By Gregory AdamsLast week, we learned that eccentric broadcast journalist/Evaporators frontman Nardwuar the Human Serviette was readying a guest-heavy compilation called Busy Doing Nothing, featuring appearances from Andrew W.K., the Cribs, Franz Ferdinand and Kate Nash. But without a tracklisting, we didn't really know how the album's varied artist base would gel. All was revealed, however, when Nardwuar explained to Exclaim! that the platter features originals and covers focusing on his beloved West Coast music scene.
"The entire record is about Vancouver," he told Exclaim! "You have Kate Nash from England covering ['90s cuddlecore pioneers] Cub. You have a Pointed Sticks cover from Franz Ferdinand, which they recorded at [Vancouver's now-displaced] JC/DC studios with John Collins and Dave Carswell. The Cribs doing 'Death in the Family' by the Dishrags. You have Fuad and the Feztones covering the Evaporators' 'Welcome to My Castle.' I just love those tunes."
Put in touch with many of the artists involved via his often zany interviews, Nardwuar put the feelers out to some of his favourite friends to see if they wanted to pay homage to the 'Couv. While Nardwuar admits that he couldn't get recurring interviewee Snoop Dogg to jump on board, he did manage to rope in Sage Francis and Jill Barber to help out on some Lotusland favourites.
"The Evaporators covered the Pointed Sticks as well ['All the Bad Girls'], so I thought, 'Hey, would you guys be into doing a split seven-inch or a compilation?' And they were into it. So I gave them a couple of suggestions of some songs because I thought it would be cool," he explained.
Nardwuar was further impressed that some of the guests have been playing their contributions live. He was astounded, for instance, that Kate Nash has been covering Cub's cutesy classic "My Chinchilla," which she recorded with Suede's Bernard Butler, on the festival circuit in Europe.
"There's a clip of her on YouTube with her performing it in Poland at a giant festival. She's like, 'This is by an all-girl punk band called Cub from Vancouver' at a giant festival and she does the song! I thought it was so awesome that they were into the suggestions because usually nobody listens to me."
In addition to the actual Busy Doing Nothing album, Vancouver photographer Bev Davies has included a number of images she's taken of bands over the years as part of a 40-page calendar, and other guests jumped in to whip up some anecdotes to accompany her images.
"Andrew W.K. tells a story of one of the pictures that Bev Davies took of Iggy Pop: 'Hey, did you know that Iggy Pop's first band the Iguanas once played a house party in a house that my parents bought?'" Nardwuar recounts on behalf of the party rocker. "I never knew that! So, people involved with the comp commented on the photos as well. It's a total homage to Vancouver."
Busy Doing Nothing will be released on March 6 via Mint/Nardwuar Records on vinyl and digitally.
Busy Doing Nothing:
1. The Evaporators and Andrew W.K. - "I Hate Being Late When I'm Early" 2. The Cribs - "Death In The Family" (Dishrags Cover) 3. Kate Nash - "My Chinchilla" (Cub cover) 4. Franz Ferdinand - "Real Thing" (Pointed Sticks cover) 5. Fuad & the Feztones - "Welcome To My Castle" (The Evaporators cover) 6. The Evaporators ft. Sage Francis, Xual Zan, Megan Barnes - "Hot Dog High" 7. The Evaporators - "Busy Doing Nothing" 8. The Evaporators ft. Andrew W.K., Jill Barber - "Bring It On Home" (Doug Rutledge cover) 9. The Evaporators - "Milkshake Murder" 10. The Evaporators - "Bunk" 11. The Evaporators - "Pig War" 12. The Evaporators - "All The Bad Girls" (Pointed Sticks cover) 13. Nardwuar vs. Franz Ferdinand (2004 interview)