Sloppy fun: An interview with Jason Collett

by Gen Handley

It was the day after one of the most boring and arguably pointless elections in Canadian history. It was also the day after Jason Collett’s show at The Casbah in Hamilton, Ontario and he had woken up from a much-needed slumber to talk to Reading for New Times.

“Hey man, how’s it going?” he says, sounding groggy with his cold and hangover, but not the least bit against doing the morning interview. “It’s no problem, seriously. But I’ve got this cold while we were playing on the east coast and I’ve been battling it for a few weeks. Colds aren’t just colds anymore – they’re like some kind of terminal illness.”

The soon-to-be father of four is once again making his way across Canada, serenading a solid legion of fans and creating new ones along the way. He was one of the founding fathers of Broken Social Scene but has since taken his own route, one that isn’t as flashy, but is still heading in the right direction. Scattered throughout his four albums are appearances by current BSS members such as Kevin Drew and BSS alumni such as Leslie Feist and Emily Haines. Even though his history with this Canadian institution is a part of who Jason Collett is, it’s definitely not who Jason Collett is.

“I mean I never saw the Social Scene as my main focus, you know?” he admits. “It was always a side thing for me and I was always focused on doing my own thing.”

And eight years later, Jason is once again experiencing that inventive environment with his touring group, opening act and rock-and-roll disciples Zeus.

“It’s a great energy to be around with lots of ideas being sparked back and forth,” Jason says. “I’ve always been attracted to that kind of dynamic in a band, that level of collaboration.”

Jason pauses for a couple of seconds.

“It makes me want to dig deeper musically,” he adds.

This connection is very evident at Jason’s show about a week later at the Urban Lounge in Edmonton. At the back of the stage, sitting behind the soundboard, Jason sits quietly, tapping his foot to every Zeus beat and giving the sound guy any suggestions to make the band sound better.

“Jason is like my mentor, you know?” says Zeus guitarist Neil Quin. “It’s been amazing touring with him and just learning from him.”

Looking at Neil’s face, you see that he’s having the time of his life.

On stage, Jason Collett is part poet and fucking madman, swooning one moment and then on the ground with his guitar the next moment with a look of agony on his face.

So how would you describe your live show in one word Jason?

“I can’t,” he replies with a laugh. “In two words maybe – sloppy fun.”

  • Sloppy fun: An interview with Jason Collett
  • by Gen Handley
  • Published on November 3rd, 2008
Jason Collett

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