20 Questions with Brendan McCarney
*Photo Credit: Julie Lavelle
Until very recently, Brendan McCarney has been flying under the radar. But at the end of the day, all this time he’s built more street credit than some of the most well known pros in the Canadian music industry. And next week you can catch the world premier of his much anticipated documentary film Ages & Stages at National Film Bureau during North By North East. Celebrating the career of great Canadian outfit, The Meligrove Band, as well as the countless hours put into creating the project, we asked the young filmmaker to take our 20 Questions.
1. What is your dream of happiness?
To be surrounded by amazing, wonderful people and having a blast with them. I’m living the dream!
2. Blonde or Brunette?
Well I like all colours and shades but I have to go with brunette. Something about them just gets me every time.
3. What is the quality you like most in a person?
I’d have to go with a great sense of humor. If someone doesn’t laugh (or laughs at horribly unfunny things) I can’t be bothered to give them the time of day.
4. What do you fear most?
Giant spiders taking over the Earth. They freak me the hell out.
5. 808s or 909s?
The drum machines/samplers? None of the above. Fuck them, I go for the real thing. I’m a drummer so I have to say that right? I can’t push a few buttons to make a beat, I need to beat the shit out of a set of drums. It’s just not the same otherwise.
6. What’s your biggest regret?
I don’t really have any. I more or less just do what I want, when I want and so far things have just kind of always worked out. Its been great! haha. Although ask me this question in 20 years and I can almost guarantee you my answer will be “drinking too much when I was younger!”
7. What’s your fav bar or club in the world?
My favourite bar is the Merchant Ale House in St Catharines (where I’m from and one of the places I went to university). They brew most of their beer in house and their IPA is the best I’ve ever had. Every time I go home for any reason I stop in there and drink and play darts until I pass out.
8. What’s the one thing you can’t live without?
I’d have to go with my friends. I can live without material possessions if I had to but I would go insane if it weren’t for the amazing group of people I’m lucky enough to call my close friends.
9. What are the 3 musicians dead or alive you’d like to see perform?
Number 1 is easy – Nirvana! They are literally the reason I started playing music. I can still remember the exact moment when was listening to them and I knew that I would in some capacity work in the music industry. Number 2 would be Joe Strummer/The Clash. They’re a band who challenged everything and when I listen to their music it makes me want to do the same: lights a fire! Lastly, I guess I would have to say Jimi Hendrix. I mean it’s fucking Jimi Hendrix!! No other explanation needed.
10. What is your favorite decade in music?
My favourite decade for music would have to be a tie between the 90s and 2000s. I love the 90s for more or less creating “alternative” and the amazing bands that came from that decade. They are the sole reason I got into music in the first place (I could be listening to Nelly and Fat Joe right now if it weren’t for the Smashing Pumpkins! AHH!). The 2000s took my growing love of music and turned it on its head. I love all the different genre-blending artists and the “indie” sound that came to the forefront. There are just so many amazing bands these days its impossible to keep up. That’s definitely not a complaint, it’s a great thing!
11. If you had to choose, would you rather go blind or deaf and why?
I’d rather go deaf. It would be awful to never hear a song again, the sound of people’s voices, birds chirping etc. But if I were blind and had great hearing I’d just end up hearing myself smack my face off of poles, signs and everything else in my way. Also, whats more fun watching or listening to porn? Am I right guys!?
12. How old is too old?
Too old for a concert – never. Too old for a party – never. (my mom is living proof of both of these)! Too old for sexy adventures – probably 45ish. Too old for teeter-totters – 15. Too old to use the phrase “this shit kray” – conception.
13. Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
I have no idea. I couldn’t even guess. If you asked me 3-4 years ago where I’d be today I would’ve been so far off. I hope to be making a bit more cash than I am now, but who isn’t. I guess I hope that I’ll still making films and playing music and hopefully I’ll find that one special lady and impregnate her real good. Have a couple little kids wreaking havoc on the neighbourhood. I also hope to have Leafs season tickets. That’s my one true goal to be honest.
14. Who’s your hero?
My hero is probably my mom. She’s amazing. My dad passed away when I was just about 13 and my mom did it all on her own from there. It must have been tough for her. I couldn’t even imagine. She’s been my biggest supporter and without her I can confidently say I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now.
15. What’s your favourite colour?
I guess I’d say blue. No reason why. I just used to say that when I was a kid so why change it now. I like all colours equally at different times.
16. What song could you live without ever hearing again?
It would be unreal if I never heard the song “With Or WIthout You” by U2 again. The reason is simple: Fuck Bono.
17. Metallica or Madonna?
Madonna steals a ton of her album covers, crazy styles, song lyrics, beats etc. Metallica cry like little bitches whenever anyone with a tape recorder or camera is around. I guess Metallica’s tunes from the late 80s and early 90s make them the lesser of two evils. I mean they did write “…And Justice For All” and “Master Of Puppets” so that counts for something.
18. What’s your most hated vice?
Gambling for sure! I have a problem so I stay away from casinos. I skipped most of my high school classes in grade 11 and 12 and quit my job to play poker all day and night. I used to do a TON of sports betting too. I had to quit cold turkey. I was making a lot of money so it was great then one day I had a big loss. That was the day I stopped.
19. Who is the most tragic figure in history?
That’s an impossible question to answer. In keeping with music I’ll say Kurt Cobain. Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely a ton of other people who deserve this title more. That being said, he was so talented and eventually successful but it didn’t matter. From all the books I’ve read as well as interviews I’ve seen and read, it seems like he was never truly happy and because of that he was able to express himself in a beautiful way but it lead to his incredibly unfortuante suicide.
20. What are the top three live shows you’ve seen in your life?
That’s such a tough question! Ok I’ll go with – Billy Talent at the Moose ‘n’ Goose in Thorold, ON about 9 years ago. Small cramped club with 150 people squished in. I left soaking wet. It was great. Next would be Hollerado/Young Rival/Wildlife. I was lucky enough to tour with these guys last fall and every show was unreal! I’d say my favourite was probably Edmonton. It was the smallest venue of the tour. It was sold out and the crowd was so rowdy. All the bands played amazing. To top it off we all had an open-bar and they had an amazing selection of micro-brewed beers and 20 year old scotch. Lastly, I’d go with Les Savy Fav at NxNE two years ago. I was front row and it was just a mess! The perfect combination of beer, sweat and burst eardrums. If I can sneak a fourth in it’s hard not to include Bright Eyes at Massey Hall. That was mind-blowing!