Rob McLean

I am a singer-songwriter from Guelph, Ontario. I have been playing shows since 1990 and releasing recordings since 1991. It has been a long time since the release of Albion Capone (2002), but after a decade of allowing dust to accumulate on my guitars, I rediscovered why it's good to keep writing and recording. The release of If It's Too Loud, You're Too Old under the name Jon D'Eaux and the Sibling Rivals kicked things back into motion, and Play Pause Stop was released in 2015.


PPS head shot


PPS cover



Play Pause Stop is the seventh collection of original songs that I have released since 1992. I have also appeared as a "sideman” with several bands over those twenty-two years, appearing on an additional five albums and in hundreds of live shows.

Play Pause Stop is my first release since 2002’s Albion Capone. It tells the story of  "growing up” over those years while learning that growing up doesn’t have to mean giving up on things… well, like songwriting and recording.

A career revival of sorts started with my 2014 kids’ album If It’s Too Loud, You’re Too Old, released under the nom-de-plume "Jon D’Eaux and the Sibling Rivals.” It featured songs that were written by my three children and was a quirky project that emphasized fun – providing a reminder that music-making should be fun, if nothing else. That fact may have been lost on me through earlier years of trying to earn a living as a musician.

Play Pause Stop is a "full band” recording, though solo performance has always been my preference. My first album was a "solo electric” performance recorded at Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton, leading to the oft-repeated catchphrase (provided by CFNY’s Dave Bookman) that I was "southwestern Ontario’s answer to Billy Bragg.” I frequently gigged around Ontario, mostly opening for all sorts of cool bands, accompanied only by my overly abused vintage German electric guitar and a small tweed Fender amplifier.

I fronted a band called The Imploders in the mid-90s, which did implode in short order - but we made enough of a dent to earn some campus radio airplay across Canada. I also recorded and released a bunch of songs with the shadowy band "Blüt,” and later as "Pop,” but band maintenance proved too tricky. As BTO warned,  "chances are you'll go far if you get in with the right bunch of fellows.” The problem is those fellows can be tough to find. It was simpler to be DIY across the board – at least, that was my path. I have washed around for years as a "sideman” with many bands, but I never gave those gigs the credence they deserved.

The solo approach led to Albion Capone, a full-band album that I performed, recorded and mixed entirely at home. That process was repeated over a decade later with the fictional "Jon D’Eaux and the Sibling Rivals” and again with Play Pause Stop. There are certainly more sociable ways to record an album, but Randy Bachman was right – and if you can’t find the "right bunch of fellows,” you have to pay them. Who’s kidding who? There’s no money in music anymore, so I chose to do everything myself rather than leave these songs on a dusty shelf for the balance of my days. So, here we are.