The charming singer/songwriter of celestial indie pop crew Stars, who present the songs of In Our Bedroom After The War (Arts & Crafts) during their four-night stand at the Phoenix Monday through Thursday (November 26 to 29), 8 pm. $22.50. 416-323-1251.
In Our Bedroom After The War is actually less overtly political than Set Yourself On Fire. What was the concept going in?
We’d been through a tumultuous time as a band and came very close to breaking up at one point. The “war” in the title refers to personal conflicts rather than what was going on in other parts of the world. I think writing songs about Bush being an idiot would be boring, because everyone already knows that. What people need to hear right now are more positive and joyful songs.
There’s a funky number on the new album called The Ghost Of Genova Heights. Have you ever seen a ghost?
I was helping a friend pack up some clothes in the Toronto home of his mother, who had recently passed away. She’d run an antique store, and there were a lot of fabulous vintage dresses there, so I thought I’d try one of them on. When I looked in the mirror I could see a woman behind me on the balcony, which shot a cold chill through my entire body like I’d never felt before in my life. It was terrifying.
With four Stars shows at the Phoenix and four studio albums, are you planning a different set each night?
No, we’re not getting all Grateful Dead with this. We spent two weeks getting a set together for this tour, with a selection of older songs and the new stuff, and we’re pretty much sticking with that. But there will be different opening acts each night: Flash Lightnin’ (Monday), Miracle Fortress (Tuesday and Thursday) and Jade McNelis (Wednesday). We’ll leave the costumes to Of Montreal.
Compare the celebrity groupies of your bands, Broken Social Scene and Stars.
At a Broken Social Scene show you’re probably going to see Lindsay Lohan and her crowd, but Stars get more of the nerdy actors most people haven’t heard of before. I remember being really excited to see Martha Plimpton one night and was calling my friends to tell them, and they were like, Martha who? Excuse meo Running On Empty, anyone? Sandra Oh was rockin’ out the other night, and she’s a real sweetie pie!
What can we expect from your new solo album, slated for next year?
I’ve got about seven songs written, and I’ll be demoing them in January, with plans to record the album this summer with Dan Whiteley, Darcy Yates and Christine Bougie. I think I got the alcohol songs out of my system with the last one, but otherwise it’ll take a similarly soft and acoustic approach. It would be great to have someone like Richard Hawley produce it but we’ll just have to wait and see where it all goes.