About 2 weeks ago I was driving along with the radio tuned to CBC, listening to an awesome cover of Everybody Knows this is Nowhere. Now that tune has always been a favourite Canadian classic, and from the voice singing the harmonies, even before the announcer came back on, I knew right away it was the Rheostatics, one of my all time favourite Canadian acts (as it turned out, accompanying another old time favourite, The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir). I had it cranked all the way up, and as the song ended the announcer came on to say we’d be hearing lots more Rheostatics leading up to their final concert, March 30, at Massey Hall.
I was gutshot, almost drove off the road. I mean, it’s not necessarily a surprise when I thought about it, they are all a couple of years older than me, all have families now, and have been making music and touring for over 20 years now. But it broke my heart – they were a young band with a cult album when I first started to go see them at shows in London, Ontario during my undergrad days, and I’ve probably seen them 8 times over the years. Each show was magic; the Rheostatics are one of those bands that, while they might not have the hugest fan base, have an extremely dedicated one, and live shows were like a communion. I will really miss them.
For your listening pleasure, if you’ve never heard them, a few excerpts of some of my favourite Rheos’ tunes