jason collett

Call & Response: Jason Collett

Jason Collett is a Toronto institution by now, isn't he? Not only a member of Broken Social Scene, he's also a scene maker. I remember Radio Mondays (the amazing acoustic jam session he hosted) and he's now one show into his third annual residency at The Dakota Tavern.

For those that don't know -- it's a variety show hosted (and headlined) by Jason that features a rotating cast of our city's best roots rock talent. There's a relaxed vibe in the room all night, and you never know who's going to take the stage.

Not only is Jason a great host and singer/songwriter, he's also responsible for shining the spotlight on two backing bands: the seemingly defunct Paso Mino and Zeus, his current backing band who have their own album coming out soon on Arts & Crafts. Jason, it would seem, does it all. I spoke to him about his year, his residency, and fatherhood.

blogTO: How was 2009 for you?

Jason Collett: Great, I stayed home and made a new record.

Did you buy any special music gear this year?

No, I bought and cooked some fine food for the recording sessions.

You've got one Dakota show in the can already. How did it go?

It was fantastic.

Who played?

Derek McCormack read from his trilogy on country music, haute couture and vampires. Susan Holbrooke's poetry was even more sidesplitting than Fraser Young's comedy, but that's no dis 'cause he's really fuckin' funny.

Zeus and the Golden Dogs formed a band and just played Beatles songs (they called themselves Beatlejuice). Bahamas, Neil Quin and Danielle Duval were all stellar as well.

Is hosting a variety show like riding a bike or were you rusty?

A little of both perhaps, but I prefer to be a bit of a blank slate. Things tend to come off as mechanical if you over prepare, you can miss the immediacy of the moment. Remaining spontaneous is really the spirit of this series.

I remember last year you had a little book with notes about every performer that night. Is the book back for this year?

Scraps of paper so far. Thanks for reminding me, a book would be more pro.

Zeus -- like your last backing band Paso Mino -- have benefitted greatly from backing you up. How does it feel to be a "starmaker"?

I feel more like a doting father. I probably nitpick them too much.

Will you be playing any new songs at the Dakota shows?


What were your favourite albums of the 00's?

Al Tuck's work.

What's at the top of your Christmas wish list?

A happy Hanukkah.

Jason Collett's Annual Basement Revue
Every Tuesday in December
The Dakota Tavern
249 Ossington Ave
Doors: 9pm
Ticktets: $20 advance at Rotate This, Soundscapes; $25 at door

Call & Response is a series of Q&A's with artists/doting fathers from or playing in Toronto. Photo: Victor Taveres.

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