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Cdn music acts grumble over presence of Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas at Junos


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Cdn music acts grumble over presence of Coldplay, Black Eyed Peas at Junos


Updated at 13:46 on March 19, 2006, EST.


e031906A.jpgLead singer Chris Martin performs with his group Coldplay at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, in Los Angeles. (CP/AP-Mark J. Terrill)


Lead singer Chris Martin performs with his group Coldplay at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, in Los Angeles. (CP/AP-Mark J. Terrill) Lead singer Chris Martin performs with his group Coldplay at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006, in Los Angeles. (CP/AP-Mark J. Terrill)

TORONTO (CP) - With Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas among the scheduled performers, this year's Juno Awards are fast becoming must-see TV for music fans.


Some musicians and industry folk, however, are uncomfortable with the international lineup, arguing that homegrown artists should be the focus - particularly at a time when Canada's music scene is being lauded around the world.


"A lot of people are talking about it. A lot of people are very upset," said Fred Litwin, who runs Ottawa-based indie label NorthernBlues Music.


Trevor Larocque of Toronto's Paperbag Records didn't attempt to hide his sarcasm: "Coldplay's playing I hear. They're an amazing Canadian band."


Some in the indie music sector feel the TV component of the Junos has lost its focus, letting ratings and broadcaster CTV dictate the content rather than the country's pool of talent.


Entire genres, such as roots, country and jazz, continue to be excluded from the televised show, they say.


"We would never be asked (to perform on the broadcast). Blues is too much of a small genre. They have no commercial interest in it," said Litwin.


There's also the thorny issue of how many CTV personalities, including Ben Mulroney and Canadian Idol faces, will be included on the April 2 program.


As it stands, about nine acts get to perform and only a handful of the 39 Juno categories are awarded during the TV broadcast. The rest are handed out during a dinner the night before.


"Our award isn't going to be presented (on TV) because Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas have to play," lamented Marco Raposo of Pocket Dwellers, which is nominated for best new group.


Bringing in international superstar acts isn't new for the Junos. In the 1980s, Tina Turner and Crowded House performed. Last year, country hotshot Keith Urban was invited as a presenter.


And producers haven't ignored homegrown talent.


Indie performers like Broken Social Scene, Bedouin Soundclash and Massari are all set to play. As well, Halifax's cutting-edge rapper Buck 65 will compose and perform the show's theme music.


Other high-profile Canadian acts include Michael Buble and Bryan Adams.


Industry watcher Larry LeBlanc said the content wasn't really an issue until bombshell actress Pamela Anderson was announced as host.


"The lightning rod is Pamela Anderson," said LeBlanc, the Canadian bureau chief for Billboard magazine who's been covering the Juno Awards for more than 30 years.


"This is the year they didn't need international acts. Pam's two breasts will do more for ratings than Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas."


But the show's executive producer, John Brunton, said naysayers should look at the flip side.


"It used to be we had to beg Anne Murray and Gordon Lightfoot," he said. "We couldn't get Canadians to the show. Now the show has grown up . . . we can compete with everyone in the world."


He said Canadians should be proud to have a "world-class awards show" that attracts international acts and press, and can compete against other programs like the Grammys.


"Can we not start behaving like a world-class country and not be shy about sharing our stage with the biggest bands in the world?" he said. "The small town thinking makes me insane."


Labels lobby hard to have their acts play at the Junos, given the show's enormous profile.


A talent committee made up of representatives from the industry decides who ultimately gets one of the coveted performance spots, said Brunton, adding that organizers consider all the genres, looking at what the "big story" of the past year was.


He said the country's blooming independent music scene won out.


"Next year it might be an urban scene. (The Junos) really just tries to reflect what the stories are in the Canadian music scene each year," he said.


While Raposo said he can understand the draw of international acts, he insisted his seven-piece hip-hop funk outfit is just as entertaining as the Black Eyed Peas.


"We have enough talent in Canada that we could have put on a great show," he said.


Another option, says blues man Litwin, would be to pair less commercially viable acts with mainstream ones.


At this year's Grammy Awards, for example, gospel artist Hezekiah Walker performed with superstar Mariah Carey. At a past Juno show, Nelly Furtado was brilliantly paired with aboriginal group White Fish Juniors.


Said Litwin: "They could be worked into the show if (the Junos) really cared about different genres of music."

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Thanks, Nettie :)


Oh goodness... the Canadian Press. That explains alot. The main people whining on there are the usual snobs that the press always goes to when they need someone to rant that Canada doesn't support its film/music/tv/you name it industry. They are always yelling that we aren't paying enough attention to something, but as soon as anyone does, they're suddenly too good for it. It's like indie snobs but much more annoying, and they NEVER SHUT UP.


For the record, any big event like this up here has traditionally been a bit of a laughingstock. Everyone was shocked when it was announced Coldplay were coming. The Junos coming to Halifax? No one outside of the industry cared. The Junos bringing big acts? Suddenly, people were like "I can't believe I'm caring about the Junos!"


Another way to put it: I didn't get up at 3 in the morning in -15C weather to stand in line for 6 hours and pay 200$ just to see Nickleback, Pamela Andersons boobs, and (God forbid) Ben Mulroney.

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Well, we have an awards ceremony called the MOBOs [Music of Blakc Origin] and it started off small without much interest but over the years it's become a really big event and it's televised and everything...

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The Junos were never really about the indie scene. It was about who was big and who was popular, that's why even in the Best Alternative or Best Indie act section it was always the really popular ones like BSS or Hot Hot Heat or Feist or some other band that almost all Canadians know. It's lamentable that something important like Best New Group is not being shown, but really, who watches the Junos anyways...

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It's just sour grapes really.If that one act that complained ever ends up big enough to be asked to play the Brits, you can bet they won't say "No, you should give our spot to somebody else"


I wish reporters would just FOAD, because they make up crap just for a story.


The Juno's are actually pretty good, because the crowd has more fans than industry boobs, and it's more like a concert. You can bet that if Chris runs through the audience at the Juno's, there will be people up out of their seat going nuts, instead of sitting there indifferent like at the Grammys.

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Man, this thing is nuts.

#1. those acts that are complaing... aren't "as good as these international acts"... or else at least some Canadians would have heard of them.

#2. be greatful, you douches... like, "it's an honor to just have been nominated" has been thrown out the window for "boo hoo.. I won't be on tv... when will I be able to say 'hi mom'"

#3. Halifax is an amazing city. And although it's not as big (Cough-and-obnoxious-cough) as Toronto or some other overated Canadian major city... we know how to do music right... for frig sake, we have our own music award show just for the East Coast! These bands will not be dissapointed...

#4. Do these complaining Canadian bands watch other award shows? NEVER in any award show I've ever watched are ALL the awards handed out on tv... do they know how long that'd take?!?!?! Frig.


This is such retarded nonsense...

And, from one Canadian to the rest of the 'Coldplay lovin' world' I submit that we are not all like these tard indie kids who couldn't get a record deal if their vocal chords depended on it. We appreciate all talent, and most of us have a much better grasp on reality. I thank you.


(did the article not mention that there are over 8 Canadian performers and only two international... that's a pretty good ratio, I think...)

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