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Originally published by FFWD Weekly on Thursday, April 3, 1997. All rights reserved.

Happy singin' the blues

Saskatoon - where the pyramid meets the eye?

Wide Mouth Mason are just a trio of free and accepted prairie kids happy to be singin' the blues

By Aubrey McInnis, FFWD Weekly

Wide Mouth Mason with Kybosh

Friday, April 11 at the Republik

"This might sound pretentious coming from a 23 year-old," says Shaun Verreault, guitarist and vocalist for Saskatoon's Wide Mouth Mason, "but we've been through some tough experiences on the road that a lot of people haven't gone through.

"We started at the very bottom, we played in shit holes for years. When we were onstage in some small, little town, people were giving us the finger and asking the two other guys in the band what boat they walked off of. Even the RCMP almost tried
to arrest them because of the way they looked.

"It's all just made us stronger. And now that we're getting an opportunity to play our music all the time in front of people who are taking us seriously, I don't see how we can really complain."

Surprisingly enough - after all the crummy encounters with the rednecks of North America - Shaun Verreault doesn't complain. Expecting the worst and hoping for the best seems to be a philosophy
he and the other two members of Wide Mouth Mason embrace. Shaun speaks optimistically of his band's future with a soft and congenial manner.

Wide Mouth Mason have just released their debut, self-titled album on Warner Music. Even though he honestly claims to have no idea how it will fare in record stores, Shaun depends on the trio's collective integrity to guide them through. And yes, that includes sticking to the blues-based genre that they've favored for years despite what is popular on the street.

"We can only do what comes out of us. We could get dropped from this record label tomorrow. The guitar is starting to be a very unpopular thing to be playing these days," Shaun explains, stating what has been on the minds of a lot of people lately. "All I can say is that we're doing what we're doing as honestly as we can with as much integrity between us and everyone we're working with."

In an age where it seems impossible for an indie band to be signed to a major label without living in Vancouver or Toronto, Wide Mouth Mason did it. And now they stick out more than a Chanel counter at a strip mall in Kindersley. But sticking out is something the band is used to. When Wide Mouth Mason were squeakin' out their first notes they were one of the few young bands that were playing in Saskatoon and consequently they received a lot of encouragement
which Shaun sees as both a good thing and a bad thing. It's also the main reason why they're not afraid to take a chance and tour their music.

"A lot of bands play in their hometown and their moms and girlfriends see them and they cheer. Then they go out of town and play for some oil rig worker guy who only wants to hear AC/DC and threatens to beat them up later. We thrived on that for a
while going, 'What else can we get ourselves into and out of that will make us stronger.'"

South Central LA? Did it. They've been touring coast to coast and just finished a week-long stint in Los Angeles spreading their bluesy, rootsy, rhythmic magic. The name of their game is to "play
at as many places in front of as many people with as many different bands" as they can.

Can the success of Wide Mouth Mason be attributed to ties with the Masons?

"People think it's the Mason connection," laughs Shaun, relaying different comments folks have made about the band's moniker.

"I wish I had a great rock 'n' roll story to tell you, but this is how it went: we were sitting there going, 'Naming a band sucks,' because you get thrown into a category as soon as you do it. Like Metallica, it's obvious that you don't play any folk. So we went 'Let's get a name that's sort of rootsy and
brings up those images in your head.'

"Saf (on drums) just happened to be drinking out of a Wide Mouth Mason jar and looked at it and said, 'Wide Mouth Mason.'

And we went 'Okay, good, let's go play!'"

Copyright © FFWD Weekly

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