April 10 – Turning Homemade Yellow Into Gold

A sort-of self-made success before the age of YouTube. The Barenaked Ladies scored a gold “record” in Canada on this day in 1992 for their “Yellow Tape” (officially just called Barenaked Ladies), a demo that the band put out themselves on cassette.

The five-song, 17 minute, self-financed cassette with the yellow cover was meant to get them a record deal, but the majors turned them down. However, the Ladies’ were such a popular live act in Canada, it sold well off the stage and eventually record stores asked for it. Within a little over a year, it became the first truly “indie” release to win a gold disc in Canada. After they’d gotten themselves on TV through a local station’s “Speaker’s Corner” segment (a short bit that ran with commercials which usually had people sounding off on political topics or wishing someone a happy birthday), they got signed to an international record deal with Sire and Reprise records. Four of the songs on the “Yellow Tape” were re-recorded for their “Debut”, Gordon. Of those, “Brian Wilson” and “If I Had A $1 000 000” (which not only showcased their sense of humor, but introduced the world to the iconic Canadian side dish, “Kraft Dinner”) made it into the Canuck top 20 singles chart. The one song that wasn’t put on Gordon, a dubious “comedy” version of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” was revived and expanded by them two years later for the Coneheads soundtrack.

As it turns out, the Speaker’s Corner bit wasn’t the only time TV boosted their career greatly. They got to do the theme show for a TV sitcom few expected to take off … one which after a twelve year run remains one of the most streamed TV shows today – The Big Bang Theory.

January 10 – Forgotten Gems : Rheostatics

Yep. It’s a “blue Monday” for quite a few, what with the winter weather, lack of wildly popular holidays on the immediate horizon (no disrespect to the late Martin Luther King, but his day isn’t exactly marked by huge upticks in sales of Hallmark cards or festive parties) and of course, those bills rolling in reminding us of how we didn’t quite act as frugally as we planned in December. But, many of us remember the song “Blue Monday” by New Order, so we’ll look to remember a real forgotten gem that seems appropriate today – “Bad Time to Be Poor” by the Rheostatics.

Gem; I think so; “forgotten”, well only if you lived in Ontario in the 1990s, and especially if you listened to alt rock station CFNY, where it was a hit single in 1996. As Toronto Star columnist Ben Rayner put it, by then The Rheostatics were a “familiar, if somewhat obscure entity to most folks who have a passing acquaintance with Canadian rock & roll.”

The Rheostatics were begun in the west-end of their hometown, Toronto, in 1978, and largely run by guitarist Dave Bidini and bassist Tim Vesely, two constants through their history which has continued to this day, although rather sporadically in the past two decades. Martin Tielli adds his voice and more guitar; the lineup’s included various other drummers and musicians from time to time. One would gather two things about The Rheostatics – one, they are proudly Canadian, and two, they love all types of pop music from hard rock to country. Especially Canadian pop music. As Rayner put it they seem to musically echo Gordon Lightfoot, Rush and Neil Young in equal measures. This put them into a similar little package of music as their local counterparts Blue Rodeo, but unlike them, The Rheostatics didn’t really catch on in a big way… perhaps because they failed to catch on with a large record company. They did get signed to Sire Records briefly in the mid-’90s, which generated their only Canadian charting hit single, “Claire”, but Sire quickly jetisoned them after deciding they had no clue as to how or where to market the band.

Bad Time To Be Poor” was the standout single from Blue Hysteria, their first album after being dropped by Sire. And indeed, they probably had an idea of what they were talking about. The indie label that put it out, Cargo Records, went belly-up not long after it came out and it’s reported that despite being popular in their local market, the band actually lost money on the record, presumably from renting studio time to make it and the cost of touring Canada to promote it. The song, and in fact the album in general was a jab at the Ontario premier at the time, Mike Harris. Harris had been elected the year before, which was quite a shock to many. Harris was a hard-line Conservative (a party which in Ontario uses blue for its trademark, hence the title) and Ontario was known for its typically liberal attitudes…and politics. Harris instituted a number of changes reminiscent of “Reaganomics” in the U.S. – big tax cuts, particularly to companies, and huge resulting cuts to things like health care, social services and education. Fittingly then, perhaps if The Rheostatics drew from the well of Canadian music gold to pull their sound from, the single was described by some as reminiscent of one of the harder, angrier Canuck stars, Crazy Horse-era Neil Young.

The Rheostatics tended to like singing about Canadian subjects (their first single was a tribute to Wendel Clark, a popular but only moderately-talented Toronto hockey player) which perhaps cut down on their marketability elsewhere…and drew comparisons to the Tragically Hip. Who not surprisingly, loved the Rheostatics. In fact, they helped promote Blue Hysteria by opening for “the Hip” on a ’96 tour and the headliners sometimes worked part of “Bad Time to Be Poor” into their own songs. “They’re maybe a little too good for their own good,” Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip noted.

Another Ontario band who might have taken notice of the Rheostatics are the Barenaked Ladies. In an odd career choice, right after the critical if not financial success of Blue Hysteria, the band veered off on a different angle and put out a childrens’ album, much like the BNL did when Stephen Page left the band.

September 2 – Bonus Bit : London Baby

Another instalment of the summer look at great songs over at Hanspostcard’s site, which I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to.

Well for this round of the Song Draft, I decided to go in a bit of a different direction. I had tentatively planned on picking Gerry Rafferty’s brilliant “Baker Street” but Hinoeuma beat me to the punch… which was not only fair but kind of encouraging to me, confirming that some great songs are great songs that appeal far and wide. I’d already picked a song by the biggest American alternative act of their generation, R.E.M., one of Canada’s internationally best-known acts in Rush, and one from the granddaddies of rock, arguably the biggest band ever – The Beatles. So for this one I decided to go the other direction and pick one very few here (probably none) have heard – London Baby by Slave to the Squarewave.

Slave to the Squarewave are veterans of the Toronto scene, a band led by a couple of creative, flashy friends, Colin MacPhail and Rob Stuart. Back when this song was done, they were a quartet with drummer Doug Lea and guitarist Andrew Starr being a part and adding to the prominent and classy keyboards of Stuart. Once in awhile, Rob’s wife Kim lends a hand or a voice; unlike the Beatles, the presence of a wife didn’t seem to affect the band much for the worse. MacPhail is the frontman in every sense of the word, the main lyricist, with a powerful voice and a flair for the theatrical on stage.

By 2005, when they first recorded “London Baby”, they’d been around for four or five years and put out a couple of indie releases. They had a loyal following around Toronto and one DJ – David Marsden, whom I’ve written about before – backing them and playing them alongside bands that sounded a bit similar but enjoyed immensely bigger budgets and more acclaim – Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys, The Cure at their most playful, Echo & the Bunnymen at their most radio-friendly.

I can’t remember when I first became aware of them, but hearing their songs on radio, albeit only on one show, and seeing them billed on events around the area, I became a fan and often went to their shows. They were always a full-blown party; drinks flowed freely, faces became familiar, people sang along, not totally infrequently some of the ladies in the crowd ended up dancing on stage and Colin as oft as not ended up half-stripped out of his fancy suit that he began the show in. The songs were upbeat and sounded great at home, but really came to life in a bar or small nightclub setting.

London Baby” was a particularly catchy bit that just about dared you not to get up and move, and sing along. It had the brash “in yer face” approach of Oasis from the decade before and the dance sensibilities of New Order the decade before that. Rob – he of British origins and accent – tells me it came about fairly organically at a Sunday afternoon jam session. Colin tried to write lyrics that were “everything that was typically British.” They even managed a suitably British video, after they signed a contract with Sparks Music in Canada. No Warner Brothers or Sony were Sparks, but at least it was a label with some distribution throughout the country. One could find Slave’s Big Change album racked up in record stores right by those of Sting or the Smiths. One song from it squeaked onto the national dance chart, and this song was used by the TV show Fashion Television in one of its segments (in all likelihood looking at British fashions.) But the lads were smart enough to not quit their day jobs. Big Change wasn’t really a big change in terms of their international status or bank account bottom lines.

The Slave to the Squarewave continue to record sporadically and play when the pandemic will allow; mostly now they’re just to core duo of MacPhail and Stuart. The latter has another hand in music now, being a DJ on an internet radio station besides his 9-to-5 office job.

So here’s to the Slaves, as the fans call ’em, and here’s to “London Baby”, a thoroughly likable little ditty. Maybe not one of the ten or twelve best ever, but hey, one that deserves to be heard and a big reminder for us. Great bands we hear on radio or see displayed prominently at Walmart are fine… most of the time they have that level of success for good reason. But let’s hear it for the others – local music and local musicians, working away to make music and entertain us day in, day out, struggling in obscurity. Playing music more for the love of it than the gold in it. Cheers to all of you who fit that category. Besides, U2 and R.E.M. are fantastic. But they never hung out with me at a late-night restaurant after a show and drove me home because I was a tad tipsy! So thanks for that Rob and Colin, and thanks for making music for the love ot it. And thanks to all you unsung musical heroes in every city.

March 16 – Critics Thought Smithereens ‘Green Thoughts’ Deserved Gold

Sometimes success comes naturally to great musicians and their best records. But a universal truism in art including music – sometimes great talent gets greatly overlooked. Many of us feel that The Smithereens fall into that category. The New Jersey band put out their second album, Green Thoughts on this day in 1988.

Three of the quartet – drummer Dennis Diken, bassist Mike Mesaros and lead guitarist Jim Babjak – went to school together and had some sort of ruminary band in the ’70s, but it didn’t really come together until singer/songwriter/rhythm guitarist Pat DiNizio entered the picture in 1980. They quickly became a reasonably popular and hard-working band on the circuit, drawing largely from older musical inspirations like The Kinks, the British Merseybeat sound, and especially the Beatles and Buddy Holly (whom DiNizio said was his biggest single inspiration.) Finally they got a chance in the mid-’80s, when Enigma Records signed them. Enigma was a California indie label, but a fairly large one who had distribution through Capitol.

Their 1986 debut, Especially For You garnered good reviews but little notice at first, but eventually the video for “Blood + Roses” began being played on MTV, then the song was used on Miami Vice and it helped the album move up the charts both in the States and Britain. Constant touring helped build their name a bit more, and while doing so they – or DiNizio more accurately – wrote the second album.

Green Thoughts was recorded in L.A. with Don Dixon producing. Dixon was a relative newcomer too, but had good cred for co-producing R.E.M.’s first two records. Befitting a band on an indie label who drew heavily from ’60s sounds, the album was done, from beginning to end, in just 16 days. They went in knowing most of the songs and as DiNizio put it, they generally used “the first or second take. If it’s not happening then, it usually doesn’t happen.” They even found time to record a few cover versions, like the old Frank Sinatra song “Something Stupid”, which they put aside for later use as b-sides. They even had Del Shannon, of “Runaway” fame come in to do a few backing vocals.

The result was a rather unpolished set of 11 songs with ringing guitars, pop sensibilities and often downbeat lyrics. While many of the songs were about love lost and despair, the singer said “I was always interested in the dark side of relationships (the album was) not necessarily reflective of an unhappy state of mind in my personal relationships.” Of course, a little personal unhappiness didn’t hurt the writing. He admitted “House That We Used To Live In” largely came out of his family losing their house when his parents split up years earlier, and “Something New” was written right after he’d broken up with a girlfriend.

Rolling Stone at the time praised the record… sort of. They gave it 4-stars suggesting DiNizio with his “sad-sack demeanor, nerdy goatee and my-dog-just-died singing style (is) the archetype of the awkward, insecure loser” but the rest of the band “are in a much feistier mood” resulting in a “less than jubilant follow-up that prevails in spite of itself.”

College radio loved the record, as did L.A.’s KROQ super-station, where the lead single “Only a Memory” was ranked as the #32 song of the year. That song also got them attention on regular rock radio; in fact it was their only Mainstream Rock chart #1 single. The follow-up, “House That We Used To Live In” made it to #14 on the same chart; unfortunately for them Billboard didn’t start its Alternative Rock chart until the following year, or else they might have had a few more high entries onto big charts, and perhaps move the album beyond the peak of #60 it hit in the States.

Most later reviews praised the record as one of the better power-pop efforts of the decade. Allmusic for example gave it 4.5-stars saying it was full of “superbly constructed pop gems” that were “instantly familiar yet (having) enough flair to sound new and exciting.” Or to the ears of Record Collector, a “veritable jukebox of radio-friendly styles.” If only radio had been friendlier to it!

March 15 – Forgotten Gems : The Gandharvas

It might not seem it to folks in places like Denver, but the calendar tells us Spring finally arrives for real later this week. In honor of that, this month’s Forgotten Gem – “The First Day of Spring”, the 1994 single from The Gandharvas. I can imagine right now my Canadian readers saying to themselves “oh yeah! Good song” and everyone else saying “huh? What?”

The Ganharvas were an alternative rock band whose career and sound basically coincided with the ’90s. Formed in London, Ontario in 1989, they were (typically) a five man unit led by singer Paul Jago, drummer Tim McDonald, guitarists Jud Ruhl and Brian Ward and a rather rotating door of bassists. They began as The Droogs and put out an indie EP in their hometown around the beginning of the decade but had changed their name to the Gandharvas (the Hindu name for musical muses or spirits) by the time they put out their first full album, A Soap Bubble and Inertia. It came out around the end of ’93 in Canada, again on an indie label.

The sound was fairly typical of many alt rock acts of the era, drawing a little on Nirvana and Soundgarden and a little on older pop, resulting in a sort of “grunge light” that wouldn’t feel out of place between one of those Seattle bands and say, Gin Blossoms on radio. Allmusic rated it well but noted “nothing else on (it) manages to scale the same heights as ‘The First Day of Spring.’” The song with its reverbing guitars musically mirrored the season’s onslaught, beginning rather timidly and gently and building up to a full-blown explosion of joy and energy. Lyrically it also worked as a double entendre, with lines like “it’s a beautiful day outside” “go throw on some summer clothes, I would enjoy your company” and the chorus of “there’s no way of knowing how long it will last” it neatly summed up both the giddiness northerners feel about the arrival of the better weather and the uncertainty of a new relationship. Neatly done, Gandharvas.

Allmusic compare Jago’s vocals to Perry Ferrell, pretty high praise for a musician of that time period and genre. They also describe the song as a “massive hit” in Canada, which might be stretching it. Nonetheless, the single got decent airplay on radio and on the video TV station, Much Music (which nominated it for “video of the year” at their own awards) won the CASBY Award for “Song of the Year” and helped put the album up to #39 on charts at home, selling 35 000 copies – not quite enough for “gold” and certainly not Nirvana or Smashing Pumpkins territory but good for a self-financed product by unknowns. Interestingly, the album was produced by another London native who was all but unknown then, Dan Brodbeck. Brodbeck would later go on to be a successful producer of alt rock acts in Canada and do the Dolores O’Riordan solo album as well as co-write one Cranberries song… fittingly, “Summer Song”!

Unfortunately for them, just as the first few warm days of spring can give rise to unbridled optimism and then disappear, so too was their career. The next indie album failed to garner much radio play and though they did sign a contract to MCA, their third album (and first on a major label) Sold For a Smile did little for them at home or in the U.S. and they called it quits with the decade, in 2000. Little seems known about what they’re doing now other than vocalist Jago now being a geologist by trade and singing with his wife in a band in Arizona, Said Dog, these days. But, like the first dandelion of the new lawn or first bluebird back in the field, it was nice while it lasted!

July 16 – Tom Declared War On Bland Singles, Baby

It was a good day for Tom Robinson. The Cambridge singer/songwriter’s first solo single, “War Baby”, topped the UK indie chart this day in 1983 and made it to #6 on the overall British singles chart.

It was a solid return to form for Robinson whose only prior top 10 had been his first single with his Tom Robinson Band in ’77, the rocking “2-4-6-8 Motorway.” Of course, both the name and the style of the band and his solo material was rather alike.

Robinson wrote the song after a “bad” visit to a gay spa in Germany where he’d been staying for a few months after getting depressed in his native Britain. He says it’s the song he is most proud of yet despite all the theories about it having deep meaning about the Cold War, he simply recalls writing the opening line “only the very young and very beautiful can be so aloof” at the spa and then jotting down about ten pages of stream-of-consciousness text which he eventually whittled down to the song. The single was released on the tiny Panic Records label as a 7″ and a 12″ single. Oddly, the two are different (rather than having the 7″ merely an edited version of the long one) recorded at different times, even with a different bassist.

It turned out to be a very good year for British new wave, indie music – other #1’s that year on the chart included “Blue Monday” by New Order, “Everything Counts” from Depeche Mode and The Smiths’ “This Charming Man.” As for Robinson, he’s still around and seemed to be ahead of his time in these odd LGBT times. After being a gay icon in the ’70s and ’80s with his song “Glad to be Gay” he ended up deciding to settle down with and marry a woman. He put out his latest album in 2015, the same year the Ivor Novellos gave him an award for his contributions to British music.

July 11 – The IRS People Really Enjoyed

It was a good run but IRS Records called it quits after about 17 years on this day in 1996.

International Record Syndicate was an American indie label started by Miles Copeland III, whose brother Stewart was the drummer for The Police. They quickly built up a roster of impressive new wave acts, including R.E.M., the Go Gos, General Public, Fine Young Cannibals, Wall of Voodoo and others. At their peak, they had a monthly special, IRS presents the Cutting Edge that featured up-and-coming artists, usually from their own roster. It was arguably the biggest and best American “indie” label of the ’80s, a North American parallel to British labels like Factory and 4AD. However, although A&M and later MCA Records distributed their discs, they weren’t pushed as well as the big label’s acts and had spotty overseas distribution. That caused R.E.M. to leave in frustration in ’87; the Go Gos period at the top was brief and their singer, Belinda Carlisle dropped the label just before she became a huge-selling solo act, Wall of Voodoo quit just as they were getting big and after Fine Young Cannibals, the label had no real star acts to keep it afloat.

EMI brought back the IRS name briefly as a rap label in 2011, but has since retired it. 

June 17 – Chalk Circle Only Orbited The Bigtime

For every band like The Eagles that start off small(ish)  and get huge, there are many more that start small and then…stay small. Talented or not, they fall a bit short. Such is the case for Chalk Circle, a power-pop quartet out of the suburbs of Toronto.

The band drew many comparisons to U2 and Simple Minds with their live show and look in the mid-’80s, (allmusic on the other hand thought they were inspired by Echo & the Bunnymen but had a little more of a sense of humor) and won the CASBY Award in 1985 for Best Non-recording Group in Canada. That helped them sign to Duke Street Records, a Toronto indie label which also boasted Jane Siberry. They quickly put out The Great Lake, a debut EP (and with added songs put on the later CD release, including a cover of T-Rex’s “20th Century Boy”, it became a full-length album )“April Fool,” a likable, driving U2-ish song, almost hit the Canadian top 20 and the album eventually went gold, making it the biggest-seller ever on the label. It did particularly well in Toronto, where it was the #20 album of the year on CFNY-FM and where national retailer Sam The Record Man was based. That was interesting trivia as the son of the president of Sam’s would go on to add some keyboard work to their second release, the Mending Wall.

However, they never quite got the big break, and broke up with the end of the ’80s after three albums . On this day in 2006, they reunited at Lee’s Palace in Toronto after 17 years apart to promote a Greatest Hits album, ironically enough on Universal Music – the type of big label that never signed them when they were recording.  They managed to fit in another reunion show at Lee’s this spring (ahead of the Covid lockdown) as a breast cancer fund-raiser, in honor of their bassist Brad Hopkins’ girlfriend who is afflicted with the illness.

June 16 – Turns Out QE2 Outlasted The Smiths

No one could accuse The Smiths of sleeping on their laurels back in the mid-’80s. The jangly Brit quartet put out their third, or fourth, album in about three years on this day in 1986. Their rate of production would have done many of their English predecessors of the ’60s proud and was quite unusual by their time.

The album was The Queen Is Dead, no doubt an aspirational title to Morrissey. That was a change from the band’s working title for it, Margaret on the Guillotine, with “Margaret” being then-PM Margaret Thatcher. We call it the “third, or fourth”, because while it was their third “real” album, there was also the Hatful of Hollow album in there, which was largely songs not on an album from them, but previously recorded as a single, demo or b-side. While that album had given us almost certainly The Smiths greatest song, “How Soon Is Now?”, The Queen is Dead is the common pick for their finest album.

And no wonder. By that point in time, they were confident in their talent and the public’s response and comfortable with one another’s abilities. Significantly, Stephen Street, who’d produced their previous works and helped the band itself produce this one recalls “Morrissey, Johnny (Marr) and I had a really good working relationship. We were all roughly the same age and into the same things.” That of course would not last; within two years the two frontmen could hardly stand being in the same room as one another and the oft-forgotten Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce would be chatting with lawyers about ways to sue the other two. But for this one, they were working well, and pushing their boundaries a wee bit without veering much from their trademark jangle-rock/mournful singing trademarks. A couple of songs, notably the title track, were longer than most of their prior songs and Johnny threw in a wah pedal on it as well for something different. They perhaps had a wee bit more of a sense of humor in some of the lyrics than usual, as in “Frankly Mr. Shankly” and “Vicar in a Tutu.”

The album contained the pre-released single “The Boy with the Thorn in His Side” and “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” a single who’s title might have been a self-deprecating reference to the lyricist/singer, the outspoken Stephen Morrissey. (He for the record has said it was a metaphor for the band, with the thorn being a perceived lack of respect in the business.) While both of them stalled in the 20s on the British singles chart, they both got to #1 on the Indie single list, making it the seventh and eighth such hits for them. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” was picked by many, including Johnny Marr felt was the highlight of the record came out as a single years later, in ’92, to promote a compilation album, and went gold in the UK, making it their third-biggest hit. The album itself wasn’t a mega-hit but did fine and broke a little new ground for them. It got to #2 at home, where it became their second platinum album, and was the first into the top 30 in Canada. It even earned a gold record in Brazil of all places!

Despite Morrissey feeling a thorn, critics actually loved the album. Smash Hits declared “The guitars are great, some of the words are marvelous” while calling Morrissey “half genius, half buffoon.” The Village Voice graded it B+, declaring it the band’s best to that point, and loving how “Morrissey wears his wit on his sleeve, dissing the queen like Johnny Rotten never did.” Down the road, Pitchfork would go on to call it the sixth best album of the decade, and the NME went above that, picking it as the second-greatest British album ever… behind the Stone Roses debut. Even on this side of the ocean, Rolling Stone has it listed not only as the Smiths best but among the 300 greatest of all-time. They call them the “kings of British mope rock… full of quiet rage, epic sadness and strummy social commentary.”

Soon after, the thorn in Morrissey’s side seemed to get sharper and after they struggled through one more album, Strangeways Here We Come, they split up, seemingly for good.

April 8 – Lucky For Them They Didn’t Call It ‘Flop’

Rolling Stone called 1994 “alternative rock’s greatest year”, something that’s open to debate. But there is no question grunge and new-punk was on top that year and on this day The Offspring came out to play with their third full album, Smash, which went on to be exactly that. Smash indeed lived up to its name.

Coincidental timing meant the CD hit shelves on the same day the world found out that Kurt Cobain was dead and as Gen X mourned, they might have also found the heirs apparent to Nirvana in SoCal skate-punkers The Offspring. By this time they’d been kicking around the clubs of the L.A. area for a decade and eight years had passed since they put out their first indie single, “I’ll be Waiting” (and if you have an original of that you’re tired of, expect it to sell for around $75). Smash was the second release on Epitath Records – fitting since singer Dexter Holland and guitarist “Noodles” decided they wanted to form a band after seeing another Epitath act, Social Distortion. On the strength of singles “Come Out and Play” and the Nirvana-esque “Self Esteem”it went on to sell well past 10 million copies, including enough in the U.S. to make it 6X platinum and the biggest-selling “indie”record ever.

The album hit the top 5 in North America despite middling reviews. Entertainment Weekly graded it B-, lauding “Come Out and Play” , “whose novelty hook (“You gotta keep ’em separated”) will pogo into your brain and stay there” but finding the rest of it “Gen X anxiety…music for young men with long hair and muscular torsos.” Rolling Stone similarly graded it 3-stars, suggesting “music is secondary to bringing the noise” as saying they “At times come off as rote.” Fans obviously disagreed.

They went on to sign with Columbia Records after this one and have similar success 4 years later with Ixnay on the Hombre, which also sold in the area of 10 million and gave them a #1 hit in the UK with “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”.

L.A.’s alternative super-station KROQ rank them as the 8th top artist to come along since 1980.  They have displayed longevity that not all their contemporaries did; they still are active although they last put out new material (only a single) in 2015. However, for a year or so they’ve said they have a new album ready, but no record contract and Noodles said they were “working on getting it to fans now.”