'No desire to' celebrate Junos, says musician Matthew Good
As the Juno Awards roll through Vancouver, they promise to showcase the best of the city's music scene — but there's one local artist who won't be stepping onto the GM Place stage.
Matthew Good, who's won three Junos, calls the show pointless and says he won't be attending.
"When it's actually a television broadcast that celebrates actual Canadian music, rather than who's doing well internationally and has been in car commercials and iPod commercials … I'll go," he said in a telephone interview.
Good is hardly the only musician who's critical of the annual celebration of the Canadian music industry, which will be held Sunday.
Nickelback leads with five nominations going into the show, followed by Sam Roberts with four nods and Céline Dion and Hedley with three apiece.
For seven of the biggest Juno categories — including album of the year, artist of the year and group of the year — nominations are based at least partially on sales.
And therein lies the problem, according to Good and others. In the major categories, the Junos take their cues from what sells, and, Good says, that usually means celebrating bands simply for making commercially viable music.
As a result, he's not interested in participating.
"When it actually promotes Canadian music at root levels, and it isn't kind of this weekend when the Canadian music industry pretends that it's this independent industry and not just marketing warehouses for the United States, then sure, I'll be a part of it," Good said.
"But until then I really have no desire to be a part of it at all."
Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences president Melanie Berry said Monday that the awards are working hard to honour artists from all pockets of the Canadian music industry.
"The Juno Awards offers a whole weekend devoted to celebrating Canadian music in all its forms," said Berry, who pointed out that the weekend's JunoFest event would feature more than 100 different Canadian acts. "We have worked very hard over the last few years to ensure that Juno weekend is inclusive for all artists and all musical tastes."
Good's dislike of the Junos is nothing new. He said he didn't like the show when he was winning awards, either.
"It's pointless," said Good, who's working on a new album called Vancouver that he hopes will be out by the end of the summer. "I've never gone, so I've never gone up and received any of [his awards]."
His harsh views are not limited to the Junos.
"We played the MuchMusic Awards [in 2000]. It's full of crap. It's tripe, you know? I see it in some ways as forming a sort of false connectivity with people, because you have to present that sense of falseness that's very prevalent in music."
Toronto singer/songwriter Howie Beck, who just released his fourth album, How to Fall Down in Public, is similarly disillusioned by the show.
He says that the nominations in the major categories are not relevant.
"What's particularly lame is that the music industry here complains about the state of the industry and at the same time, they're still nominating the same [stuff] they've been nominating for 15 years," he said. "So why, exactly, are we supposed to be looking at you as any kind of leader?"
Legendary British musician Elvis Costello will present an award at the show with his Canadian wife, Diana Krall. Though Costello concedes he has never followed the Junos, he says any award show will have its detractors.
"Always, when you make up a club, like an academy, you're going to have dissenters," he said in a telephone interview. "Because it isn't the law of physics, it's a thing made up by people.
"So it will have flaws in it. Like the wrong people will get nominated, in other people's perceptions."