Canadian Artists Show Off Their Most Treasured Music Memorabilia

Show & Tell

Maryze, By Divine Right, Grant Lawrence and more reveal their rare mementos

Photo courtesy of Maryze

BY Alex HudsonPublished Dec 20, 2022

Naturally, musicians spend a lot time at shows, hanging out with fellow artists — and they've picked up some cool mementos while doing so. We reached out to some Canadian musicians to share their favourite pieces of music memorabilia they've picked up over the years — and they responded with backstage passes, rare T-shirts, and even a Hall & Oates LP signed by someone who is neither Daryl Hall or John Oates.

Check out Canadian musicians' coolest memorabilia below.

Alexis Young of Blonde Diamond
Tegan and Sara backstage pass

Photo courtesy of Blonde Diamond

The first time Blonde Diamond vocalist Alex Young ever went backstage and interacted with professional musicians, she hung out with Tegan and Sara in Calgary at age 17 — an experience so memorable that she hung onto the backstage pass. "That show was definitely an inspiration for a lot of my stage ramblings to this day," Young reflects. "When Tegan and Sara's team reached out to us to be a part of their video for "I Know I'm Not the Only One" was a truly full-circle moment." They continue to channel T&S's indie rock influence — along with synthpop, smoky soul and more — on this year's debut full-length Magnetic Strangers.

Lenny Bull
Rolling Stones crew jacket

Photo: Evan Fowler

Toronto rock songwriter Lenny Bull counts the Rolling Stones among her influences on this year's Strange Vacation EP — so it makes perfect sense that her "absolute coolest rock relic" comes from the Stones. About a decade ago, she picked up this crew jacket from their 1981 Tattoo You tour. "It's faded, worn out and ratty, and I'll never let it go," she says. Catchy Lenny Bull in Exclaim!'s Class of 2023.

José Contreras of By Divine Right
The Inbreds T-shirt

Photo: Amy Nicoll

Back in the '90s, By Divine Right and the Inbreds were indie rock peers who played "so many shows together," says BDR frontman José Contreras. It was around that time when the Inbreds released their Darn Foul Dog and Contreras snagged this hand-coloured T-shirt. "We loved each other. Still do, I think," he remembers. "I certainly had no plans or goals, beyond the actual playing of music, so it was inspiring to see them transform all their gnarly punky grooves into magic crystals. It made me feel like we could do it too." By Divine Right continue to do just that — most recently on this year's tuneful, harmony-drenched rock album Otto Motto.

Castle Frank
Portugal. The Man tour pass

Photo courtesy of Castle Frank

These days, Toronto-based songwriter Max Bergé makes music with synths — but he's very familiar with six-strings as well, having served as Hollerado's guitar tech on a 2018 tour with Portugal. The Man. "I grew up listening to PTM and going to their shows so I was psyched about the opportunity," Bergé tells Exclaim! "This was my first tour, too, so I was super lucky to have the whole tour bus experience. Was a lot of fun. I love road trips, so it was a cool way to see Canada and catch the show every night."

Roi Heenok T-shirt

Photo: @fayality

When Gayance was living in Brussels in 2019, she found a little piece of home: this T-shirt of Roi Heenok, a Quebec rapper for whom she feels a particular affinity. "He's also Haitian, but he's from la Rive Sud and I'm from Montreal-Nord," Gayance tells Exclaim! "To me, he's my Quebec pride and he's an icon. Wherever I go in the Francophonie, people know who he is." That globetrotting perspective can be heard on recent single "Nunca Mais," a Detroit dance banger featuring singing in Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and English..

Sylvan Esso sports bra

Photo: Hourglass Visuals

When KINLEY was a member of Hey Rosetta!, her band shared a 2015 festival bill with North Carolina synthpop duo Sylvan Esso. "I randomly met them in the crowd and fangirled them big time," Kinley recalls. A few years later, she saw them again in Toronto, and this time bought a sports bra at the merch table. "I love the spirit that Sylvan Esso brings to the stage," she says. "You can't help but dance. It's such a perfect merch item for this band. You can dance or workout while listening to their sweet jams." KINLEY is sure to inspire some of her own dance workouts with this year's Daylight, which incorporates folk and electronic influences into her bubbly indie rock sound. 

Hall & Oates LP signed by Nardwuar the Human Serviette

Photo courtesy of Maryze

When Maryze went to a Record Store Day event in Vancouver, Nardwuar made her dreams (come true). She met the famous interviewer in a record store and, not having anything from him to sign, bought this Hall & Oates album from the bargain bin. "As he mentions in his message, he is neither John Oates or Daryl Hall, but he is Nardwuar. It's one-of-a-kind as far as I know," explains Maryze. Her dreamy, synth-driven alt-pop debut album 8 hypnotized listeners this spring, and she's keeping the momentum going with a sweet (yet bloody) video for that LP's "Emo." Doot doola doot doo…

Robyn Jacob of Only a Visitor
The Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir LP

Photo courtesy of Only a Visitor

When Vancouver avant-pop artist Robyn Jacob needs to feel inspired, the Only a Visitor songwriter can always turn to what she cals "one  of my most prized possessions": a vinyl record by the Bulgarian State Television Female Vocal Choir. She tells Exclaim!, "As someone who is obsessed with writing for voices, this album has it all: tunes that make you want to thrash around, and ones that make you want to lay down and daydream." Listeners can expect to both thrash and daydream when Only a Visitor release their album Decay on February 23 through Mint Records.

Pascal Huot of Pony Girl
Chuck Mangione LP from bandmate Greggory Clark

Photo courtesy of Pony Girl

Pony Girl bassist Greggory Clark collects Chuck Mangione's 1977 smooth jazz album Feel So Good — but he doesn't keep them for himself. Rather, vocalist Pascal Huot explains, Clark "gifts them to everyone and anyone. It's not unusual to find him in dollar bins while on tour hoping to find a copy. This is my copy!" Pony Girl's recent album Enny One Wil Love You will make a similarly good gift, so fans should consider picking up a few copies for their friends.

Grant Lawrence of the Smugglers
Rocket from the Crypt belt buckle

Photo: Josh Lawrence

The Smugglers played a few shows with Rocket from the Crypt back in the '90s — and singer Grant Lawrence bought a ring at that time, which he wore until it broke. Lawrence tells Exclaim that he also got "this belt buckle, which still holds up my pants, some 27 years later. My nine-year-old son found the belt this year and has incorporated it into his Halloween costume: Strider from Lord of the Rings — who is almost as cool as Speedo from Rocket from the Crypt." Speaking of the Smugglers in the '90s, they just reissued their 1993 album In the Hall of Fame on vinyl for the first time ever.

Latest Coverage