Said the Whale previewed its documentary Winning America for a crowd of friends, musicians, and media dweebs at the CBC yesterday. The film captures the five-piece on an occasionally drunken odyssey to SXSW last March.
Among the highlights is a reenactment of the band getting most of its gear and clothes stolen in California, a truly shocking attack on drummer Spencer Schoening in the streets of Austin (and the ugly aftermath), scenes of eye-popping hot tub decadence, and, of course, plenty of footage of the band – who played to a standing-room only crowd of 4500 at Summer Live last weekend – performing to empty parking lots and emptier record stores in a town that had never heard of them before.
Things pick up again back in Canada with the band accepting its New Group of the Year Juno in Toronto.
At a brief Q&A afterwards, guitarist-vocalist Ben Worcester – who still holds down a day job like all of his bandmates - told the audience that pursuing success in the U.S. means going back to square one.
“What we’re doing is creating honest music that we really, really care about,” he said, “and anywhere you go, whether it’s 12 people or 2000 people, whether they know you or not, when you’re singing from your heart, you can connect with people and build fans that way. Some people go and try and stand out, we just try to do exactly what it is we’ve been doing the whole time that we’ve been doing this. Keeping the honesty in it is the most important part.”
Worcester added that Said the Whale’s next album, due in 2012, might be called Pulled Pork Sliders in tribute to Texan cuisine. “And if you go to Austin, don’t leave without trying chicken fried avocado,” he added.
Winning America airs next Saturday (July 23) at 7pm