During Moist’s third-full length recording, Mercedes Five And Dime, the Montreal-based five-piece was referred to as “the five-headed beast that is Moist”, says guitarist Mark Makoway with a smirk. That was the easiest way for producer David Leonard (Barenaked Ladies, Prince) to explain what it was like working twelve hours a day, seven days a week for nearly three months with all five members of Moist.
Album title, Mercedes Five And Dime (which is a lyric from the song “Dogs”) insinuates hints of mythical dichotomy and of the fictional place where one can daydream of other, preferred places. This disc is less about the aggression or sullen beauty of their past two releases, 1994’s Silver (certified four times platinum in Canada) and 1996’s Creature (almost four times platinum in Canada) – and more about imparting color, textures, depth and new voices to their striking and enigmatic style.
“I think Mercedes Five And Dime is more of a collective and organic album,” says singer David Usher. “Our first disc, Silver, was done independently and we had no clue what we were doing. We just went in and did it, scrambling for time to rent the studio. Because of Silver’s success (which landed the band a publishing and recording contract with EMI) we definitely felt the pressure during the recording and touring of Creature. We denied it at the time, but we felt it.
We also started getting used to the band being successful, which was a strange thing. It still is a strange thing. It takes a long time for our heads to catch up to our bodies, and I think I went a little nuts for a while, which is natural,” Usher smiles.
It doesn’t seem like six years have past since the band first formed in Vancouver and rocked with songs like “Push” and “Believe Me” from Silver. The even bigger disc, Creature, followed up their debut success with hits like “Resurrection”, “Leave It Alone”, “Tangerine” and “Gasoline”. Through extensive worldwide touring with artists as eclectic as Neil Young, Hole and Green Day, Moist’s notoriety was further consolidated during their headlining arena tour for Creature, which included an outdoor show in Montreal for over 85,000 people. After nearly four years of recording and touring, Moist took a long-needed rest period, including a band resettlement in Montreal. Singer David Usher released a solo disc, Little Songs, in 1998 (which saw guest appearances by every member of Moist). He also appeared in Sarah McLachlan‘s “Building A Mystery” video as the love interest and the band ceaselessly wrote and demoed songs in their own, and new, personal home studios