Happier Days Ahead for Pursuit of Happiness

Canadian Press Newswire, September 4, 1995

Moe Berg is probably the first to admit that his band's musical career has had more than its share of twists and turns.

But having acknowledged that, The Pursuit of Happiness singer/guitarist is more interested in knowing whether you liked Where's the Bone?, his new album.

Berg, 36, is tired of music industry politics and journalists dredging up past woes with record companies or declining record sales.

"More and more the thing that's most upsetting to me about the music business is how little it has to do with music," Berg said recently.

"Just the other night, they played a song of ours on CBC Radio, on the Real Time show, and it just came up again, all the music business problems we've had. Did anybody like the song? What did you think of the song? What kid out there gives a damn about our music business problems or the music industry or anything? All they care about is whether the record's good or not."

Anyone watching the recent Kumbaya festival live or on TV knows The Pursuit of Happiness can still rock. Berg's band combined with The Odds onstage for one of the charity show's highlights. Berg has particular reason for caring about how the songs on Where's the Bone? are perceived.

"I'm looking at this as my first step outside of myself, the first time I looked around," he explained.

The reason for the change was simple. Berg said he had exhausted the "paranoid sexual politic thing" that had dominated the first three records.

Berg may have changed focus, but his lyrics haven't lost their bite. He remains one of the more perceptive songwriters around, especially with his take on youth.

One of the things Berg did in search of outside inspiration was pretty simple. He turned on the TV. Some of the seedier talk shows proved to be easy fodder.

"I was just amazed by what I saw, this sort of puerile interest people had in other people's lives and...that they'll do anything to be a celebrity even for a few minutes. They'll basically parade themselves in all their inadequacy in front of everybody, just for their moment in the spotlight."

Where's the Bone? is the Toronto band's fourth album since first making waves with its successful 1986 independent single "I'm An Adult Now". You probably remember the video (which cost "well, nothing, basically," according to Berg) filmed on Toronto's trendy Queen Street West, showing the band busking to bemused passers-by. Berg isn't sure how many records his band has sold but it's more than 200,000 in Canada alone, at least 120,000 of which were of the band's debut Love Junk. He's not sure what exactly happened since then.

"I don't really. I think some of it has been bad luck," he said. "And I think sometimes the band has been marketed improperly. The record company had different expectations."

Copyright 1995 Canadian Press


Previous Feature Features Index Next Feature