Local musicians take on revered records
— the whole darn thing
Most musicians have a favourite song or two they like to cover — but a whole record? That seems a bit extreme. If you know Wes Borg, however, you know that out of the ordinary is his specialty, so it’s not much of a surprise that the local actor and musician is the man behind Victoria Covers, a new project that gathers musicians to cover a beloved album from front to back.
“The idea of the show is to light a fire under the asses of local musicians to do something challenging, while simultaneously introducing Victoria’s public to some of the great bands and musicians around town,” says Borg of the initiative, which he hopes to make a monthly thing.
First up is They Might Be Giants’ Flood, which Borg says he chose because “it’s the most ‘classic’ album the five of us could agree on.” MD Wren, one of the musicians performing the record (the lineup is rounded out by Borg, Grayson Walker, Rad Juli and Terri Upton), says it’s a record that lends itself well to some of the band members.
“With Wes and Grayson, the two of them, they’re very theatrical,” says Wren, who also fronts “a raunchy country rockabilly band” called MD Wren and the Sick Kids and is in a two-piece garage-rock band called Savage Henry. “The album just resonates on that way that I can see them being really into it.”
Learning Flood from front to back has been challenging — particularly for a guitarist like Wren. “I think [the songs] are written from a piano player’s point of view, so they have a lot of different changes that are difficult on guitar,” he says. “It’s funny when you dissect an album. You’re just used to hearing it, but you don’t really play it and then you have to sit down and dissect it and work out all the different parts.”
Wren says they’re generally “sticking to the program laid out by They Might Be Giants,” but folks can expect a couple surprises in their interpretations of TMBG’s third album.
“I think we’re going to do a few a cappella things that aren’t a cappella on the record, but we’ll see,” says Wren.
Wren hopes to cover Ween’s Chocolate and Cheese further down the road, and Borg wants to issue a call-to-arms to other Victoria bands to participate — a good-natured one, of course.
“Come on, Children of Celebrities … you pussies!” he says. “Come on Slut Revolver … let’s hear you cover Heart’s Dreamboat Annie, ya wimps!” M