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Articles Home » 2000 Articles » Kanary - 2000 Interview with Leslie Knauer
Kanary - 2000 Interview with Leslie Knauer

INTERVIEW: Kanary (Aug 2000)
Ex Precious Metal singer Leslie Knauer says hi.
Written By: Andrew Ellis

This is the 'In The Spotlight' page. Following hot on the heels of Kanary's first CD 'Invincible' is the splendid 'Porno Church Of The Ugly Man' which boasts some of the best pop-rock tunes this side of the Millenium and the band are certainly raising more than a few eyebrows. GLORY-DAZE got the lowdown on the band's roots, songwriting and much more when they hooked up with lead singer and guitarist Leslie Knauer. (Aug 2000)

GDAZE: Hi Leslie, and welcome. First of all, from listening to the album, it seems that the chemistry between the band is excellent. How did you three hook up and start the band?
LK: I saw Mary playing with another band in L.A and I thought she was the best bass player, I've got to play with her! We needed a drummer so Tony was Mary's choice, they played together for many years in the band Attack. We're also all neighbors and friends, so that's a big plus!

GDAZE: It's been a long time since I encountered a band as refreshing and original as Kanary. Was this one of your goals when starting the band, to make it something altogether different?
LK: Well, originally my goal was to write songs from the beginning to the end, not in a hurry, to see where it would go. Not to please anyone in particular 'cept the muse. What an enjoyable experience. Like on the first Kanary CD Invincible, 'I Can't Even Think About Getting Married,' I talk about my life, my kid, and how basically dysfunctional I am. I'm never great in any of my songs. I make a lot of mistakes in my life and they are the things that get me going. I figure if you are completely honest, you will be original without trying, sort of like your thumbprint, that ain't no work at all.

GDAZE: Why did you decide to form a three-piece band. Was it to give the band more of an organic and stripped down sound?
LK: Absolutely! What a nice way to say it. Hey if we had a permanent fourth member I'd never get to play a solo! I like it simple and direct. It's what I understand.

GDAZE: The first CD 'Invincible' was a huge success, and is now entering it's fourth domestic pressing and was recently released in Japan. People often talk about how a band's second album is often more difficult to write and record than the first. Was this the case with 'Porno Church..'?
LK: Not really, we had a lot of songs that I co-wrote with friends and Mary had a couple of gems that I totally love so it wasn't that hard. We've already started new songs for our third CD and hey, maybe we're in a magical writing phase so I won't question it.

GDAZE: You are the main songwriter. Although Mary contributed two songs to the new album, are you most creative writing by yourself or do you foresee more collaborations perhaps on the next album?
LK: I love getting lost in writing, not worrying about anyone else's taste, you know, taking a trip and never leaving the farm, but I love Mary's peculiar style. We just wrote our first song, it's called 'Kookaboo'. It's for our third CD and I Love It!!

GDAZE: I mentioned in the review how a lot of elements fit together to make Kanary work so well, but it's the songs which are the most important thing. Where do you get your inspiration, musically and lyrically to write a tune like 'Porno Church Of The Ugly Man'?
LK: Well last year I was completely single again and didn't like it all. I love making out and having a best friend to bullshit with, make plans and stuff. I love being physical but I hate that desperate searching feeling and all the creepy creeps that are so... I don't know... WRONG. So my friend Judith and I went to a party of partly bible thumping wierdos and B, maybe F rated, porn stars. Any way we got buzzed, Judith is shouting 'I'm a fucking cupcake' I'm feeling lonely and needy but also repulsed, so we arrived home safely but alone, bummed but not grossed out. Then we laughed our heads off and got away with a song.

GDAZE: The record sounded like a whole lot of fun to record. I expect you have an even greater level of energy at a live gig. Any plans to hit the road soon?
LK: Yes, yes, and yes, we've got an RV and we're ready to go! It's great, Mary and Tony are such road dogs, I'm not excluded! We live to play!

GDAZE: Kanary was due to perform at the prestigious Eat' M 2000 (Emerging Artists and Talent In Music) convention in Las Vegas a few weeks back. How was the gig, and what has the feedback been like since then?
LK: We played, we met alot of really cool musicians, saw a lot of bands, gambled, partied all night, had a great time and when it was over we went home.

GDAZE:You have a website up and running (www.kanary.com). How important is it for an up and coming band like Kanary to have a presence on line?
LK: I think it's very important! I have a lot to learn!

GDAZE: Of course, the web has had it's down side for artists, especially with the recent press involving Napster and Metallica. I know it's not appropriate to comment on individual cases, but as a musician, what is your take on the trading of music files that does take place on the Internet?
LK: I listen to the radio free, I can tape, but I don't. New bands need exposure, in that regard Napster is (was) good, but then again, if 10,000 cd's were traded of Kanary's material and no one paid a penny, I'd be sad and broke... happy that people want to hear our music, but still working that fabulous day job!

GDAZE: A lot of rock fans identify you with your previous bands, Promises and Precious Metal. How do you look back on those days now, and was it hard for you to start over after Precious Metal came to an end?
LK: Yeah, at first it was strange, like divorcing all my best friends, then it got exciting because I didn't play an instrument before and I was given a new love! The guitar. I just work day to day and feel humble and grateful that I have music in my life. The girls are still my sisters and I work with Mara (guitarist Mara Fox), she's our publisher.

GDAZE: Finally, I've had a few requests to ask this - would you make another video like Promises' 'Baby It's You' for Kanary if the money was good enough?!!
LK: I would absolutely do another video, but it would be nothing like 'Baby It's You'!

Thanks again for Leslie's co-operation. Don't forget to check out Kanary's website www.kanary.com.

The album 'Porno Church Of The Ugly Man' is also available through the website.

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