5/8/08

The Cliks: Everybody Wants Them

The Cliks, a 4 member band from Toronto, Canada is making some big damn waves in musical pools. Besides churning out the hits from their latest CD, Snakehouse, (the videos for “Oh Yeah” and “Complicated” were both at #1 on Logo), The Cliks were also hand-picked by Ian Astbury of The Cult to support them on their recent American and Canadian tours.



Another music icon, Cyndi Lauper, also took notice of them and added them last year as well as this year to the True Colors tour lineup. True Colors is produced in conjunction with HRC and presented by Logo. HRC and this year’s other non-profit partners – CenterLink (the nation’s LGBT community centers) and Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National - are joining with the tour to bring together Americans across the country to voice their solidarity for LGBT equality and raise public awareness about the issues that face the LGBT community. The tour kicks off in Boston, MA on May 31. “Part of my mission with the True Colors tour was to provide a platform for some new and exciting acts. A band like The Cliks are all that and more. They are a force to be reckoned with and I am really excited to be sharing the stage with them.” said tour producer and creator, Cyndi Lauper. Lesbiatopia’s special projects editor, Sinnerviewer, recently spoke with Morgan Doctor, drummer for The Cliks:

Shannon: You just finished doing the long Jaegermeister tour opening for one of my favorite bands, The Cult. I read that they hand-picked you to open for them because they loved your sound. I’d love to hear your thoughts about that tour and share any good stories that you have.

Morgan: We sort of did 2 tours with them. One in the states and then, we just got finished doing a Canadian tour. We started in Portland and went all the way across Canada. We went into some really remote places like Grand Prairie. There were some really off the chart places in Canada. It was nice to do the tour with them and then, we went off to do our own thing, and then came back to tour with them again. They are really great guys. We had an amazing time with them. I think what we loved the most was being able to tour with just another rock band whose audience is , well, most of them hadn’t seen us. They didn’t know who we were. To just get up on stage and be received well every night just for our music and our live show - it was really rewarding.

A story? Let’s see… this last tour, there was one. We were in Calgary. We were there for 3 or 4 days because of the Juno’s (awards). We played 2 shows there. The next stop was Edmonton, an 8 hour drive. We were fartin’ around Calgary trying to leave and we were a little bit lost. I got this text from the bass player from The Cult and it said, “Hey, How’s it going? Where are you guys? I’m still in Calgary.” And I was thinking, “Oh, it’s a really nice day to stay in Calgary.” So he calls me up and says, “I missed the bus. I need to get to Edmonton. Can you guys give me a ride?” So he drove with us in the van. The difference between a bus and a van is enormous. It was sort of funny to have this rock star in our van, crashed out and then hanging out with us for the whole day. It was totally fun.

Shannon: You probably won his respect and reminded him of what it used to be like.

Morgan: Yeah, absolutely. I think they all really admired us as players and they really loved the music. We each kind of bonded with one of them. I really got along with the other drummer, Johnny. He played with Helmet and all kinds of incredible bands and people. It was a real honor for me to hear him say “I love your playing”. It was a great experience overall.

Shannon: Cyndi Lauper, she also hand-picked you for her True Colors Tour this year. I thought that was interesting because it shows an obvious pattern here. How does it make you feel to know that you’ve won the respect of all these accomplished musicians?

Morgan: It feels great. It’s really rewarding and it feels like things are happening at the right time. We’re ready for it. What seemed to happen was that Cyndi’s management got a hold of our stuff and really liked it. They played it for her and she really liked it. We were only scheduled to play something like 4 dates on last year’s tour. She had this press time meet-n-greet during the time that we were supposed to play. She moved it to another time so that she could watch us play. She saw us play and that was it! They started changing their schedules and started to move people so that they could add us to more dates on the tour. We seem to really win people over with our live show.

Shannon: That’s pretty impressive to do that. And not just with one person, but with so many people. The True Colors Tour – it’s a special tour. I really see the value of this tour very clearly right now.

I went to see Bon Jovi last week in Atlanta. The thing that struck me was how the band adjusted their pricing structure to their fan base growing older. None of us are 16 year old kids anymore. Most of the audience was suburbian soccer mom-types. Everything from ticket prices to shirts to programs was out of the ballpark when it came to cost. It was disgusting to me how they went from being a Jersey-boy rock band to this huge, corporate entity… a machine. I have to confess, it rubbed me the wrong way.

When I was reading the press release about The True Colors Tour and it’s affiliation with HRC, I learned that the proceeds from the shows will get into the hands of the organizations that work for the rights of all GLBT people. It made me wonder if, besides just promoting your music and expanding your fan base, was there anything that you all hope to accomplish as an act on this tour in that regard?

Morgan: Yeah. Well, I think it’s an honor to be asked to do a tour with such great acts that are on the bill like Cyndi Lauper, the B-52’s, Tegan & Sarah, Joan Jett. To be in that kind of company alone is an honor. I think it makes it even more special to be doing it for such a great cause. The last time we did the tour, it was a really powerful experience at the end of the show during the encore, everyone comes out and we sang “True Colors” together. It was just a very emotional moment when the song would stop and everyone would raise their fists on stage and then they’d shine the light on thousands of people in the audience. It was just this moment of, like, “Oh my God. We’re in this together. You guys are here and we are here on stage. We’re together in all of this.” It was so empowering. It makes it that much more rewarding and takes it out of the realm of being a job… to have a purpose that’s bigger than you.

Shannon: That’s a perfect way to phrase it. One thing that I do know about The Cliks and that is your reputation of having a huge rapport with your fans. You are known for, when your shows are over, to go out there and hang out with your fans. You guys also take an active role in maintaining your MySpace page. You always put up cute little home videos and sending out blog posts and bulletins. It got me wondering: why do you think so many other bands don’t bother to try to make and keep those connections with their fans?

Morgan: Hmmm… it is a lot of work, for one. It can be… when you’re out on the road. That’s pretty exhausting as it is. You’re with all of these other people in the band, you’re traveling all day and you haven’t eaten well. And then to put yourself out there where you have to be social and engaging with people – it can sometimes be a little too much. I don’t know why people don’t do it except for maybe it’s just a lot to manage. I think we’re lucky enough right now where we can sort of manage it. I can see maybe if things continue to grow, we might get to a place where we won’t really get to be out there with our fans as much as we’d like to. It just wouldn’t be possible, you know?

The MySpace is really the best tool to get out and connect to our fans as much as we can. To put up videos and stuff like that…that’s kind of what MySpace is all about – connecting with people. So I don’t know why other bands don’t do those things that help them connect (on a personal level) with their fans. Other than they just might be tired.

(Laughs)

Shannon: You all definitely use that tool well. I am fascinated by the fact that pretty much everybody I know who is a Cliks fan has at least one photo of them with the band.

Morgan: I think we’re also pretty humble people. We’re just down to earth. Maybe it’s just a Canadian thing. It’s just who we are as people. We’re not in it to boost our egos or to be some sort of stars or whatever and I think that when you get off stage and you walk down there and you’re selling your own merchandise, it’s just like, “Here we are. We’re just normal people, too.” I think that it’s just natural for us to engage with people that way.

Shannon: I gotta ask about the song.

Morgan: Okay.

Shannon: Nobody can stop talking about it: the SUV song.

Morgan
: Right.

Shannon: I keep hearing about this song and it’s just creating a huge buzz. Can you tell me what’s going on with that?

Morgan: Well, this is a song that Lucas (Silveira, the lead vocalist for The Cliks) wrote for an album of a different incarnation of The Cliks years ago. It was self-titled and put out independently. That song was on there. We decided to just try to play the song again but we totally changed it. It’s a whole other song, basically. Lyrically, it’s the same. Musically, it’s totally new. I think that he wrote that in response to seeing a high-profile band that had done really well and they stopped playing for a while and then they came back to playing and they were riding around in L.A. with their big SUV’s . This is a “socially conscious” band. And he was like, "What's going on here?" - that's how it came about.

Shannon: That one is going to be on the next CD, you think?

Morgan: Yeah, hopefully.

Shannon: Speaking of that next CD (even though I know you all are currently promoting your latest CD, (Snakehouse), when can your fans expect that?

Morgan: Well, if all goes as planned, which often it doesn’t, I can tentatively say that we’re going to try to record it in the fall, which means that it would probably be out in the early spring like February or March.

Shannon: What’s in your iPod, Morgan?

Morgan: What’s in my iPod?

Shannon: Yeah. I always have to know because I’m so interested in what everybody is listening to.

Morgan: I’ve been listening a lot to the new Stars album. A band from Canada. I’m a big Death Cab for Cutie fan. I have some Dave Brubeck stuff… some jazz. The Cocteau Twins, The Pretenders. The Cure.

Shannon: I like The Cure but they’re kind of depressing. Not something you can listen to in the winter.

Morgan: (laughs) Yeah, you don’t want to. It’s dangerous.

Shannon: Tell me about how you got involved with The Canadian Council of Jury for Grants and what kind of work you did there?

Morgan: I was asked to be on the Jury for granting musicians who are professional musicians in the non-classical category. It’s a peer-assessment committee. I’ve gotten a few grants on my own when I went to study in California with my guru and I got another grant to compose my own work. I have a solo album out and it was to compose music for my second album which I am finishing up right now.

They ask people who have gotten grants to be the peers on the assessment committee. They flew me out to Ottawa and it was a great experience. There were just 3 of us and we juried a bunch of applicants who were trying to get some music either to compose or to do travel grants. A lot of them want to go to far away places like India or Mumbai to study more their art form. Usually, it’s in the World Music category so people are studying all kinds of instruments and things that are non-traditional and harder to learn about. You can’t just go to a university for it. I found it really rewarding. I’m also just amazed at the talent that there is in Canada. It’s just really incredible.

Shannon: So was that a one-time deal or do you get invited back later?

Morgan: It was a one-time deal so far but they may ask me to come back. But they try to pick different people for different juries.

Shannon: What a great way to handle that – to leave those decisions in the hands of other professionals who’ve received grants and not in the hands of bureaucrats. (Nice system, Canada.)

You are working on your solo album. What projects are the other members of The Cliks working on right now?

Morgan: I don’t think much, actually. We’ve been really busy focusing mainly on this band. We don’t have time to do much else. Jen plays in a folk band called “August”. Nina, the band that she was playing with, she basically had to drop that so she could play in The Cliks. We haven’t really been home for really a month or two at the longest period of time so it makes it really hard to get into something and then have to leave it. Sometimes, I’ll pick up gigs when I’m in town, but it’s tough to do much else.

Shannon: My girlfriend really wants to know if you and Jen are an item…

Morgan: (Laughs) No.

Shannon: She said, “Well, when I saw them, Jen was playing with Morgan’s hair.

Morgan: (laughs) Jen does that to everybody.

Shannon: Since our readers are mostly lesbians, I’ve got to ask… is there anybody who is single among you Cliks?

Morgan: Nina is single. The rest of us are in pretty long-term relationships.

(Hear that, ladies? Nina is single! Go buy your True Colors tour tickets and introduce yourself!)

Shannon
: Who are the chicks that you find smokin’ hot?

Morgan: PJ Harvey & Jennifer Garner.

Shannon: I could not agree more with Jennifer Garner…very nice. The last burning, pressing question that I have for you is what is your favorite junk food?

Morgan: I’m a really healthy eater so even my junk food is sort of healthy.

Shannon: I watched the video on your MySpace page of you all going through your groceries and saw all of that healthy stuff. It is important for everyone who reads this to know what you consider junk food.

Morgan: I’m really into these wheat-free, dairy-free Oreo-type cookies by Newman’s Own. Those are great. I’d have to say that right now, those are my favorite.

Shannon: I shall have to try them. Thanks for your time, Morgan.

The Cliks have been nominated for Logo's New, Now, Next Awards in the "Brink of Fame: Music Artist" category. You can click HERE to cast your vote.

Enjoy Sinnerviewer's favorite Cliks video, Complicated:

3 comments:

Tina Fey said...

Great interview, Shannon. I love The Cliks & Morgan is so cool.

Allison said...

Awesome questions! Thanks so much for posting this. :D

The Cliks are one of the best live performances I've seen, and I'm a concert junkie...they bring it live and in the studio!

Very professional and insightful interview!

Brian said...

Great interview. Morgan can appear to be very serious when she is behind her kit on stage, but she is a sweetheart. Conversation with her is memorable and very enjoyable.

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