Imagine loading up with a pack of smokes and a couple, maybe three,
bottles of beer. Now sling a guitar over your shoulder and wail
away with the kind of reckless abandon you"ve always dreamed about.
Rock and roll. If you can imagine that, then you imagine The Waking Eyes.
It might seem incredible but since forming in the Spring of 2002,
The Waking Eyes have released a critically acclaimed independent
album, and signed a record deal. It might not seem so incredible
once you get an earful of their brand of ferocious rock music that
brings to mind the halcyon days of The Stooges and MC 5 mixed with
a healthy nod to the more sardonic side of the Beatles.
In 2001, two popular local Winnipeg bands - The Pets and Novillero -
disbanded leaving fans to wonder what would become of the musicians
who had already begun to build a loyal following in the city. From
the ashes of those bands, The Waking Eyes emerged. The newly formed
group had made a decision to work on their songwriting chops before
hitting the road and their plan worked to perfection. Their indie
album caught the attention of fans and critics alike. The record's
initial pressing sold out and the Calgary Sun enthused "Search high,
search low, you'd be hard pressed to find a retro rock record executed
as flawlessly as this Nugget of neo-psychedelic perfection." The new
band consisting of Rusty Matyas (guitar, vocals), Matt Peters
(guitar, vocal) and Steve Senkiw (drums, vocals) took to the road
and before long their shows were becoming things of legends as the
band members stretched their musical muscles by exchanging instruments
throughout t! he set.
The band continued to tour extensively throughout Western Canada
and were the buzz band at the New Music West festival in Vancouver
which then led to an invitation to play the International Pop Overthrow
Festival in Los Angeles.
"We went over really well, and people were freaking out over our live show,"
says Matt matter-of-factly. "We were in the middle of the mecca of the
music business and it was the first time we realized that a music career
was a real possibility."
The band returned to Winnipeg with much more determination and focus.
The band worked on stripping down their sound to the bare bones and
concentrate on melodies. They also stuck to their instruments rather
than show off their dexterity. Out of this came a raw and rebellious sound.
With songs like "Watch Your Money" and "Beginning" as their new calling
cards, a fresh demo began making the rounds, eventually landing in the
office of Coalition Entertainment Management and their newly formed label -
Coalition Entertainment Records. Coalition brought the band to the attention
of their partner, Warner Music Canada who were impressed with the material
and blown away by the band's live show thus forming the final piece of the puzzle.
The band soon set up shop in Toronto's Arnyard Studios with producer Arnold
Lanni (Our Lady Peace, Simple Plan) to begin work on their debut album and
emerged with a complete soul shaker of a recording.
Musically, The Waking Eyes debut bursts out of the speakers proclaiming the
arrival of a musical beast. The songs are built on rock solid riffs like
the long winding blues progression of "Taking The Hard Way" and the psychedelic
swirl of "On A Train." The album's lyrics reveal a band dealing with the world
they live in. In "Headlights' Rusty sings about being stuck between going to
his dead-end job in order to pay the rent and going to the recording studio
to do what he really loves. Matt's ball busting rocker "Beginning" is one
of the Waking Eyes' darker songs preaching giving into impulses while you can.
With a highway full of tour dates stretching into the horizon and an album
full of hits crammed into their back pockets, The Waking Eyes are determined
to take on the world, one town at a time.