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Broken Social Scene Hires Coach: "We Need to Make a Few Cuts"

Broken Social Scene Hires Coach: "We Need to Make a Few Cuts"

Toronto-based hipster rock 'collective' Broken Social Scene has decided to hire a coach, in an effort to trim its roster.

As the collective's membership has swollen into the hundreds, expenses have been getting too high to tour, according to group spokesperson Brendan Canning.

"As a collective, we have always eschewed hierarchical, top-down decision making processes," said the veteran of the Toronto music scene, "and we've never wanted to be...exclusive by saying no to anyone who's wanted to join, because that's not what BSS is all about. But man, we had to do something."

Canning estimated that "at last count", the group is up to 458 members. "We're not in this for the money or anything, but it's getting to be a little too costly. We have to book entire hotels now.

"Not to mention trying to get everybody's thank-yous squeezed into the liner notes booklet. That's always a bitch."

Officials from the Juno-winning (joining other greats of Canadian music, including Nickelback, Simple Plan and Shania Twain) experimental collective attributes Broken Social Scene's overgrown roster to the group's open admission policy

The power of "the collective": the band doubled in size one night in 2004 when the audience and band became one.

"We could never really say no to anybody, because, like, basically, anyone who's wanted to join our band...I mean, our collective, has been welcome," said Leslie Feist, another BSS member who has also won a Juno as a solo artist, as they just give the bloody things away. "That's how we've wound up with like, about 100 people in the band, who just kinda...stand around, occasionally blowing into a moonshine jug or something.

"I think half the people in our group are in it just so they can say they're part of Broken Social Scene when they go to house parties in Toronto. I don't even know half the people in my band...I mean, collective. We get fined every time we call it a band.

"I mean, 37 bass players? Why do we need 37 bass players?" she asked. "Sure, you gotta get your groove on and all that, but somebody's gonna lose an eye up on stage from an errant guitar if we don't make some cuts."

The decision to take on a coaching staff was also triggered at least partially by an incident at the Earnest Music Festival in Pugwash, Nova Scotia last month, when the band fell through the stage in mid-performance. "The stage couldn't hold the weight of 300 people all jumping at once," said Feist. "People thought it was part of the show, but the bands who were supposed to be on after us were pretty upset."

Therefore, the collective has turned to Vancouver's Bruce Kavanaugh to get the group down to a fighting trim 100-150 members.

Kavanaugh is a veteran music re-organization consultant specializing in out of control-sized bands. Past successes include his reduction of soul combo Earth Wind and Fire from 62 members down to 14 back in the 1970's, his trimming of noise metal band Slipknot from 34 rockers to nine in 1998, and cutting Wham from two people to one in 1985. He said that he will be taking his customary no-nonsense approach to his work with Broken Social Scene.

Overwhelmed but still in control, Coach Bruce Kavanaugh contemplates his next round of cuts.

"First off, I will be assessing the members of the band...sorry, the collective, the collective...over the next couple of months, both in live performances, and in their interactions with other members of the...collective," said coach Kavanaugh.

"No job is safe here. That's the first thing you have to make clear to everybody-otherwise complacency sets in."

Danny Humphries, who just joined the collective two weeks ago when he showed up to deliver a couple of pizzas to a BSS practice session, admitted he's a little nervous now that the group will be making cuts.

"I don't really play an instrument, or sing or anything-I just stand on stage and jump up and down in a dolphin costume during shows, so I might be deemed expendable by Coach Kavanaugh," admitted Humphries.

"Shit, and just was I was getting accustomed to the rock and roll lifestyle. Oh well, I guess it's back to Pizza Pizza for me."

Posted on September 14th, 2005

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