BLINKER THE STAR with Shaker, Hotel and Memory Bank at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Saturday (April 26). $6. 416-598-4753.
for a guy who's been through the rock 'n' roll wringer, Jordon Zadorozny is remarkably unjaded.He started playing for crowds when he was in his teens in his Pembroke, Ontario, hometown, but then decamped for Montreal, where he jammed with folks like former Hole roller Melissa Auf der Maur before forming his current alt-pop band, Blinker the Star, in 1994.
Zadorozny took off for la-la-land several years later, where -- after a stint co-writing with no less a psycho icon than Courtney Love -- he went through the sadly now-clichéd roller coaster of being scooped up and dropped by a major label -- in this case DreamWorks.
But he's not at all bitter. In fact, Zadorozny sounds so laid-back and charming on the line from Montreal, where he's prepping for a gig, it's hard to believe I'm talking to a dude who's stared down the reigning grande dame of contemporary rock craziness.
"It was around 1997, which was during Love's attempt to become a movie star, so she'd really cleaned up her act at that point and was exercising a lot." Zadorozny laughs. "She still pulled antics non-stop, about 24 hours a day. I'd be standing there with the band in the rehearsal room, and she'd get mad at someone for playing the wrong riff or something and up and smash a guitar. I'd be embarrassed -- 'cause the band was weird about me being there in the first place -- and she'd come back and only apologize to me, which would make it even more awkward."
So it's not all a PR stunt?
"No! Not at all! She's really like that."
Luckily, he emerged triumphant from the belly of the beast -- both Love- and label-related. After DreamWorks dropped Blinker the Star's last album, 1999's August Everywhere, Zadorozny spent two years fighting with the label. He claims they rejected 75 songs ("They didn't hear a hit") before he begged -- successfully -- to be released from his contract.
Zadorozny used his hush money to set up a studio in his hometown, where he produced music by pals like Auf der Maur and Sam Roberts before completing the new Blinker the Star disc, Still In Rome, a sweeping, crunchy guitar-heavy rock epic, mere weeks ago. He's confident that the fizzy energy of Still In Rome will help put an end to the limping, Limp Bizkit-esque slump that's lately plagued rock music.
"There are two divisions in music right now," he insists. "There's entertainment-industry music, records that sell 7 or 8 million copies, and then there's rock 'n' roll, which is people trying to make good music.
"Kurt Cobain's death sort of deflated rock for a couple of years. A lot of the rock bands I knew -- myself included -- retreated and did soft records because we felt it wasn't the time for rock. It created a vacuum, and that's where Creed and all those bands came in. People still wanted to hear loud guitars.
"But I think the talented people have picked up their guitars again and have decided to give it another shot because the shitty bands out there are so depressing."firstname.lastname@example.org