By Trevor Hatter
CALGARY – Stranger and more compelling than the eccentric TV scientist from whom they borrow their name, the hilarious house party band Julius Sumner Miller has a new drummer and a fistful of hot, new tracks delivered at lightning speed. Like a pop-up experiment the outfit’s third album, We Teach Nothing, took only three days to record despite their drummer not owning a kit and not playing with a click track before.
Guitarist Sean Hamilton recalls their apprehension going into the studio. “At first we were thinking, ‘Oh, man, this is gonna be a long weekend!’”
Even though Scott Burton hadn’t hit the snare and cymbals for some time, he filled in for JSM on the spur of the moment, learning JSM’s catalogue in his living room on pillows and barstools.
“I bought some drumsticks and put on their albums,” says Burton. “The guys gave me a set list and I figured, ‘Yeah, I played drums 10 years ago, it’s like riding a bike!’” he jests, downplaying the work he put into getting tracks down just days before a weekend show.
Frontman, carnival barker Darren Ollinger notes, “We decided to jam on Wednesday to see if we needed to bail on our next show. But Scott shows up, we rip a set and he kills it!”
What was intended to be a temporary fix worked out so well the band acknowledged they needed to put a ring on it and lock Burton down for good.
Even with the personnel change, JSM stick to the original plan — bringing the explosive momentum of an ‘80s action movie to the stage. A magnanimous Ollinger delivers lyrical one-liners that the audience loves to shout along to, while the band’s resident riff machines, guitarist Richard “Monty” Macfarlane and bassist Glen Murdoch, use their hairy charisma to let fans know it’s OK to get weird.
When asked what their dream gig would be, Hamilton conjures a very Canadian answer, “Playing outside the Grey Cup, in the cold!”
Warm up to Julius Sumner Miller’s new material at their album release parties March 7th at The Buckingham (Edmonton), March 8th at Broken City (Calgary) and March 9th at the Canmore Legion (Canmore)Broken City, Canmore Legion, Julius Sumner Miller, The Buckingham