Breaking into the Canadian music world in 2013 came a band from Kingston, Ontario. Having won the HTZ-FM Rocksearch, they soon had three top 6 Active Rock Singles (Mama, White Noise, and Heavy). By 2014, The Glorious Sons were the most-played new Canadian artist on Rock Radio. The band line-up includes two brothers- Brett Emmons(vocals) and Jay Emmons (guitars)- in addition to Andrew Young (guitar), Adam Paquette (drums), and Chris Huot (bass). So far their recording credits include their debut EP (Shapeless Art) and their full-length release, The Union. This group of guys puts out music that appeals to a blue-collar perspective and they aren’t much for anything fancy or frilly. Now The Glorious Sons are hitting the United States tour circuit and vocalist Brett Emmons took some time to chat with Screamer before the tour begins.
True to those blue collar roots, Emmons started the interview in an extremely casual manner. He said, “I’m sitting at home in Kingston, Ontario with my man Jimmy and my man Big Pappy on a patio. We’re drinking some beers and hanging out and just chilling.” While chilling with his buddies, he shared the story of how the band came to be. “We’ve been together four years almost now. And my brother is the lead guitarist and the year I moved out to university, he started the band and he was jamming with Chris, the bass player and they were doing a cover band thing. They were doing it reluctantly, I guess. Paquette and Younger (Andrew Young) were jamming in their garage, not really doing much. So I gave Jay Paquette’s number and he called Paquette. They got together, the four of them and they started writing tunes. About four or five months later, Jay called me at university to tell me to come home and jam with the boys. I came home because I was literally doing nothing there and I’d already quit school and I didn’t really like it there much.”
As they began to jam together, they discovered a natural rhythm to songwriting. As Emmons shared, “ We do it together. I’ll bring a lot of ideas to the table, but no songs would take the life that they take without each member of the band putting what they have into it. Every single piece is really important. If we had a different bassist, we wouldn’t be as interesting. If Jay wasn’t in the band, it wouldn’t be as grimy- it wouldn’t be as Southern sounding, as a lot of people like to call it. Which, you know, we don’t consider ourselves Southern Rock, but whatever. If Paquette wasn’t in the band, it wouldn’t hit as hard- it wouldn’t be as tough.” As he mentioned, some people might categorize their music one way or another, but how do they personally describe it? “It’s rock and roll,” says Emmons. “We don’t rely too much on fake sounds. We try hard to make our music grimy and we believe in the electric guitar and we believe in the voice. It’s rock and roll. We love songwriting. Songwriting is great, but it sure as hell isn’t folk, and it sure as hell isn’t indie music, and it sure as hell isn’t indie pop, or indie folk, or pop folk, or whatever the hell is going on down there. We’re a rock and roll band and we believe in rock and roll and that’s what we do.”
After fast success in Canada, are they at all worried as they try to take America by storm? According to Emmons, not so much. “You know, it’s tougher,” he said. “The States is way bigger. There are way more bands. It’s a totally different thing. The only way that we’re gonna do anything is going to be through the way we did it in Canada, and that’s gonna be touring constantly, releasing music, making fans one person at a time, connecting with people. The States is tough, everybody knows that. There are just as many bands in New York City as there are in Canada probably. It doesn’t really worry us though. We just want to get out in front of as many people as possible, play tunes and have fun. And if it comes, it comes. If it doesn’t, we’re good. We’re still gonna make fans and we’re still gonna have a good time…We’re just excited to play in front of people and have fun.”
As they hit the summer festival circuit with a multitude of other bands, there are bands they may be excited to see play, but they are definitely not networkers, as Emmons made clear: “ We keep to ourselves… I don’t really believe in that whole bullshit networking- ‘Hey, here I am! Haha! I want to meet you!’ I don’t really give a shit about that kind of thing. I want to hang out with my friends and that’s who is in the band…I’m excited to see a lot of bands at the festivals. The Chili Peppers are one of them. I’ve never seen them live. Obviously they’ve influenced us in a certain way, just like they’ve influenced millions of other people. But as far as that, we’re probably gonna chill by ourselves and go have the time of our life. You can’t really get caught up in trying to meet people and hang out with people. That’s actually a load of crockshit in my opinion.. I just wanna hang out with the people I love and we do that.”
On the same note, Emmons mused on what they best and worst parts are of living the life of a traveling musician. “The best part of being on the road is that you get to basically experience a slumber party with your best friend constantly- no matter what. You have to sleep in the same place, you have to hang out in the same place. You just hand out with your best buddies constantly- sleep in the same area, you watch a movie. You do this, you do that. It’s a lot of fun.” But with a note of seriousness in his voice, he adds, “The worst part about being on the road is leaving your loved ones. My dad is turning sixty in a couple years and I miss him to death, and my mom the same way. I just want to make sure that I’m around to experience their life with them and make sure that they’re happy and comfortable… You don’t get to do that as much as you’d like to when you’re constantly being torn away, following your dreams. But that’s life.”
When they do have the opportunity to spend time at home, they stay true to their roots, hanging out in the place they band was born. Emmons shared, “We’ve got a little jam space that’s above a mechanic’s shop in Kingston. Jay used to live there. He moved out so that his girlfriend would stop getting angry at him. We go over there and we call ‘TGS Headquarters’ and we go over there every day of the week basically- five days a week and we get drunk and jam and have a good time because it’s just a cool place. It’s not like a little warehouse in Toronto where you’ve got to spend $1500 to have a room without windows. We have some keggers there sometimes and we have parties. It’s a good time.”
While the music may still be new to fans in the United States, The Union was actually released in 2014. But Emmons said they are not in a tremendous hurry to put out something new. “We don’t know,” he shared. “It’ll probably be sooner than later, but we’re not in a rush. The worst thing you can do is rush yourself and release a shitty album. You’d rather just take the time. We want another album of songs we all believe in. We don’t want to put out three singles and have three sweet singles and have the rest of our album sound like shit. We want good albums constantly; songs where people are excited about every single song on the album, you know? A lot of bands have been crippled by the radio format, where they want to release three really cool songs, or three really radio-friendly songs and then they don’t give a shit about the rest of the music. I don’t really believe in that. The old way of listening to music is you put on an entire album, listen to it front to back and just revel at it, and that’s what we want to do. I think that that’s most important about what we’re doing, is just thinking about the songs- thinking about every single song. I don’t want to put out a filler- an album of fillers- so we don’t really know when it’ll be out and we don’t really plan on telling people that.”
Their tour run begins in Fort Myers, FL on April 20 at the Fort Rock Festival and they will be appearing at multiple festivals, including Welcome to Rockville, Carolina Rebellion, Northern Invasion, Rock on the Range and Rocklahoma. Take the time to check out the video for Sometimes on a Sunday and buy your tickets now to a show near you.