Ah, what might have been ...

No Bassists Left 

Ah, what might have been ...

Twenty questions The Pitch would have asked Martin Pelland, bass player of Montreal's operatic pop visionaries the Dears, had he called at the time we'd hammered out with the band's publicist:

1. Every rag compares the Dears to the Smiths, Suede and -- when the writer's a true Anglophile -- dear old Gene. Does it make any damned sense that the best British band hails from Canada?

2. You opened for Morrissey. What was it like to be pimping a better record than your master's?

3. But the comparison's lazy -- you don't sound like the Smiths. You're sexier and less jangly, and the synthy romantic sweep at which you excel has none of the Mozz's ironic detachment. Much of the recent disc, No Cities Left, and the corresponding live show is more epic than sulky, which just goes to show the slothfulness of music writers, who mostly indulge in cheap shorthand rather than tease out what makes bands unique.

4. That was more a comment than a question.

5. Back to Canada. Do you think the young Brits who enjoy you might look to your country's rich musical heritage and one day form bands inspired by the Tragically Hip or the Pursuit of Happiness?

6. The band membership is black and white, male and female, and, therefore, an inspiration to us all. Which of you is the biggest asshole?

7. It's not singer-songwriter-tyrant-superstar Murray Lightburn, is it?

8. No, we haven't heard anything. Have you?

9. Really?

10. You shitting me?

11. Does that contribute to the band's success? To its focus? By all accounts, there's some tension onstage, but you guys still manage to kill live, sounding like the record beefed up. Everybody plays clean and clear and is locked in together -- even on that import-only live disc, on which, rumor has it, the whole lot of you were pissed.

12. "Pissed" as in "drunk." Keep forgetting you're not British.

13. Did you know that anyone interested in your great live sound can catch a stellar half-hour performance on the Morning Becomes Eclectic Web site?

14. And you're taping The Jimmy Kimmel Show tomorrow, so if for some reason we don't talk today, we won't be able to do so then, either.

15. That's "taping" as in "appearing on," not as in "taping on your VCR." Nobody tapes Jimmy Kimmel.

16. So, thank God we're talking now! Are you enjoying it as much as we are?

17. That's sweet.

18. Really? We're much brighter and more alive than the alt-weekly freelancers in other cities?

19. Thanks, Martin! Of course we'd love to hang out after the show and drink your beer and sample your fine Canadian drugs, men and/or women!

20. You think Murray'll be cool with it?

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