The Johnstones – Get On Board [DVD]

  • Cole Faulkner posted
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The Johnstones

Get On Board [DVD] - STOMP Records

Ontario’s The Johnstones: a beacon of carefree youthfulness or an embarrassing excuse for a bunch of friends to avoid the responsibilities of adulthood?  Well, sometimes it’s hard discerning a band’s intensions even from a goofy album like The Johnstones’ latest full length, Can’t Be Trusted.  Are they just idiots, or is there some substance to their juvenile tales of conquest and unrestrained partying?

As luck would have it we now have an inside look at The Johnstones with their first live DVD, Get On Board – although after watching the live performance and accompanying bonus features I kind of wish I hadn’t found the answer.

Get On Board confirms that The Johnstones must have spawned from some sort of icky fungal mould growing at the very depths of the human gene pool.  If you simply watched the live performance, recorded at the MOD club, you might just think that The Johnstones know how to leave their self-respect at the door, and rock out like the life of the party.  They have quite an energetic stage presence, and watching their keyboard/trombone player switch between instruments mid-song can be quite entertaining.  But take a gander over at their beefed up bonus features and its tough keeping any sort of respect for the Montreal Sextet.

Watching the “Tour Diaries” is particularly painful.  Just like in their songs, every member of the band brags about lying, cheating, and breaking the law.  There are stories about getting kicked out of and banned from Disneyland, shooting a music video in public with firearms and getting busted by the police (go figure), getting chased by the police (numerous times), driving illegally, substance abuse, sex scandals, and of course, pissing off their tour manager (again, numerous times).  But really, why should I be surprised?  After all, these are the geniuses behind hard hitting lines like “I fucked two girls last night in the back of my car/I got an Avalon you fuckin’ retard/And he was wasted to his face and forgot their names and/If you see her in a porn then it might be Sara Palin” (“Can’t Be Trusted”).

But worse yet, these boys are proud of it, and actually seek out opportunities to engage in civil unrest.  Take the segment “B-Boyz” for example.  Here vocalists Ryan Long and Jarek Hardy record themselves acting like intrusive break dancers in public spaces including malls, sidewalks, and even some poor lady’s second hand store.  I guess the fact that they can’t break dance for the life of them is supposed to be funny, but really, it’s more sad than anything else (although I’ll admit to chuckling when a staring bystander actually joined them at one point).

But nothing even comes close to the near criminal segment, “Bathroom TV.”  Here the band tries their hand at investigative reporting in a ferryboat’s restroom.  Here’s how it goes: one band member waits in the bathroom until nature calls for an unsuspecting passenger.  Then they ask hard-hitting questions like “so, are you going to do a number one or a number two?” or “so, why are you washing you hands so much?”  Most victims just ignore the privacy invasion, but it still results in a few shots of passengers using the urinal.  Not only is this incredibly rude (I feel so bad for the elderly gentleman who just doesn’t know how to react), but I’m pretty sure it’s also illegal (thankfully the ferry crew shuts them down after their third interview).

Now, there’s obviously music component to Get On Board, and despite being incredibly shallow I can see fans deriving some enjoyment here, but I just can’t look past how the band presents themselves.  Sure, we all get in trouble from time to time, and I’m sure life on the road fosters it, but to actively seek out and brag about these moments with such little compassion is baffling.  But really, why am I wasting my breath?  The band isn’t going to change because I wag my finger in disapproval.  If anything they’ll get a kick out of this review knowing that they riled me up and brag about it as yet another mission accomplished.