EDGAR BREAU BAND with Mike Trebilcock, Tim McB and Hunter Eves at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Wednesday (May 28). $5. 416-598-4753. Rating: NNNNN
listening to the searing synth squelch and nasty guitar buzz of Simply Saucer on the newly remastered Cyborgs Revisited (Sonic Unyon) disc, you'd think it was recorded last month to cash in on the electro-rock trend. It certainly doesn't sound like a lost artifact from the mid-70s - not from Hamilton anyway - but strangely enough, one of the most mind-blowing great space-rock recordings was created 29 years ago by Edgar Breau and fellow Smogtown Saucer cadets Kevin Christoff, John LaPlante (aka Ping Romany) and Neil DeMerchant.
They just walked into Ancaster's Master Sound Recording Studio (an eight-track operation hidden in the basement of the house owned by Daniel and Bob Lanois's mom), handed engineer Bob a copy the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat LP for sonic reference and proceeded to blast their proto-punk blitz well into the red.
"I remember Dan Lanois sitting on the carpet during the playback with his hands squeezed tightly over his ears," chuckles Breau, the group's former frontman, who'll be performing a selection of Simply Saucer tunes with a band that includes original Saucer bassist Christoff at the Horseshoe Wednesday.
The results, particularly Here Come The Cyborgs, Bullet Proof Nothing and Electro Rock, were astonishing, melding the driving electronic dweez of Kraut-rock kooks like Neu! with the snarling over-amped aggression of the pre-smack Stooges.
Simply Saucer were perhaps a bit too adventurous to ever catch on in heavy-metal-happy Steeltown.
"Our manager, Rick Bissell, would get us gigs at high schools around town, saying, 'Trust me, they'll love your music!' But we'd open with Here Come The Cyborgs - beginning with this loud, piercing tape loop Ping had pre-recorded - and at the end of it the crowd would be silent, just looking at us dumfounded.
"I remember this one prom, some kids got into Electro Rock and formed a conga line, but mostly they just stood around screaming at us to play Led Zeppelin tunes. We probably should've played some out-of-town gigs, but I didn't drive."
Even if word of Simply Saucer's innovative sound had carried beyond Dundas, they probably never would've gotten rich off songs like Nazi Apocalypse - they were simply too noisy, aggressive and angular for the time.
Yet, like the Velvets and the Stooges, they could've been hugely influential on the rabble-rousing horde fed up with the dreary MOR stadium rock of the day.
But Simply Saucers' early electronic experiments lay buried for 14 years, until a chance encounter between Breau and Hamilton music journalist Bruce "Mole" Mowatt in a café.
"I'd read this story Mole had written claiming that Teenage Head were Hamilton's first punk band, and I took exception. When I asked him, 'What about Simply Saucer?' he said, 'Who?' So I told him about the group and what we'd recorded, and he wanted to hear the tapes.
Fortunately, Breau was able to track them down, and they wound up being the the basis of the original Cyborgs Revisited LP released by Mole and the newly mastered CD reissue.
That new version of Cyborgs Revisited adds eight bonus tracks from the Saucers' punk incarnation, including songs from a rehearsal in 77, a YMCA show in 78 and both sides of their She's A Dog single from 78.
"There's actually a lot more good material that we could've put on the disc. In 77 we recorded my entire repertoire in our practice space for copyright purposes. So there's a bunch of other stuff that may come out eventually."