In the almost eight years Moxy Fr?vous has been together, it has taught listeners a wide range of things – an accordion can make a good love song great, Dr. Seuss is a great inspiration for a live act and government agendas are not all good.
Yes, this band of four Canadians slated to play at the Bayou Saturday makes sure that after each live show, the audience will not only walk away having heard some innovative new sounds, but also a little more informed.
Band member Jian Ghomeshi characterized their sound as “crazy-ass, melodic music with an emphasis on vocals” in a phone interview Oct. 28. Ghomeshi characterized the band members as liberals. “We’d be called left-wing in Canada,” he said.
“I’m a political junkie. We try to express our politics without banging people over the head. If we got really political, we’d just be singing to the converted,” Ghomeshi explained. “With humor and satire, we hope to engage people even if they don’t agree. Rather than write a song about how horrible Rush (Limbaugh) is, we satirize him as the greatest man in America.”
Ghomeshi said he believes this strategy to be more effective in getting the message across without losing fans because of the band’s politics.
Moxy Fr?vous began playing on the streets of Toronto, gaining fame and experience in the early 1990s. In 1991, it started to perform indoors. Toronto radio station CFNY 102.1 played its music for listeners ranging from Ontario to Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y. after its Feb. 1992 cassette was released.
“We were thinking (the cassette) was for friends and family. Then it went gold all over Canada,” Ghomeshi said. They opened for Bob Dylan, and the album held the top position on Canadian independent charts for almost a year.
On the band’s first CD Bargainville (Atlantic) in 1993, song lyrics about authors, the Gulf War and, of course, love combined with beautifully-harmonized voices, gave the band a foothold in Ontario and western New York. The band toured and gained more fans with entertaining live acts. Moxy Fr?vous earned a nomination for Band of the Year at the Juno Awards, Canada’s Grammys.
Wood (Mercury), the band’s second release, is more of a talent showcase than Bargainville. The focus is on the vocals and instrumentals.
“Wood was a reaction for our band to what we had done previously – another side of us, an acoustic record, more folky,” Ghomeshi said.
He said the band was darker and more introspective after its two-year tour for Bargainville. Ghomeshi added that several of the band members had ended relationships with girlfriends.
The next release, though not considered the third album, The B Album, was released in 1996. The album features a lot of the band’s live satirical songs like “The Rush Limbaugh Song.” Its only failing is that “Sam I Am” is not included, but Ghomeshi said the band will probably never record the song, citing possible copyright infringements.
The band is currently touring for its newest release, You Will Go to the Moon (The Bottom Line). “You Will Go to the Moon is an eclectic record, a combination of the things that we do,” Ghomeshi said. “This album uses new instruments. We’re pretty proud of how fresh sounding it is.”
The album is a return to the satire and fun of the first album with added influences. Ghomeshi brings his Persian background to “No No Raja” and “Sahara.”
“I haven’t gone back there,” Ghomeshi said about Persia. “It’s a little too volatile.” He did his undergraduate thesis on Iran, but was unable to visit fearing detainment.
He said the first track on the album, “Michigan Militia,” is about a man who has been “abducted” into a militia and writes back to his girlfriend. “Even though we’re writing from his perspective,” he said, “We’re not supporting it.”
Speaking candidly about his views of the band, Ghomeshi said, “We’re by no means an MTV hit. We’re on a much more grassroots level. I like that we haven’t had a hit video, so (our music) is always fresh.”
Moxy Fr?vous is performing at the Bayou in Georgetown Nov. 8.