Jan 04, 2012 - Interview with midnighttosix blog NYC

David Mansdorf

Interviews

An interview with David Mansdorf of Brooklyn NY for his blog Midnight to Six.

.......... click here to read the complete story

Feb 05, 2009 - Edgar Breau: An Interview for Anthology Recordings

by Steve Krakow

To say the discovery of Simply Saucer in the late nineties was epiphanous for me would still be some sort of understatement. Here was the promise of everything great laid down in the late sixties made good; the UK free-fest roar, the Velvets' street-tough chug, Syd's early exploratory jams, even Krautrock's primordial dirge-even the immediate influence of Eno's oscillations were felt-and this was from mid-seventies Ontario?? The story was too good to be true-from-the-day obscurists with names like "Ping" totally out of touch with their contemporaries, in virtual isolation, morphing the best of the immediate past into what came to be called "protopunk." In particular Edgar Breau's seething lyrics, kick-ass hooks, and corrosive lead guitar shines in the few Saucer recordings to see the light of day, so it was honor to ask the underground legend a few questions (and it was even more of an honor to play some gigs with the reformed Saucer, but that's another story). 

.......... click here to read the complete story

Jun 16, 2008 - The Agit Reader

by Kevin J. Elliott

Simply Saucer - Keep Dancing the Mutation into the 21st Century

How were you so in tune with what was just becoming popular at the time (the Stooges, the Modern Lovers, Hawkwind), the influences that are apparent in your sound, but at the same time experimenting leaps and bounds beyond those bands? Especially living in Hamilton, Ontario?

EB: All of us were huge record collectors, turning each other on to all the new music happening in England and the U.S. We read reviews in the underground press and gave everything and anything a listen. We loved music period. The Hamilton thing was a blessing and a curse: it kept us from being a part of a scene that might have given us a more generic sound and it engendered a fierce iconoclastic drive. But the main problem was that gigs were hard to come by and so there were always financial pressures and line-up changes.

.......... click here to read the complete story

Mar 04, 2008 - Lou Molinaro, Mohawk College Radio

Simply Saucer's second wind is very important because it sheds light on the true meaning of the Independent music existence. A cult status band who has been labeled as a proto-type punk band in 1974 comes back 30 years later and receives international attention. Does this make sense to you, Edgar?

Only when you know the whole story of how it happened and the role played by certain music critics who took up our cause and promoted the band when we were long dead. As well, our influences themselves over the years grew in importance, especially the Velvet Underground who had become one of the most influential bands in the world despite never having a hit record.

Hamilton definitely had some sort of magical ingredients in the Burlington Bay. Take this into consideration. King Biscuit Boy, Gord Lewis, Mickey DeSadist, Dave Rave, Tim Gibbons, Tom Wilson, Edgar Breau, Harrison Kennedy, Daniel and Bob Lanois, and a bunch more.......What explains this musical mythology?

All of the above artists could have moved away and stayed away but we all chose to keep a strong connection to this city because we love the people here and believe that our work has an integral connection to this area. Without it we wouldn't have been the same. I think there's a stubborn tenaciousness in all of us. Also not being part of a trendy scene in a way helps the artist arrive at a vision that is truly his/her own.

How did Simply Saucer start?

Simply Saucer started with two boys attending Bishop Ryan High School, myself and Paul Colilli a keyboard player talking endlessly in and out of class about all the cool records we were buying. Later on, we met a couple of others at Bob Moody's Record Bar on John St. My foster brother played synth and audio generator and the bass player Kevin Christoff I met at Sir Wilfred Laurier High School. We used to have record spinoffs with Imants Krumins, where we drank a lot of wine and played and rated records..bands like the Saints, Savage Rose, the Velvets, Flamin' Groovies, Hawkwind, Kinks, Thirteenth Floor Elevator, Seeds, Can, Faust, Sun Ra..etc etc

Did being so different musically, effect all of you on a personal basis? For some reason, I get this mental image of people looking at you guys and thinking..."who are these guys?" Is there any validity to this?

Yea there was a certain artistic, not exactly affectation, but a deliberate turning away from the mainstream not only musically but in some ways socially. We were similar to the French linguistic deconstructionists who wanted to start all over again with language. Music was something to be deployed like a weapon against the unsuspecting audience. Unfortunately at the time there WAS NO audience for our music which was chaotic and very much improvised.

Obviously, the name is an ode to early Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett. How did you first learn about the mentioned names?

I'm sure it was Paul Colilli who introduced me to Piper at the Gates of Dawn '67/68. He read a lot of English Pop mags and eventually we discovered the Move, the Herd, the Soft Machine, Tyranosaurus Rex and many other great bands.

Explain what Hamilton was like musically in the early 70's? Where did you shop for records back then?

There were a lot of cover bands. I bought records at Kresge's, Melody Lane, Bob Moody's Record Bar, Hermandad's and of course Sam the Record Man's and various Buffalo stores. Plus from import record catalogues. You could find records in variety stores as well on budget labels.

What were the early Saucer shows like in Hamilton? When was the official first Simply Saucer show?

The first show we played was at St. Alban's Anglican Church on Brittania St. in the east end. We were an east end band. We played three sets and I know the second set consisted of one song called "Noise". We only played that one once. It was completely improvised and I played an audio generator. In the middle of it, fights began breaking out in the audience and eventually the cops arrived and hauled some people away.

At what venues did you perform in Hamilton?

We played Westdale High, Sir John A. McDonald, Burlington Fair, the YMCA, YWCA, the Kiwanis Club

Bands like the Velvets, Stooges and Barrett's version of Pink Floyd are often name dropped by those who try to explain Simply Saucer. Are there any other bands that we should also acknowledge as inspirations?

Can, the Krautrock bands in general,for me Moby Grape, Lighnin Hopkins, the Kinks, I'm sure the Stones and a little bit of Hendrix, Hawkwind, the Soft Machine, Pink Fairies, Eddie Cochrane, Terry Riley, Sun Ra lots of others

I understand that you kept in touch with Craig Bell of Rocket From The Tombs back in the early 70's. How did you learn about RFTT?

Craig and I were both members of the Syd Barret Appreciation Society and began corresponding around 1973 or so. He was playing in a band called the Saucers at the time and eventually ended up playing in Rocket from the Tombs.

You must have felt some ambition from knowing that Cleveland was tapped into the same headspace as Breau and Christoff back in the early 70's. Did you ever have the chance to see each other's shows back then?

No, unfortunately not..Craig did come to Hamilton looking for me but I was out of town the day he arrived. His wife, was a prof I think doing a seminar on Women's studies at the u. of Toronto.

There has been folklore built on the "Saucer House". Many local musicians will always make reference to various stories, but most importantly, they always comment on how Simply Saucer formulated a sound, image and dynamic at the corner of Main and Ferguson. What was the environment like at this historical location?

There was constant stream of people that came through the house and so often when we rehearsed there was a ready made audience which was great but eventually the party atmosphere got totally out of hand and got in the way of the artistic ends of the band. Band members got burned out, addicted and messed up and the centre did not hold. The centrifugal forces hurled us all into various parts of the universe...

You played with Pere Ubu back in the late 70's. Plus you revisited the experience a few months ago in Hamilton. You must have been somewhat delighted to see that although so many things change, its good to see things stay the same. Both bands seemed more mature, and both acts still had this overflowing passion about their art. How important was it to reunite again with the Ubus for you on a personal level?

Yea it was fun to see that sort of commitment on the part of Pere Ubu to an uncompromising musical vision. Both bands came from cities with industrial backgrounds in the shadow of larger more sophisticated artistic centres but managed to make their musical statements apart from universal adulation.

During the 1977 punk scene, Simply Saucer were musically different compared to the young punk bands. Both the Saucers and the punks bands had the same musical inspirations, however your styles were very different. Did you think of this as a positive foundation for SS or was it a deterrent?

Well yeah it was in some ways a more difficult sell for us because our musical mix was more diverse than some of the Toronto punk bands. We were listening to the Ramones and aware of the Sex Pistols and the Damned and all the rest.. It was just that we weren't musically influenced by them to any great extent. My favorite English bands at the time were the Only Ones and the Soft Boys. I had grown up in the East End of the Hammer with real punks..I didn't need to wear safety pins but I did wear a leather jacket. The whole deliberate minimalist approach to music had drawbacks as well, least of all some very boring and repetetive arrangements. I tended to prefer the punk/artiste Television Patti Smith axis to the fast/loud and ugly version that was dominating in Toronto. Teenage Head had some influences like the Dolls, Groovies, rockabilly and apparently Hawkwind that kept the mix interesting but again they were a kind of hybrid like ourselves.

You recorded your music with Bob Lanois. How did you meet Bob?

The first time I met Bob was in 1974 when him and brother Dan had a studio in the basement of their mother's Ancaster home called Master Sound Studio. Our manager Rick Bissell had booked some time for us to record demos to interest clubs and hopefully labels.

What was the recording experience like? Was Bob aware of what you were trying to do musically?

Bob did most of the recording though Dan helped as well when he was around. I wasn't sure just where their musical tastes lie so I brought a copy of the Stooges Raw Power and the Velvet Underground's White Light White Heat to give Bob an idea of what we wanted. Bob took it all in stride, was very professional and interested in the electronics we were using.

How long did it take to record all these songs?

I think it was all of two days..much of it live off the floor.

Was there an official Simply Saucer release during the initial existence of the band?

No but there was an unofficial wine fest along with some other incidentals...

Many times, I hear more of the early 70's English Rock in your music as compared to New York or Detroit. I hear many traces of early Pink Fairies and Hawkwind in Cyborgs. Did you guys have specific records that you wanted to sound like?

I really liked the first Pink Fairies record with Larry Wallis..kings of oblivion We had a Detroit influence (the Stooges) mixed with a New York Influence (the Velvet Underground) topped with an Anglophile love affair

When did the official break up actually take place?

1979, the fall? K.C. would know he's the archivist

Did you put together another band after the break up of Simply Saucer?

I reunited with David Byers who was an original member in a band called Third Kind around 1983. Kevin Christoff from the Saucer played bass and his brother Dereck played the drums. We did some interesting recordings but never played live.

There was this pure volatile sound to Simply Saucer. It seems that some bands try to sound this way, while others unfortunately live it. How much did Saucer bleed its real life experiences or references to its music?

Quite a bit actually I was living wherever our rehearsal space was and at one time in a store front, sleeping on a thin piece of foam, without a bath, shower, closet, stove..that's where Cyborgs Revisited was born..in the distance the smoke stacks and the mysterious clanking of steel...

After a hiatus, you stepped back into the scene on a solo basis? How did it feel stepping into the "acoustic" field musically? Also, how different was the music scene in Hamilton since the departure of Simply Saucer?

For me it was a refreshing change playing acoustic. I was a big fan of John Fahey, Nick Drake Mel Lyman, Sandy Bull, Mississippi John Hurt, Pentangle countless others. I decided doing the troubadour things wasn't such a bad idea. Many of the bands I admired also had a softer side.

How did you meet Bruce Mowat?

Bruce caught a set I did at the Baytides Cafe and introduced himself.

Bruce singlehandedly established Simply Saucer as a MUST HEAR band. Were you overwhelmed by his enthusiasm?

Yea still am he's a one man promotional army, a good friend, mentor and an inexhaustible resource for local musicians.

Again, Simply Saucer is tainted with these great valid anecdotes. Were you at Copps Colliseum when Thurston Moore dedicated a song to Simply Saucer?

No I learned about it the next day reading the review in the Spec and then the spec called for an interview about it.

You must have been freaked to hear that Thurston Moore was paying homage to a Garage band from Hamilton. Did that make you look at your work or musical involvement differently?

Yea validation from your peers is always nice and gives you encouragement to continue on..

Afterwards, younger fans were picking up on Simply Saucer, and they treated SS like a rare discovery. Were you prepared to consider the revisitation of Simply Saucer?

Not at first, I had been separated from my own repertoire, my own catalogue for many years and it was only by a very convoluted process that I was brought to the point where I could ask myself the questions like "what if' or "how" or "with whom" or "can you do it again'. I think that having a new young audience that were digging the band played a large part in my decision to reform Simply Saucer and wherever I played solo they would come out of the woodwork and ask about the band.

How important is it to be a Hamilton band? Would this band have been the same if it was started in another city?

No, it wouldn';t have been..that industrial hardscrabble sub text gave the band it's grittiness

Luckily for us, you were performing acoustic shows during the 2nd phase of Simply Saucer. Both shows are musically different. Do you need that balance as an artist?

Yea pretty well..it's all part of my many sided personality that I'm still trying to sort out.

How long did it take before Kevin Christoff and yourself decided to reform SS?

I think cranking the Les Paul up on stage at our first mini show at the Corktown did it for me. The other factor was finding creative musicians to play with and Joe Csontos, Dan Winterman and Steve Foster fit the bill admirably. All of them bring substantial musical gifts to the table and eventually we began to jell.

SS - thats kind of funny in its own way..hahahha

not going there, man...

Do you feel comfortable as being tagged as the leader of Simply Saucer?

Yea I suppose so..but it is a real band it's not Edgar Breau and Simply the Sidemen

How did you meet Foster, Csontos and Winterman?

Joe was a part of the Saucer circle way back in the seventies, hung out with us, gigged with us, booked us, partied with us..he was invited by Steve Park to see Steve's first gig with us at the YWCA. Joe played with the Loudmouths who opened for us way back when. Daniel I first met as part of the Velvet Underground tribute band doing a benefit at the Casbah..or was it with the 'Battleship Ethyl? Steve, we rehearsed at his studio on Napier st in Dundas and soon he had joined the band and was recording our new album at Catherine North.. Steve moves fast

Your visits into the studio were close to 30 years apart. How did it feel going into the Saucer recording headspace? Any similarities to Cyborgs?

It was surreal, a fantastic full circle and Duke and Steve Foster were great to work with

So Simply Saucer has achieved real estate in the Canadian Rock N Roll Art History. Who would have thought that 30 years later, Cyborgs would achieve status as 36th on the TOP 100 Canadian Records. Ed....these are bragging rights. Plus you are in pretty good company! What do you make from all of this?

I think there's always a good thing waiting for you around the corner, man the future is up for grabs here's to yesterday, today and tomorrow!

here are a few quickies...

You played with Richard Lloyd recently. He definitely brought 2 lungs full of New York and shot it out musically. Richard also openly mixes the street life with spirituality. Some see this as a oxymoron. What is your take on this?

There's life lived existentially. There are messages from outside. There is reason. There is faith. Science. Poetry. Music. Richard is in pursuit of that. It's just that he looks in some very dangerous places. I have to admire that. At the same time we are very fragile beings...His session at Grant Ave was amazing

Have you ever thought about working with Gord Lewis? Both of you have a very deep root to New York, Detroit and England, musically.

Gord's a true Hamilton musical legend and sure I'd work with him. We could call the project Simply Head (just joking) Saucer have some real connections with Teenage Head. Steve Park came over to Saucer after helping form the original five piece version of Teenage Head. Our drummer, Joe Csontos was their first drummer. I'm sure there are some common musical influences as well like the Stooges..I was a big fan of the Flaming Groovies who's LP, Teenage Head gave them their name. Last but not least both my father and Frank's father were guards together at the Barton St. jail..now how's that for a connection?

Have you heard Kevin Ayers newest record?

No but i've heard it's really awesome..

You saw Willie P Bennett perform in Feb 2007. What did you think of the show?

It was my first time seeing Willie and I was totally blown away

Have you ever thought about having your own satellite radio show?

No but I once did a show at CFMU with Imants Krumins

What do you remember about the first time The Forgotten Rebels opened for you?

I remember my friend Mickey burning the Canadian flag and my brother Mike punching out three of their roadies for badmouthin us.

Did you ever see Slander?

no

 

Mar 01, 2008 - Hamilton Magazine

Writer: James Tennant

this story has just been nominated for a National Magazine award

Revelation Rock: Three decades after his band's first record, Simply Saucer front man Edgar Breau is still out there

They have been called "pioneers" and "as quintessentially Canadian as Medicare and street hockey." Their first album has been hailed as one of the best Canadian releases in history. And you probably haven't heard of them. The band is Simply Saucer, and by rights, they should have been lost forever, buried in the gritty depths of Hamilton's music history. Formed on the fringes of the scene, Simply Saucer garnered no critical praise until a decade after they broke up. This is their story, a story as anomalous as their sound.

.......... click here to read the complete story

Oct 19, 2007 - Day 2 Promo & the Story on Simply Saucer

Bob Mersereau’s Blog

The reviews are in! Some of them anyway. With the book in stores, and the embargo lifted, national wire services, media websites, newspapers, radio and television stations have been running stories, most often mentioning the Top Ten of the Top 100, adding a few comments about what is and isn't there, and some asking readers and viewers to send in their own lists. We'd like that on our site, too. Send in your own top ten or whatever, or even a list of albums that you feel should have been there. 

.......... click here to read the complete story

Jun 17, 2007 - Interview with Eric Theriault

Simply Saucer: A Perfect Ending?

Finally getting a little recognition after years in the dark, 70s psych-punk rock outfit Simply Saucer is known by many as one of the great lost Canadian treasures of our time. But has their somewhat recent comeback tours ruined the perfect underground rock n' roll story? Eric Theriault spoke with leader Edgar Breau to find out.

.......... click here to read the complete story

Nov 19, 2004 - Tandem Online

Story by Kerry Doole

Moments of musical magic can sometimes be found in unlikely places. A cold night in Parkdale, for instance. At cozy neighbourhood bar Mitzi's Sister, a small audience was on hand for Hamilton cult hero, Edgar Breau. He achieved that status with "ahead of their time" psych rockers SIMPLY SAUCER, and he has now morphed into a folk-oriented singer/songwriter. His new solo disc, the aptly-named Canadian Primitive, is a compelling, but decidedly non-commercial work. He is understated onstage, but his inventive acoustic guitar work and poetic songs left a mark. Accompanied by bassist KEVIN CHRISTOFF and, occasionally, harmony singer COMPTON ROBERTS, he concentrated on his new material. Some of his tunes are inspired by writers like Melville and W.B. Yeats ("Rockin' Chair"), but his more autobiographical tunes had most resonance, especially the lovely "I Miss You My Nico." Breau is far from a smooth vocal stylist, but the sincerity of his approach overcomes the flaws.  

.......... click here to read the complete story

Oct 28, 2004 - Tandem Online

Story by Kerry Doole

This Hamiltonian earned cult hero status as the mainman of ahead of their time' '70s rockers SIMPLY SAUCER and has just released a fine solo CD, Canadian Primitive on Songhammer Records. It reflects Breau's switch from electric to acoustic guitar, and the mellower approach suits his poetic lyrics. His influences range from the visionary poets (one tune is set to w.b. yeats' words) to the likes of SYD BARRETT and RAY DAVIES. One highlight is a moving expression of love for '60s icon NICO ("I bought all your records, I saw you at The Edge"). This is raw and compelling stuff. Along with his skilled producer, PAUL RIEMENS, Edgar will play a pwyc gig at Mitzi's Sister in Parkdale on Nov. 4. It is definitely recommended.  

.......... click here to read the complete story

Oct 21, 2004 - View Magazine

Story by Ric Taylor

"I like to call my music more folkadelic," smiles the singer. "There is a thread that runs through it all. Lyrically, rock music became very politicized in the '70s and '80s, and I found that I wanted to be a free agent in terms of what I believed and the way I lived. I didn't identify with pop culture anymore after Saucer, and my influences came from other places.

"But the songs have got to be there first," he adds. "It's no good using them as a vehicle for your ideas if you don't have the music there first. I might be an amateur philosopher, but as a musician I have a responsibility to make good music."

 

.......... click here to read the complete story

Mar 25, 2004 - The Silhouette

McMaster University's Student Newspaper

The 1970s were a dynamic time for Hamilton music. Ask anyone who was involved--fans, promoters, or the artists themselves--and they'll tell you that they were witness to the birth of the Hammer rock scene.

Edgar Breau isn't a household name in this city, but by all rights he should be. In the '70s, Breau fronted a four-piece outfit called Simply Saucer. They were experimental, they were dynamic, and they were one of the world's most important precursors to the punk and new wave movements. But Breau's legacy doesn't end there. In the decades since Simply Saucer, he has reinvented himself as a powerful singer-songwriter, and he shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.

So what's kept his songwriting going through the years?

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Mar 22, 2003 - eye weekly

Cyborgs Revisited has just been remastered and reissued by Sonic Unyon, and features a clutch of previously unheard Saucer material. The re-release has re-activated Breau's desire to perform. He'll even take a run at some Cyborgs-era material when he plays the Horseshoe Wednesday (May 28) alongside original Saucer bassist Kevin Christoff.

Does this feel like Cyborgs Revisited revisited for you?

The first time it came out [through zine publisher and former eye correspondent Bruce Mowat's Fistpuppet label], we didn't have a lot of money to promote it, even though it did well critically. It feels wonderful to have it resurface again, but it is an odd thing to have happen. I was 21 when I made most of this. It was just a demo that was shopped around to the majors. But they weren't interested in our "heavy band." That was what they called us.

 

.......... click here to read the complete story