In The Know...11 Questions With Tom and Patrick Keenan

>> Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Saturday night at the West End Cultural Centre promises to be one of brotherly love. Songwriting brotherly love that is, with The Brothers Keenan – Tom and Patrick – each releasing their brand-spanking-new albums.

For Tom Keenan, it’ll be Romantic Fitness, his debut into the folk-leaning, singer-songwriter ring; for Patrick Keenan, it’ll be Washed Out Roads, his much-anticipated follow-up to the well-received, college-charting As Constant as the Northern Car. Both brothers have a way with the song and craft unique, thoughtful, and indisputably appealing tunes.

Rising Winnipeg band Royal Canoe start the evening off, making this a great night to sample many local indie-music flavours.

I recently caught up with Tom and Patrick and peppered them with my patented brand of 11 Questions. In the process, I exposed some revealing things about the two brothers, including: their opinion on the most-underrated band in the city (Tom: Royal Canoe; Patrick: Melissa Hallett); their least-liked bus route (Tom: Charleswood Express; Patrick: whichever one is driven by Dr. Cyclops); and, naturally, which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle they prefer (Tom: Donatello; Patrick: Michelangelo).

No one ever says Leonardo. So unloved.

1. Where are you right now?

Tom: Winnipeg, touring a play to schools.
Patrick:  At my home in Winnipeg, trying to be two places at once

Let’s talk Winnipeg…

2. Who is the most underrated Winnipeg-based band?

Patrick: The Girl With X-Ray Eyes A.K.A. Melissa Hallett. She has some of the
weirdest, most poetic music in town, but nobody seems to know about her.
Tom: Royal Canoe - They're amazing.  Great songs to begin with, then the band Matt Peters has put together is a Mennonite supergroup.  Mostly Mennonite supergroup.

3. What is your favourite local venue?

Tom: The new West End.
Patrick:  The New West End Cultural Centre is the best for an upwards of
medium-sized room.

4. Where do you shop for music?

Patrick: Into the Music, Folk Fest Music, Music Trader, Sonus Musica. Haven't been to HMV in a dog's age, but next time I wanna buy a DVD I'll go there.
Tom: Into the Music, Sonus Musica, Music Trader, and lately I've been ordering records from Drag City.

5. Where is the best place to catch a bite?

Tom: Black Sheep Diner for breakfast.  So many contenders for the other meals.  I recently went to Pizzaria Gusto and was impressed.
Patrick: I gotta say I'm leaning towards Inferno Bistro, which has great nouveau
French Cuisine with a fantastic wine list, yet reasonably priced and with
humane service.

6. What is the worst bus route?

Patrick:  The one that the crazy driver who looks like Dr. Cyclops drives.
Tom: Soooo many contenders.  Let's say the Charleswood Express.  Not that I have much call to go to Charleswood.

And some hodgepodge…

7. What is one piece of equipment absolutely essential to your live show?

Tom: My Nova VT Amp.  Made by Sears in the '70s, modified by somebody (I'd like to think Gar Gillies); you can't turn the overdrive channel past 2 or you'll blow your balls off.
Patrick: The audience. That was a trick question!

8. What are your top-five, all-time, desert-island records?

Patrick: I'd bring the Beatles, but their songs are permanently stuck in my head
anyway, so...
  • Don Ellis - Live at Monterey
  • Faith No More - Angel Dust
  • The Church Choir EP
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • And no one should go crazy on a desert island without Shostakovich's 10th symphony by the Leningrad Philharmonic under Mravinsky.

  • Beatles - Abbey Road
  • Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks
  • Bob Dylan - Greatest Hits vol. 2 (see, I'm cheating by picking the double album compilations)
  • Joanna Newsom - Ys
  • The Clash - London Calling
9. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Tom: I just finished The Sea by John Banville.  Beautiful.  Sad as shit, though.  And I'm in a constant state of reading By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart.
Patrick: Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka

10. PC or Mac?

Tom: Mac, though sometimes I feel like such a poser, since I don't really see how it's better.  I'm a God damned artsy-fartsy follower.
Patrick: Mac! Tom just doesn't know, man!

11. And finally, a toughie…who is your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael)?

Tom: Donatello.
Patrick: Michelangelo. Nunchucks, chilling and eating pizza, snappy one-liners.
He's got it all.


Anonymous,  25 March 2010 at 11:19  

ooo! i love inferno's! and you can't beat the west end cultural centre for live music.

willlllllll,  27 March 2010 at 01:09  

cyclops? is he the one with the canucks scarf? lovely chap.

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