"It's the PG version," Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene says of his band's history as it appears in This Book Is Broken.
At IFOA on Friday night, Drew, along with Broken Social Scene co-founder Brendan Canning and former producer Dave Newfield, spoke onstage with the book's author,
All families have their rows and the Broken Social Scene family ( this interview is an impressive backgrounder) is large enough to support several ongoing feuds. One such feud was dealt with, kinda, on stage.
Newfield felt he was misrepresented in a book that, as an oral history, collected multiple perspectives on the band's rise to fame. The problem, according to Newfield, was that it was like a party and "the version told by the most popular person at the party becomes the truth."
At issue, as far as I could tell, was the provenance of a certain riff and a factual error about where one album was recorded. This turned into a short Mamet play of clipped overlapping debate about the riff until moderator Ben Raynor put his hands in the air and asked the audience to settle the question about Newfield and "how he comes off in the book."
They clapped and shouted to everyone to move on.
The panel did move on, discussing the therapeutic value of the book as, when Berman was collecting the interviews, Broken Social Scene was in a fit of acrimony and solo projects.
Before any moment like this could happen, Newfield came back into the discussion with an oddly conciliatory accusation towards Berman, "I think you had a sensitivity to competing interests, but there are hidden agendas and you've been duped."
There was a loud wallop of mic feedback at which point Drew announced, "That's God telling us to move on to Q&A."
There were several basic fan questions until a woman in front of me asked Drew a doozy: "What did you think of The Angel Riots?"
The Angel Riots is a novel by Ibi Kaslik from last year that was whispered to be a roman-a-clef about Broken Social Scene and its satellite states.
Drew answered persuasively and ended up closing the evening on a needed sanguine note.
"I grew up with Ibi" he said. "She's a sister to me and I brought her into the Broken Social Scene world. I read it. I enjoyed it but her publicists did her no justice by suggesting it was based on us. I thought I would see us in it more, but it's a testament to the book that other people didn't see it [either.]rdquo;