To say that Kevin Closs is an independent Arts professional doesn’t do justice to the range of talents and knowledge Closs exudes. Sure he’s a singer- songwriter, educator, performer, historian, resident cruise ship musician and polar bear patroller but a quick Google search shows the many paths he’s pursued. All of those paths, it would seem, lead back to Sudbury.
Let Closs introduce you to Sudbury’s vintage cool and its many entry-points for the uninitiated.
1. Most musicians would set up shop in a bigger city, why do you choose Sudbury?
I spent two years in Toronto; club gigs, showcases, sending demo tapes around… but it wasn’t the right fit. I’m a Manitoulin kid, a country boy, the desire to come back North was always there. Sure it’s a small community but it’s in this sort of community that you can make connections more quickly. I’m happy with the success I have here and the lifestyle Sudbury affords. Lakes: swimming, fishing, there’s a connection and access in Sudbury that you can’t get elsewhere.
2. I think we can guess what your favourite spot in town might be…
Maybe not so obvious – Windy Lake might not technically be part of town [he laughs]. I actually love downtown. I’m often working, writing in one of the coffee shops or the Main Library. Conversations, connections just happen organically in these places.
3. What about getting out of town, where do you escape to?
Manitoulin of course. It’s my home home. Going to the island feels like an escape and recharge.
4. When family comes to visit, what’s the one thing you insist they do/see?
I don’t know about family but I recently hosted a friend from England. He’s been all over the world and seen wide open spaces but was still blown away when we went paddling on Windy Lake – he couldn’t believe we had the whole lake to ourselves.
5. What do you think is the greatest misconception about Sudbury?
Sudbury frigin’ Saturday Night. I don’t like that Sudbury has become some sort of Stompin’ Tom caricature. Men aren’t all drunk and the women aren’t all gambling anymore (if they ever were). Don’t get me wrong: Stompin’ Tom was a brilliant folk artist but come on let’s get past this!
6. Who’s your favourite Sudburian of all time?
[He laughs], Stompin’ Tom. Despite what I just said, Stompin’ Tom has got to be my favourite honorary Sudburian despite that one song and the characterization that people cling to as a result. Stompin’ Tom had a huge impact on people within (and outside of) Sudbury.
7. Greatest Sudbury icon?
Icon? As in person, place or thing? …okay. So, I am working on an audio documentary series and have been researching a legendary band called Aaron Space. They were the first Sudbury rock band to get a major label deal. In the 70s they were the “Godfather” of the Sudbury rock scene. An originator. Their leader, David Moulaison, would hate the label ‘icon’ but his band achieved something no one had done before. CANO wasn’t far behind but the French scene is a whole other beast…
8. You’ve got deep roots and backstage-intel on Sudbury’s music scene. How can those of us that are new to town or just passing through gain access to this world?
The out-of-the-way stuff in Sudbury is not that hard to find and it is absolutely worth it!
Northern Lights Festival Boreal puts on concerts year-round. Vintage hotel live music venues still pump out quality shows. Service Clubs are a great example of this. Places like the Legion in the South End, Branch 76 in Minnow Lake, and the Caruso Club have always got something exceptional going on.
Hey, if you want the feeling of being in the community, vintage Sudbury cool is accessible through the music scene in places like the Townehouse but there’s also big vibrant theatre here that’s not to be overlooked! Thornloe, STC, YES, Cambrian and others constantly put on world-class productions.
If going out isn’t you’re thing, just tune in to CKLU (96.7FM). Every time you tune in there’s a crazy something going on. It’s the craziest collection of stuff that you’ve ever heard. Campus radio is always going to offer something commercial radio just can’t. It’s like the last place where crazy people are in charge. Rob Straughan, the GM, is an unprejudiced leader – perfect for running CKLU.
To read more about Closs and his many pursuits, visit https://www.facebook.com/Kevin-Closs-133076143863/.
For help finding out-of-the-way stuff and what’s on in Sudbury this weekend, visit the Events Calendar!
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