“Where do we go from here?” That was the question on a lot of minds after hearing about the demise of Sunfish. Many bands come and go, but Sunfish came in kicking ass and went on kicking ass with every performance. From down home to down under, their videos and recordings attracted fans from coast to coast and beyond. Sunfish had carved out a niche for themselves that has not been duplicated or mimicked on the Island since. In 1996 artistic differences caused the outfit to run aground and their fans were left in the lurch, holding on dearly to their copies of the band’s last recording, Mola mola. Mike Morrison took up the skins with Mastadon Ridge, Scott Brown eventually hit the books at St. F.X. and Tommy Fidgen landed in Toronto.
In Toronto, Tom got himself a job, reconnected with Sydney natives Tony Boone and Douglas September, who were working with Rita MacNeil’s management Lupins Productions, and carried on with his music. Now he’s back with a new recording, a six song EP entitled Human By Trade.
“I had been living in Toronto for two years and Tony Boone had been there for four. He was working with Lupins and Douglas September, another good friend. I had been hanging out with Tony and he kept telling me I had to do a demo.” So Tom made his way back to Cape Breton last February to work on some songs which he recorded with Carlo Spinazzola and Ed Woodsworth at their house in Big Pond.
“We had approached Wade Langham (of Lupins) in the past, and he said he would love to work together, but Rita MacNeil was keeping them extremely busy. It wasn’t until Rita heard the demo and said ‘get him in the studio’ that things started to really come together. It was a last minute thing. I had booked two-and-a-half-days in the studio so because of the time constraints, I decided to play all the instruments.” And with Steve Gaetz adding some percussion, Human By Trade was born, “inspired by those sessions” in Big Pond and released by Lupins Productions.
Langham refers to Human By Trade as Tommy’s “calling card”. I would look at it as an invitation to a party that is filled with familiar faces and scattered with potential new friends. It is a strong beginning and comes complete with a sense of accomplishment that will last through the night.
Recently, Fidgen has resurfaced in Sydney. With a couple of gigs lined up and this new recording to promote, it might appear that Tommy was back in town on business, but really, he came to Cape Breton to be with best friends.
“In Toronto, I work at writing and music, and I have my day job. I get to play the occasional gig and Douglas September is there. I have great friends in Toronto, but there are things that happen here that don’t happen there. I listen to a little bit of everything musically…but most of my influences are Carlo, Gordie (Sampson), and Dave (Mahalik). These are the characters in my songs.”
It’s obvious that Tom is genuinely excited about sharing his new music with a home town crowd. Being back in Cape Breton also gives him a chance to jam with the people from his musical past.
“The live band consists of Carlo on guitar, Scott Brown on bass, and Matt Foulds on drums. I have a great partnership with Lupins. I really benefit from all the people there and their perspectives. There is a website in the works… and we have been talking about distribution. And then there is playing and touring. I really want to play around the area until the winter comes.”
Tom is happy with the way things are going. “I really like the entire process… from writing and creating to recording and mastering. It has been sent to college radio and is being tracked as we speak. There will probably be a Toronto release, and down the road a full length album… I should be back here again before too long.”
We will be waiting!