Five Questions With… Flash Lightnin’
The Toronto rock 'n roll duo is calling it a day after a decade together, but is going out with a bang. A farewell EP, Homage, a tribute to their blues-rock roots, comes out on Friday.
By Jason Schneider
Homage, the new EP by Flash Lightnin’—out April 6 on Pheromone Recordings—serves as a farewell statement by one of Canada’s most underappreciated rock bands of the past 10 years. The four-song collection featuring covers of Cream, Mountain, the Jeff Beck Group and the original Fleetwood Mac brings things back to Flash Lightnin’s power trio origins, but in some ways also serves as a metaphor for their career: just enough down and dirty blues rock to keep fans craving more.
With only three other releases to their name, it’s easy to speculate about what more the Toronto band could have accomplished. But the fact that they never wavered from the sounds they loved—in spite of prevailing trends—is enough to secure their status. Of course, integrity comes with a price, and when the band’s principal members, guitarist/vocalist Darren Glover and bassist Darcy Yates, found themselves unable to find the time to work together as much as they once had, it seemed the appropriate moment to shut things down.
Thankfully, the pair, along with Matthew Good Band drummer Blake Manning, was convinced to have one final blowout at Toronto’s Revolution Recording where they laid down Homage’s four tracks with Ian Blurton behind the board. Glover and Yates recently took some time to put it all into perspective for us, and how Flash Lightnin’ will be remembered.
I imagine putting out Homage feels bittersweet. What made you decide to wrap things up this way?
Glover: Making a record to pay homage to our heroes was something that we’d talked about for a long time. It was actually [Pheromone Records founder] Kim Cooke’s idea. He also co-owns Revolution Recording, one of the best studios in Canada, if not the world. After years of discussing the idea, it kind of came together when Ian Blurton agreed to produce it, and we got Blake Manning to play powerhouse drums. It was all done live off the floor to tape, and what we ended up with was just killer.
The song choices are great. Was it a case of, let’s just go in the studio and have some fun?
Yates: More or less. There were discussions about which songs to do, but the only one that we’d ever played before was the Cream track [“SWALBR”]. There were other songs by The Yardbirds and other British blues bands that we tried out, but they didn’t feel as good as the four we ended up with.
I remember when you got to play some shows with ZZ Top a few years ago and thinking that must have been a dream come true. What other memories will you take away from being in this band?
Yates: It’s pretty much 10 years of great memories, on and off stage. Touring with ZZ Top was amazing, but all of the bands we toured with were awesome. Getting to play loud rock and roll is always fun.
I have to admit it’s disappointing that Flash Lightnin’ won’t be on the scene anymore. What’s your opinion of what’s currently happening in rock ‘n roll?
Glover: Yeah, there’s not a lot of killer rock and roll out there right now, but there will always be a few badass kids keeping the flame alive. It comes and goes. There’s never not going to be kids that want to learn how to play “Highway To Hell,” or the guitar solo from “Stairway To Heaven,” so I’ll be keeping my ear to the ground for the next new rad rock band.
What new projects do you have in the works?
Yates: I’ve been doing some producing and session playing in between my work as the touring bassist for Bahamas. All that has been keeping me super busy.
Glover: I live in Victoria B.C. now and have been playing around there a lot. I still make sure to always get in a solid hang with Darcy when he’s in town on tour.