Summer Olympics of JE: Reach for Gold, Settle for Gas Money

Category: music 103

Entry No. 5: Malcolm Angus Young Satan In Love

JE Sheehy

Fact: being a never-been rock star is playing two sets in less than 24 hours, including one during your lunch break.

There’s a campus radio conference in town, which means that I got to play my first gig with Young Satan In Love and a solo gig déplogué in less than 24 hours.

Don’t worry, I’m a pro, so while I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m know how to pretend I do.


If you play in one band in Fredericton, you actually play in five bands. Play in two bands? You’re gonna play in ten. I’m not sure if it has to do with physics or with the fact that this city is small.

This means that Young Satan In Love has been around me ever since they started.

I got invited to join the band by Marc Bragdon a month ago, so he could focus less on guitars and more on performing.

I’m already spending too much time with a guitar in my hands, but I couldn’t refuse this offer.

One of the biggest selling points was the opportunity to be to Mike Nason (guitarist/tone wizard) what Malcolm is to Angus Young – although I took the creative liberty to add guitarmonies to the mix, and now we’ve got our Tipton-Downing moments.

So, my first show ever as a member of Young Satan In Love was the opening cocktail of a national campus radio conference.

Forget what all the dieticians are saying: the most important meal of a day (when you’re playing a show) is the slice of Jack’s [Pizza] after soundcheck and before the beginning of the show. So, I had a slice of all meat (I usually go for the works but I’m a pro and didn’t let this affect my performance).

Being in a band is 99% eating out at local pizza joints and 1% eating an actual meal.

Being in a band is also 99% processed food. I played right next to a hot-dog machine on Wednesday night and my jean jacket still smells like hot-dog actually.

There’s another law of physics in Fredericton: the more people you have on stage at The Capital, the more fun you’ll have. I think that’s why YSIL is operating as a flexible six-piece.

I think the delegates digged the set. Some of them ate hot dogs and sticked around up front.

There’s another law of physics: the more hot dogs you’ll eat at a rock concert, the more fun you’ll have.


Hot take: I hate playing solo shows.

So much.

In fact, I burnt out last year from playing solo.

I don’t have the charisma or the songwriting chops to play solo shows. I hate my songs, my voice, my banter and my stage presence when I’m alone on a stage. Having to stand up in front of an audience by myself is an exercise in self-loathing and unsuccessfully suppressing stage fright.

Forget what anyone says about the intimacy and familiarity of solo shows. Since I’m not hiding behind a wall of decibels and antics, I just end up vulnerable in front of strangers.

And if there’s something that makes me more nervous than vulnerability, it’s meeting new people.

Being in bands is 99% about having fun. For me, playing solo shows is 100% questioning every single moment of it, but for some reason, I keep saying yes to these, like when I got asked to play at the campus radio conference during their lunch break.

Écrire est la seule chose que je puisse faire pour distraire mon mal et je n’aime pas écrire,” wrote the late Quebec author Réjean Ducharme. This roughly translates to writing is the only thing that I can do to distract my pain and I don’t like to write.

Oh god.

Replace écrire with chanter and the quote sums up how I feel about playing solo shows.

Since I write a lot, I also get bored of my own songs easily. I toured with the same setlist for five consecutive shows last year and now I can’t stand any of those songs. That’s probably because I can’t stand myself as well, but I’ll let my therapist analyze this later on.

Hot take: every once in a while I play a solo show to an attentive crowd who listens to what I do. Whenever this happens, playing solo isn’t so bad.

Read the entire series: 

Entry no. 1: Paddlefest Saint Andrews (May 18-21)
Entry No. 2: Hit the Road, Hit the Home (May 26)
Entry No. 3: A Perfect Teenhood (May 29)
Entry No. 4: Deep Fried Feels (June 1st)
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