8/30/99: Canoe 8/30/99

Moxy Fruvous honours suburb

By KAREN BLISS -- Jam! Music

TORONTO - Mike Myer's Wayne's World was based on the beer-drinking, metal-loving, black-t-shirt-wearing Scarborough teens. Pop group Moxy Fruvous's latest album is based on and titled after Thornhill.

The connotation associated with Scarborough and suburbs like the affluent Forest Hill is the same the world over, but what of Thornhill? A combination of the two, perhaps?

"It was unquestionably middle and upper middle class, but it was also a bit of a stoner culture," says co-vocalist Jian Ghomeshi of the days he and his bandmates grew up north of Steeles. "So it was discovering your friend's new stereo and going there to listen to the Stones and the Beatles and the Who."

Ghomeshi, who has long left Thornhill for downtown Toronto, returned to his breeding ground with Moxy-mates Michael Ford, David Matheson and Murray Foster to shoot the photos for the back of Thornhill's jewel case and CD sleeve.

"It would only be the real thing if we actually went up there and did a photo session right in front of my parents house," he says. In one of the photos, you can almost see where fellow musician Hayden grew up.

"There's a lot of bands and actors and artists who have gone on to considerable fame that have come out of Thornlea and Thornhill," says Ghomeshi, citing members of By Divine Right, Universal Honey, Philosopher Kings and hHead as examples. Ghomeshi even used to plant himself outside Rush's rehearsal space on Doncaster for hours to listen to the prog-rock band practice.

So while a new song called "Hate Letter" is littered with references to Thornhill, the hate is towards a person rather than the suburb. "It's a tip of the hat to Thornhill," explains Ghomeshi.

"When we say Thornhill, we mean, first of all, our school, Thornlea, which was very much, at the time, a school for the arts. We all met in the theatre department and it had an open concept, very liberal. We'd call our teachers by their first names. Some were hippies. A lot of the grading was pass-fail. It was very forward-thinking. I think that led to a real fertile ground for creative thinking and critical thinking."

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