Senior Citizen’s forthcoming sophomore album finds two longtime bandmates working within a completely different creative dynamic. Bob Deveau (Senior Citizen) and Tim Walker (Mayors/Heat & Lights) have been performing together for 20 years as members of Grand Theft Bus. Senior Citizen X Tim Walker marks their first electronic collaboration.
I’ll admit it. I was one of the last of my age group to become a fan of Grand Theft Bus, locally speaking. By the time I joined the party they had already established themselves as a dominant force on Atlantic Canada’s festival circuit and were starting to reach audiences in other parts of the country. The first time I saw them play I’m pretty sure they were opening for The Rheostatics at The Cellar Pub on the UNB campus. Just a few songs into their set I remember asking myself, “Is this band really from Fredericton?”.
Up until that point, most of the local bands I was familiar with were all a little rough around the edges with little regard or ability to craft a consistent sound on stage. Poor quality gear and a “we’re just doing this for us” attitude probably played a big part in shaping my opinion of what a local group was capable of. Of course there were some exceptions, but not many. Seeing GTB perform that night changed my entire outlook on local music and deepened my appreciation and understanding of just what a group of individuals could achieve if they made music their collective focus.
That was 16 years ago. Since then, this collection of musicians have contributed to an endless stream of projects that includes among others, The Olympic Symphonium, Mayors, Heat & Lights, Force Fields, Gravity Strike, and Some Dads. Each unique in their own right, the level of integrity that shaped their collective foundation remains consistent in whatever they do.
Senior Citizen is probably the most distinct of all the groups rooted in the GTB family tree. A solo project by drummer/producer Bob Deveau, Senior Citizen is an entirely electronic-based project that provides Deveau the opportunity to collaborate with fellow artists outside of rock music’s sometimes rigid framework.
Senior Citizen’s debut, The Hawk (Backward Music 2016) features collaborations with a number of musicians including members of GTB, Share and All of Green. The album introduced the world to Deveau’s skill as a composer/producer while also opening up an entirely new avenue for his creative expression.
63 months after the release of The Hawk, Backward Music is preparing to share the first single from the forthcoming Senior Citizen album, Senior Citizen X Tim Walker. As the title suggests, the album features vocal contributions from Deveau’s GTB bandmate Tim Walker.
This new collaboration came about over the past 18 months as both musicians, unable to perform, found themselves overflowing with new creative ideas. The first single, Tell Me When It’s Safe, also takes its inspiration from recent events, although the genesis is far less positive.
“My cousin got COVID,” says Walker. “She was the closest person to me that actually got it. Her two kids caught it from her. She was out with friends to dinner one night, following all of the proper protocols, and was exposed to it by someone who was not. Despite this, the guilt she and her family felt and the shame from some in their community – both real and perceived – was hard on them. The song is not specifically about her but her situation certainly provided its genesis.”
By exploring the dichotomy that exists between action and reaction, Tell Me When It’s Safe encourages listeners to weigh their options before passing judgement and laying blame. By pairing themes of guilt and acceptance with production that speaks to optimism and self-assurance, this first single from Deveau and Walker’s collaboration seeks to encourage a broader interpretation of human interaction by asking us to place the needs of a community above our individual desires. A powerful introduction rich in self-reflection and possibility.
The supporting video was created by fellow GTB bandmate Brad Perry and perfectly captures the unique sense of humour that has bonded these two musicians for the better part of 20 years.
Pre-order What Was That, via Backward Music today.