The Consumer Goods

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The Consumer Goods
The Consumer Goods, Air Conditioned, Press Photo.jpg
Background information
Origin Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Genres Indie rock
Years active 2005 (2005)–2012
Labels Grumpy Cloud Records
Associated acts The Horribly Awfuls, True Hussars, Boats, Paper Moon, The Weakerthans, Propagandhi
Website Official Website
Members Tyler Shipley
Gareth Williams
Ryan McVeigh
Matt McLennan
Matt Hildebrand

The Consumer Goods was a Canadian indie rock/pop band originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their politically charged music earned both praise and contempt, and made them controversial figures in the Canadian indie rock scene in the 2000s. Between 2005 and 2012, they released four records and scored two significant hits including "…Sam Katz," a polemic against Winnipeg's mayor that went into heavy rotation on local radio, much to Sam Katz's embarrassment,[1] and "Hockey Night in Afghanada," an anthemic call for the separation of hockey and war-mongering that "managed to thoroughly embarrass the folks at CBC Sports when they submitted the song to CBC's contest to replace the Hockey Night In Canada Theme."[2] The band also toured Canada extensively, graced the cover of Uptown Magazine, charted in over 50 independent radio stations in Canada and the US, and were nominated for two awards (including one of CBC's annual listener-selected "Bucky Awards").[3] Principally powered by activist/teacher Tyler Shipley, the band relocated to Toronto in the late 2000s and released its final album there, produced by Dale Morningstar and featuring Dave Clark and Bob Egan. They are often compared to other politically minded acts from Winnipeg, most notably The Weakerthans and Propagandhi. The Consumer Goods appeared on the Winnipeg-based Grumpy Cloud Records.

Political and cultural references[edit]

Many of the Consumer Goods' songs refer to contemporary and historical politics and culture. For example:

  • the famous U.S. supreme court case of Roe V. Wade is used as a backdrop to the pro-choice anthem "Rovie Wade"
  • Canadian Conservative hockey pundit Don Cherry is the central character in satirical pop anthem "Hockey Night in Afghanada"
  • Malcolm X's speech about violent and non-violent revolution is featured on "Christmas in Camden"
  • Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz is mocked for his repressive civic record in "And The Final Word is Yours, Sam Katz"
  • the 1898 invasion of Cuba by the United States in the Spanish–American War, and subsequent imperialist domination of the island until 1959, is referenced in "Gunboat Diplomacy"
  • "Lord's Not On My Side" appears to flow directly from Bob Dylan's "With God On Their Side" and makes reference to Condoleezza Rice's comment in 2006, "may god forgive the terrorists"
  • "The Terminator Rules" is a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Hollywood actor who played the role of The Terminator in the 1990s and who now holds the office of California Governor. The song references his aggressive policies towards undocumented foreign workers in that state. The song refers to the trailer park Duroville.[4]
  • Mao Zedong's aphorism "Revolution is no tea party" is featured on the track of the same name
  • a speech by Dick Cheney is appropriated and edited in a mocking tribute to Cheney, George W. Bush, Colin Powell, and Donald Rumsfeld in "Eat a Dick, Cheney"
  • the phrase "camels coming home to roost" on "London Bombs" refers either to Ward Churchill's controversial essay On the Justice of Roosting Chickens or Malcolm X's commentary on the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy
  • commentary on the Devil's Lake outlet controversy and criticism of Premier of Manitoba Gary Doer on "Good Thing (for Bourgeois Nationalism)"
  • the 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon is the subject of "Lebanon Song"
  • Winston Churchill's unfortunate description of Iraq as an "ungrateful volcano" when Iraqis refused to comply with British subjugation after the First World War is the subject of the song of the same name
  • the gradual demise of the Montréal Expos on "C'est la Vie Westerne"
  • the story of the ill-fated Taiping Rebellion is articulated on the track "Taiping Riverboat"
  • author of the U.S. Patriot Act, John Ashcroft, is skewered in "Happy Bidet (Let The Balled Eagle Soar)"

Band members[edit]

The only permanent member of The Consumer Goods was Tyler Shipley, who currently lives in Toronto where he is a published academic writing on the global financial crisis, labour and social movements, the politics of professional sport, and Canadian support for the 2009 military coup in Honduras.[5] He is also a political activist in the CUPE 3903 union at York University. Other members of the band included:

  • Jesse Carlson
  • Jules Cosby
  • Greg Flemming
  • Gareth Williams
  • Ryan McVeigh (also the producer)
  • Matt McLennan
  • Matt Hildebrand
  • Brian Okamato
  • Ian Jeffrey
  • Ken Phillips
  • Michael Kirkpatrick
  • Chris Hiebert
  • Allison Shevernoha

Guest musicians have included:

  • Andrew Workman
  • Mat Klachefsky
  • Billy Western
  • Dave Clark
  • Bob Egan


  • ...But We Don't Shoot Pistols, Grumpy Cloud Records, 2011
  • Sentinel Road, Tyler Shipley solo record, Grumpy Cloud Records, 2010
  • The Anti-Imperial Cabaret, Grumpy Cloud Records, 2008
  • Happy Bidet, Grumpy Cloud Records, 2007
  • Pop Goes the Pigdog!, Grumpy Cloud Records, 2006

See also[edit]


External links[edit]