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Sled Island 2013: Joel Plaskett Emergency

Joel Plaskett is one of the more honest and hard-working people in the music business today. With a catalogue that spans almost two decades and enough hardware from Canadian music awards to fill a house, his modesty still comes off as a bit of a surprise.

“I’m not particularly good at taking time off,“ Plaskett light-heartedly concedes during what is supposed to be his vacation. “It’s kind of hard to turn it off sometimes.”

These are some of the struggles that come with such a strong work ethic. “I’m on vacation but I’m picking up the guitar and I’m writing a bit,” he admits. Currently on a rare stretch of downtime, Plaskett was kind enough to spare some of it while on the West Coast with his family.

Far from an overnight sensation, Plaskett spent the ‘90s with influential rockers Thrush Hermit before embarking on his own solo career and band, the Emergency. Despite all this success, Plaskett refrains from trying to quantify it all.

“I can look back on it but, if I do, then I end up just intellectualizing what I do, which is something I try and avoid, only so it doesn’t paralyze me or keep me from moving forward.”

After a quick dialogue about his upcoming set at Sled Island with John K. Samson – another mainstay of the Canadian music scene whom Plaskett is quick to praise – he then reflects on one of the many stops he’s made in Calgary over the years.

“I remember back in the day, in the ‘90s, Thrush Hermit played the Night Gallery a couple of times. McGettigan was hanging from the rafters and it got kind of Iggy Pop-ish. He cut himself with a smashed beer glass and it got kind of off-the-rails punk rock,” he laughs. “It was one of the cities that was really good to our band… I’ve always looked forward to hitting it when I’m on tour.”

Come reciprocate the good vibes, as the Emergency’s Sled Island set is sure to be one of the festival’s highlights.

Catch the Joel Plaskett Emergency on June 21 at Flames Central.

by Cory Jones, Beatroute