We’ll bet our left kidney that long before news broke that Billy Talent III would be in stores July 14, the band’s most hard-core fanboys and girls had already circled the date, pre-ordered three copies of the deluxe edition and blocked off two-weeks vacation to learn each song on guitar, bass and — just because they’re that dedicated — glockenspiel.
That sort of band loyalty deserves a reward. So, we’ve turned it over to the fans to put their 10-best questions to Billy Talent — who, incidentally, were excited to see what sort of Q’s you might lob at them.
“The questions are always interesting. You get asked things you wouldn’t normally hear,” Ian D’sa told Dose.ca earlier this month.
Ian D’Sa, Ben Kowalewicz, Jon Gallant and Aaron Solowoniuk took your best shots. Here’s what they had to say:
1. This question’s for Aaron: We all love Ben’s onstage energy, but have you gotten Ben back for clocking you with his mic stand at a show a couple of years ago? (-Adam Kohn)
Aaron: Ha. That was an unfortunate incident that happened a long time ago. I guess I could throw some sticks at his back, but that’s just not my style.
2. Ian, your music is unique, original and incredibly difficult to decipher. In many interviews and bios it talks about your classical piano training. I was wondering if you’ve formed some of your intricate chords and transitions on the piano and then further transferred them onto the guitar? If so, do you find this easier or more difficult to do? (-Christina Macaluso)
Ian: Hey Christina, there are times where I’ve come up with vocal melodies for songs on piano first and then translated them to singing, but I’ve never really come up with chords on the piano first and then translated them to guitar. I think over the years I’ve just trained my ear to listen for interesting chords that stand out when I’m writing on a guitar, and that’s probably because they remind me of some of the unique chords that can be created on a piano.
3. What are Benjamin, Aaron, Ian and Jonathan’s middle names? (-“drakes_hollywood_superstar”)
Billy Talent: Benjamin Ian, Aaron Alexander, Ian Michael and Jonathan Eric.
4. Where do you get the inspiration for your songs from? (-Lisa Schweer)
Ben: Hi, Lisa. Inspiration comes in many different shapes and in many different ways. Sometimes the music invokes a certain thought or emotion and Ian and I just kinda take it from there.
5. I know that one of you used to be in the automotive trade [Aaron Solowoniuk], what do you think of young ladies getting their tickets? I am six weeks away from getting mine and I love my job as an auto tech. (-Jaylene Witala)
Aaron: I worked on an assembly line building cars. I think it’s a lot different then getting a job as an auto tech. You as a young lady can probably figure out what is wrong with a car and fix it. I on the other hand can barely tie my shoes. For real. I think if you’re going to do anything in life you should try to be the best at it. I also think the automotive trade needs more girls because it’s a boys club for sure. Congrats on finding a job that makes you happy.
6. Alright, well I have two questions: First, would you say the song “Nothing to Lose” is autobiographical or written about someone specific? And what was it like working with Anti-Flag on the song “Turn Your Back?” (-Kathryn Furlow)
Billy Talent: “Nothing to Lose” was written about a boy in high school in a town not too far from the town we grew up in who was bullied at school, and when one of the students told him he should kill himself he went home that lunch time and hung himself. Very sad.
Working with Anti-Flag was amazing. They are great humans with big hearts. It was the first time we had someone else sing on one of our songs. We released it as a demo and donated the money raised to the Red Cross. It was a win-win.
7. In Toronto, besides at your rock shows, where are the two places in Toronto fans would most likely run into you? (-Valerie Dziawa)
Ben: The Horseshoe Tavern or Shoppers Drug Mart.
8. If every rock musician in history was lined up outside your door begging to be allowed into the band, who would you take in without a second thought, and why? (-Sonu Purhar)
Ben: I wouldn’t take anyone. I love the band I’m in and love all of them. (John Bonham would be cool to play one song though.)
9. Ben and Ian, given all the singing/screaming, how do you keep your voices in shape for a tour? (-Isobel O’Shea)
Ben: I think when it comes to my voice I just try not to think about it too much. I drink a lot of water and always warm up and warm down. Rest is the key as well.
Ian: I make sure to warm up for at least 10 minutes before a show, usually just singing scales with my singing voice and then practice a few screamy chorus parts of the songs to get my voice ready for that too.
10. Are there any countries you have really wanted to visit that haven’t been part of your tours and travelling through music to date? (-Aidan)
Billy Talent: [We] would love to go to South America, Africa and New Zealand.
July 13, 2009