|This biographical article relies too much on references to primary sources. (August 2015)|
Hawksley Workman, 2010
March 4, 1975 |
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Cabaret, pop rock, glam rock|
|Labels||Isadora Records Inc.|
Hawksley Workman is a Canadian rock singer-songwriter who has garnered critical acclaim for his blend of cabaret pop and glam rock. Workman has released eleven full-length albums throughout his career. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, drums, bass, keyboards and singing on his records and often switching between those instruments when playing live.
Workman is a prolific artist, usually writing, recording, mastering and releasing entire albums in the span of a few weeks. He explains, "A lot of artists I know they get a year and a half away from a record they've just made it's like ... 'Oh ... it's terrible I hate that thing,' ya know? When I record [a] record, I never take more than a day per song... so by the time the record is mixed, finished, complete, done... I'm still in a honeymoon with the record ..."
Workman produces and engineers much of his own recording, and has produced albums for other artists as well.
- 1 Periods and albums
- 1.1 Beginnings (1998)
- 1.2 For Him and the Girls (1999–2000)
- 1.3 (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves (2001–2002)
- 1.4 Lover/Fighter (2003–2005)
- 1.5 Treeful of Starling (2006)
- 1.6 Between the Beautifuls (2008)
- 1.7 Los Manlicious (2008)
- 1.8 Milk and Meat (2010)
- 1.9 Full Moon Eleven (2011)
- 1.10 Songs from the god that comes (2013)
- 1.11 Old Cheetah (2015)
- 2 Hawksley's band
- 3 Guitar equipment
- 4 Discography
- 5 Production work
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Periods and albums
Workman was born in Huntsville in the Muskoka region of Ontario, attending Almaguin Highlands Secondary School and later Huntsville High School. He later moved south, to Toronto, to pursue his musical career.
In 1998 Workman says he was, "just beginning to find my voice." He recorded first in the front entrance of a friend's studio, then moved his studio "to the basement of a friend's recently deceased grandmother on Hillsdale Avenue" – this basement is where he recorded his early albums For Him and the Girls and (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves, as well as material that was released several years later on Before We Were Security Guards and Puppy (A Boy's Truly Rough).
In that studio, Hawksley Workman engineered and produced albums for other musicians. He worked with many artists during this time, which played a role in the development of his production skills early in his career.
For Him and the Girls (1999–2000)
Hawksley Workman released his first album in 1999 on his own label, Isadora Records and through Loose Music in Europe. This album, titled, For Him and the Girls, earned him comparisons to the likes of Tom Waits, Rheostatics and Harry Nilsson.
Workman has been known for his unusual and creative promotional materials as well as his music. Around the time of his debut release, he published a number of letters to "Isadora", a fictional lover, in the classified section of Toronto's NOW. (These letters were later published by ECW Press as the book Hawksley Burns for Isadora.)
In 2000, Workman collaborated on an album called Chrome Reflection, credited to a band named Bird which also featured fellow Canadians Jason Collett and Andrew Cash. The album also featured performances by most of Workman's then current live band.
(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves (2001–2002)
Workman's second album was released in 2001 through Isadora Records/Universal Music Canada. The album, titled (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves, became Workman's breakthrough record both in Canada and Europe, spawning the singles "Striptease" and "Jealous of Your Cigarette".
His record company press kit for The Delicious Wolves included such fanciful biographical details as sailing through the air on a kite, and learning music while working as a janitor at a tap dance academy.
In 2002, Workman was awarded the Juno Award for Best New Solo Artist and also received the award for Best Video for "Jealous of Your Cigarette".
Lover/Fighter followed in 2003; the album included the hits "We Will Still Need a Song", "Smoke Baby", "Anger as Beauty", "Even an Ugly Man" and "No Reason to Cry Out Your Eyes (On the Highway Tonight)". The album was recorded in an old schoolhouse in Muskoka, which Workman converted into a recording studio.
"Anger As Beauty" was released in 2003 just prior to the LP release, Lover/Fighter. It includes a radio edit of the single "Anger as Beauty", and "Love Will Tear Us Apart", a cover of Joy Division.
The same year Workman was featured, with recording artists Jully Black and Sam Roberts, in a multi- award-winning MuchMusic social-issue documentary "Inside Your Threads", by Tania Natscheff and Liz Marshall. Workman and Black travelled to Bangladesh to witness the living and working conditions of garment workers making clothes for the North American market.
In 2004 Workman also released Before We Were Security Guards, an album he originally recorded in 1998. The album was originally only available at live shows, but is now available to order through his website.
Treeful of Starling (2006)
Treeful of Starling was released on February 28, 2006, a quiet retreat compared to the more high energy Lover/Fighter.
In late 2006, Workman released two tour albums. "Puppy", which was recorded between "For Him and the Girls" and "(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves" and "My Little Toothless Beauties", recorded shortly after "Lover/Fighter" in 2004. They are only available for purchase at live shows, through the band's website, or on the internet as MP3 albums.
Between the Beautifuls (2008)
In May 2008 Workman contributed a track to Cartier's Cartier LOVE campaign, which has collected songs by many musicians from around the world. Workman's contribution is called "The Ground That We Stand On". In addition to that song, Workman also wrote and produced a duet performed by himself and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard. That song is called "The Strong Ones".
Los Manlicious (2008)
The record was recorded in the same sessions as Between the Beautifuls and Workman intended to release it first, but Universal Music preferred to release the mellower album first. Los Manlicious is a return to Hawksley's heavier rock roots, resembling his major label debut, (Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves more than his two previous albums, Treeful of Starling and Between the Beautifuls. As well as Workman himself (credited as HW), several producers were enlisted for this album: Martin "Doc" McKinney, Andre Wahl, Bob Ezrin, John Southworth, Ken Friesen, Matt DeMatteo, James Paul.
The first single from this album is "When You Gonna Flower?".
Los Manlicious' final track, "Fatty Wants to Dance" has been remixed by The Paronomasiac.
While on tour in Europe supporting the record, Workman recorded videos for eight of its 13 tracks. These videos were shot on location in various cities on the tour and can be watched on YouTube or on Workman's Facebook page.
Milk and Meat (2010)
Full Moon Eleven (2011)
Workman's Christmas record titled "Full Moon Eleven" was released in November 2011. "Full Moon Eleven" was a rerecording and re-imagining of his original Christmas album, "Almost a Full Moon," which was recorded in Paris and released 10 years prior.
Songs from the god that comes (2013)
In 2013 Workman released Songs from the god that comes. The album is the soundtrack to a stage performance he set up in Toronto in 2012.
Old Cheetah (2015)
On June 2, 2015, Workman released Old Cheetah. According to his website in a post to the Front page on May 25 by Alex Hudson, "The 12-song effort is theatrical and ambitious. Workman’s signature eclecticism shines brightly on songs like '1000 Miles of Atmosphere,' a nine-and-a-half-minute prog epic that’s stuffed with syncopated rhythms, star-dazzled synth twinkles and unpredictable sonic shifts." 
Workman has played live in many configurations. His minimal setup consists of a duo, with Todd Lumley ("Mr. Lonely") playing piano and keyboards alongside Hawksley Workman on the guitar and vocals. During his 2008 tour in support of "Between the Beautifuls" Workman played with a larger band and sang while switching between drums and guitar.
Workman's recent configuration for more traditional rock songs consists of the following:
- Hawksley Workman – vocals, guitar
- Todd Lumley ("Mr. Lonely") – piano, organ, keyboards
- Derrick Brady – bass guitar
- Jesse Zubot – guitar & violin
- Brad Kilpatrick – drums
Workman revealed his choices for guitars and equipment in an interview with Australian Guitar Magazine in January 2006.
- Squier 1952 Telecaster reissue – early 1980s model, JV series, made in Japan
- Gibson Les Paul Standard – early 1970s model, ebony finish, Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
- Gibson Les Paul Standard – early 1970s model, wine red finish, Bigsby vibrato tailpiece
Workman uses two amps on tour. The first amp is either a Fender Blues Deville, Fender Hot Rod Deville, or a Vox AC-30. Using an A/B/Y footswitch, he switches between this first amp and a Fender Pro Junior which he uses for guitar solos. He has stated that he uses no pedals with the exception of an MXR "Micro Amp" pedal used with the Vox AC-30.
|1999||For Him and the Girls||LP||Isadora Records|
|2001||For Him and the Girls – UK re-release||LP||Ba Da Bing!|
|2001||(Last Night We Were) The Delicious Wolves||LP||Isadora Records/Universal Music|
|2001||Almost a Full Moon||EP/LP||Isadora Records|
|2002||Almost a Full Moon – re-release, new cover art, new track list||LP||Isadora Records/Universal Music|
|2003||The Delicious Wolves – UK re-release with two bonus tracks and new cover art||LP||Ba Da Bing!|
|2003||Lover/Fighter||LP||Isadora Records/Universal Music|
|2003||Anger As Beauty – single||EP||Universal Music|
|September 8, 2003||We Will Still Need a Song – 4-track single from the Lover/Fighter album||EP||Universal Music|
|July 8, 2004||We Will Still Need a Song – 2-track single from the Lover/Fighter album, plus the music video, released in Europe||EP||Universal Music|
|2004||No Reason to Cry Out Your Eyes (On the Highway Tonight)||EP||Universal Music|
|2004||Live in Lille||DVD||Isadora Records/Universal Music|
|Recorded in 1998, released in 2004||Before We Were Security Guards*||LP||Isadora Records|
|February 28, 2006 (Canada)
March 13, 2006 (France)
|Treeful of Starling||LP||Isadora Records/Universal Music|
|2006||My Little Toothless Beauties* – not commercially released||LP||Isadora Records|
|2006||Puppy (a boy's truly rough)* – not commercially released||LP||Isadora Records|
|2008||Between the Beautifuls||LP||Universal Music|
|2008||Between the B-Sides* – not commercially released||EP||Isadora Records|
|2008||Los Manlicious – Released May 2008 in Europe and online on Hawksley's web site. Released in Canada on August 26, 2008.||LP||Universal Music|
|2009||For Him and the Girls- USA re-release – Released in the United States on November 17, 2009.||CD||Isadora Records|
|2011||Full Moon Eleven||CD||Isadora Records|
|2013||Songs from the god that comes||CD||Isadora Records|
|2015||Old Cheetah||CD||Six Shooter Records|
* Only available at live shows or through the band's website. Digital copies are available from Zunior.com.
Albums that Workman has produced for other artists include:
- John Southworth – Sedona Arizona – 1999
- Paul MacLeod – Close and Play – 2000
- The Cash Brothers – Phonebooth Tornado – 2000
- Tegan and Sara – This Business of Art – 2000
- The Cash Brothers – How Was Tomorrow – 2001
- Skydiggers – Bittersweet Harmony – 2002 – (produced 3 songs)
- Sarah Slean – Night Bugs – 2002
- Serena Ryder – Unlikely Emergency – 2003
- Jeremy Fisher – Goodbye Blue Monday – 2006
- Great Big Sea – Fortune's Favour – 2008
- Hey Rosetta! – Into Your Lungs – 2008
- Justin Rutledge – The Early Widows – 2010
- Jeremy Fisher – Flood – 2010
- Adaline – Modern Romantics – 2011
- Carleton Stone – Carleton Stone – 2011
- Workman, Hawksley interviews (audio, mp3, video)
- "Mounties Officially Announce 'Thrash Rock Legacy'". Exclaim. Retrieved 4 March 2014.
- Before We Were Security Guards liner notes
- Before We Were Security Guards liner notes
- Swihart, Stanton. "Album Review". Retrieved 2009-02-26.[dead link]
- Ocal, Arda Hawksley Workman: conflicted and unclassifiable
- Anger As Beauty booklet notes
- LizMars - Inside Your Threads
- Albums | HawksleyWorkman.com Store
- Puppy liner notes
- Los Manlicious liner notes
- "Discography". Official Community of Hawksley Workman. Archived from the original on April 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-16.