After a 20-year career of recording and touring, Shadowy Men own everything they made...except what San Diego’s Cargo Records kept.
The instrumental trio Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet are best known for penning the theme song to the Kids in the Hall sketch comedy TV series. Even though the Shadowy Men were in the shadows after 1996, that song, “Having an Average Weekend,” had a life of its own.
"Having an Average Weekend"
<em>The Kids in the Hall</em> theme by Shadowy Men...
“In a lot of ways we don’t even think of that song as being the Kids in the Hall song,” Shadowy drummer Don Pyle says. “We were playing it long before they used it. But there is a feeling of that song being something else — almost removed from us and sort of like public property. It’s something that’s in the public consciousness that has nothing to do with us as a band.”
The history between the band and the Kids in the Hall runs deeper than the song, though. Two of the Shadowy Men (guitarist Brian Connelly and their late bassist Reid Diamond) were childhood friends of the Kids’ Bruce McCulloch. All three grew up in Calgary. When Connelly and Diamond moved to Toronto, McCulloch followed soon after and lived in Pyle’s mother’s basement when he first arrived. Diamond did tech work for the pre-television Kids performances. Eventually, the Kids started asking the band for songs to work into their skits.
Pyle estimates that the band wrote about 550 songs for the Kids TV series, even though “400 of them are less than ten seconds long.”
Speaking of caches of songs, the Shadowy Men released a four-record box-set for Record Store Day earlier this year. It contains their three original LPs, plus a fourth composed of rarer tracks. Pyle said that the band “paid for every single thing that we did on our own.” Consequently, the Shadowy Men own everything they ever recorded, most of which was licensed to Cargo Records for release in the 1990s. Cargo was a label with local ties, and also an imprint that Pyle doesn’t exactly miss.
- Saturday, June 11, 2016, 8 p.m.
- Hideout, 3519 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego
“We signed with the office in Montreal, and when they went out of business our contract got passed on to the office in La Jolla, and it was all downhill from there,” he says. “It was a good situation because they had good distribution, but it’s a bad situation when they sell tens of thousands of records and they don’t pay you. We sold a lot of records that they never paid us for...
“I encourage everybody to hold on to as much as you can because you never know where that thing is gonna go. I would have never predicted that our first seven-inch single would play such a significant part with how I made my living.”
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet play the Hideout on Saturday, June 11, with the Sadies and the Loons.