By Brock ThiessenIf you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on rock’n’roll’s wall, a new documentary series is giving you that chance. IFC’s program The Rawside Of... kicked off this week, allowing music lovers to get a sneak peak into the lives of Canadian artists such as Brendan Canning, Metric, Born Ruffians, Die Mannequin and several others as they struggle to bring the rock to the masses. And if the bands themselves weren’t enough, sitting in the director’s seat for several of the episodes is acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo, Dance Me Outside).
"It’s an eight-part series that really, really takes you behind-the-scenes of bands that I like to say are bands in transition. They are bands that are really on the verge — whether it be the verge of making it, breaking it or taking it to the next step,” Lynne Carter, production executive for Canwest Broadcasting, told the CBC. "And it’s like nothing you have ever seen before.”
In last night’s (October 28) episode, The Rawside Of... followed left-field popsters Born Ruffians as they travelled from their hometown of Toronto to Austin’s South by Southwest for the first time, stopping by post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans along the way. In another episode (which debuts November 11), the series focuses on Brendan Canning as he struggles to complete his solo debut album, Something for All of Us, while preparing to tour Australia with his day job Broken Social Scene.
The Canning episode is one of those directed by McDonald, who told the Canadian Press he wanted "a more impressionistic” approach to the project that leans on "sound and visuals rather than straight interviews.”
"They become gods, literally... because their music lasts, you know, and it is mythological,” he told CP of the rock’n’roll lifestyle.
Here is the schedule and episode descriptions of The Rawside Of..., which was co-created by former I Mother Earth guitarist Jagori Tanna, courtesy of the CBC and IFC:
Episode One: Born Ruffians. Tuesday October 28 at 8 p.m. ET
Life on the road separates boys from men. Get an in-depth look at the Born Ruffians as they tour through the U.S. on their way to play the South by Southwest music festival for the first time. Along the way the boys navigate the road, conduct interviews and play shows, all while learning to deal with their newfound fans in addition to the wanted and unwanted attention it brings. Directed by Sean Wainsteim.
Episode Two: the Cliks. Tuesday November 4 at 8 p.m. ET
Follow a band on the rise as an outsider looking in as the Cliks, led by singer and guitarist Lucas Silveira, a transgendered male and principal songwriter, struggles to make the transition into writing their music as a collective group. The band continues to keep up their demanding touring schedule, hoping to open people’s eyes to their music and the fact that they’re not just a "lesbian band.” Directed by Robert Pilichowski.
Episode Three: Brendan Canning. Tuesday November 11 at 8 p.m. ET
From grinding it out in the studio to his favourite place in the world, his kitchen, we follow founding member of Broken Social Scene, Brendan Canning, the self-described perfectionist, as he struggles to finish his first solo album. As his deadline creeps closer, he grapples to find time to rehearse with the band and complete his record before boarding an airplane for the Australia leg of the Broken Social Scene world tour. Directed by Bruce McDonald.
Episode Four: Die Mannequin. Tuesday November 18 at 8 p.m. ET
It’s death and heartbreak with Die Mannequin as they prep for a U.S. tour and try to write a new album. Mr. Butterscotch, manager of Die Mannequin, laments the fact lead singer Care has thrown out everything she’s written so far. We follow the band through Boston and beyond for a North American tour, as they deal with the pressure of writing on the road. Directed by Bruce McDonald.
Episode Five: Dodger. Tuesday November 25 at 8 p.m. ET
Music, relationships and work commitments are a few of the things Dodger’s founder, lead singer and songwriter Matt Drake, struggles to juggle over three marathon days in his home town, Hamilton. Battling self-doubt, the pressures of working a full-time job, trying to stay creative and searching for time to make a relationship with Canadian pop punker Skye Sweetnam work, Matt struggles to balance his life. The real question is: how long will he be able to keep this going before it all begins to implode? Directed by Jagori Tanna.
Episode Six: The Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. Tuesday December 2 at 8 p.m. ET
After ten years and thousands of shows, Canada’s best bar band called it quits in 1995. Now after a 13-year hiatus, singer/songwriter Chris Brown must try to put the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir back together for one last gig at the world renowned Hillside Music Festival in Guelph, ON. But band members struggle with fractured relationships, inflated egos and the difficult task of staying relevant in this day and age. Will Chris be able to recapture the magic that once was or will he watch his beloved BTC crumble for the last time? Directed by Liz Marshall.
Episode Seven: Gracer. Tuesday December 9 at 8 p.m. ET
In 2006, Buffalo’s Gracer released their debut album. It was well received by fans and the press alike, accolades, a record deal and a tour soon followed. While on tour, Justin, the bassist, fell asleep at the wheel one fateful night and wrapped the van around a telephone pole. He quit the band shortly after along with the drummer. Everything the band had worked so hard for came crumbling and burning to the ground, with only Paul Besch and Ryan Mahone left to forge forward. Follow the two as they record a new song in Toronto and work towards playing their first gig in over year, and their first ever as a two-piece. This is a moment that will inevitably make or break their careers. Directed by Robert Pilichowski.
Episode Eight: Metric. Tuesday December 16 at 8 p.m. ET
Since 1998, Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw have been the life force behind the Toronto-based, multi-platinum electro-rock fusion phenomenon known as Metric. We are brought into the recording studio as the band finish work on Metric’s fourth studio album, and the first one they are releasing on their own without a record label. Travelling between New York and Toronto, Jimmy and Emily rush to perfect every nuance of each track. As with all bands at the pinnacle of success they struggle to top even themselves.