Kevin Mears, lead singer of longtime Winnipeg rock band Monuments Galore rolls his eyes when asked how many times the band, which debuted in 1982, has performed at the iconic Royal Albert Arms Hotel. from the Stock Exchange district which also played host to Hüsker Dü, Teenage Head and Green Day.
“My DNA is splashed all over that room when we were doing three sets a night there, six nights a week on what seemed like a monthly basis,” says Mears, sitting at Cheers, a Logan Avenue Breakfast and Lunch. . corner located minutes from where the 62-year-old married father works as a supervisor for a data collection company.
“So I don’t know, is gazillion a number?” ”
It’s in our book, which means tonight will mark the billion and first occasion of Monuments Galore (whose odd nickname came from a conversation Mears had in the early ’80s with a colleague, who, at during a luncheon on the grounds of the Legislature, remarked, “There are certainly a lot of monuments here,” to which Mears replied, “Yeah, monuments galore”), takes the stage at the Albert, the original lineup intact, in support of a new CD titled The single years.
The release in attractive packaging, with sleeve notes provided by John Kendle, Winnipeg music journalist and Canstar Community News editor, and sleeve featuring a photo of ’60s’ it girl’ Twiggy, brings together nine songs released independently by the group between 1983 and 1986, before landing a recording contract with BMG / Eureka.
Mears says the group last performed at the Albert Street Waterhole on March 6, 2020, weeks before “the world went to hell.” He came up with the idea for the compilation disc a few months later, freely admitting that it was a project born entirely out of boredom.
“I was sitting at home, unable to rehearse with the guys or anything, when I started taking out the old main tapes and so forth to listen to them.
“That’s when I started to think about how good it would be to have all these songs in one place for the very first time, so I sent everything I had to Richard. Duguay to see if he could remaster them, “he says, referring to the former member of legendary local punk band Personality Crisis, who now runs Los Angeles-based Into the Black Recording Studio.
Mears says he was “floored” the first time he heard what Duguay could have done with decades-old songs such as the ska-influenced song. Doom and sadness and the sound more pop Young lady, both of which were originally recorded “cheaply”.
“He couldn’t do what we did in terms of playing again, obviously, but he was able to put the guitars up, clean up some parts of the vocals; you know, make everything a little less … cloudy. J was like “holy s —, do we ever sound right.”
If you attend tonight’s show – tickets are $ 10 each and all proceeds go to the bar, which has been largely closed for the past 18 months due to COVID-19 – you can also expect to hear most of the songs on the new disc. like those of the eponymous release of the quinquennium of 1989, which was reissued in 2016 under the name Color, depth and field.
One thing to note: while Monuments Galore regularly took to the stage at midnight or later, there won’t be any tonight. The group is second on a bill comprising two other groups, Furley and Hommer S. Thompson, which means Mears should be home and in bed, “I hope,” he said as he split a broad smile, at 11 p.m.
“You know that saying ‘You’re not as young as you used to be?’ Ha, isn’t that the truth, “he laughs.” Notice since I quit smoking my voice has never sounded so good. Whether I remember every word of our songs correctly after 40 years or so, well, that’s another story. ”
Admission to tonight’s show requires proof of double vaccination. Copies of The single years are also available through the group’s Facebook page.