From the ostentatious and what some may call, a “lofty, idealic” beginning in 2009, to their relentless tour schedule and notoriety in 2018, My Son the Hurricane (MTSH) are coming up on a ten year anniversary, yet everything seems so brand new. Any Canadian touring band can attest to the hardships one must go through to rise to the top. MSTH have anted-up by creating a band that at any given time travel with, around, fourteen members; a feat almost impossible in any respect. Between personalities, long drives, grinding out smaller shows to finally headlining; a breaking point is always imminent. Yet, MSTH seem to strive on the diversity of their music and the comradery between it’s members. Philanthropists, as well as artists, this group understand that it is not just about getting on stage and entertaining but, hugely, about giving back to the communities that support them.
Having such a large amount of revolving musicians comprising one touring band, an analogy arose, “It’s like reaching your hand into a bag of chips, you may get one different chip (person) and it does change the dynamic but it’s good.” said Danno O’Shea, founding member, drummer and band leader. “The hardest thing we deal with now is, booking flights; you can’t just have someone bail last minute on a show. Having said that, one of my biggest pet peeves with the band is when some of the members say, ‘So the band is doing this?’ I have to remind them that WE are doing this. They are part of the band. I look at (MTSH) as familial.”
Jacob Bergsma, Emcee and co-founder said, “It is the only way to do it. With a band like this you have to have that family attraction. You have to love your family.”
With three albums under their belt, Is This What You Want being the most recent; featuring the singles “Smile” and “Birthday Cake,” MSTH approach touring with a punk rock aesthetic and a warm heart. “I told our agent, ‘WE WANT TO TOUR!” said O’Shea.
“A startling realization, I came to this year, is that we have so many similarities to punk rock. I am screaming in peoples faces; trying to figure out how I can hold it together on stage.” Bergsma related.
“The routing for the tours alone is punk rock. I often have members see the routing and ask why?” O’Shea chimed in. “The majority of the time it is me doing those twelve hour drives, after we load off stage at whatever show/festival, in order to get to the next show and city.”
On top of their, what seems to be relentless and at times very punk rock touring schedule (70 shows internationally on this last tour alone), MTSH realize that in today’s musical climate, it is a huge part of what it takes. If people have never heard of you, why would you expect them to buy into the art and product? Which, leads to what many bands do not necessarily touch on, community outreach.
An important part of MTSH touring schedule this past year has been giving back. It comes in the form of school shows and Q&A panels throughout elementary and highschools across Canada. With what many see as a decline in the arts within the Canadian education system, bands like MSTH and many others have felt that it is their responsibility to step in and keep that artistic spark alive. Originally being approached by local Niagara teachers, O’Shea realized that this is something happening abroad.
“One of the things that I think is so rad, when we do these school Q&As, is that there a lot of young girls that see Sylvie (lead vocals) and Victoria (saxophone) up there and you can see something is changing. Sylvie gets up there and just doesn’t care. There is a great thing where she is just doing herself.” said O’Shea.
“The worst thing that can happen to a band is, not that things to bad, but they plateau. I live in total fear of the plateau.” – Danno O’Shea
In turn Bergsma stated. “When I was in highschool, I remember my drama teacher bringing in an actor from The Shaw Theatre. It was such an awesome moment because I realized this person does this for a living. I came from a supportive family but the idea of being an actor (performer) was still considered a pipe dream. His message was if you believe in it and love it, you can make it happen. So, if we can extend that to others (fingers crossed)…that had and extreme impact in my life!”
“A student asked me why do you play music, which may be the most existential question but when you ask a baseball player why he plays; as soon as he hit that first ball, he knew that is all he wanted to do. That is the point of these school sessions; to find your passion and possibly purpose.” said O’Shea.
So with June once again upon us, My Son the Hurricane are set to take the stage in Saint Catharines, at Warehouse for their Shape of Funk to Come tour. The band will be performing three times in two days, from June 8th till 9th, featuring an all ages show June 9th starting at 6pm. A notable addition, DJ Shub will be direct support for the 19+ June 8th and 9th shows. Come dance, come party and show up to see how fourteen amazing musicians fit on that stage.