It's becoming increasingly clear that Constantines' recent appearance at the Dawson City Music Festival on July 16 might have served as their last live show and spurt of band activity for the foreseeable future. In a pre-recorded CBC Radio 3 interview with the band airing Thursday morning (August 12), lead vocalist/guitarist Bry Webb shed a grim light on the future of the Cons.
"I think we're just slowing down," Webb said initially, before adding, "We'll just say, 'See you around.'"
Never one for grand public pronouncements, Webb chose his words carefully when asked why the band might be finished. "We're in our early 30s and we have some different priorities than we did ten years ago, personally any way. It's time to focus on other things."
When asked if this precluded any other Constantines plans, Webb said the future is "wide open; the future is half-full," while his bandmates sat silently, listening intently.
Friends and fans began murmuring about the band breaking up as early as last December, when the Cons held a triumphant and celebratory tenth anniversary tour across their earliest circuit in southwestern Ontario. Though they played a handful of shows after the live dates, it seems as though they were simply meeting previously agreed-upon obligations.
All of those shows were meant to include longtime keyboardist/guitarist Will Kidman, but after falling ill, he was unable to participate. He subsequently left the band well before their Dawson City performance.
"You'd have to ask Will [why he left]," guitarist/vocalist Steven Lambke said. "There was definitely an adjustment made with the shows we've played since he left. But we wish him well."
Kidman will likely return to his Woolly Leaves solo project and continue to collaborate with Julie Doiron. Lambke (who, for the record, does not agree that age should have anything to do with the Constantines' ability to play/make music) has his new Baby Eagle record coming out on Tuesday (August 17). It's entitled Dog Weather and is being released on You've Changed Records, the imprint he oversees with Daniel Romano of Attack in Black and Daniel, Fred & Julie.
Webb has recently relocated from Montreal to Guelph, which has left his other band, the Harbour Coats, and their debut album, in a state of transition and uncertainty. Webb is also a participant in the National Parks Project, where a trio of musicians or bands are dispatched to different parks in Canada and asked to collaborate on new music, inspired by their surroundings. Configurations include Shad and the Besnard Lakes, Sandro Perri teaming up with John K. Samson and Christine Fellows, and Webb working with Sarah Harmer and Jim Guthrie in Haida Gwaii, an archipelago in northern British Columbia.
The idea is that films are made of the parks and scored by the musicians. According to Webb, the music and short films (made in part by the Discovery Channel) may see the light of day in 2011, as part of the 125th anniversary celebrations for Parks Canada.
Constantines bassist/visual artist Dallas Wehrle has started a new band in Toronto called Deloro, with Jennifer Castle and members of One Hundred Dollars. If drummer Doug MacGregor has any musical plans beyond the Cons, he's keeping them to himself for now.
Constantines' last album was 2008's Kensington Heights.
Upcoming Constantines-related tour dates:
9/22 Waterloo, ON - Jane Bond 9/23 Toronto, ON - The Dakota 9/24 Sudbury, ON - The Townehouse 9/27 Peterborough, ON - The Spill 9/29 Guelph, ON - The Ebar 9/30 Montreal, PQ - Pop Montreal's SappyFest showcase 10/01 Ottawa, ON - Raw Sugar 10/02 Hamilton, ON - The Ship
11/12 Guelph, ON - Dublin Street United Church w/ Jason Collett, Al Tuck