Arts

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Local band unites politics and music

photo courtesy Hollerado

WHAT STARTED OUT as just another tour for Hollerado turned into a chance to get Canadians more involved in politics and their community. While thinking of ideas for their upcoming tour, Manotick natives Dean Baxter, Jake Boyd, Nixon Boyd, and Menno Versteeg got to talking about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his proposed budget cuts.

“We were wondering if there were any cool mayors out there since he was so uncool,” says Baxter, the band’s bassist.

The band tweeted their idea to see what response they could get, and by the end of the day, mayors from Regina and Calgary had responded.

“We’ve been rolling with it ever since then,” Baxter continues. “[The tour has] been getting bigger and bigger, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

Hollerado has extended invitations to all the mayors of the cities they are visiting on what has been dubbed the Meet the Mayor Tour. They sit down with the mayors before their shows over coffee or beer and discuss some of the issues affecting the town.

So far, they’ve met with the mayors of Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Regina, Lethbridge, and Vancouver.

“They are really friendly people so far,” says Baxter. “They’ll sit down with us [and] have a drink. They’re proud of the city that they work for. They’re happy to share and it’s been a really cool experience to see the city through their eyes, as opposed to a band that comes through and just spends a couple hours there.”

The band has a few questions they ask each mayor, including: “What is the hardest part about your job?”, “What is the most fun thing you’ve done as mayor?”, and “Mayor Quimby or Mayor West?” They also invited fans to send in questions for their mayor via Twitter, Facebook, or email.

“One of the reasons we went on this tour is because we feel like a lot of people in our generation feel a disconnect from politics and the government,” says Baxter.

“They want change, and they want to have their voice heard. I feel like a lot of people feel that the only way they can have a say in government is just by voting. In actuality, you can reach out, talk to your mayors, and raise the issues that you want raised. We want to show that these people can be reached, and you can talk to them about issues that you have.”

What’s next for Hollerado? Besides having a new album dropping in early 2012 and a new single, “A Good Day at the Races”, coming out soon, the band has plans to meet up with Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi on Sept. 29. Although they’ve offered Toronto Mayor Rob Ford an invitation, he has yet to respond.

Hollerado will be blogging about their meetings with the mayors on holleradomeetsthemayor.tumblr.com. Tweet, Facebook, or email them your questions for your mayor at Holler@hollerado.com.

—Kathryn Shermack