Welcome to this week’s installment of “On a Geekly Basis,” a feature that profiles awesome geeky people and things! This week we want to introduce you to Devin Melanson and Leslie Hudson, the duo behind geeky rock band Copy Red Leader!
Do you consider yourselves more to be geeks or a nerds?
Geeks (pop culture, sci-fi/fantasy, comics) with nerdy tendencies (astronomy, engineering, botany, entomology, geology, etc.). We describe ourselves as a geek rock duo.
When did you first know you were a geek or a nerd?
Devin Melanson: Grade 3 or 4. I would draw robots with power supplies and motors inside, dream of creating stop-action dinosaur films, and stayed up all night to watch Godzilla movie marathons.
Leslie Hudson: I’ve been a geek for as long as I’ve been writing songs, and that’s nearly 25 years now. Watching Star Trek: TNG as it aired was a weekly event in my family, and Star Wars became a bit of an obsession. When I love something, I “geek” out about it.
How did you get into geeky music making?
We met through a song-writing challenge called FAWM (February Album Writing Month) and started writing together in February 2012. The goal each year is to write 14 original songs in 28 days. That year was a leap year, so we wrote 15 together, all about one of our favourite movies, The Princess Bride. We called the project “Iocane Power” and it started us on this geeky music path. Copy Red Leader was born a month later.
What is your favorite fandom?
DM: Lately it’s been what my kids are latching on to. The Hobbit was the final book I read to each one in its entirety. Now we spend each night watching snippets of Gamera on YouTube. I saw Episode IV for my 9th birthday, from the back seat of a 1974 Dodge station wagon at the drive-thru. Calvin & Hobbes, comics, TOS are also huge for me… and I get a huge rush when my kids seek me out for details like “why did the original Klingons have smooth heads?” (Hey… the world might need a song about that…)
LH: Impossible to choose one. Our CD is called Crossing The Streams with good reason. There are some deep-seated divisions between certain fandoms (Trek & Wars, for example) where geeks are given a false dichotomy: one or the other. We love both so we celebrate both. If you want an example of our approach to fandom, listen to the title track! If I could short list my favourite fandoms (in no particular order) they’d be Star Wars, TNG, BSG, X-Men, Harry Potter, Miyazaki’s films, and most anything by Neil Gaiman.
What project or projects are you guys working on?
Later in the year, we’re slated to get back in the studio to record our Princess Bride CD, which is now a 21-song full-length rock musical. We have other projects still in the planning stage, new songs we’re writing and preparing for live performance, new instruments to add to the long list of what we already play, and our first trips down into the States as a band coming up soon. That should hold us over for the rest of the year!
If you could meet one fictional character, who would it be and why?
DM: Swamp Thing, circa 1986-88. The environment needs some innovative bad-ass botany right now.
LH: Phoenix, of X-Men fame. We share more than a few traits in common; in fact, I think of her as my alter-ego. I believe the world would be in trouble. <evil cackle> Actually, I’d really just like to round up all the redheads: Scarlett from G.I. Joe, Poison Ivy, Jessica Rabbit, Teela from He-Man, Black Widow, Elastigirl… Good luck resisting THAT force.
Tell us about yourself.
DM: My recording studio is the one hobby that keeps growing year after year, with passions like my family, the environment, gardening (of edible things, unlike Poison Ivy above ;-), and astronomy competing for time. I think I’ll probably overload and go crazy with projects the day I retire 😀
LH: I’m a full-time musician who retired from teaching after a decade in that profession. Primarily a vocalist, I play piano, harp, a dabble with other instruments (trying to catch up to Devin). In my various musical guises I play everything from folk gigs to rock shows. I’m a Celtic scholar, grow poisonous plants in my garden, and make jewellery (The Tiny Treasures of Leia Fae).
Listen to and download their latest album, Crossing the Streams, on BandCamp!