This year marks 40 years since Hamilton’s Proto-punk gift to the world, Simply Saucer, released their 7” “She’s a Dog/I Can Change My Mind“. This recording is being re-released on a limited vinyl run this weekend through Schizophrenic records. Simply Saucer are playing at This Ain’t Hollywood on March 10th and the record will be available at all local record shops and eventually online in some form.
Proto-Punk pioneers Simply Saucer (founding members: Edgar Breau, John LaPlante, Kevin Christoff and Neil DeMarchant) formed in the 1970’s in the east end of Hamilton. Their sound influenced punk music on a global scale. I caught up with Edgar Breau recently to learn more about the band.
Simply Saucer was inspired by bands with cult followings like The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Pink Floyd and others. It is this inspiration combined with their ‘rust-belt’ gritty style of music that Edgar credits for their longevity. “I think our band remained relatable because we were inspired by these great cult bands who didn’t get famous until later in life. Stuff like Syd Barrett, Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart as their influence and fame grew and people started digging for more music that sounded like that. They found us about 15 years down the line. We had a convoluted rise” he says.
Simply Saucer helped to define a specific punk style that Hamilton became known for. Asked about the state of the city’s music in 2018, Edgar says “We have a lot more genres and the music scene is open to a lot of different stuff now. We’ve always had terrific blues and rock, and some r’n’b but the spectrum is much wider today. TV Freaks are a band that I really like these days.” Edgar goes on to say that it is easier for bands to record and get started now but wonders if it is harder to make a connection and to get noticed, because of the amount of competition and the shirking number of venues in Hamilton. “The live show is the most important thing. It is an adventure and an experience for the band and the audience – nothing replaces it. I would hope that bands value it and go and see other bands to learn from them and to support them – and I would hope that people will continue to go out to live shows” he says. Edgar treats his life long passion for music as a craft; a discipline. He believes in the hard work of it, the effort and the dedication it takes to perfect your instrument. What’s at the heart of good music, according to Edgar, is integrity and mastery of ones craft.
Edgar’s passion for music is evident the moment you start talking to him. He’s somehow maintained a teen-level obsession over records and music. Remember that feeling? We talked about influences, the joy of listening to a new record and fandom. But of all of his charming asides and tales from the music world trenches, the story of his penpal and lifelong friend Craig is my favourite. It’s a friendship tale for the ages. As a youth Edgar Breau was part of a ‘Syd Barrett Appreciation Society”. What this meant was that he subscribed to a magazine called ‘Terrapin: The Magazine of the Syd Barrett Appreciation Society‘ that was sent to other Syd Barrett appreciators around the world. The members of this appreciation society would submit little clippings and stories they heard about the goings-on of Syd Barrett. This would get printed in the magazine and sent back out for all of the followers to read and to keep tabs on Syd. The appreciation society had a pen pal club that Edgar joined. He was matched with a person named Craig Bell from Cleveland, Ohio. They stayed in touch through their youth and into their adulthood and they became good friends. Craig is a musician too and plays in “Rocket From the Tombs” another 70’s-born proto-punk band. They met in person 5 years ago. Simply Saucer needed a bass player for some shows. And Craig plays bass. So last year he ended up playing a run of American shows with Simply Saucer and Edgar and the guys stayed in Craig’s family home and hung out with the fam. “Craig is a railway man. He’s right on the tracks, fixing trains. He’s a train junkie. His band is similar to ours and is is also still playing” Edgar mused.
The 7 inch comes with a 12 page booklet and a bunch of never before seen photos. Simply Saucer will be launching the reissue of the She’s A Dog 7 inch on March 10th at This Ain’t Hollywood in Hamilton (details and tickets available at thisainthollywood.ca). Click here for ordering information.
Want to listen to what Edgar Breau is currently listening to? Check out:
Mississippi John Hurt