Published Feb 01, 2000"My favourite part of making music is writing the lyrics," says former Thrush Hermit vocalist/guitarist Rob Benvie. In fact, Benvie's aspirations as a writer extend beyond rock lyrics. "I take it pretty seriously, but I haven't made any bids to be published," he says matter-of-factly. "I'm working on a novel, and a few other things."
His debut Tigre Benvie CD, Year of the Mutt, originally distributed on a strictly casual basis, is more widely available now that it has been picked up for distribution by Sonic Unyon. Benvie says that it took a while to get up the nerve to relaunch it more formally. "I sat on the album for a long time. I wondered, do I want to be a Solo Artist?" he says. "It's sort of weak."
But Benvie found his resolve one night in the wake of the gentle dissolution of Rick of the Skins at home alone, he found himself turning up the CD on his stereo. "I kind of want to give it a little more of a push now," he says. "It's very scrappy and home recorded. I put a lot of love into it."
Now it appears that the (sort of) dreaded Solo Artist path is inevitable. "By releasing it, I set myself up for something a little more polished in the future," he admits. "I try to keep some kind of intimacy to it. The sentiment behind it isn't filtered through a lot of channels you know where it's coming from. I love really polished music sometimes, often more than indie rock, but with Tigre Benvie it's really honest and personal and not putting on airs. And it's got my name on it, so I've got to be able to stand behind it."
When Benvie takes to the stage solo on April 21 in Hell's Kitchen as the Tigre Benvie Sound System, expect a mix of keyboards, pre-made recordings and samples (from Benvie's latest movie passion, Patton), but still with a rock aesthetic. "I'm not going to be rapping," he says with a laugh. "I kind of like to have a couple of different versions of [Tigre Benvie]," he says. "A straight ahead rock version, and some shows with myself or maybe one other person because it's me, and I get easily bored doing the same thing, so I'd like it to be open ended and have it take different forms."
How different, you ask? Benvie's had one idea on the back burner for a while that might emerge in the near future. "I want to write a musical, and perform it, and try to take it on the road," he says. "Ian McGettigan and I talked about it for a long time. It would be a challenge, to try to rethink the form."