We’re going to give you the truth, The Damn Truth, and nothing but The Damn Truth today with our latest edition of 190 Proof. Earlier this month, the quartet released their new album Now or Nowhere, their third full-length that acts as a definitive statement about the band, and the crazy times in which we live.
Recording the album proved to be quite the challenge, with the COVID-19 pandemic interrupting some very productive recording sessions the band was having with super-producer Bob Rock. They were able to finish six tracks with Rock at The Warehouse Studio in Vancouver before the lockdown ground everything to a screeching halt. With the guys unable to reconnect with Rock in person, they decided to finish the last three songs with the assistance of Juno Award-winning producer Jean Massicotte. Now or Nowhere is a true team effort, and the album that is proving to be The Damn Truth’s breakthrough that will expose them to a much wider and larger audience.
What goes great with rock n’ roll? Well, booze, of course. So what better idea then to connect with The Damn Truth’s lead singer and guitarist Lee-la Baum, and lead guitarist Tom Shemer for a little conversation about their favourite drinks, getting wasted, and the best local Montreal area dive bar.
Do you like to write music with some drink in you? If yes, what?
Tom Shemer: “Some of the best blues riffs I’ve ever written came to me while under the influence of whiskey. Whiskey just brings out something swampy out of me and makes me play a little bit sloppier and slower which just really elevates the feeling of the blues and makes everything better.”
If you had to name your band after an alcohol/specific drink brand, what would you call yourselves? You can combine names/mix and match if you want!
Shemer: “The Dirty Jack. That would work perfectly.”
Preferred drink, if you had to put it down on a rider for the whole band!
Shemer: “Jack Daniels on the rocks. It really is the only hard liquor on our rider. Twenty-four local beers and Jack. Happy Pappy.”
Do you like your beer with a lot of foam or are you more of a trim the foam kind of guy/gal?
Lee-la Baum: “I absolutely love a good Guinness, so no extra foam for me… just the right amount of soupy tepid goodness please.”
What’s the worst (or best) dive bar you’ve ever gone drinking to?
Shemer: “I really love this place in my neighbourhood of St. Henri in Montreal, Canada, it’s a place called Bar De Courcelle. It’s just a grimy bar with some cool people and a bunch of musicians go there too, so the drinks are pretty cheap, and you can get drunk really quick… their beer is disgusting but if you stick to hard liquor you should be good.”
If the world was coming to an end what would be your drink of choice to watch it all burn?
Shemer: “I would grab a bottle of Mezcal and drink that shit all the way down, swallow that worm and watch the world burn as I hallucinate.”
If you met an alien from another planet, what drink would you chose to explain alcohol, and how would you describe it?
Shemer: “If I met an alien I would’ve probably given him… what’s the worst alcohol there is… peach schnapps… yes I would give him some peach schnapps just so he would get the fuck off of my planet. Loser.”
If a drink could define your life so far what would it be and why?
Shemer: “My favourite drink has changed over the years many times. When we got to tour with ZZ Top, I learned about the magic of Jack Daniels. Jack Daniels was always one of those drinks, it was always there but I never really paid too much attention to it. I used to drink Crown Royal and I used to drink Jameson… Glenmorangie was always nice, as well as all kinds of different whiskeys and scotches, but really when I saw Billy Gibbons and the boys drinking Jack on the rocks, and they told me how they’d been doing that for 50 years, every single night… There was just something about it and when I got back from that tour I started drinking Jack just like them… It changed my life and I’m never going back.”
Best drink to get you obliterated?
Shemer: “If you ever want to see our drummer Dave absolutely smashed, to the point where he forgets his name and reinvents himself, give him a bottle of Jägermeister… go on, I dare ya!”
How long does it take you to detox when coming off the road?
Shemer: “It depends how long the tour had been and how intense it was. Since every time you’re on the road you meet different people and there’s different energies to go along with it. Just between the four of us in the band, it always gets crazy, but it gets elevated to different heights in different tours depending on the other band that were touring with or the crew or the people that surround us every night, or even what country/ region we’re in… I would say that after a really long tour it takes me a good three weeks to feel like I’m back in some sort of normalcy again.”
A fan asks to buy you a drink in a bar, what do you choose?
Shemer: “Depending on where in the world we are and who is the person who’s going to buy me that drink… sometimes I take risks and say just give me what you think suits this particular moment in time. I said that once somewhere in Northern Canada and they got me Jack with pickle juice. It was awesome!”
What’s your worst/best puke story?
Shemer: “This one time we were playing a certain rock n’ roll cruise and I’m not going to name names, but my bandmates got so crazy drunk that men in hazmat suits had to come and wipe them off the floor of the pool of vomit they left behind on the main deck of the ship. That was pretty gross.”
Where’s the most embarrassing/strangest place you’ve passed out when drunk?
Shemer: “We were playing in a club in Toronto and I was looking for PY everywhere and I couldn’t find him. Finally I gave up and went to take a piss and there he was, passed out face down in the urinal. Nothing tops that so good on you PY!”
What’s the worst thing someone has done to you when you’ve been drunk?
Shemer: “There was a period in my life where I really wanted to get my eyebrow pierced but I was just so scared of the pain… I was drinking with this friend of mine and I got really drunk, and I was telling him about how I really wanted to get my eyebrow pierced but how scared I was, and he was all like, I shouldn’t be scared, it’s nothing, and he said he could even do it for me… That he has this safety pin that he could just stick in my eyebrow and I was like, don’t come near me with that dirty old safety pin… and anyway I passed out drunk and the next thing I know I wake up and I have a fucking safety pin hanging off my eyebrow.”