What: Kim Mitchell with High Noon to Midnight
When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m. (doors at 7)
Where: Mary Winspear Centre, 2243 Beacon Ave., Sidney
Tickets: $42.50 at 250-656-0275 or online at marywinspear.ca
Kim Mitchell has always been an ideal interview subject. He has good quotes, tells funny stories, presents himself well.
During the past decade, he has become as good at doing interviews as he is at giving them. Mitchell, 62, has been on-air from 2-6 p.m. each weekday at Toronto rock station Q107 since 2004, during which time he has interviewed everyone from Sammy Hagar and Robert Plant to Tommy Lee and Alice Cooper. And he has done so knowing full well what it feels like to be on the other side of the microphone.
Some rock stars — whom Mitchell declines to name — give him unnecessary attitude, not knowing that he is a performer himself. Does he correct them by pointing out career credentials of his own, which include 17 Juno Award nominations, multiple chart-topping singles as a solo artist, and a legendary run with 1970s rockers Max Webster? Never.
“There’s moments where you get pissed off and there’s moments where you want to quit. We’re human beings. But music brings me joy. As soon as there’s a guitar in my hand, there’s joy.”
The Sarnia, Ont., native takes periodic breaks from his day job to go on tour, such as the B.C. run that brings him to Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre tonight. He won’t have to balance radio and the road for much longer. Mitchell said he is done next year where his radio career is concerned, as he has just one year left on his contract with the Corus-owned station.
“It has been a lot of fun. It is performance-based to me, still. It’s challenging and fun and creative, but you have to have respect for the craft. You really have to work at it.”
When he hangs up the headphones, Mitchell will assuredly lead a different life than most semi-retirees. He doesn’t see himself giving up on music any time soon, but he’s also unsure of what awaits, other than walks with his dog, Webster.
He likely won’t return to the studio — he hasn’t made a new record since 2007, and plays almost exclusively his old hits on tour — but he will never stop playing.
Even if the lanky rocker behind the Can-rock hits Patio Lanterns, Go For Soda, Rock ‘n’ Roll Duty, and I Am a Wild Party ever makes good on his longtime promise of moving to Victoria, he doesn’t plan on falling into the laidback lifestyle of the West Coast.
“Let’s say I did move to Victoria. That doesn’t mean I’ll never play again,” Mitchell said.
“I can still go do gigs somewhere. I’m not going to be the guy who retires and works in the garden.”
Life got heady for a while in his ’80s heyday, Mitchell said. Girls, parties, never-ending tours with the likes of Bryan Adams, Rush and Kiss kept him out and about for years on end.
He has made lasting friendships along the way (singer-bassist Peter Fredette, his longtime sideman, has been with Mitchell since 1983), but he has also made some mistakes. Despite the up-and-down, ebb-and-flow nature of being a rock musician, Mitchell was always able to enjoy the ride.
“There were moments of chaos, absolutely. And life still has those moments for me. But I’ve always tried to take a moment. If I’m in Saskatoon for a gig, I’ll set my alarm so that I get up early, and I’ll go for a walk.”
Mitchell, who “has some arrhythmia problems,” said his cardiologist gave him a clean bill of health recently. He’s not entirely in the clear, but he’s content with the way he lives his life on and off stage.
“I’ve got a bit of a gut. But I’ve earned it.”