Kanary - Power Trio - was an artistic gift given to me by Mary Kay - bassist and Tony Matteucci - drummer. They let me be me and I let them be them. We made 4 cd's. Traveled the country indie style in our RV, Harvey. 12 years
Opening with Bad Luck into Don't Be Scared and more...
Curtis Harrison caught Kanary with his trusty camera in 2003!
So glad he did!
We totally appreciate you Vinny! Curtis Harrison shot us here.
REVIEW BY: HEATHER HARRIS
ROCK PHOTOGRAPHER, WRITER AND MUSIC CRITIC FOR "ROLLING STONE" & "MUSIC CONNECTION"
Hey, you're gonna love the 4th CD because there are so many new, upbeat, hard rock, "typical Leslie" songs that really are as likable as they are idiosyncratic. Take the ultra-catchy "Girl With Black Hair." It's this great storyteller song that mashes up the teen-pop angst with worldly overview, like some unholy spawn of Lavigne and Dylan. Awesome fun by a trio of great musicians who rock.
Leslie, the lead singer/guitarist/primary songwriter is an eccentric, flamboyant, gorgeous beauty who was once voted, by British Music press, "the 38th" best rock singer ever." That's ever rock singers of all time, male or female, everywhere, ever.
KANARY's Mary and Tony have been termed the best rhythm section in Los Angeles, duh, and can throttle it, kick it, pound it or stroke it 'til it purrs, depending on the song. "Poor Puppy Face" (bass propelled sleaze about a lovelorn suitor) and the somewhat alt-swing "Sez Who Sez Me," compare and contrast. Again, great fun to hear these weirdly wonderful hard rock songs done so expertly. Unless you prefer the Paris-in-the-spring-but-with-great-smelly-sex romantic balladry of "Him & Me."
Call Leslie for an interview: she's a natural extrovert who'll talk your ears off and you won't mind.
This excellent six-song EP from Los Angeles band Kanary features Leslie Knauer's incredible vocals.
Kanary is a straight-ahead, hard rockin' power trio with energy and talent to spare. Leslie Knauer is on lead vocals and guitar. Mary Kay is on bass and backing vocals. Tony Matteucci is on drums.
The album kicks off with "Bad Luck." And right away the listener gets a sense of what this band is about. Leslie's shredding vocals can't help but impress anyone who hears this song. She sings, "Being Polly Anna positive/Hasn't done a thing for me/All my dreams did not come true."
Leslie has one of those incredibly powerful and raw voices that betrays emotion even in a scream or a yell. It's also a controlled voice, and when she does her rare acoustic concerts, the voice is just as powerful, just as raw, even as the volume is much lower, the songs quieter. It's a hard rock voice that works equally well on acoustic numbers.
As great as her voice is, her guitar playing is also pretty wild - listen to the solo in this song.
"Don't Be Scared"
"Don't Be Scared" is a bit more positive in its tone and lyrics, and shows a bit of the band's sense of humor too, with lines like "Beer can be inspiring so can Jesus." The chorus is "Around the world, around our town/around your finger/I'm your girl let's live for love/& dream forever/Oh don't be scared."
"Haunted" Title Track
"Haunted," the title track of this EP, slows things down a bit, with a seriously cool groove by Mary on bass and Tony on drums. Leslie sings, "She's following footsteps,/losing track of her needs."
"Something Beautiful" has Leslie at her rawest, baring all in her voice. She sings (nearly screams), "Got this tribal love affair/A connection with God/and something good and something loud/and something beautiful." The band just totally rocks on this song. It's fast, it's fun, and it may be the best song on the album.
"Kookaboo" (originally titled "Kookaboo Zoo") is the album's most playful and fun song, musically, vocally and lyrically. It's a phenomenal song, and one that is always appreciated at their concerts. The chorus is, "Be a friend to me/I need someone spinning free/In this zoo gone kookaboo/A friend to all humanity/I need someone spinning free/Like a rare blood red stone, stoned."
"Woke Me Up"
"Woke Me Up" is perhaps the most interesting song on this EP. It has a really cool bass line by Mary Kay, who also provides wonderful backing vocals. And the instrumental section is excellent, with some great drumming by Tony Matteucci. It's a shame this section isn't extended, because it feels like the song ends too soon. When Leslie's guitar kicks into higher gear, it practically sings, and Leslie and Mary sing the refrain, "So glad that you woke me up."
All of the songs on this EP are originals. Leslie Knauer wrote "Don't Be Scared" and "Something Beautiful." Leslie and Mary co-wrote "Kookaboo." "Back Luck," "Haunted" and "Woke Me Up" were written by all three band members. As Leslie often notes at concerts, she writes mostly from her life, so these songs really are pieces of her life - honest, open, sometimes pained, sometimes joyous, but always real.
Leslie Knauer Fronted Promises And Precious Metal
Leslie Knauer has been making music since her teen years. She had a hit with her first band, Promises, titled "Baby It's You." That's a song that Kanary has also performed, and it's included on their CD Only Dead Fish Go With The Current. She was also the lead singer of the 1980s all-girl rock band Precious Metal.
Mary Kay and Tony Matteucci are also in the band The Dogs, which was formed in Michigan in 1969. Tony joined in the 1980s, filling in for original drummer Ron Wood. (Leslie Knauer sings backing vocals on "Spooky Tricks" off The Dogs 2003 release, Suburban Nightmare.)
CD Track List
Kanary is based in Los Angeles. Besides "Haunted," they've released several other albums, including Bundle Of Hiss (2001) and Only Dead Fish Go With The Current (2005).
(Note: I originally posted this review on April 16, 2010.)POSTED BY MICHAEL DOHERTY
The crunch and wail of classic rock triggers this power trio whose six-songer catches our ears due to “Something Beautiful.” On this punk-injected tune, all the band’s individual talents shine: the drums sound like top-fuel jackhammers, the bass never lets up and, most of all, Leslie Knauer’s soul-seering rasp has a rich vibrato that makes an impact a la Shelby Lynne and Nikka Costa. Lyrics are very good –crafty and compelling. All in all, this is a band whose love of pure rock drips from the speakers. Specialty labels may dig this.
"Brian Coles, Rock Devil, www.sound420.com
"Vocalist Leslie Knauer has that kind of rangy, soulful raspy voice we critics and fans live for. Sometimes Alanis, a bit Grace Slick and all genuine. even better, it soars and sometimes battles it out with big, elevated California rock.
Betsy Macdonald, Canehdian.com
"Honest lyrics and powerful, resonating vocals performed by lead singer and guitarist Leslie Knauer are this band's forte´."
"Lyrically, the songs are a breath of fresh air - there isn't a cliche within a country mile of any of Kanary's tunes..."
The Northern Light
"Rock 'n roll doesn't get more fun than this!"
"On top of it all, these girls can sing incredibly well."
KANARY came together in 1996, playing their own brand of American-Rock & Roll-Blues-based Punk. With strong lyrics, powerful vocals and a killer rhythm section, they have released 4 cds, "Invincible," "Porno Church of the Ugly Man," “Haunted” and "Only Dead Fish Go With The Current”.
With lyrics most aptly described as EXPOSED, it's like surreptitiously spying into your girlfriend's most private diary, with songs about things most of us are too embarrassed to even discuss in public, while at the same time being humorous and wildly addictive!
Leslie Knauer • Vocals, Guitars - born on Vancouver Island, B.C. Penned two top ten platinum hits with former bands "Promises" and "Precious Metal," has a seductive, self-assured 'rock-goddess' voice that rivals any of her peers. She leads us through emotion after emotion, with topics covering elation, loneliness, rivalry, great sex, bad sex, spirituality, jealousy, lustful desperation and just wanting to punch that annoying roommate in the kisser. We identify. And we can't help but be relieved that there is someone else obsessing about such things...we are not alone.
Mary Kay • Bass, Backgrounds vocals- comes from Detroit. As a founding member of “the Dogs”, the trio grafted efforts with “The Motels” & “ The Pop” in their cooperative Radio Free Hollywood. Mary also played and toured extensively with the bands "Attack" & "She Rok."
Tony Matteucci • Drums hails from Albuquerque and has played with Etta James, Paul Shortino, "The Dogs," "Attack" & "Finn MacCool."
Other Kanary Things
• Kanary's songs,"Kanary" and "Hullabaloo House," were featured in John Sjogren's independently released feature film, "CHOKE," with DENNIS HOPPER and MICHAEL MADSEN.
• KANARY was featured in the August 2001 issue of Album Network’s media magazine VIRTUALLY ALTERNATIVE, and the first cut of their newest ep, “Don’t Be Scared,” was released on the accompanying cd.
• KANARY appeared at EAT'M 2000 Convention in Las Vegas.
• KANARY followed up in November with a showcase at the Rockrgrl Conference in Seattle.
• KANARY was a featured band in the June 2000 issue of VIRTUALLY ALTERNATIVE, and the title cut of their second cd, "Porno Church of the Ugly Man," was released on the accompanying cd.
• KANARY was honored to have a second cut from that album, "It's Not EZ To Be Me," featured in the July 2000 issue of VIRTUALLY ALTERNATIVE.
• In 1999, "Invincible" was released by Universal Music/Tricycle Entertainment in Japan under the title "Do You Swear."
• "I Can't Even Think About Getting Married," the first cut from Kanary’s 1st CD “Invincible,” was featured on Volume One of the compilation cd released by the Los Angeles Women in Music.
• KANARY’S song, "Do You Swear," from “invincible, was featured on Volume One of Times Square Productions compilation cd.