>Check out my review of the City and Colour Concert
Dallas Green has two very distinct groups of fans. Those who love the scream rock of AlexisonFire and the others who love the often sad and poignant songs Green releases with City and Colour. But for the Canadian musician, who has been playing guitar since he was eight years old, he is just happy to be playing music at all. Especially for his fans, who are driving force for the busy singer/songwriter. The Juno Award winner appreciates the awards, but casually admits that they don’t mean much to him. His fans are the reason he stays so motivated.
Dallas Green is currently playing a series of sold out shows across Canada. Hours before his show in Calgary, I got the chance to sit down with him and talk about the being called lucky, guilty pleasures, facing his roadblocks, American Idol judges, being young and stupid and what he hopes to being doing in 50 years.
Tonight you are a playing a sold out venue that seats 2400 people, when you began releasing City and Colour discs, did you expect all of this?
No! I didn’t even really expect to play that many shows, let alone at a place like this. These are places that I never thought that I would be able to sing in, but now I can, so that is really cool. Is selling out venues across the country, what you deem being successful? Yeah, the awards don’t really mean anything to me, but the fact that I can be playing and people can come to the show and have a moment together, as opposed to accolades, makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
So are your show’s interactive?
I try to yeah! I try to keep them as loose as possible, as much as a comedy show as possible. I tell stories and interact. The songs are sad in a way, so I like to try and balance that and be as goofy as I can.
You have fiercely loyal fans who often pick two or three different editions of the same album. What is that like for you?
The cool thing about nowadays is that everybody expects more. We put out the record, and then re-released it with different artwork with all the demos that we made, so people can hear how the songs were created. Then we did the Itunes Session where we played five or six live songs. It’s like re-recording the album but with different interpretations. I think if you are willing to put yourself out there, the mediums are there to do the extra stuff that people expect. I think you have to use the internet to your advantage. Now you have things like the exclusive Itunes sessions or bonus songs for pre-downloading the record. There is so much an artist can do now.
Having been successful in two very different genres of music, how do you set goals for yourself now?
I think my main goal in life is to continue to make music. It’s not really a sense of “I’ve done that, now I have to do this.” I’m not really good at anything else, so I never really thought about a back-up plan. I plan and hope to be doing this a long time. I think my main goal is longevity. I love music so much that I want to play music until I can’t anymore.
What sort of roadblocks did you encounter in becoming a musician?
The biggest one for me was getting over the fact that nothing was going to happen for me. I had to go and work for it. When I finished high school, I thought “okay, I’m going to be a musician and play in a couple of bars and things are going to happen for me.” But that was because I was young and stupid. But then I realized that that is not the way it is. There is a lot of luck involved to become a successful entertainer. Think of all the very talented people out there, who just never get a chance.
So are you okay with people saying that you are lucky?
I totally am. I’m very lucky to have not only one, but two successful projects. I believe that I do work hard at what I do and that I try my best. But at the same time I am lucky, people appreciate what I’m doing and because so many people don’t have that opportunity.
So what do musicians have to do who are now where you used to be?
You just got to go and play for people. I feel like Canadian and American Idol, excuse the idea of what fame can be. I think it has given people a lot of hope that they can just stand in line and sing for a bunch of idiots and that’s it for them. But that’s not what it’s about for me. It’s about honing your craft, not singing karaoke.
So is it frustrating for you?
It’s frustrating to see kids believe in that. But I feel they should spend time learning about music, not just trying one thing. They should have an open mind. Back when the classics weren’t classics yet, they didn’t have everything to look at. They just had a couple of different kinds of music. But now in 2009, kids have a barrage of music to listen to. They can be influenced by so many different types of music, it just don’t make any sense to be closed minded.
So do you think we can expect different types of City and Colour albums in the future?
I’ve always been attracted to sadder types of songs. I do write all my songs in a down trotted manner because of my voice, but just because they sound said, doesn’t mean they are. Everyone imagines that my song “Waiting” is sad because I say “we are all just waiting to die”, but it’s not about that. It’s about living life and not being caught up in all the small things, because we do not need to rush through things. But because it’s written the way I it is, people think it’s a sad song.
Do you find you have to explain your songs a lot?
Sometimes, but most of my songs are pretty straight forward. I’m not really known for the words that I write. That’s fine because I know I’m not a brilliant writer. I just try to describe situation as simple as possible, because I’m just a simple guy.
So are your parents happy that they can choose the lighter sounding City and Colour?
My parents love AlexisonFire. My dad got the new album the other day and he was telling me about all the songs he likes. They really love both. My parents are big music fans,
and that is one of the reasons I got into it. They are the ones that got me guitar lessons even though they never really played music, but I know they always wanted to.
So what other creative outlets do you have?
I am terrible at art, probably one of the worst artists there are. My favorite hobby is skateboarding. It’s a passion. I love skateboarding. But I’ve toned it down now that I’m older, because when I fall it hurts a lot more. I think music and skateboarding go hand and hand because you all you need ist just that one thing. To make music, you don’t even need a guitar, you can just sing. One thing I love about skateboarding is that I’m a really big worrier, I worry about everything. But when I’m skateboarding I worry about nothing. I just think about how much fun I’m having.
Any guilty pleasures you want to admit to?
See for me, I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. For you to like something is your own business. You shouldn’t feel guilty about something you like. If you have your Ipod and your earphones, then it’s just you and your music. I have a Fabulous Female playlist with Beyonce, JoJo and Mary J Blige, if I like the song, I like the song. I don’t feel bad about it. Music is the most subjective thing there is. So what’s the point of having a guilty pleasure.
City and Colour (listen here)
has shows in both Montreal and Toronto later this week.
’s (listen here
) next album, Old Crows/Young Cardinals
is out JUNE 23, 2009.