Holding out for a hero

Stephan MacLeod sometimes dresses like a superhero. And with purpose. For over a decade now he’s been using all of his powers and might to create an energetic and unabashedly fun atmosphere for live shows in P.E.I. and Halifax. Usually performing as Windom Earle, with a revolving band of musician friends, Macleod offers a mix of synth-pop, indie rock and karaoke, all set to synced-up beats and video clips.

And the super effect? An awesome show.

Adam Clarke spoke with the dynamic front-man as the band prepared for its upcoming shows in St John’s.

Since this will be your first time playing in Newfoundland, could you talk a bit about the history of Windom Earle?

Well, I’ve been playing as Windom Earle for about ten years now. The band goes through various incarnations.

It originally started out with me and my bass player playing to prerecorded beats, and now it’s evolved into a full band with a drum kit. But we still do the sampled beats on occasion. The version coming to Newfoundland will be a hybrid of the two, I think. We’ll have two keyboard players, guitar, bass and an iPod playing…

We’ll also be doing a lot of stuff with video projection.

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The use of the “Metallica drummer” in your music video for “Get On Into It” was great. Did you ever hear from him about it?

He wrote a hilarious, threatening e-mail when he caught wind of it. I told him I would take it down and there was no need to beat me up.

Once I clarified that I wasn’t making any money off it and I sent him some CDs he was cool with it.

I can’t imagine what that letter must’ve sounded like.

I saved the letter. It was largely about his lawyer, mushrooms and beating the shit out of me. It was shocking, but hilarious

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Is it true you once broke your wrist performing on stage?
Yeah, that was a show in 2002. It hadn’t been going too well to begin with. Our pre-recorded CD kept skipping, so I decided to invite some friends of mine to jam onstage, and I tried to motivate the audience. I did a stupid thing—standing on a monitor—and I fell and smashed my wrist.

Before that happened, I was more likely to do crazy stuff, but now I’m a little intimidated by it.
But we make up for it in other ways.

Dressing up like a superhero, for instance?
Yeah!
For the ECMAs a few years ago we were teamed up with a fashion designer who was into gothic, Matrix-y fashion, and drew in this kind of comic-book style. Later, we found a common ground where the poppiness of the band met with his comic sensibilities and he whipped up these costumes.

We played the ECMAs like that and the costumes definitely helped.They help you act sillier and have fun.

Over time the band all threw away their costumes because they got sweaty and gross, but mine stayed clean.

Windom Earle begin their three-night stay in Newfoundland at The Ship on November 13 alongside A/V and The Kettle Black. They play CBTGs on the 14 with BA Johnston, and return to The Ship with him on November 15. Hear audio clips and see videos at www.windomearle.com