A quirk about music and television in Canada is that all broadcasters are subject to Canadian Content regulations, which dictate that at least 20% of the content broadcasted be Canadian. It's kind of like affirmative action in that bands and shows that would never see the light of day otherwise get exposure because they happened to be born in Canada.
This leads to Canadians getting to discover some really good bands that they might not hear otherwise, and also leads to bands like Serial Joe getting regular airplay on radio and MuchMusic (Canada's MTV, back when MTV used to play music /ctz). Serial Joe first appeared in 1998 as a rap/rock group, fronted by a 14 year old with a really punchable face. Sorry for the bad quality, but I can assure you that it doesn't really detract from the music:
A year after this song came out, these guys reappeared as mature, 15 year old alternative rockers. Check out this dark, adult sound:
You'd think that this generic crap wouldn't resonate with the Canadian public, but according to wikipedia:
The album's first single, "Mistake", gained international airplay, taking the band to venues as far as Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.
Alas, the very next year, they were dropped by their label and broke up shortly thereafter, never to be heard of again. Canadian Content regulations can only carry a band so far. Sorry Ball.
The mid 90's were glory years for Canadian alternative rock with bands like Our Lady Peace, Econoline Crush, Two-door Hatchback, Moist, The Undeserved and Rhymes with Orange cranking out hit after hit after hit. (Two of those names are made up. I challenge you to guess which). Everywhere you looked, there was a band that could sell out McMahon Stadium, Copps Coliseum or Thunderbird Stadium at the drop of a hat. Those were the salad days, for sure. But one band, at the peak of their powers, tried to throw it all away. That band, of course, is
I Mother Earth
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Center of the Universe, IME (as the kids call them) broke onto the scene with the 1993 album "Dig", which featured the "hits" "Not Quite Sonic" and "So Gently We Go":
According to wikipedia, these guys weren't just any other alternative band:
Considered an anomaly in the "alternative" era and often mistaken for heavy metal, the album combined traditional hard rock with grooves, extended jams, psychedelic lyrics, and Latin-based percussion
w.e. they sounded like a lot of other bands in the era. Guitars, lyrics that don't make a ton of sense, and a lot of loud quiet loud songs that were the style at the time. I didn't mind them.
Next came 1996's "Scenery and Fish", which went double platinum in Canada (200,000 albums sold). It had three big hits, one of which, "One More Astronaut", apparently even got played in America. These three songs are all pretty good! The last one in particular does it for me. Good road trip song.
Everything was gravy for IME. They were big. Tonic big. Fuel Big. Three Doors Down big. While Serial Joe played Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, IME could sell out a venues from Gimli to Gander, Guelph to Goose Bay. But then, they shocked THE WORLD Canadian alternative music fans everywhere when they announced that their lead singer, Edwin (not Edwin Jones, not Edwin Stevenson. Just Edwin. Edwin) would be pulling a David Lee Roth, leaving the band to go solo. Apparently two dudes in the band wrote all the lyrics and music, and Edwin was just the pretty face doing the singing. He wanted some input, they told him to fuck off, so he bolted. IME was dead.
Or at least we thought. The remaining members of the band decided to search for their very own Sammy Hagar. After auditioning hundreds of bros, they ended up with this fucking guy:
They recorded an album, 1998's "Blue Green Orange", which yielded a couple of decent singles, but didn't sell all that well, possibly because their new singer looked like a tweeker.
Edwin, meanwhile, waited until 1999 to release his album. It sounds kind of almost exactly like I Mother Earth, but now the pre Madonna frontman didn't have to share any credit with the bandmates. The best songs of it are below. Couldn't find the videos for the first two, unfortunately.
The album went platinum in Canada, while IME's first album after his did not, so I think Edwin takes the W here.
Unfortunately for both Edwin and IME, they both lost in the long run. They each released one more album that no one bought or listened to, and they both faded into bolivian. Up until recently, Edwin was apparently working as a bartender, while IME was, I assume, going and playing dive bars in shitty towns across the country.
Wikipedia says that Edwin and the band kissed and made up and reunited for a couple of sold out shows in Toronto earlier this year. What does this mean for the future of I Mother Earth, and rock music in general? We'll see.