Published Jan 01, 2006It was only a matter of time before Rick White and Dallas Good put a new band together. The driving forces behind Elevator and the Sadies, respectively, have seen their orbits drawing nearer as their fondness for each other's work has grown in the past few years. White has been involved in the last two Sadies albums, while Good has become a semi-official member of Elevator after working on last year's Darkness-Light.
"It was probably about five years ago when people started saying that Dallas and I should meet, that we had similar musical sensibilities," White says. "It turned out to be true, but we're also really different in a lot of ways, and I think it's those differences that make it interesting when we work together."
Although their partnership may indeed seem unlikely, based on the Sadies' patented cow-punk and Elevator's lo-fi acid rock, fans know that as the pair's friendship has developed, a cross-pollination has slowly been taking hold in both bands' recent efforts. A full-blown merging finally took place last March when White and the Sadies set up at the friendly confines of Greg Keelor's farm. In true form, six days later The Unintended was finished.
"It evolved pretty naturally," White says. "I think it came out differently from what we all expected. I thought it would sound more like the Sadies; they're mostly my songs that I gave to Dallas to work on. I expected it would sound more folky, but I guess it's still pretty psychedelic."
A good reference point is the spooky, White-penned "Of Our Land," which the Sadies recorded on their last album, Stories Often Told, but in fact there are several moments on The Unintended where the swirl of echo-laden voices and guitars could be mistaken for Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd. The overall effect is almost a complete juxtaposition to recent psych-country homages made by bands like Beechwood Sparks and the Thrills. Whereas those immediately conjure images of California sunsets, The Unintended has a thoroughly Canadian feel, leading the listener into the dark, snowy woods.
From Good's perspective, the biggest challenge in making the album was trying to condense all of White's ideas. "In a way, I would function as Rick's editor, trying to focus on the songs that I could sink my teeth into," he says. "Most of the time I'd make drastic changes, and it seemed to work once we started recording. The other guys had an idea of what it would sound like too, even though we never rehearsed, so we were all able to get things together quickly."
And although Good doesn't want to downplay Keelor's role in the project, he also doesn't want to mislead Blue Rodeo fans into thinking he is one of the principles. "Greg always becomes the producer in everything I've ever done with him, even if he technically isn't," Good says. What Keelor has had a big hand in is securing rights to the band's name. It was inspired from the fictional band the Intended featured in Gordon Lightfoot's early song "Go-Go Round."
"We found out that a band from England was using the name the Intended, and they'd never heard the Lightfoot song," Good says. "So Greg talked to Gord about it personally and he was pretty amused by the situation. So I guess if we run into any trouble over the name in the future, we can say we've got Gord's blessing."
In the meantime, while new albums from both Elevator and the Sadies are in the works for this year, expect at least a few Unintended live dates in the spring and possibly another album. "I've already got enough songs written," White says. "Making this first one was a great new experience for me and I think we all would like to do it again."