Toronto’s reminiscent rock trio Fake Magic released the album Sad Dad, which reflects on all the intricacies and responsibilities of being a man. Particularly a dad. A sad dad.
However, the group – Greg Markham, Bryan Paccagnella, and Cory Williams – didn’t limit their inspiration to forlorn fathers. No. The album pays homage to men they’ve known, heard about, or encountered through media representation.
“Good dads. Flawed dads. Dork dads. Stepdads. Substitute dads. Sad dads. Randy Marsh. Homer Simpson. Hank Hill. On the surface, it’s a thumpin’ good time. Below the surface, it’s about ego and acceptance. It’s fun, dark, funny, sincere, and sometimes all of them at once,” the band said.
Sad Dad’s opening track, “Saturday,” recounts the power of getting out of bed to complete a simple task, even if melancholia overwhelms you. The driving guitar and keys inspire the lead vocalist to reclaim a bit of power he has lost.
“Today is the day
That I put on shoes to mow the lawn.
‘Cause its not gonna mow itself.
No, it’s not gonna go down easy.
There’s not gonna be anybody else.
That takes this maintenance seriously.”
With an established character, the narrative expands with each song, unraveling the life of a sad dad. Each of the 13 chapters expounds upon a different, surface-level, and metaphorical theme.
The first single, “Begging to be Lonely” is about how slowly time moves when you feel stuck. It comes from Bryan and Greg’s experience growing up in the suburbs of Richmond Hill in the 1990s, dreaming of a life downtown in the big city. This endless wait can lead to depression, excuses, and self-sabotage,” the band said.
The fifth track, “Funkiest Spot,” dips its toes into a jammy funk fest paced with propulsive electric guitar beats and an inquisitive vocal riff, imploring, “Who are you?” This pleading tune encapsulates a feeling of losing yourself. Honing in that desire to return to what makes you happy. A cry for help from a friend.
Future radio hit “Old Days” compasses every high you’ve had with a massive guitar-lick ending, while Sad Dad comes full circle with the final track, “Sit Down.”
“That one is a nod to Glen Campbell’s “You Better Sit Down Kids,” following the story of a father sharing parting wisdom with a child following a divorce.”
Sad Dad captures the essence of being a man and what it means to grow older through music. Whether through subtle references or candid lyrics, Fake Magic utilized their experiences to create an honest album of boundless, magical promise. Just like parenting.
Hey pal, we’re Fake Magic. Crack a beer, stay a while.
Like every song we do, it started with the nug of an idea brought to a regular jam night. “Begging” was one of Greg’s that we played around with, if memory serves (and our memories are foggy at best). Bryan started improvising words and sounds that felt right. Greg tried out different approaches to a number of sounds – guitar, bass, and drums. Then it kicked around for months until it developed new meaning and intention through listening and tweaking. When we had it in a place we liked, we shipped it to Cory, and he put a juicy guitar bow on the whole thing. Bob’s yer Uncle.
It’s got pluses and minuses. There’s a lot of talent and a lot of interesting music going on. Lots of people want to hear it as well – it’s a supportive crowd. It’s a hub for Canadian music, no doubt. That said, from our experience, it’s real tough if you rely on it as a means of financial stability. Toronto ain’t cheap, man.
Bryan – For me, it’s got to be Gord Downie. There’s a specific video I pull up on YouTube once every blue moon, where Dan Aykroyd throws it to The Tragically Hip playing Grace, Too on SNL. He whiffs the first line, saying the name of the band instead of “fabulously rich” before recovering like a pro. There’s something so raw and beautiful about that moment, that performance, and that song. It hit me on several levels the first time I saw it, and it still does today.
Greg – So many to choose. Our Lady Peace, Barenaked Ladies, Big Wreck, Alanis, Pagliaro, Mounties… but after long deliberation, I gotta go with Mother Mother. In a previous band, Cory and I opened for them at an empty show in a basement venue in Oshawa before they got big. The musicianship was off the charts alongside being original, exciting, and entertaining. They were definitely doing their own thing, and oh boy, what a thing!
Cory – The Tea Party. I picked up Transmission back when it came out, likely due to hearing Temptation on the radio, and it is such a solid album front-to-back. It rocks really hard in a very original way. I finally had the pleasure of seeing them play the whole thing live a few years back, and they were awesome.
The rest of their catalogue is great too.
Talk about the blind leading the blind, eh? We’re still learning. We’re still dummies, despite being older and wiser than we used to be. Rick Rubin just put out a book – The Creative Act: A Way of Being. If pressed to impart wisdom, we’d pull from Rick since he’s top of mind. It’s easy to feel beat up when things don’t work out the way you want, especially when you’re trying something different and making yourself vulnerable to criticism (or worse – indifference). If you love it, that’s not a reason to stop. Failures are an opportunity to learn if you’re paying attention. They can become a point of strength. He ends chapter 29 with some Rubinesque wisdom: “Failure is the information you need to get where you’re going.”
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I’m Jenna, the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be.
Canadian Beats has grown to become more than media, and what a journey it’s been.
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