INTERVIEW w/ Peterborough/Tweed/ Marmora Ontario Southern Rockers, BigMotorGasoline, are pedal to the Metal on their latest release, Whiskey Down, from their 2nd album The Way Things Used To Be.
DEB: I have had the pleasure of catching 2 explosive performances by the addictive flavors known as BigMotorGasoline as they performed in Peterborough, prior to Covid-19. Welcome boys, to The Wire MEGAzine.
BigMotorGasoline fans know that y’all have come a long way in such a short period of time when you first lit the scene ablaze 4 years ago with your debut album, Fuel to Burn. Fuel… hit the airwaves across the globe from Canada to the United States, into Australia, South Africa, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Your airplay on streaming radio in the UK brought you even more exposure and in the USA, Dirty Politician hit a chord with radio across the country during the elections of 2016, with more releases from Fuel To Burn, leadoff with your single, Vodka. Followed up by Lately which proved popular in Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan, Georgia, and California. BYOT, an album track, hit the number two spot on the year-end music charts at CJIM Radio in Montreal. KUDOS!
“Absolute gold for driving… High octane rock sound at a full clip” — From The Depths Entertainment
“Love that new album. Great southern rock and metal style” — Manamal Streaming Radio
“Good old rock and roll…” — Kat’s Metal Litter Box
“Masterpieces… Rocking style is simply amazing!” — Radio TFSC
“Well-crafted and hooks for days!” — 365 Radio Network
“Honest rock desperately needed on the airwaves” — Code Zero Radio
“The energy and licks take me back to the 80s and 90s” — Q108 Kingston
“Feel-good rock and roll” — Kaotic Music Reviews
Add in 200,000+ Total Streams for their new video release, “Whiskey Down!” Congrats!
“The combination of their hard rock originals and superb production definitely make for 2 very memorable album arrows from within their quiver, where their melodies seep deep into your brain. BigMotorGasoline blends ancient hard rock sounds with a futuristic flavor, giving a back-to-the-future kinda feel. Their newest masterpiece full-length album, The Way Things Used To Be, is filled with infectious tunes like their recently released single, Whiskey Down. You will agree it’s drenched with their usual hypnotic taste and is 1 of their most compelling to date. I am intrigued by Whiskey Down’s richly textured complexity, totally an introspective hard rock delight!” Deb Draper ~The Wire MEGAzine
FAST FORWARD TO 2020
As the world has changed, so have things with you, with two member changes, countless rehearsals, and finally new songs without sacrificing the trademark BigMotorGasoline sound.
You are pushing the pedal to the metal when it comes to your latest album, The Way Things Used To Be, and this sophomore offering, is a working man’s, A+ grade, southern rock with a bluesy swagger at its finest, which is solid feel-good music, and the same kind of music you want to hear while driving in your car, riding your Harley, or cranking up to eleven with your friends. Throughout the tracks, we’ll detect the fun times you had making this CD. Stronger lyrics escaping the traditional theme of love lost and conquered to upbeat, reflective, and party-themed tunes like “Raise A Whiskey”, “Who I Am”, “Feelin’ Alright” and many more. Most of all, outside the new single release for Whiskey Down, you have produced a song and video that everyone can relate to, “The Way Things Used To Be.”
Your new video for the single, Whiskey Down, is reminiscent of life pre-COVID.
DEB: Q. 1. Share with your fans all about your songwriting process on this new single and walk us through your new album.
John Freitas, “Writing lyrics on Whiskey Down-This song is all about kicking back at a friend’s house upstream on beautiful Beaver Creek in Marmora Township, basically a night in the life of backwoods at its best ya baby! The Way Things Used To Be, is basically a collage of songs painting a picture of the life we live in the country. I believe it to be both rhythmically stimulating, lyrically truthful, and slightly provocative.”
Dave Brown, “The writing of the song Whiskey Down, took place up the river from John’s place with all the friends around and having a good time. Simple as that chorus…girls come around, the boys are all here, pour that whiskey down. It was then electrified and thrown through a blender to hear what you hear now. The Way Things Used To Be, starts off with a song of reflection and optimism titled Who I Am. If I recall, it might have been the last song written for the album. The title track was a quickly written song based on a simple riff, loaded with dirty, juicy guitar tone. Simple and direct…you can be any age to reflect on a simpler time years ago. Should have been the theme for 2020! Lol. Feelin’ Alright was based on a riff that had been saved on a cell phone! Whiskey Down is just a song about good times. Death Of Me…This is my life and this is your life comparison kinda song…with your middle finger high in the air. Hold On, is our mid-tempo, sex swagger rock jock song! Party Like A Rolling Stone, was the most torn apart, dissected, put back together…and then written again song on the album! Maybe an ode to the inspiration of the Rolling Stones, I don’t know, but it was an infectious groove with a simple chorus. Nearly didn’t make the album. I probably fought the hardest to keep it. Lol. Iron Horse came from a jam with the main component being Roger’s guitar and amp tones and of course, the love of motorcycles. Whiskey Weed might be our little jaunt through the country rock livin’ life…I’m not sure. Surely about livin’ and lovin’ life though. Raise A Whiskey closes out the album with a rockin romp about alcohol and good times driven by powerhouse drumming by Sterling.“
Sterling Dale, “John is the main songwriter in the band, and this song was already mostly written before I joined the band. But, we changed up the song from what it originally was, and kept some of the existing ideas. It ended up being a whole band collaboration, everyone had ideas and input into what the song is now known as. In fact, all the songs on this album are done as a band. The 4 of us are creative in different ways, but that’s what makes our songwriting process so unique in a sense, it gives our songs the character of all 4 of us.”
Roger Dafoe, “Whiskey Down was written a while ago with two former members…we revamped it with our new rhythm section.”
DEB: Q. 2. Many artists would consider the next one a loaded question. The purpose of this question, however, is to assess how aware you are of what your audiences see in your work and what it provokes, as well, why do you make music?
John Freitas, “I believe our audiences see a group of guys being themselves, doing what they love, truly living, believing in, and not worrying about trends or molds in which we would not fit into. It is much easier to be genuine and hope fans like what they hear, instead of producing a product that we think they want to hear, as we make music to let out what lurks inside.“
Dave Brown, “We are pretty aware of how our audiences perceive us, and social media is a big help in that regard, with comments being a pretty good guide for getting to know who your audience is. The audience sees the things we sing about as a connection to their own lives and the need to celebrate it on occasion. What better way to do that than jumping on the highway of rock and roll! I make music to make myself and others happy. This sounds pretty corny but simple, I enjoy the work of the process of putting the songs out to the world and the friendship of the ones I do it with.”
Sterling Dale, “First of all, not to sound too bold but, we write songs that ‘We’ like. If people like the songs, then it’s an added bonus. It’s an even greater bonus to have people genuinely love our songs and how much our music has given them an escape from the daily routine and the stresses of life! Even though we are a rock band, and it’s difficult nowadays to sound original, we try our best to be as original as possible, with having some familiar roots. All 4 of us bring different influences, which reflect in our music.”
Roger Dafoe, “Hopefully we are conveying to the audience that we’re having fun doing this and they get a sense of that…as far as why I make music… it seems a natural thing to do especially with the 3 guys I do it with.”
“It was one of the last warm, sunny days before the arrival of winter, and Roger led the way on his four-wheeler down a very narrow trail, deeper and deeper into the woods just west of where he’s based in Tweed, Ontario. I slowly drove my van, which was fully loaded with gear, thinking, can I make it there? and I did, ” Freitas recalls.
“We arrived at the sight of an old, broken-down shack that was used for producing maple syrup, and for our purposes though, it was going to be a moonshine shack. There was a cliff on one side of us, and very tall trees all around; it made us realize the effort to get there was the right choice,” bass guitarist and backing vocalist, Dave Brown explains.
“When the pandemic hit, all our live shows needed to be canceled. Making videos was the answer when we asked ourselves what we were going to do, but even that decision wasn’t as easy as it seemed,” said lead guitarist Roger Dafoe, Restrictions around gatherings and the camera crew’s mismatched availability delayed the shoot through to mid-September. It was a skeleton crew of just two camera persons and, as it turned out, those very tall trees would force BigMotorGasoline’s hand at reimagining the pre-planned scope. “We realized the idea of drone footage from above needed to be scrapped due to the many trees in the way,” drums and percussionist Sterling Dale shared and continued, “There were cameras on the ground, in the trees, on roofs, and on amps; it was ‘as many shots and as many angles as we could capture that day was going to have to do.’
The original storyboard was to feature a backwoods party to set the scene of the song but, not wanting to risk fines for more than 10 people gathered, the band pivoted once again. “Change on the fly, it’s been a whole year of that, for everyone, and we’ve done what we can to keep getting music in the hands of fans who need an escape from the stress, and just want to rock out and have a good time,” shares Freitas.
Doing what they can is a considerable understatement when considering the Peterborough-area band’s track record. As far as release offerings go, videos from The Way Things Used To Be are consistently welcomed with upwards of 40,000+ views a piece — which includes ‘Iron Horse’, and the 10-track LP’s title track, The Way Things Used To Be. Single, Whiskey Down, has recently surpassed 52,000+ views within six weeks of release. Some artists seem reluctant to speak of just how frustrating and baffling the whole experience of navigating the general music realm is, let alone add in Covid-19 and how hard they try to still be ambitious about getting their artwork seen, heard, and or sold.
DEB: Q. 3. What are some other future ways you have planned to engage with your legions of fans, whether that’s within the top echelon of international art circles or based on your involvement with your local community, despite the challenges of trying to bring your art to the new formatted audiences at home thanks to the Corona Virus?
John Freitas, “We love the live stage and find that this is truly the most exciting way to transport our music to the fans, being played around the globe on internet radio is great but interacting with people face to face is fabulous. There is really no substitute for playing to an audience and no greater satisfaction, Covid has solidified how important a connection to a live audience really is.“
Dave Brown, “Ah the future…Somehow I feel the TV studio has become one of the artist’s stages as well as the traditional stage. We have invested in some new camera equipment and slowly learning about getting connected with fans live somehow through our website, free of anyone else’s platform. You gotta pivot and do things differently when the whole world gets turned upside down like it did in 2020… Of course, we want to get out there and play live, mix with the audience, other bands on any level…the way things used to be!“
Sterling Dale, “We just recorded a 30-minute high-quality live video performance at a real beautiful, historic theatre. It’s going to be released in the near future. Although there was no audience because of Covid restrictions, it was still quite an experience. We had so many big festival shows and shows supporting big acts for 2020 to support our album ‘The Way Things Used To Be’ lined up but Covid took care of that. So we decided to make music videos, and we worked on new music and have almost enough material to make another album. But we want to support this one first. It deserves to have its turn, once we are able to have a better situation for live shows.“
Roger Dafoe, “future fan engagement will hopefully entail live performances outdoors indoors where and when allowed..social media isn’t going away anytime soon so we will try to make a bigger footprint on the interweb.”
DEB: Q. 4. Last but not least, what does success mean to you?
John Freitas, “Success to me is a positive reaction from fans, when someone approaches me after listening to a song on record or seeing us live and tells me how much they enjoyed it, making people smile really turns me on!”
Dave Brown, “Getting to do what you love to do, with the people you love to do it with.”
Sterling Dale, “Success has many stepping stones. But for me personally, if I look back at what I accomplished, no matter how big or small, and I am proud of what I accomplished, then that to me is success. Having this album is a success to me, whether it goes big or if it doesn’t. I am really proud of this album, and of anyone who supports our music. Success to me is also knowing we gave someone a great experience, whether listening to our music in their truck or seeing us play live, and giving them a time to remember. That to me means the world!”
Roger Dafoe, “Success is someone else’s perception of what you have done or how you have arrived where you are at the moment.”
Hurry, don’t delay, click on over to youtube for 2 stellar BMG new vids that will leave you inspired and in the rock n roll frame of mind! A new single, 2 new videos, and their newest album are now available, and stay tuned for their up-and-coming live stream performance shortly as well!
The Way Things Used To Be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txvhecP1L4I
Thanks so much guys for your time today, this was fun! Stay well, stay safe, and keep the musical faith. It won’t be long till we see you live once more!
Fans can stay in tune with you by visiting all your socials platforms below.