Kurt Swinghammer The Exclaim! Questionnaire
Published Feb 01, 2000Kurt Swinghammer, musician and visual artist, born in Newmarket, ON, based in Toronto. New CD is called Black Eyed Sue. The scoop is found on www.swinghammer.com.
NBA playoffs, Blue Curacao, Protools, Mr. Show, Mr. Wong, form fitting summer frocks, CDs by Autechre, Stina Nordenstam, and Jon Brion.
Mind-altering work of art:
Robert LePage's "Needles and Opium." I could spend a whole life in his theatre.
Most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Jeff Buckley at the Trinity Church is forever crystalised as a beautiful, powerful moment that filled me with hope and optimism.
What has been your career high and low?
The highest I've ever been on stage was subbing in for a wounded Don Skuse at a Hank and the Honkers gig in Peterborough. I was doing acid, and Washboard Hank introduced me as Country Kurt from Queen Street West. The low also took place in the same town (go figure). I was doing a solo gig and before I went on, I thought I'd hot-knife some hash. I slipped and the red hot cutlery seared into my lip, which immediately puffed up and looked horrific. I did the gig pressing a cold beer bottle to my embarrassed face between every song.
What should everyone shut up about?
The flavour of the week.
I would drop everything to play a benefit for:
Adam Faux and his wife Karen, who have lost their home due to some evil legal shenanigans and are being forced to sue the City Of Toronto.
What trait do you like and dislike most about yourself?
I like that I remain open to new, forward music, but I dislike that I too often disregard the honour of keeping musical traditions alive.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Once I made someone get up and brush their teeth.
When I think of Canada I think:
What is your vital daily ritual?
In the morning the first thing I do is turn on CNN to find out if the world is about to blow up, and then I have a glass of spring water with Greens Plus and check email.
How do you spoil yourself?
Le Petit Ecolier cookies, a new lid by Pam at Head By Wiggy, and for that pampered feeling I take a luxury bath with fragrant goop, candles, a glass of Brandy, and Eno's "Discreet Music" on the stereo. I probably shouldn't admit this in public.
What was your most memorable day job?
Praise Jah I haven't had many, but once at a Youth Detention Centre in Pelham I was the cool supervisor dude who played "Stairway To Heaven" on the guitar to lull the little criminals to sleep. I fell in love with a co-worker and we shagged away the night shift.
If I wasn't playing music I would be:
Wishing I could play music.
What is your greatest fear?
I used to fear my father, now I fear that I'm turning into him.
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
The power to make chubby girls feel good about themselves and have positive body images.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
A toke, a martini and A Tribe Called Quest's "The Love Movement."
Music and sex: Is there a difference? Why?
The difference is I feel guilty if I wank on a guitar solo, but I not at all when I just have a good ol' wank.
Strangest brush with celebrity:
According to a cheesy unauthorised bio of Alanis Morissette, the ironic one came to a party of mine, apparently to scope me out, but I didn't show much interest and she quickly split. She's really not my type (see superpower).
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Pierre Trudeau, and I'd whip out carrot soup, spinach salad, a kick ass curry veggie stir fry with almonds & tofu on wild rice, followed by Mango Gelato and Metropolis Devils Chocolate ice cream. Then we'd get hammered on Red Needles (Tequila & Cranberry) - the drink his buddy Leonard Cohen came up with. If it was a party I'd also invite Joni Mitchell, Charles and Ray Eames, Tracy Ullman, Michael Jordan, Fran Leibowitz, Marshall McLuhan, John Cage and Merce Cunningham, Aretha Franklin. Shit, I better get this thing catered.
What does your mom wish you were doing instead?
As my old song Canada's Sweetheart (about Karen Magnussen) goes... "Mother always figured I'd follow in the footsteps of a figure skater. Become the next Toller Cranston or if humanly possible, even greater."