Addictions and Other Vices – Hosted by Tom McNeil
Addictions and Other Vices Podcast usually produces 3 new shows weekly Days Like These!!! Bombshell Radio and Colour Me Friday featuring a mix of Indie, Synth Pop, and Synth Rock, alongside any other music that fits the current shows theme. Put together and hosted by Tom McNeil of the Toronto band parker Bombshell. The show features submitted material from musicians around the world. Plus selected artists and other goodies that serve to enhance the show. The audio podcast is typically an hour or more in length and comes with a parental advisory warning.
With over 350 episodes produced , Tom McNeil easily demonstrates his commitment to the Indie music scene and why the show is aptly named “Addictions”
Love Your Indie – I’m proud to bring you some of the best music from around the globe. Indie to me doesn’t mean unsigned musicians, it’s a state of independence. Artists that beat their own path. Thanks to all the musicians who sent in your tracks to the show and the ones who didn’t. It’s great discovering new Indie finds. A toast – love Your Indie!
10 things in a recent interview that might shed some light.
1) Who are you? Tell us about your band, its members and how you originally came together.
A: I first met Thomas Ryder Payne playing in separate bands gigging at different clubs around Toronto. Then years later hired Thomas as a guitar player for another band I was in until another band he was in got signed to a mayor label and he understandably left us to follow that opportunity. They did quite well. Thomas had a number one single he wrote for that band which had a cameo from Tommy Lee of Motley Crue in the video. Anyway, we didn’t speak until years later I was working on a project and needed guitar work and some drum loops so I called Thomas who brought us into his studio and I loved the experience working with him again. The project fell apart. And I was recovering at the time from a bike injury where I had broke the patella in my left knee and had spent over a year in rehab. During that time I had written some lyrics that reflected that experience and wanted that to be my next project. So I called Thomas asked him if he would be interested in co- writing these songs, mostly at the time as a personal catharsis. He told me he was working as a Producer so we could lay down some tracks in his studio. We started writing loads of songs, without restraint. It soon became clear we worked well together and we should record an album. The result was Bombshell. Having previously been in a band we decided to nix that idea and work as a song writing duo. We would call the shots, split whatever revenues, and make music that the two of us could both agree on. Also the songs would serve themselves not the band. So sometimes we would have this killer guitar solo, or drum track we’d scrap so the song would be better served. Not as a easy a task in a diplomatic band set-up. We were usually the only two working in the studio.Thomas made that easier to my great discovery as he is a multi-instrumentalist. So we brought some players in for strings and brass bits and some female vocalists to add to the songs but overall we did it all ourselves. Somehow I was elected as band spokesman, We wanted a name that wouldn’t pigeonhole us ,yet have a personality. That became Parker, later Parker Bombshell. I wanted to build on what had already been established without having to compete with the legendary Charlie Parker every time someone would try to find us online. So we went with Parker Bombshell.
2) Who are your biggest influences?
A: I think if you asked us separately we would have different personal influences. We tend to draw from a mix of New Wave , Synth pop, and Progressive Rock.
Tony Bennett recently said music should not be put into categories, the question should be is it good? Do you like it? I agree the rest seems too confining.
3) Describe your sound. What do you consider to be your best 5-6 tracks?
A: I’ve lately come to terms with synth rock/synth pop/ new wave/ soundtrack.
That covers it. To name my favourite tracks would be a difficult task. Much like favouring a child over another. It seems heartless and cruel. I tend to always be more interested in whatever songs are currently being worked. I think id be safest saying the songs that so far have received the most attention.
Love Myself, Karma, Dust, Another Great Depression and 18 Stories Down.
I like the messages and truths found in Sucking Retail and What’s Happened To Me, and Just Say When. Oh why don’t I just name every song. I leave that to task the listener.
What inspired you to start making music?
A: Again I’ll answer this question from own perspective. I started in a school for Arts and really had serious ambitions to be an actor. While in high school I started writing lyrics and wanted to find musicians. I knew some of the students were also studying music theatre. Which I opted out of to take dance so I could meet girls. That move was not the best choice. Somehow I managed to find a group that let me weasel my way into being a member. I was made the bass player. Lousy bass player. I know a few times when my amp was unplugged during shows. I still went with it. Did whatever it took. Shook my tambourine. Before finally getting the chance to be one of the lead singers. To eventually becoming the Lead singer.
5) What instruments do you play? Self-recorded or professional studio?
A: “Me I’m just a lawnmower you can tell me by the way I walk”. I’m a lyricists who sings and composes in my head. I don’t envy anyone who has to decipher my compositions. Thomas as I mentioned sings plays guitar, bass, drums,keyboards, He’s a one man band. I’m never sure what instrument he might play to inspire a given track. I guess I should give myself some credit I do tend to have a certain understanding of song writing. I think my biggest strength is also knowing when to stay out of the way and let other people do what they do best. Hmm I would say we are self recorded in a professional studio.
6) What can you tell us about the music scene in Canada or Toronto?
A: I can’t really offer much in that regard. The completion is stiff. There are so many talented people I run across. I’ve been doing this for long enough to see a lot disturbing and amazing transformations in the music scene. I guess a scene is whatever you make of it. If I’ve ever been in one I wouldn’t know.
It is so hard for musicians to get their music out there. What has your experience with this been like? What has or has not worked for Parker Bombshell?
A: I’ve really become an advocate for the doing it Indie. I’ve known musicians signed to labels that had to wait forever until there music could be released.
The big decisions are made for you. When I started I thought there was an advantage to that. You know, I’m the Artist mentality. Yes, there are definitely some great hard working labels, managers, agents all that. They really don’t want anything to do with you until you’ve already built something tangible and sustainable. We had the chance to have our track played on a TV show in about a weeks time. Mostly due to the fact no lawyers needed to be involved. Payment issued,song sent, simple.Same as a horror flick we landed a track on that’s about to come out. We’ve had people interested in working with the band on a professional basis, some have fallen by the wayside due to divorce, depression, alcohol, drugs or all of the above. There’s no shame in being Indie.
We understand that you host the Addictions & Other Vices Podcast. Can you tell us something about that?
A: I’ve been told countless time I should be on radio. I’ve studied Radio Broadcasting and voice over work. Again, for whatever reason the planets didn’t align. Until one day I was doing a radio interview with Johnny Summers and Pete Ringmaster on Reputation Radio in the UK. After the interview Johnny said “you should think about doing a show with us” I was very interested, wheels started turning and I came up with Addictions and Other Vices. Which at that time unfortunately didn’t fit the programming for that station. However another station in the UK was up for me giving it a go. So I went with that. Until Johnny came around about the time I was getting a little flustered with the politics and offered me a spot on Reputation Radio. My show now has continued through blind faith and a bit of good luck on my on radio feed Bombshell Radio. So we’ve come full circle and luckily I was able to add two amazing shows one from Australia “The Unsigned Project” and one from Scotland “Jazzamatazz”
I love my new radio family. All the podcasts are very unique and supportive of each other. Our listeners keep growing everyday and I can’t believe the wealth of talent that lands in the Addictions inbox. Sometimes the songs lend themselves to a given theme I’m working on. So they might get played before others. I try to listen to every submission sent. I demand a certain amount of production quality and it has to fit the shows mood. It’s also important to me if the musician gets involved on their end. We play and promote your work so it’s great when they return the favour. I love it when some of the bands recommend us to other acts. We have built a great community of talent. I try to make every show count. I Mix all submissions with as many addictions I can fit into two hours. It’s quite a personal draining process I love to put myself through.Then when I hit record and something very different comes out by the two hour mark. One song will usually trigger another thought so then I run with that. It’s such a charge to see it’s catching on and reading the shout outs we get from our listeners. It’s a gig I’m proud of.
What are some of your favorite bands or albums?
A: I’m going to draw from my own backyard first I love the latest Controversy release. I tend to listen to more Indie music then anything else these days. I’m a fan of Big Pink,The Horrors, Cut Copy. Hot Chip, Hentai Babies.
I like musicians that challenge me and themselves on every release. R.E.M. was like that for me every record took me time to digest but I loved the journey.
The Beatles, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Blondie, U2, Depeche Mode, Genesis,The Cure, Bjork, Kate Bush, David Bowie they all constantly made efforts to keep growing .
10) Musically, what are your band’s plans over the next year?
A: Plans… We’ve released “Sailors Warning” and we have two EP’s we’re putting finishing touches to. Not sure what lies ahead. Anytime I’ve planned it always leaves me looking at the clock with anxiety or amending said plan to save face. So let’s just say we will work for the best possible outcome at the time. I would love to connect with someone who understands film. I think our music would lend itself to visuals.
11) Can you name some bands from your country or elsewhere as recommended listening?
A: The Shoegaze Ear to Ear Compilation. Thanks for sending that! Oh no, this is where I get into trouble.Hang the DJ. Let’s just say listen to my podcast and you’ll hear a lot of musicians from around the globe that I think deserve your attention. I don’t play everything sent and I don’t have to love everything I play, but it helps. And honestly these days It’s a musical love fest. That’s why it’s called Addictions.
12) If you had the chance to cover any artist who would it be? What song and why?
A: I ‘ve always wanted to cover The Cure, Alice Cooper.or some 70’s Pop song. I would want to do it if I could add something different to it. We recently did a cover of Surrender by Elvis Presley for a stage production Thomas was the Sound Designer for. I had to emote the Elvis vibe from a nightclub in the scene. So it was very raw. When I saw the show it worked. Some songs I would love to cover for a laugh, others I might lose sleep over or sleep to.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
A: Currently all of our releases are available as a free download
Addictions and Other Vices – Hosted by Tom McNeil,