For those of you familiar with NoMeansNo, singer and guitarist Tom Holliston is coming to town as a solo act. Just a man, his guitar and the antics that ensue when he’s left to his own devices…
BeatRoute: What made you decide to start a solo career and how does it compare to playing in a band?
Tom Holliston: I’ve been doing solo work or just playing solo for quite a while, but I haven’t done a solo show in about five years. It’s a challenge: I mean, when you make mistakes, you can’t just turn around and glare at your amp like you can when you’re in a band. It’s just you. The actual presentation of playing with one’s self as opposed to being a three- or four-piece band is really no different, in the sense that it’s good to be confident and have some idea about what works on stage as far as dynamics go.
BR: I’ve heard that your solo shows are quite the sight to be seen. Are the rumours true?
TH: I think, whether I’m onstage or not, it’s good to encourage people and it’s always good to have a human pyramid; it loosens one up and makes the day sunnier and brighter. Just in the past doing a show, being in a band or solo, if an egg and spoon race develops within the audience when one is playing, you just have a general idea that people are paying attention and that’s good.
BR: When you say human pyramid, do you mean an actual human pyramid?
TH: Oh yeah! At a NoMeansNo show one time, instead of doing a guitar solo we just had the audience form a human pyramid, instead.
BR: So what do we have to look forward to on this tour specifically?
TH: Most of the shows I’m playing with a friend of mine, Byron Flack (Invasives, Vancouver). They’re a fantastic band and Byron is a great front man and songwriter, so I hope people come out to see him, because he’s really good and has never done a solo tour. He’s quite looking forward to this.
If you want to keep up with Holliston and all his antics on the road, check out his tour diary on NoMeansWhatever.com. And be on the lookout for not only a new solo record from Tom, but also a new NoMeansNo record, in the near future!
Tom Holliston will be playing the Empress Ale House (Edmonton) on September 11, the RiverCity Social Club (Winnipeg) on September 14 and at the Ship & Anchor (Calgary) on September 18.
By Sarah MacAB, Alberta