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

Review Of The September 30th Slamfest.

*NOTE: The following are the opinions of the person providing them, and are protected under the Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Section 2 B.

**Note: All possible research has been done regarding the incident readers will read about when they come to the section about Armed and Hammered.

Recently, I noticed Sunday Slamfest, (the local monthly Punk show in my city), has been happening for 15 months. (And we’re close to another one.)

I say ‘I noticed’ because I’m peculiar person. I know anniversaries and birthdays, but I get busy having fun at events.

The result is the full awe or impact usually hits me after the event in a quiet moment by myself.

(E.g: ‘Wow. This is event 15? That’s amazing. I’m so happy for them and proud.’)

And the above was what I was feeling. I saw the bands who would be playing, who was there, and thought “They’ve done it again. Another great show.”

1st band: At What Cost.

Kicking off the afternoon, and it’s very political undertone, At What Cost went on first.

They’re always fantastic to see, because they always make you think. Their lyrics touch on themes of censorship, economics, oppression, and more.

But at the same time, they are catchy as hell. I dare anyone to listen to songs such as ‘Feels Like 1984’ and not get it stuck in their head.

Their musicianship hits just the right level too, being hard-hitting enough to feel like the kick we all need; while being appealing enough to keep anyone interested coming back for another round.

10 out of 10.

 

2nd Band: Gag Order.

Gag Order, to me, are a great example of modern Hardcore.

Most songs clock in at under 3 minutes. The instrumentation is hard-hitting. And while their songs are short, their lyrical content covers so much. Corrupt government, modern technology, lying. (And that’s just what I can think of from my MP3 player.)

They’re really one of those bands you absolutely have to see live. There’s no other way to say it.

You have to see the crowd interaction with your own eyes. You have to feel the instruments humming through the amp and your feet.

But mostly, you have to hear those songs with your own ears.

10 out of 10.

 

3rd Band: Armed and Hammered.

I’ll admit it. When I heard Armed and Hammered would be playing this past Slamfest, I felt my half giddy/half anxious feeling.

Controversy has followed this band ever since 1995. (They were part of an AIDS benefit concert to raise money for the cause. They said  something as part of a routine, and while I can see how people would be hurt, I believe it was part of that routine. I don’t think the band meant any ill-intent, especially when the words are placed with the rest of the routine. But as always, I can’t speak for anyone and they can’t speak for me. I can only know why I do things, and I believe that is true for everyone.)

Now, as for the show I attended, it was eventful and uneventful at the same time. (Which was perfect.)

It was uneventful in the way that no bad controversy happened. (No one misinterpreted anything, no one replaced the Armed and Hammered performance with an R.E.M video, etc.)

And it was eventful in the way that I’ve gotten to see yet another amazing Canadian Punk band. The band has been going, in some form or another, since 1989.

Seeing this band, like seeing any of the Greats, was like seeing a wonder of the world.

10 out of 10.

Review Of The Last Crash Landing Basement Event.

NOTE: Hey everyone! It’s good to be writing again after feeling under the weather for so long. I hope you all enjoy this review, and some other stuff I have planned for the blog this week.

I’m going to be doing something different on this post.

Usually, I talk about music in Hamilton. But today I’ll be reviewing something of a combination night my mother and I went to at Crash Landing Punk and Music Store here in Hamilton.

Their last basement event was held August 18th, (the store is moving to Cannon Street and will be a smaller locale), so as a last hurrah the owners Suzanne and Chris invited Punk Rock author Chris Walter to do a reading. Then, there was a screening of the SNFU rock film/ Ken Chinn bio-pic: ‘Open Your Mouth And Say… Mr Chi Pig’

All this was in celebration of Mr. Walter’s latest work; ‘SNFU: What No Else Wanted To Say’. It is a book that charters the career of SNFU, the legendary Edmonton Punk band

I have to say, when I heard what the last event was going to be; I was ecstatic. Chris and Suzanne have always managed to make every event at Crash Landing a worthwhile event, and most often; there is something that everyone in the Punk community will find for them at their events.

I’ll be missing their events. But, this was a tremendous way to end things. I wish them the best of luck at their new location, and I can’t wait for the opening day.  (September 7th at 1189 Cannon Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.)

1st Part of the evening: The Reading.

The evening began with Mr. Walter reading a modest portion of his new book. He chose to tell us about a time when SNFU were on tour and got the service of some professional ladies. (The adults reading this know will know what I’m talking about.)

As there were children there, it was a little awkward. But they didn’t seem to understand, and Mr. Walters cracked a joke, so it was the kind of awkward that was laughable.

I enjoyed the reading.Not because it was perfect. (There were times that the author stumbled.) But because of the imperfection. I would rather people, in any given field, act real then pretend they are infallible.

2nd Part of the evening: Q&A.

This was the part of the evening that had me in knots.

As a writer, I wanted to ask Mr. Walter  some questions. (What his next book might be about; how he transitioned from writing zines to books, etc.), and he answered the questions with patience and in a conversational tone. He did this for all questions, which I thought was fantastic. It was very casual and by the time I asked my second question, I wasn’t nearly as nervous.

3rd Part of the evening: The Film.

I had seen the movie ‘Open Your Mouth And Say…Mr Chi Pig’ before as a rental from my local library.

I thought it was an amazing movie when I saw it late last year/ early this year, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Sure, a lot about the band is documented. And you get the general picture of the band’s history, up until 2009. But what I find most striking about the film is Ken Chinn’s eventual handle on his schizophrenia and addictions.

Crash Landing as a movie venue was a great change of pace. (Literally. I’ve enjoyed the Punk shows in the basements, but it was nice to enjoy what I seeing without people bumping into me by accident.)

We got to bring our own drinks, and various posters around the city and online had said we would have been able to bring our own snacks too.

The seats my Mom and I had were comfortable, and we were able to see clearly.

The basement did well as a one time theatre.

The evening didn’t end there, (thanks to Suzanne and Chris), as I got to interview Mr. Walter for my zine. (Woo hoo!)  And as this is the online version of that project, I’ll be posting it here too.

I want to thank Suzanne and Chris for all they have done, for everyone, in the years I’ve known them. I wish them all the best, and I can’t wait to see their new store location.

I want to thank Chris Walter for the interview and for his time. I know he has just released a book and that must be hectic, so I appreciate the time.

Review Of The ‘Punk In The Creek’ Matinee.

(*Note: Everything contained in this review, whether details of the musical performance or the reactions of the audience, are as written. There have been no exaggerations.)

I acknowledge this review is late.

Usually, I write a review a day after a show. (If I have received a migraine from the glorious noise, it will be 3 days. At most.)

The reason for the delay?

I couldn’t think of what to say to fully describe what I saw and heard.

So below is the best I can do. But I don’t feel as if I’ve captured how spectacular the Punk In The Creek matinée was.

Last Saturday, I went to Stoney Creek for a Punk show. And it was one of those shows that had to be experienced in person. The bands were in great form. The sound was terrific. The atmosphere was amazing.

But mostly, the people responded in a way I would expect of a huge concert, and I saw that Stoney Creek is another place in Ontario that can be a fertile home for Punk.

This was easily one of the 10 best Punk shows I have EVER been too. I hope host Brandon Kummer organizes more matinees, as the audience was a force that seemed eager for more Punk Rock. (And I include myself in that count.)

1st Band: Web Society.

The vocals were clear and sharp. Brandon Kummer’s guitar shredded. Stephen Petrina’s drums pounded. And the bass of Jeffrey Mills thudded. And yet something was different this time.

There was a ferocity and drive that seemed to present itself at unprecedented levels, and it was incredible to witness. Web Society were superbly in their element, and at the best I’ve ever seen and heard them.

For a long time, Web Society was known as a Pop-Punk band. But to see their set on Saturday was to hear a band that was Punk Rock and nothing else.

This was an amazing home-town set, and of a variety I’ve seen all too rarely. (Guest Simon Marshall, of Adelleda, joined the guys for a song and added a cool touch to the already great set.) For people who don’t believe hometown shows make a difference, this was proof.

10 out of 10.

2nd band: The Rebel Arms.

I’ll admit, I was surprised when I heard that the Rebel Arms would be playing this matinée. I thought, for his first effort as an organizer, Mr Kummer would stick with Stoney Creek bands.

But he didn’t, and the Grimsby four-piece took to the stage in one of their most intense shows.

Lead singer Bobby Dell was red in the face and yelling some of the lyrics. While remaining melodic, the music was at the most Hard-Core I’ve ever heard it. The rest of the band was at the best I’ve ever heard them. But coolest of all, Adelleda’s Steve Vos guested as a stand-up drummer. While the Rebel Arms drummer and singer beat on other parts of the kit. That was a hint of the craziness to come later in the evening.

10 out of 10.

3rd Band: NOT.

NOT has always been a great band.

They’ve got a unique sound. (Ska-Punk-Jazz. Skapazz?)

They’re from Stoney Creek, but they come to Hamilton and play killer shows.

And they’re young, but they put more into their shows than some people who are older than them.

But last Saturdays set? HOLY F**K.

Lead singer Nathan Ivanco, who seemed to be taking a cue from the Snakecharmer school of intensity, actually dove into the crowd and yelled lyrics into the face of a friend/ fan.

And the sheer movement of people!

They had massive mosh pits. They came on-stage to guest on songs. And they dove off stage. Nothing stopped moving until the band’s music was done.

This was NOT’s best set, by far. No question.

10 out of 10.

4th Band: Adelleda.

While they tout themselves as a Hamilton band, the fact remains that some members of Adelleda are from Stoney Creek.

So it was interesting to see what they would play like in a home environment.

But while they seemed excited to be playing a home show, they did as they always do. They gave the set their all.

Guitarists Steve Vos and Chris Allan were, as they usually are, the formidable guitar duo providing great riffs.

Drummer Simon Marshall threw out his infectious, thunderous drum beats. (With a ton of energy, despite doing guest vocals on a few sets and moshing much of the night.)

Lead vocalist Adam Shea took a different approach to the night, and spent much of the set in the pit. Even with the going, Adam’s vocals came out great.

Bassist Kevin March’s work was impressive. His bass pounded the air loud and clear.

Alot of craziness ensued with Adelleda’s set. I got to guest on some songs. People threw a couch. Everyone in the audience came on-stage to sing the final song.

In short, Adelleda didn’t disappoint.

10 out of 10.

I would like to thank Brandon Kummer for organizing this show, the interview he gave, and the treatment I received as the photographer. It was an awesome show Brandon , and I hope to see more!

Review Of Destroy Music/ Imants Krumins Day.

(*Note: Some items in this article are meant for humor. They are intended for that purpose and that alone. They, and all other material, are covered under section 2 B of the Canadian Charter Of Rights and Freedoms.)

(**Note: Unfortunately, I missed the first band of the evening, which was the spectacular NOT. Sorry about that fellas!)

July 1st, 2012 was an epic day.

Music was destroyed. And rebuilt the way I and so many others have been waiting for.

A new issue of Thunder came out on paper. (Call me biased, but this was the best event of the day. It beat out ALL the celebrations. What country had a birthday again?)

The all-Hamilton compilation so many have been waiting for was finally released. (Yes, Brantford’s Nothing Helper. And yes Stoney Creek’s NOT.  I count all of you one of us.)

I’m divided as to what the most spectacular part of the day and night were.

On one hand, of course the music. It featured a boatload of bands that are my personal favorites, and the style variations were phenomenal. Hangman Pinata’s Jazz-infused Punk to the Krumones reinvention of classic Ramones tones? (And’s that’s just one example of the evening.)Stunning.

On the other, getting to be a part of something so amazing while it’s happening. I used to read, and still do, about Punk Rock when it began. And I wished I could have been a part of what took place.

When I go to an event like this and have so much fun with my friends like I did, I feel like we are in the midst of what’s happening’s for Punk in this great city.

1st Band I Saw: The Pre-Nods.

There is small minority of people within the Punk community, (and let’s face it we all know at least one), who say that ‘Punk Is Dead.’ (Despite being involved with it themselves, and there being Punk bands today.)

I would invite anybody who believes that statement to come see a Pre-Nods show. Especially when they are in a fantastic mode of playing, like Canada Day.

With the Pre-Nods, you can not only see Punk is alive and well. You can hear it too.

10 out of 10.

2nd Band: Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans.

Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans frontman Erik Begg often jokes he is getting older and losing his memory. (He turned 40 earlier this year.) A lot of the time, we as an audience joke back with him, and know it is just that.

But I think Mr! Erik has talked himself into having some of his symptoms, because on Canada Day, he forgot two important elements of the usual performance.

1: Tiny Red Human and Tiny Blue Human.

2: The stage.

Instead, Mr! Erik performed an acoustic set outside.

Early memory loss aside, the set was superb. It was nice to get outside and see something different. (The Tiny Humans are more recent additions to the Wiggler!?! music project.) There was plenty of singing along, prompted or not. So it was a lot of fun.

10 out of 10.

3rd Band: Steeltown Spoilers.

One of the bands that could get me on my feet, (and pirating the stage for ‘I Love Livin’ In The City’) even if I had smallpox.

The Spoilers haven’t been playing a lot of late, so it was awesome to see them again. What made it that much better was that they had new material, as political and Hamilton as any fan would expect.

There was some small, but admirable; mosh pits going while The Spoilers played. Which tells me I wasn’t the only one happy to see the band onstage again.

10 out of 10.

4th Band: Hangman Pinata.

I hadn’t seen Hangman Pinata in quite some time, so when I heard that they would be playing the Destroy Music release party, I was ecstatic.

They are one of the most original bands coming out of Hamilton, (combining Jazz, Hard-Core Punk, and Ska to great effect), and while nothing can ever recreate ‘that moment’ when you first see a great band live; Hangman Pinata nearly did just that.

Their set was fantastic. They played their music well, it was original, and it was good as the first round.

No wonder people talk about them so much.

10 out of 10.

5th Band: Nothing Helper.

While TECHNICALLY not a Hamilton band, (they are from Brantford), I consider Nothing Helper one of us.

They share our humor. They share our love of Punk. And the music backing their lyrics sounds as good as any Hamiltonian could produce on bass, drums, or guitar.

As much I love the music though, I have to love the lyrics and show that accompany a Nothing Helper set. Wackiness ensues, and I’m clapping and laughing at the same time.

It really is the mark of true showmanship when you not only get a set. You get a show.

10 out of 10.

6th Band: Rackula.

I can’t count how many times I have seen this marvelous, all-female Punk band.

But every time, I walk away from the set thinking how great they were.

Their Canada Day performance was splendid, as they broke out a ton of their old songs, and their newer material.

What I thought was really cool was to see all the young guys, listening to Rackula’s brand of Punk. (Which includes a feminist message.) It’s always good to have a message, but it’s even better to have people who listen and cheer it on.

10 out of 10.

7th Band: T.V Freaks.

T.V Freaks…. T.V Freaks…. T.V Freaks….

This is a band that leaves my music-loving ears ever divided.

I LOVE their sound. It’s very raw, it’s very early Punk, and it captures the city in it’s sound somehow.

But the onstage antics Canada Day? (Shivers and claps at the same time.)

First came the remarks about male organs. I don’t need to hear how you would like to have a bigger…. appendage. Humor and antics are fine, but it’s the wording that gets me.

The redeeming moment? When the T.V Freaks frontman climbed on one of the amps. This was a moment of sheer brilliance, and reminded me of Teenage Head’s late Frankie Venom.

When all is said and done; I see a lot for the T.V Freaks. If they could cut SOME of the R-rated stuff.

9 out of 10.

8th Band: The Krumones.

I have never attended a full tribute set. (A lot of bands I see will play covers. But they will be by various artists.)

The Krumones were the first, full tribute band I had ever seen. Mercifully, they did a spectacular job. (You hear horror stories about these things.)

The keys, I think, to the band’s successful set was that:

1: They didn’t dress up like anyone in the Ramones. If they had, I would have jumped out the nearest window.

2: They didn’t perform all the obvious songs. I appreciated this, because it led to some new favorites.

The Krumones got a great reaction. People were dancing, people were singing along, and people looked liked they were having the time of their lives.

I would love to see the Krumones again.

10 out of 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.