Published Nov 29, 2010While certain members of the Happy Mondays have been busy upholding the Mancunian group's long-standing bad-boy reputation, others have put their efforts into more creative pursuits. Case in point: the band's drummer Gaz Whelan and his new band the Hippy Mafia.
Whelan, who now lives with his family in Burlington, ON, recruited a pair of fellow English expats, as well as an MC from Kitchener, ON, to form the quartet, who made a technical-malfunction-plagued live debut back at CMW in March. Now, they are gearing up for their first release, an EP dubbed Black Beatles, which is being release by Aussie label Red Disc Records.
"We were kind of in the frame of mind, do we really want to go for a record company?'" Whelan recently told Exclaim! in an interview. "But we're from the old school and it's difficult to make that transition."
The Hippy Mafia's EP will drop in Australia sometime next year. And while Red Disc isn't terribly notable to most Canadian music fans, it does have a licensing deal with Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger's 604 Records, which is based in Vancouver.
"I'd heard of [604 Records] but I didn't know anything about them," explains Whelan. "In Manchester, we don't listen to rock music, so Nickelback, I don't know anything about. But what I do know is that they've sold a lot of records so he's obviously got a lot of pennies. So why does he need to have a record label? He's doing it for the music, not purely financial gains."
Nothing is definite quite yet, Whelan cautions, but the band have yet to seriously speak with any labels here in Canada so "it's very likely" the record will appear on 604 sometime next year.
In the meantime, the Hippy Mafia will take another stab at the live thing on December 2 when they put on their "Rap and Roll Circus" at Orbit Room in Toronto with Kitchener, ON electro-rockers Spirits and Halifax hip-hop crew Three Sheet.
"We're going to have some video footage and artwork up in different rooms" Whelan says, explaining that the night was inspired by the Rolling Stones famed Rock and Roll Circus film. "The idea is to bring hip-hop kids and indie kids in to enjoy the show."
If all goes according to plan, the Hippy Mafia plan to host similar parties once a month in Toronto and Hamilton, ON starting in February. In the meantime, the band have a few other appearances scheduled around southern Ontario over the next few weeks.
11/30 Kingston, ON - The Mansion,
12/1 Waterloo, ON - Starlight,
12/2 Toronto, ON - The Orbit Room,
12/3 Hamilton, ON - This Ain't Hollywood