These boys rolled in town last Friday at The Media Club and tore the room a new one. Their latest album Cavalcade is out now and it’s one of the best album’s I’ve heard all year. Here’s our pre-show gab.
Weasel: Cavalcade, your third full-length effort drops this coming Tuesday, April 13th, 2010.
Chris: That’s us.
Weasel: I understand there were a lot of studio hours this time, presumably far more than previous efforts.
Scott: We did it in strange blocks, I guess. [Acknowledged by Chris] We were doing it when we were off of tours and we were touring quite frequently. Every time we could throw together and go into the studio—that just built up over a year, I guess.
Chris: I would not recommend recording that way to any band, ever. It kind of sucks. Obviously it’s great when you’re done with it, you know? You’re super proud of it, like this record, we are very proud of it but it’s pretty stressful to do it that way. You kind of have your two mind frames going: being in the studio while being creative, and then you have the mind-set of “oh, I’m about to go on tour for a month or two”, then after that we’re going to go back into to the studio. It’s kind of crazy but it worked out in the end.
[We were then interrupted by an undesirable, haggard-type who appreciated Scott’s Misfits back patch. It was explained that we were doing an interview and he asked “Do you want to know me, man? I’m a good singer and I play the drums.”]
Weasel: The album leaked but in a rather comical, cryptic fashion. The word is that the band was behind that.
Chris & Scott: [Laughs] Did you hear it??
Weasel: The tunes?
Scott: The fake leak, or whatever.
Weasel: No, I read about it.
Scott: See, I think that’s more artistic than what we did on the record, so…
Chris: For sure.
Scott: To be completely honest, we’re prouder of that…
Chris: We definitely knew it was going to happen. Everything leaks these days, it’s inevitable. We don’t really have a problem with it because you can’t control it, so why get upset about it? But yeah, our drummer Paul put together this fake record. It’s pretty hilarious. It’s like the first 10 or 15 seconds of the song or after the first vocal line of the song; it just cuts into some weird stuff.
Scott: Like, for example: a Take That song, dogs barking.
Chris: Meows, woofs. What else is there? Some awful…
Scott: Dave Chappelle stand-up mixed with some weird Russian guy singing “Let It Be.”
Chris: Yeah, yeah. That was pretty rad.
Scott: Yeah, just really, really strange things. We had to get our mind in a certain “way” [Laughs] We get high and then do this stuff.
Chris: [Laughs] It worked out pretty well, though. We have some friends that are torrent sharers so we gave it to them and they all put it up. They were forwarding us some replies from people. This one guy—our friend from Nebraska—wrote, when he posted it was “The drummer just dropped this off at my house.”
Weasel: Yeah, I saw that. [Laughs]
Chris: Yeah, which he did. It was pretty funny reading some of these responses. People were super pissed that they couldn’t download it, for free.
Weasel: I saw that; there were a lot of comments. I looked again today. Of the few places I looked, that [version] was the only one.
Chris: Again, we know it’s going to happen, we just figured… Like, Paul had a blast doin’ it and he’s so proud of it and we’re pretty proud of it too—the fake record. It was just a fun thing to do to try and combat [file sharing] as much as we could. We knew it was going to happen anyway, so whatever.
[The nearby patron who already interrupted us, shouted “Van Halen rules!,” ensuring we all heard it and all had quite the laugh]
Scott: Fuck yeah, they do!
Weasel: The transition from your early material to the later years heard the band’s overall sound change a fair bit. What new elements does Cavalcade bring to the table?
Chris: Uh… I don’t know. There’s some heavier songs and some softer songs. It’s kinda like we went not to the extremes but went a little further on each end. We never really set out to write songs a certain way. It’s really cheesy to say but they kinda just happen the way they do. I’d say we’ve achieved a pretty eclectic mix of songs.
Scott: We all listen to a very eclectic mix of music as whole.
Chris: Yeah, we definitely do.
Scott: Sitting in the van you’ll hear a whole bunch of different music so you can tell that we all have different influences and we all tie them together. And what comes out of that is the new record. We’re all really proud of it.
Weasel: Great. Looking at the track listing I noticed a song called “Carry The Banner” and personally the title reminded me immediately of the Pinhead Gunpowder album of the same name.
[Laughs from Chris and Scott]
Scott: You know what? We were gonna call our record that!
Chris: And then we found out about that. Because we never really ever got into that band. Or, at least I personally never got into ‘em. Nothing against them, I just never really listened to their stuff. Who did we hear that from? Dillinger Four? We had Dillinger Four sing on a song when they rode to Toronto to tour. They’re all buddies with those guys. And, I think that’s who told us. We were so bummed at first because we were so stoked on calling the record that.
Scott: Then we were gonna call the record Thriller but then he died.
Chris: And then we were gonna call it Friller and just make the cover us in puffy shirts.
Scott: We were just dwelling on the type of titles that had been used before. [Chris laughs]. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band came up once. I don’t know, I think Cavalcade’s good.
Chris: The Flatliners Comes Alive. That was another one.
Weasel: That would have been rad.
Chris: [Laughs] Yeah, we were bummed when we found that out, for sure. But for a song title, it doesn’t matter so we were still stoked on that. That song in particular is deeply rooted in the theory that punk bands are basically homeless people.
Scott: Especially when you tour nine months out of the year, like we do.
Chris: Like we do every year. Also the fact now that the times we live in are pretty reminiscent of the great depression. Kind of all that rolled into one weird theory.
Scott: Explain what “carry the banner” meant back then.
Chris: Oh yeah, so “carry the banner” was something that homeless folks would say when they had nowhere safe to sleep at night. If they couldn’t find a safe spot, they’d ride on a train or just sleep on the street somewhere. And they would say “I’m gonna go carry the banner tonight” meaning they were gonna try to get out of being murdered or locked up for a vagrant charge while sleeping outside in the street. Hobo slang. [Laughs]
Weasel: Liam from Cancer Bats lends some vocal duties on the record. Any other collaborations we can anticipate hearing?
Chris: There’s way too many, man.
Scott: Nuno, from A Wilhelm Scream sings on a track. We had the Dillinger Four boys come in and sing on a track. He had a lot of good friends from Toronto…the dudes from Hostage Life came down and sing on some songs, Junior Battles.
Chris: Permanent Bastards—another Toronto band. They just did all the gang vocals. And the Cancer Bats just did all the gang vocals with us too, so we had a bunch of people come in and do those. The original idea was to get Nuno—‘cause he has his own verse and was the original idea—then we got lucky with a bunch of friends’ bands that are from Toronto being home while we were recording. Like Cancer Bats are usually on tour but they were home so they came in to do some gang vocals. Dillinger Four rolled through Toronto which is really rare to happen, especially from them to come to Toronto, never mind anywhere. We got really lucky and it just ended up being all these people.
Scott: We just had to feed them a lot of booze then they would come and sing on our record. [Laughs] Except for Liam, he just wanted pop.
Chris: Liam just wanted to jump around and be stoked—PMA, you know?
Scott: I think he needed pop, too.
Chris: Yeah, some soda pop.
Weasel: I did hear that track with Nuno on it and I wasn’t sure if it was him or not. That’s a kickin’ song.
Chris: It’s funny because a lot of people we’ve talked to are like “he’s on that song?” and we’re like “yeah dude, he’s got such a distinct voice” but I guess we all have raspy voices, so to some… I don’t know. I was surprised to hear that. But yeah, that was awesome dude. He was the only guy that wasn’t in the studio with us. He was in Bedford, Massachusetts and Trevor from Wilhelm recorded it and we just sent him a ProTools track or whatever. It worked really awesome though. We’re so stoked to have all those guys on the record.
Weasel: No doubt, absolutely. Besides the aforementioned act, what are some other Canadian acts (punk or not) that you guys are listening to or feel that we all should?
Chris: There’s this band, The Snips from Welland, near Niagara Falls—amazing. They’ve been some of our really close friends for a long time. We put out a split with them last summer on Paper and Plastic [Records]. They just put out a new EP, they’re recording on a new record and it’s incredible. It’s hard to explain. It’s just like “rock n’ roll,” really, I guess with some punk in there and some other stuff in there, as well. They’re awesome, dude. Really awesome.
Scott: I think we all listen to Junior Battles, Carpenter—a wicked band that I’m sure you guys know of.
Chris: Propagandhi—a little band from Winnipeg. I don’t know if you know ‘em; they’re pretty cool.
Chris: Alanis Morrissette.
Scott: Nah, she’s not cool. I’m trying to think of other up-and-coming Canadian bands.
Chris: A band called Cavaliers and The Expos. These are all Toronto-based bands. Living With Lions from Vancouver. There’s a lot of good Canadian bands. We always discover new, rad local bands when we’re in Canada. We tour at home very seldom which is weird so it’s cool to learn about all these new, awesome bands because there’s a lot of them.
Scott: The thing that sucks is that I’ll forget names but I’ll remember faces. I’ll look at the flyer for the band I think I don’t know any of them but when I go see ‘em I’m like “these guys fuckin’ rule!” Can I curse on your…?
Weasel: Yeah, absolutely
Scott: Fuck, yeah!
Weasel: Before you guys set out for Europe and the Warped Tour you are making a trek across the country with Broadway Calls and Cobra Skulls, starting your first Canadian date, tonight, here in Vancouver. That sounds like quite the quality, as far as variety in the bands, each night.
Scott: We’ve been lucky enough to tour with these bands and you ask around Canada and no one really knows them that well, to the point that they should because they’re both amazing bands.
Chris: Awesome, awesome bands.
Weasel: Yeah, Cobra Skulls are one of my favorite bands.
Scott: Yeah, such a good band and they just signed to Fat too.
Chris: They’re our bands collective favorite bands for sure. They’re incredible.
Scott: We just had this opportunity to bring up bands we like and think that everyone else will like, so we jumped on it, so here we are.
Chris: It’s a cool mix because we’re all punk bands but at the same time we all are a bit different, right?
Weasel: Yeah, that’s what I noticed about that line-up.
Chris: It’s cool to go to a show where all the bands are total punk rock bands but I have a better time when it’s kind of a mix.
Scott: Yeah, you’ll like to go to a rockabilly show where all the bands…
Weasel: Are a dime-a-dozen…
Scott: Yeah, like it’s cool when a band jumps on and they’re rockabilly band or a psychobilly band or a pop-punk band…
Chris: It’s the same thing, like when we started out. We would play and every single show was like seven ska bands. Literally every single show we’d play. It was cool then, but now…
Scott: I don’t think it was really cool then. [Laughs] It was tolerable then.
Chris: But once you start playing longer and longer—not like we’ve been around forever but I mean this is our eighth or ninth year as a band and it’s just fun to mix it up, ya know? And, we’re all buddies so it works out great.
Scott: We like to keep it fresh.
Weasel: Right on, thanks for the chat.
Chris and Scott: Thank you.
Weasel: Good luck tonight, the rest of the tour as well with Tuesday’s release.
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