What do you get if you when you mix together a film editor with a history of music making, a promoter from the legendary Arts & Crafts record label, a BBQ and beer? What you get is one of the most unpretentious and fun rock country bands making new music in this town [Toronto] right now.
The band is named after L’ordre de bon temps, a club that was instated by Quebec founder Samuel de Champlain to help the first Canadiens get through the cold harsh winters by throwing monthly parties where the boys would drink, eat, and watch strippers. Interestingly enough, the music of The Order of Good Cheer was born out of the same spirit, from gatherings in bassist and vocalist Francesco Guidoccio’s backyard. Frank, who’s Canadian-Italian by way of Sault-Saint Marie, would throw parties in his backyard where he would bbq and serve his homemade smoked meats for guests. If the beer and the cheer were flowing well, the parties would inevitably end up turning into jam sessions in Frank’s garage/music-making space. In this way Frank and his friends Dave Tykowski (drums and vocals), Chris Greenough (guitar and vocals), Kyle Wilson (vocals and a host of instruments including tambourine and rainstick) and a host of friends have been playing together for a long time. Eventually, this gathering of friends became The Order.
When I interview Tykowski and Guidoccio across the street a few days after seeing them play one of their shows as part of a month-long Wednesday night residency at the Piston, I find out that as well as working as a film editor, Frank has a history of playing in touring bands. Some of the songs are from those days, too inappropriate or silly to play as part of those earlier bands. The double EP was released on I-tunes Tuesday June 15th with a physical release to come later this summer. It’s an independent release distributed by the Arts &Crafts label where Dave works in promotions, and was produced with the help of “Scuba” Steve Krecklo (K-Os, Cuff the Duke). The track listings are as follows; on what will be disc one are tracks “Southern Swamp Hop”, a track commissioned by filmmaker Malcolm Ingram for a documentary on gay bear sub-culture (the doc. drops this fall) called “Be My Cub”, “Shake It Shirtless”, “Lady Pizzle” (about an encounter with a sexy woman who ends up being a sexy tranny), and “Mister Won’t You Deal Me A Card”. On side two are tracks “Good Old Country Music”, “Backyard Bum”, my favourite track off the album “Marijuana Girlfriend”, and “Everything”. (You can stream the entire album via the band’s Myspace.)
The lyrics of the songs are even more fun than the titles, and I ask the guys if they worry about people taking them seriously. “Well we take ourselves seriously,” Frank tells me. “We’re just trying to make the kind of music that we grew up listening to- Rock and Roll music. If you listen to the lyrics of that music, the songs were about having fun. We’re not trying to be pretentious.” And the rock country band (or rock country rock band, Frank jokes) have got the chops to back it up.
I ask the band if there are some good back stories to the songs. “Some of them,” Tykowski admits. “You want to know about “Lady Pizzle”, don’t you?” I laugh. That is exactly what I am driving at. I want to know who was canoodling with the tranny, especially because I know that’s Dave’s voice telling the story on that track. “It’s not actually a true story, but it is based on a night we went to a record release party at a tranny bar.” Goodhandy’s? I chime in. “Yea. We found these brochures with different cuts of meat on them, and one of the cuts of meat was elk pizzle. It was definitely penis, and we thought, this is funny we have to write a song about this.” The song is not meant to be offensive, Frank explains to me. “A bunch of rock bands have their songs about homosexuality, and we thought, okay. This could be our band’s “Lola”.”
I have one last question for the band, which is where they got the name for the double EP Tanto Monta- Monta Tanto. “It actually comes from a sword that I found in the garage when I bought my house.” Frank tells me. “The sword was inscribed with the words Tanto Monta Monta Tanto. The translation literally means it’s all the same, but the meaning is closer to united together, equal but different.” It’s a reference to the union of Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, as well as the union of man and woman. The duality is the reason the album takes the shape of a double EP even though the album is only 9 songs long, and the sword on the album cover is actually the same sword that Frank found in his garage.
© Natascha Malta, Music Vice
The Order of Good Cheer – Myspace