Each week, Essentials allows Canadian musicians to share the things that have helped get through through the pandemic, and why they still can’t live without them.
As co-founders of The Watchmen, Daniel Greaves and Joey Serlin’s 30-year creative partnership has made an indelible mark on Canadian music, resulting in two Juno nominations, along with one Platinum and three Gold certified albums.
But as life’s other demands eventually shifted their focus away from The Watchmen, Joey and Daniel found themselves starting new families, new businesses and new musical projects on their own. That didn’t mean The Watchmen were ever finished; the band continues to periodically reunite to play their classic material for special events.
Creating new music was a different story, though, as the process gradually became more personal for each of them. Still, over the past couple of years their unshakable bond inevitably led Joey and Daniel to realize that working together again would be the most effective way to share this chapter of their lives.
The fruits of that renewed collaboration are contained on Sad Songs For Sale, their first album as Serlin Greaves, and a collection that reveals many new facets of the pair’s musical personalities.
As could be expected, some of the aggression displayed during their early days has been tempered by experience and a more acute sense of melody. The common thread with all of the material is the simple fact that, as musicians, Serlin and Greaves have found something within themselves not captured on record before.
Sad Songs For Sale is available now on vinyl and all streaming services and Serlin Greaves perform a full band show on Aug. 12 at Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern as part of the venue’s livestream series. The Watchmen will perform in Edmonton on Aug. 20 and in Regina on Aug. 21.
Essential Song: Andy Shauf, Try Again (on The Neon Skyline, 2020)
I’ve been loving what Andy Shauf has been doing for a few years now. It’s hard to pick just one of his songs, but I’m going with Try Again. He has such a light touch, and this great ability to sing about the simple moments in life. So many songwriters aim to say big important things—I see you U2—and of course there’s nothing wrong with that, but with Andy, he seems to write about the small things in between the big ones; the everyday moments, and that’s where his beauty lies for me.
Essential Movie: When We Were Kings (1996)
When I think of movies that are or have been essential to me, they often have more to do with old memories than the movie itself. In this case, the first thing that comes to mind is the documentary When We Were Kings. It’s about the legendary 1974 Muhammad Ali-George Foreman fight in Zaire, dubbed “The Rumble In the Jungle.” I’ve seen the film countless times, but the first time was with my Dad, who is probably the biggest Ali fan you’ll ever know. On a side note, whenever any of Ali’s fights were on TV, my Dad literally couldn't sit down for hours. He would just run around the house shouting “Ali!” to the displeasure of all the neighbours, so seeing that film with him in the ‘90s is a beautiful memory for me, one I won’t forget.
Essential TV: Ray Donovan (Showtime, 2013-2020)
I just started watching Ray Donovan a few weeks ago, and I can’t get enough of it. The depth of the characters and story are super-impressive. I love how so much of it is revealed slowly, and it just pulls you in that way. When you finally do realize what’s going on within so many of the micro-stories happening, your jaw hits the floor. Not suitable for the youngsters in your house, but the grown-ups will love it.
Alright, I will confess something to you. Don't tell anyone, but I'm probably the only human who hasn't listened to a podcast, ever. I know I’m missing out, behind the times, but I wanted to tell it to you straight. This might be a perfect opportunity to send me your favourites and I promise I’ll get with the program. Send suggestions to @serlin_greaves on Twitter and Instagram.