In the mid to late 80's,
they earned their reputation headlining in various incarnations
of the band playing venues including Club Matador, Grossman's, Albert's
Hall and the Black Swan in Toronto but preferring more community-oriented
clubs like Café Kim, Graffitti's and The Greeks in Toronto's
famed Kensington Market.
Their latest release, Stories From The Alley is a collection of
stories people have told them late at night and in the black anonymity
of bar life. The gritty streetscape is there in almost every cut
on the album and at times both soaringly sweet yet painfully dark
and bleak, the soul of Stories From the Alley is intact safe from
the hands of overproduction and cheesy orchestration. Maybe because
of their day-gigs, both have long histories in community advocacy
working with street-people in Toronto, the street influence in their
music is easy to hear.
Blending rhythms of Mexican mariachi bands, South African Zulu players
with Gordon Lightfoot sensibilities and vocals that conjure up Chrissie
Hynde, you get the latest release from the Mad Housewives and one
they feel very good about.
"No-one really knows where to slot us",
says Sheryl Lindsay, the band's lead vocalist. "If we had only
played one type of music it would have been easier but that kind
of thing didn't reflect who we are and what we wanted to do with
"We wanted to maintain a really raw, immediate
and simple sound", says Joanne Green, the band's lead guitar
player. "The more we listen to music, the more we wanted the
organic and simple sound of the telling of a story. I don't want
to be buried by the device the storyteller is using. I just want
to hear the story."
Stories From The Alley is about the things you
only talk about when it's last call and you know in a few short
minutes you will be back out into the dark night without money for
beer or a streetcar home. It reflects the stories of people's lives
- the stories told only to perfect strangers when the bar is closing
and everyone else has given up listening. The Mad Housewives listened.
The Mad Housewives are a fixture in Toronto and
you can catch them playing locally every week, usually in Kensington
Market somewhere. They'll be there. Listening.