Sunday, August 23, 2015


You like to stay in and sip herbal tea, to eat a strong variety of chips and play dancing games of Twister on Friday nights with a few grounded pals. Who doesn’t? But you’re motivated and seriously plugged into the thrilling grid of the upward corporate world as well. You’re not stingy with your business acumen. You portion it out like a suddenly relocated bag of late get-together salty vins. Your strategies are tangy yet full of deeply crystallized grit. Who is going to give the mild party PowerPoint presentation, if you don’t, you always expertly syngerject? Who is going to keep our soiree in line with our long-term business goals, you tell us all on the sunken crumb couch of capitalistic repose.

Still, on profitable occasion a Friday on the town calls out to you like a spark in a hydrogen-powered dream, like a whirring guitar riff from the old future of rock. Business and pleasure blur like a clean burning fuel of buoyant propulsion. And so you doubly dream. And your dreams get lofty, so lofty that they hover over iconic bodies of water cradling mixed drinks, so efficiently afloat that their merger requires the smooth lift of a summer’s festive blimp to take purchase. You don’t need to land, dear dream-investor. You needn’t reengineer the general thrust of your ambitiously relaxed plans. Just float down to the eBar this Friday at 9pm, after all of your meetings have run long into an industrious dinner of fine chips and table wine. Blimp Rock is raising your dream one well-costed spark after the next with a vinyl/video release in the well-researched name of quiet combustion. Blimp Rock is setting down with their songs of staying-in and cheering up to make some dollars for their dreams.

 - Brad de Roo, who should mention that, stalwart Captain of Industry, Wax Mannequin will join the Blimp Rock crew in having a gas. 

For those unfortunate souls who don't have a bit of blimp in their lives, could you succinctly explain the historical origins, name etymology, musical mythology, aerodynamic specifications, long-term fiscal outlook, PowerPoint fluency, and floating motivations of Blimp Rock?

Thank you so much for that 7 part question! For the sake of avoiding a blimp-sized paragraph, I will break it down.

Historical Origins: Blimp Rock is a band hired to raise money for a music festival in a blimp floating over Lake Ontario through album and merchandise sales. On behalf of parent corporation Blimp Rock Enterprises, we are hoping to raise the $700 000 required for the festival to be fully realized.

Musical Mythology: Blimp Rock writes simple tunes that hearken back to a simpler era – a time when hydrogen was loved and not feared for its combustible properties. Our new album Sophomore Slump features songs about boys who cry during movies, conflict resolution over stolen pizza and a tribute to homebodies called “Let’s All Stay In Tonight.” Essentially, we are trying to capture the odd sides and emotional ends of real life while raising venture capital.

Aerodynamic Specifications: The blimp for Blimp Rock Live (name of the festival) will be quite well rounded. It will feature 1) Wood Paneling 2) Fancy Mix Drinks and 3) The Finest Cover Bands. We are also currently working on a plan to expand the number of fire exits from 0 to 1.

Long Term Fiscal Outlook: Due to unforeseen economic sluggishness in the music industry, Blimp Rock has yet to meet its goal. However, given that we are now only $-2100 in debt to various payday loan companies, it is safe to say that we are closer to our goal than ever before.

PowerPoint Fluency: In today's modern business era, PowerPoint has usurped English as the first language of business, and it is for that reason that our live show is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation on our marketing plan for the aforementioned festival.

Floating Motivations: Listening to a cover band while sipping on a mix drink and leaning against wood paneling 2500 feet above Lake Ontario. 

You've Blimped the eBar in Guelph before. Would you ever consider taking this metaphor into literal territory and converting the whole Bookshelf complex of bookstore, cinema, bar, and restaurant into a Blimp passenger deck? What movie would you show on your inaugural flight? Where would you dock it? Could so much culture actually take to the Guelph air? 

Thank you for your 4 part question on converting the Bookshelf into a blimp! We would most definitely consider such a project. Though most modern blimps only have a capacity of 14 people and 1000 pounds, I’m guessing the Bookshelf has more than enough extra cash to research how to fit all of its ventures in a 40x40 blimp gondola. As for the film, I think it would have to be “Around The World By Zeppelin” which is the story of the first airship to circum-navigate the globe in 1929. The logical place to dock the blimp would be The Co-operators building at 130 Macdonnell given its stature; and perhaps they would cut us a deal on insurance in exchange for the publicity (their first quote was surprisingly high). And yes, there is already so much culture on Guelph’s ground level, it’s only a matter of time before it wafts upwards. 

The lyrics of your Blimp torch songs (a sentimentally explosive genre to many) are full of absurdist understatement, satire, and whimsical narrative. How much do you employ literary effects or modes in the Office of Blimp? Do any particular lyricists or writers pilot your wordy airship? Often The Blimp Rock Live Experience, as I am contractually obligated to rebrand it, features presentations of Blimp Rock's business savvy M.O.? Do you see lyrics as distinct from presentation notes or scripts or other combinations of words? Or does voice (in the literary sense) have a wide-ranging, genre-hovering flight path? 

Thank you for your 5 part question of the intersection of literary devices and corporate strategy! Literary effects I often use include rhyme, irony and hiding sentimental messages under a safety blanket of jokes. A literary mode I’ve recently been into is contradiction. Sophomore Slump opens up with a song called “Will It Ever?” that questions whether you can ever live up to profound first time experiences. The next track “Sophomore Slump” is a line-by-line contradiction of that song that champions trying things again. In reality, I think both songs have elements of truth to them and neither is correct. Too many lyricists pilot my ship to list here, however, my current favourite lyrics go to Richard Laviolette’s song “Snailhouse” from the Community Theatre album. And yes! In full embrace of the First Rule Of Business, our show opens with a PowerPoint on our blimp festival, however it only works its way into 2 of our songs (“Blimp Rock Live” and “Blimp Rock Live 2”), so if blimps aren’t your thing, we’ll sing about other stuff too. I think lyrics are distinct from presentation notes and scripts in the sense that it is hard to work graphs and economic analysis into poetry (though we are working on it) however, there can be overlap in areas such as writing choruses and slogans and joke timing.

How important is storytelling to good Blimp-positive music and culture? 

Storytelling is massively important to Blimp-positive culture. We believe that we have been living in a Blimp-negative culture for much too long, as blimps are often being dismissed as unsafe, irrelevant or even a bad idea. We are trying to shift (or ‘spin’ as we say at the office) that conversation in a direction that redefines blimps in an exclusively positive way. Here’s a story for you: Did you know that blimp travel has become much safer since the days of the blimp that shall not be named? In fact, in the last 70 years, there have been just 17 blimp-related accidents, and only one exploded.

Since I balloon on about books all day at a bookstore, I am obliged to enter into a sudden multipart book-melee of questions. Luckily, I think of books as compact blimps of the mind, so moving through the barrage should not be too disaster-connotative for you. Here goes: 

a) If you could bring 5 books (excluding blimp manuals) onto a blimp during a free-float or a super-long circle to land, what would they be? 

- One! Hundred! Demons! by Lynda Barry

- Festival Man by Geoff Berner

- Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

- Just Kids by Patti Smith

- Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies by Susannah Gardner

b) You’ve toured around a bit in Europe and Canada. What are your thoughts on travelogues, travel guides, and tour diaries? Have you ever considered penning any of the above? Do you have any favourites in the travel book catchall?

I am a fan of all three. I am interested in writing travelogues on some of Ontario’s overlooked hamlets. Places that may be suburban, small, isolated and trying to find out what people do for a good time. Recently we played in a small town called Maynooth and there’s a great hostel that hosts live bands. There was also a little bakery that exclusively sold different varieties of butter tarts and they were delicious. I was told people also like to hang out at the Legion there, which often hosts cover bands. Perhaps I could also pen a travelogue on seeking Ontario’s finest cover bands. No favourites in the catchall, though the Burning Hell song “Travel Writers” is a stand-out tune on the subject.

c) What are your thoughts on music writing? Do you enjoy music criticism and journalism? Do interviews irk or awe you? Are there any music-themed books you would kick out of your Blimp? 

Music writers have been very kind to me, though I don't anticipate that trend to continue. There's so much good music out there, it's slightly terrifying, and probably impossible for it to get the attention it deserves, which is a sad thing. I can understand the perspective of the music publications that only write about established bands as well as the bands that don't get written about. I like publications that put at least some priority on the former. I like interviewers like I like my people: weird and friendly. I don’t think I’ve read a music book I didn’t enjoy, but for the record, Festival Man by Geoff Berner would be wearing a seatbelt to ensure its place on board.

Maynooth tarts
This upcoming show is with Wax Mannequin. Here’s a guy who’s known to burn candles on his head and release many balloons into the air in a reckless fashion. Is he someone you’d permit to play your Blimp Festival or is a safety risk taken in the name of song? Do you have any dream headliners for your festival?

We are currently in negotiations with Wax and The Co-operators to figure out a way of making this work. There are a lot of logistics to sort out such as whether or not the Wax’s chrysalis (which the balloons are stored in) can fit on board, and how far Wax should play away from it to ensure that it doesn’t catch on fire. We are actually having a meeting on the 28th that should finalize the safety plan for a “Flaming Chrysalis Scenario”. As for a dream headliner, I think it goes without saying that re-uniting Sheezer 2500 ft. above Lake Ontario would be well worth the $700K.

Wax Mannequin
You’ll be coming to this show with some new vinyl and a video reel. Is there anything we should know about these corporate missives?

Yes, more details on both! The vinyl includes a fancy insert of the lyrics, and FAQ on our blimp festival and a download code. The video is for the song “My Mind Is A Shark” and it was animated by Parker Bryant who also made “Lake Ontario Lifeguards.” We’ll be screening the video right before we play.

Would you ever consider crowdsourcing or a TVO Can-rock telethon to get Blimp Rock Live off the ground? 

We would not consider crowdsourcing as we are highly confident in our current plan, however a TVO telethon would pique our interest. Perhaps I could also go on The Agenda and cross-promote my upcoming travelogue entitled “Requesting 'Bobcaygeon' in Bobcaygeon: The Cover Bands of Southern Ontario.”

If you were forced to depart your perceptual blimp to refuel, what questions would you ask yourself? 

1. How did we convince so many people to come to the eBar Aug. 28 that we were able to launch our blimp festival 45 years sooner than anticipated!?

2. How did we Wax the Co-operators to allow that paper-mache chrysalis on board?


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