The Glads with the Midways and the Pauls at the Rivoli (332 Queen West), Friday (January 7). $5. 416-596-1908. Rating: NNNNN
Along with knitting and playing bridge, going to bed early is one of the last things you'd expect of an aspiring snotty rocker. But when I call up Glads main man Patrick Shanks at approximately 10:15 pm, he's already crashed for the night and it takes a full six rings for him to pick up.
Given his band's proclivity for growling garage rock, one would assume the dude would be hot-roddin' downtown or doing the twist with some Bettie Page look-alike at this point in the evening.
"I have to get up at 6:30 tomorrow morning," explains a drowsy Shanks, sipping water instead of whiskey. "It's not very rock 'n' roll, I know."
That doesn't mean that the shouter and his crew (which includes guitarist Jim Sproull, bassist Nathaniel Hurlow and drummer Tim Matthews) are a bunch of wannabes. Shanks was doing this garage thing back when the Hives were eating hot lunches in grade school and Jack White was wearing flannel.
"I originally got into garage through cassette trading," says Shanks. "Every 10 years or so, garage has its time, and then it heads back underground.
"There's so much garage coming out right now, but a lot of it seems to be about pointy boots and mop-tops," he scoffs. "We've never bothered to dress up. We wear sneakers."
In the early 90s, Shanks read a Suckerpunch review in Maximum Rock 'N' Roll, sent the band a letter and booked them to play a house party. The whole floor was shaking, he recalls, citing it as one of his ultimate rock moments.
"Back then, it was all about sending 5 bucks in the mail and having a band come and play in your town. It was like a very exclusive club."
That sense of underground community is reflected in the Glads' latest record, too - a split 7-inch with local crazies the Midways on Music for Cats Records.
"Now that's rock 'n' roll," says Shanks of the project, which crams two tracks from each band on a side and spins at 33 rpm.
"It fits with the styles of both bands. We're basically just a collection of rock 'n' roll guys. We and the Midways both have one foot in the 50s and 60s, but it's not a retro thing. Our band takes from Little Richard right up to Jonathan Richman."
Proponents of what Shanks calls "budget rock," apparently he and his Ottawa-based pals cut the record with some rented mics in one afternoon. The recording bill came to about $80.
"It's trashy, fun and cheap-ass music," he says. "People ask us what we sound like, and if they don't know what garage is, our drummer tells them we sound like the Beatles - except really, really drunk.
"I don't know who the hell is gonna buy the record, though," he continues, "because a lot of my friends don't have turntables. But I collect records and I seem to be really good at losing money. I'm pretty good at playing rhythm guitar, but I'm not a salesman."
Maybe not, but Shanks sure has a set of pipes. On the new record, his snarl sounds like a thousand whiskey-soaked nights.
"My dad's nickname was Thunder Throat, so I guess I come by it naturally," he offers.
"It's also because no one ever taught me how to sing properly. I just tried to match the fuzz tone of my guitar. I wanted my voice to growl like my amp."