November 30, 2004

SJP


Artist: Crash Vegas




Michelle McAdorey (vocals) Greg Keelor (guitar; left in early 1991) Colin Cripps (guitar) Jocelyne Lanois (bass) Ambrose Pottie (drums) Darren Watson (bass; replaced Lanois) John Borra (bass; replaced Watson 1995 - studio only) Mike Sloski (drums; replaced Pottie 1995 - studio only) Gavin Brown (drums; replaced Sloski 1995) Eric Chenaux (bass; replaced Borra 1995)

McAdorey (niece of the late radio/TV personality Bob McAdorey) had spent her formative musical years in England fronting New Wave band Corect Spelling, who released a 12" dance single "Love Me Today" produced by Midge Ure in 1982. After five frustrating years she returned to Toronto where she got a day job, pushing music to the back burner.

Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor talked her into returning to music and helped write some songs with her as a loose project called Crash Vegas. Keelor's commitments with Blue Rodeo prevented his being a full-time member, but he convinced McAdorey to put together a permanent band to back her new musical direction.

Jocelyne Lanois (Martha & The Muffins) hooked up with Keelor and McAdorey while running a workshop studio called The Lab (1988-91) in Hamilton, Ontario, with her significant other, Malcolm Burn. Shortly after, drummer Pottie (Thin Men, Whitenoise) completed the core lineup. Guitarist Colin Cripps (Spoons, Heavenly Brotehrs) also joined the band in 1988, roughly six months after Crash Vegas started.

The band began recording what would become their debut album, "Red Earth", at The Lab, with Burn producing. Cripps played most of the guitar, with Keelor guesting on a couple of songs. The sessions were completed at Kingsway Studio in New Orleans.

Crash Vegas was eventually signed to Blue Rodeo's own label, Risque Disque, for "Red Earth". The album went gold and earned them some media recognition, but Risque Disque went bankrupt and left the album and the band in limbo.

After the "Red Earth" recording sessions were completed, Crash Vegas returned to the Toronto area and performed for about six months. The band and Lanois parted ways at the end of 1990. She was replaced by bassist Darren Watson, whom Cripps knew from the Hamilton, Ont., scene.

In 1992 Crash Vegas signed a new U.S. deal with London/Polygram, which put out their second album, "Stone", in 1993. It featured Watson on bass and continued with songs co-written by Keelor and another by David Pirner (Soul Asylum). The record featured an all-star line-up in that several tracks were produced by John Porter (The Smiths, Bryan Ferry) and one was remixed by Bruce Vig (Garbage).

The album was expensive to make because of all the extra talent and it sold poorly due to record-label red tape. While they tried to get out of their deal they recorded the Neil Young song "Pocahontas" for the Sony Records Canada tribute "Borrowed Tunes" in 1994. The song put them in touch with Sony executives who were impressed with their songwriting and signed the band.

By 1995 Crash Vegas had become a duo, of McAdorey and Cripps. A new record deal with Sony resulted in the release of 'Aurora'. The recording unit featured emergency fill-ins by Change Of Heart's John Borra and Mike Sloski as the rhythm section. Their touring band saw the addition of Brown (Phleg Camp) and Chenaux (Phleg Camp). The album ground to a halt on radio within 12 weeks but the band went to Europe and achieved a modicum of success over there where their moody third album was better appreciated.

Crash Vegas split up in 1996. In 1997, Cripps joined Junkhouse.

Lanois and her brother, Daniel, co-wrote the music for Jessica Tandy's final film, the 1995 feature "Camilla". Jocelyne then moved to New York for two years (1995-97), during which she was the bassist for Chris Whitley. She also hit the road for a short stint with Ani DiFranco (January 1997) before giving way to Sara Lee, and played a few gigs with indie singer-songwriter Jeremy Robinson.

More recently, Lanois has composed and performed the scores for a pair of 1998 documentaries, "Exposure" and "My Feminism", as well as co-composing, with Michael D'Amico, the music for a "Life And Times" documentary for CBC-TV on artists Christopher and Mary Pratt. The latter won a Gemini Award in 1997. She now runs a small studio in downtown Toronto.

McAdorey is currently promoting her new solo album, 'Whirl', on Queen Of Cups Records.




Singles
1990 Inside Out (Risque Disque/WEA) 1990 Sky (Risque Disque/WEA) 1990 Smoke (Risque Disque/WEA) 1993 You And Me (London/Polygram) 1993 1800 Days (London/Polygram) 1993 My City Has A Place (London/Polygram) 1993 Keep It To Myself (London/Polygram) 1995 On And On (Loudstar) (Sony) 1995 Old Enough (Sony)

Albums
1990 Red Earth (Risque Disque/WEA) 1993 Stone (London/Polygram) 1995 Aurora (Sony)

Video


Compilation Tracks
1994 Pocahontas on 'Borrowed Tunes' (Sony) 1995 "Clinic" on 'Lit From Within' (Nettwerk)






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