Alternative, “Burlesque” rock band Burning Daisy is taking over Calgary, one show at a time.
The band began in early 2012. Bassist Al Pujo, responded to an ad looking for musicians that was posted by Singer Liz Pomeroy. They met over a few pints at a local watering hole called Local 510. Liz and Al hit it off quickly and found they had very similar musical influences, and musical aspirations. Soon they were writing together, and brought in a guitarist and drummer. Over time, guitarist Jonny Vincent, a friend of Al’s for over a decade replaced Russell Edworthy, their original guitarist.
After a few changes in drummers, Burning Daisy recently brought in Ryan Boyko, who runs in some of the same circles as Al and Liz, as well as plays drums with Jonny in another project.
AL: Bass – Ibanez.
Ryan: Drums – Yamaha
Jonny: Guitar – Gibson
Liz: Roland upright piano
SELF-TAUGHT VS LESSONS
Liz – When I saw Freddie Mercury on stage at Live Aid I knew I wanted to connect with people that way. I was constantly putting on shows for my parents after dinner with a tennis racket for a guitar. “We need to stick this girl on a stage”, my Dad would always say. I took recorder and piano in school and loads of choir and theatre production. I studied Music in secondary school in Ireland and am currently taking a Diploma in Music at Grant MacEwan, Edmonton. Lots of singing lessons over the years with assorted teachers.
Al – I’ve been playing music in some form almost my entire life, but in 1994 I decided to take up the bass. I have some formal training in playing brass instruments but I’m entirely self-taught on the bass.
Ryan – Decided to play in ’91 after hearing Pantera for the first time. Pretty much self-taught. Tried lessons and got turned away for being better than the teacher.
Jonny – first time I heard paradise city I knew I wanted a les Paul and to play music, as a kid my parents watched me be so enthusiastic about playing they bought me my first guitar at age 13. I’m mostly self-taught but I took private lessons from Glen Willows of Harlequin.
WHERE HAVE YOU PLAYED?
Burning Daisy played the Republik and The Gateway in Calgary early this year, which was a highlight for all of us. Unfortunately, Republik has now closed down. We’ve played all sorts of venues in western Canada, from mid-size theaters to tiny hole in the wall dive bars. We also went to Austin for SXSW 2014 which was an amazing experience, being surrounded by an all music gong-show was literally out of this world.
WHAT IS YOUR SONG-WRITING PROCESS?
We write in a very organic and collaborative way. Sometimes we just jam out and see what come out of us. Other times, one of us just shows up with some riffs, or a melody and we all just kind edit, and spin it around until it just feels right. We can write a song in a few minutes, but the music will usually evolve over days or weeks until it hits that “sweet spot”. We often write about dark, or tragic scenarios but we try to present it in an upbeat, danceable and flirtatious way. Often times Liz gets inspired by random things like people’s email addresses – Jonny’s email was a springboard to loads of metaphors in White Knuckle It.
DO BANDS HAVE TO BE TIGHT-KNIT TO MAKE MUSICAL MAGIC?
We’re all friends, so that’s a very helpful thing when you’re working towards common goals. It’s important to respect each other and to be reasonable adults when conflict arises. We try work things out as a tiny democracy, but people in bands will butt heads inevitably. The key is not allowing that conflict to fester, and turn into resentment. And, in some instances there are personalities that just will not reconcile, unfortunately that can cause a band to break up, or for someone to quit, or be fired. Bands will fight over egos, and ideas. And sometimes you fight because it’s late at the hotel and some want to sleep while others want to party. Being in close quarters especially on tour can cause a lot of stress. So although we’re tight knit, sometimes you just have to get away from the others for some alone time.
ARE YOU PLAYING THE FAME GAME?
AL – I’m a bit narcissistic, fame would be interesting but at the end it’s about the music and the performance to me.
Jonny – Fame is not very important but being a successful musician is.
Ryan – Fame is not important but acknowledgement for the 23 years of work I’ve put in is.
Liz – The acquisition of fame is the reason I get out of bed in the mornings – said no musician ever…