Sam Roberts Band,
The TVD First Date

“Every fall, in Montreal and the nearby Laurentian mountains, people come from all over the world to see the leaves change colours. We call them Leaf-peepers… I think… At any rate, it really is a spectacle worth seeing, the leaves, that is, not the peepers—one of Mother’s Nature finest from her deep bag of tricks.”

“To a kid growing up in the area, however, the same leaves represent a very different beast. The changing colours are seen for what they truly represent, the death-throes of summer before the long, dark winter sleep. And where do dead leaves end up? The lawn, the flower beds, the driveway…like water, they will find a way into and through and under everything. On precious weekend afternoons, it is the sacred and unpleasant duty of every Canadian kid to rake these leaves—“bag ‘em and tag ‘em.”

My dad used to offer us financial compensation but my brother and I saw through the scheme…10 cents a bag, seemed easy enough—could be looking at a dollar for an hour’s work. Not so fast! A bag is never full until dad has given the OK. Which meant passing the compression test… which meant him taking what looked like a full bag of leaves and standing in the bag until the leaves had been squashed to a near-atomic level! Then came the inevitable judgment, “That’s not full…”

All this to say that it took my brother Dan and I the entire fall season of 1982 (80 dad-compressed bags) to save up the $8 each to buy our favourite records. We got a ride to Discus record shop at the Fairview Shopping Centre and laid out our combined dollars and change for Men at Work’s Business As Usual and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

We spent the next six months deepening every groove, learning every word and note and adding scratches. Michael Jackson was the biggest star in the world. Thriller, about as close to perfect as they come. Men At Work was a bit more esoteric and I loved and still love them. They had a few big radio hits with “Who Can It Be Now?” (and it’s strange, paranoia-soaked video) and “Down Under.” In my mind, any band that can write a line including the lyrics “Vegemite Sandwich” and still have a hit is worthy of loyalty. The rest of the record is worth revisiting and I often do.

What made those two records important to us was that they were OUR first records. My parents had a great collection—The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, the Incredible String Band… I had spent many hours listening to them all, staring at the gatefolds, reading the cryptic liner notes…but those were THEIR records, from a time even our young minds recognized as being not our own. Here was our thing, from our time—our first contributions to the ever-growing collection on the bookshelf.”
Sam Roberts

All of Us, the new release from the Sam Roberts Band is in stores now—on vinyl.

Sam Roberts Band Official | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
PHOTO: RICHMOND LAM

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