Hamilton rock band Arkells released their fifth album, Rally Cry, late last year to critical acclaim. This year, the band is setting its eyes on the road as Arkells embark on multiple legs of touring, including a recently wrapped Canadian stretch that took them to some of the country’s biggest stadiums.
CBC Music caught up with frontman Max Kerman on a rare day off before Arkells took on a string of U.S. dates to discuss what he’s been up to, offstage. While Kerman admits that his attention mostly goes to basketball when he has free time — he’s a hopeful Toronto Raptors fan who has high hopes for the team’s postseason run — he does manage to squeeze in other forms of entertainment including movies, TV shows and attending other big concerts.
Below are Kerman’s latest favourites.
Last great film you watched?
“I saw the [Whitney Houston] documentary. That got me thinking a lot. I don’t typically watch a ton of rock documentaries, that’s not something that I really seek out, but my girlfriend was like, ‘You’ve got to watch this Whitney documentary, it’s really heartbreaking.’ We’ve covered Whitney Houston, but I didn’t know a ton about her. It’s really interesting and it’s really sad. It’s on Netflix, I recommend that one.”
Last great book you read?
“The last book I read is called Red Notice. It’s a non-fiction book by a guy named Bill Browder and he is basically one of Putin’s worst enemies at this point. Browder’s American but he lived in Russia and he was an investment banker there. He was basically a whistleblower on the Russian government and the corruption there, to the point where his lawyer ended up getting killed by Putin and his cronies. He’s basically left the investment world and he’s made it his mission to hold Putin and the people responsible for the death of the lawyer accountable. I blew through the book."
Last TV show you binged?
“I loved season 1 of The Sinner. I just thought it was paced really well. You have sympathy for a lot of different characters for a lot of different reasons. I haven’t watched season 2 yet, but I heard it’s pretty good, too.”
Last song that made you cry?
“I don’t know if this is the last song that made me cry, but I heard it the other day and it reminded me that I cried listening to it so I’ll just go with that one: Joel Plaskett’s cover of ‘Hard Times.’ It’s an old traditional song. The lyrics are just so good. It’s written by Stephen Foster and the lyrics go: ‘Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears/ while we all sup sorrow with the poor/ there’s a song that will linger forever in our ears.’ Ugh! Such a heartbreaking line!"
Last great concert you attended?
“I saw Jay Z and Beyoncé, I got hooked up in Cleveland and I was literally like, 10 feet away from the stage. It was insane. I also saw Bruno Mars in Toronto. That was spectacular. And we saw Arcade Fire in England, that show was amazing.”
Last great purchase?
“Some good jackets. I’ve been on the hunt for some funky jackets. I have a funny jacket that gets a lot of compliments. It kind of looks like a denim jacket, but it’s a painting of the city of San Francisco all over the jacket and people always love it. The story with that one is that our manager called me and she was like, ‘I’m in a vintage store, there’s a jacket that I think you’ll like. It might be a little small on you so I’m a little unsure, but there’s a really cool-looking hipster dude with tattoos on his neck who’s following me around the store, waiting for me to put it down. So I think you want it.’ And I was like, OK if that guy wants it, I want it! It was a good find.”
Last thing that made you angry?
“Usually, it’s just not having enough time in a day to move at the pace I want to. I have a tendency to cram things in and then I get mad at myself because I’m like, oh crap, I need a 20-minute nap and I can’t have it and now I’m going to be grumpy.”