By Adam Waldman
Today marks Canada’s 150th birthday. Canada 150 is a celebration that is likely to fly under the radar of most, unless you have connections to the Great White North.
Like the country itself, Canadian rockers often fail to get the recognition that they deserve outside of their native land. One band that has gotten the recognition is Rush. Whether it’s intentional or not, their classic song “The Trees” offers a brilliant analogy of what it takes to get recognized as a Canadian musician…
“The trouble with the maples, and they’re quite convinced they’re right…They say the oaks are just too lofty, and they grab up all the light.”
Personally speaking, I’m quite convinced that the maples ARE right! With a population that is nearly ten times that of Canada, the United States “grabs up all the light” in more ways than one. Today is Canada’s 150th birthday, but outside of the country, the attention this weekend will be on July 4th weekend in the United States. Canada’s milestone will barely make a blip on the radar. Musically, Canadian musicians realize that, in order to reach a critical mass, they must not only become kings of the maple forest, but battle amongst the oaks as well.
One of my favorite new bands is Toronto’s Ugly Melon. Actually, at this point, it’s fair to say that they are one of my favorite bands in general. Even though it’s only been a little over a year since I discovered them after they submitted their music for review, it feels like much longer than that. Being a lifelong fan of Rainbow, Dio and Black Sabbath, the band’s music resonated with me instantly.
With lofty goals to strive for the status of the legends that inspired them, Ugly Melon is well aware of the fact that they will need to breakthrough in America. In a Hard Rock Daddy exclusive, frontman extraordinaire Tony LaSelva shared his thoughts on the subject, and what it means to be a Canadian musician/citizen…
“When I was asked to give my thoughts about Canada’s 150th birthday, and what it means to me to be Canadian, I wasn’t sure how to respond at first. Then I started to think about it, and I realized just how big of a patriot I am. I think that being a patriot in Canada is something that isn’t really discussed on a regular basis.
I think that most Canucks are really quite proud to live in (what most of us up here consider to be) the greatest country in the world. Our pride is not something we brag or boast about (that wouldn’t really be very Canadian), but it is there nonetheless. Canada’s 150th birthday has a lot of people talking about national pride and how truly fortunate we are to be Canadian (for reasons that go beyond hockey, Tim Horton’s, maple syrup, Canadian beer, low crime rates, great skiing, free health care, the world’s most popular Prime Minister, and more).
There is no one thing, or list of things, that makes Canada great. It’s a feeling that you get when you bring people together from every corner of the world. We have over 200 ethnicities represented in our population. Each is given the exact same opportunities to not only get along, but to thrive. That is amazingly Canadian.
Maybe I’m a little biased when it comes to the success of multiculturalism in Canada, but that’s because I’ve lived it, and continue to do so every day. My parents emigrated to Canada from Italy in the 1950s. Like most, they came here to make a better life for themselves and their children. Through hard work, and the good fortune of being granted so many opportunities to prosper, they did just that. We lived a modest life, but never really wanted for anything. Through their example, we (first generation Canadians) learned that with effort and perseverance, anything is possible.
Immigrants literally built the major cities in Canada, and there is a pride that comes with that, a sense of ownership if you will. There’s a sense that we all have a stake in the success of not only our immediate inner circle of friends and family, but in all of those around us as well. That success includes a number of Canadian musicians…
From rock artists like Rush, Sebastian Bach, The Guess Who, The Tragically Hip, and Bryan Adams to artists like Paul Anka, Anne Murray, Gordon Lightfoot, Celine Dion, Leonard Cohen, and Drake, and more. Canadians have seen huge success on the world’s stage, not only in music, but in every corner of entertainment.
For emerging Canadian artists (like Ugly Melon), the goal has been, and probably always will be, to break in the U.S. The market in America is ten times the size of that in Canada, so it is obviously important to try to get noticed there. Thankfully, these days, the world is a much smaller place, due to the internet and social media, which makes international exposure possible for all artists.
Canadian artists will certainly continue to flex their musical muscle in the future. Speaking for Ugly Melon, we are all proud Canadians and sons of immigrants striving to be a part of the continuing ‘Canadian Invasion’ of artists.”
The passion that LaSelva exudes in speaking about what it means to be Canadian is only a fraction of what comes through with his soulful vocals.
Ugly Melon has been featured on Hard Rock Daddy a number of times, and will continue to be featured in the future. We’re proud to have been the first media outlet to jump on the Ugly Melon bandwagon. This is a band that embodies the spirit of Canada, and should be included in the things to love about the country alongside hockey, Tim Horton’s, maple syrup, and of course, the other legendary musicians who hail from the Great White North.
While most emerging artists make their bones in small clubs, Ugly Melon is already doing live shows that feel like arena concerts. Their next show will be taking place on August 25, 2017 at Rock Pile in Etobicoke, Ontario. If you’re in the area, this show is a MUST-SEE!
Happy Canada Day to all of our Canadian readers! Enjoy your celebration of Canada 150!