director, Camera Op, Editor & Professional "Last Man Standing". Is there anything this guy can't do? Yes. A veritable metric f*ck ton of things, so he sticks to what he knows. Join him on some adventures, here, at Best Kept MTL.