Arkells were the subject of a long and thoughtful piece in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. It’s worth the read.
Sixty-four kilometres and a dozen-odd years away from where they first formed in Hamilton, Arkells were trying to keep up with their own momentum. As the producer Eric Ratz blasted a rough mix of the song Hand Me Downs into a studio control room in Toronto’s Parkdale in June, the rock band’s front man, Max Kerman, lifted his hands and began air-keyboarding. The song started to build, and he jumped from his chair, shifting to air-drums as the chorus hit. Then, “whoa-ohs” filling the room, he threw his arms high in the air.
“I wanted that to sound like Rolling on the River,” he said, referencing Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary. The version he really meant, though, was later recorded by Ike & Tina Turner. That song starts slow; it sounds familiar. But it becomes something entirely new, unexpected and fun. Something much bigger than before.
The track came to a close and Kerman hunted around the room for opinions. Before his bandmates could speak, Ratz, the Juno-winning engineer and producer of some of this century’s biggest Canadian rock ’n’ roll records, said two words: “stadium rock.”