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Here In The New Great Game

“Some people are so self-assured they’re busy tearing it up, their bust burning it down - burn it down.”

That’s a line from my single Dictator and it has been described as an anthem at a time when we’ve never needed anything more. I suppose the Trump comparisons are warranted, although the song was written years ago. As is often the case, the true meaning behind a song is often only revealed years later if at all.

In this blog post i want to talk about the story behind my latest album, the place i’ve arrived at in my music career, and the times we are all living in currently: a time of fear, uncertainty and amazing potential.

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The 45th Election For President !

About My Song Dictator

I’ve been asked to share a few words about the concepts and themes of my new record “the New Great Game” on this 8th of November release day and 45th presidential election. Yes 45: there have been 45 presidents of the United States - somehow that doesn’t seem like that many to me. History stretches back but I’m not sure about how far it goes. The heartbreaking narrative of Ken Burn’s Civil War series or his handling of the Second World War seems to chillingly suggest that these events came to pass in a not so distant past. In the 1990s I remember dressing up like a hippie, and in the 70s and 80s they tried to get back to the authenticity and simplicity of 1950s rock and roll. 50s rock and rollers didn’t want to end up like their parents that lived through a couple of wars and the great depression. The years may pass us by, but the game remains very much the same.

On my song Dictator which comes out today, I sing the following:

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New Music and Shows

I'm excited to announce I will be releasing new music, coupled with a run of shows to round off the year.

Music called from the Murray Lightburn (The Dears) produced sessions for the "the New Great Game" will be seeing the light of day very shortly after years of gestation. Featuring Michel Pepin on guitar (Sarah Mclachlin, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks) and all-star band The Hurricane, this is the biggest sounding collection of music I've ever put together. I wanted to make my Damn the Torpedoes, my Born to Run, my Teeth Dreams, my biggest-baddest-rock-record-I-could-muster: I gave everything I had on this album, and swung as hard as I could.

shows:

Here is the current list of dates surrounding release of this new music

Nov 25th - Toronto - The Central

Nov 26th Wakefield - Kafe 1870

Nov 27st - Ottawa - Shanghai Restaurant

The New Great Game

Big News Coming Next Week !

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Running Up That Hill

When I was about 10 (must have been 1987?) I was obsessed with 2 pop albums that I heard on the radio: Peter Gabriel's "So", and Kate Bush "Hounds of Love." I'm not sure why but Hounds has always just made the hair on my arms stand up and made me feel super emotional. It had this crazy run of 5 songs off the top of the record that will just wreck you. One of them is Running Up That Hill. Its funny how the true meaning of a song will only reveal itself to you over time, as your own experiences reveal the layers that went previously undetected. Or maybe I'm just paying more attention to lyrics these days - I don't know. Either way here is my version of "Running Up That Hill." Since I have been focused on improving my one man band approach as of late, I thought this song would pose an appropriate level of difficulty and help me figure out the inner workings of Ableton Live and my Boss RC-300 looper. Sorry that it gets cut off at the end - too much rambling at the beginning and the camera couldn't handle it! :)

Special thanks to Kent for the perfect guitar accompaniment :)

Fall Tour Dates!!

Still....

Ladies and gentlemen I'm beyond jazzed to announce a fall tour is in the works!!

It's been a ridiculous uphill climb since I got back from tour last May, and on one occasion I literally found myself in tears sitting on the floor, but I've decided to keep moving forward despite it all. That's what the battered and bruised fighter on the cover of "Brace for Impact" would want. I'm a fuckin fighter and I will not be killed - at least not in 2015.

Here is the up-to-date list of Ontario tour dates!

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Ryan Adams Is My Buddy On Twitter

It was the summer of 2014 and Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane were set to play another one of our celebrated artist tribute nights at Bistro de Paris in Montreal, this time in tribute to the great Ryan Adams. One of the songs that I knew had to go on the setlist was “La Cienga Just Smiled.”

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Brace for Impact Spring Tour !

I am excited to officially announce tour dates for the upcoming Brace for Impact tour! If you are in any of these cities in Ontario we would love to see you out at the shows.

We are also incredibly lucky to get to share the stage with the great Mike Evin who will be coming out with us for 3 dates (Toronto, Saint Catherines and Hamilton).

More details to come!

BFI Tour poster

2015 – Here We Go Again!

Another year is well on its way, and its time to chime in about what is up with my music.

As some of you may recall, I was a last minute no-show at the Christmas Party last year. Nothing tragic to report, but I was certainly a little more than burnt out and over extended by the end of last year. Turns out that record making can take its toll. We started sessions with Murray Lightburn at Studio Frisson last November and everything is coming along just fine. This record is kicking my ass in a good way, and I hope it will be my best one yet. I guess it will have to be ready by May because at that point I'm going out on tour in Ontario, in support of the Brace for Impact E.P. I'm going out by myself to present my new one man show.

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Warren Zevon Tribute!

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Charles Warren McGough-Johnston

Or how my son came to have the middle name Warren...

When it came time to come up with a name for our son there were several front runners: Charlie and Warren. We ended up putting them together and calling our son Charles Warren. In time we stopped saying Warren, and now we just call him Charlie (its easier that way!). But his middle name is still Warren. So how did this come to be?

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In Your Eyes Soundtrack Now Available on Lakeshore Recs!

I'm exited to report that the soundtrack to In Your Eyes is out now on Lakeshore records!

Preview it here

And then pick it up from

iTunes

Amazon

Happy listening!

Andrew

Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane Cover Ryan Adams’ “Rock and Roll”

Leading up to our Ryan Adams tribute show in April, I put together my own arrangement of this tune from the album of the same title. I enjoyed playing it so much at the show, that I thought I would knock out a version in the studio for fun with the band. We had a great time doing it, and we're exited to share the results with you!

And check out Ryan's record if you haven't already: one of my favorites!

The Importance of Being Ryan Part 2

As many of you know, a few months ago we paid tribute to Ryan Adams as part of our ongoing residency at Bistro de Paris. Its a monthly night, where the Hurricane and I can get together with some of our favorite local songwriters to pay tribute to the music we love. We try to dial down the local scene attitude, create a fun welcoming vibe, and put together an evening that is all about the music. Over time I have come to dub this night "Evening of the gang of losers," since I think that Dears song perfectly sums up what our little residency has become.

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This happened

Andrew Johnston To Pay Tribute to Warren Zevon

I am excited to announce that the 7th installment of my monthly residency at Bistro de Paris will feature Warren Zevon as our tribute artist.

I have been a fan of Warren’s music for many years, and have fond memories of performing “Mutineer” and “Accidentally Like a Martyr” with JF Robitaille back in the day.

More recently my son Charles-Warren bears the name of the the singular American songwriter with the genius pen and fiery temper.

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Andrew Johnston featured on “IN YOUR EYES” Soundtrack Album

I am excited to announce that my song “Go Get Another Dream” will be released on ITunes as part of the “IN YOUR EYES” Soundtrack Album on Lakeshore records. The album features songs from Joss Whedon’s film IN YOUR EYES, and will be released on May 27th 2014.

Here is the track listing:

1. “Go Get Another Dream” – Andrew Johnston
2. “Temptation” – Ray Beadle
3. “Resurrection Fern” – Iron & Wine
4. “Flowers In Your Hair” – The Lumineers
5. “The Riot’s Gone” – Santigold
6. “Trouble I’m In” – Twinbed
7. “Glad I Found You” – Eddie Ray
8. “In The Dark” – Opus Orange
9. “Stand In The Water” – Wildlife
10. “The Break Up” – Tony Morales
11. “Crumblin’” – Noah Maffit
12. “Fired Up” – Matt Anderson
13. “Good News Blues” – Doug Jerbine

You can also stream the song from my bandcamp page here

The film is available at Vimeo On-demand here.

Summer!

"Go Get Another Dream" featured in new Joss Whedon movie, In your Eyes

I am very exited to announce that one of my songs "Go Get Another Dream" is featured in the new Joss Whedon movie, In Your Eyes.

I was able to check out the movie recently on Vimeo On Demand, and was pleasantly surprised to find that there is even some dialog in the film between Nikki Reed and Michael Stahl-David about the song. Without giving too much away, my song is playing the role of a hit song on the radio, and each of the characters has their own opinion of it!

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The Importance of Being Ryan: Part 1

When I was in my early 20s, I was living in a loft in the mile end neighborhood of Montreal, and playing in a rock and roll band called the Model Children. We were a hip, buzz band for about a year in Montreal, and we managed to get on some pretty big shows, opening for Interpol, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Hot Hot Heat just as the whole post-Strokes, 80s revival, indie rock thing was blowing up. It was an intense experience and the band was made up of some larger than life personalities. Being in that band felt like waging war: every time we went into the practice space, it was an all out street fight to get your ideas across. Tensions were made all the worse by the fact that some of us lived together.

Against this backdrop I fell in love with a whip smart, diminutive journalism student who had a small apartment across from the Beaudry metro in the gay village. Going there was a blessed retreat in my life. A sweet pocket where I could get away from the domineering personalities, noise, and intensity.

The journalist was also a music fan, and worked for a well known in-flight magazine. She would often score free CDs from the office and we would work our way through them in time.

One of these Cds was Ryan Adams’ Gold.

As a massive Ryan Adams fan now, I should disclose that my initial impressions were not overly positive. It all sounded a bit too lushly produced for my ears at the time, like a slightly more twangy Rob Thomas.

Then the songs started to sink in. One in particular, “La Cienga Just Smiled,” featured a simple, plaintive piano figure set against a gently strummed, persistent acoustic guitar. The song told the tale of the immediate aftermath of a break up, where the character wonders how he could “end up feeling so bad, for such a little girl.”

It was at the end of our second summer together that the journalist decided to uproot and move across Canada to Edmonton. During my last visit to her place I grabbed the CD and said “I’m keeping Gold.”

Over time, I have come to realize that Gold is that quintessential perfect album. On all levels it shines. Ethan Johns’ production is pitch perfect with just the right amount of big budget sheen and gloss, and some of the most full bodied yet gentle mixes released during the aughts. The ensemble playing between Ryan and his band is flawless. The parts are interesting and interlocking but never bland or stock. And then there are the songs: Gorgeous songs like “When the Stars Go Blue,” “Firecracker,” “New York, New York,” “Answering Bell” “Somehow, Someday” and “Sylvia Plath,” still stand out as some of the strongest of the RA canon.

This Friday at our RA tribute, the setlist will be heavily weighted with Gold.

http://youtu.be/OWvbjENrgbY

Brace for Impact is Rolling

New Single "The year of All Risks" Released!!

The second single from Brace for Impact "the Year of All Risks" is now available on Bandcamp!!

Here's what we are saying:

Coming off the February release of “Living In the Free World,” the first single off Andrew Johnston's E.P “Brace for Impact: Part 1,” the Montreal singer-songwriter has announced the release of the second single “The Year of All Risks.”

The song follows in the footsteps of Living in the Free World and explores political themes within the context of life in Montreal. The 5 minute plus indie rock opus is an impassioned cry to not give in, despite the threats to freedom coming from all angles in today’s society. The characters in the song are “hanging out in Montreal, watching the world go to the dogs” but resolve to stick together against all odds.

"It's a song that was inspired by the student protests in Montreal of a couple of years ago. When the protests started it was an exciting time, and it was inspiring to see people taking advantage of their democratic right to take to the streets in protest. But then things took a much darker turn. The government passed laws seriously curtailing these hard fought rights, and we started to hear about cases of police brutality. When I heard about these things, my heart broke for Montreal and Canada. I wrote this song to try to restore my courage and faith in what I think it means to be Canadian.

Join In The Process!!

Starting on April 1st, you can join in the process and help us with the production of "Brace for Impact." We're launching a campaign on indiegogo with all proceeds going to help us finish the album by the end of the year. We're releasing the music as a series of digital-only E.Ps, with the first E.P launching in June.

here is our pitch video!

Vote For Your favorite Artists!!

CBC Music is inviting you to vote for your favorite artists in the first round of the 2014 Searchlight competition. You can vote for Andrew Johnston by checking out my CBC Music page.

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Everyday you can vote up to six times!! I am tweeting my daily votes over on Twitter.

Ryan Adams Tribute

I am continuing my monthly residency at Bistro de Paris with a tribute to Ryan Adams. Me and a few of my favorite musical cohorts will be performing stripped down arrangement of some of our favorite RA tunes, featuring acoustic and electric guitar, steel guitar and piano.

Expect to hear from me in the weeks ahead when I announce our special guests for the evening.

Join the Facebook Event!

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I pledged to the new Jesse malin record and Don Dilego remixed LITFW!

First Post of 2014!

Tons of exiting stuff to announce as part of my first post of 2014! So I will get right to it.

Living In the Free World Video Release

My new single Living in the Free World, premiering on CultMTL and Exclaim!, will launch Tuesday February 18th as part of my residency at Bistro de Paris!

Join the Facebook Event.

Check out the video!

Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane cover the National

The National, is hosting a covers contest over at americanmary.com

This was a great excuse to go into the studio and cover one of our favorite bands, and it was also our first try at music video production. My lovely and talented wife Sarah McGough took care of the filming, and I handled edited duties. We are exited at the prospect of making more!

The National have been an influence on my work, since I had the pleasure of opening for them on the Alligator tour in 2005, so it was cool to have this opportunity to pay tribute!

Brace for Impact Part 1

I will be dividing my new album “Brace for Impact” into a string of digital installments. As mentioned the first single "Living In The Free World" is launching as part of the residency on February 18th.

This will be the first of three mini-releases, which will culminate in an E.P in June 2014, entitled “Brace for Impact: Part 1.”

You can stream the new single on Bandcamp:

Adieu 2013!

I am sitting here in my parent's comfortably appointed living room, looking out onto the winter wonderland that is the countryside outside of Ottawa. Although not a religious person, Christams is always a time of family togetherness for me, when I have the time to take stock of the past year and think about all that I have to be grateful for.

Of course this year has been particularly special, as I had the joy of welcoming my first child into the world, Charles Warren McGough Johnston. He's named Charlie based on all the creative Charlies from Kaufman, Byrd and Harper that me and my wife are so fond of. Warren comes from Warren Zevon, the singular American songwriter with the genius pen and fiery temper that made him such a remarkable person. We can only hope that Charlie will leave his mark on this world in a no less formidable fashion.

A Time to Give Thanks

Once again I have to give a big holiday shout out to greenland productions for believing in my project and sticking me on a couple of pretty big shows in 2013. Highlights included opening a couple of dates for Milow at the Petit Imperial in Quebec City and Lion D'Or in Montreal. The show opening for Wakey!Wakey! last January was a bright spot, with many CDs sold and new fans made. It was a thrill to open up for Scotland's Big Country at Petit Campus and watch them put on a stadium worthy performance. It was an inspiration meeting Mike Peters, Jools and the kids, and learning about all their amazing work with Love, Hope, Strength. Sometimes in life you meet truly inspiring people that light a light inside of you and push you to be a better person.

The Residency

Probably the highlight of the year for me has been the ongoing success of our monthly residency at Bistro de Paris. Claud Legault, Eva Stone and the whole BDP staff have been amazing to us, and we have had some truely beautiful nights of rock and roll heaven.

I just wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to the artists that have participated so far in these magical nights. It really means everything to me that the night has attracted so much interest from the local artistic community, and each of you brought something unique and amazing to the event: Colin Moore, Seb Black, Michael Mooney and The Yellow Jacket Avenger: stay golden boys!

Next year we hope to keep the Residency strong with tribute nights to Ryan Adams, Warren Zevon, TPOH, British Pub Rock and more! So come out and be part of the vibrant Montreal music scene, and if you are an artist that wants to participate get in touch!

I will leave you with a rendition of Springsteen's classic "Backstreets" from the second edition of our residency. this is an epic tale of friendship and striving, which serves as my annual reminder that we can all be something bigger.

Andrew

Photos from Bistro de Paris Residency Part 2

Great Photos by Susan!

Check out some great photos by Susan Moss from the second edition of our Bistro de Paris residency, a tribute to Bruce Springsteen.

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Made a tumblr.

Bistro de Paris Residency Part 3

After an incredible second installment of the residency, paying tribute to the Boss, we will be back once again for our Holiday Party on December 18th, with the incredible Yellow Jacket Avenger and Mike Paterson.

A Quick Note on the Boss Tribute

I just wanted to say how honored I was to be part of such a special night at the last edition of the residency. I feel spoiled to be in an artistic community with talent this deep! Thnx to the people that came out and made it the special night that it was. Seb Black and his Emery Street Records crue showed up and just about stole the show (in the best possible way). Michael Mooney effortlessly took us on a journey with his beautiful renditions of "I'm on Fire" and "Atlantic City," and Frank Makak made his return to the live scene after a too-long hiatus. A special shout out has to go out to my man Dave Lines for absolutely killing it on piano all night long. Danny was smiling down on us from the great beyond I'm sure. Susan Moss was on hand, and captured some great moments.

TYJA

My friends, something awesome has happened. My old buddy Geoff Pye has moved to Montreal and is playing songs off the latest Yellow jacket Avenger album "Branden Town" with a 5 piece band. I know Geoff from my Ottawa days, and for a brief moment I played guitar in an erstwhile incarnation of YJA: It was one of the highlights of my musical journey so far. So imagine my delight when the very same week that my buddy Al Isler gifts me the new book "Wooden Stars:Innocent Gears" I receive a message from Geoff about possibly sharing a bill. Done and done!

Mike P

Those of you "In The Know," know that the ongoing friendship and artistic partnership between myself and Mike Paterson is a truly wonderful thing. I'm honored to call Mike one of my best friends in Montreal and I hope that our special bond only intensifies and deepens with time. Mike recently unveiled something very special to me: his new holiday medley! Its a wonderful song about the magic of the holidays that I'm sure YOU WILL NOT WANT TO MISS!

This is Mike's Dorrito's commercial

ONLY YOU CAN JOIN OUR EVENT!

Head on over to facebook and join the holiday party event. You'll be glad that you did. Shrimmmmmm!!!!!

The No Shirts

The No Shirts

The No Shirts were a band from Ottawa Canada that were active from about 1995 to 2001. The band featured Andrew Johnston on guitar and vocals, Eric Passmore on guitar, Angus McLachlin on drums, and Erin Ramsay on bass and vocals.

The band was heavily influenced by 80s pop, Chicago post-rock and primarily by the Wooden Stars. Andrew would go on to a brief stint in Geoff Pye's the Yellow Jacket Avenger project.

The No Shirts released one album, Damn American Cars, to local critical praise and the album went to the top 10 of all local college radio stations in the weeks after its release. Sadly, the band disbanded soon after due to a variety of circumstances.

The No Shirts were known for their zany unpredictable live shows which often featured bizarre masks, costumes, and on one memorable occasion band members throwing batteries and a plastic godzilla toy at each other on stage. The band was associated with the indie rock and experimental music scene in Ottawa and Montreal sharing bills with bands such as Kubelka, Red Hemsley, Mishima, and the Murato.

A few years after the No Shirts disbanded, Johnston, Passmore and McLachlin would re-group as the Gentleman's Club, releasing the critically acclaimed album the Servant in 2005. Both Johnston and Passmore continue to pursue music as solo artists, while Mclachlin has developed a career as a well known Canadian contemporary music composer.

What Does the Boss Mean to Me?

Leaving It All On the Stage

To mark the occasion of our upcoming tribute to the Boss, I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on the influence of Bruce's music on my work and to provide a bit of context behind why we are undertaking this tribute.

When I think of the Boss, the first image that comes to mind is of an artist that leaves everything on the stage. The Boss gives his all every night, trying to reach each and every person in the stadium. This is fairly rare in the entertainment business.

It is also rare thing for somebody to write music that is at once so sophisticated, and ambitious, while also being so immensely appealing and popular. In our highly polarized, over-categorized modern world, music often seems to either pander to the masses, or sell itself short in an effort to appeal to those who identify with a life outside the mainstream. Bruce's music blows away the dichotomy by embracing the full potential that music offers.

Exploring the Darkness on the Edges From the Inside

Its easy to often overlook the dark themes and withering criticism of American ideas that underpin Bruce's 1980s classic, Born In the USA, one of the best selling albums of all time. The album spawned 7 top 10 singles and went on to sell over 30 million copies worldwide. It also dealt with the harsh realities of the American Dream. Take the title track, Born In The USA, where a Vietnam vet unable to find work at the refinery, laments the death of his brother fighting the Viet Cong ("they're still there. He's all gone."). Then there is the smash hit Dancing In The Dark with its catchy bridge that so perfectly captures the frustration of the unfulfilled artistic temperament ("You sit around getting older. There's a joke here somewhere, and baby its on me."). These are certainly not the lyrical themes that we have come to expect of our top ten singles in this day and age.

Regrettably, to my mind, the current musical landscape seems more rent in two than ever before. A predictable procession of music industry pap clogs the airwaves of most "mainstream" radio stations. Perhaps in retaliation, many musicians have self-consciously rejected the need for consensus, by making music that willfully obscures, prevaricates and confounds. This is all well and good: a musical landscape should be a rainbow with all colors reflected. However, there is room in the middle for music that can do it all, and it takes the courage, honesty and passion of somebody like Bruce to make it happen.

As I try to navigate the complexities of being an artist in the Montreal music community, it strikes me that too often bands take the easy way out of trying to impress their friends (bloggers, "music journalists" and other band members) rather than trying to write truly great songs. In an effort to not disturb some sense of shared sensibility they make music that is merely cool, but fails to connect to the humanity that's inside each and every one of us.

You and I are A Gang of Losers

Montreal has a large and vibrant musical community with a good variety of music festivals and industry related events. It's become a reliable fact of life that Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane is rarely selected for these things. I wouldn't want to speculate too much on the why, but I can tell you that it's helped me forge my artistic identity.

To my mind, me and my Motley Crue of musical cohorts are like the gang of losers in the Dears song of the same name (a truly great Montreal band!). We're on the outside of almost everything, yet we hang together because we have the same heart. Like the characters in Born to Run's Bobby Jean "we like the same music, we like the same bands, we like the same clothes." Or perhaps we're a bit like the two friends in No Surrender who "made a promise we swore we'd always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender."

It is in the ability of Bruce's music to both appeal to the spirit of the under dog while swinging for the rafters, that makes it so powerful and important. It says alot that the outcasts and downtrodden of the world relate so strongly to a music that went went top of the pops.

On Songwriting

Ever since I made the decision to start making music under my own name I've been trying write great songs that transcend genre and style to try to speak to people on a fundamental human level. I've tried to make being cool my last priority and I've held fast to the belief that great popular music can be immensely challenging and sophisticated without being alienating. Along the way I've looked to the Boss for direction and inspiration on many occasions.

Next Tuesday I hope you will join me and my Motley Crue of Losers as we pay homage to one of the greats.

Springsteen Tribute!

Living the Dream!!

Next Tuesday November 26th I get to realize one of my lifetime dreams of getting up on stage to incarnate the music of one of the best songwriters of all time, the Boss, Bruce Springsteen.

Top Hands

I feel truly lucky and honored that I will be able to do this in the company of some of Montreal’s finest musicians. Almost every day I count my lucky stars that I have been fortunate enough to put together the group of guys that I am currently working with. In addition to core Hurricane members Al Isler, Peter X, Fred Bouchard, and Marcel Anicic, we are extremely happy to be working with Dave Lines who will once again be holding down the keys with us. Dave is a veteran of the Montreal music scene and fronts his own awesome band, A Devil’s Din. Also joining us from D.D will be drummer Dominique Hemalas, coming onboard at the last minute to help us out for this show. And it wouldn’t be a proper Springsteen shows without our very own Big Man, Vincent Stephen Ong on saxaphone.

Special Guests!

And then there are the special guests. Last month we were blown away to have Colin Moore join us for our Tom Petty tribute, and this month we are once again truly humbled by the response from the local artistic community. For this edition of the residency we will be joined by no less than three of the most talented songwriters and performers on the local scene. If you haven’t hear of Frank Makak, Seb Black, or Michael Mooney than I urge you to check them out. If you’re already familiar with their work, then next Tuesday is a great opportunity to see them in a unique setting playing a mix of originals and Springsteen tracks.

Bistro de Paris

A note on the venue. Bistro de Paris is probably the sweetest, least pretentious place to see a real rock and roll show on the Plateau these days. They have a great jukebox, cheap-ass big bottles of beer, and a friendly staff that keeps the party going all night long.

Last month’s residency was probably the most fun I’ve had all year, and for next Tuesday we are upping the ante once again.

We’re going to be raging hard: won’t you come join us?

Pictures from Tom Petty Tribute!

Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane Rock the music of Tom Petty!!

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Matt is the coolest!

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full band!

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Living In the Free World Video Shoot and Bistro de Paris Residency

Living In The Free World Video Shoot

I am exited to announce my Living In The Free World video is underway! We will be hanging out in Parc Laurier for most of the day on Saturday September 28th singing songs, barbecuing and raising up our beer cans. If you are in the area come by and be a part of it! There is a major theme of public participation in the video, so if you show up you will more than likely be in the video!

For all the details check out the Facebook Event.

Bistro de Paris Residency

I'm really happy to be kicking off a monthly residency at the Bistro de Paris on Tuesday October 8th. Once a month, Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane will be taking to the stage to pay tribute to one of our favorite artists. The first edition of the residency will feature the music of Tom Petty with special guest musician Colin Moore. Colin will be joining us to sing some of his favorite Petty tunes and to rip a few originals.

So come on out to the show, buy yourself an entire bottle of booze, and check out the Facebook Event!

July!

Brace for Impact is Underway!

We were in the studio over the weekend, kicking off production for the Brace for Impact album! Myself, Al Isler, George Donosso, Peter X and Simon Patraki laid down bedtracks on Saturday for Living in the Free World, The Year of All Risks, and Conspiracy Theorist. On Sunday we added keys by Dave Lines and a bit of guitar by Al. It was a magic session!

And you wont have to wait for a year to hear it all! Instead, we will be tackling the album track by track, and releasing a new digital single, with accompanying viral video, each time that we finish a track! I will have more information about the video production aspect of the project soon, but rest assured that Amelie Lapointe and I are working on something really fun and interesting that should result in some really cool videos by local Montreal up and coming talent.

Mixing by Don Deligo!

The first single off the record will be Living in the Free World, and we're psyched to announce that producer Don Deligo is signed up to mix the track! Don is a songwriter in his own right, and studio owner, and he's currently working on the latest album by one of my favourite songwriters, Jesse Malin.

Studio Updates!

here are a couple of videos that I shot during the first weekend of recording for Brace for Impact:

Opening for Big Country!

It is with great pleasure that I announce our opening gig with Big Country. I've been a big fan of well-constructed pop songs for the better part of my life, so its a thrill to get to work with some of the best in the business! The 80s is often derided as being a stale, generic period of popular music history, where digital technology and corporate practices helped to instill a paint by numbers, cookie cutter approach to hit making. This may be true in some cases, but lets not forget the level of pop craftsmanship that was about at that time. Just try to imagine a world without Hall and Oates, Phil Collins, the Police, Squeeze, Elvis Costello etc. Unthinkable! This is my second time around opening for one of my 80s heroes (first up was Colin Hay of Men at Work also at the Petit campus venue), and I feel honored to have the opportunity!

June

Doing a Couple of shows with Belgium's Milow

Its always nice to get the chance to share the stage with somebody that shares a mutual love of Ryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen, and that's just what I'll be doing next week, when I open for Milow in Quebec City and Montreal.

The event in Montreal will mark my first appearance at Lion D'or, one of Montreal's most legendary venues. Very exited for this!

Gig with Beatrice Deer

I had the pleasure of doing a show with Beatrice Deer, an Inuit singer from Nunavik who blew everybody away with her incredible voice and Inuit throat singing. The gig also marked a reunion of sorts of myself and some of her bandmates, who I studied with at Concordia or did sessions with in the past.

We went on last and played to opening act Zef Racek and 6 of his friends. Zef and his friend Nick Huston did a great low key set to kick off the night, reminiscent of quiet Velvet Underground at times.

Summer Loving Torture Party!

I have big news which I will announce at my next headline gig in Montreal, the Summer Loving Torture Party at Casa del Popolo.

Since it might be my last gig in Montreal for awhile, I am inviting a bunch of my musical friends to come and play 2-3 songs cabaret style, all proceeds going to the SPCA. Hopefully a fun, laid-back night will be had by all. Its PWYC, which Im starting to feel is the best way to do gigs (no guestlist!). So far here's who's showing up:

Lil Andy
Phil Shearing (Paddle to the Sea)
Michel O'Nary (the Hot Showers)
Pang Attack
Sean Foster
James Correa

stay tuned for more info.

Teenage Paws Vinyl 7″

The vinyl has arrived, the date is confirmed and the other acts have been lined up. If your in the Montreal area come and join us for the Teenage Paws Vinyl 7" release party!

Like the post on facebook for your chance to win big!

Join the event on facebook and like the sticky post to get entered in a draw for the teenage paws vinyl and a copy of the critically acclaimed album, The Wake of the Wonder Years!

Don't miss these other awesome bands!!

For the release party, I have really lucked out and two of the best musical acts in Montreal are on board to play! Im talking about Mike O'Brien and the Sunfields!

Where can I get my hands on this vinyl 7" if I cant make the show Andrew?!

Im glad you asked. Practically every record store has em. So far that means Atom Heart, Sound Central, Phonopolois, Sonorama, and Cheap Thrills. Go and get yours now for a chance at free tickets to the show, and a complimentary copy of the WOTWY CD.

And in other news

We will be going into the studio soon to record Living In The Free World the first single from the next record, Brace for Impact. For the recording of this record, we will be going track by track and releasing a digital single as we go, with accompanying "viral" video. We will try to stay on a track per month schedule, and when its all wrapped up we will package the singles together as a single downloadable album. This will be the best way for me budget wise to make the record, and sounds like it will be a whole pile of fun!

Follow our progress on soundcloud using the Brace for Impact Pre-Production set! You can follow the link now to hear the pre-production demos and works in progress. Feel free to leave comments!

The So Uncool Society

The following includes excerpts form an early draft of the So Uncool Society's Manifesto.

Genre

We don't believe in genre, there's only good music and bad music. We just believe in songs.

Cool

"if there's something you'd like to try, if there's something you'd like to try
ask me I wont say no how could I"

We don't believe in cool. Cool is the death of creativity. Once you start worrying about being cool you start to limit yourself out of fear: the fear of not being cool.

What's the difference Between Cool Music and Good Music?

Everybody Knows What's Good.

Cool, on the other hand, is a construct created to commercialize music and market it to specific demographics.

We sing for the whole family

Music can be a power. Music can be an inspiration, and it can be a therapy. Music should not some exclusive club with a mean spirited bouncer at the door.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett is the unofficial figure head and thought leader of the uncool society. If you don't know very much about the man or his philosophies on life and music you should check him out.

More content will be posted as it is finalized.

For the Love of Music,
Andrew


2013!

Its been surprisingly busy considering that January and February are typically sleepy winter hibernation months for me. I kicked off the year with an amazing gig with wakey!wakey! at Cabaret du Mile End. Michael Grubbs was on fire that night and invited us to share the merch table after the gig. We made some new friends and sold an abnormally high amount of CDs considering that its 2013 and nobody buys CDs anymore. If your not already aware of Michael's music I urge you to check it out!

Had an amazing time at Inspecteur Epingle with my new friends Wes Walls and Simon Walls. Considering that Montreal was knee deep in snow, the more than respectable turn out was really heartwarming for us, and the whole evening had a warm, feel-good vibe that I was really happy with. I got to test out some new tunes, including Night Owl, which always seems to get people to perk up their ears and listen. I couldn't be happier, as its a very personal song, about a dearly departed friend from my high school days.

Next Friday im going to Ottawa to play with my two best friends from throughout my life, Misha Gellman and Eric Passmore. Both Misha and Eric are unique and talented songwriters and its been my pleasure to share my love of music and songwriting with them over all these years.

Well what else can I say....Im currently looking for a label to help take my career to the next level and work with me to put out my next record "Brace for Impact." Its an anthemic collection of big picture songs that paint in broad strokes and address themselves to the stadium going concert goer. Im not ashamed to say that's my goal, and I hope to make it happen sooner than later! Im very fortunate to be working with close musical conspirators Al Isler and Peter X on this endeavor and we hope to be able to deliver the record with or without a label by the end of 2013. You can checkout our progress by following along on the soundcloud set.

Don't Stop Believing!

Andrew

Happy Holidays and the Year in Review

This will likely be my last post of 2012, and what a year its been!

I've been extraordinarily lucky to have the chance to work with some great people this year and its been a pleasure. Thanks in particular to The Musebox, Greenland Productions, Indaba Music, and thirdsidemusic for the help and support this year!

Thanks also to all the bands we had the pleasure of sharing the stage with this year. And a heartfelt thank you to those of you that bought the record, checked out a show, wrote something positive, liked my page etc. etc. My music is the closest thing I have to a religion, and it truly means everything to me every time somebody supports my music!

We rounded out the year with a great show at Piranha Bar that we recorded for release, with photos by Susan Moss. It was a great night that really put me in the mood for many more live shows to come in 2013.

Happy holidays and all the best until my next blog post in 2013!

Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane Live at Piranha Bar!

The live recording from the show at Piranha Bar on November 15th is all mixed and mastered (kudos go to Al Isler for an excellent job) and ready for your listening pleasure!

Live Photos by Susan Moss

We had the pleasure of working with Susan for the recording of our live album at Piranha Bar. It was a great night and she did a fantastic job capturing the moment!

032-Andrew Johnston-lo res-photo Susan Moss

Click for the complete Set

Music Therapy

In a life we experience all kinds of tragedies, some more personal and others at some level of remove. In our heavily mediated, and mediatized culture we become numb to the horrors of the world served up to us in a seemingly never ending 24 hour new cycle.

Part of the reason why I make music is to help me deal with the things I hear about every day. Like many others out there, im not completely switched off yet, and the things that happen in this world are enough to drive you insane. My music is my therapy, and I write songs now more than ever to retain my sanity. Some of you are familiar with the handful of albums that I have released over the years, comprising a little over 50 songs or so, but my output is actually much much higher than that. I write songs when im sad, I write songs when im horrified, frustrated, angry, and pissed off. I write songs about being in love, and about things that move me. And i've decided to start sharing them in a much more immediate, unmediated fashion.

If the so-called news agencies get to litter our collective unconsciousness with a stream of negativity, and if everybody is tweeting about their latest sandwich, I feel I have enough of an excuse to start posting these amateur recordings for all to hear. Some of these might make it on an album one day. Others I might regret posting as the rush of immediacy wears of and the true song is revealed to me. I might also regret some of these ripped from the headlines songs in the future if they no longer reflect how I feel about the issues. But if Bruce Cockburn is willing to take that risk I guess I am too.

Here is the first song in my music therapy series called Gearing up for war. I post it in the hope that it has something to offer to you, and that it provides some kind of context or insight into the insanity of war.

With Love,
Andrew

Teenage Paws Winners!

The Teenage Paws Remix contest at Indaba music is officially over and done with, and the grand prize winner is........Fernando Perdomo!

Here are the top five winners chosen from the popular vote. Gotta Love the mSelv Night Rider meets Spy Hunter vibe!

New Music from Misha Gellman

When I was about 12 years old me and my best friend Misha Gellman fell in love with music and the electric guitar. He bought a red Strat copy (matching his hair color) and I got a blue Ibanez "heavy metal" guitar with a Floyd Rose bridge and whammy bar. I remember playing our first coffee house at high school: we played a medley of riffs featuring Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come As You Are, Black Dog, and Enter Sandman. I still have a picture of that somewhere. Later on we started the band Exit Freedom, which would have several incarnations over the years. Starting as a 4 piece metal band we mostly did covers of 80s thrash bands such as Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax. As the 90s started to unfold something major happened to change our musical tastes, and it wasn't before long that the band was playing mostly grunge covers: I remember the coffee house where we played Plush by Stone Temple Pilots, Somebody to Shove by Soul Asylum, as well as Crush by Canadian band the Doughboys: Formative times indeed.

A few years later we started getting into writing our own stuff, as well as the post rock and indie rock stuff coming out of Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S. Eventually we found ourselves in a pretty heavy, psychedelic rock band playing mostly Misha's original compositions. 2 drummers, 2 electric guitarists and a bassist playing slightly proggy, instrumental music in our parents basements.

In time, as is often the case, Exit Freedom split and me and Misha drifted apart. Misha's life took a much different path than mine, as I pursued academics while Misha traveled to India to pursue his longtime Buddhist faith. For a good many years I heard very little from Misha except for the occasional updates from friends and family. Misha moved around alot and was living on the streets from time to time. He was leading a semi-itinerant existence. However, along the way Misha kept his musical inspiration alive, which brings us to the music embedded in this post.

Listening to Misha's two sound cloud sets, "Toronto" and "R.U.O.K" I can hear the influence of the metal bands we cut our teeth on, the grunge bands that defined our teenage years and the spirituality that has guided Misha's life almost from the outset. These 3 things combine with a mystical, almost English folk sound, that brings to mind artists such as Burt Jansch. All told, I find that the music stands in a class of its own, as an example of the kind of original, unfiltered expression that can perhaps only come from the outsider community. However, even there, Misha sets himself apart from other outsider artists with his raw musicality and irrefutable skills on the guitar. Above all, what inspires me the most about Misha's music is that it doesn't pander, try to catch up to the latest trend, or appeal to any pre-conceived demographic. This is literally just a guy in his room connecting to reality and his world through music. If you believe that music is a power that can be transcendental then you need to listen to Misha Gellman.

Anvil: the Story of Anvil!

I had the distinct pleasure of watching the documentary Anvil: The Story of Anvil last night. Its a really well made film with a heartwarming story of friendship and family at its core, and its no wonder it has been universally loved and acclaimed.

I must say being a musician of 34 years of age still duking it out on the Montreal club scene after all these years, I totally related to these guys; Especially at a time when I'm planning to start my own family here in Montreal, with no plans to stop playing live, or stop believing in my dreams. It was really inspiring to see how these guys have navigated their friendships, family and the rigorous demands of the music business, all the while churning out 13 plus records in the process.

And for anybody who thinks that these guys are past it, or that the film only serves to let us gawk at the misadventure of a once-great, failed band, your missing the point of the film, and you might also be missing a much larger point: These guys are living the life they want to live, and they are not afraid to be 100% themselves in the process. To me that's one of the greatest challenges in life, and perhaps life's greatest achievement if done successfully. I know that personally, I struggle everyday to be myself and feel comfortable in my own skin, as I navigate the many roles and responsibilities that I am faced with as musician, employee, husband and friend. Personally, Id rather be in their shoes than in the shoes of a band that gets everything handed to them but lacks the backbone, conviction or integrity to see the thing through. I'm in Anvil's corner because they do what they do for all the right reasons, and I hope to follow their example.

New Logo, Fall Shows, Voting for your Favorite Teenage Paws Remixes!

Its fall, my favorite time of year! Reasons why I love fall: The temperature, the fashion, and the feeling in the air of new and exiting things to come. And fall 2012 for Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane will be no exception! Firstly, I am exited to announce our new, exiting logo designed by Val Mcbain, Sarah Mcgough and myself. Inspired by Thin Lizzy, Ryan Adams, and 80s thrash metal I hope its a logo synonymous with quality rock and roll for years to come!

AJ-logo

Fall shows!!

Exited for the following upcoming Shows

Andrew Johnston Live at the Drake Hotel Elvis Monday Showcase
the Drake Hotel
Montreal
Monday, November 5th, 2012 at 9:00pm

check out the description of the legendary Elvis Monday showcase here


Andrew Johnston, the Hot Showers, and Mosquito-B Live at Piranha Bar
Piranha Bar
Montreal
Thursday, November 15th, 2012 at 9:00pm

The Hot Showers:

Met these guys when they opened for Jesse Malin last year. Exited to be doing a show together!

Mosquito-B:

Im currently addicted to this band's songs. Reminds me of everything good about the 90s!


Vote for Your Favorite Teenage Paws Remix!!

The Teenage Paws remix contest has been off the hook! Head over to Indaba music to vote for your favorite remix now.

Here are a couple of my current faves!

New Video and Remix Contest!

The video for "Don't Need to Know" premiered on September 13th on Sorstu.ca. Its a great site and Im happy to be a part of it!

The video is also now publicly available on You tube.

Im also very exited to announce the Teenage Paws remix contest on Indaba music. Indaba music is a great company, and Im exited to be working with them. If your a musician you should definitely think about entering the contest. You could win $500, and be featured on a vinyl 7" release, serviced by The Musebox.

Enter the contest here

Indaba Remix Contest

Stay tuned for some exiting announcements about upcoming shows. We're working on something awesome in November that I can't wait to tell you about!

End of Summer Update!

With the summer starting to draw to a close, I thought I would get around to updating the blog. There is a bunch of stuff on the go recently, and the next few months will be an exiting time.

First off, we're exited to be opening for a great touring band called Alberta Cross, next Saturday September 8th 2012 at Club Lambi in Montreal. Here is the link to the facebook event for more information

Alberta Cross and Andrew Johnston live in Montreal

Also, we recently completed a photo/video shoot at Studio Made of Stills with friends Richmond Lam, Bryan Wilkat, and Lee Thorburn. Its the first photo shoot for me with the band, and Im exited to announce the birth of Andrew Johnston and the Hurricane! I was hesitant to give the band a name at first, but these guys do something really unique and special when they play my music together and I wanted to honor that. The photo shoot was a great time and the results speak for themselves. Here's a link to the photo set on Flickr.

Here's one of my favorite images from the shoot:

_MG_5689

We are currently working on premiering the great new clip for "Don't Need to Know" in both the US and Canada. As soon as we secure the premieres, I will be posting the video here on my site. Like the Beat Down Your Stereo video it was directed by Bryan Wilkat and Lee Thorburn and I am extremely proud of it. I can't wait to share it with you all!

Teenage Paws Remix Contest:

We will also be launching a remix contest for my song Teenage Paws, the fourth and final single from The Wake of the Wonder Years. The contest will be going live over on Indaba music in a matter of weeks!

Monster hands

I don't want to give anything away before the details are hammered out, but I can already tell you this is going to be an amazing opportunity for any musicians out there that are into remixing tracks. The prize pack that myself, Indaba and my publicist Musebox are putting together is pretty great, and Im exited to work with all the talented amazing remixers from all over the world that I know are out there!

Premiere for Beat Down Your Stereo Video on Baeble!

When Montreal musician Andrew Johnson threatens to beat down your stereo, he means it...especially in this brand new video premiere for "Beat Down Your Stereo". The gobby, syrup-sweet tune reminisces of bands like New Pornographers and Sloan, and is pulled from Johnson's new album The Wake of the Wonder Years. Check it now. This exclusive makes Baeble the only place you can see this video.

Read more: Music Video - Andrew Johnston - Beat Down Your Stereo http://www.baeblemusic.com/music-video/Andrew-Johnston/Beat-Down-Your-Stereo.html#ixzz1zBdBP82c
Live Music, Right Now

Great Pics of the Central Gig by Buying Shots for Bands!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buyingshotsforbands/7274761256/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buyingshotsforbands/7274762428/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buyingshotsforbands/7274761432/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buyingshotsforbands/7274762230/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buyingshotsforbands/7274762044/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/buyingshotsforbands/7274761878/

The Central Toronto May 17th!!

Photos and Video from Colin Hay Show!

Had a blast last night opening for Colin Hay. He was truly the gentleman and engaging performer that I expected, and he gave a great performance. It was a great privilege to play for such an attentive audience, and even though the room was packed you could hear a pin drop during my set. This show has truly lit a fire under me, and Im exited for the rest of the shows I have booked this summer. Can't wait!

Opening for Colin Hay next Tuesday at Petit Campus!

Im greatly honored to have the opportunity to be opening for a great songwriter and wonderful human being Mr. Colin Hay. An architect of the 80s pop sound that so many of us grew up on, Colin has built a reputation as a thoroughly entertaining and engaging solo performer, and I cant wait for the show.

In honor of this event, I have been posting the 1987 Jeep Cherokee Laredo mix over at Twitter. Everyday on the way home from school my Mum used to entertain us with pop radio in the jeep: gems from Hall and Oates, Men at Work, the Police, Phil Collins, and the Human League inspired me to dress up and dance in front of the mirror, and eventually take up pop music. I will be posting tunes from those formative years over on twitter leading up to the show! Come follow me!

Follow Andrew Johnston on Twitter

Video for Something You Already Know

New video for Something You Already Know!

Directed by Derek Dugas and Mike Paterson! Shot over a freezing weekend in February with great friends.

Recent Press for Andrew Johnston

Free MP3 of the day at MP3.com

"His most recent, Wake of the Wonder Years, showcases his versatility and maturity as a songwriter, channeling such influences as The Constantines, Matthew Sweet, and Hall and Oates.."
From MP3.com, March 16, 2012


MP3 premiere on Baeble

"Don't Need To Know" is a song by an artist you might not know and that seems pretty disappointing considering Andrew Johnson's credentials."
From Baeble, March 13, 2012


Track review on Zaptown

"For those who enjoyed late ‘90s indie pop that leaned more toward alternative pop..."
From Zaptown, March 20, 2012


Andrew Johnston + Alex Crow - Show Review

“Johnston’s got himself a voice that resembles the likes of Brandon Flowers from The Killers, which suits his driven folk-rock songs very well.”
From Indecent Exposure, February 22, 2012


Montreal's Got Talent

“Andrew Johnston...proposes a fresh blend of indie rock and folk pop as heard on his new album, The Wake of the Wonder years.”
From The Montreal Mirror, January 17, 2012


CBC Radio 3 Blog

“Folk with pop accents (or pop with folk roots) has always been a strong suit for Canadian music, and Andrew Johnston is no exception to that rule.”
From CBC Radio 3


The PA Daily News

“This is a captivating, if slightly overstuffed, collection of 12 tunes that showcase Johnston’s gifts.”
From The PA Daily News, December 22, 2011


InForty.com

“Johnston’s latest endeavor The Wake of the Wonder Years is the sort of unassuming indie pop disc that oozes with charming harmonies and immediately irresistable songwriting.”
From InForty