Interview with Canadian rock icon Kim Mitchell

Kim Mitchell

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If you haven’t already clicked the above link for a greeting from Kim Mitchell; go back to start and do so now. Then, and only then, proceed with caution as you will be given a citation if you don’t.

If, you guessed Kim Mitchell you’d be right. On the other hand, if you guessed anyone other than Kim Mitchell, you would also… be… wrong? 

Yes folks, the OPP officer that brought us nostalgic classics such as Go For Soda, Patio Lanterns, Rock N’ Roll Duty and many many more is about to release some new tunes on vinyl and in cyberspace.

It took some prompting from Los Angeles based and world-renowned record producer Greg Wells to convince the hairless wonder that the world needs to hear some more Kim Mitchell ear candy. I can say hairless as I too am follically challenged.

Greg is highly respected in the industry, having worked with Katy Perry, Elton John, Aerosmith, Adele, Taylor Swift and many many more. Greg is also a former band-mate of Kim’s and a Canuck by birth.

Kim told me his passion was playing live gigs, and he has been doing that since his last studio album in 2007. The work involved in recording, writing and the time and energy to be spent was pretty much why he hadn’t pursued another album in the past decade and a bit.

The new album The Big Fantasize doesn’t have a release date as of yet, but the new single Wishes has been released. It is a really smooth and melodic tune. Kim hasn’t lost anything in the singing department; a beautiful song.

Now to add a little to the basic question of why it took thirteen years I will regurgitate bit of the above as per Kim’s‘ own words.

My friend and record producer Greg Wells, many years ago went to LA to seek his fame and fortune… and he did, recording with big heavyweights (Pink, One Republic etc). Anyway, he was home a while back and I gave him a USB key will some tune on it. A couple weeks went by, and he called me and said, man, you’ve got to come to LA and record this on an album. This is a side of you we need to explore; this is really great stuff that people need to hear. They know you for Lager and Ale, I am a Wild Party, Rock and Roll Duty and that kind of rock, but this is a really great and melodic side of you that needs to be tapped into. So for a minute, I was thinking …nah……that’s a lot of work with the recording, but obviously I did it and it was a great journey and experience.

I asked Kim a sort of political question as to how he has coped with the lock-down, restrictions, etc and if it has changed him and …..basically what are his thoughts?

There is no manual. It’s been a combination of how do we do this… what do we do? It’s nice when we can all work as a team. I will say it’s been a hard time and challenging time for all of us. Some people have been lucky to keep working in a safe environment and then there are the front-line workers who have been putting it on the line and that’s amazing.

As far as for me, I just try to be careful and I’ve found that I’ve become really really average at things like….cooking and gardening; usually, you get better at things when you do it a lot, but I am NOT getting better at any of it (laughter).

I will say that after COVID hit I stepped away from music. It was the first time I just dropped my shoulders and decided to do nothing. I said (to myself)… hey, if I want to play guitar I will play and if I don’t I won’t; and that’s been the case ever since.

Kim Mitchell rocked Burl's Creek.

How would you describe the music of the album to let’s say a younger reader who has heard of you, but knows of you from let’s say Go For Soda or I Am a Wild Party?

It’s a more cosmic, laid back, and earthy kind of vibe than what I would normally do; it’s both acoustic and electric guitar-driven with some really up-tempo tunes like To Up to Be Down and Georgian Bay. I even have a five-piece horn section on one of the tracks, so there’s also a bit of a jazzy deal.

Are you going to be going on the road after the polar shift has shifted back on its axis to support the new album?

Well, I wouldn’t say support the album; it’s like customer service, I play what my fans want to hear. They were there for me when I started out and I owe that experience to them. I think my forte is kind of writing a setlist and reading an audience. My band knows that the setlist is a guide, but when you jump on the stage in the heat of battle, you might realize that the next song might not fit the audience. At the same time, if you are in a small venue, it might be cool to do an acoustic version of a rock track.

There you have it folks; keep your eyes open and watch for the release of The Big Fantasize and tell your local venue that the officer is on (Rock N’ Roll) duty.

Interview – Ernest Skinner
Photo credit – Darren Eagles via ZUMA Wire

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