24 years since their last gig, and 32 years since they were originally formed, it was finally time for Mouth Congress to come back to where it all started, The Rivoli on Queen Street West. An openly gay punk band at a time when no other existed, Paul and Scott spent a year writing songs before their first gig, opening for Bruce McCulloch at The Rivoli. Since that time both Bellini and Scott went of to become part of the Kids In The Hall, a widely famous and cult classic Canadian comedy troupe and show. So what inspired the duo to start? What led to the name Mouth Congress and why now? The Scene reached out to get all these answers
TheSceneInTo: What inspired you to start Mouth Congress? And why a Punk band? – you don’t seem like a punk rocker
Bellini: I wanted to start a band, but I can’t sing or play a musical instrument. In November 1984 I rented a beatbox from Long and McQuade just for fun. Scott Thompson and Rob Rowatt (our guitar player) came over and they were equally fascinated by the beatbox. We started jamming and four hours later we had written over two dozen ditties, and there was no turning back. We veered towards punk because that was the first DIY musical style that proved you didn’t need to sing or play well in order to record songs, but we were never into that ‘punk’ style exclusively. We just liked the anger and humour of punk rock, which comes out in our live performances.
TheSceneInTo: KITH are iconic and still referenced today, what makes the comedy/ appeal of the show last for so many years?
Bellini: It could be argued that the Kids were ahead of their time, but the show was also designed to be timeless. It touches on topics that have always concerned people, and it avoided topical references (i.e., never a parody and other than Queen Elizabeth, no impersonations). It helps that the show is still in syndication, and it helps that the Kids still tour.
TheSceneInTo: It’s amazing to see the amount of Canadian talent within the global music/acting scene. What do you think makes Canadian talent stand out?
Bellini: I think Canadian talent stands out because it has to – we’re always under the shadow of American entertainment, so we have to work harder to succeed. It helps that most Canadian stars in Canada never have to deal with paparazzi or gossip rags, so we can concentrate on our creativity instead.
TheSceneInTo: You haven’t performed in a long time, was there ever a time, you wished you’d gone into music full-time?
Bellini: At the time, being the late 80s and early 90s, I couldn’t help but fantasize about being a rock star. Most comedians did. (I always found it interesting that the Kids packaged themselves more like a rock band instead of a comedy troupe.) But I have no regrets. Comedy has a broader appeal, anyhow, and it’s way easier to do at this age.
TheSceneInTo: Why now? Why reunite the band? Is this a precursor to a larger tour? Will we see you again at NXNE?
Bellini: Four years ago I began digitizing our songs and live videos from the 80s, and it made me long for the old days. I suggested to Scott that we make a documentary about the band, but he felt that we needed to perform again to put it in perspective. So, in our late 50s, we decided to do our first show since 1992. It’s exhausting, but fronting a live band gives us an energy we forgot we had. And hopefully, we’ll get a really cool documentary out of it.
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About The Author

René Samulewitsch
CEO: Chief Entertainment Officer

René Samulewitsch @VIPRene is a globetrotter with a hunger for adventure, but at heart, he will always be an urban tourist with big love for Toronto. When not busy with his day job as a PR strategist, he spends his time exploring the city’s culture and entertainment venues. Rene has a passion for sharing experiences, and truly believes in the power of word of mouth. Favourite place in Toronto: Kensington Market in the Summer as there’s always something new to discover. Queen Street for the urban vibe and King Street to let loose and party.

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