GORD DOWNIE AND BOB ROCK RELEASE MONUMENTAL NEW SONG “THE MOMENT IS A WILD PLACE”
ARTS & CRAFTS
“The Moment Is A Wild Place” is an epic ballad that will contend with the greatest songs in the eternal canon of Gord Downie. The late frontman of legendary rock band The Tragically Hip – treasured beyond his lifetime for bestowing timeless songs like “Ahead By A Century,” “Courage (for Hugh MacLellan”), and “Bobcaygeon” to name only a few – Downie today offers amongst his most indelible performances, in collaboration with iconic producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe, Michael Bublé) – the shimmering and cathartic seven-and-a-half minute “The Moment Is A Wild Place.” Shot with Rock’s wall of guitar sound, Gord sings to the heights of his agility, his voice hearkening back to halcyon days, his lyrics as simple yet profound as any he wrote during his time – “They keep saying, ‘Just live in the moment / What they don’t say / Is the moment / Is a wild place.” A beacon in defiance to the paradox of being alive, now, “The Moment Is A Wild Place” is a magical gift from the collision of rock n’ roll giants, and a heartrending artifact of Downie’s singular ability to capture a moment.
“It’s special because of what he talks about,” Rock reflects. “The lyric was written before Gord was diagnosed with the sickness that he had. ‘They say you gotta live in the moment.’ It causes you to look back – and I get choked up every time I hear it still. I think most people will be moved by it. It’s one of Gord’s finest moments.”
“The Moment Is A Wild Place” is a centerpiece of Lustre Parfait, the long-mythologized fourteen-song double-album that will finally see the light of day in its entirety on May 5, 2023 via Arts & Crafts. More than a decade in the making, Lustre Parfait is charged with the newfangled energy of two restless talents pushing each other further, testing the limits of their creativity in lockstep. Recorded in snatches between 2009 and 2016 whenever the pair’s paths crossed, Bob Rock’s Grammy Award-winning flair lights up Gord Downie’s peerless lyricism and incendiary heart on each of the album’s fourteen songs. In “The Moment,” Bob’s patina of chiming guitars and atmospheric synths gives Gord ample space to unfurl words tailored for our time (“Let’s kill / War with / Our happy hopes / And comforting myths”), delivered in a pristine and everlasting rock n’ roll gesture (“Just be / Yourself / Or be Johnny / Or be Johnny Cash”) – Rock says:
“I’ve always been a fan of long pieces of music. Setting a mood and going someplace, just taking you somewhere. The music was based on that journey, this rising tide of chords, crescendos in the chorus. Somehow I stumbled on this magic chord, a simple minor to a major progression, and it moved me. And Gord reacted to it. It’s absolute perfection in terms of songwriting and in terms of what he did.”
Downie and Rock’s collaboration began when they first worked together on The Tragically Hip’s World Container (2006) and We Are The Same (2009). Inspired by their brotherhood under the spell of rock n’ roll, it was after the second outing that Downie asked if Rock had music he could write lyrics for. The sonic spaces that Rock would provide led Downie into the depths of his notebooks, armed with the musical clues to find the brilliance mapped therein. Recording sessions between 2009 and 2016 in Maui, Vancouver, and Los Angeles, featuring a multitude of seasoned Rock collaborators, led to Lustre Parfait – the ninth album to bear Downie’s name outside the Hip, and the first to bear Rock’s, perhaps best known for producing Metallica’s Black Album.
The previously released single “Lustre Parfait” and “The Raven And The Red-Tailed Hawk” showcase the boundless energy and heedless pace found within, both rave-up radio rockers that brim with glinting guitars, galloping drums, and combustive choruses. Steeped in their shared affinity for rock classics and pop punk abandon, instances of which have been heard before in The Tragically Hip’s “Fireworks” or Rock’s work with The Cult and The Payolas, Lustre Parfait is a striking contrast to the raw intimacy of Downie’s posthumous solo releases – 2017’s letter-to-loved-ones Introduce Yerself, and 2020’s ghostly goodbye Away Is Mine – and the natural grain of his earlier solo albums like Coke Machine Glow and The Grand Bounce. Lustre Parfait is unabashedly infectious, a gift of unbridled expression from one of Canada’s most cherished voices, belting out resounding lyrics from in-the-pocket of a gleaming rock band.
“First and foremost Gord was my friend, and having the opportunity to work with him on these songs was one of the biggest highlights of my professional life,” Rock says. “I am grateful that I got to witness his genius in such close proximity.”
Lustre Parfait will be released May 5, 2023 via Arts & Crafts. 2LP, CD, and digital formats are available for preorder now. Downie and Rock today share the album tracklist and cover artwork featuring photography by amiskwaciy-based musician and photographer Matthew Cardinal. The Moment Is A Wild Place EP, featuring the title track and five other album cuts, including b-sides “Something More” and “Camaro,” is available for streaming now.
More About Gord Downie
Gord Downie is the late lead singer and songwriter of rock giants The Tragically Hip. Over more than thirty years and across fourteen studio albums, Downie and his band of brothers built a legacy as the essential Canadian rock band. With seven solo albums to his name, Downie’s own music refutes definition, renowned for its adventurous poetry, collaboration, elastic composition, and Gord’s singular wail. Downie presented Secret Path in 2016, a multimedia project helping to bring crucial awareness to Indigenous reconciliation in Canada. The Tragically Hip performed their final national tour earlier that summer, leaving an indelible mark on the more than twelve million fans that watched the historic farewell concert, televised from the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario. Downie passed away on October 17, 2017. In memoriam, The New York Times stated that Downie has “no parallel in the United States. Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Michael Stipe combined into one sensitive, oblique, poet-philosopher, and you’re getting close.”
More About Bob Rock
Robert Jens Rock, record producer, engineer, guitarist, and songwriter first found success as a core member of the Vancouver punk/new wave/pop band Payola$ before going on to produce top-selling albums by timeless artists such as The Cult, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Our Lady Peace, Simple Plan, Michael Bublé and many others. Known for his robust, radio-friendly production touch, and the intuition to play to an artist’s character and strengths, Rock has produced or engineered some of the most commercially-successful rock records of all time. He won a Grammy Award, multiple JUNO Awards, and has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.
Gord Downie & Bob Rock
(Arts & Crafts)
Release Date: May 4, 2023