Published Sep 01, 2002Lee Raback is the vocalist for seven-piece Hamilton collective Warsawpack. Their debut album, Gross Domestic Product, is being re-released by G7 Welcoming Committee on September 11.
I've just recently "downsized" my life to accommodate a more hectic performance schedule. Quit my full-time job and reverted back to the poverty of my youth. I've got peanut butter stuck to the roof of my mouth and holes in my shoes again. It's kind of refreshing.
Mind-altering work of art:
Yo! Bum Rush the Show, Public Enemy's first album. Real eye-opener for me. Fully changed my concept of music's potential "purpose."
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
First real concert I saw: Neil Young when I was about 14 years old. He played a completely solo set, just Neil, his acoustic guitar, a stool, and a microphone. I had never been to a concert before, and I remember feeling like I had been let in on some kind of great adult secret. It felt like some kind of rite of passage.
What has been your career high and low?
High just happened actually. The "Under the Volcano" festival in Vancouver. It was an amazing vibe, thousands of people dancing, talking, and having fun. I would have been happy to just hang-out but we actually got to play.
Low was about two years ago in Buffalo. Played some crappy club to ten people. Terrible sound. Made less than our tab came to. Got sick from the small pizza they let the seven of us share. A bad time was had by all.
What should everyone shut up about?
Any and all of the insignificant trite they regurgitate when they've watched too much TV.
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
The impoverished, oppressed and defenseless peoples of the Axis of Evil.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
I like how easily amused I can be. Pretty happy to just sit around and pick my ass. But then, I dislike my lack of ambition and get pissed at myself for just sitting around and doing nothing all the time. You can see my dilemma.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
If their odour is actually inhibiting sleep band-mates would be ousted from the bed. And yes, this rule has been tested.
When I think of Canada I think:
Trees, pucks, and chubby guys in shorts and sandals drinking sugary brown bottle beer and complaining about Americans.
What is your vital daily ritual?
I'm pretty useless without a coffee. Does that count?
How do you spoil yourself?
Get me some good Indian take-out, go home to my girlfriend, unplug the phone and hide from the world.
What was your most memorable day job?
When I was 18, I got a job working at a dog grooming shop, answering phones, bathing dogs and stuff. I got paid to play fetch it was pretty cool.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
My drummer has the best back-up career plan I've ever heard of: zombie hunter. I've never had much luck in the work world. I'd like to say I would be an environmental lawyer or something. But really, I'd probably be flipping burgers.
What is your greatest fear?
That America that great bloated petroleum addict will be seized in a coup by the ultra-right wing inner circle of the Republican party. They will increase military spending, suspend civil rights, and fabricate some pretence to wage an unending war on the world's unarmed and starving. That to me is terrifying.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I wish I could freeze time. I just don't get a chance to nap like I used to.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
Booze will do it. Lots of booze.
Music and sex: Is there a difference?
Music can be more draining, and makes me a lot sweatier. And it's still legal to buy.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
Our bass player Jari roadied for the Headstones a few years ago. Hugh Dillon got mad at him once and spit a big loogie in his face.
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
George Dubya Bush. I'd serve five courses of pretzels, and make polite conversation using big words he doesn't understand like "disarmament."
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
My Mom loves what I'm doing. But if she had it her way, I'd be making money at it.