photo by: Jonathan Weiner
Frontman Brett Emmons talks – a summer of stones, new songs and an epic night home
At a glance, the past four months for Kingston, Ontario rockers, The Glorious Sons, has looked like this – three months of touring North America, releasing their third record, A War on Everying on September 13th, an epic homecoming show at Kingston’s Richardson Stadium this past weekend and oh, somewhere in-between it all – opening for The Rolling Stones.
Imagine you’re set to be in Colorado playing a show on a Friday night. Your next tour stop is three days later in adjoining Arizona. It’ conveniently arranged where you will even have Sunday and Monday off to rest up or maybe stop by the Grand Canyon during your travels. But then – The Rolling Stones call. They’d like you to open for them as they’re playing as close as possible to your home turf in Ore Medonte, Ontario the day after your show in Colorado, and two days before you are to take the stage in Arizona. So, what do you do?
Well, when you are a passion-filled set of road warriors like The Glorious Sons, and you are about to release you long-awaited third record at the end of the summer, you make that trip home happen to open for the damn Rolling Stones.
The band also had the thrill of sharing a bill with Mick, Kieth and company the summer before in Marseille, France and saw great success. But this opportunity would be different. Opening their set with “Panic Attack”, the opening track to A War on Everything, The Glorious Sons had a chance to both make a statement and create a moment filled with the “Wild Eyes” of friends and family.
I recent conneted with singer/songwriter, Brett Emmons to reflect upon this experience and the momentum it generated heading into the release of their new record.
photo by: Gavin Smith
A War on Everything has officially been released, how does it feel?
It feels like I’ve shed some weight. We’ve been sitting on most of these songs since January and it can be stressful waiting for people to hear them. We’re able to rest easy knowing that we couldn’t have worked harder on the album. I guess it’s a bit of a celebration between the band and its fans. Perhaps it’s a chance to welcome new members into the TGS family. Whatever it is, it takes too long.
How would you capture in words the overall experience of opening for the Rolling Stones this year?
Honestly, we were tired as hell. We had a show the night before in Denver or Arizona and the day after we were scheduled to be somewhere else in the south. I would be lying if I told you the experience wasn’t initially overshadowed a little bit with some nerves and delirium. However, as soon as you take the stage in front of 71,000 people all of that shit tends to disappear. It was just a sea of people. And although I’m not sure all of them were attentively listening, it was quite the feeling looking out. By the end of the night, we were with our family and friends backstage, and I just felt very lucky. The next morning, I was hungover. I guess you could say there was a wide range of emotions surrounding the whole thing.
What was the day of show like for you and the group – from arriving at the stadium to soundcheck, to backstage to performing?
The Stones audience is infamous for their apathy to some opening bands. I honestly thought we got a better reception in Marseille, France. I think I also look out at 71,000 people and wonder why my eardrums aren’t bleeding. It’s all kind of here nor there though, because at the end of the day I think we got introduced to a lot of new fans, and people seemed to enjoy us for the most part.
Did you speak with any Rolling Stone members? If so, were there any conversation points or moments from their show that you take you with you as a keepsake?
We spoke with them for a minute and got a picture. They were very welcoming. I had no false sense of entitlement with them though. They’re the greatest rock and roll band of all time. They’ve played thousands of shows, met hundreds of opening bands and after 50 years of this to still be taking the time to meet the people opening and shake a few hands is admirable. We’re still waiting for our pictures. We don’t know where the hell they are. They might even be at our labels office. My mother constantly asks about it. I told them this time around if they send the ones from Marseille they didn’t have to bother taking another picture with us. I’m not really sure they understood what I was talking about.
I read you bought your first guitar with $1,500 that your grandmother gave you. Did you use that guitar on stage that night? If so, what was the emotion of doing so? Did you ever envision you’d be playing with The Rolling Stones when you bought that guitar?
I didn’t actually play it for the Stones show. My grandmother was in the audience and now that you say that, I wish I did.
photo by: Gavin Smith
How did new songs from A War on Everything translate?
We played “Panic Attack” and “The Ongoing Speculation into the Death of Rock and Roll”. They translated wonderfully.
There’s a very prominent line in the title track of the new record where you say “we are alone together, forever” what can you say about that line in context to the record?
It’s just about loneliness and the inevitability of it, and the acceptance of it. How it might be easier to deal with it if you accept it. Perhaps that we shouldn’t expect someone or something outside of ourselves to fix that feeling. It will never change, and that probably helps make finding someone to share yourself with all the more better.
There a unique angle to the theme of isolation as well, and one would think performing live, it would be perhaps the opposite feeling of isolation. But as you said – it’s a feeling within. How does that collision resonate with you?
I like it. It’s a bit of a catch 22. We’ll be singing songs about getting away from each other, together, and we’ll hopefully all feel a deep connection with one another because of it. I think even with the feelings of isolation on the album, there is still very much a longing for human connection and help. It will fit our live shows just fine.
What does this current chapter in your personal musical journey and the group mean to you?
Many things. I’m not really sure how to describe it. It’s the same as always. You want to find the people that feel the same way you do. And the ones who don’t, you want to change their mind a bit. I think there’s so much more to do and explore. I’m not trying to put too much weight into this release. I’m very proud of it. But it’s not the end of our learning as songwriters. There’s going to be so much more time in studios, on buses, in bedrooms with guitars. I think if you’re doing it right, your next work will always be your masterpiece, whether others agree with you or not.