The Machines
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The Machines

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"Best Of 2005"

The Machines, Starlight

Burying the ghost of The Candidates with their opening chords,
The Machines straight-up mod-rock made them one of K–W’s
brightest hopes by the end of their debut show. Who but Steve
Parkinson could rock “Runaway” like the New York Dolls had
written it? [PF] - Echo Weekly

"The Machines"

The following appeared on on Wednesday January 3, 2007.

Who are you?
We are The Machines. More specifically, I'm Neil McDonald and I play the Rickenbacker bass guitar and sing some songs. Steve Parkinson plays the Gretsch guitar and sings all the other songs. And that's Rick Andrade back there on the drums. Rick also brings down the average age of the band quite considerably which, frankly, is a nice touch.

Where are you from?
The Machines hail from the rock 'n' roll hotbed of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, or "the K-dub," as the hipsters say. Actually, they should probably stop saying that. It's kind of lame.

How did your group start?
Steve and I used to be in a band called The Candidates and, when that group went belly up in late 2004, we decided that we wanted to continue playing together. Rick was playing guitar and singing in another band at the time but, once his girlfriend let it slip that he owned a drum kit, we immediately roped him in. His other band broke up very soon afterwards. Coincidence? Actually, yes. But that's how The Machines came to be. We played our first show in February of 2005 and haven't stopped since.

Describe your music in 100 words or less.
Vintage sounds for the modern age. Or rock 'n' roll. Either one.

How was your recent release recorded?
Our debut CD (titled After My Misspent Youth and released on Fading Ways Records/Scratch Distribution in Canada) was recorded in a dank and tiny basement in Waterloo with our good friend Mark Imola, who served as producer and engineer. We decided to give the studio a name that was the exact opposite of what it was actually like, and so the glamorous Manhattan Heights Recording Studios was born. Mark deserves a boatload of credit for the CD. He did an amazing job capturing the sounds and the energy and put in countless hours making sure everything was tip-top. The man does good work. We're all extremely pleased with the end result. It certainly doesn't sound like it was recorded in a basement. It has more of a "master bedroom" vibe.

How committed are you to making music a full-time career?
I think we're all committed to making the band as good and successful as it can be, but we've also been around long enough that we have no illusions about suddenly striking it rich or selling a million records or what have you. We did fly out to Vancouver earlier this year to play a 45-minute showcase at NewMusicWest, so that seems fairly committed. Or kind of insane. Which, with regards to being in a rock 'n' roll band, amounts to pretty much the same thing.

What are your day jobs?
I'm the warehouse manager for a chain of used CD stores (and also do some freelance rock 'n' roll journalism on the side). Rick is usually engaged in the fine art of telephone sales, but also works in a record store. And Steve is one of the gentlemen who makes sure that your Blackberry works correctly.

Where can people find your music, either on the web or in stores?
You can check out a fine selection of the songs from After My Misspent Youth at our website, at our MySpace page or on the New Music Canada website. You can order After My Misspent Youth directly through Scratch, or you can email us at and I'm sure we can come to some sort of "private arrangement." We also sell the CDs at all of our shows. The album is also currently available at a variety of record stores in the Kitchener-Waterloo/Guelph region, including The Beat Goes On, Encore Records and Orange Monkey. More stores will be added soon, so keep checking our website or bug your local indie record store to order it in. -

"Embracing A Misspent Youth"

“Any band I’ve been in has been with my closest friends and that’s never been a bad experience,” explains Neil McDonald, singer-bassist of the Machines. “All bands go through rough times and sometimes there are bad breakups, but I wouldn’t change a thing about how I spent my youth. Being in a band has given me a lot of opportunities and experiences that I would not otherwise have had. That said, you can’t help but wonder how things might have turned out if you hadn’t spent the better part of fifteen years playing to half-empty clubs and worrying about money. I think that’s just human nature. So the album title is very fitting.”

The Machines, after two years of playing all over Ontario, are finally set to release their debut full-length, After My Misspent Youth. Recorded in the dank, tiny basement studio of engineer Mark Imola, McDonald, drummer Rick Andrade, and singer-guitarist Steve Parkinson, carefully laid down the dozen or so tunes that have been the core of their rabble-rousing live show since forming. The album’s title, as McDonald has said, is less an indictment of their years as young rock ‘n’ rollers, as it is an acceptance of who they are now and the journey that’s brought them together.

“It, (the title), was suggested by Rick, via Lester Bangs,” McDonald continues, “and we all agreed on it right away. It seemed in keeping with the lyrical theme of a lot of the songs on the album. Many of the tunes seemed to be about looking back with a mixture of pride and regret about what we’d been doing with our lives all those years.”

Certainly song titles like “What Have I Done”, “Snatching Defeat, (From The Jaws Of Victory)”, and “Time” intimate a strong dissatisfaction with the paths they’ve chosen, but the tunes positively burst with youthful energy, and big joyful choruses. This is not music that laments, it’s music that rocks and rolls, and Ray Davies probably wishes he’d written it. It’s a supremely confident record that showcases both the songs of McDonald and Parkinson equally, and finds both men maturing into songwriting talents that were only hinted at in their former band, The Candidates.

“We’re definitely happy and relieved that it’s done,” says McDonald. “We started working on it a year ago and it seems like it’s taken forever, but them’s the breaks when you’re a cash-challenged indie band. I mean, we’d love to be able to all take a month or two off from work and go into the studio everyday and get it done that way, but when you’re financing everything yourself, there’s no way that’s going to happen. Stupid reality. But it went very well. Swimmingly, in fact. Mark’s (Imola) the tops.”

“I’m real happy with the way it turned out,” Andrade adds. “Even though I think we all got a case of scoliosis while recording in that basement.”

While it may have taken the Machines a little longer than they’d have liked to put out their new record, that time was not wasted. Eager to recover from the break-ups of their previous bands, (the aforementioned Candidates, and Andrade’s Everyday Faces), The Machines went to work immediately, playing as often as possible, regardless of geography, money, or audiences. They had to solidify their new band, and they knew it.

“Well, we went on tour to the East Coast last year and playing to twenty people a night and then sleeping in the van tends to bring a band closer together,” McDonald explains. “At that time we’d only been playing shows for a couple months, so it was a great opportunity to spend that kind of time together. Also, earlier this year we were accepted to play at the New Music West festival in Vancouver, so we all decided to fly out there for the weekend. It was another great experience, and I thought it was really cool that we collectively decided that it was a good and perfectly rational idea to fly 10,000km round-trip to play a forty-five minute showcase.”

So with a record tucked firmly into their pin-striped blazers and a rock-solid, road-worn band ready to showcase them at any opportunity, what’s next for K-W’s finest mod-pop trio?

“We plan to expand into all other forms of media,” McDonald jokes. “Rick and I are currently writing a Machines-related sitcom for Fox entitled ‘Quit Yer Foolin’ Around, Mister!’ I kid, but I think we’re just going to keep playing as many shows as possible and see what happens. Truth is, we don’t know what’s on the horizon, except that one day all three of us will be dead.”

Before such a sad day arrives, The Machines will formally release After My Misspent Youth at the Starlight on November 11, and forever put to rest any question that rock ‘n’ roll is not worth the sacrifice. Anyone who’s seen them live, knows it always is.
Patrick Finch, Echo Weekly - Echo Weekly

"Best Of 2006"


Showing that power-pop isn't dead, the trio of former members of The Candidates unleashed a ton of energy on this debut that harkened back to the days of sharp suits and Vespa scooters. Don't miss them (along with The Stars Here) opening for Sloan at Kitchener City Hall on New Year's Eve.

Jason Schneider, The Record - The Record


After My Misspent Youth (2006) (Fading Ways Records/Scratch Distribution)



*Debut album distributed in North America by Scratch Records & Distribution (#28 on Canadian College Radio Top 50 January 2007). UK/European release through Fading Ways UK in spring 2007.

“(After My Misspent Youth) is packed with 13 sharp and witty tunes very much in the style of the band’s primary Britpop influences…able to channel all the energy of the early Kinks or The Jam.” Jason Schneider, The Record

THE MACHINES are a rock and roll trio with a combined age of 82 and a total weight of 420 pounds, making them one massive senior citizen that you best not fool with, Jack. The three Machines all reside in different cities but they rehearse in Kitchener, Ontario (in Helix’s old rehearsal space!), which makes that their hometown.

Formed in early 2005, THE MACHINES were born from the demise of The Candidates, a band that counted Machines bassist/vocalist Neil McDonald and guitarist/vocalist Steve Parkinson as founding members. Together in The Candidates, Neil and Steve toured Canada many times and found themselves playing at festivals and clubs across the land with many a top rock and roll act of the day (including Sylvain Sylvain of The New York Dolls, The Walkmen, Hot Hot Heat, The Sadies, Death From Above 1979 and Brian Jonestown Massacre).

After the Candidates divorce, Neil and Steve joined forces with one Rick Andrade, guitarist and singer for longtime Kitchener-Waterloo scenesters The Everyday Faces, who switched back to his first love, the drums, to round out THE MACHINES potent starting lineup.

THE MACHINES have been plenty active since performing their first show in February 2005, with an East Coast Canadian tour already under their belts in addition to numerous shows in Toronto, Ottawa and around Southern Ontario. The band has also performed in Vancouver as part of New Music West 2006 and had their song “What Have I Done” featured on a CBC Radio 3 podcast. The Machines also recently performed at the inaugural Go! Music Festival in Waterloo, ON and have been selected to showcase at this year’s International Pop Overthrow in Chicago, IL, taking place in April of 2007.

"After My Misspent Youth" entered the Canadian College Top 50 at #28 in January 2007, receiving airplay at numerous college stations around the country (including hitting #2 at CJAM in Windsor, ON and CHRW in London, ON).

In addition, THE MACHINES have also performed with such fine rock and roll bands as Sloan, The Marble Index, The Golden Dogs, The Ride Theory, Luke Doucet, The Diableros, Elliott Brood, The Yoko Casionos and Galore.


“A tight rock group from Kitchener, Ontario—one that has no problem dishing out catchy rock gems like the garage-y “What Have I Done”, which comes complete with sweet harmonies and an ample supply of hooks. The fun and summery “Time”…screams to be a rock radio single. Perhaps the truly great song of the baker’s dozen is “Three Chord Monty”, which seems to bounce along perfectly a la the Jam or the Kinks.” Jason MacNeil,

"A little mod and a little garage rock go a long way for this Kitchener-based band, featuring half of the defunct Candidates 7/10" Lorraine Carpenter, Montreal Mirror

"Heavy into that late-70s power-pop Kinks- Jam vibe...singers Neil McDonald and (Steve Parkinson) share an enjoyable, self-deprecating sense of humour about the plight of aging, financially-challenged rockers on songs like My Girlfriend Says and Snatching Defeat (From The Jaws Of Victory) NNN (out of 5)" Jason Keller, NOW Magazine, Toronto

“The tunes positively burst with youthful energy and big joyful choruses. This is not music that laments, it’s music that rocks and rolls, and Ray Davies probably wishes he’d written it…a supremely confident record.” Patrick Finch, Echo Weekly