Mongrels update sounds of early heavy metal
Wayne Campbell might have put it best describing the Mongrels when he said, “It’s not just a clever name.”
In late 2006, Juno-nominated Tricky Woo guitarist Andrew Dickson assembled a group of indie rock veterans from the likes of the Local Rabbits, Bionic, and even a Canadian Idol would-have-been and cross-bred them to form his dream project; a six-person, double-drummed, hard rock outfit that updates the late 60s period when psychedelic rock met the earliest incarnations of heavy metal.
Nationwide audiences have taken notice of the Montrealers’ debut release Oshawa, a plucky effort that channels early Sabbath’s swampy solos and chords with front woman Amy Dynamite’s (nee Torok) howling rawk vocals which nod to Janis Joplin, and Ann Wilson.
“The artifice of rock is something that comes from the gut, a lifetime mission and this is a celebration of that. We want to give it life in 2008,” says Dickson.
It’s an “ultimate rock experience” that drew Dynamite away from Canadian Idol. After being egged on by her boyfriend to sing the disc’s second track City Living at a Mongrels audition, Dynamite told Dickson she would be incommunicado for a couple of weeks. During that time, the Oshawa native tried out for the show and earned her golden ticket to the T-Dot. Deciding she didn’t want to get in the way of contestants who wanted to be there, Dynamite turned the invite down.
With her curiosity satisfied and a regret that she didn’t get to know Idol judge Farley Flex better, Dynamite says she “gave Mongrels my heart and reality TV the finger.”
“I don’t talk about it much, since the punk in me still feels a little dirty about a joke taken too far,” she says. “Now I can say with certainty that I’ve been there, and it’s not for me, but more power to the kids who believe in that dream. They can have it. I’ll take (Minutemen co-founder and current Stooges bassist) Mike Watt over Celine Dion any day.”