Start your week informed.
Plenty of interviews coming up, shows to attend and people to see.
Band leader Mary-Lynn Doroschuck is the daughter of Stefan Doroschuk and niece of Ivan Doroschuk. Both men were / are from the Canadian New Wave Pop sensation Men Without Hats. Mary-Lynn is ready to continue her family’s legacy while expanding into her own musical landscape.
Roxtar: Hello, Mary-Lynn.
Mary-Lynn: Hello Ron. Thanks so much for the call and the support.
Roxtar: It’s my pleasure. So let me ask you growing up who were your main influences?
Mary-Lynn: Growing up in a musical family they were my biggest influences. There was always music or instruments being played in and around the house.
Early on I took vocal lessons and sang at church then at school a bit. When I was 12 or 13 I performed in school talent shows. I also learned how to play classical guitar.
Roxtar: What about outside the family?
Mary-Lynn: Oh, outside the family? I’d have to say country music was a big influence on me. It seemed like if I was at a friends house they’d have country music playing and then back at home there would always be country music too. I really began to understand and like the lyrics because there was depth and emotion to it.
Because of my dad being in Men Without Hats, there was an obvious attachment to 80’s synth and new wave I would listen to that kind of music as well.
As far as younger music goes I like Evanescence, Green Day, Simple Plan, and I really like Blink-182.
I loved Billy Talent. I was such a fan of them for years. One of the first songs I learned to play on guitar was Fallen Leaves and I performed it at a summer camp talent show.
Roxtar: What was the first concert you went to?
Mary-Lynn: When I was like seven I went with my family to Mont Tremblant Blues Fest. I saw Johnny Winter and Steve Hill.
The first concert that I went to that I wanted to go to was Billy Talent with Alexisonfire at the Bell Centre. My mom even came with me to make sure I’d be safe.
Roxtar: Your sister Emmy-Lou is also a member of Wave 21 on keyboards. How did that come to be?
Mary-Lynn: Right. Okay so growing up we both learned to play classical guitar. I had no desire at all to learn the piano or keyboards, but she did. So what happened was we learned off of each other. It just grew and grew.
Roxtar: That’s kind of how you decided to form Wave 21?
Mary-Lynn: The thing is for me it was a long time coming. I knew I wanted to be in a band. For my sister, it was very different. She was like “I like writing songs and being in the studio but I have my own life.” She’s always been involved with music and Wave 21 as a band, but she’s involved in so many other areas we have to have a replacement for her on keyboards for now when we do live shows. Presently on keyboards we have John Macomber.
Roxtar: So who else is in the band Wave 21?
Mary-Lynn: We have my dad Stefan Doroschuk on bass. We have a new guitar player whose name is Jimmy Gibson and he’s really good. We have a drummer Tim Van de Ver. He’s also a member of Acid Test.
Roxtar: Speaking of drums you have a major name on your album in Kenny Aranoff ( John Mellencamp, Melissa Etheridge). How did you get Kenny to play drums on the album?
Mary-Lynn: Well we didn’t have a full-time drummer at the time. We wrote the drum parts and through a connection with my dad, Kenny played the tracks in Nashville and then we synced them up with our songs here.
When we record the next album Tim Van de Ver is going to play drums because he’s really experienced and we like what he does. Plus it’s way more convenient.
Roxtar: With the album out what are some of your favorite songs?
Mary-Lynn: The album is very divided. There’s a bit of rock, country and pop in it. I always held onto the first song Ya Ya Ya that opens the album as my go to rock song. It’ll Be One of These Days is my pop song and Here We Go is my killer country song that is the gem of the whole album. It was co-written by my dad and a friend of his Mack Mackenzie like 15 years ago. My absolute favorite song is Set Me Free. It’s a song about a really bad breakup I went through in high school that took me a long time to get over. That song really helped to literally Set Me Free.
There’s an angrier song called The Fun Times that really inspired me. It was a difficult time I was having and my dad was even asking me “What’s going on?” At the time he was trying to make the song sound like Lou Reed. I started to listen to all of Lou Reed’s albums and got really inspired. So I released all my anger on that song and it has it’s own style and is heavy. It’s so great to hear live and people are really into it when we play it.
Roxtar: What are your top three desert island discs?
Mary-Lynn: I’d have to say, Lou Reed, Blue Mask. I’d go with Abbey Road by The Beatles. I think I listened to that album on over 3,000 repeats when I was younger. I remember thinking this is the best thing ever.
As a last one, I’d go with Enema of the State by Blink-182. It’s a classic. It’s got songs on it that everybody knows.
Roxtar: Growing up with your father and uncle as members of Men Without Hats were you a fan?
Mary-Lynn: Oh Yes! My sister and I listened to Men Without Hats so much that we were banned from playing it in the house by my dad. We know the words to every song even the
weird obscure ones. I abused listening to them. I even had their vinyl albums on my bedroom wall.
My dad has a home studio where we recorded the Wave 21 album. All the equipment that’s there was used on the last Men Without Hats album. When we were really young my sister and I actually provided backing vocals on the last Men Without Hats album which I think might have only been used as effects but we’re on it.
Roxtar: So since your dad was the guitarist of Men Without Hats and now he’s in your band it’s almost like it’s come full circle.
Mary-Lynn: Oh, for sure. I’ve even been offered to go on the road with my uncle Ivan in Men Without Hats. Some of the songs on my album were almost half written by my dad. It’s family and teamwork. I like the influence.
Roxtar: I have to ask you, Mary-Lynn, is there any chance of you twisting your dad’s arm so you guys do a Men Without Hats song in a Wave 21 set. If you think about it I’m sure a lot of people are going there to expect that.
Mary-Lynn: Oh my!! The thing is our style of music is so different. Plus Men Without Hats is so keyboard-oriented that our keyboard player would have to really hone in on it like a lot, but he could totally do it.
Now that you mention it we should do a Men Without Hats song. Maybe we should do Safety Dance.
Roxtar: Another good idea might be for Wave 21 to open for Men Without Hats someday soon.
Mary-Lynn: That would be a really great idea. I wish I heard from my uncle more than I do. If he did let Wave 21 open for him I would be forever grateful.
It would make even more sense because Wave 21 was the original name of the band my dad and uncle were in before they were Men Without Hats.
Roxtar: So it is even more full circle than before.
Mary-Lynn: Absolutely and I love all these ideas you’re putting out. Thanks so much for sharing it. Sometimes artists get caught up in their own ideas and they need to hear an outside idea from someone even if it’s a fan or a journalist like yourself. If it works it works. I think it’s great. Now I’m going to have talk to my dad and get him to do Safety Dance at the next Wave 21 shows.
Make sure to see Wave 21 at their upcoming live events. The first one is August 16th at Smoke Meat Pete. The second is at Piranha Bar on Aug 23rd.
Let’s see if Mary-Lynn was able to convince her dad to get Wave 21 to play a Men Without Hats song?
Some folks like to know what they are getting into before they dress up and hit the road. Many folks do not like surprises in their lives.
For those who prefer security over blind faith – please listen below to some tunes from the artists I will be interviewing this week on Rick Keene Music Scene.com