Greg MacPherson :: Dropping Fireball on the World


by Matt Williams

Winnipeg’s own hardest working man in showbiz, Greg MacPherson, will release his sixth studio album, Fireball, on October 29. The album combines MacPherson’s lightning-in-a-bottle live show energy with the skills of award-winning engineer Cam Loeppky and the razor-sharp, heart-pounding drums of Rob Gardiner. Stylus caught up with him over some expensive rum between painting his basement floor and an early-evening photo shoot.

Stylus: You went through some major life changes while working on this album. How did that affect your writing?

Greg MacPherson: I think any kind of change and experience you have as a writer is gonna make you more interesting. If you go the same route to work every single day, and you look at the same things every day, and you get to work and do the same things all day, go home and eat the same food, chances are you’re gonna keep writing the same song over and over again, too. If you have a bunch of change in your life, generally I’ve found that leads to some sort of creative shift.

Stylus: A lot of your songs seem to often be written about your environment, your city, your neighbourhood, but Fireball sounds deeply personal, more so than usual, maybe.

GM: In the past I wrote a lot of songs about places and how people interact with places, or disparities between different communities, populations, or cities or regions. This record’s a little bit more about bigger picture ideas, but also about people, and about relationships that are a little bit more intimate. I’ve taken some more risks with some of the subject matter, where it’s very personal stuff to an extent, but a lot of it’s out of my imagination, I’m not writing about myself necessarily.

Stylus: What is, essentially, the core of Fireball?

GM: I think the core of this record is that I wanted to go faster, and play harder, and have more energy and intensity, and come as close as I can to the essence of what I think rock ‘n’ roll music is – a bit of danger, some risk-taking, something with some sex in it…

 Stylus: There’s a lot of sex on this album.

GM: Yeah, and I think as Canadians we often shy away from that, or it’s harder to come out swinging in that way. But I think there still has to be excitement and romance and danger of some kind – not in terms of violence, but danger in terms of putting yourself at risk and taking a chance with your heart. Or going into life expecting more and trying to find more, not just accepting the status quo.

Stylus: The sound and the vibe on the record are really cohesive. What are some of its major themes?

GM: The thing about Fireball I would like people to get is that it’s about humanity’s struggle with itself. I think in the last couple years I’ve really come to terms with the fact people are both good and evil, or have good and bad in them. This record’s a lot about the turmoil of human beings and the propensity for violence.

Stylus: Could you explain a bit more about that?

GM: A couple weeks ago I was drinking in the States with a friend of mine and this young kid picked a fight with me out of nowhere. I dropped the gloves, basically and was about to go, and that’s not me. But under the circumstances, I turned into an animal. My friends were there, thankfully, and stepped in and I immediately saw the logic in that. But I felt that, for a moment, I was an animal. And I think that element of possibilities is terrifying, but it’s also exciting. It’s something I think as a civilized person I try to contain. You want to be able to channel your savagery or your dangerous violence into something that’s special.

Stylus: It can be sort of a tightrope walk.

GM: Yeah, and I think our success as human beings I think is to be able to nurture our whole character, the good and the bad, while striving for something better. Some people turn to religion for that, which is definitely not my thing. I turn to rock ‘n’ roll music and living life a little bit on the edge, trying my best to push myself hard to make the hard choices and go against the grain.

Fireball comes out October 29 on Disintegration Records. For more information, visit or

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