People And Places: John Cameron
Johnny C lights it up
Before John Cameron returns to the stage with Delta Throats on Oct. 10 at the German Club, the former Carillon Editor-In-Chief spoke with the University of Regina’s student newspaper about his time with the paper and his other artistic pursuits.
Do you still read the Carillon?
Whenever it comes through my front door, I do. I have friends who are still taking courses, or who have gone back to take courses, and occasionally when they bring it through, I take a look at it.
What’s the point of a university newspaper, in your opinion? What does it all boil down to for you?
Wow, this is heavy for a band interview (laughs).
It’s noon now, though – it’s not like I called you at 8:30 in the morning (laughs).
(Laughs) At the end of the day, a campus newspaper should be both a voice and a resource for all people interested in the campus. Not just people on campus, but people who have a connection to the campus – alumni, community members and all that sort of stuff. To a large extent, it should be about very hyper-local coverage of a community and an institution that both has a lot of tax dollars invested in it, and has a large and broad membership. The U of R still has, what, 12,000 or 13,000 people? And it has a massive multi-million dollar budget, so both of those things are really, really important to have somebody independent … to cover it to make sure it gets due diligence in terms of having a third-party keeping an eye on it.
If you could go back to your tenure with the paper, is there anything you’d change if you had another go at it?
That’s a pretty good question. I don’t know. Maybe (laughs). This is one of the most arrogant things I’ve ever said, but honestly maybe not. I feel like we tried to share a diversity of voices and I feel like we genuinely tried to have a diverse staff and diverse articles. We tried to have a fully readable newspaper. And we tried to keep people accountable who needed to be kept accountable. I think I did a pretty OK job, all told. You guys didn’t really change the way it looked very much, and that was me and (Mason Pitzel’s) doing (laughs).
Do you have any advice for Matt Wincherauk, our current Editor-In-Chief?
Oh my God. My advice to Matt is to read about twice as much as he writes. And I don’t mean, like, just reading the contributor’s stuff – I mean read, read, read, read, read, constantly be reading. The way the broader world works – and having an idea of that – and having an idea of how the broader media landscape looks will help sort of establish a much higher baseline for your newspaper than if you’re taking a grunting crack at it. Having a model in mind is really important.
If you had to describe Delta Throats in one word, what word are you choosing?
Let me think about it for a couple seconds to come up with the appropriate word. Kick-ass (laughs)? How about just, ‘kick-ass?’ You can hyphenate it if you want, but I think it still counts as a word.
[Dave Schneider] is a very explosive rock songwriter. The stuff he comes up, riff-wise, is astonishing – and he’s always doing it. He conjures riffs out of thin air and they’re always so good, or he’ll have such a great idea for a part … He’ll have a great idea for a part or somebody else in the room will have a really great idea for a part, so you basically have these songs where we’ve sort of just tried to stitch killer riffs and hooks and structures and just little playing details together. It’s just a combination of all this really kick-ass stuff we really enjoy (laughs). Between that and the fact that when we get on stage, we just absolutely try to burn the fucker down.
Have audiences really got on board with this project?
I think so. People seem to like it when we play, for sure, and people come up afterwards to talk with you, which is usually a good indicator. Although, I don’t know. To be honest with you, I don’t know if any of us really pay attention to that sort of thing (laughs). All of us have been in bands for a pretty long time. I’ve been playing live, on stages, in rock bands for, at this point – oh God, oh God – almost a decade, like nine years, and I’m the person with the least experience under their belt in this band. You just hit a point where you play together, you enjoy the music you’re making – that’s what’s important. Reception isn’t really important.
What are the challenges of sharing a stage with someone who you really admire like B.A. Johnston, who will perform at your concert at the German Club on Oct. 10?
You know what, I don’t really see too much in the way of challenges, because it’s really just more of a delight. You get to play a show, there are gonna be people there because B.A. Johnston brings out a decent crowd of people. The people he brings out are, you know, they’re chuds, but they’re our kind of chuds, as he would say. Then, at the end of it, you get to watch a B.A. Johnston set, so it’s win-win. It’s all win-win.
One more thing before I let you go. Please, John, tell the people who to vote for.
Oh man. Oh jeez. Oh boy. Can they vote for B.A.? Is there a write-in option to vote for B.A. Johnston? We don’t have a presidential system the way that the States does, but if we did, a write-in vote for B.A. Johnston would probably be the best way forward for all parties involved … Let’s see how many ridings we can elect B.A. in (laughs).