All record stores have their fare share of record store bands. The names are fading into obscurity, but there are two that I still remember because I still listen to the CD’s more than a decade later.
It doesn’t matter if a band ever makes it big, or if you’re the only fan. If the music moves you enough to still listen to it over a decade later, then that is all that matters. Two bands that I still listen to over a decade later are Here Comes Jim and The Candidates.
Both Here Comes Jim and The Candidares were bands fromCambridge, Ontario Canada. They were “our” bands – made up of record store guys, our friends, and talented ones at that. They didn’t sound anything alike, but in my opinion, both had the potential to get signed.
This four-piece was a rock band influenced by The Who, The Jam, and the mod scene in general. They started out with all four members wearing suits and ties on stage but this later evolved into a looser image. Their stage presence was such that they could have played a hockey barn, as they acted as if there was a thousand people in the audience even if there were only a handful. Their tunes were solid, well composed, and well played. They boasted three lead vocalists, including this guy Neil M, who came all the way from Scotland to rock the tri-cities.
Their tunes were full of attitude. For example, “Who’s Your Daddy Now” was a song written for Trevor, about this girl that ended up using him for a ride to her home town (Ottawa) and then breaking it off. She was obsessed with pictures of herself:
Sold your soul for a photograph,
I tore it up and had the last laugh,
Who’s your daddy now?
He ain’t got nothin’ on me!
The Candidates eventually split and morphed into other bands. For me personally, nothing was better than the original four-piece, the band that I went to see as often as possible. They hit me right in the nuts and I think their debut album had all the right moves in all the right places. They made an equally good second album, but it’s the debut that was special to me personally.
HERE COMES JIM
Another four-piece, this was a more experimental band. The lead singer was this extremely talented guy named Matty G. I believe that he was actually a trained singer, which would help explain why he was able to sing so many different styles (often within one song). I used to compare him to a Mike Patton, a comparison that he was flattered by. Yet I think the comparison was accurate. The difference is that Matt used to sing and play lead guitar too.
They had quite a few good tunes. My favourites were “She Is”, a melodic winner with a chorus that kills, and “Negator”. “Negator” was just a pissed-off, scream-loaded, headache inducing pile of distorted guitars and vocals. I would compare it to Faith No More tunes such as “Surprise! You’re Dead!” for sheer power and aggression. Either song could have been a hit, in a just world.
Neil, Matt, and the rest of the gang that I’ve lost touch with are still some of the most talented musicians that the tri-cities have produced. I’m glad I saw these bands back in the day, bands that are now forgotten in the dusts of time. However, if you’re ever in the area, wandering through the pawn shops and music stores, and you run into a copy of either album, pick it up. It’ll be a better listen than whatever Nickelcrap that MTV is pushing these days.