Angie Lalonde writes "If you've never heard of Cigar I am proud to be the one to introduce you. They've recently toured for the first time in Ontario after endless pleas from Canadian fans and I was the only lucky one to get an interview with them while on their 'Anti-SARS' tour. So here's the deal with their disappearing acts, new demo and the story behind their song 'Laundry Basket'…"
Click READ MORE for all that and then some.
ANGIE- So where have you guys been? What happened to Cigar, I heard about you guys five years ago and not much since then‚?¶
JOHN- We actually played in Canada two years ago‚?¶
A- Was that only in Montreal?
J- No we played Quebec, four shows I think, Trois-Rivieres, Thetford Mines, Quebec City and Montreal, that was our first time up here and this is our second time.
A- You guys all have other jobs aside from Cigar right?
J- Oh yeah, we have to
A- And you all live in different cities, does that have a big part in why you guys have been laying low? Rami - John and I live in Portland Oregon now but for a while we all lived in different cities; it was busy, just about survival techniques.
J- We were getting burned out too in San Diego, there‚??s just so many bands playing all the time, same old shit every night‚?¶
Jason- Plus we had a large amount of bar shows, the twenty-one and up crowd‚?¶.
J- They closed one of the best all-ages venue in San Diego right about the time we started playing shows there and we always got bar shows and it was always like wannabee Sublime bands, it got old really fast but now it‚??s coming up again but we‚??re all in different cities now. Rami and I are in Portland, Oregon and Jason is in San Diego.
A- And technology has been great to you guys, some of your new songs were wrote and put together by sending each other tracks over the internet‚?¶
Jason- Yeah a couple of new songs we‚??ll play tonight maybe I learnt through them sending it to me.
J- Yeah Rami and I wrote some new stuff and sent it down to Jason so we never actually played some of the new songs ever with him till this tour, it was kind of weird but it really worked out well I think though, Jason really knew it well.
A- This is your first time playing in Ottawa tonight‚?¶
J- Yeah it is‚?¶
A- And how was the attendance for your Quebec shows?
J- We had great shows over there‚?¶
A- So you‚??re only playing one show in Ontario, you‚??re not going to Toronto for the ‚??Anti-SARS Tour‚???
J- No, no, no‚?¶
Jason- We had a couple more but yeah, um SARS and crowd capacity was more in Quebec so‚?¶ This is the Anti-SARS tour after all.
A- Do you guys like touring and all the hardships, cause it‚??s rare to see Cigar on the road?
J- You know what I think, we would have liked it better ten years ago. We‚??re all in our late twenties now, I‚??m thirty we‚??re playing in front of people who are half our age most of the time, but it‚??s fun being on the road. Mike from Freedumb Records was our tour manager for this and they made it real easy on us and took really good care of us and everything‚?¶
A- Even though you guys are on Theologian Records would you consider Cigar a D.I.Y band?
J- Basically now, yes. We haven‚??t released anything since our Theologian release, which was our first official album.
R- Even for everything else though we don‚??t have anyone booking us or a manager or anything‚?¶
J- We‚??re trying to figure out now what the next step is, a new release and what the label is going to be‚?¶
A- Yeah I heard a new song on your site called ‚??Movies and T.V‚?? to be released on an upcoming demo, is Cigar looking for a label as we speak?
J- Yeah actually we are, Theologian aren‚??t really happening anymore‚?¶
A- Any new prospects as of yet?
J- Umm‚?¶ Nothing right now that we can really talk about, we don‚??t know enough yet to say anything about it‚?¶
A- Would you guys be ready to make this your full-time lifestyle, only do Cigar?
Rami- That‚??s kind of a hard questions‚?¶
A- Like if you guys we‚??re offered some great support tours and everything was on the right track would you quit your jobs to do this all the time?
R- Yeah definitely for sure, the only reason I would is because I don‚??t have a job‚?¶
J- And my job is so part-time and they always support me going out to play with the band. If we would actually be able to support ourselves even if it was to break even I would do it for sure, I don‚??t care about working and I don‚??t plan on working for the rest of my life, playing videogames all the time that would be cool too‚?¶
A- Aside from your families would you say this is the greatest bond you‚??ve ever experienced is it like a marriage?
J- definitely is a three-way marriage.
R- There‚??s been some trying times and some temporary divorces
A-(To Big John) I heard you disappeared into the mountains for a bit‚?¶
J- Yeah, I went up to Grass Valley and they stayed in San Diego cause they can‚??t leave the sun, it‚??s true. Actually last time we played in Canada each of us lived in a different city and we didn‚??t practice at all we just showed up and that‚??s what we did this time, we didn‚??t get to practice, we just hope it goes well.
Jason- The last trip was kid of hard, the first night I blistered
J- Where did you blister
Jason- My fingers!
A-Fletcher helped produce your last album‚?¶
J- Fletcher helped us a lot. He‚??s the man, he‚??s the one who helped us get on a record label, he got us into his recording studio, helped us by producing the album, he had good advise all along, he‚??s been a very good help to us, we definitely owe a lot of thanks to him.
A-Will you get him to produce your next album‚?¶?
J- That‚??s all undecided right now we don‚??t know what we‚??re going to do with the next album yet, we wrote a lot of new material but we don‚??t have it recorded yet, we don‚??t have the label so that‚??s all going to depend on that.
A- What do you think got you guys back in this industry, since you‚??ve all been back to having regular jobs and laid low. Now you‚??re back here on tour, I‚??m so surprised to see you in Canada again‚?¶
J- We don‚??t make albums to make money we just do it cause we love to play and be here. R- I started listening to punk rock in 1985‚?¶
J- It‚??s just part of the backbone, it‚??s been our lifestyle forever, we listen to and play different kinds of music outside Cigar but I started playing music in this kind of music, it‚??s so fun to play this kind of show. It‚??s almost like being an athlete playing this kind of music you sweat so much and it‚??s so tiring, it‚??s a different feeling than playing a lot of other types of music.
A-And who got their laundry basket stolen?
R- That was me, it‚??s such a worthless thing to steal, they didn‚??t steal any of the clothes just the basket!
A-Did you ever catch them?
R- No, I tried to, I tried to stake it out.
A-Well thanks so much guys‚?¶
J- Before I want to say that we had an awesome time with the bands we played with. We‚??ve been touring with ‚??Runt‚?? the whole time, they‚??re our brothers now I love those guys and ‚??Awaken‚?? from Quebec City took really good care of us, they‚??re a great band. I already miss those guys they were really cool.
A-So you guys will be back..
J- Oh yeah, we have great shows up here, people are nice‚?¶
Jason- We just need to come up with a better album‚?¶