There I Stand ‘Neath The Marquee Moon…

16 Jun


In all respects, the band Television from the new York late 70’S early 80’s era is an absolutely great band. At least they were back in the heyday. I am always struck by the amount of bands that are either making a comeback or have never really ceased touring for decades. Last year I was at a Quebec festival that was stepping into a real blast from the distant past. We ended up seeing acts like Blondie, Billy Joel, Steve Miller Band, alongside other newer acts like Gogol Bordello, Jake Bugg, Father John Misty, Bonobo and many more. Thinking back to bands that really had an impact, these days I am really into Big Star, having revisited some of their seminal albums #1 Record and Radio City after seeing the documentary “Nothing Can Hurt Me”. Theirs is a sad story.

Here is a band that created not one but two albums which are considered instant classics today, yet they  never really “made it” as it goes, they somehow got lost in the shuffle, they never made it big, they never really even got recognized, which resulted in an amazing band going sour (no money) and Chris Bell Dying tragically (age 27) Where Alex Chilton goes on to be an integral part of the New York Art/Punk Scene, producing albums for bands like the Cramps and yet again reinventing his entire artistic persona (an amazing feat) after being head of the box tops (who wrote the song The letter). Only after they disband and die do they ever get recognized. So let that be a lesson to all you aspiring rock geniuses out there, no point in feeling bad, your kids will probably reap the benefits of your blood, sweat and tears, or some record company in Russia, illegally uploading your music!

By this time next week I think I’m also gonna be under the marquee moon, not in New York but in Calgary. Jon Cohen Experimental is performing at Sled Island Music Fest, a pretty cool event which would showcase bands like Television, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Lightning Bolt, Yo La Tengo and many others. Should be good times all around… If you are in the Cowtown area, come by and check out the show, Ill be performing at Broken City Saturday June 27th. JCEX will also gonna be playing another fest in Anagance new Brunswick in August 8th, called Messtival. It’s a kind of camping fest, so should be a good time.

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Musically, it’s been a really cool couple of month for me and the band. We started with a small tour in Ontario (pics below) playing several towns Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton then Toronto for CMW. This was a good tour cause it was my first time out not as a one man band, with a full band and a good bunch of guys/ musicians. Our drummer dan had hookups for places to stay in every city, which was a big help.

Recently one of the songs off the new EP “Blood On The Microphone” was featured in the popular online radio show called “Bandcamp Weekly”. By my last count that play brought about 9000 listens to my EP Passion Pilgrim in just one week and a bunch of sales + new fans to boot, mainly in the US, Canada and UK. Passion Pilgrim has had a good run since last December, charting in 10 cities and  getting good press in New Music Canada, Longueur D’ondes, #CultMtl, Snapd and more. Some people k even tell me it’s on heavy rotation in their player, which is a nice thing to hear. I sometimes try to imagine what situations the music I make is being consumed /enjoyed by others and this pleases me! I guess that’s the push/pull between narcissism and creativity, the Jekyll and Hyde almost al musicians are caught between the fantasy and the reality .

Two New Albums!

Regardless of my inner struggles, sights and sails are still being set once again, I am indulgent but  no longer waiting years between records, too much output to keep in the closet. The news is that I’m not only working on 1 new record but 2 NEW RECORDS at the same time.

The 1st is an all-instrumental album of about 7 songs. It will be released online only and will also feature an animated video for one of the tunes (more to come on this). The new record is an all-solo project for the JCEX and drops in a month (end of July) as a pre-cursor to the full length album which the band and I are preparing to record in the fall due out early 2016 if the gods of rock permit it. This one will be with full band and I have a strong feeling it will be the best one yet.

We’ve been working long and hard on a series of new songs, which I feel are gonna be part of the next big opus for JCEX. More music. Look out for summer and fall dates in Montreal, east coast and area. More tours, more music, more every thing. Till then, we soldier on!

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Let The Good Times Roll…

4 May

The Cars…

I went out for ice cream with my wife last night (I still cant believe winter is over). There was a moon so full and round, and just brimming and yellow. It looked like it was sun burnt and it was just bursting. Everyone outside today was so happy and smiling, singing in the streets, just happy to be alive under a glorious sun, the simplicity of it all was brilliant. Every single breath I inhaled was pure bliss, just feeling like a child again, natural, happy, present, I played Petanque in the parc, had a few beers, laughed. Through it is only spring, this weekend felt like summer is already here!

Along with that comes a great big flow of incredible events, festivals music etc. Let”s swim along! We just had one in Montreal called Porchfest which celebrated music on peoples from porches, absolutely free, and access to everyone. My friend Lou (Lauren) played it and she has an awesome voice, doesn’t even need a microphone. A perfect mix between busking and homeliness.

Speaking of festivals, we’re hitting the road this week on our first festival tour of the summer in support of our EP Passion Pilgrim. You can now purchase it on iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and Tunecore. The EP has been charting on Earshot! in over 8 cities across Canada and our song In Order To Survive is on regular rotation on CBC Radio 3. The current lineup for the band, a fine group ou enlightened specimen (Dan Kiely, Philippe Lachance, Jamie Rosen and me, Jon Cohen) are going to play a few dates in the coming days in Ontario to start. We will be playing at CMW festival next Saturday night (they got a great lineup this year including bands like of monsters and men, death cab for cutie, faith no more etc). On the way there, we’ll be playing the following cities:

Thursday May 7, Ottawa @The Rainbow, 10pm (with Harea) FB page

Friday May 8, Kingston @ Café Musikki, 10pm FB page

Sat May 9, Hamilton @ Homegrown Hamilton matinée show 2pm (w/Hidden Hands) FBPage

Sat May 9, Toronto @ The Magpie Taproom, CMW Festival 9pm sharp FB Page

Sunday May 10, Montreal  @ L’esco (Cancelled)

If you are anywhere around these places, we wanna see you there, no joke! No please, and no thanks you. We got a great set lines up for you, full of positive energy and tightly packed rock n roller coaster of gorgeous sounds. Well also have copies of our new EP for sale and we at pretty chatty guys some come say hello before or after the shows.

Ottawa Folks, I will be speaking on the radio a few times over the course of the week. This monday at 5pm on a show called “Click Here” on Ottawa radio CHUO (89.1FM) with Host and music connoisseur extraordinaire, Mitchell Caplan, as well as on CKCU (In Tune) at 10 am monday, and on CIUT 89.5fm, Toronto, on a show called Movin’ in the right direction, thursday at 9am, amongst other stations. 

I also had the pleasure of finding out recently that my band Jon Cohen Experimental was invited to play the Sled Island Music Festival in Calgary June 24th to 28th. This is really great news due to the fact that some of my all time favourite bands will be there this year, including Television, Godspeed You Black Emperor, Jaga Jazzist, and one of my all time favs, Yo La Tengo. This will be the trip of a lifetime and well make sure to play a few cities around this event for all you west coast hosts who can boast the most roast! Other good news to come include signing with a new licensing company and some east coast dates. I will keep you abreast!

The band has been working hard, I believe we’ve got a great show, a great group of guys and some fresh ambition (the best kind). No matter what happens, we are putting our seal of duty, of being fully committed to serving you, the audience, with the best possible slice of showmanship this side of Kansas (is that even an expression?). After all, it’s all about the people on the other side the stage, the lights shine on you! We’ll keep our egos in check in the name of service.

Summer already feels like it is here. Let the good times Roll!

Jonny C

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April Come She Will…

1 Apr

Simon & Garfunkel…

Twas the winter of our discontent….wait a minute.. WAS?? It seems like when I open my front door to step outside (most likely to buy food or some necessity, otherwise I’d probably stay in) I still get that blast of cold air, that chill that just seizes my entire body up like an invisible straight jacket, numbing my brain and reminding me of why I am insane to be living in a climate like this. Where is this “Spring” you speak so highly of?

But April come she will.. And like ol’ Paul Simon says in his lovely ballad, “when streams are ripe and swelled with rain”. It’s somewhat of a message about hope and rejuvenation. Never mind the fact spring has officially welcomed us over 10 days ago; we are still prisoners of a guest that has long outstayed their welcome. Is this some April fools joke that mother Montreal has played on us? Maybe… but I remain hopeful and full of spring in my step (got rid of my boots today).

Why you don’t ask?? Because although the seasons are taking their merry time to make a move, I am taking matters into my own heads, grabbing the bull by the horns (I am a Taurus after all, though I was recently told by my keyboardist that everyone goes back one astrological sign cause there’s a new sign in town???) As I was saying, I have my sails set high and many, yes many plans for what’s to come this spring and summer and I dare say some of it may be of interest and reason for YOU dear reader, dear Canadian and / or international fan, friend or family member!

But before I speak of the future, best to speak of the past, up to this point. Although I have put the One Man Band Festival on hold this year, it was not to just sit around, eat corn chips and watch episodes of Peep Show (which I also did…intensely). It was to focus on music again. In the last 4 months, I have been busy releasing an EP, making a music video, writing new material, playing shows, jamming with other bands (Check out Couteau Papillon, an very cool band) and reawakening the Jon Cohen Experimental, Experience, Experiment, Zen Orchestra, call it what you want, my lovechild even, whatever it is, it is back, like a hungry bear that has been hibernating for the last winter and can’t wait to start eating human flesh (wait a minute) and berries.

Somewhere in the interim, my wife Lisa and I went back to our let secret little corner of the world of Mexico, an unbeknownst Lost type paradise world, where the gulf meets the Caribbean, where the nature abounds and the sunset never ceases to hypnotize me and make me cry inside. On Isla Holbox, what the water lacks in color it makes up in pure natural beauty. We spent almost 3 weeks conversing with Iguanas, imitating the pelicans, chasing the birds, being chased by raccoons, learning patience like the heron, and finally playing about 10 million games of backgammon (new board got broken in really fast) which we are totally addicted to now. Oh yeah I was also writing tons of music with this new travel guitar I picked up for 80$ on kijiji, check out the pics below! Playing music in front of a beach at 30+ degrees is a pleasure that I feel totally grateful and lucky for. Coming back to the sheet of whiteness that was Montreal, hitting me like a ton of bricks is one I am not.

Between working on music and chugging away at my translation business, I took the time to re-center, and get in touch with my subconscious, to really look at my last years and to take stock of the lessons learned and the people who have taught them to me. I did yet another meditation retreat (this one only 3 days in Montebello Quebec) but it reaffirmed my love for this art of looking within, for deep concentration and this feeling of tapping into something greater than ourselves, of letting go of ego, even if just for a little while. In just 3 days, I gained a renewed appreciation for giving, for sharing and for helping others, trying to be less selfish, and more useful to those around me. It sounds corny and fuck, well it is, but that’s what three days of silence and vegan food will do to you!

As you may or may not know, I now have a band of merry pranksters (Dan, Jamie, Phil and Myself). I am excited about this one because it also means we will be touring again! Heading out on tour in May for the Passion Pilgrim EP and new songs and a kick ass band if I may say so myself. We have been lucky enough to be invited to play CMW festival in Toronto this May, among other festivals to come over the summer I hope. The new EP has been charting countrywide and hitting some pretty nice top spots in some cities, which is quite cool and makes me feel like giving back by planning more tours. For those of you, who will be in any of these places, please come check us out, or spread the word!

Thursday May 7th, Ottawa, ON @The Rainbow Room, 10pm

Friday May 8th, Kingston @ Café Musikki, 10pm

Saturday May 9, Hamilton @ This Ain’t Hollywood matinée show (tbd)

Saturday May 9 CMW Festival @ The Magpie Taproom), 9pm

Sunday May 10, Montreal  @ L’esco

We are going to do our bestest to show you a grand ol’ opry of a time, and to make these shows a celebration, a celebration of rejuvenation, of what may come over this spring and summer. A season full of hope, full of bloom. I can say with confidence for all of us that we earned it, every single one of us who suffered this brutal sub zero winter will be vindicated with one of the best most kickass summers we have ever had!!!

Is this a prediction? Is this April fools? No, it’s simply a fact! See you all in Bermuda shorts at the shows! Don’t miss our tour, come see us and say hello.

Some other fun stuff:

Passion Pilgrim now be purchased on iTunes and Spotify

Check out our song (In Order To Survive) on CBC Searchlight contest and Vote for us for best new song please!

Happy Spring!

Cohen & Co.

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