Lioness: A High School Reunion

"Joe? I thought I recognized the name."

Damn right she recognized the name. I may not be famous -yet- but I did go to high school with Vanessa Fisher. Then, I realized that I also went to high school with the other two members of Lioness, Ronnie Morris (who was not present) and Jeff Sheven. High school reunion!

And what high school reunion is complete without drinks? So there we were. Sitting at Harry's Char Broil and Grill in Parkdale, enjoying $2.50 Labatt 50s, talking about who kept in touch with who, when suddenly it hit me.

We should probably talk about Lioness.

Both Vanessa and Jeff have played in Toronto favourites before. Vanessa used to sing with No Dynamics and Jeff is formerly of Controller Controller, which disbanded after a series of inner conflicts. I asked him if Vanessa was Controller Controller's Yoko Ono.

"There were many Yoko Onos. It was just a result of a bunch of fights; there was ugliness and craziness and all sorts of things. There was drama. It just all came to a boiling point and something had to happen."

Lioness has just released their first four song EP and recently hosted their CD release party at Wrongbar. Both Jeff and Vanessa agreed that it went pretty well. Vanessa started.

"It was amazing. It went as well as we could have had it go. I mean like, people couldn't get in. It was raining so we thought that maybe people wouldn't come, but they did."

"It was sold out," Jeff said. "The cap at Wrongbar is something like 350 and they had to stop letting people in. We had such a good time. That type of show you book months before you go on tour, and you just hope that because it's your home city that it's going to be good. Everybody was pretty excited about it from the get-go. We were pleasantly surprised."

Besides touring and recording, Vanessa creates costumes for movies and television and Jeff works for MTV and directs music videos as well. Oh yeah. They date each other. Jeff fills me in.

"For us, because we're both creative people what drew us together was this aesthetic light that we both levitate towards. I think it's better for us to work together. We both kind of crave it. And that was the reason we sort of started this band. Because we were playing in separate bands, I would be away on tour and missing her and it was always this thing that was tugging at our relationship."

He went on for a little bit more but it was bad enough that I had to hear it. If I had to see on screen it just would have been too much for me. Seriously though, if I had to spend that much time with my ex I would have killed myself. But, as Vanessa pointed out:

"That's why she's your ex."


Photo by Tanja Tiziana

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