Words / Photos: Joanne Olivier
Video: Kirsten Siebert
3pm Melville is like hobo time.
Glen Is tired today. He’s walking in with “I have to be here” shoes. His new ‘Lost&Found’ guitar is like an appendage he carries around with him for safety.
“Do you want a whiskey?” “No. I’ve given up alcohol for lent”.
His eyes speak worlds, slightly hazy from the weight of the world and the hangover. White painted L&F on his guitar case. It sounds all hunky dory, being in a successful band for your whole life, not having to wear a lanyard around your neck or get to work at 8 30am, but it doesn’t stop you from being a human being with issues and late nights tussling sheets and anxiety.
“The Parlotones were never always successful, we worked endless nights playing stages to empty bars. I studied to be a teacher, “Glen says’. Imagine how different my life would be now, If I had taken that path?”
In The Parlotones, Glen is the shy guy. He looks slick in his ties and his keyboard smiles. Once married, now divorced, the reminder remains on his wedding finger in ink. There has always been a shy and endearing allure about the man who stands behind the keyboard and doesn’t say much. I sense the calm we see harbors a different kind of storm. But even though confused, he is steadfast in his self-knowledge.
“I’ve recently gone through another break up and I have come to realize I want to be alone. I’ve jumped from relationship to relationship and because I don’t want to hurt anyone, I remain in these relationships I shouldn’t. I feel free now. I don’t have any ties, any wife or kids. I believe that I need to live now, in the moment, because I could die at anytime, and not have really lived”.
Like a Carpe Diem free soul, Glen has found a mindfulness and self-truth. “I know I never want to get married again, and I’m fine with that”.
I can’t take my eyes off the brown seeded prayer beads and the Namasté neck tattoo. It’s a private intimate interview with Glen. He hasn’t rehearsed his answers and doesn’t pretend. At moments his eyes dart and his lips quiver, under the weight of his answers. Glen gave up alcohol for a year after being on tour for half of his life. A song from the new album is called ‘Turn Back Time’ and talks about drunken stupors and irreversible mistakes.
Lyric: “If I could take back all the things that I did when I was drunk, the weight would be more than Hercules himself could bare. I know that things could’ve turned out differently my love, if I hadn’t simply drowned out every care.”
“I went through a patch of many years of excess and realizing that if I didn’t stop it was going to destroy me,” says Glen. “In the beginning it was hard to give up, but it became easier. I met a girl who helped me through the process. We gave up drinking together”.
“On tour, if guys sent drinks to the stage, I would make sure mine was an orange juice or water, he says.
It was during this period that Glen shied away from socializing and would spend his time in the tour hotel room writing a lot of self-indulgent miserable songs. A lot of those songs made it onto the new Lost&Found album. A cathartic, lonely and yet necessary period for Glen.
“When I stopped drinking, I started to feel much better. I was doing less stupid things and remembering more, and I found that after each month I was sober and clean, things started appearing in my life that I had been looking for for years. The longer I focused on being better, the more doors opened for me, spiritually and personally”.
After that year of not drinking, Glen decided to pick up the habit again. Nothing better than a cold pint of draught on a hot summers day.
“I basically took off from where I left off”, he adds. “I thought it would be easier to have that control, but a friend of mine always said – your addictions never go away, if you ignore them, they are still in the lounge doing push ups waiting for you to start again. Now I need to find a new balance. But I don’t think I have one. I am either all in, or all out”, he smiles.
We laugh together, with a whiskey in front of me and rockabilly blues playing in the background, it’s tough to not give in to being a hedonist. It’s like Sisyphus pushing a giant bottle of tequila up that mountain. From chaos to peace, to chaos to peace.
Glen’s new band ‘Lost&Found’ started out as a small singer songwriter project with Glen, alone, but after writing the album he lost passion for it. “I didn’t feel like it was going anywhere and yet didn’t feel like forming a whole new band, so when I met Jason (drummer from Black Cat Bones) for coffee one day, we decided to make it a 2 piece and it just worked. Now it’s like a roller coaster, we have just finished our first tour”.
So who is the real Glen?
“I feel like I’m supposed to be a monk in a monastery, but before that happens I’m playing out these other roles… band member, rock star, etc. so I am torn between two very different sides. I have a very spiritual side, but for now I am just being me.
It’s ok, I believe I need to see this side through first and see what happens next.”