Remember when Broken Social Scene and Feist and Metric and the New Pornographers were all over the music blogs because they were awesome and also Canadian? Well, the days of glorifying our neighbors to the North for health care and cold weather are over, but the Arkells still do a pretty good job of performing good ol' American rock & roll.
They've won a Juno Award and have been long listed for the Polaris Prize in Canada, and are now visiting SoCal for the first time as a band. Next week they open for Joy Formidable at the Detroit Bar; keyboardist/guitarist Dan Griffin answers a few "getting to know you" questions.
OC Weekly: Where does your name come from?
Dan Griffin: A few of us lived on Arkell Street in Hamilton, Ontario. We thought it sounded like our favorite '60s all-girl Motown groups, like the Shirelles, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Tammi Tarell, Marvelettes and Mary Wells.
You won this year's Juno (the Canadian version of the Grammys) for "New Group of the Year." What did that feel like?
The best part of the whole thing was all the love and support that we got from friends and family who have been behind us through all of it. It was an really cool moment for the band because we rarely stop and appreciate how far we've come in the last couple years. The next day it was back to work.
Are you more like Broken Social Scene or Bare Naked Ladies?
We're a lot more like the great Canadian, Jack Bauer (AKA. Keifer Sutherland).
Not at all, we were just as surprised as anyone else was when she came up. We were doing a secret Much Music Video Awards afterparty set at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto and she was singing and dancing along in the front row. We had an open invitation for anyone to join us and she just jumped up on stage for a rendition of OutKast's "Ms. Jackson"--I had no idea who it was until after the show.
You've never been to OC--do you have any preconceptions you'd like to share?
This will be our first time in California. Everywhere we go we get asked if we're from California because apparently we share accents. From what we understand, everyone has a tanned complexion and eats salads. We're really hoping it's true because after touring around in a van for weeks we could really use both of those things.
What's the first thing you do when you cross the border?
After getting interrogated at customs we usually head straight to Sonic burger for celebratatory slushies.