|Listening to Rheostatics' music proves to be quite a unique aural experience. First time listeners must dive head first into the sea of music with an open mind, and will likely find it a very warm and cozy place indeed. A place he/she will not want to leave.
To the uninitiated ear, the music may sound like a loosely organized cacophony of sound. Some assert that initial listenings are the musical equivalent of the hearing a foreign language. Before long, however, the listener has a moment of revelation, when he/she sees the brilliance and genius of the music, the cleverness and uniqueness of the arrangements.
This brilliance is the brainchild of four very fine musicians. Dave Bidini is the chief rhythm guitarist who occasionally works the bass guitar. Regular bass player Tim Vesely often sets his fretted five string aside for an acoustic or electric guitar, and occasionally for a piano or an accordion. Lead guitarist Martin Tielli is the resident visual artist and effects pedal aficionado. Finally, drummer Don Kerr is equally at home on the cello, double bass, piano, or mixing board (producing others bands' albums at Toronto's Gas Station studios).
Dave, Tim and Martin share song-writing duties fairly equally, with the occasional song being submitted from the rhythm section. Their varied musical tastes, muses and personalities foster a great diversity of musical tangents; running the gamut of emotions, styles and lyrical themes. Covering uncharted territory on the musical map, the songs have an innate strength, offering vivid visuals for the mind's eye. One can feel the oppressed labourer's cries of frustration in 'Horses' and 'Shaved Head', about a terminal cancer patient, leaves a sobering impression.
Rheostatics' two-and-a-half hour live shows are intense and powerful, managing to create an intimate setting even in the most unforgiving venues; sometimes doing acoustic numbers on the club floor among members of the audience. Sometimes mid-song, the arrangement is taken right out the door and unrecognizably manipulated and distorted, only to come back later, leaving audiences baffled.
The 'Melville' CD (1991) displayed a progression from 1987's cleverly titled debut platter 'Greatest Hits', further defining the Rheostatics' sound. Incessant touring, and 1992's 'Whale Music' confirmed their ever-growing cult status. Having joined Sire/Warner records, Rheostatics toured Britain in 1994 in support of that year's 'Introducing Happiness' CD, followed by back-to-back cross-Canada tours in 1995 (including the Another Roadside Attraction tour).
'Introducing Happiness' spurred the Juno nominated and Genie award winning hit single 'Claire', which makes a dual appearance on the Rheostatics' soundtrack to the celluloid version of Paul Quarrington's fine novel 'Whale Music'.
Formed during the early eighties in their high school years in the Toronto suburb Etobicoke, the Rheostatics speak volumes to a generation who grew up with the collective Canadian suburban teenage-rock experience. Recognizing that other musicians faced a similar plight, they have befriended and supported up-and-coming bands at the grassroots level and through their Green Sprouts Music Club. They are truly devout proponents of Canadian music and culture, and have become a keystone of the burgeoning southern Ontario music scene.