Tell us the brief history of your band or musical career.
I've been playing music in clubs and other live settings for more than 30 years, since I was in high school. I played with many different bands doing both original songs and covers. None of the groups were really famous or anything but notable at least on the Toronto bar scene were Uncle Seth, an original roots rock band, and The McFlies, a fun band that did acoustic versions of 80s pop songs. In 2014 I started performing blues as a one-man band under the Broke Fuse name, and I've been enjoying that ever since. I've released 3 EPs and 2 full length albums, and I've achieved some recognition including a nomination for a Maple Blues Award, which is Canada's national blues awards. I love playing the blues and I don't plan on stopping any time soon!
How does your latest album differ from any of your others in the past?
My most recent release is actually an instrumental EP called Splashdown. It's different largely because, well, it's all instrumentals. I've always enjoyed writing and recording instrumentals and I've included a few in previous releases. Splashdown came about because I had a few instrumental ideas left over from my previous album (Rocket Ride), and when Toronto went into another short COVID lock down around a year ago I decided I might as well finish off recording those instrumental pieces, so the EP just kind of happened.
Tell me what your first music teacher was like. What lessons did you learn from them that you still use today?
I've had many great music teachers, but I always think back to my high school vocal music teacher Ms. Fraser. She taught me a lot but one thing I always remember her saying is "always leave them wanting more," meaning it's good to play just a little shorter or a little less than you might think is enough, because then people will want more as opposed to getting bored with what you are doing. It's a great lesson especially for playing the blues, which really I think benefits from space and minimalism.
If you could play anywhere or with anyone in the world, where or with who would it be?
Wow, there are too many choices! It would be really fun to play something with Paul McCartney, and I would literally be thinking like in a living room or something like that, not even on a stage. He just seems like such a cool and good-hearted character, along with obviously being a genius and a Beatle. it would just be fun to do something small with him!
What strengths do you have that you believe make you the musician you are?
Probably flexibility and a good attitude. I'm (definitely!) not the best musician in the world, but I feel like I can play in a lot of different situations, and I have broad tastes so I don't really turn up my noise at any kind of music, I'll try anything. And I always try to have a good time, I think that is key.
What do you think about online music sharing?
It's interesting because I grew up with tape-trading with friends so I've never been against the idea of sharing music for free. Of course I feel like musicians should be compensated, and fans should understand that people making records need to make a living, but I also feel like there is a balance, especially when it comes to getting young people into a range of music. I have a daughter who is a teen now, and she is able to discover so much new and old music via YouTube and TikTok and the like, honestly I think it is really positive overall.
Do you have any anxiety about performing live?
Almost never -- I really love playing live and I rarely get stage fright or anything like that -- I think my excitement usually just overcomes any fears.
Other than being a musician, what was your dream job growing up?
When I was very young I wanted to be an astronaut -- but I grew out of that pretty quickly. I think when I realized I probably needed to do a lot better in school first, haha!
What's next for your band?
I'm really happy about the reopening of music venues and festivals. I'm currently trying to line up shows for the new year, I'm really excited for that -- stay tuned to my website and Facebook page, more details to come!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Along with my other musical activities, I'm also the co-founder of the Scarborough Uke Jam, a ukulele group that meets a few times a month on the east side of Toronto. Ukulele is such a fun and accessible instrument, it really is something for all ages and genders, we have such a diverse group who get together and play which is so cool.