You could say there’s nothing more rock’n’roll than your van blowing up in the middle of your first cross-Canada tour. Unless, of course, you’re The Damn Truth, and you’ve barely escaped with just the clothes on your back while most everything else is up in flames. And, oh yeah, it’s pitch black in the middle of nowhere between Sault St Marie and Thunder Bay.
Nothing has ever come easy for The Damn Truth but for every adversity, there has been some unexpected reward. In this case, they quickly scrambled a funding campaign that raised over ten thousand dollars within 24 hours. The experience brought out the best from their fans and the local community and a renewed faith in the power of music. The tour continued. The shows – and their belief in rock’n’roll – got stronger.
And now The Damn Truth are set to do it all over again (except for the blowing up part, of course).
A lot of good things have happened since then for the Montreal based quartet such as singer Lee-la Baum turning in a heart-stopping vocal for an Yves St Laurent TV commercial for their Mon Paris perfume that is rolling out worldwide over the next two years. The vocal (a cover of “Love Is Blindness” by U2) has had such an impact that YouTube videos looping the 30sec audio into a 3 minute track started pulling in over 90K views; forcing the band to record a full version and release it digitally and on YouTube to satisfy the constant emails as the commercial debuts in each new territory.
Meanwhile, the band’s second single, Get With You (from their new Devilish Folk album) has been given a new breath of life thanks to their first single, Heart Is Cold, getting the band a nomination as Best New Artist at the Canadian Radio Music Awards (for the Mainstream Rock category).
The Damn Truth have been hard to pigeon-hole. Their roots are definitely 60s and 70s rock but they are adding to that palette with alt-rock and indie-rock and whatever-else-kind-of rock attitudes and power; basically, whatever will make the music stronger is all that counts. Consider the pedigree of the alternative and classic rock credentials of Devilish Folk.
It was produced by Jean Massicotte, whose credits include Patrick Watson, Lhasa, Bran Van 3000 and others (all non-rock artists). Grammy-award winner Tchad Blake (Black Keys, Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, and other definitely rock groups) mixed 8 of the 12 tracks, including the singles; Heart Is Cold and Get With You. All this power was brought to the fore via the mastering of John Davis, responsible for the recent Led Zeppelin re-issues in addition to work with U2, Lana del Ray, Stone Roses, Florence & The Machine, and others (a blend of classic and cutting edge).
The Damn Truth have always been an indie-styled self-contained unit; booking their own tours, producing their own videos, working social media, and old-school hanging out after the show, meeting the fans one by one. Keeping it family also means Tom and Lee-la taking their 3-year old son, Ben, on the road with them (“He’s a rock’n’roll kid!”).
“We’ve had to work hard for every step of the way,” says Tom Shemer. “But that’s ok. People know it’s real when Lee-La calls radio herself or we call promoters and agents directly. It’s not easy but it pays off.”
The Damn Truth are Lee-la Baum (vocals/guitar), Tom Shemer (guitars), P-Y Letellier (bass) and Dave Traina (drums). There are echoes of Sabbath, Zeppelin, Janis, Hendrix, Beatles; all of it uniquely channelled through Lee-la Baum’s powerful vocals; creating an emotional rock that’s both distinguished them and made them something of a musical anomaly. “I think some of the older fans are drawn to the band because we remind them of what rock’n’roll used to be like in its heyday,” says Tom. “When it was still a bit dangerous.”
The Damn Truth Spring-Summer 2017 Tour:
5/11 The Casbah – Hamilton ON
5/12 The Horseshoe – Toronto ON
5/13 Windsor – Dominion (not confirmed)
5/15 St-Catherines – Detour Music Hall
5/16 Sault Ste-Marie tba (not confirmed)
5/18 The Foundry – Thunder Bay ON5/19 The Cavern – Winnipeg MB
5/20 Le Capitol – Saskatoon SK5/26 Mercury Room – Edmonton AB
5/27 The Palamino – Calgary AB
6/1 The Astoria – Vancouver BC
6/3 Kelowna -Doc Willoughby’s
6/17 Mountain Man Music Festival – Ottawa ON
7/14 Festival D’Ete de Quebec – Quebec City QC
7/15 Huntingdon,QC – Grove Hall
8/24 Trois Rivière en blues w/STYX- Trois Rivière QC