Winnipeg has been the subject of a lot of friendly ribbing regarding its two "seasons"... life-threateningly freezing and biblically mosquito-ridden. Pushovers, cry-babies and the constitutionally challenged flee the town in droves. But some... the tough, the uncompromising, the visionary... they stay, and by staying they discover, like the Arctic explorers of yore, that adversity breeds strength, and that survival requires teamwork (or cannibalism). Novillero is comprised of just such people.
It all started as a lark, back in 1999, when former members Duotang and Transonic, as well as of some of Winnipeg's other most notorious bands, got together for a harmless little jam session. Some beer was consumed, some songs were sung and the next thing you know, Novillero was formed. Since a few line up changes in the early years, Novillero has maintained a steady lineup comprised of Rod Slaughter (keyboards and vocals), Sean Stevens (guitars), Dave Berthiaume (drums and vocals) Grant Johnson (bass and vocals) and Jack Jonasson (tambourine, percussion, vocals, synths), Novillero are a tight and versatile keyboard driven Mod-Pop combo whom you wouldn't mind bringing home to Mom… provided she has liberal ideas about dancing on the furniture and breaking the family heirlooms. Musically, they are a veritable paisley shirt of eclectic influences; some High Numbers era Who, some Forever Changes era Love, some soul of 70`s TSOP… all delivered with the ferocity and garage-on-fire style of the Small Faces.
Since their formation, Novillero has received more than their fair share of critical acclaim, both for their well-crafted, tuneful and fun full length albums; (Brindleford Follies and Aim Right For The Holes In Their Lives, which made year end best of lists in publications like the Globe and Mail, Pop Matters and the Winnipeg Free Press), and for their energetic and engaging live performances. They have shared the stage with such acts as The New Pornographers, Sam Roberts and The Weakerthans, as well as knocking 'em dead at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Winnipeg Jazz Festival, Brighton, UK’s The Great Escape, SxSW, and CMJ. Plus, they were declared the Buzz Band of the 2006 NXNE Music Conference. TV credits include an appearance on the USA Network's Monk as themselves as well as placements on shows like the Scifi Network's Eureka and NBC's The Black Donnellys,
Sept 9th 2008 sees the release of Novillero's 3rd full length album (the 2nd on Mint Records), A Little Tradition. Recorded by Cam Loeppky and Shawn Dealey (The Weakerthans, Christine Fellows) at Prairie Recording Co. Studios, A Little Tradition has Novillero expanding the borders of their dominion. While still having a strong Mod-Pop backbone, they have also continued their forays into lush Pop and have included, on this disk, several songs featuring the powerful, yet winsome, vocals of Nathan’s Keri Latimer. A Little Tradition is a Swiss army knife of an album, including tools for dancing, drinking, cogitating and just plain hanging out. Perfect for both a Saturday night and a Sunday afternoon.
So, say what you will about Winnipeg. Winnipeggers can take it… they have Novillero and you don’t.
Rod Slaughter Vocals, Bass, Keyboards
Sean Stevens Guitar
Dave Berthiaume Drums, Vocals
Jack Jonasson Percussion, Vocals, Keyboards
Hunky Dorie Era David Bowie