TRUE TALES OF THE ROAD: Mother Mother’s long journey

This isn’t easy. The best road stories can’t be told, and sometimes a great band simply won’t have any truly horrifying experiences to share. Too busy working on their music, eh?

Mother Mother, playing a SOLD OUT show at Edmonton Event Centre tomorrow night (Thursday, March 31), is far more interesting for its music than this little incident: After some shows in California, they drove all the way back to Canada before realizing they’d left their cash box containing $5,000 cash back in San Francisco. Then they spent an additional $500 on cell-phone roaming charges trying to arrange a courier only to discover that couriers aren’t legally allowed to ship cash over the border. So then they drove all the way back to San Francisco to retrieve the box, which they did, then back to B.C. for a grand total of 24 straight hours of driving. And there was a gig that night. That’s the best horror story singer-guitarist Ryan Guldemond can come up with. There’s another one about a guitar player they worked with who was actually kidnapped from the street in broad daylight by a bunch of “greasy thugs” – he escaped, “or something” – but it’s not Mother Mother’s story. “I could pretend it is if you like,” says Guldermond sheepishly.

No worries. These articles are designed to reveal character. The fact that one of more of the band members didn’t quit after this long and pointless drive – or the guy who left the cash behind fired – says at least a little something about this band’s commitment to their career. Or the fact that they’re a bit ditzy. Besides, there’s character in the band’s music.

Mother Mother, which is touring behind its new album Eureka, sounds like the B-52s meets the Talking Heads at a Pink Floyd concert, and of course everybody there is high on something. Guldemond went to jazz school, which figures because he uses some of the most unusual harmonic and rhythmic progressions ever heard in modern rock music. The band’s songs are fast, dark and mysterious, riddled with surreal imagery and unusual melodies. The hooks are infectious: Once you hear “my daddy’s got a gun, my daddy’s got a gun, my daddy’s got a gun, you better run” delivered with tight polyrhythmic precision by the bright voices of the two back-up singers Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, it’s hard to get it out of your head. The song is about the deflowering of a farmer’s daughter. Mother Mother has many more songs along similar lines.

It’s as if the band tried to reinvent rock ‘n’ roll on its own terms – which doesn’t always work as well as it does in Mother Mother’s case. Guldemond can honestly say he doesn’t know where his ideas come from. Nor does he want to.

He says, “If you knew where your ideas came from before you did it, they probably wouldn’t come out. We try to make music without any pre-meditation.”

The result is the sound of pure originality, people. The singer is among the first to admit that they would make a terrible cover band – and that’s just fine by us.