Vancouver’s Sumner Brothers have a tenacious DIY attitude that is truly rivaled by few; whether they are slapping signage on busy thoroughfares or offsetting their nightclub gigs with heartwarming house shows – whenever the Sumners blow into your town, people take notice. For that very reason, their concept for this session was, for us, a sneak attack of sorts. In paraphrase they said: ‘we’ve got a song and we want to play it in front of the historic Kimball Organ at the Cantos Foundation this weekend’. Taking into consideration that we hadn’t released, let alone filmed a video in quite some time – this was, for us, time to get back on the wagon.
For the song, Lose Your Mind, you see Brian and Bob Sumner joined by Brandon Smith – a resident Cantos historian. His way with the keys had us endlessly entertained with renditions of various Mario Bros themes in between takes. As for the brothers, they were on the backswing of their cross-Canada tour in support of their spring release, I love you, Smile.
During the silent movie era and into the early 1930s, theatre organs were built in large numbers in the US and (fewer) in the United Kingdom. As in a traditional pipe organ, a theatre organ operates on pneumatics: When depressed, a key sends a signal for a valve to open in a tube and allows a puff of air to engage the instrument. A blower generates the airflow, and the large bellows fill with air.
Cantos’ theatre organ, built by Kimball in 1924, features marimbas, drums, chimes, a bird whistle and more instruments all built into one. It was first installed in St. Helen’s Theatre in Chehalis, Washington, then in a theatre in Seattle. Next it was transferred to the Fox Theatre in Victoria, then to Vancouver, and finally to Carol Otto in St. Albert, Alberta. There it served as her private practice instrument. Mrs. Otto donated this amazing instrument to Cantos in 2001.