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June 15, 2006

The Nylons are just sheer fun

Toronto Star (Canada):

Statistically-speaking, The Nylons are only half as gay as they were when four fey actor/singer/dancer types started singing a capella back in 1979.Nearly three decades later, after numerous cast changes, high and lows, the Nylons have struck a new balance among its four members, two gay, two straight, two black, two white, all of which makes for a nice balance and harmony.

For the first time in almost a decade, the Nylons will be bringing their harmonies to Pride Week celebrations next Saturday, June 24. "It's been a long and wild ride, with lots of twists and turns and curves and lots of things thrown at you," said Claude Morrison, the last of the group's original fab four. Morrison remembers well the group's unlikely start back in 1979 when members, to earn some extra money to support their irregular earnings in the entertainment business, started performing "at fashion shows, parties ... anybody who would have us really."

The group's choice of a name, the Nylons, was both an inside joke and warm tribute to the groups from the late 1950's and early 1960's that were named after fabrics like the Chiffons, the Orlons and the Hollywood Argyles, whose music the Nylons often performed. "We just did it very tongue in cheek ... and the name caught on," Morrison said. "It was back in the days of New Wave and people used to say, `Are you New Wave?' and we'd say, `No, we're permanent wave,' he added with a chuckle.

Garth Mosbaugh, who is second to Morrison in terms of longevity, acknowledged the group's momentum has flagged in recent years. They're only doing only about 50 gigs a year, down from the heyday of about 250 annually. After 15 albums, they haven't recorded since 2002 (though a future album is in the works).

The major factor in keeping them going is performing live, Mosbaugh said. "In terms of recordings and stuff like that, it's been a little harder for the Nylons to stay relevant to current music trends. It's that live show we just put on a great show, if I do say so myself," he said. "It's still heaps of fun. It's like the best job I could ever imagine having. "Once we get up there on stage and start singing and laughing and having a good time, the audience is with us and it all starts to flow, it's just great," Mosbaugh said.

Morrison agreed. "That has always been our lifeblood, the live show. Some of the recordings have done better than others but the show is always a pay-off for everybody, performers and the audience alike. If the show stopped being fun to do, that would be the time to pack it in," Morrison said.

"I look forward to shows. Hell, who wouldn't enjoy it? You get up and make a monkey of yourself and people applaud you for it. We have a good time and ... people go away feeling empowered, feeling positive and feeling energized," he added. Mosbaugh said while the group has occasionally brought in a drummer and even performed with a full orchestra, it is the a cappella sound the human voice that continues to appeal.

"The voice is really the eternal instrument. People are always drawn to the voice. There are all kinds of sonic treatments you can do with a voice. You can do rhythm sounds, you can change the texture so much in a voice, whereas you can't (with) instruments quite so much," he said.

Morrison said it was also time to come back to perform at Pride Week after being so long away, especially at a time when the issue of same-sex marriage has been resurrected by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with a fall vote looming as to whether to re-open the debate.

"This world is becoming a frightening ... and a dangerous place to be. Are there not more important things than whether or not somebody should get married? For God's sake, all you need is love; that cannot be a bad thing," Morrison said. "That's the great thing about Pride, it's a gathering of positivity and energy and inclusiveness," he said. "Inasmuch as we hadn't done Pride for a number of years, it's time for us to get back there ... and to do our part to re-assert the message," he added.

Posted by acapnews at June 15, 2006 10:49 PM