Thunder Issue 16

*NOTE: Due to a mis-count, Simon Marshall’s issue wold have been Thunder Issue 15, not 13 as it is written. Sorry about that!

This interview, when it happened, could not have had me any more nervous.

Chris Walter, who is known as a writer of Punk Rock fiction and nonfiction, is someone I really respect.

As always in my mind though, I jumped to worst case scenario. (I call it my case of the ‘What Ifs?’)

What if I stumbled over my words so bad, I couldn’t get a sentence out; let alone an interview?

What if I had a really bad panic attack and had to leave? (It’s happened before.)

Or; an extreme What If:  What If Chris Walter was really snooty?

As usual, my worry blows thing way out of proportion. Chris was fantastic to interview, and it was great to meet a fellow writer.

*Note: I did this interview in two part. Asking some questions during the Q&A, and later on one on one.

During Q&A:

KW: I was wondering; I was told that you started out by writing a zine. What was your zine like? What was it about?

CW: In 1982, I was trying to hack it together on a borrowed typewriter and you know, my friend asked me ‘What are yo doing?’ And I told him, ‘I’m going to write a fan zine.’ And he said ‘What are you going to call it?’ and I said I’m going to call it ‘Pages Of Rage.’ So he said, ‘Oh, o.k.’ I thought for sure he was going to tell I was an idiot and that it was never going to work, because that’s what he generally used to tell me. But he didn’t discourage me for it, so we actually got it together. You know, we misspelled, mistyped, and we took it down to the library and collated the thing. I was surprised when we actually sold it all for a dollar a copy. You couldn’t do that nowadays, because alot of stuff is paid for by the advertising. The first few issues were really crappy photocopy jobs, but an overachiever friend of mine, he had it printed in a place in town that used offset printing, and we started doing runs of a thousand, distributing them all over North America. And I was surprised at the success we were getting. But then we realized it was alot like real work. And that was kind of a problem. So we stopped doing it. (Laughs in room.)

 

KW: How do you pick the bands you write about?

CW: I thought I’d pick bands maybe I knew personally. And bands I listen to. And SNFU, Personality Crisis, and DayGlo Abortions certainly fit those catrgories. I also wanted to cover Canadian bands first, but I’m not going to limit mysef to them. Personally, I’m running out of bands that fit the criteria, so my next book might be about a British or American band. But I wanted to cover the Canadian stuff that was important to me first.

 

During One On One:

KW: How do you get started when you start a story or subject? Do you start on paper, on a computer?….

CW: On a computer. I used to write stuff by hand before I had a computer, but that’s the hard way to do it. You know, I revise and edit so much, it’s carpal tunnel material.

KW: How do you pick a subject for a book that you’re working on?

CW: I try to go with what’s currently happening in the scene, and who’s active and put out a new album. I just listen around and see who’s doing what. You do stories around them, not some band that broke up 10 years ago. You know what I mean right? Isn’t that what you do?

KW: What made you want to write about SNFU?

CW: They’ve been around for 30 years, influenced people all over the world, hell I’ve known two of the members for 30 years so it made perfect sense to do it.

 

KW: What makes you want to write about Punk in Canada?

CW: I’ll write about Punk anywhere, but Canada is where I live. My next book might not be about a Canadian Punk band, but I wrote aboutte bands that were important to me first.

KW: I know you just completed a project, but I have to ask. Do you anything for a next book in mind?

CW: I have a few ideas. A few bands I’m considering. But I won’t say who they are until it’s finalized.

KW: You write fiction and nonfiction. Is there one genre you perfer?

CW: They’re both so different. Like fiction is great because you can explore your creativity. But I also like writing nonficition. It’s rewarding to do music biographies because you learn so much about the bands you like. It’s a learning process.

KW:Did you think that when you started writing it would ever come to this point?

CW: No. I had no idea. I was writing because I had nothing better to do. But I knew I had to do something because I felt like I was wasting my life.

(After that we exchanged good-byes, as Chris had to go.)

You can get Chris’s books here in Hamilton,Ontario, Canada at Crash Landing Punk and Music store or at Hammer City Records.

Or to get an idea of his books, hit up punkbooks.com

SOME BANDS TO WATCH:

Frankie and Jimmy.

Even though they are a duo, this pair kicks some major musical a*s. (They make as much noise as a band.)

They’re unique, as they aim to blend Punk and Classic Blues with guitar, a harmonica, and a voice that won’t be forgotten soon.

They have a free download. Their rendition of ‘Maggie Campbell Blues’ available on Bandcamp.com.

frankieandjimmy.bandcamp.com.

Dismantle.

A band I have yet to see, (and I look forward to when I do), Dismantle sounds like Hamilton. I know you probably ask how, but just go with me on this.  They’re Punk, they’re gritty, they’re great. And their 2 free downloads are available at:

dismantle.bandcamp.com

Spanner.

They’re from the U.K, but Spanner have been making waves in my scene. Quite a few people talk up this Ska-Punk band, and for good reason. Their music covers everything border patrols to the government and other important issues, all set to awesome music. They have a 13 track album up free at: rebeltimerecords.bandcamp.com

SOME UPCOMING SHOWS/ EVENTS:

As it’s the 3rd Tuesday of the month, the Lyric Theatre will be hosting it’s monthly Youth Poetry Slam and Open Mic. Not to mention it’s workshop with the featured poet. (This month it’s Lisa Slater.) Things kick off at 6pm for the workshop, 7pm for the poetry. Admission is $2 for 18 and under, $5 for 19 and over.

Janice Lee and The Free Rads play the Artword Artbar on January 18th with Lorimer Longhaul, Jon The Bassit and more. The event is Pay What You Can, and gets started at 8pm. I don’t know if it’s All-Ages or not.

Panzerfaust, Unbowed, Erimha, and Necrodios play the Doors Pub January 18th. It’s $12 at the door, $8 for advance tickets. (Advance tickets can be purchased at Dr. Disc or at Hammer City Records.) This event is 19+, and starts at 8pm.

In response to recent crimes that have taken place in the city, this months Slamfest (we’re at number 19. Awesome!) will have an anti-violence theme. I’m always a big advocate for Slamfest, but I especially encourage attending this one. Slamfest starts at 3pm, admission is $6, and this show is All-Ages.

This issue I would like to thank:

Chris Walter, for agreeing to be interviewed
Suzanne Kirkwood and Chris Crash for helping to get me this interview
My Mom and Dad
My Friends
Anyone who reads this zine
The City Of Hamilton

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Thunder Issue 15

Since I saw them a week before my birthday in September 2011, Adelleda has been one of my favorite Hamilton Punk bands.

They have great songs, superb musicianship, and what they stand for is simple but inspiring. Hamilton and audience inclusion in the show. (The audience is encouraged to join in on songs, whether on the floor or on stage.

That’s why I thought it would be fantastic when Simon Marshall, Adelleda’s drummer, volunteered to give an interview over email for Thunder’s one year anniversary.

And the interview is pretty awesome. After that, I’ll doing something a little different here and in other issues. Instead of making interested people search out the band, I’ll be putting a link to the band’s page online page. (Where I can. Some bands I’ve even had trouble locating.)

I’ll also have some new band recommendations, and links to them.

Best part? Most stuff I listen to is legal AND free!

Here’s the interview. Enjoy:

KW: How did you become interested in Punk Rock?

SM: It all started after hearing Green Day’s Dookie  at the ripe age of 12.  Later that year Rancid’s ..And Out Come The Wolves found its way into my tape deck and I was locked in for life.  Now I’m 28 and still get the same feeling when I hear those albums.

KW: At what age did you start playing drums?

SM: Believe it or not, I had always been a guitar player.  After earning my first pay check ever at a part-time grocery store job, I put a deposit down on a vintage Ludwig kit and that’s how it started.  I was 17 and starting to play drums in punk bands.

KW: Simon, you are, (and have been), in quite a few Punk bands. What is something you have learned from each one?

SM: Whether its punk rock, hardcore, skate punk, old school, new school, whatever, I’ve learned to mesh with a variety of backgrounds.  I love to take something away with me and incorporate it into the next band.  Recently I’ve heard some hilarious stories while playing with Glen and Crash in Hamilton Defence Army.  At a rehearsal Crash was telling me about being a young punk out for a drink with his old man when a group of drunken hillbillies started heckling him from across the bar.  He got so fed up with their antics that he went right over to their table, outnumbered of course and called them out.  It went something like this:

Crash – “Yeah I hear you talking about me.  So here I am.  What’s up?”

Hillbillies – (Looks surprised then long pause) “Your style.  What are you?”

Crash – “Canadian”.

They were so taken back that they ended up buying him and his old man pitchers of beer!  I want to write a song about that some day.  When you play in bands with older dudes I think it’s important to absorb much of what they have to say and learn from them.

KW: How do you think Punk Rock has changed since you became interested in it?

SM: The internet has made it so dispensable now.  You used to find out about bands by going to shows and signing up for mailing lists.  Now it’s all at your fingertips.  You don’t have to dig as deep anymore and because of that I think fewer people actually go to shows just cause there’s a show in town.

KW: My next few questions will focus on Adelleda specifically. Now, Adelleda touts themselves as Hamilton proud. What is your opinion of the city, and the music it produces?

SM: Hamilton will always be my home and the guys in Adelleda really respect this city.  In my opinion there is a level of culture and history here that can’t be compared to in surrounding cities.  That’s what the song “Champion” is about on the new Adelleda E.P “Let’s talk about Adelleda”.  It’s our anthem for Hamilton.  We all know the city is a hub for touring bands which is great for not having to travel to Toronto.  We have a lot of great local talent here to open up the shows.  Some Hamilton punk bands that I’ve been listening to lately include: Wiggler and the Tiny Humans, Born Wrong, The Pre Nods, Web Society, NOT and The Steeltown Spoilers.

KW: Adelleda are a band, (I think), that works to include their fans in their shows, music, etc. How would you describe the band, in your own words?

SM: When I go see bands, I don’t want to just see music being played, I want a show!  During an Adelleda set we want to give you a show.  Our goal is to have everyone into it as much as we are.  When everyone’s feet are on the ground at the same time, we know we must be off the stage.  During our sets we invite our friends up to sing along (See our Bro Hymn cover by Pennywise).  Often times the guys play from the crowd.  One of these days I’m going to set my kit up from the crowd.

KW: Who are you listening to right now?

SM: I’ve been listening to a lot of Banner Pilot lately.  I just saw them at the Fest and they dazzled me so much that I just had to have their whole discography.  I guess it’s a custom at their shows for you to shake up your tall cans and spray each other in the crowd while they play.

You can check out Adelleda at:   adelledapunk.bandcamp.com.

There, you can download their debut Herkimer Street and ‘5 Months In England’ from the E.P ‘Let’s Talk About Adelleda’ for free.

SOME BANDS TO WATCH:

The Drunken Knights.

I got a band pin from member Jsn ‘Disease’ Batista at this year’s Rebel Fest, (which falls in the spring), and was wondering what had become of the band. Well, I got my answer a few days ago in the form of this E.P.  5 tracks of crunchy guitars, thudding drums, a thundering bass, and enough topics to hook almost every kind of Punk listener. The E.P, entitled One Drunken Knight e.p, is available for free at: oithedrunkenknights.bandcamp.com

Rising Crust.

Playing with words, Rising Crust is a band that combines Hardcore and Metal; (awesome), and pizza is their theme. (Awesome too.) I got an e.p off their Bandc*mp page a while ago, but now there is only one song. Still, one song is better than none, as this track in particular seems to bring together elements of Punk, Metal, and even ambient music.

You can get a free track at:  risingcrust.bandcamp.com

Debt’d.

While a lot of Punk bands seem happy to play it loud, (and they sound great that way), Debt’d take it in the opposite direction. Sure, their sound is full and could be loud if turned up, but this is lo-fi at it’s best. Lyric-wise, this band covers A TON of content, from personal lives to not exactly loving authority.

Debt’d have 2 free releases, and they are available at: debtd.bandcamp.com.

SOME UPCOMING SHOWS:

Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans; and The F*ckholes, open for none other than Punk/ New Wave legends The Rezillos at This Ain’t Hollywood on November 23rd. I have a start time of 9pm and an admission price of around $20.

Dismantle, Debt’d, Born Wrong, and At What Cost play the 17th edition of Sunday Slamfest. Always reliable, admission is $6, bands start at 3pm, and the location is This Ain’t Hollywood. That’s Novermber 25th.

For more shows, I definitely recommend checking your local listings or asking friends. (The last one is especially interesting. Half the shows I go to aren’t even in listings and I wouldn’t know about if not for friends.)

This issue, I would like to thank:

Simon Marshall

Adelleda

The City Of Hamilton

The Province of Ontario

All my family

All my friends

Everyone who reads this zine, no matter what format they read.

This has been a Made Of Steeltown Publication.

Thunder Issue 14

(*Note: This is an issue featuring a S.C.E.N.E artist.)

One of the bands that contacted me earliest to be interviewed for S.C.E.N.E was Theatre Crisp.

Nicer still, the band was first to respond about getting a later interview when I couldn’t make it to S.C.E.N.E.

Theatre Crisp is very unique, in that they combine Hip-Hop with a live, traditional bass/drums/guitar band.

Recently, the band held their 3rd annual Petestock and raised over $1800 for charity. They’re a great band, and they do some great work.

It was nice to talk with the guys, and I hope I get to see a live show soon.

 

How did the group get it’s start?

PETER:The whole thing started in December 2008 with Kyle who at the time had already been writting hip-hop tracks for 10 years.  He worked with our original guitarist (also named Kyle) and myself and was already friends with Trevor from highschool.  He always wanted a live band to back him up on stage instead of the typical mp3. beat playing in the background while he raps.  So knowing that we all played different instruments he got us together to jam on friday nights just for fun and after a few months we decided that we could actually give it a real shot and thus Theatre Crisp was born.  A few months after that Dave (DC) showed up with a mutual friend and his tap shoes.  He liked dancing with us so much he kept coming out and eventually jsut became the 5th member of Theatre Crisp.

Kyle: Theatre Crisp got its start when our lead vocalist Kyle aka humbleHAB wanted to work on producing his hip hop music with a full band. Computer beats and production were just not cutting it anymore and instrumental song writing with a band was just the next step that had to be taken to do something different.  You can create such a better live feel when you have a band backing you up both on stage and in the studio. Every member kind of just fell into place, bringing their own influences and originality to the sound of the band.
DC: It all began with Kyle Petch, AKA Habbilus, wanting to bring a band behind some of the tunes that he had written as an MC. I was a hip hop and Habbilus fan since high school so when we met and started jamming it wasn’t long before he considered me a member of Theatre Crisp and viola, you have taps.
You guys are very unique, in that you perform hip-hop and have a standard guitar/ drums/ bass band at the same time. What made you decide to perform that way?
PETER:  Again this all goes back to Kyle not wanting to perform hip-hop in the typical way of an mp3 track playing in the background, and once we started jamming for fun and realized that we all worked together real well it really started to take off from there.
Kyle: I kind of just answered the 2nd question in my answer to the 1st.  Having a band creates so much more for this style of music.  Its not just one guy jumping around on stage with a DJ spinning his beats for him (not theres anything wrong with that, its just been done so many times). Its a rapper feeding off the vibe of everyone else in the band, creating music together rather than just for one’s self.  The live sound of real instruments being played, and the groove that everyone gets into, creates a more organic sound to this particular kind of hip hop style.
DC: Well like how the band got started, it was hip hop beats as Habbilus, and with the band we still want/have that feel, but were all about making fresh new funky sounds, still experimenting with other sounds and grooves too. To top the sound right off Habbilus’ lyrics are like crispy wafers that deliciously crunch as you digest them. Its all positive music.
Alot of your lyrics are very positive, but not in such a way that things feel sugar-coated. Can you tell me a little bit about the writing process? PETER: The lyrics are all Kyle, but for the overall song Kyle will bring a simple chord progression to the band where we in turn “crispify” it by adding all out our own parts and work out the structure together.
Kyle: Kyle has been writing raps for almost 15 years, and he has always maintained a postive vibe in his writing.  Generally, most of the songs start with him putting together a chord progression acoustically, with lyrics aswell, in which the band uses as a blueprint to construct a full sound out of. With everyone coming from different musical backgrounds, it allows each band member to put there own touch on each song. We are a lyric drivin band though, and thats due to the thought provoking poetry that Kyle writes.  He just likes being real with people, he wants them to relate to what he talks about in the songs.  With lots of negativity in the world today, some postive vibes in this style of music can go along way.
DC: Thats all Petch. Like i said I was a fan back in high school when he was makin’ Habbilus mixtapes. All I can say is, I can relate to it, and I think the vast majority can too. He deals with real life in his raps, some call it storytelling music. Whatever it is and how he comes up with it, it has weight behind it and for those who really ‘listen’ to the music understand that.
How would you describe your sound, yourselves?
Peter:  We’re pretty unique so it’s hard to label us as any one specific genre so we’ve been calling it “Funk-Hop”.  We’re a pretty cross-genre band so people have comparred us to everything from Sublime, Rage Against The Machine, Beastie Boys  and Atmosphere to name a few. I  think our diverse sound caters to so many people so depending on their own personal taste they tend to pick out whatever genre they relate to most in our music.
Kyle: We are a mixture of hip hop, funk and rock with a sprinkle of regga and blues almost.  But we lean more towards the hip hop and funk side of things I’d say.  We’ve been describing ourselves as funk-hop for the past while, so we’ll go with that.
DC:Well I think Pete’s coining “Funk-Hop” and I like it. but it’s just really be yourself, have a good time, live your life to the fullest music.
You all played S.C.E.N.E music festival recently. What was that experience like?
Peter: SCENE’s always an awesome festival to play.  Especially for Southern Ontario and Niagara it really is the only venue that features so many indie artists at one time.  Having the oppertunity to represent our hometown in a festival like this is real real honor and great oppertunity to reach out to people who otherwise wouldn’t necesarilly have the gotten the chance to hear our music.
Kyle: SCENE is a great event for all music lovers, from any genre.  Its a a full day party with 160+ bands and close to 6 or 7000 fans.  You couldn’t ask for a better time.  Its a chance to gain some exposure and gain new fans.  This was our 2nd year playing it and really, we hope to come back every year.  Playing a festival like this in your hometown is awesome! Having the merch area in Market Place Square is great for all the bands to sell clothing and CDs, and talk to fans close hand. Its a well orginized event.

DC: We all Love S.C.E.N.E it’s a crazy day that any music lover waits for! I have been going for years just different now we’re playing. Great time, great way to reach a new audience, great entertainment, great fans!

I know one event you all have coming up is Petestock. Can you tell me about that event?
Peter:  Petestock’s really my “baby” and the rest of Theatre Crisp all contributes to help make it work.

In 2010 I wanted a way for Theatre Crisp to say thanks to its fans, so with the help of my band mates we hosted the 1st Annual PETESTOCK Music Festival consisting of 6 local bands and 120 fans.  In 2011 after building the festivals reputation and gaining more connections in the music industry PETESTOCK had 9 performing artists, 200 fans and 100% of its profit donated to the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Center.  For 2012 PETESTOCK is now recognized in the Niagara Indie music scene as Niagara On The Lake’s premier music event.  We have a total of 13 of the Niagara regions biggest and best bands.  Local media outlets will be on site covering the event. There is an estimated 350+ fans coming out to this year’s festival and again 100% of its profit is being donated to charity.  This year we are proud to announce that we are working in cooperation with Niagara On The Lake’s Red Roof Retreat (http://www.redroofretreat.com/) to help raise funds for them.

 

The whole concept of this event is “Local artists giving back to the community”.  PETESTOCK is unique in the way that it is run 100% by volunteers with every band also volunteering their time to rally together to give back to Niagara.  This really is the only event around which caters to young Indie bands from all genres be it folk, funk or punk along with Niagara’s young adults to give them the opportunity to do something tangible with no strings attached, and no middle man; just the pure love of music and love for Niagara.

Thunder Issue 12.

(*Note: This issue, and the next few following it, will be with the bands and artists that I did not get a chance to interview at S.C.E.N.E because of my ill health that day. I will indicate when the issue is with a S.C.E.N.E artist, and I want to thank all who agreed to a later interview.)

Paul Federici, from what I can deduce, is a quiet man in many ways.

His guitar work is subtle and acoustic.

His voice is mellow and goes perfectly with the guitar.

And, before music became full-time for him, he completed a Masters in clinical social work.

But sometimes, being an acoustic musician is more powerful than the loudest full band.

Take the song ‘She Is Lost’ from his release Relative Importance. It’s devastating. (In a powerful way. Not a rude, negative way.)

Paul was one of the artists I was supposed to interview at S.C.E.N.E, and I’m very happy he agreed to one over email.

KW: How did you get your start as a musician?

PF: It’s funny, around the time of my cd release show back in January, I had an article written about me and the opening line of the story was: “Paul Federici has a sort of complicated relationship with music.” I laughed when I read it at the time, and though it was quite fitting. My transition to being a musician was far from smooth or typical I guess, and I was, as with most things in my life, a late bloomer. I always loved acoustic music and became fascinated with the guitar. My Dad was a Bob Dylan fan and always seemed to have an old cheap 6 string kicking around the house and I just picked it up one day and was basically hooked. It wasn’t until the end of high school and the beginning of my university years that I actually got into it though, but it quickly became an obsession and I spent countless hours teaching myself chords, progressions, scales, tunings and basic theory. I pretty much spent my entire 3rd year of university strumming the guitar alone in my room trying to piece together cover songs. Music was always a solitary pursuit for me because I had a lot of anxiety around performing in front of others and I felt very insecure, especially with songs that I wrote – I always felt they were terrible and I was way too self-conscious to play them for others. After university I gathered up the nerve to play an open mic night in St. Catharines and after that performance I was offered a weekly gig there, which shocked me. I went on to play cover gigs there fairly regularly, but after a year or so I continued to battle the nerves and self-doubt which led me to stop playing for over 7 years. I ended up completing a Master’s degree in clinical social work, only to find myself burnt out emotionally on the job – and it was only when I bottomed out and realized how unhappy I was that I found music again and decided that I had wasted enough time pretending I was something else.

KW: What made you decide to play the style of music you do?

PF: I’m not sure it’s a choice really – I only know how to write songs from a personal perspective but I definitely want to keep the music as honest as possible. I really hate the notion of a team of songwriters working together to craft a “hit” it just seems so disingenuous and I don’t see the point.  I never try to force my song writing in a particular direction and I try to keep the process as spontaneous as possible. I don’t sit down with a theme or style in mind; I just let the mood dictate where the song goes. But I was always drawn to mellower music and love great melodies and harmonies which I think comes out in my songs.

KW: How would you describe your sound, yourself?

PF: I would describe myself as honest, straight forward, and down to earth – I think I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. I try to be as sincere and genuine as possible and I think these traits come across in my sound as well. I’m not trying to write epic radio singles, I’m not trying to be trendy or sound like someone else – all I’m trying to do is write simple songs that are honest and mean something to me. In addition to that I would say that my songs take on a folk-pop feel, are heavily based on vocal melodies and they often have a  layered feel to them as I try to shape my music using harmonies. I also strive to have diversity in my song writing -I’d hate to be an artist where people say “oh, if you’ve heard one Paul Federici song you’ve heard them all” and I’ll often use a variety of alternate tunings to elicit different sounds and atmospheres.

KW: You are touring alot this summer. Where are you hoping to make some stops?

PF: Yes, I’m trying to make the most of the summer months and I’ve already played shows in a number of cities across Ontario. I quit my job about a year ago to focus solely on music, and I strive to stay as busy as possible so I’m continually looking for new venues to play. Right now  I’m really excited about my upcoming shows in Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal as those are 3 fantastic Canadian cities, but in all honesty I enjoy most places I visit since I like to travel especially when the weather is great. I’d also love to organize and East/West tour!

KW: Your album ‘Relative Importance’ was released back in January. Can you tell me a bit about it?

PF: Well it’s an 8 song project that was recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, a beautiful church turned studio that’s worked with artists like City and Colour, Whitehorse, and Feist. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Michael Chambers who has done a lot of work with Whitehorse, and he’s just such a talented guy I feel very fortunate to have met him. I decided to record in Hamilton because that’s where my father was raised and “Relative Importance” is the name of poem my Dad wrote in the 80s that was published in an anthology I found in the St. Catharines Public Library. It’s definitely an introspective, mellow album that explores the themes in my mind when I was quite depressed, and several songs really helped me through a rough time – I think the song “There’s a Reason” really captures that essence of how I was feeling at the time. All of the songs were written in the 6 months leading up to the time we started recording in August of 2011, accept for “Conveniently Yours” which was a song I wrote in 2008. It was actually the first song I had written after a 5 or 6 year break from song writing and I always believed in it, I consider it a turning point for me where I started to have more faith in my writing. If I didn’t write “Conveniently Yours” I’m not sure I’d ever have recorded an album. Since the release of the record I’ve garnered positive media attention, received regular play from a number of college and university stations and on February 21, 2012 “Relative Importance” reached #1 status on the 103.7FM Brock University Radio charts.

KW: What are some of your plans for the near future?

PF: I’m really looking forward to July 24th which is the ceremony for the Niagara Music Awards and I’m grateful to be nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year as well as Male Vocalist of the year – so I’m excited to be part of celebrating music in my home town. I’ll also continue to tour throughout the summer and fall, and when that slows down I plan on teaming up again with Michael Chambers at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton to record a second album. I’ll be holding a fundraiser in Niagara on Saturday October 13th to help raise some money for the project and more information will be coming soon on www.paulfederici.ca

KW: Who are you listening to right now?

PF:

As far as more popular artists go:  City and Colour, Ryan Adams, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, and John Mayer. But I also find myself playing music from a number of independent artists that I’ve played with this year touring like Mike Vial (Michigan), Corey Glover (Michigan),  Aaron Berger (Niagara), Chad Price (London), and James Struthers (Winnipeg).

This issue we would like to thank:

Paul Federici

The City Of St. Catharines

The City Of Hamilton

Everyone who participates in live music, in any way.

Modern Technology.

 

On The Road Again. I’m Headed For S.C.E.N.E

Summer really is a key time for music.

No sooner does Burlington Sound Of Music wrap up, and S.C.E.N.E music festival arrives.

I worked as a photographer and reviewer for this years BSOM, and I’ll be working S.C.E.N.E in the same roles. (Except the interviews and photos will be for Thunder.)

While it’s exciting, it’s also got me nervous. I’m further from home, (I’ve actually never been to St. Catharines), and I haven’t got work backing me.

So here’s hoping all goes well!!

Thunder Issue 10. Part 2.

After interviewing Murray Acton, I asked drummer Blind Mark if he would like to be interviewed, as it was getting close to show time. He kindly agreed, and I fired away the questions.

KW: What made you want to join the DayGlo Abortions?

BM: A few years ago, they had a tour lined up. And Bonehead couldn’t get across the border. I knew these guys from years before, from my own bands. So they said ‘We’re going on this U.S tour. Wanna go?’ I was the only unemployed drummer in town, and I had nothing going on, so of course I went.

KW: How would you describe the sound of the DayGlo Abortions?

BM: I started listening to Punk Rock when I was a kid because I had older brothers. I loved the Dead Milkmen and the Dead Kennedys. I liked s*it that was funny. And the DayGlos were the funniest. It’s the Frank Zappa of Punk Rock. It’s f**kin’ hilarious. Every time you throw on an album, you’re laughing your head off. It’s offensive, it’s clever, but it’s also got a groove to it. They’re talking about the grossest stuff ever, but it could make your grandma smile.

KW: Some people think the band is ‘controversial.’ If we moved past that, what do you think the band is trying convey?

BM: I don’t think there is any message to convey. Except maybe having fun and making people happy at shows.

We were watching the Yo*tu*e videos of Montreal and Ottawa, and we saw all these people just singing along. The crowd was singing the lyrics louder than Murray. It was great.

KW: What do you think of the Hamilton Punk scene?

BM: This will be my first show playing in Hamilton. One of my good buddies though, that I’ve been playing with for over 20 years in bands, he grew up in Grimsby. So he basically got me into the Forgotten Rebels, Teenage Head, and all that stuff. Hamilton had one of the oldest Punk scenes in Canada, pretty much. I don’t know what they’re up to these days because I’m from Out West.

I grew up Edmonton actually. And Calgary had Beyond Possession, Winnipeg had the Stretch Marks, Vancouver had Death Sentence, D.O.A. Hamilton has Teenage Head, Forgotten Rebels. That’s how I think of every city. By the bands that originate from there.

KW: How long have you been playing music?

BM: I’ve played the drums for 25 years. I’ve played in bands for 20. I started playing in bands when I was about 16.

KW: What keeps you interested in it all years?

BM: When I growing up, I was a blind kid. I wasn’t good at sports and s**t. Then my brother took me to a Punk show when I was about 11 years old, and I just wanted to play the drums. I heard how fast the drummer was rockin’ it. It was beyond comprehension. It was like they were going hundreds of miles an hour. So that’s what I did.

KW: You guys are playing a very intimate show here in Crash Landing’s basement. But you’ve played bigger places. Is there a kind of venue you prefer to play?

BM: All-Ages are fun to play. Because you get the kids and they’re the up-and-comers. You gotta keep playing for kids, you know? Get them to spread the word around. But, the bar shows are fun. And house parties. I pretty much just like to play, no matter where it is. I’d probably be bummed out if I had to play a stadium. Because bar shows and house parties are, like you say, more intimate. It’s where you can actually talk to the people you know? And you can have a beer with everyone.

KW: In your opinion, has Punk Rock changed for better or for worse since you started playing it?

BM: It’s gotten pretty commercial over the past 15 years. But, the underground is still the underground. So all the stuff we listen to still gets played. Every city has their underground Punk scene. No matter how much the commercial s**t tries to invade.

 

This issue thanks to:

Crash and Suzanne for help getting the interview. Encouragement. Holding basement shows. And for carrying the paper version of Thunder.

Murray Acton and Blind Mark for their time, patience, and kindness. You really did make one of this Punk Rocker’s dreams come true, no bull.

The DayGlo Abortions as a whole. The show kicked a*s!!

Nathaniel. For always encouraging and believing.

Thunder Issue 10. Part 1.

In the years I’ve been attending shows, I have been able to see some bands that are pretty well-known. Sloan, D.O.A, and others. (I don’t care how ‘big’ a band is. I love every band with the original passion that I love music with. It’s just to help the story flow better.)

But I was the most eager, in my own peculiar way, to see the DayGlo Abortions. Not only was I chomping at the bit to see the live version of the Hard-Core legends, but I was also curious to see if a promise could be fulfilled.

You see, the DayGlo Abortions were playing the basement of Crash Landing. And store owners Suzanne and Crash had said there MIGHT  be the possibility of an interview with the band.

I was at once excited and terrified. If they could help me get an interview, awesome! The DayGlos are renowned in Canada. If they could, scary! This is the band, after all, who had an album cover with an aborted baby being served to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

If they couldn’t, Thunder would be ‘that zine.’ The one that ‘almost’ interviewed the DayGlos, but that chicken Kristine couldn’t get on her own.

I decided to go to the show, and come what may! The DayGlo Abortions might be tough brutes, but damn, I was getting that interview!

When Crash came to get me and let me know that the interview was a go, I took a swig of my water bottle like it was gin. I ventured up the stairs, and remembered that if I hid my MP3 player/ voice recorder when the chaos started, history would eventually have this article for ages.

I know everyone wants a story where there was craziness, and my ghost is writing this because of the aftermath. But fact is, my panic overestimated things. As usual. I was introduced to two  perfectly warm people. Murray Acton and Blind Mark. (Bassist Willy Jak was not available for the interview.) Both  answered my questions as they had a beer, and I left thinking how myths become reality when given enough time.

(* Note: I was introduced to lead singer Murray Acton first. I had nearly completed my interview when drummer Blind Mark came in and I revved up the questions again.)

KW: For readers who may not be familiar, how long have the DayGlo Abortions been playing?

MA: Since 1980.

KW: What made you want to form the band?

MA: Well, the band formed suddenly in the demise of another band I had called the ‘Sick Fucks’ in the 70’s.

And we broke up, just fell apart.  The original bass player we had in the DayGlos, still had a couple gigs to do with the Sick Fucks. And I said ‘Damn it Bonehead! We’re starting a new band.’ We had been jamming a bit in my basement, and I had this case of DayGlo brand spray paint that had been given as payment for playing a gig. ‘Free publicity for a year!’ They said. And the guy goes ‘Here’s your free publicity kids.’ Just all these cases of DayGlo brand spray paint.

And it being DayGlo, I said, ‘We’ll be the DayGlo, and whatever the most frequently used word on the front page of the paper is.  And Henry Morgentaler’s clinic was in the news and all over the front page of the newspaper. Abortion, abortion, abortion! We thought ‘Haha, what a ridiculous name. DayGlo Abortions.’

KW: How would you describe your sound, yourself?

MA: Kind of wash-overs from the 70’s or something like that. I was 20 when the DayGlos started, so I was already through my teens. I grew up with Black Sabbath, all that 70’s Metal. Then Punk started happening, and I guess I incorporated the two.  I don’t think were really very pure Punk band at all. Sort of Metal influenced and junk like that.                                                                                                                                                          I was worried at first. I remember thinking ‘Nobody is going to like this, it’s way too Metal.’ Or something like that.

KW: Some people think that the band is ‘fairly controversial.’ If we moved pass all that, what are you guys trying to convey in your words, in your music?

MA: There’s a mixture of things. One thing I sort of try to keep underlined is that we’re entertainers. Essentially, when it gets down to it. So we have to entertain people and be funny.

When I was a kid, I liked Frank Zappa a lot. And he was very sarcastic, but he also had social commentary.

And I have found that you can, under the guise of comedy, you can slide a little bit of politics in there that people might not otherwise accept.

If people are all defensive and everything like that; thinking that you are attacking their belief system or something, they shut it all out. But you get them softened up with some good jokes, they’ll suck it right up.

I do have kind of a direction. Really, if anything, I think it’s important for people that are artists or musicians of any kind, to try and spread the knowledge of how to make it. So I think it’s important to get out there and encourage kids how to play music. Because it’s a big deal. It’s the pinnacle of human existence, almost.  And it’s important to society, and everything. You can see how it affects the direction of the world. You have the ear of the youth too, which is a big thing. It’s either us or the advertisers.

KW: In my opinion, there’s not a lot of Canadian stuff. Like, not as much as you see American stuff.

MA: We’re very inundated by American media. Which just makes it more of a responsibility. I don’t really have solutions to things, but I do point out issues in society. And make fun of them.

(Both laugh.)

KW: What bands are you listening to right now?

MA: Right now? I listen to all kinds of weird stuff. A couple of D-beat bands like Tragedy, I like them quite a bit. We’ve done 12 or 13 shows with End Program from Oshawa-

KW: I listen to them too!

MA: They are one of the best bands in the country. They are so good.

KW: They’re amazing!

MA: They rock! And they’re really nice guys. Another band from around here, Go Die Scum. They’re pretty rockin’ as well. The coast has Life Against Death, a really good Grind band. With a female singer.

KW: With a female singer?! That’s awesome.

MA: It’s ass-kickin’. They’re actually on their second female singer, but she’s really good too. But it’s a bunch of different bands, and I like different kinds of music too. Pretty well anything that’s played from the heart. God, I can listen to disco if it’s being played well and played from the heart.

KW: As long as they’re honest about it.

MA: Exactly. And you can spot it a mile away.

KW: The name ‘The DayGlo Abortions’ is pretty revered in the Canadian Punk scene. When you started the band, did you think it was going to become what it is today?

MA: I thought we might get publicly stoned or something. Because our first stuff was really more a parody of Punk than Punk Rock itself. My thoughts were ‘Look at all these guys spitting on each other, sticking safety pins through their noses. It’s absurd!’

KW: It can be.

MA: It’s a f**kin’ fashion show when it gets down to stuff like that. And yeah, I didn’t expect to be super popular or anything like that. But I used to crack jokes at how what’s ‘unacceptable today’ will be common place. And it’s kinda funny how it turned out to be true. Everybody used to hate when we were starting out, but now, it doesn’t seem like anyone has a bad thing to say about the DayGlos anywhere. Now you have to something quite rash to get people going. I don’t know what you could do now, hehe.

KW: I know that the band is from British Columbia. What do you guys think of the Hamilton Punk scene?

MA: We haven’t been here in a couple of years, but we have friends in town. We have friends who have been members of the Forgotten Rebels, The Hammerboiz, and all those bands from around Hamilton.

KW: What keeps you into Punk Rock for all these years?

MA: I’m doing what I think I was meant to do. Ever since I was a little kid, I knew I was going to play music. It’s also fun. And it’s rewarding, there is a phenomenal feeling to make music and hear it sung back to you. The levels of accomplishment that you can make too. Every time you finish something or write a song, you can feel really damn good about it. It’s horrifyling addictive, hahaha. The Punk community in itself is really wicked too. We’re heading over to Germany tomorrow afternoon, and it will be the same there. Very welcoming, we’ll see the town from the local’s point of view. It’s a wonderful thing. One of the fans will take us home, the mom will make us dinner. So it’s a mix, but that’s why.

KW: You are all about to play a very intimate show here at Crash Landing. But you have also played bigger venues. Is there a type of show you prefer to play?

MA: The big ones are weird, usually. Especially when you have security and you can’t see the crowd. It’s very impersonal.  Those are hard to do a good show at. The intimate shows, the basement shows, you’re in there. There isn’t any escaping it, hahaha. It’s terrifying sometimes, but the intimate shows are the most fun.  I have to say though, it’s nice to have a mixture.

KW: In your opinion, has Punk Rock changed for better or for worse since you started playing?

MA: Punk Rock has been consumed by the big machine. I don’t really look at it like original Punk Rock anymore. ‘Punk Rock Now’ sells cars, running shoes, and all that kinda crap.

But in many way it’s still there, pissed off and angry as ever, still doing the same kind of thing. I think it can shoot off into different genres. I think it’s as valid as it ever was, it’s just in very small, fringe bands.

Alot of people think Punk is dead, but it’s not.