Saturday, February 11, 2017

MADHAT

Madhat were a pop punk band from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia from the early 1990's. We sat down with singer/guitarist Kirk Comstock and had an in-depth discussion about life. And by that I mean I sent him a couple questions on Facebook and he answered them. In any case...read about MADHAT!! MP3 Discography at the end! 




When did the band start and who was in it?

Technically Madhat started in 1988 under the name "Smash". Then became "Downfall" and then finally settled as "Madhat" around 1992. The members at that point were Phil Zwicker (Guitar), Hughie Morris (Bass), Jordi Comstock (Drums) and me Kirk Comstock (vocals & rhythm Guitar).

What was happening on the South Shore music wise at the time?

At the time there wasn't really a music scene on the South Shore. We started playing the local bars with special papers at age 11 and rented out halls and put on our own all ages shows. Then Nirvana and Sloan happened. At that point all ages clubs popped up and we could tour all over Nova Scotia.





When did you first start playing in Halifax?
Were you able to tour outside the province at all?

We first started playing Halifax in the Cafe Ole and didn't really fit perfectly with any of the genres. We would play with bands like "Deep Woods", "The Shitheads" and "Bad Luck #13" but weren't as hardcore as those guys; then we would also play with bands like "The Super Friends" and we would be a little too hard for that crowd.

We managed to do tours through Quebec and Ontario once every summer when we were off on school break and toured around the Maritimes during the winter. We did manage to give our label president "Waye Mason" a lift from Toronto back to Halifax in a crazy snowstorm with birthday candles keeping the windshield from freezing cause the heater was broken. We loved that he could be there with us. We did do a two month tour out to BC and back by van. That was the longest tour we ever did.



What were your musical influences?

Our musical influences at the time were "The Misfits", "The Sex Pistols", "The Dead Kennedys", "The Doors", "The Damned", "The Descendents", "The Doughboys" (Who we got to tour with a bit) and "The Ramones".

Can you tell me more about that tour with The Doughboys?

When I was 17 I signed a contract with the Doughboys agent to bring the band to play a date in Lunenburg at the school gym. I had a scary guarantee but went for it. The week before the show the gym pulled the venue from me cause of insurance, so at the last minute were able to move the show to the curling club ice-shed. After that we got to play with them at the old UPEI barn, the Marquee Club in Halifax and a high school somewhere in New Brunswick. We played another show in Bridgewater in some old warehouse that Mike Grey (east coast punk legend and a hell of a nice guy) set up.

Monk their road manager and tech saw how I struggled with keeping my guitar in tune and showed me how to properly string my guitar. He also told Jonathan Cummins where to go if he got a little to sassy with us. John Kastner on the other hand was the most amazingly nice guy I think I have ever met and was the closest thing I ever had to a musical mentor. He would show up at our shows in the Horseshoe tavern in Toronto and places and bring his industry friends to try and help us out. Brock Pytel was really nice too. Great guys and a great band.




There were some lineup changes....when did that happen? What are the members up to now?

The band changed members a while before we recorded "Full Length" in 1998. Hughie was living an hour away and we were playing just about everyday with Simon Rienhardt just for fun. When Simon joined the band Phil left. So we became a three piece. Jordi, Simon and myself. We recorded "Full Length" with Laurence Currie at "Idea of East Studios". Laurence had recorded "Hardhitters" for us in 1995 as well.

Hayz Fisher played on "To the World" but moved to BC. He ended up doing the art layout for the first "Air Traffic Control" record from out west. Simon found the late night club gigs too much after awhile and that`s when we recruited our cousin Luke Comstock to join the band. When we were about to release our next record we all decided it would be a good Idea to change the name of the band, so we became "Air Traffic Control" and released our first self titled record. Air Traffic Control is working on our 5th record right now and has added guitar player Shawn Bent. The guys from ATC all play in Electric City Underground with me as well.


Enjoy a couple Madhat video courtesy of Much Music!






DOWNLOAD THE MADHAT DISCOGRAPHY:
(Since there is a lot I have separated it in to eras for easier download)
S/T Demo (1992) + Freak (1993)
Hardhitters (1995) + Full Length (1998)
From The Outside (2000) + To The World (2002)

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

VARIOUS - HERE COMES THE EAST COAST

Back in 2001, long time Halifax scene member Louie Roberts released a CD of local punk bands. This is his story. Download at the end.

Why did I do it? That’s a tough question. There were lots of reasons I suppose. The first proper answer would be to contribute to the local punk/hardcore scene. I wanted to showcase the bands that were active at the time. The idea and inspiration first came to me after a break-up with a girlfriend. I needed something to do to keep myself busy and my mind off girls at the time. There may have been more selfish reasons in there as well.  Ego? Maybe... Wanting to be someone who did stuff and make things happen.... But let’s stick with the official line, I did it for the scene.


I can’t remember exactly how, but Waye Mason running his No Distro at the time got wind of the comp, and got behind it. Things would have been much different if he didn’t come along. He had I think 500 copies manufactured. I got 100, and got rid of most of them at the CD release show at The Pavilion. I set it up so that you got a copy with the price of admission to the show. Waye wasn’t happy with that, as everyone who would actually want a copy got one that night, and that didn’t help local sales. Whoops.

The bands that ended up on it were pretty much the bands in the scene that were most active, that were able to provide a song or two that sounded somewhat decent. There were a couple additions that were favours.  Drunk Again by the Dynamics. Brendan, was always in a band, but never seemed to ever play shows. He helped a lot putting things together for me, digitizing most of the music, so I put them in. The Burdocks song The Chase was another favour. I don’t think anyone ever accused them of being punk or hardcore. I worked with Seth at Mikey’s at the time, and he was pushing to get the Burdocks on the CD. I told him if they wrote and recorded a punk song, I’d include them. I never expected them to actually do it, but they did. In hindsight that band always got shit done, so yeah it shouldn’t have been a surprise at all. They were the only band who wrote an original for the CD, and as far as I know never put that song on any other release either.  Seth ended up helping out with the final design and artwork on the CD as well. I didn’t have the means, talent or creativity to come up with anything. Brendan and I threw something together really quick and it was just awful. I think it had a map of the east coast and a pic of a guy playing bagpipes. So bad. I brought it to Waye who thankfully convinced me how terrible it was, and suggested Seth as someone who could help come up with something. The hardest part of the whole process was coming up with the final art and design, but it turned out really nice and very much in Seth’s art style. It worked. Seth was always awesome and still is.



I haven’t listened to the comp in quite a while. In probably 10 years or more. My favourite songs on the CD are Who by Nothing to Say, and Meet me at the Drive In by The Lewinskys.  Here comes The East Coast never sold a ton of copies, or got amazing reviews, but for me where it does succeed is that it captured the scene at the time, helped my ego, and got me over a breakup.


Track List:
1. By Any Means - All The Good It Holds (2:46)
2. Deep Woods - Gotta Get Out (2:21)
3. Hope - Fuck The Millenium (1:25)
4. Nothing To Say - Who (3:36)
5. Jokes Over - New School Loser (2:47)
6. Last Few Years - Out Of Breath (2:40)
7. Dry Leaf - Mind Your Own Business (3:25)
8. The Dynamics - Drunk Again (1:50)
9. Slump - In Retrospect (2:24)
10. Led By Regret - The Atmosphere Of Bombings On Airplanes (4:03)
11. The Lewinskys - Also Known As (3:24)
12. Falling Short - Highschool (3:10)
13. When All's Been Said - Troubled Youth (2:42)
14. Jokes Over - Jokes Over (2:34)
15. Hope - Victory Or Misery (2:13)
16. Led By Regret - Distraction (6:39)
17. By Any Means - Last Hug Good Bye (4:14)
18. Falling Short - Unite (1:51)
19. Last few Years - Your Need (2:44)
20. The Burdocks - The Chase (2:45)
21. The Lewinskys - Meet Me At The Drive In (2:41)
22. When All's Been Said - All Said And Done (1:51)
23. Dry Leaf - How About The Truth (2:20)
24. Deep Woods - Broken Bones (2:39)

DOWNLOAD IT HERE!!

Other links of varying use:
Discogs Entry
Exclaim Magazine review

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

FYM


I will be honest....I think FYM is the best band to ever come out of Halifax. I'm sure it has a lot to do with being friends with them, watching them jam and seeing their shows. FYM started out in 1996 when a few friends decided to get together and write some punk songs about skateboarding. I don't think anyone in the band would argue that the mastermind behind everything was singer/guitarist Selwyn Sharples. Joining Selwyn was Damien on drums, John on guitar and Chris on bass. Even though they were all still in high school it became pretty evident that they had a serious knack for writing catchy songs. The following is an interview done with Selwyn in 2015. Damein also has a bit to say that the end. I've included downloads of everything the band officially recorded plus some never before heard songs!! Ladies and gentlemen...I give you FYM!

Selwyn givin 'er at The Pavilion

When did the band start? Why? Who was in it at first?

Sometime around ’95 many fun-loving bands were forming and performing at the downtown all-ages club Café Ole. Maybe it was because “metro’s only club for all-ages” was municipally supported and accessible to us. Condon MacLeod and Gary Beazley made that club happen. Damien (our drummer) worked there at the time. Skateboarding was another point of connection between the original line-up of Chris Meagher, John McCullough, Damien Nee and Selwyn Sharples.

Maco slappin the bass


Maco:  I remember going to the show that caused them to kick out their first bass player. He was too drunk to play. I think I offered to play bass for them at that show!


When did that old bass player guy leave and how did you get Maco in the band?

Not long after our first show and through the fabrication of strategic dichotomies is my short answer to the question of how Mackenzie Ogilvie came to replace Chris Meagher on bass.


What are some fun show memories you have?

- Being underage; the best way to experience a bar.
- Playing shows at skateparks and the odd naval vessel thanks to Jackie Dexter and Mike Grey.
- Dancing to the Wankin’ Family was many a good time for a dangerously Oi sounding band.
- Playing house shows (ex: Meghan Merrigan’s birthday at her parent’s place in Clayton Park).
- Enjoying the revolution as the band PIGGY took prisoners including my sister and myself.
- Filling-in whenever possible (is still a remarkable form of support for musicians to express).
- Appreciating the unique atmosphere of the Bike Shop Café thanks to Tony and Marty.
- Noticing the band BAD LUCK # 13 and how the singer BATMAN would always ask the young audience “what the fuck are all you little cocksuckers waiting for?!” followed by some self-deprecating remark about age.
- Interpreting those words in two ways:
       (both)
  1. dance now
       (and)
  2.  start your own fucking band





Tell me about recording the 7"

Q: If a band plays in a remote region without releasing a 7” does it make a sound?
A: Yes, thanks to the internet (not so much in ’96).
Together we ate take-out fast food in an off-gassing room. Recording and the supportive environments that can be a part of this cultural ceremony are like birth and death. It has been my experience that the most pronounced forms of support seem to spring up around the recording process. To be among friends while recording is both a privilege and an advantage. Much appreciation to all those who participate in this culture of mutual-aid. Thanks again to Andrew at Sustain and Richard Lafortune.
Free Your Mind 7" EP - A must have in any local record collection
Did you play much out of Halifax?

No. When we did travel it was with the help of [the interviewer] or another friend with a driver’s license. Those precious few drivers included members of the bands Fear & Loathing, The Chitz, The Shysters and Absolutely Nothing. Parents would occasionally drive us around. THANKS AGAIN!




You had quite a few songs that were never recorded...some earlier and some later songs. Talk about them!

What makes a song a song? Acknowledgement?
An initial burst of material was the result of us all hanging out with one unplugged guitar, paper and a pencil. Those early songs were an honest reflection of who we were; young, insecure, afraid of women and obsessed with skateboarding. The collective approach was short-lived.
Songwriting gradually centralized and moved behind closed doors (of my bedroom) with Ian Hart or Derrick Hiltz holding down a thrash beat while my visions crystallized. Can’t thank them and my parents enough! This experience was far more common than practicing with the members of the band. There was a sense of being in the studio with a trusted friend. The support was mutually expressed (with drums) and the writing took flight in the form of a troubleshooting two-piece. We worked on songs for various bands. This particular mode of song production is still a favorite recipe.

This video has a few unreleased songs:


Why did the band end?

Bands end. Most bands only end. Just ask a person who likes the idea of being in a band. That band dragged on with some encouragement from a few dear friends [interviewer] included. My hope is that the band ended because we were all moving along with new and exciting projects. Letting go of attachment was involved. This question has at least three more answers.
























What have you been doing musically since then?

- Running from my own tyranny through various musical forms. It follows me.
- Replacing control with surrender in the context of co-creating music.
- Getting involved with the SAD RAD collective (highly recommended).
- Coming out of a long era of self-imposed obscurity.
- Reconnecting with that bedroom jam vibe as much as possible.
- Currently playing with: NOISE POLICY, HALF//READ, EGOSYSTEM, T.V.P.(Tribute Von Piggy) and too many one-offs to list (see: recordingclub.h-a-z.org).
Improvisation is a fetish. Analog recording is an unconscious habit. Beyond the puddle of songs that were never recorded grows a vast body of recordings that were never songs. My recent work (if you can call it that) is a tumbling tower of well-documented mistakes. Some of us have the privilege of taking band culture for granted. Are we beginning to approach what this means?


Looking back, what are your thoughts on the band? Did you wish you had done more, toured, etc or are you happy with how it turned out?


Don’t look back. Look forward to granting me these three wishes:
1. Say "NO" to two decades of my own thoughts on that band. Let it go.
2. Include all members of that band in this interview process. WTF?!
3. Stay present in creating music, recognizing the traps of nostalgic band culture and consumerism.



And finally...when is the reunion show?

You ask as if it might happen? -My recent punking must look promising! The simple act of playing in punk bands represents a reunion indeed. The F.Y.M. reunion show however, is not where punk finds me.
"You can't be what you were..."

At least we have videos to remember the band by. Like this one where FYM played on a Navy ship. CKDU FM was doing a funding drive and one of the prizes was having FYM play a show at a location of choice. The person who won worked in the navy and decided to have the band play on the H.M.C.S. St. John's. So about 20 punk type folks met at the gates of the navy base and were escorted onto the ship carrying gear and set up in a small mess hall. I wasn't sure if you are allowed to film on a navy ship so I tried to keep the camera hidden while taping this. It's pretty dark and bass heavy as a I was standing near the bass amp (though you can really hear Mac's bass prowess!!)



Drummer Damien Nee chimes in with his own memories on the band:
For whatever reason, and there are lots of reasons, my memory isn’t very good.
Ian asked me if I had anything to say about FYM for a blog post he was doing.  I said I did but I’d have to think about it.  I’ve been thinking about it for a looong time. So long that Ian had to get on my case about it.
There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George complains about how he always seems to bomb at staff meetings after getting a couple laughs at the beginning. Jerry suggests that he use the old “showmanship” trick; get a laugh from the audience, then leave on a high note.
George gets a laugh 30 seconds into the next staff meeting… then walks out.
I haven’t played any music since the last FYM show in 1997.  Or maybe it was 1998…  FYM was my high note.
Ian said I should talk about some fun shows we played, but the thing is, they were all fun.  Particularly any show we played with The Juveniles.  They were probably the most “fun” band in our scene at the time I think.
The most memorable times for me playing with FYM were the practices.  We practiced in what was arguably the world’s smallest practice space, Selwyn’s bedroom.  If it was 8 foot by 10 foot, I’d be surprised.  It had all the regular stuff you might find in a teenagers bedroom; bunkbed, chest of drawers… but there was also a drum kit, 3 small amps and a little P.A.  The room just fit the four of us, as well as the occasional guest.  It was so loud in that little room… I regret nothing, except maybe the tinnitus.  When we took breaks, we would skate the worlds tightest backyard mini-ramp.  It was amazing that Mr. and Mrs. Sharples let us practice in their house twice a week.  Sometimes we were even invited to stay for dinner.  As a parent, I’m not so sure I’d put up with that kind of noise between work and dinner.
The last show we played was one I’ll always remember, not so much for the show itself (I’m fairy sure it was one of the “Uncle Sucko” shows that Mike and Jackie put on in Bridgewater), but for how it ended.  After the show, we all went our separate ways back to Halifax, but for some reason, Johnny, Peter Hall, Dave MacLeod and I ended up in Lunenburg where we got caught poaching a swimming pool at a cottage owned by a rather upset older lady who thought we were with her son.  We weren’t.  By this time we had had a few too many and decided to sleep on a beach and ate some canned beans that John had brought along for some reason, earning him the nickname “Johnny-Bean”, which stuck.
That was my George Costanza showmanship moment, my musical high note.  
Playing music at that time in Halifax was pretty special.  It is definitely one of the best times of my early life (so far).  The story wouldn’t have been the same without even one of the many characters.   I’d especially like to thank Condon for giving a generation of young punks a venue to make a big load of trashy old noise, Selwyn for the brilliant music of a genius and Richard for preserving it in wax.
And of course John, Maco and Chris Mars-Attacks too.

* In retrospect, the last show I played may have been a Killer Beez show, but I'm pretty sure I only ever played in Bridgewater with FYM.
Damien hittin the skins


Now you can listen to their 7" plus some bonus tracks here:




Or DOWNLOAD their Discography here:
Free Your Mind 7" + Other Studio Songs (Great sound quality! A MUST DOWNLOAD!)
Unreleased live songs, practice tape and radio session (Not-so-good sound...for super-fans only)

Though really you should own the 7" - add it to your want list on DISCOGS

Check out the FYM page on FACEBOOK








I will never grow up, I will never grow, I will never do as I am told, or give to the ways of my oldage.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Various Artists - No Class

No Class was a cassette only compilation of local bands (not just punk, but a mix of genres (pop, grunge, hip hop). There are some good songs, and not so good songs. Bunk was one of the stand out tracks and they got quite popular at Cafe Ole around this time. One of Plumtree's earlier songs as well! It was released by No Records around 1993 and compiled by Chris Trowbridge and Waye Mason. Let's hear what they have to say about it!


Chris: Been awhile but as I recall it all started with an episode of Fat Albert. One of the characters says "you're like school in the summertime... no class". I used that dialogue on CKDU as the intro to the Motörhead song No Class. And suddenly I realized that I should do a compilation of high school bands called No Class. Many of these bands were dropping off tapes at CKDU at the time, my favorite of whom was Bunk from Dartmouth. Cafe Ole had just opened I think so there were already a bunch of bands around. We just asked for bands to submit songs on CKDU and word of mouth. I remember trying to talk someone into putting up some money - later found out they thought I wanted to do a compilation of high school marching bands. Waye ended up doing all the hard work.

Waye: Basically if the majority of the band was in high school we put it on there. None of it was really bad, some of it was really good. Chris T and I currated it together. I have a DAT and I have one side of the tape in mp3s, the guy who copied them didn't understand there was a 10 minute gap and then the other side started!


You may also notice there is a song on here (Track 6) by the Tim Robbins Experience that is not listed on the cassette cover. This is actually Thrush Hermit (or at least most of the band). Chris explains "As I remember it, the Thrush Hermit guys didn't want to be identified as a "high school band" at that point, even with their side projects.Or maybe it was even a contractual thing? Could they have been signed to a major already by that point? Maybe they had a publishing deal or something.

Tracklist:

1. The Monoxides - Armaround
2. Essen - Jill
3. Shingai - Blackness I Hold
4. Potbelly - Birthday (Live at LSPU Hall)
5. Liquid - Faceless
6. Tim Robbins Experience - Baby Tonight
7. Hip Club Groove - Straight Steady Swingin'
8. Bunk - Mass of Confusion
9. Burnt Black - Novocaine
10. Plumtree - Follow You
11. Madhat - Flower Picture
12. Deep Woods - Drive By Shooting (live) 


Thanks to Stephen Cooke for digitizing this tape!


LISTEN TO IT HERE:


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

DEEP WOODS

Self proclaimed Lumberjack Punks from Timberlea, Nova Scotia. Starting out in 1989 under the name Septic Tank, the band went through some line-up changes and settled on the name Deep Woods. If you were going to shows in Halifax in the early 1990's you no doubt saw play more than a few times. Here we have an interview with their singer Don Trim-Macdonald done in March 2015. It's a bit more conversational then the other interviews I've done and has been edited to flow better. MP3's included as per usual - you get the very rare 1994 demo tape (thank you Greg Baller!!) plus a live set from the Green Room at the Dalhousie Student Union Building from 1992! Enjoy!

Deep Woods live @ Cafe Ole

How did Deep Woods start?
We probably started playing late '89 or '90. I grew up with all of them. Gordie and Rob Francis were brothers and lived down the street from me. Rob Mills who was the bass player… he lived up the road a ways. But this was the first go-around...this was Septic Tank. They were a bit more into metal. We were all headbangers but the punk came from me going to St Andrews ramp. Rob listens to a lot of punk that I don’t… like Stiff Little Fingers. I know the first time I played the DKs for them and they laughed and laughed. They couldn't get over Jello's voice. We had the band together but it sort of fell apart. Then I jammed with No Offense. We never recorded anything – I just jumped on a set they played at a party behind KOD on Blowers St. I wound up singing for them because I knew all the words. That was pretty short lived. Then I left because Deep Woods started jamming again.

What were your influences when you first started?
For me – black flag, circle jerks, SNFU – seeing that first show of SNFU and seeing Chi Pig and the way he jumped and leapt all over the place…that was a real big influence on me. All I wanted to do was be a rubber ball. I remember Robert screaming at me cuz I started leaping off the bass drum cuz I’d seen Chi Pig do it…and he was losing it that I was gonna break his drum kit.

Whose idea was the Cro Mags cover (Hard Times)?
We just really liked the song. May have been rob mills who wanted to do that…it wasn’t my idea. I like the Cro Mags…I never bought anything by them but I liked the songs that I heard like Hard times or We Gotta Know. I was never into the whole skinhead thing one side or the other.


Would you say your sound changed over the course of the band?
We changed from the original lineup. When we first started, we had a guy playing drums named Greg Rankin. He was a friend of Zack from Pro Skates. I met him at Zack’s place on Morris St. and I hung out there a lot cuz I skated with Zack. I met this guy Greg who played drums and that’s actually how the band got back together. We got talking and this guy Greg really wanted to jam. With him we were more…I wouldn’t want to say  RHCP cuz we weren’t as skilled by any stretch of the imagination, but the songs were a little more…jazzy….but they certainly weren’t hardcore. They weren’t as heavy. But he went to university in St John's…so when he left we didn’t have a drummer so that’s when Rob Francis became the drummer for Deep Woods cuz he was off doing whatever with other bands. And that was a big change cuz all of a sudden we got heavier cuz Greg’s influence wasn’t there anymore….he was quite outspoken trying to keep Gord and Rob Mills slowed down. When Robert first showed up he was just trying to learn the songs and pretty much did what we asked him. And he is an incredible drummer. So we got heavier and tighter. 

When was your first show?
First show was in March 1991 pub flamingo $2 Tuesday. We opened up for DPR. There weren’t many shows, so everybody came to shows back then. There was like one show a month. If it was metal or punk or anything remotely heavy, everybody went. Which was cool...it was a good mix.

I know you had a demo tape? Was it ever for sale?
It came out just as we were breaking up. We may have sold it at our last gig in 1994 at Café Ole. We played there a lot…at least once a month. For a while there, Donner Party Reunion and us would literally play there two times a month, maybe three…it was a lot! We played with them a lot everywhere. The 2 bands went together. It was fun. That's who we were with on the infamous Moncton trip. 


Let's talk about that, what happened up there?
We went up to play a show; I can't even remember the name of the place. We went up on a Friday night. We were supposed to play Saturday night and we thought we'd go up a night early and check the place out and just have some fun of it. So our whole band went in a van and Jon Johnson and Reg and maybe Dean (of Donner Party)...there were only 2 or 3 of them. Anyway we went to the bar next door to where we were going to play. We walked in and there was a band playing and they seemed pretty good. We are sort of walking around, I remember distinctly pulling Reg off to the side and saying something is not right here, like we are seriously getting stared at and he's like "no, no people don't know who we are it's all good." Right, they're wondering who these people are. We went in the bath room, came back out, we're standing there drinking and all of a sudden the band on stage, starts playing a Skrewdriver song. Which is very racist band and all these guys with shaved head stood up and started put on bomber jackets, covered in KKK patches and nazi symbols. And John and Reg at least were wearing bomber jackets with S.H.A.R.P patches. So you see where this starts going. So anyway we kind of realized things weren't good. The idea was nobody was supposed to go outside by themselves. Immediately after we made this decision, somehow Gord Rob Mills wound up outside by themselves. And somebody punched Rob in the back of the head and his glasses went flying off. The police got called, we wound up in the back parking lot. There was like 8 of us or something like that. And I think 30... but I'm assuming time making me blow it a little out of proportion so it's probably more like 20 of these guys squared off. The funny part was Jon Johnson had a bat that he had drawn on with a sharpie and it said S.H.A.R.P. on it. So back to the van, Jon with a baseball bat in his hand and this group of them wanted to pulverize us. And the police showed up. One of those guys got arrested because he had an outstanding warrant. We parked the van at the police station for the night and slept in the club that we were going to play. Now the club was attached to the other club that we had been at via one of those glass doors. And they were in there all night drinking after the club closed, playing music. You could hear them and we're all sleeping on the floor. And about 4 o'clock in the morning the alarm went off, the burglar alarm. So everybody was like going around to the doors with weapons and stuff checking to see if somebody had snuck in. It was a bizarre situation, everybody wanted to go home.

Did you end up playing the next night?
Yeah we stayed, we played and absolutely nobody showed up. There might have been 15 people. That's pretty terrible. We made no money, it cost us money to go there. The guy couldn't pay us anything because he didn't bring in anything at the door. He gave us some free subs for supper.

Back to the recordings you did. Was there anything else besides the demo?
There was another recording done by Jake Evans when he was in the band briefly. It was done on a reel to reel at Jake's place. I haven't seen it in a while but I did have the reel. I think there were 2 reels actually. Guessing there were 15 to 20 songs on it. Everything we ever did or could think of including possibly a cover of beat it by Michael Jackson. Jake could play it on the guitar; it seemed funny at the time. I looked into getting it transferred onto cassette or CD, and there was something to do with the machine he had used a thinner, tape like was quarter inch to half inch or something and nobody had anything that would play it or you could get it off of. And I know because he had a small studio in his basement for a while when he was living in Spryfield. He's living in this little house across from all these ghetto apartments. Anyway somebody broke in and stole all the gear, including his instruments I think. So yeah that went missing, so we could never get the actual and nothing ever became of it. I may have even thrown it out a few years ago.

I also have recording of the green room show.
Oh yeah, yeah I've heard that we've played a few shows at the green room, I like that place. Yeah it was neat with the sunken floor. We play a few shows there; Gord's got one on VHS somewhere. He lent me a tape that we had of us playing. It was a different one at the green room. We probably had 3 or 4. 



How did you get on the "Punk, The Next Generation" CD compilation?
Yeah that's the one out of Thunder Bay or maybe one of the bands was out of Thunder Bay.
I don't know, I got a letter in the mail? Yeah....letter in the mail because D Rock had done a thing I think, a story on Halifax scene from Maximum Rock N Roll. We got letters from like Hungary and stuff like that. We are looking for tapes, looking for music and I never sent anybody anything. So terrible, I wrote a couple of people back but we really didn't ever get anything out. We did have the stuff that was live to the floor for cab can hear. That was at the Double Deuce, we're told not to use it but we did. Obviously I mean Greg hands me, here's a tape, master tape for your show, pick a song and one other compilation. He's like and I want the tape back, you can't keep all those other songs, obviously we did.

Did you play outside of Halifax besides that Moncton show?
We played Kentville. There was a small venue in Kentville for a short period of time, but Donner Party had been up the week before us and I not exactly sure what went down. The people that owned the place weren't overly pleased with them and when we got there, there weren't a lot of people. And all they kept saying was like somebody handed them a script. I was like "so why don't you guys like Donner Party - they're great we play with them all the time." They left the bad taste in our mouth is what every kid said, almost word for word. It had something to do with Jon smoking something in the basement. But I mean really that's not that big of a deal. And I was there skateboarding out in front and stuff and it was crazy .They said we had to stop skateboarding on the sidewalk or the police are going to come and they're going to take it. It was funny, it was very strict. We probably played Truro maybe, played Bridgewater a few times. Yeah we played a show with Hip Club Groove at the Exhibition in Lunenberg once, yeah we played a few shows around I can't remember where they all were now.

Were there ever shows in Timberlea?
There was one in Timberlea at the fire hall. Septic Tank played and Adrenalin played, Adrenalin was the headliner. When we were in Septic Tank we got to play at the Dartmouth Sportsplex show in that little room. The place was packed; it got destroyed that's why there was never another show there again. Holes in the roof, in the walls, it was crazy. Actually Zavin’s band was there too - Poke. That was probably 88, 89 something like that.


What are some of your favourite memories of playing shows in Halifax?
My first flamingo show opened up for DPR was incredible, just cause we had, I've been trying, I've been talking everybody knew cause I knew you, I do a lot of people in the scene from skate boarding. And I was trying to get shows but shows were few and far between and the bands that were well liked. It was hard to break in when you were new back then cause like I said there might have one show a month or one every two months. And I mean it was always going to be moral support system over load right. And I'm not knocking those bands because they were great I love seeing them play and stuff but it made it hard to get your foot in the door. And then you know Reg and I were out skating and drinking or both. I was complaining to him about it, he's like we got to two back Tuesday, we've only got so many songs. So an opening band would be good and the place was freaking packed. We postered for like a month and a half leading up to it. I was sticking posters up in the buses, like where the little ads went, all over the universe like everywhere; my parents had a photo copier, a black and white photocopier, so I made hundreds of copies.

 



















Why did Deep Woods break up?
I think we really just got on each other’s nerves after a while. Towards the end, we were showing up, we were jamming at  Rob Mill's place and this could have been another reincarnation cause that band got back together several times. But yeah we basically were just getting on each other's nerves, I mean it happens. Relationships are hard enough when there are two people, let alone 5. That was in 1994, but them of course like I said there were reunions. We got back together in probably 2000. We played a show at the Pavilion; we had written a couple of new songs. A friend of mine came out dressed like leader face with a chain saw, cut me up on stage. We played with the Dayglo Abortions there and got in a bit of a rowel. Not with them per say but with Jacquie She booked the show and the band she was in. It was her and Mike, nice guy. I know a few people who know him, the guy who worked with off shore knows him pretty well. Yeah they were playing way over into our time slot, like 4 songs or staring the 5th or something like that. And I got kind of mad and I walked out on stage when they finished the song, shot off all the amps, grabbed the mike and said thank you good night, which didn't go over very well. We also opened for Chixdiggit at the Marquee and they were really cool..

And what have people from the band gone on to since then?
Yeah I went on and did Slitch, I was in Butter Side Down for a while...that was a little more rock and roll. I know Rob still does cover bands... he's sort of like a hired guy, he'll play for whoever when their drummer is sick and out. But yeah he does The Persuaders quite a bit. Rob Mills plays bass in a band I don't know what they're called. It might be sort of jazzy or something like that. But yeah he still plays a lot. Gord doesn't play at all, I don't play at all anymore.

Do you think you'll ever play another show?
Oh for sure, if we could get like No Offense or The Shitheads or Donner Party. If we could make a night of it and get three or 4 bands from the day, that would be neat.  A couple of years ago, Gord wanted to get back together again, but then trying to organize time that we'd all show up... They jammed without me one night and I got kind of mad because it turned out I was actually home. They were like, well we just assumed you were at work and I was like well you could have called and asked but whatever.

Any other final thoughts on the legacy of Deep Woods?
I don't know.... I've had a lot of fun, met a lot of cool people. I met some people who weren't so cool, like MDC - Millions of Dead Cops. What a bunch of asses. Yeah they sort of seemed nice at first, but they were staying at Jakes house. Jake Evans was in Deep Woods for MDC. They ate him out of house and home, made all kinds of collect calls when he wasn't around. And they went and did an interview with Richard and then started slagging us because they didn't like the name Deep Woods cause lumberjacks are evil cause it cut down trees. They missed the whole fact that it was a joke. Well compared to like some other bands I've met, like yeah they were just a bunch of burn outs. That drummer reminded me of Jim Ignatowski from Taxi. He was literally across the street from Jake's house trying to score crack. But I mean you know people have problems. Yeah that's it, lots of fun, lots' of cool people, lots of fun shows. Play the double deuce when it first started. We got in on that before there was a stage or anything, before it was cool. It was nice to be there to start and to finish.



DOWNLOAD MP3s!!!
DOWNLOAD THE LIVE SHOW: Deep Woods - Live @ The Green Room

Or just listen to it here. Note there are maybe 20 seconds long gaps between songs:







Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SHRINE OF AMERICAN MARTYR

Morgan Carpenter once again tells the story of one of his many bands! Today we hear all about Shrine Of American Martyr, who were around from 1999 to 2001. You can download their demo at the end of this or even check it out on youtube first! Now...take it away Morgan!!

Shrine Of American Martyr, or The Shrine as we came to be called  was in some ways a super group at the time, starting in ‘99. Making up the band was me and Mac Ogilvie on guitar and sharing vocals, Lance Purcell (from Snot Party and Falling Out) on drums, and Scott Leighton on bass. At the time Mac and Lance had a lot of notoriety for being in The Plan, Mac had just come off of singing for influential Halifax hardcore band Equation Of State, and I was doing Useless Solution and Envision. Scott was a hermit from Truro.

The Shrine live @ The Arts Guild, Charlottetown, PEI

The band was kind of Me and Mac’s brain child.  We wanted to form a really chaotic, intense hardcore band that appealed to several factions of the hardcore/punk scene.  We combined influences from the emerging "screamo" scene - bands like Orchid, Page 99, and The Locust, and combined them with moodier stuff of the 80's like Joy Division and The Cure...though the result was all power.  Mac and I traded off lyrics creating a co-frontman dynamic, and our shows were always super chaotic, sometimes superseding the music. The hardcore trend of wearing shirts and ties while playing hadn't really exploded yet, so in the beginning this was something we did at every show.

We had set up a short Canada and east coast US tour sometime in the winter of 2000, and in turn every show got cancelled in the weeks before we left but one show in Boston, MA with Orchid. At the time, we were still all obsessing over that band, so decided to drive down to play it anyway. We rented a van and loaded all of our gear and made a 3 day trip out of it, only to arrive to the house the show was at in Boston and find out that Orchid wasn't playing. In fact, they were never even asked to play - a friend of a friend of the promoter said he'd ask them and forgot. We still got to play with Eulcid, who ended up buying all of our demos to sell on their tour.



We made the rounds around Halifax and PEI, building a reputation for our intense live shows.  We got arty and incorporated projected video into some shows, did unexpected covers (like Suck My Left One by Bikini Kill), and in our later songs played into long winded, jammier interludes, though very little of that stuff was ever documented.



With Mac and Lance doing The Plan simultaneously, Lance felt like he didn’t have the time needed to dedicate to our later, more involved stuff and decided to quit.  Not really sure where to go from there, I started playing drums in practice to keep the band active, but I couldn’t match the talent Lance brought.  We were unable to find a suitable replacement, and additionally I believe there was tension between Mac and I for creative control of the new material.  Such is the problem with having two frontmen.  We decided to call it a day, and Lance came back in to play a last show in 2001 at the TKO space.  I somehow set Gerry’s guitar amp on fire during our set.  Oops.



We recorded a four song cassette and self released it at (I believe) our first show. It was recorded by Mike Catano (of The Plan, North Of America, The Holy Shroud, Thrush Hermit, etc.) in his parents basement. Mac and I went in with no lyrical structure, and the result was amazing. The fact that it was recorded in 8 track analog made it really powerful as well.  I’m not sure how many were made.  The Shrine was a band I was really proud of what we achieved, and the demo we produced.  I’d like to see it be released on vinyl someday as I think it holds up against the test of time.

There’s never been a reunion show since our last official show on Good Friday of 2001.  I’d like to think it will happen eventually.


DOWNLOAD THEIR ONLY DEMO!!

or listen to it here:


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FALLING OUT

Falling Out might be considered Halifax's first Straight Edge hardcore band....or you could argue that was the previous band featured on here, Spent. In any case, FO were short lived, only played a few shows, but still may be able to lay claim to that title. Morgan Carpenter reflects back on those simpler times, before everyone hated each other. Read on


Falling Out began on the heels on Snot Party’s existence and just prior to Envision’s birth, which would have been around 1998.  Steve and Lance from SP had decided to form a straight edge band with Nathan Doucet (from By Any Means, later Useless Solution) and Keith Porter (later Useless Solution, Led By Regret).  Steve wanted to be the frontman, Lance stuck to drums, Keith played guitar and Nathan on bass.  I (Morgan) came on as a second guitar player most likely out of convenience because the practices were happening in the same basement as the SP practices.
Falling Out live @ The Box, Cole Harbour?

Halifax was never a hotbed for the straight edge scene, but in the late 90’s, it was probably about the hottest it has ever been.  The Falling Out songs fit right into the trends in hardcore of the time, but by today’s standards are very bland and by the numbers.  The band couldn’t have existed any other time and be taken with any degree of seriousness. Even then it was marginal.

We had about a set’s worth of songs and recorded a demo with Phil Clark (from Equation Of State, AV) at the newly opened Pavilion in it’s first incarnation.  There wasn’t a huge amount of shows played, and those that were were solely in the HRM.  The most memorable for me was playing the basement show at Food-Not-Bombs-hat-girl’s house (a girl who wore a hat with a FNB patch on it, but that no one had ever seen at Food Not Bombs) in Dartmouth, which was probably the summer of ’98.

Flyer for one of the band's rare shows
Falling Out didn’t last long, and was barely a blip on Halifax’s radar.  Like most straight edge bands, inner quarrels and edge weakening eventually brought it all to an end.  Ironically, Steve and I had a falling out, and I quit the band.  The same reasons brought Snot Party to an end at the same time.  Once I was gone, Falling Out didn’t last much longer (I don’t believe there were any shows afterwards).  This was probably partially because I poached Nathan and Keith to start Useless Solution (with Gerry from Snot Party).

Shortly after Lance started Led By Regret with Keith, and eventually started The Plan.  Nathan kept doing By Any Means and started Useless Solution with Keith and I.  In addition to Useless Solution, I started Envision around the same time with Ian Hart, and quicky started other bands like Shrine Of American Martyr, Coleridge, joined Existench, etc.  Steve was playing bass with By Any Means for a short time before leaving, which I believe ended his musical tenure.

The Falling Out demo had 5 songs (I believe) and sounds okay at best.  You can hear a miss-mash of influences in there, from chugging Victory Rec stuff, to a-tonal Ebullition style minor chords - all very typical of the time.  The demo cover is terrible, even by straight edge band standards.  We covered ‘Impact’ by Chain Of Strength, which was probably the biggest crowd pleaser.

Exactly zero members of Falling Out are still straight edge today.


Now watch some videos of the band live:






DOWNLOAD THE DEMO HERE:
FALLING OUT DISCOGRAPHY (aka 6 songs)

Or just giv'r a listen here: