Friday, February 22, 2008

On Religion

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we’re only 4 posts deep and I’m already getting controversial. By post 5, we’ll be talking about abortion, and at number 6 I have a quaint little piece planned about what God REALLY thinks about homosexuality in the military. To give you a bit of a preface, it turns out, God actually doesn’t like war, hate crimes, OR sexual discrimination. If this disappoints you, take a cue from our good friends at Picnic Face and FIND A NEW GOD.

This being the case, I may have a suggestion. If like me, music is your religion, then Jordan Cook shall be your new lord and savior. Believe me when I say that as a Manitoban, it is NOT easy bowing down to a Saskquatch (Cook is Saskatoon born and raised) however, when even people like Jeff Healey are saying, “Jordan Cook is the best guitar player in the world today!", one has to give credit.

Cook is one of those people who was born with a guitar in his hand. His father actually claims to having bought Jordan his first guitar when he was 3, so that the little bastard would stop pawing at his Stratocaster. Apparently, the alternative to selling your soul to the devil to become a rock God, is simply practicing all day, every day, from the age of 3 onward. Who the fuck knew?

For someone whom I’m sure you barely know, the industry seems to keep an eye on this kid. At only 24 years old, he’s already shared a stage with the likes of B.B. King (actually, when he was 16), Aretha Franklin, Big Dave McLean, Taj Mahal, and recorded with Ben Shepherd (Soundgarden), and Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam). He apparently had his first band and live performance when he was 6, so I wouldn’t say he’s had a fast and easy rise to stardom.

In his late teens, Cook was grabbed up by Sony, who would unfortunately, completely fuck the mission. They linked Cook up with a bassist and a drummer whom he didn’t know and tried to form some sort of supergroup called The New Alone. Throw 3 people with little to no common ground together, and this was obviously to be a short lived venture. While the boys did record a full album, it would never see the light of day, and Sony would refuse to release the recordings to Cook. Cook was even unable to record with a new band for over a year to come, while sorting out legal complications with the Sony contract.

If nothing else, the Sony venture taught Cook two things. (1)Major labels are out to fuck you with no lube. (2) His style started to change. Up until this point, Cook was a bluesman, being raised on the likes of Stevie Ray, Clapton, and Hendrix. Hitting his teens, and linking up with a new group of musicians, Cook learned to take his Blues and blend it with modern rock and even punk influences. By his 20’s, his sound had started to settle into a genre which he would call ‘Punk Blues’.

While I am slowly getting to the man’s current status, there is one other little blip on his radar I should mention. For the last 3 years, Cook has been playing and recording independently with his own bands (friends only). Just this last fall however, he had a crazy idea. Cook grew up in the same neighborhood and was childhood friends with both Shaun Verreault (Wide Mouth Mason), and Curtis Scarrow, a legendry slide guitarist. Getting in touch with his two old friends, Cook would propose to them an idea to end all ideas: Guitarmageddon. The concept was simple; take 3 of Canada’s best guitarists, and start peeling the fucking paint off the wall. I’ve been saying this for years, but maybe now you’ll believe me; there’s something fucked up in the water in Saskatchewan.

Recently, Cook and his band have locked their set into a level of tightness that makes me not even want to joke about 13 year olds. Out of the Sony debacle came one more benefit; the three played together so much that recording likely took about 2 days to finish. They recently polished off the finishing touches on Cook’s FUCKING LONG AWAITED first album, Seven Deadly Sins. It’s set to be released in the late spring, and I’m set to die of sexual exhaustion around the same time.

Rock and Roll is nowhere near dead; Jordan Cook fucking IS rock and roll.