Varying levels of attraction

Jonas & The Massive Attraction frontman Jonas Tomalty loves playing at outdoor music festivals — even when most of the audience isn’t there to hear him.

Jonas Tomalty

Jonas Tomalty

Jonas & The Massive Attraction frontman Jonas Tomalty loves playing at outdoor music festivals — even when most of the audience isn’t there to hear him.

The way Tomalty sees it, he has “different levels” of fans — from rabid ones who have all of his albums, to casual ones who might have only heard one song on the radio.

He also has non-fans who are only at a festival to see another performer.

Tomalty had experience trying to win audiences over when his Montreal group opened for Van Halen on a North American tour.

“Van Halen fans are classically tough on opening acts,” he recalled. “And most of them had never heard of us.”

But he believes the trick to performing for a tough crowd is to play just hard enough — “somewhere between trying too hard and not giving a s–t.”

Care too little and the audience will get hostile. Care too much and you come off as desperate — “and that’s never cool,” Tomalty added, with a laugh.

The singer is looking forward to playing on Saturday night, Aug. 13, at the Central Music Festival, just north of Red Deer, because of the chance to “convert’” new fans.

There’s also the open-air experience. “We’re a cold country and you spend most of the year playing in small clubs, avoiding the cold,” he added, so summer provides a chance to meet fans in a more laid back, outdoor setting. “And we have a lot of fun backstage with other bands.”

Jonas & The Massive Attraction is becoming known to even casual rock radio listeners for the singles Big Slice and Seize the Day.

Big Slice, with its message of grabbing more from life, peaked at No. 7 on the Canadian rock charts earlier this year. Seize the Day is creeping towards the Top 20, said Tomalty, whose band has gone from being a five-piece to a quartet.

“We lost our keyboardist,” he said — a turn of events that’s led Tomalty to pick up the rhythm guitar to play it really loud.

He admitted, “I’m not a man of detail. My bandmates tease me about playing with mitts.”

But Tomalty is a man who knows his place in the scheme of things — and it’s as part of a band.

In a previous incarnation, he was simply known as Jonas and had a big following in Montreal. He once played to 7,000 fans in the Bell Centre, home of the Montreal Canadiens.

His debut, near platinum-selling self-titled album featured the hit Edge of Seventeen and was nominated for a Juno Award in 2005, when Tomalty was also nominated for New Artist of the Year.

But the singer confessed that he felt uncomfortable about his bandmates, including his best friend and “musical brother,” guitarist Corey Diabo, going unacknowledged.

“I always felt very strongly that I’ve never been a solo project” — so the band became The Massive Attraction.

Tomalty admitted it’s a different approach than that taken by a lot of frontmen, who eventually leave a group to become solo artists.

“I guess I’m the opposite.”

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bloc Québécois MP Sebastien Lemire rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 12, 2021. A Bloc Québécois MP has apologized for taking a screen shot of a Liberal MP who inadvertently appeared nude during virtual proceedings in the House of Commons last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bloc Québécois MP apologizes for taking nude photo of Liberal MP William Amos

‘I have no idea how that photo made its way into the media’

FILE - This Sunday, June 25, 2017, file photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator. Honda says that a faulty driver’s air bag blew apart in a crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company wouldn’t give details of the Jan. 9, 2021, crash near Charlotte, North Carolina, nor would it identify the person who was killed. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
South Carolina driver killed by exploding air bag inflator

Drivers can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled

Hospital staff shift the body of a COVID-19 patient on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance at a specialized COVID-19 hospital in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Low on beds, oxygen, India adds global high 314K virus cases

Government rushing oxygen tankers to replenish hospital supplies

A traveler wearing a protective mask, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, walks through the nearly empty JetBlue terminal at Logan Airport in Boston, Friday, May 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa
JetBlue expanding wings with service to Vancouver from New York and Boston

JetBlue will have to compete with Canadian airlines

Green Party MP Elizabeth May arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. An emergency parliamentary debate that was supposed to be a forum for cross-party collaboration on better ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has devolved into another round of partisan finger-pointing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emergency parliamentary debate on pandemic devolves into partisan finger-pointing

‘Let’s work together instead of playing terrible politics in this debate’

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Linda Tomlinson
Gardening: Leave the lawn until the soil is dry

Spring is arriving, Alberta style with warm days, cold days and snow.… Continue reading

Silent protests were held recently in response to Red Deer Public Schools’ decision to reject a Pride Week in favour of a Diversity Week. Some former employees at Red Deer Public are saying the decision is misguided. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Letter: School board silencing Pride Week concern

While it has been our practice to not comment on matters arising… Continue reading

Anderson scores twice as Canadiens down Oilers 4-3

Anderson scores twice as Canadiens down Oilers 4-3

New York Liberty guard Kia Nurse (5) shoots next to Indiana Fever's Kamiah Smalls during the first half of a WNBA basketball game Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. Nurse isn't just one of Canada's finest female basketball players, she's becoming a popular voice of the game as well. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Phelan M. Ebenhack
Canadian basketball star Nurse is carving out space in sports broadcasting at just 25

Canadian basketball star Nurse is carving out space in sports broadcasting at just 25

Most Read