Simply Saucer
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Simply Saucer

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1974 | MAJOR

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 1974
Band Alternative Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Simply Saucer"

Perfect Sound Forever


by Jay Hinman
The stature of many proto-rock heroes of the 1970's has grown with the swelling and mainstreaming of punk music through literature (From The Velvets to the Voidoids, Please Kill Me, etc.), reunion tours and a few well-placed name checks by savvy indie bands. Rock acts that in the 1980's seemed like a repressed secret to all but a few (Modern Lovers, Big Star, Destroy All Monsters; hell, even Roxy Music's first 4 or 5 records may as well have been a distant blur), primarily due to the out-of-print nature of their vinyl, are now routinely & justly heralded as pioneers. Accordingly, the past decade has been a pretty unprecedented time for reissues and for discovering killer bands that lurked in decidedly uncool locales. The first half of the 1970's, once slandered as pretty much being the absolute bottom of the barrel as far as the history of rock was concerned, turned out to have a stellar cast of misfits slogging their way out of the aural damage wrought by the hippies. The profound influence of these men can be heard to this day.
Canada's SIMPLY SAUCER, however, may be reckoned to be the single greatest 1970's band to have influenced absolutely no one. Now, it's quite possible that the rock world's eyes weren't exactly riveted on Hamilton, Ontario in 1974; it may be that the band themselves were less than ambitious in getting the word out via touring; maybe there truly was a vast conspiracy orchestrated by the Laurel Canyon cocaine cartels that drugged North America into temporary abeyance with a steady diet of Eagles, Poco and Fleetwood Mac. More plausible was the lack of any recorded representation of the original band until the late 1980's, which prevented some of the most jarring & transcendent rock and roll ever laid down from letting a hundred apocalyptic electro-rock bands bloom. Combining a dense, guitar-heavy surge with a bizarre dose of space-age electronics, Simply Saucer set up a uniquely futuristic sound marked with a lyrical vision of modernity gone very, very wrong. Author Grady Runyan once wrote that in dissecting the band, one must "imagine Hawkwind ditching their Sabbath/Deep Purple tendencies for "Sister Ray," or better yet the Count Five pounding out "Interstellar Overdrive" in the middle of "Psychotic Reaction"". The comparisons are apt, as the band hued well to classic rock structure while flailing wildly within its borders. It's not just the lyrics that call up images of robotic dominance and the dreaded black helicopters; the often Teutonic music does the job almost as well. Yet it would definitely be a misnomer to compare the band to the Germans who were busy creating an avant-garde rock wave of their own in 1973-75. This shit definitely kicks out the jams.

The album that never was, and which came out posthumously in 1989, is called Cyborgs Revisited. It was put out as an LP to a bit of critical acclaim on tiny Mole Sound records, and was then reissued as an LP/CD a year later by American indie distributor Cargo. It's not a true album per se, in that it consists of a cleaned, top-drawer batch of what remained of the original band's recordings - both demos and live. The first side consists of six remarkable studio recordings from 1974 waxed with engineering/production siblings Bob and Daniel Lanois, the latter having gone on to some notoriety producing international acts of no small repute. Side B is three tracks recorded live on a mall rooftop (!) to a small crowd of surely blindsided shoppers in July '75. Imagine stumbling out of Sears on a summer afternoon, clutching your hot new Dacron slacks or pantsuit jumper, to hear a righteous squall from above and a cool vocalist introducing his band of longhairs as "Heavy metalloid music." Those hardy shoppers were surely lured up the fire escape in time to catch the 10-minute-plus "Illegal Bodies," in which vocalist/guitarist Edgar Breau prophesizes "Unless you've got a body made of metal, they're not gonna allow you to walk the streets. No kidding." Whether, like the oft-repeated cliché about the Velvets, the shopping bag-clutchers each then went out and instantly formed a band is debatable and beside the point. Suffice to say the Hamilton - the Canadian, maybe the North American -- scene never recovered a worthy successor to match this side's intense 20 minutes of sonic overload.

Just who were these feisty young men of the North? Tucked a million figurative miles away from Loggins & Messina, the future members of Simply Saucer were ardent record fiends who in the early '70's were ingesting the Detroit bands, free jazz, space rock and especially the Velvet Underground from their Hamilton homes. Performing secret handshakes and Eno tape trades with a small handful of other like-minded souls could only get one so far though, so being an achiever, Edgar Breau made it his mission to model a band after the far-out music routinely wafting from his turntable. The name was homage to early Syd-era Pink Floyd and their Saucerful of Secrets album, but the sound was so much more. They started out practicing as a six-piece, with a sax player and even some occasional violin, but soon scaled back to a core of four. Ping Romany (Christian name: John LaPlante) brought the band some fantastically cartoony analog synth sounds that would have sounded like a bloopy 1950's Jetsons vision of the 21st century, had Romany not been combining them with other forms of screeching electronics & wild experimentation on audio generator and theremin. The 1 minute, 50 second opener on Cyborgs Revisited is a hard-edged sex-themed rocker for the first 45 seconds called "Instant Pleasure" which immediately switches gears into a totally frantic instrumental rush to the finish line, with an especially strong emphasis on a maelstrom of electronic noise swirling away in the background. Then, POOF - it's over. Song number one, and you're hooked. Breau had the smooth detachment of VU-prime Lou Reed and a vocal delivery that never cracked or trembled - a pure rock star voice all the way. His guitar solos - and these are wild-ass SOLOS in the best sense of the term - reached incredible howling, jagged crescendos that never wanked in the least. The monumental "Illegal Bodies," in particular, is to this band what "Mother Sky" is to Can; an opportunity to deliver an extended-length, mostly instrumental testimonial to their well-deserved place in rock's lineage.

Along with Breau and Romany, bassist Kevin Cristoff and drummer Neil DeMarchant really lived it, having dropped everything else in life to devote themselves fully to the band. It shows. Though I can't figure out who it is, someone else is keeping a very steady, repetitive guitar line churning through tracks like "Illegal Bodies" that fills in spaces for the controlled burn of Breau's leads - or he's just so goddamn smoking it only sounds like two guitarists. Then there's a moment in "Here Come The Cyborgs Pt. II" where the chugging electric punk-tempoed rhythm of the song quickly slows to a quietly pulsating bass line, then from out of nowhere comes a totally unholy crash of guitar squall, which at first sounds like Romany's keyboards shorting out or the sound of metal scraping metal. This five-second bridge is, to be honest, ridiculously great - so ROCK AND ROLL it's worthy of a hearty laugh. Over the pulsating electronic tone oscillations that follow comes a breathy, repeated incantation from Breau of "Here come the cyborgs... here come the cyborgs.....". No truth to the rumor that copies of Tofler's Future Shock mysteriously spiked at the Jackson Square Mall's Walden Books in July 1975.

"Dance The Mutation", also on the live side, is where the shadow of the Velvets falls most heavily, from the Lou mannerisms in Breau's vocal delivery to the choppy guitar work. Again, the emphasis is on a future gone amuck, but with a little love & happiness thrown into the mix. On the studio side is "Instant Pleasure," the self-reverential "Electro Rock", and the sneeringly cool Third Reich & Roll anthem "Nazi Apocalypse." Check out these lyrics: "Eva....yeah Eva Braaaaaun....bye bye, honey, babe, so long." Next is an out-of-control instrumental called "Mole Machine" that truly sounds the bell for the ride of the four horsemen, then "Bulletproof Nothing" and a studio version of "Here Come The Cyborgs" (titled "Part 1"). Every one of them is golden, especially "Bulletproof Nothing," which might have been a serious hit had they waited 3-4 years and relocated to the UK. It features little of the sonic amplification of the other five studio numbers, and instead is a hum-able but rocking verse/chorus/verse pop song, with a wink & nod to the MC5 and perhaps even Bowie. To get the sound they wanted out of the Lanois brothers for these numbers, Breau & the band actually carted in Stooges records for the producers and commanded "We need it to sound like this." The entire live side of the LP is recorded directly through Breau's vocal mic, so obviously a Herculean clean-up effort went into making these songs sound as amazing as they do (which are arguably even better than the studio songs). Unfortunately, nobody was listening.

Breau has said in summing up his frustration at the band's lack of following, "We were so isolated... there was no direction, there was no guidance, there was no good criticism of what we were doing. If somebody could've pointed us in a direction we would've taken off, but being here in Hamilton was wasted in a way, because nobody was into the Stooges at all, or Syd Barrett - we were basically playing for ourselves. Y'know it was like I was doing headstands to get a reaction from the crowd." While they gigged around eastern Canada, it's unclear (but doubtful) whether they ever played in the U.S. - or that it would have really made a difference one way or the other. It was 1975, and punk as we know it was only just beginning to slither into dank clubs. This head-against-the-wall routine began to wear thinly on the members of the band, and by 1976, Simply Saucer began undergoing line-up changes, losing both Romany and DeMarchant and began forging a slightly different musical path. Rather than relying on a ferocious wall of electronics, the new band settled for second guitarist Steve "Sparky" Parks of the early Canadian punk-lite band Teenage Head and a similar sound. As the band shuffled through a couple of drummers & added another new member here and there, they were able to scavenge the ability to put out their one and only piece of real-time vinyl, the 1978 "She's a Dog/I Can Change My Mind" 45. I haven't heard this record, but its lack of placement in the collector scum pantheon tells a pretty keen story. Even Breau has said it wasn't particularly representative of the band, and that the 45 somehow reminded Canadian critics of Moby Grape and Big Brother. One can imagine that these were slightly different touchpoints than those that would have greeted - more likely reviled - the gargantuan material that eventually became Cyborgs Revisited.

The band was laid down to rest in 1979. Some members went on to form a unit called The Other One, and Breau continues to this day to play solo and record songs for Canadian compilation LP's. Perhaps a more interesting story is Edgar Breau's foray into electoral politics. An outspoken classic liberal with some pretty heavy conservative leanings - Jane Fonda-bashing being a particular passion, even as late as the 1990's - Breau ran for provincial government in 1999 representing eastern Hamilton, under the flag of the Family Coalition Party of Ontario. The results of the 1999 election had Dominic Agostino of the Liberal Party pulling 17,408 votes, Peter Preston of the New Democrats a very close second with 7,190 votes, and our man Edgar almost pulling a stunning upset with 371 Hamilton residents sharing his vision. No word yet on the rematch, or how many of those 371 owned copies of Cyborgs Revisted. Breau has sired several children and is happily married, and thankfully has not been threatening a Simply Saucer reunion tour.

Finally, props for even keeping the Simply Saucer flame alive must be thrown to Chris Stigliano of Black To Comm magazine (formerly Pfudd!), a rock fanzine journalist who was featuring the Saucer on his covers long before the LP was even issued. I don't know if you want to call his various calls to action the groundswell that got folks to stand up and take notice, but the band could very well be a distant memory for Hamilton mall shoppers & space rock freaks to this day if not for his intervention. A quarter of a century is an awful long time to remain unacquainted with this canonical, far-ahead-of-the-herd rock & roll music.

Check out the rest of PERFECT SOUND FOREVER


"Lessons in Canadian Rock"

Lessons in Canadian rock

Oshawa This Week

Neil Young once asked Sonic Youth to open for him. They played Hamilton. At that gig the sonically youthful Thurston Moore dedicated their set to one Simply Saucer, "We know where you come from," he said.

All of you readers know Neil Young. Many of you will know Sonic Youth. Few will know Simply Saucer. It's one of the drags with being innovative and original. It takes a while for others to catch on. It takes longer if you're Canadian. It takes an eon if you make that record in Hamilton in 1974 even with friends Daniel and Bob Lanois on board.

Simply Saucer which was Edgar Breau, Kevin Christoff, Neil DeMerchant and Ping Romany, combined Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk, Stooges and Pink Floyd to create a sound and an album that has been called the best Canadian album ever by various mags like Alternative Press but it wasn't given daylight until 1989. So it goes.

Canadian as an adjective when applied to music always seems to be seen as a negative. It's mediocre at best. Yet when you go past the radio hits and get to the heart of the Rawk, as we like to say, it's the Canucks with their room to grow and free-flowing experiments, their ongoing explorations of themselves and their natures that has placed them at the front of the R 'n R pack.

Joni Mitchell... what does she play... you can't categorize her... she's skating ahead. Neil Young, same thing... what will he do next? The Band... hand-picked by Dylan. The Windsor-raised Richie Hawtin is Techno according to New York's CMJ, Steppenwolf begat Heavy Metal. Jr Gone Wild and Handsome Ned were Alt Country years before Wilco. Rush is on its 25th album. 30 odd years at the head of the prog rock pack. Sarah McLaughlin proposed an all-female tour, a lady-palooza. First one ever. The fact that it hadn't been done is to a Canadian the very reason to do it. When you have no past, the future is your tradition.

When I was speaking with Bruce Good (he of the Brothers) last week we spoke of the Canadian Sound which his family helped define. But he said it's not a sound so much as a sensibility. It's an attitude. A willingness to try. To constantly reach for that horizon stretched out before you, to keep going and combining... jigging two solitudes together, two, now three, now four. Try nine and call it Arcade Fire. Try 16 and call it Broken Social Scene.

The cool kids have known about the strength of the Canadian indie scene for decades. Vancouver's Sons Of Freedom were grunge before there was grunge. DOA invented Hardcore. Before Trent Reznor there was Skinny Puppy. Alexisonfire is continuing the experiment.

And on top of it all, hailed as the greatest of all experiments is Simply Saucer. Their Cyborgs Revisited album is a Detroit garage for German engineering, it's San Fran psychedelia in a New York Factory. Uncut magazine called it Genius Canadian Psych-Punk. It's a fantastic record and is available on Sonic Unyon. Straight outta Hamilton.

There's an old saying 'When a Canadian band plays does anyone hear...' (well not really, I just made it up). The answer is yes. Eventually. Because the best will always last.

I turned a pal of mine onto the MAOW re-release on Mint. He's all over it. Plays it constantly. He'd never heard anything like it before. It's just grrl punk rock but it's new to him. He grew up with Parachute Club and Loverboy and Corey Hart. He's 35 and somehow he missed out on Cancon punk. I think I'm going to have to open up a School Of Canadian Rock for you all.

The first class will feature a performance by Edgar Breau of Simply Saucer. He plays the Velvet Elvis May 13. He's opening for New York legend Richard Lloyd. Yes that Richard Lloyd. Oh you know him. Ex-Television, hung with Patti Smith and the Ramones at CBGBs, played with Matthew Sweet. Well, go early and listen to our Breau who did all of that artrock noise punk. First.

William McGuirk is a freelance writer and longtime Oshawa resident. He can be contacted at - Durham Region

"Simply Saucer, Unsung"

Category Archives: Edgar Breau of Simply Saucer

Unsung: Simply Saucer

Posted on December 2, 2011 by 12a26a

For the next installment of Unsung, I’ll be looking at Simply Saucer. These guys:

If that name is new to you, you should immediately check out their Cyborgs Revisited album, which is a collection of their 70′s recordings, including a brilliant six-song EP recorded in 1974 by Bob and Daniel Lanois in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as other demos, a two-song single, and several live recordings, including an amazing three-songs recorded in 1975 on the roof of a mall on a Saturday afternoon. I can only imagine what the unsuspecting shopper’s reactions were to the aggressive psych-punk of songs like”Nazi Apocalypse” and “Illegal Bodies”! The album displays a combination of well-chosen influences ranging from The Velvet Underground and The Stooges, to Hawkwind and krautrock, along with a taste for avant-garde electronics and lead singer Edgar Breau’s keen sense of songwriting which shouldn’t get lost in the pysch-punk melee.

Here’s a taste of the good stuff:

I recently interviewed Edgar Breau via email, to find out more about what it was like breaking ground and being the first proto-punk band in the city, and about all the ups and downs that come along with that distinction. We also spoke about his life since Simply Saucer called it a day in 1979. You can keep up with Breau’s acitivities over at Enjoy!

1. What was Hamilton, Ontario like for you as a young music fan, pre-Saucer? Did you get to see a lot of good local bands and bigger touring acts live? Do any concert experiences from that period stand out in your memory?

It was a very rough part of the city where the steel mills were located. My friends were all avid record collectors listening to the Kinks, Velvet Underground, Pretty Things, Yardbirds, Byrds, Moby Grape, Terry Riley, Stooges, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, Soft Machine, Seeds; later on Can and Faust. I had very broad tastes aside from the cult bands and in my collection. I had Lightnin Hopkins and English folk like Pentangle, Steeleye Span, Dando Shaft, Nick Drake and jazz records like Coltrane, Ornette Coleman; English jazz-fusion like Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Nucleus as well as Canadian artists like Kensington Market, The Paupers, Ugly Ducklings, Gordon Lightfoot and American songwriters like Tim Hardin, Dylan, Fred Neil etc. etc. etc.; so it wasn’t musically such a large leap for me to play more folk-oriented music and eventually I became a disciple, shall we say, of John Fahey who influenced my own guitar playing a great deal. Our concert experiences mainly took place in Toronto where we could see many acts like the Stooges (Raw Power-era), Soft Machine, Hawkwind, Lou Reed (the Velvets played there as well in an outdoor fest). Actually the Exploding Plastic Inevitable Andy Warhol-era VU played Macmaster University in Hamilton in the sixties, but I missed that. We did attend many concerts here in town. At a local arena I saw Quicksilver Messenger Service, Dr. John, the Band and The Jefferson Airplane played here as well. Locally, Crowbar were a popular band, blues rock, soul bands and some prog bands were playing, but NO BAND played the kind of music we began to play.

2. In the book “Treat Me Like Dirt”, you touch briefly on a hitchhiking trip you took across Canada as being a really formative experience for you. I find that really interesting since hitchhiking is kind of a thing of the past, yet it used to be a pretty common for adventurous young people to do. What were some of the things that happened on that trip?

I had read Kerouac in high school as well as the Electric Kool Aid Acid test, and my hitchhikin’ buddy did as well, so were decided to thumb to Vancouver. There were a lot of kids doing this at the time and so the government set up shelters where you could crash for the night and get cheap food and coffee. We panhandled in Vancouver, stayed at a Men’s Shelter in Kamloops, let’s say “indulged” in some psychedelic offerings of LSD-25, slept at the side of the highway, met a lot of ‘freaks’ and characters on the road, drove in a hearse in Saskatchewan with a couple of 80-year old farmers drinking whiskey, got stranded in WAWA (everyone did) and finally ended up in Winnipeg where we met a couple of hippie chicks, hung out in the park right next to the Manitoba legislature and had some weird experiences there, my friend John met his future Ojibway wife, I had a ‘bad trip’. I guess it was in essence the usual stuff that went on in those days.

3. The book also talks about you being a huge record collector that loved cult bands like The Stooges, Syd Barrett, Hawkwind, VU…etc. How does someone in early-70′s Hamilton even hear about someone like Hawkwind? Are you still a big music collector?

Well we read all the magazines at the time: Fusion, Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, New Musical Express, and for me a lot of it came from record reviews. Wayne McGuire wrote the Aquarian Journal I think for Fusion, which I believe came out of Boston, and he turned me on to John Fahey and later Mel Lyman, who for a time I was interested in. His tastes went from Fahey to the Velvet Underground and Coltrane, and that influenced my own record collecting. I’m not as big a music collector right now but I still check musicians out live. A lot of my time is spent working on my own music and guitar playing. I’m a prolific songwriter and have a large back catalogue, including unreleased Simply Saucer material, some of which we recorded in Detroit in the summer for a forthcoming vinyl EP. David Byers, an original member, was from Holland and turned us on to Dutch bands like Group 1856 and Wally Tax and the Outsiders, Super Sister, and of course Savage Rose who he loved. I have the complete collection in vinyl including many rarities. There were a group of us who had record spinoffs in which we drank a lot of cheap wine and would play our latest record finds and rate them. David wanted us to go in a more N.Y. Dolls, Roxy Music direction with costumes and make up, the whole bit, and he eventually left to form his own band. I was hanging with him tonight we are still good friends.

4. I read that you were a member of the Syd Barrett Appreciation Society. This might sound strange, but what did membership entail?

Well it gave me access to penpals, one of whom was Craig Bell out of Cleveland who told me about his bands the Saucer, Mirrors, and later on Rocket from the Tombs, who morphed into Pere Ubu. He knew all the cool Cleveland musicians and eventually came up here one afternoon looking for me, but unfortunately I was out of town that day. We corresponded for a while. There was also a magazine called Terrapin with news about Syd, and a membership card which I carried around with me in my wallet for many years. I believe I was the first Canadian member.

5. In the liner notes of the 2003 reissue of Cyborgs Revisited, Bruce “Mole” Mowat mentions trying track down someone named Wally Lay who recorded a 1973 rehearsal by the early six-man configuration of Simply Saucer, which would be the only recording of that line-up. Any luck finding him in the 8 years since?

No, it’s one of those great Simply Saucer mysteries where he went and whether he still has the tapes. I’m still in touch with the two early members of the band who left: David Byers went on to form The Shangs, and Paul Colilli is the Dean of Studies for Italian medieval philosophy, culture and culture and theology at Laurentia University in Sudbury Ontario . David, Paul and I along with Simply Saucer bassist Kevin Christoff and present members Dan Wintermans and Steve Foster recorded about 3 hours of improvised music in February 2010 in the spirit of that original 6-piece configuration and we are planning to release a 45-minute ambient Simply Saucer CD on my own Flying Inn Recordings label in the new year.

6. Saucer were the first real underground band to come from Ontario, and then when more underground bands finally sprouted there who were more aligned with what became codified as punk, you guys didn’t really click with any of them musically or personality-wise. Were there any bands around in those days that you did look at as friends and peers, or were you really just sort of out there on your own? Did you crave having a scene of local bands that you could relate to or did you enjoy being a total outsider?

No, we didn’t hang out much with other bands, especially in ’73-75 when there were no other bands around here doing what we were. Eventually we made forays into the Toronto punk and new wave scene where we became better known. I think the cult-artist thing was always an appeal as so many of our musical heroes were just that; but eventually we tried to break out of that and altered the sound of the band somewhat, frustrated with our lack of commercial success.

7. The stories about Simply Saucer’s live shows make it sound like you were usually met with either repulsion or indifference from your crowds, yet you kept at it for about six years on and off. There must have been some really good shows in there, right? Did it ever feel like you were starting to cultivate a fan base?

We did have a local following and there were great shows that people still talk about. Gary Topp the Toronto promoter who put us on a bill with Pere Ubu still maintains we blew them off the stage…lol. We played another show with them here recently. We could have built on the fan base and had some really good reviews for the single but we had failed to get a release for what later became Cyborgs Revisited and no one knew about it at the time other than the original members of the band. There was a lot of substance abuse goin’ on and wild living, it was very communal in a Pink Fairies sort of way, and no management, no business acumen, with a front man (myself) who was very driven and ambitious but introverted and mainly preoccupied with the artistic end of things.

8. Speaking of Simply Saucer shows, I love the story about how you once played a high-school prom. That just sounds like a bad idea from the start, given the nature of your music. Was it at least a good paying gig at the time? Did any of those kids become fans of the band?

That was the early band when we had a manager who told the principal of the high school that Simply Saucer were perfect for the occasion. The principal of the school freaked out after our first set and begged us to turn down and play nice – and so we thoughtlessly and selfishly cranked up our amps louder. I do recall a conga line forming when we played “Electro Rock” which was very bizarre. So we had made fans by the end of the night -and the money was good.

9. Did you ever have thoughts of taking the band somewhere like L.A., Detroit, or New York where there was already an established scene that might accept you?

That’s the $64,000 question. Yes, we did talk about it and in retrospect that’s exactly what the band needed to do. Personally I think London in ’74 would have been ideal for us: a scene, sympathetic, VU-influenced, hip. I could have developed properly. I was a first rate songwriter; not to boast but I was very confident of my abilities and frustrated here.

10. That six song recording that you guys did with Bob and Daniel Lanois is really an amazing collection of songs. I know you guys sent it out to labels in hopes of getting signed, but when label interest didn’t materialize, did you ever consider putting it out yourselves independently?

Our manager went to all the major Canadian labels and we got rejected and felt rejected. After that he wanted to rebuild the band around me with a different supporting cast and offered me a personal management contract which would have allowed him to hire and fire musicians, but I wouldn’t sign it and he left with the tapes of our Master Sound studio recordings and I didn’t get them back until years later.

11. In the decade between Simply Saucer breaking up in 1979 and when Cyborgs Revisited was first released on vinyl in 1989 did you feel a tremendous sense of frustration that you had been part of something really musically vital, but without anything in the public record to show for it? With of course the exception of a two song single (“She’s A Dog”/”I Can Change My Mind”) that wasn’t really representative of the band…

The band completely crashed and burned with members’ addictions out of hand. One eventually ended up in jail (but doing very well now and successful in another career). We fell into complete obscurity and I had a “lost decade” identity crisis. I can recall looking at bands on MTV or MUCH MUSIC with videos being called “innovative” or “edgy” and thinking, “Shit, I’ve been there and done that and much scarier than that.” I ended up burying my past, refusing to acknowledge it, avoiding musical friends, and trying to live as if it never happened. I did have a high-end Laskin acoustic guitar and began seriously learning how to play it, and continued to write songs throughout my ‘reclusive’ period, being a family man, exploring more the world of books and ideas, theology and philosophy, distributism. I toyed with the idea of going back to the land, living more simply, bread-making, cheese-making, home-schooling – totally removed from the former bohemian lifestyle; and that in itself was a new discovery for me, living in a regular home. I wrote all of Cyborgs Revisited in a dingy storefront, sleeping on a on- inch piece of foam with no bath, shower, stove, furniture…etc. Just constant street-life shuffling by.

12. I recently received a CD to review from Ty Segall and he does a pretty good cover of “Bullet Proof Nothing”. Have you heard it (the album is called Singles 2007-2010)? Have there been many Simply Saucer covers?

I have heard and it’s a good version. An English band from Blackpool called Earthling Society covered “I Take It”. Have you heard of them? Great band, and a great version of the song.

13. The music you’ve made since Saucer broke up has been a lot quieter and closer to folk music. Was that a reaction against punk, or were your tastes just changing?

No, my tastes didn’t change. I had always loved the musical-hall stylings of Ray Davies and ditties of Syd Barrett and New Orleans-inspired Randy Newman songs as well as the more folkie Velvet Undreground songs and John Cale’s solo offerings, and just went in that direction. I had written a lot of material for Simply Saucer as well that was not in the psych/punk mode from the beginning, so it was a natural progression for me. Also the John Fahey influence began for me around ’77 ’78 in the band’s later years and as I said I had a guitar made by Grit Laskin who later on became a famous luthier whose instruments are now in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.

14. Can you tell me a little bit about some of your experiences with The Third Kind? I found a few videos of them on Youtube but not much other information. The clips I saw remind me a little of The Feelies’ music from that period.

The Third Kind was myself and Simply Saucer bassist Kevin Christoff, original member David Byers and Kevin’s brother Derek. David and I were both writing for the band and it lasted for about a year or so. We never played out. David had toured the south listening to a lot of southern white gospel quartet music, and wrote a piece on Martha Carson for a music mag. We were both going in a more rootsy direction, with harmonies but still kinda punk and psych as well. David’s an excellent songwriter and does the graphic design for my recording and we have launched our own label to release our back catalogues and new music.

15. What are you currently working on and what do you have planned for the future?

In a week I’ll have my own new CD, Patches of Blue back from the manufacturer. It’s a collection of 12 songs with Simply Saucer bassist Kevin Christoff on it, as well as some great local musicians include Bill Dillon a guitar player who has recorded with Joni Mitchell, Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan and many others, and keyboard Ed Roth who goes back to the Toronto Yorkville sixties sound and early underground scene including Ugly Ducklings, and session singer Colinna Phillips from there as well. Fiddle player Joe Clark from West Virginia, who played in the Carter Family fields as a child and is a monster musician, Mike Trebilcock from Canadian power-pop band The Killjoys. Anyhow, it’s a roots record of soul-pop, jazz-pop, Acadian music…the whole gamut.

Simply Saucer recorded a 5 song EP in Detroit in the summer at Jim Diamond’s studio (he produced the early White Stripes stuff). The songs on it are “Baby Nova”, “Reckless Agitation”, “Low Profile”, “Dance the Mutation”, and “I Take It”. None of these have ever been recorded in a studio prior to this. Motown legend Mckinley Jackson sat in on the B3 and Fender Rhodes piano. It’s a very raw rockin set of songs and it’s coming out on Eleganza Records.

Posted in Edgar Breau of Simply Saucer, Interviews, Simply Saucer, Unsung | Tagged Cyborgs Revisited, Edgar Breau, Psychedelic Punk, Simply Saucer | Leave a comment - Midnight to Six

"Dream Syndicate, Simply Saucer and Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion at the Garrison, Sat Feb 8 in Toronto"


The trippy vintage light show covering the Garrison’s walls and stage with mutating blobs of colour (courtesy of General Chaos) set the scene perfectly for the reunion of L.A. Paisley Underground veterans the Dream Syndicate.

That 80s psychedelic alt-rock movement also spawned the Bangles and Mazzy Star, but the Dream Syndicate were always more punk than their contemporaries, channelling the Velvet Underground and Television more than the Byrds.

Despite taking more than 20 years off after breaking up in 1989, the reunited band still sounded raw and urgent, even if they (and most of the audience) came across more like cool high school teachers than art rock rebels.

Equally impressive were pioneering Hamilton proto punks Simply Saucer, who are still gloriously weird 40 years after they first started fusing the fiery aggression of the Stooges with a strangely robotic funk groove, complete with squelching analog electronics. They were the perfect bridge from the mellow dream pop of openers Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion to the screaming guitar feedback of the headliners.

Benjamin Boles - Now Magazine


Is there a more bizarre and wonderful story in Canadian music than Simply Saucer's?

The virtually unknown '70s band from Hamilton, Ont., released one 45 in its lifetime, dissolving in 1979. But a chance meeting between a writer and the former leader, Edgar Breau, led to the discovery of some 1974 demos recorded by Bob Lanois. A strong camp of alternative, underground fans thought the demos were incredible and loved the unique mixture of progressive, European and punkish New York influences.

The '90s issue of the album became a world-wide critical success, eventually gathering positive mentions in Rolling Stone Magazine, Uncut, and other publications. Just over a year ago, Breau put down the acoustic he'd been playing for years, picked up the electric for the first time since '79 and formed a new version of the Saucer. Live shows brought new acclaim and led to the new CD, Half Human, Half Live (Sonic Unyon).

Breau dug out old, never-recorded Saucer material and added new band stuff. The CD is half studio material and half live. The new quintet is equally unique, featuring a couple of original Saucers now in their 50s, plus some young Hamiltonians versed in energetic rock and punk. Flying scorchers such as Almost Ready Betty combine rockabilly energy with layered production. Clearly Invisible is an experimental 10-minute sci-fi trip, and Now's The Time For The Party gets down and dirty into a blues trip worthy of Captain Beefheart. The live side presents the group at its explosive best, adept at noise and art. You can't make this stuff up, plus they're all great guys.
- Telegraph Journal, Fredericton, NB - Bob Mersereau

"Simply Saucer’s Half Past, Half Future"

Simply Saucer had been broken up for ten years before their first record, 1989’s Cyborgs Revisited, was even released. Yet that lone album was quickly adopted by the underground as a long-lost masterpiece, garnering the defunct band an ever-increasing cult following. That persistent momentum has since had Saucer crowned as Canada’s answer to the Velvet Underground, and the ever-growing interest around the band is what inspired them to make a comeback with this year’s Half Human, Half Live. It’s a record that plays out with the weight that music takes on when it’s been hermetically sealed for decades. Comprised of old material that’s been newly recorded, this is the album that Simply Saucer should have released when they were first around in the early ’70s. But back then, getting a full-length record out wasn’t so easy for a band that went against the grain, especially when they were living in Hamilton, Ontario, which was definitely not the place for a band as incongruous as this one. If things had been different back then, their recognition would have come a whole lot sooner.

“I just think maybe for its time we were in the wrong place,” says Edgar Breau, Saucer founder and front-man. “But because we were isolated, maybe it helped the music along because we weren’t already part of a scene where bands can develop conformities in the music. It was the way it was and the fact that the band was unknown maybe had something to do with its rediscovery, too, so that made people wonder how this all happened, where we came from and how we could have been playing this music in Hamilton, Ontario. So it just was the way it was meant to be, I think.” Breau describes Half Human as a transitional record, a bridge between past and present. These days, Simply Saucer consists of bassist Kevin Christoff, who’s been around since the band’s earlier inceptions, along with Dan Winterman (guitar, theremin, tambourine), Joe Csontos (drums), and Steve Foster (guitar, backing vocals). While Foster and Winterman are of a younger generation than the rest of the band, they’ve worked to capture the ethos of Saucer’s earlier visions. The kick-off track, “Exit Plexit,” goes back to the band’s earliest days, while “Clearly Invisible” acts as a companion piece to “Illegal Bodies,” which appeared on Cyborgs Revisited and gives a nod to the album that launched the band’s long-delayed career. Having left room for improvisation and electronics, Half Human, Half Live is wrought with tightly haphazard slopes and freak-outs. There’s also a contrast to it all, which Breau puts as “a retro, futurist slant” that, like its history, consistently hovers between the past and the future.

“We tried to retain a kind of raw live sound that the band was known for, even in the studio tracks,” Breau says. “There wasn’t a lot of over-dubbing, it’s mainly what you hear is what you get.” Breau feels that Saucer’s story was all leading up to the here and now, and Half Human is a certain testament to that theory. One half is taken from a live performance that took place at Hamilton’s Catherine North Studios in the summer of 2007. This show in itself indicated the momentum that’s built up around this band: A couple of separate camera crews were set up; one was there to document the night for an upcoming Simply Saucer documentary. The venue was all layers of heat and sound that remained largely undisturbed by a stunned audience content to remain perfectly still and marvel at what was happening before them. While Breau says they could have made an album solely of new material, he didn’t feel the audience was ready for that. Their fans haven’t had the chance to follow the band over the years, and Breau hasn’t, either.

With influences streaming out of the Velvet Underground, the Kinks, Stooges, and Pink Floyd, to name but a few, Simply Saucer spent the earlier part of the 1970s bringing their loud, improvisational, experimental visions to southern Ontario — or at least they’d been trying. As a band that brought a barrage of unpredictability to the stage by offering a repertoire that included tearing into a 20-minute song that was nothing but screaming noise, they emptied rooms, got thrown off the stage, and even played a prom where the school’s principal was brought to the verge of tears.

As the 1977 punk explosion hit southern Ontario, Simply Saucer saw an opportunity to finally get a break. By then their line-up had already gone through several changes and their sound had been retooled into a more straight-ahead, Kinks-ian attack. But for all of the punk scene’s rebellious, non-conformist ideologies, Saucer’s struggle continued. The band remained in a constant state of antagonism with the scene around them. They released one single, 1978’s “She’s A Dog,” the recording of which was spurred by friend and manager Gary Pig Gold and paid for through a corn roast on Hamilton Mountain. By ’79, they called it quits. Ten years later, a former manager found the tapes fr - Exclaim! magazine by Liz Worth

"Half Human Half Live Review"

Even the most optimistic Simply Saucer fans were doubtful it would ever happen, but Hamilton’s legendary space rock cadets have released their first official studio album some 33 years after every label in Canada gave them the brush-off. Saucer were a couple of decades ahead of the curve.

Half Human, Half Live has six studio tracks and six live recordings before a roomful of hometown fans, very much in the entrancing bluesy ritualistic style of their early demos that wound up on Cyborgs Revisited. That’s understandable since a number of the tunes have origins in the mid-70s. Admittedly, some of the Saucer mystique has worn off, and their drony, Velvets-inspired approach doesn’t seem nearly as novel. But Edgar Breau can’t shake off that appealing outsider vibe that comes with a lifetime of rejection. It’s probably a good idea that they cut this album before going out on tour. Who knows how finally hearing applause might change them.
- NOW Magazine - Tim Perlich

""Absolutely essential for any fan of genre-defying, forward-thinking rock and roll""

Simply Saucer's Cyborgs Revisited, the Canadian band's first and only full-length album, almost never got a release at all. Recorded in 1979 by a very young Daniel Lanois (who, in the '80s, would become one of the most influential producers in the business) and his brother, the album sat on the shelves for nearly a decade before Mole Records came to the rescue with a limited vinyl pressing. Listening to it now on CD (courtesy of Sonic Unyon), it's easy to see the reason for hesitation. While most groups from the era could be easily identified as punk or classic rock, Simply Saucer straddled both camps -- deftly incorporating the cataclysmic drive of The Stooges into their free form noodling. The unorthodox mixture no doubt repulsed purists, who envisioned the scabrous energy of punk as a direct response to the traditionalist, stoned stupor of classic rock.

If Simply Saucer did sense a contradiction between the two styles, they certainly don't let on. In Edgar Breau, Saucer has an archetypal classic rock singer, but his Morrison-esque howl is called upon to accommodate everything from the feral, bluesy stomp of ''Instant Pleasure'' to the jazzy improvisation of ''Nazi Apocalypse.'' The band's broad and ambitious musical palette recalls the work of fringe figures like Can and Sun Ra without the haughty pretension of either. The album's true highlight, however, is surprisingly its least experimental -- the Velvet Underground inspired ''Bullet Proof Nothing.'' The pace is considerably slowed as the purplish haze of guitar fuzz wafts above the staggering beat. Breau, in his husky baritone, implores his muse to ''treat him like dirt.'' It's arguably the best Loaded-era Velvet Underground song that The Velvet Underground never wrote.

This Sonic Unyon reissue comes backed with nine bonus tracks, including four previously unheard demos and the long out-of-print single, ''She's A Dog.'' These welcome additions elevate this particular release from excellent to absolutely essential for any fan of genre-defying, forward-thinking rock and roll.

Jon Garrett
StreetMiami, Miami FL, August 01, 2003 - Street Miami, Miami Florida


Let's say you're skeptical when you flip through the liner notes and read quote after quote, all from reputable rock publications, praising Cyborgs Revisited as nothing less than "the greatest Canadian rock album ever." And sure, they overreacted, but you understand, because this is everything a cult album should be: the only trace of a lost band that was so exciting, but so obscure it's a wonder there's anything to remember them by at all.

This album first came out in 1989, a full decade after Simply Saucer had broken up. Flipping through the small booklet, you can read countless anecdotes of rock band purgatory: gigs that almost sparked riots, others that did nothing at all, rough demos, stolen gear, and of course, continuous line-up changes. In spite of it all, the band kept experimenting-- like the time they cranked up the feedback in their Hamilton, Ontario rehearsal space, and went outside to see if they could hear it (they could), locking themselves out in the process. The local firemen who had to let the band back inside described it as "the loudest sound heard in these parts since World War II."

Here's a band that could splice the DNA of Syd Barrett and Soft Machine with Iggy Pop and the Velvet Underground, that could bridge post-psychedelic mind-altering electronics with a buzzed proto-punk urgency: the ultimate garage band, rehearsing constantly and trying everything and doing it all at top fucking volume. And right after they finally got around to issuing their debut release, a well-received seven-inch, in 1978, the band split and became history.

The saga, however, was just getting underway. Longtime Saucer fan Bruce "Mole" Mowat uncovered enough of the band's material in the late 1980s to assemble an actual posthumous full-length album. A one-single cult band that could have been consigned to Nuggets III: Original Artyfacts from the Northern Territories and Beyond instead captured their own spotlight. Mowat culled nine songs from a forgotten studio session and a free afternoon show at a shopping center, and crazily, they're all so fantastic that you can properly call them a legacy.

The studio cuts come from a 1974 session recorded by Bob Lanois in his and brother Daniel's basement studio (the live set was recorded a year later). We'll never know what the band's original epic setpieces sounded like, but apparently, by this point, frontman and main songwriter Edgar Breau was cutting the material down into more concise songs (if jarring and very eccentric ones)-- it's all the fury of the band's live sprawl crammed into the most condensed possible space. These sessions are explosive, with Breau playing the space-rock guitar hero while Ping Romany works out on Moog synth and some other analog electronics. The three live tracks, meanwhile, see the band stretching out: drums and bass gallop through on "Illegal Bodies", setting up a noisy busy-circuit solo from Romany that sets the stage for Breau's most precise, shrieking guitar attack. Even at a free show on a Saturday afternoon you can tell these guys were an absolutely crushing entity in the flesh.

But jams and noise-rock don't always ossify well onto vinyl. Which brings us back to the songs: a whole set of garage rock classics that are both ecstatic and bluntly riff-bound. Breau wrote lyrics that were strikingly direct-- from "Instant Pleasure"'s demand for carnal reward, to "Nazi Apocalypse"'s crass punk humor, to "Bullet Proof Nothing", which just keeps demanding, "Treat me like dirt." And though Breau's voice, while strong and clear, has no actual remarkable qualities (I'm saying he'd never stand out in a garage-rocker line-up), it's the perfect counterbalance to the music, grounding Simply Saucer's instrumental flights and Romany's "third ear" electronics.

Sonic Unyon's reissue collects the 1989 album, and also tacks on a half hour of rehearsal and live tapes. The later material (dating from '77 and '78) has the band arcing away from psychedelia and closer to proto-punk; Ping Romany has quit and Steve Parks has joined the band on second guitar. The bonus tracks sound rough but they include some gems, like the bluesy "Low Profile" demo or the album's only ballad, the affecting "Yes I Do". Sonic Unyon also included the first CD issue of the band's single, "I Can Change My Mind", along with its flipside, "She's a Dog". The single deservedly made waves in its day, landing them a touring slot with Pere Ubu, but the band sounds diminished on it: the songs are jagged, semi-chaotic shards of sneer-punk with lyrics that snarl but that never hinge off the groin like the band's earlier work.

It shouldn't have ended there-- the band were slated to record an official full-length before they disbanded-- though it is hard to imagine how this band could have improved on Cyborgs Revisited; "I Can Change My Mind" and "She's a Dog", in particular, seem like formal grade school portraits after all the candid crazin -, Chicago IL

"Top 100 Canadian Albums"

The Top 100 Canadian Albums – by Bob Mersereau
Gooselane Editions Oct. 2007

SIMPLY SAUCER #36 (page 105)
How can a band that never released an album get to be in the Top 100 Canadian albums? It’s one of the great comeback stories in all of rock and roll.
Simply Saucer came together in Hamilton in the early seventies. In 1974, they got booked into a new studio called Master Sound, operated by brothers Bob and Daniel Lanois in their mother’s basement. Edgar Breau, was the group’s leader and guitar player: “It was very influenced by the Velvet Underground, the early Pink Floyd, and Hawkwind, that space-rock thing, long improvised music. We were into devices, effects pedals, tape loops, echo chambers and the audio generators.”
The band shopped the tape around and got all the usual rejection notices. They released one single, and by 1979, Breau decided that was enough and the band split up. He sold all his gear, bought an acoustic guitar, and started on a serious folk music career: “That kept me going for quite a while. I thought I’d put that all behind me. But (in 1987) I was playing an open stage and I met this guy Bruce Mowat, who liked my stuff. He had written a history of Hamilton rock and had excluded Simply Saucer. I took umbrage at that, and he asked me if I had any tapes. I told him about the studio session with the Lanois Brothers.”
“Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I heard, “ says Mowat. “Cyborgs was, and is, a bolt from the blue. Nobody, and I mean nobody, in this country was doing that mixture of Detroit street rock, German prog, and UK psychedelia at the time. It was too much.” Mowat put out a limited edition 920 vinyl copies. Says Breau, “We started getting great reviews right away. It got reviewed by Cream, Spin, and New Musical Express. It reared its head again, and I had to deal with that, because I’d come to terms with its failing.”
“Throughout most of the nineties, I just withdrew from the music scene. I just thought, I gotta kill this thing off because I didn’t know how to deal with it. People kept saying to me they’d seen all kinds of stuff on the Internet on Simply Saucer.” A re-release went ahead in 2003: “This time it really went over the top, the critical acclaim. That’s when I really started thinking seriously – if we were to put the band back together how would we do it? I didn’t have an electric guitar, I hadn’t played one in twenty years.” On September 16, 2006, a regrouped Simply Saucer, with original bass player Kevin Christoff and Breau, took the stage in Toronto: “It was an awful lot of fun. I’d forgotten how much fun it was to play rock and roll

From the Top 100 Canadian Albums Blog:
Road Notes from Bob: The Promo Tour, Day 2 and the story on Simply Saucer
Bob Mersereau | Author's Notes | Friday, October 19th, 2007

The Top 100 made front-page news in Hamilton, with a big banner on page 1, and a bigger two-page article inside. Hamilton has reason to be proud, with so many acts from the city making the book, including Teenage Head twice, Stan Rogers (not a Maritimer by birth), King Biscuit Boy and Crowbar. But the biggest shock was the still almost-completely unknown 70’s group, Simply Saucer. Their album Cyborgs Revisted came in at number 36, and if you don’t know them, don’t worry, you’re in the vast majority. I’d never heard of them until the votes started pouring in. But I’ve come to feel that it’s the most incredible story in Canadian rock music history, maybe anyone’s music history. Saucer played hometown gigs through the 70’s, but not that many of them. Simply Saucer were simply not that popular. They had a total of one single out, in 1977, and broke up in 1979. That should have been the end of the story.
But a decade later, a music writer, Bruce Mowatt, was at a gig by an acoustic guy, Edgar Breau. The two talked, Bruce showed him his fanzine about the history of music, and Breau questioned why his old band wasn’t in it. Mowatt said it was because he’d never heard of them. He asked if they had any old music, and Breau said there was a demo tape of some songs recorded back in ’74, but he didn’t have a copy. It had been done in a couple of local guys’ mother’s basement, Bob and Daniel Lanois.They later went on to record some other people. The original tape was tracked back to the old group manager, who miraculously found it in a closet. Mowatt loved it so much, he pressed a thousand, and knew what to do with them..he sent them around to just the right taste-makers and word-spreaders, not just in but in the fanzine-collector-alternative store world. It also sold out. The legend had begun.
Breau himself resisted the attention at first. For years, he’d been told the stuff wasn’t good, and had put that period behind him. His own music had become vastly different, acoustic, and he hadn’t played an electric guitar since ’79. But after some years of badgering, he agreed to more reissues, and m - by Bob Mersereau Gooselane Editions

"Documentary Film about Simply Saucer"

Gregory Bennett – Director of Photography

- Wal-Mart Nation (documentary)
- 2008 JUNO nominee, Photographer “Revue: The Best of Paul Reddick”

Currently in Production

I started shooting/co-directing a feature length documentary film about legendary Hamilton band, Simply Saucer. They have been called "a true historical anamoly, a freak event, a golden moment, a smudge on the windshield of Canadian culture" by Eye Weekly. Carl Wilson says that "they sounded like no one else in Canada, almost nobody in the world". This promises to be a fascinating film about a uniquely fascinating band. Greg is shooting and co-directing with Heather Morgan. Here's the link to the trailer: - Gregory Bennett

""Genius Canadian Psych-punk""

Genius Canadian psych-punk from ’74 As more and more obscurities are unearthed for CD reissue, it’s increasingly clear that punk bands were cropping up all over North America in the early ’70s,only to split up -unloved, even in their own hometowns - before they realised what they were onto. Take Hamilton Ontario’s Simply Saucer, who’ve been revered by Thurston Moore and Julian Cope for some time. Sonic Unyon’s remastered and expanded version of this 1974 set - never actually released until 1989 -explains why. Typically, Saucer’s songs begin like the more manic end of garage psychedelia. The likes of "Electro Rock" and the two-part wonder that is "Here Come The Cyborgs", however, stretch out into droogish Stooges riffing and crude electronic modulations (played by one Ping Romany, enchantingly). Devo’s jerk-boogie is pre-empted,an air of shambolic, idiot savant innovation is strong throughout, and the fact that these cruddy marvels were recorded by Daniel Lanois in his basement -long before he became a fastidious production auteur - adds irony to an evolving myth. Smalltown freakery was arock n’roll staple long before punk gave it a name, and here’s a great example of how it could accidentally transcend its limitations.

- UNCUT Magazine

"Julian Cope - Review of Cyborgs Revisited"

Like a number of previous Albums of the Month, Cyborgs Revisited by Simply Saucer seems to be available in multiple versions. I have two different versions and have been told of a third, which I have not yet seen. I wrote the review below whilst listening to my favourite version. As Simply Saucer released no LPs during their own lifetime, so each future configuration will also include the (mounting legion of) fans eye view, which is fair I guess - especially as most record company A&R people are really just power-wielding fans with delusions of objectivity.

Side One

1. Electro Rock
2. Nazi Apocalypse
3. Mole Museum
4. Bullet Proof Nothing
5. Here Come the Cyborgs

Side Two

1. Here Come the Cyborgs (Part 2)
2. Dance the Mutation
3. Illegal Bodies

Recently, in an attempt to at least temporarily purge myself of the Japrock which chronically seeps around our house on the Downs and clogs up the ears of the neighbourhood and obliterates the Dawn Chorus, I bought the excellently re-packaged and re-mastered Velvet Underground double-CD Fully Loaded. I hadn't listened to the Velvets in years - a conscious decision based on their needlessly un-mythical return as a U2 support act in the mid-90s. Lou's a louse, Lou's a scab, Lou's a dry husk of his former self, etc. etc. But Loaded shoulda given me no such head trips - it was always a Doug Yule-sings-Lou Reed-in-the-manner-of-Beggars Banquet-period-Mick anyway, so how could I be disappointed? But I was. I'd been listening to such full-on contemporary rock'n'roll these past months that the extra-CD just couldn't command my attention; its half-finished, half-arranged, bassless or bass heavy studio dryness wilting under the pressure of 21st Century expectations. I turned to the original album and that was little better. Not only had I never heard Loaded on CD before, but my teenage (and only) copy was a cheap second hand buy from 1976 for £1.70 on the German Midi label, with a big fat black border and a legend proclaiming "Original Rock Classics - The Velvet Underground FEATURING Lou Reed." I knew every pop, fart, bleep and blemish - I could even sing the skips. I didn't want digitally perfect Loaded at all, and I filed it away.

But hearing Doug's rendition of Reed's lonesome cowboy tales of the great outdoors and of the neurotic Burroughs-ian great indoors did somehow make me yearn for something similar-but-less-familiar. Just as putting Mick Ronson's "Billy Porter" 45 on the turntable can sometimes be the only way to slake my Diamond Dog-eyed glam thirst, so I now needed a 'new' or alternative Loaded. And, once again, it was to this album Cyborgs Revisited by Simply Saucer that I immediately turned for the right kind of homage-with-staying-power.

For Canada's Simply Saucer offered the same kind of originality that was present in other post-glam outfits such as early Cockney Rebel or Neil Merryweather's Kim Fowley-ish Space Rangers. And, just as both Steve Harley and Merryweather himself used their Bowie infatuation as a mannequin on which to hang their own personal lyrical fetishes and stylish musical neuroses, so did Simply Saucer's Edgar Breau conjure up a whole raft of imaginary Cannuck ne're-do-wells to travel with him and his group on their extremely idiosyncratic musical travelogue.

But whereas cosmopolitans such as London's Harley clothed it in a Biba 1974 Faux Franglais of violin and Spanish guitar, and L.A.'s Merryweather filled all the spaces up with Mellotron 400 and divebombing fake-Mick Ronson apocalipstick, so it was the ultra-provincial Edgar Breau's destiny to bring some kind of Modern Lovers-take on decadence to downtown Hamilton, Ontario.

Possible? Well, by mixing his Lou Reed-fixation with lashings of Barrett-Floyd and early Roxy Music B-sides1, Edgar Breau cooked up an artrock as cooly-uncool and as bifocalled as Jonathan Richman's first Modern Lovers LP or even the beguilingly amphetamine and over-arranged provincial garage-prog of the Soft Boys' A Can of Bees.

From the limited perspective of this retrospective album, it's fair to say that Breau was an excellent songwriter and man of great musical taste. The story goes that, when S.S. booked a session at Daniel Lanois' studio in July '74, Breau brought in Velvets and Stooges albums to show how he wanted them recorded.

Breau's voice sounded like Lou Reed being Mick Jagger, Doug Yule being Mick Jagger, David Bowie being Mick Jagger, even Jim Morrison being Mick Jagger. And within the (self-imposed?) narrow confines of his guitar playing, Breau conjured up some truly great rhythm and lead playing. His "Now I'm Lou/Now I'm Sterling" stance surely predated punk by so many years that his friends and contemporaries must have adjudged him a mere rip-off, little knowing the necessary myopia required to pull off such a feat. And he was a neck-wrenching Monster Movie at the wah-wah, who pulled it off in the same way that no others could, except perhaps Can's Michael K - Head

""This Collection of Simply Saucer’s 1974 Recordings Represents That Rare Thing Among Rarities""

This collection of Simply Saucer’s 1974 recordings represents that rare thing among rarities: an album nobody could reasonably be expected to have heard of that will soon become a touchstone for out-there musicians. Operating in the twin cultural wastelands of the mid-1970s and Hamilton, Ontario, Simply Saucer drew on the weirdest 1960s influences (the Stooges, Velvet Underground, Krautrock and Syd Barrett) to prefigure the finest noise-makers of the punk and post-punk eras. Fans of Sonic Youth, the Flaming Lips or the Dead C will hear their favourites foreshadowed here. Low Profile could have come off the Fall’s brilliant 1978 debut, Live at the Witch Trials. - London Sunday Times


Simply Saucer - Cyborgs Revisited CD  Sonic Unyon 2003

Simply Saucer - She's A Dog vinyl 45 on Pig Records 1977

Simply Saucer - Half Human Half Live CD Sonic Unyon 2007

Simply Saucer - Reckless Agitation EP on Logans Hardware

Simply Saucer - Bullet Proof Nothing vinyl 45 on Mammoth Cave Recordings 2014

Simply Saucer - Baby Nova 5 song vinyl EP on Schizophrenic Records 2014

Simply Saucer Saucerland - 2 LP set  Logan's Hardware 2014

Simply Saucer - Cyborgs Revisited deluxe edition In The Red 2014

9 Tracks Available on CBC Radio 3 New Music Canada:

4 Tracks on MySpace/Official Simply Saucer:



Emerging from the industrial city of Hamilton, Ontario in the 1970s, Simply Saucer created a distinct, original sound that was decidedly out of step with the current musical climate. The band played edgy rock & roll that was a combination of early punk pre-cursors (Velvets, Stooges, Modern Lovers), krautrock (Can, Neu, early Kraftwerk), and U.K. prog/psych (Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, Syd Barrett - both with and without Pink Floyd).

Simply Saucer's origins date back to 1972, when band frontman, guitar player/singer-songwriter Edgar Breau hooked up with five other avant-garde, record collecting musicians and began rehearsing in a Hamilton, ON warehouse.  The original compositions were long, improvised jams played on empty bottles, audio generators, theremins, keyboards, sax, flute, electric guitars and drums. Besides Breau, bass player Kevin Christoff became the other perennial member of Simply Saucer.

They soon entered brothers Bob and Daniel Lanois's basement studio to record six songs. Alas, the Canadian music industry at the time was mired in mainstream convention that produced steady sales but little artistic vision. None would sign the quartet or release their recordings. By 1976, a nascent punk music scene was beginning to develop in London and New York and Toronto soon followed. A reinvigorated version of Simply Saucer, featuring ex-Teenage Head guitar player Steve Park, emerged and began gigging. They released the "She's A Dog" single on Pig Records in 1977 to great reviews. England's New Music Express awarded it "Pick Hit Single of the Week".

By 1979, Toronto's club scene had begun to dissipate and the individual members of the band began exploring new paths. Breau detuned his guitar ala John Fahey, sold all his electric gear and began a new solo career. Almost thirty years would pass before he would own an electric guitar or appear on stage with Simply Saucer.

It was years later before the general public and music journalists first became aware of the groundbreaking Lanois recording session. The six studio songs, combined with an explosive live set (performed in 1975 atop Hamilton's then new downtown shopping mall), were finally released in 1989 in a limited vinyl edition on Bruce Mowat's Mole Sound Recordings, entitled Cyborgs Revisited. An expanded version of this album was released on compact disc in 2003 by Hamilton's Sonic Unyon.

Critical acclaim for Simply Saucer mounted exponentially over the years, with prestigious publications like London Sunday Times and Pitchforkmedia printing rave reviews. In December 2005, the UK's UNCUT Magazine named Cyborgs Revisited one of the Top 20 re-releases that year, calling Breau a prophetic punk visionary.

The unusual history of the band and its penchant for resonating with younger audiences and bands kept the flame alive, inspiring a loyal, worldwide cult following. Requests from fans to reform the band continued to make their way to Breau until he was eventually persuaded to do a reunion in September, 2006. Soon afterwards, the band,with an invigorated line-up, was playing select gigs across North America, as well as taking part in the Terrastock Festival in Louisville KY, and the Scion Garage Fest in Portland, OR.

Amazingly, for a band that never released a full album while together, Simply Saucer garnered extraordinary prominence in music journalist Bob Mersereau's book The Top 100 Canadian Albums, placing thirty-sixth in the polling of music industry scions, musicians and critics. The "amazing story" of "the band that refused to die" is the subject of Weird Canada editor Jesse Locke's forthcoming SImply Saucer book, as well as Toronto filmmaker Greg Bennett's upcoming documentary Low Profile: The Simply Saucer Story.

Ultra cool Los Angeles garage rock label In The Red will release a deluxe edition of Simply Saucer's classic Cyborgs Revisited in the months to come. A new studio EP was recorded in Detroit and released on Hamilton's Schizophrenic Records, while Chicago's Logan Hardware is preparing a 2LP compilation of rarities. Indie label Mammoth Cave issued a vinyl 45 of crowd favourite "Bullet Proof Nothing", the song which gave the inspiration and title to Toronto author Liz Worth's best selling book Treat Me Like Dirt (Bongo Beat Books), a history of the Toronto, Hamilton, and London, Ontario seventies punk scenes.

Instead of sitting on their laurels, Simply Saucer continues to forge forward into uncharted territory. Summer 2015 marks the fortieth anniversary of the band's Cyborgs Revisited rooftop recordings. Simply Saucer will be celebrating its anniversary with select live appearances while preparing new music for a planned, upcoming album.

Band Members