Firefly alum the Arkells to headline Underground Arts in Philly on Wednesday
The Arkells continue to carry the torch of Canadian rockers making noise in the United States.
To that point, the acclaimed band had the opportunity to honor legendary musician Neil Young at the Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame ceremony in September.
The band, which made their Firefly debut in 2016, is currently on a North American tour and will play the Underground Arts in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Opening the show is Irontom.
Arkells lead singer Max Kerman dished on Neil Young, someone who was an early inspiration to him, and one of his keys for happiness with the band.
Outside your bandmates and family, who early-on do you recall really believing in you?
I was no prodigy, so I don't know if there was anyone in my youth who “saw the light” in me. I will say there are some musicians who I really looked up to as a teenager, and inspired me to write songs. Ben Folds is one, and I'm going to see him in Toronto. If I get to meet him I'll tell him what he means to me.
What are a few of the most important career decisions you've made?
Finding the right people to work with is really important. Since this business is very collaborative - from putting together songs, to thinking about tour posters - you want to find people who offer you energy and excitement. The happier you are as a worker, the more you'll accomplish.
Over 20 million Americans have a phobia. Do you have one?
I don't think I have one. I don't like turbulence on planes. That count?
It certainly counts. What do you miss most about being away from Canada, aside from not being with friends and family? For me, there's a certain calm in the air in Canada, which is very comforting. It’s always nice to be back.
What did it mean to you to honor Neil Young at his Canadian Songwriter Hall of Fame induction ceremony?
It was very surreal to play Neil songs for the man himself. The day kind of snuck up on me to be honest. We're usually so busy that we don't have time to think about anything more than a few days ahead. But when we got to Massey Hall, and saw where he'd be sitting, it all really sunk in. It was an honour.
Did you get the chance to speak with Neil? If not, what would you have liked to say to him?
Didn't get a chance to talk to him, but he sent us this beautiful handwritten note thanking us for the performance. Knowing that he gets approached all the time, I'd go straight for a music nerd question: "So, ‘Tonight's The Night’ really is just D chord, eh? Pretty gutsy, eh? How'd ya come up with that?’”