The Giant Baby
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The Giant Baby

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Band Americana Country

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"Meet The Giant Baby"


There is a story, which sounds apocryphal but isn't, about Dick Rowe, the hapless Decca Records executive who passed on the Beatles in 1962 because groups with guitars were passe. A year or so later, Rowe was at the Lancashire and Cheshire Beat Group Contest in Liverpool when he bumped into George Harrison. Admitting that turning down the Fab Four was his biggest regret in life, he asked Harrison if he'd heard anyone good lately. The Beatle confided that he admired an unknown young rhythm and blues combo in Richmond, near London. Before the talent show was even over, Rowe raced to catch the next train to sign the Rolling Stones.
Which goes to show it never pays to ignore a band fronted by a left-handed bassist who plays a vintage Hohner and sings and writes like there's no "Tomorrow Never Knows."
The Giant Baby is just such a group.
This Toronto quintet, whose members have played in Drag, Red Collar Boy, and The New Black, among other local tunesters, plays arena-friendly anthems while racking up stadium-sized bar tabs.
But this is not glorified pub rock or derivative drivel by wannabe wankers.
Nor is it studied indie-correct alt.Pablum for the rootsy No Depression set -- though Wilco influences flirt their way into "Angelina" and "Front Porch" and these boys have gear to make the Capsule Music crowd drool.
And it isn't impenetrable Rotate This-approved exclusionism for Pitchfork circle-jerkers.
No, these are soaring, ambitious songs played effortlessly by a posse of wily veterans.
Like Band On The Run-era Wings or something Jeff Lynne might have pitched when Electric Light Orchestra were at their peak, tracks like "Money In the Truck (American Plan)" have an epic, cinematic quality.
Singer and bassist Alex Karzis straps his Paul McCartney influences around his left shoulder and Liverpool-born lead guitarist Paul Judkins's father really did go to school with John Lennon, but a Giant Baby gig is more than a newspaper-taxi trip to Pepperland. Karzis's is a theatrical and engaging frontman -- go figure, he's a movie and television actor and, yeah, that was him with James Caan in that mob picture. Judkins, a real-life guitar hero whose university nickname was "Eddie" as in Van Halen, uses effects with the Edge-y subtlety of a jewel thief, his glittering Gretsch a dangerous surgical instrument.
Keyboardist Patrick Corbett, who sings when things slow down, has impeccable alt.country cred (and will be pissed at the slag of No Depression). Corbett, an American citizen who spends as much time as he can on a Wyoming ranch, bolsters the Baby with a wall of electric sound that recalls what Bob Dylan dubbed "thin, wild mercury."
Mike Devine grew up a Led Zeppelin fan and he acknowledges his inner Jimmy Page playing a lush and lyrical rhythm guitar that pays homage to side two of LZ III. Devine and Judkins give the GB a one-two punch that underscore how wrong Dick Rowe was in 1962 and how right he was in 1963.
Backing it all up and keeping time with Karzis is Max Payne (yes, that it his real name and he may well have inspired the eponymous video game since he moves like a Belgian gangster), who has played with Judkins and Corbett since their days in newly unified Germany in the early 1990's. Payne is the Swiss movement of this Rolex Daytona and he never needs winding up -- check out the backbeat on "Break My Heart" and the anthemic "One Drink." (Enough gratuitous European references -- Ed.)
But like all bands worth paying to see or hear, the Giant Baby is even greater than the sum of its parts.
Nowhere is this more apparent than on "Coming Up," which has the hook of a hit and should be coming to a soundtrack near you even if I have to write a movie to put it in.
Since I'm descending into sychophantic fandom -- and I've seen every gig of theirs save one and was there when it all started at the legendary El Mocambo in December 2005 -- I will say that "Coming Up," with its slow-fast-slow-fast harmonies and guitar pyrotechnics, is like plunging into a goldmine equipped with Bose speakers, where Amy Winehouse serves free Tanqueray.
Rock 'n' roll historians have mocked and sodomized Dick Rowe for missing out on the Beatles, but he used the second chance of a lifetime to bag the Rolling Stones.
Because he realized, as anyone listening to the Giant Baby will, that guitar groups are here to stay.
So, too, are bands that aspire to be great whether playing in front of 20 people or 20,000.
-30-
Robert Benzie covers politics for the Toronto Star because he's not bitter enough to be a rock critic.
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Track Listing
1. Break My Heart
2. One Drink
3. Coming Up
4. Money In the Truck (American Plan)
5. Front Porch
6. Hold the Light
7. Angelina
8. Summer Song
- Robert Benzie (Toronto Star)


"Giant Baby @ NXNE"

CHARTATTACK REVIEW

NXNE Roving Report Day One: Giant Baby A Fresh Change - Monotonix Are Legitimately Garbage.
Friday June 13, 2008 @ 05:00 PM
By: —Matt Littlefair, ChartAttack.com Staff

-Leaving Reverb more than a little unnerved, I headed for calmer pastures at The Cameron House for Toronto-based quintet, The Giant Baby. Their puzzling moniker aside, The Giant Baby took a surefooted, ass-whoopin' kick at the old school rootsy rock 'n' roll can. Flying through their half-hour set of boot-stomping anthems, the airtight crew played like a stadium act stuck with a small stage. There's a universal appeal to their tales of drinkin' and brawlin' that worked as a perfect counter to the literal shit I'd just witnessed at Reverb.-

- Chartattack Magazine


Discography

1 debut disc: 'The Giant Baby - Anthems & Bartabs.'
avail on website: www.thegiantbaby.com
1 single and video (so far) for the song - 'break my heart'
avail on website as well.

Photos

Bio

THE GIANT BABY BIO.

The Giant Baby got together for the first time in April 2005. Constantine Karzis (bass, vox) and Patrick Corbett (guitar, vox) were in China touring with the band The New Black on a cultural exchange mission hosted by the Canadian Embassy. They bought a $20 Ovation knockoff guitar and started writing songs on the tour bus, while witnessing the surreal world of 17th century farm collectives mixed with Blade Runner-esque science fiction cityscapes of the cities and villages they played through.

The name �The Giant Baby� comes from late night Chinese TV, which is rife with horrific infomercials for baby formula to make your �little emperor� as big and fat as possible. The ad agencies there use images of giant babies to sell everything from cameras and whiskey, to cars and shampoo.

When Patrick and Constantine got back from Asia and disbanded The New Black, they installed themselves in a basement rehearsal Space on Richmond Street in Toronto and asked Patrick�s three best friends, Michael Devine -acoustic guitar, Paul Judkins -lead guitar, and Max Payne -drums to join a �melancholic/acoustic/atmospheric/storytelling band� � a �post folk� super group. The Giant Baby was born.

During the first rehearsal the five new friends clicked. The first two songs they learned were a cover of The Willard Grant Conspiracy�s �Front Porch�, a song about abandonment and loss and Patrick�s �La Fontaine� a historically accurate epic about a young girl�s suicide in the Adirondacks in the 70�s. The honesty and lyrical depth became a blueprint for the songwriting to come.

After a few months the songs got bigger and more cinematic, Patrick and Michael�s acoustic guitars were replaced with electrics on occasion. Mellotrons and piano lines started intertwining with Paul�s rippling echoed leads.

They wrote songs about bank heists gone wrong, hypnosis, trains, storms, huge open skies, unfulfilled lives and the madness from succumbing to the howling bells of love.

So many friends started showing up at their incendiary monthly Cameron House shows, with liquor sales through the roof, they were dubbed �The Cameron favorites� - The Giant Baby had to look for larger venues. And with a little help from the internet, word has gotten out, making the recent gigs pretty much standing room only.

These are five creative, eccentric, and talented men, not a band of boys, w/ a resulting sound greater than the sum of it�s parts and more akin to a runaway train at times than the tired and predictable music that seems to be wallpapering our senses into oblivion these days.
The Giant Baby is pure unfiltered gravitas.