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GUFF THE SPOTLIGHT 26.................................movin’ on you get the boot, you’re at rock bottom but chin up, you will play again.

27.............................40 answers from0 jay smith. Recording, touring, being a father.

31.............................ROCKIN’ IN THE SHADOWS. Mike D’Eon’s journey through the Halifax indie-rock music scene, while dealiNG WITH SCHOOL AND FACING HIS BROTHER’S SUCCESS.

34............................find the northwest arm. One of Halifax’s best new bands has been a well-kept secret for two years.

38........................metal maniacs melt faces. Halifax’s extreme metal heroes

42..................... The Acadian way. A house, label, venue and community.

46.....................The Sonic Temple. 49....................ON THE ROAD AGAIN. HOW TO SURVIVE A TOUR. 51.... doomed by download JESS SPOTO

The last music store on Barrington Street will shut its doors for good by the end of March.


FRONTSTAGE Reviews shows in-flight safety...................10 Small Sins..................... Bike Rodeo.............................11 LOCAL Kuato................... Jimmy Swift Band..................20 jon mckiel................ Quivers............................ ocean towers........................21

DAVE LALAONDE

worldwide Radiohead.......... Dropkick Murphys........... r.e.m........................................22 OTHER STUFF 4..............................q&a with the stogies 6............................move to the scene 8............................open mic 12................cover. it sucks

14.............................the rockstar pre-drink 16...........................Gettin’ Guffed for $20 18....................................find your scene 23...........................THE GUFF GUIDE

BACKSTAGE sounds of the city....................52 makin’ the best of it.................53 the hungry drunk.....................55 hipster horoscopes.................56 what the fuck...........................57 follow your drunk...................59 classifieds................................61 get the goods............................63 after hours...............................64


THE J-SPOT:

GUFF magazine is dedicated to capturing the authentic swagger, raw potential and accessibility of

Halifax’s vibrant music scene. Rich with in-depth coverage, GUFF is eastern Canada’s backstage pass to Halifax’s rockin’ music culture. Bringing meticulous attention to Halifax’s legendary bar scene and the east coast’s musical identity, GUFF scouts out uprising local talents, who have not, but are deemed worthy of feeling the spotlight, while also gratifying the heroics of prominent Haligonian musicians. GUFF is for anyone who eats, sleeps and breathes music. It doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or gal, how old you are, or what your income is: the only real qualification is that you love music as much as we do. GUFF understands those who party until sunrise, spend recklessly in record stores and who crank the volume to 11. It’s for those who don’t give a shit about fitting in because they’d rather rock out. GUFF is about living fast and hard because if tomorrow never comes, you’ll have no regrets. Whether you’re an intrigued spectator or mind-melting musician, GUFF is your ticket into the east coast music scene. If it rocks, we’ll find it. -Jess Spoto

The Crew: Jess fruitbat Spoto...........Editor in chief Nick ditka Mercer.............Managing editor Sam guffman Riches.........art director Peter De Vries....................copy editor Dave big chips Lalonde..........fact checker dave drumz lidstone.........photo editor

GUFF


FRONTSTAGE

Q&A: the Stogies he Stogies planned to jam at their spot in Clayton Park around 7 p.m., so I arrived around 7:15 p.m. Dave Lidstone, drummer for The Stogies and member of the GUFF editorial staff, sent me a text message saying he wasn’t there yet and would be a few minutes late. Typical. Considering that Lidstone is the only Stogie I’d met, I figured I’d wait for him to arrive rather than let myself into the house. Sitting on the curb in front of the townhouse, I sip on a can of Blue. By the time the can is empty, Lidstone shows up with Stogie guitarist Dave Driscoll. They lead the way inside, I trail behind. Inside the jam spot, Blake Johnston, vocalist and guitarist, and Sean Carver, bassist, strum absentmindedly on their instruments. The room is in the basement of the townhouse and barely fits the five of us and Lidstone’s drum kit. I sit down at a corner table covered in ash trays, dirty glasses, old McDonalds cups and a tambourine. Within minutes the room is filled with smoke. How did you guys form? Johnston – Sean and I are cousins, we grew up together. We were playing around, looking for a band. Dave had an ad on Kijiji with a friend of his on drums, so we met up and started playing. We didn’t really get along with the drummer, so he ended up falling by the wayside. We had a line-up of different drummers come through. Every couple of months we’d 4 Guff Magazine

Why did you pick the name “The Stogies”? Driscoll – On our way to meet Carver and Johnston for the first time, Blake was reading a Kurt Vonnegut book. He read it in there. Johnston – It just sounded badass! Agreed? I was just putting “The” in front of everything. We needed something cool. The name we had at the time just fucking sucked. We were called “Vinyl Oz.” Driscoll – Dumb idea. Johnston – We came up with that idea at Wendy’s on Quinpool. That’s why it was a shitty idea, actually.

How would you describe the sound of The Stogies? Johnston – I’d say it’s rock ’n’ roll. There’s all different kinds of stuff in there. For me, The Rolling Stones, The Tragically Hip and The Clash. Rock ’n’ roll. Actually we’re cliché rock ’n’ roll. What did you listen to in Junior High? Johnston – Nothing we want to admit to! What did YOU listen to in high school? Lidstone– I was into the ‘90s stuff, but I was starting to get into Zeppelin type stuff. There was a lot of Korn. Yep, I listened to them. Also Silverchair, Foo Fighters, Our Lady Peace, Incubus and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Johnston – When I got into grade six is when I changed musically. I started to listen to KISS and Ozzy and Guns

N’ Roses a lot. Kiss was cool as shit. How could you not get into Kiss? They were like fuckin’ superheroes man! Do you guys have jobs? Johnston – Gas station. Lidstone– I cook. Carver – I work in a hospital doing janitor stuff. Driscoll – I’m an accountant. Lidstone – Fuck you, Dave. What do you like most about Halifax? Lidstone – It’s a small big city. It’s got a nice hometown feel to it. Carver – There’s a big old army fort in the middle of the city. That’s cool man! Johnston – I like some of the places. Little joints like Tom’s Little Havana, or the Seahorse. Places that are old like that. It feels like people have been playing there for 50 or 60

The Stogies from left: Dave Lidstone (drums), Blake Johnston (vocals, guitar), Dave Driscoll (guitar) and Sean Carver (bass).

SCOTT BLACKBURN

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switch it up. Lidstone was playing in another band, Stone Mary. We got along with him, so we stole him. Let’s not beat around the bush, we stole him! That’s pretty much the story.


years, which is cool. You don’t really get that in other places. What do you dislike about Halifax? Johnston – Musically, it’s hard to be just in one band in Halifax and make a living. What are your favourite local bands? Lidstone – We like to put a mirror in front of ourselves, watch ourselves play! But really, I don’t mind watching The Stanfields play. Carmen Townsend’s awesome. Mike Trask’s fuckin’ awesome. Johnston – It’s a tough thing though. I’m a musician. I don’t really like to go see other bands play on the stage that I want to be playing on. It’s hard for me to sit still and watch a band, especially when they’re cookin’. Is there a competitive feeling in the local music scene? Johnston – Definitely.

Lidstone – There’s a community feeling when it’s not your gig and you’re seeing another band. Hanging out having a smoke or a drink is fun. But there’s always an underlying feeling of “we’ve got this gig next week and you don’t.” What is your favourite venue? Everyone – Seahorse. Johnston– The Seahorse is the shit, but as much as I hate to

say it The Palace has a dope stage. We haven’t played there yet. It’s such a sleazy venue on a Friday or Saturday night with a DJ there. But if you’re playing a rock show there? They’ve got a huge stage! What was touring like? Carver – It had its ups and downs, like the elevator business. Johnston – We had some trouble at the border. We weren’t supposed to be there, but we

took a wrong turn on the GPS. They found it all man. The next three days were terrible. Within 36 hours we didn’t want to talk to each other. We finally got to Brantford where we were put up by another band. Once we got to that point, we were all smiles. Lidstone – We got to shower. Beat off. Nap. Johnston – For our first tour, it was badass. We did it with gusto. We went at it like it was our last tour ever. Any tours coming up? Driscoll – In May we’re going to Toronto and back. Then we’ll have a CD release tour in July, then for two or three weeks in August we’ll go back to Toronto. But there’s a 100 per cent chance it won’t work out like that. We’ll see. -Dave Lalonde

What’s your favourite... Pizza place – King Of Donair (Lidstone) Bar – Oasis (Carver) Drink – Ginger Ale (Johnston) Nintendo Game – Hockey NHL 2011 (Driscoll) Part of the Human Body – Boobies! (Lidstone) Movie – Too hard to say (Carver) Braveheart! (Lidstone) Cartoon from elementary school – Batman (Johnston) TV show of all time – Sons of Anarchy (Driscoll) Ninja Turtle – Raphael (Lidstone)

Fast food place – Taco Bell / KFC (Carver) Sport – You’re asking the wrong guy (Johnston) Board Game – Pass (Driscoll) Clue (Lidstone) Website – Cracked.com (Carver) Breakfast food – Special K vanilla almond cereal (Johnston) Simpsons character – Moe (Driscoll) Country – Canada (Lidstone) Flavour of Chips – Jalepeno (Carver)

Guff Magazine 5


FRONTSTAGE

MOVe to the scene Retrospect vocalist, Leah Kays, is making Halifax her bitch since moving from P.E.I. together. In the beginning, the band’s vision was to have a mbitious is the best word to describe Leah Kays. Besides study- mini-Mellotones that would play Otis Redding and James Brown coving as a vocal major at Nova Scotia Community College, she  sings  ers, but this has since changed. Kays also manages and sings in the band. and  plays in three bands, one of which she manages. In her free time She says Sean MacGillivray – drummer for Classified and she writes and records her own music as well. Told ya. Ambitious. bassist for Jenn Grant – convinced her and the rest of the band to Thanks to her upbringing, Kays has always been always been explore a new direction. “We found out in the band who was consumed by music. Growing up in Charlottetown, P.E.I., her motivated and who wanted knack for music was to do it. We have such a great nurtured by her singer/musimix now.” She says the band is cian father, Albert Kays. By beefing up their set-list, addage eight she was taking both ing more female drivsinging and piano lessons. en influences like Aretha “I didn’t really know Franklin and Chaka Khan. what I wanted to do but I   With six chicks to five dudes, loved playing music. I heard The Retrospect is fronted by about the music arts proan all-girl horn section, three gram over here at NSCC female vocalists and a male and it just seemed perfect.” rhythm section. “It’s so good  After being accepted into to have the girl thing, we do the the two-year music program matching outfits. It’s a lot of fun,” at NSCC, Kays quickly says Kays, laughing. “The guys developed her chops and a sit in the back and wear black.” liking for her new city. She   Besides her Retrospect says gigging in P.E.I. offers duties, Kays plays in a jazz trio little motivation for musiat NSCC and another funk band cians. A major pitfall in the called De-funct. Going to school, Charlottetown music scene gigging and booking shows is a lack of variety or subleaves her little time for herstance and this prompts self and time off usually musicians to leave the small means writing her own songs. city for a more promising   “There’s no time for a job. music market, she says. It’s just playing all the time, and Kays was more than practicing, and writing, just trying growing weary of the moto do whatever I can,” she says. “I notony. “I love watching love recording, I love playing.” jazz. We have none of that     Staying motivated to keep in P.E.I. There’s no R n’ working towards a career as B, there’s no big bands, Check out Kays and The Retrospect opening for The a musician is tough at times, there’s none of that stuff, but a combination of fearMellotones at the Paragon once a month. so it’s kinda new to me.” lessness and the on-stage The Halifax music scene jusfeeling of performing in a band is more than enough to keep Kays busy. tifieshermovefromthebarely-thereP.E.I.scene.ShedescribestheP.E.I.     “I was scared for the first little bit. You work hard and you scene as “cliquey” and says she hasn’t thought twice about going back. get rewarded,” she says. She stresses the importance of not “Everyone here appreciates the music more than the saying “no” to opportunities. “You don’t even know what competition,” she says. Kays explains how the P.E.I. scene you’re missing out on. You just have to be everywhere you can.” consists of fewer bands playing the same type of music, creating    Kays plans to keep playing and managing The Retrospect tension and rivalry. In Halifax there’s a bigger, more while continuing to write, arrange and record her own songs. She diverse fish tank to choose from. Bands tend to sound and look describes her music reluctantly as indie pop, drawing on heavy different, generating a supportive community among Halifax players. influences from The Beatles, Metric, and The Cardigans. She says Kays’ present main musical focus is an 11-piece funk band called she’ll always be accompanied by a band, be it 11-piece or three. The Retrospect. The band formed at NSCC almost two years ago    “There are already enough singer/songwritas Cakeosaurus before changing their name to The Retrospect in ers. I don’t need to be another one.”-Dave Lidstone fall 2010. Rob Crowell, who has played with Matt Mays and El Torpedo and more recently with the Mellotones, helped put the band 6 Guff Magazine

DAVE LIDSTONE

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FRONTSTAGE

OPEN MIC FRESH GROUNDS AND FRESH SOUNDS -Jess Spoto

alifax coffee shops are wicked spots to hit up if you’re meeting a friend to chat, getting caffeinated, or forcing yourself out of the house to get some work done because your hangover wants to go back to bed. Recently, Halifax coffee shops have been expanding to accommodate live musical acts. Although it might not be the rock scene you’re devoted to, below are a few spots worthy of checkin’ out. Expand your horizons, sober up with acoustics. 8 Guff Magazine

JESS SPOTO

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Local Jo Café & Market on Oxford Street has been hosting live music for the past four years. Decked out with vintage photos of Halifax, this café bridges the old with the new. The small town feel of the shop explains why the café began hosting live music in the first place. “It’s somewhere for neighbours to go for entertainment” says manager Danielle Surette. Any musicians who show interest in playing the small coffee shop will receive monthly email listings of available show dates from Surette. The only stipulation is the set must be “‘au naturelle,’ meaning no microphones.”

For other open-mic nights and live music coffee venues check out Humani-T Café located on Young Street. The Wired Monk on Morris Street is also something to keep your ears peeled for as they’re planning a musical comeback.

JESS SPOTO

Just Us! café expanded its musical community to include a stage and tons of extra seating. The many musicians inquiring and booking kick-started this action. “We want to be the only (coffee shop) with a stage,” says employee Ali Larson. Anyone interested in playing Just Us! can call, email or walk in to book a performance.

Coburg Coffee House is a Tuesday night destination for anyone looking to play an open mic set. Local musicians, both first timers and professionals, sign up to play. “Everyone walks up on the same level regardless of experience,” says employee and musician Breagh Potter. “It is an intimate experience, there is no stage so everyone is close and taking in the music.” Banjos, bass and bongo drums are all popular on the scene. The event runs from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and each musician gets free drinks and three songs.

The Smiling Goat Organic Espresson Bar began hosting live jazz this past December. The opening night featured the talented bassist Paul Vienneau and saxophonist Rob Crowell of The Mellotones. Shop owner Geoffrey Creighton has always wanted to host live jazz music, and he says signing up to play is as easy as stopping in the café. Located on South Park Street across from the Public Gardens, the Smiling Goat’s chic atmosphere is designed for Jazz, but just buy a latte and you can pretend you’re sophisticated enough to hang there.

Guff Magazine 9


FRONTSTAGE

mullane rocks modestly hometown heroes play the paragon with two of p.e.i.’s hottest prospects

harlottetown,P.E.I.’s Milks & Rectangles kickstarted the night at the Paragon with sharp guitar riffs and lead singer Christian Ledwell’s unique vocals. His voice is a combination of Julian Casablancas’ non-chalance and Richard Butler’s raspyness. You couldn’t often tell what he was singing, but the band’s clever hooks and tight rhythm section did most of the talking. Milks & Rectangles have an uncanny knack for catchy-ashell guitar harmonies, which the early birds at the Paragon can count themselves fortunate to discover. People were only beginning to file into the Paragon when the band first started playing, but by the time they played “Hollow Earth Society” – the third song of their 30-minute set and standout from their Dirty Gold EP – a small but attentive crowd had gathered around the stage. After building up lots of momentum with “Auction Block,” Milks & Rectangles unleashed the fiercest sonic assault of their set with “Gold Teeth/ Diamond Ring” and its glorious guitar-driven chorus. A couple songs later, the promising P.E.I. band exited the stage to hearty applause, passing the baton to their hometown companions. Boxer the Horse, Charlottetown’s little-bandthat-could, galloped its way through a fast-paced 30-minute set that capitalized on the momentum Milks & Rectangles built up earlier. The crowd surrounding the stage continued to swell in numbers as Boxer the Horse turned heads with the catchy, 10 Guff Magazine

organ-driven “Sketch Me a Glove.” The band played with high energy and eclectic sounds that recall Gallowsbird’s Bark – The Fiery Furnaces’ first album – and guitar melodies that suggested they’ve worn out their copies of The Strokes’ first two albums. In their opening slot for In-Flight Safety, they managed to play several quick, stompy, guitar-driven new songs to warm audience reception before settling into a standout rendition of “Cat Burglar” from Would You Please, their 2010 debut album. One of the guitarists broke a string during the performance but the pause did nothing to hinder the band’s momentum. The crowd of about 200 waited patiently, but with eager excitement for each song. In-Flight Safety’s Send-Off Thank god John Mullane is better at singing and playing music than he is at banter. “Is this thing on? How are you, Halifax? It’s so nice to see you. Feel free to come as close as possible if you’re in the back,” said lead singer Mullane. His self-conscious tone could evoke images of Chris Martin offering to buy his fans ice cream if they would just sing along. The funny thing is that Halifax’s In-Flight Safety opened their set strongly and Mullane had absolutely no reason to doubt himself. After a strong rendition of “Big White Elephant,” the crowd of about 400 had a glazed-over look about them as they gazed into the spectacle

John Mullane, lead singer of In-Flight Safety, serenades fans at the Paragon. of music, dry ice and multicoloured lights. The audience’s stillness and the band’s gentle melodies might’ve given you the impression the crowd had been shot with happy tranquilizers – at least until they erupted into applause after each song. Some fans sang or danced to the chorus of “So bad, so bad, so bad” from “Actors,” a standout from 2009’s We Are an Empire, My Dear. Other audience members remained in their collective trance. Emboldened by the band’s early success, Mullane took the opportunity to fill the Paragon with more lousy banter. “It’s usually this point in the night when I try to convince people to have a good time, but that’s already happening. So have a crazy time.” Clearly, Mullane didn’t notice the trance that had engulfed the crowd. The craziest time anyone was having probably involved a hazy combination of weed, flashing lights and blank stares. Maybe Mullane was feeling nervous about the band’s level

of performance for their upcoming European tour, but once again they demonstrated how ready they are for the international stage by surprising the crowd with a solid cover of The Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing.” The band would go on to play several new songs to warm reception before a lovely rendition of “Model Homes” concluded their opening set. It seemed many in the crowd were waiting for that song, judging by the enthusiastic applause. The band left the stage and then reappeared a couple minutes later for an encore. “Everyone had to pee,” Mullane informed the crowd. His tone was far more apologetic than necessary and far less humorous than one would hope. Maybe Mullane will rest easier in the coming days because In-Flight Safety have clearly demonstrated they’re ready for their transatlantic conquest. -Peter de Vries

PETER DE VRIES

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FRONTSTAGE

bike rodeo

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Small Sins

PETER DE VRIES/ DAVE LALONDE

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need a friend, to get me on my feet again,” sang Thomas D’Arcy, lead singer for Small Sins. The band competed with a bartender’s services and a TV for the attention of about 40 patrons at the Paragon on Monday, March 7. Despite an energetic opening to their 10-song set, it was hard to tell if half the crowd was there to see the band, or to drink and chat with friends. The show was so small only the front gallery of the Paragon was open. The Monday night time slot and heavy rain might’ve prevented more curious souls from coming to discover the electronic indie pop band from Toronto, but Small Sins showed determination by rocking out as hard as they could despite little moral support. The band started building a little momentum with “Deja Vu,” a song off Pot Calls Kettle Black – their third and most recent album – and a catchy rendition of “Stay.” “Thanks for coming on a Monday rainier than Our Lady Peace,” said D’Arcy, facetiously. With satisfaction, he claimed this was the worst joke he has ever made as several people at the bar groaned in disgust. Small Sins’ upbeat guitars, drums and synth zaps came through very loud and very clear as they rocked their way through “On the Line” and their fantastic new single, “Why Don’t You Believe Me.” The band sounded much bigger than the venue. “This one’s for the lovers in the crowd,” said D’Arcy. “We’re all lovers!” shouted one of the girls near the front of the stage. The band slowed their pace with “Pot Calls Kettle Black.” By now, about 10 more people had clued into the band’s performance from around the bar. Small Sins ripped through an insidiously catchy version of “Airport” before poking fun at their situation with their closing song. “We won’t last the winter. We won’t make it through. Cold nights in Toronto won’t be ending soon.” With any luck, Small Sins will survive the year’s coldest season handily and find a bigger crowd when they return to Halifax. -Peter de Vries

ike Rodeo celebrated the release of Oh Blah Duh, their latest album, on Friday, March 4. The band played songs from Oh Blah Duh and some older material, but The Great Bloomers took the stage first. The Ontario-based folk-rock band got the place jumping to “Admit Defeat,” “Black Rising Fire” and “The Young Ones Slept.” Lowell Sostomi played his guitar, swaying like a prime Axel Rose to the music. Science played into the rest of the performance. The energy pouring from Sostomi’s body – through the act of diffusion – replaced the oxygen in the Seahorse, influencing the audience and the rest of his band to mimic his actions. The crowd became more frenzied with each guitar lick. The Great Bloomers set the stage for Bike Rodeo to knock ’em dead. Bike Rodeo’s beatdown Bike Rodeo charged the stage with a full-force rock attack. Led by vocalist and guitarist Nigel Tinker, Mike D’Eon – older brother of Wintersleep’s Tim D’eon – rocked out on guitar. Each riff D’Eon played was more complicated than the last, as if he was trying to top himself every time his hand slid down the neck of his guitar. Bassist Alan Hoskins and drummer Matt Nichols, Bike Rodeo’s rhythm section, kept a rapid beat that complemented D’Eon’s guitar attack. Surprisingly, the rest of the band’s rock ‘n’ roll energy came from a front man who looked like he should’ve been grading papers in his button up shirt and dress pants. Towards the end of their set, Ky McDons – drummer for Red Rum, a Moncton band that opened for Bike Rodeo earlier in the night – joined them on-stage. McDons wore black sunglasses and a green button up shirt. He flailed around the stage, violently banging his red tambourine as he provided Tinker with shouted back-up vocals. The crowd exploded with applause for McDons’ guest appearance, cheering every over-dramatic strike. At the end of the night, the audience went home having seen a kick-ass rock show. -Nick Mercer

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FRONTSTAGE

cover. it sucks!! T

“”Any place charging ten bucks for cover will offer over-priced drinks and a crowd that can’t drink themselves out of a thimble”

Takin’ it to the streets, people share their standard The general consensus is five to eight bucks for cover fees. This is a good number. Any time cover starts to dangle close to the double-digit edge, you should take a step back and evaluate how much the place means to you. You can guarantee yourself that any place charging 10 dollars or more for cover will offer over-priced drinks and a crowd that can’t drink themselves out of a thimble. Any self-respecting creature of the night can drink more than a thimble! What you need is a place to rock out and have a good time without eating too much into your boozing money. This number lowered when factoring in no live entertainment. Those who said they would pay up to eight dollars for a show lowered their price significantly, saying they won’t pay more than five bucks if a band wasn’t playing. -Nick Mercer

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Halifax bars can dig pretty deep into your pockets. Look up cover fees beforehand to avoid being surprised at the door.

the odd ball Walking down Argyle Street after leaving the Seahorse, I was making my way to Pizza Corner with hopes of finding that one strange answer I was looking for. How much is too much for cover ? The purveyors of Halifax night life seem to think $8 is a fine price to pay to see their rock ‘n’ roll heroes smash drums and guitar strings, and vote for no more than a $5 cover fee for no live entainment. Patrick was waiting for me in front of the Pita Pit. He asked for a cigarette. I asked a question. “If your buddies are at the bar and you’re outside but there’s no band playing, how much are you willing to pay?” “Is my sister inside?” Patrick quickly countered. “Sure,” I respond. “I’d pay $200 if my sister was inside.” I glanced at him quizzically. Did he really just say $200 for cover?! Either he’s drunk or he’s banging his sister. jESS SPOTO

he night always starts the same. You get I.D.’d by the same security guard every time you enter the NSLC. After passing the age requirement for the alcohol carnival, you start the arduous task of selecting from the mind-fuck of choices. You hesitate slightly as you begin paying for your selection. You start to think about what’s going to happen later tonight as you head out the door. The night plays out as routine. Your friends make the same jokes, someone throws that same song on the stereo and everyone pounds their regular drink of choice. The night follows script perfectly until it’s time to go see the show and you’re forced into a decision. How much are you willing to pay for cover?


FRONTSTAGE

The rockstar pre-drink Tips for keeping your supper down and making it to last call. or at least the end of your set

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ooze goes hand in hand with playing music or watching it live. We’ve all been that guy. You know him – spillin’ beer, hittin’ on the bar stools, pissin’ on parked cars or havin’ a smoke in front of the bar. And in some cases, spewin’ on the dance floor. As Scottish rockers Travis said, “It’s a fine line” and it’s easy to go from delightful socialite to belligerent asshole. Here are some tips for keeping your supper in your stomach and making it to last call – or at least, to the end of your set – without taking it too far, too soon.

For the Musician Stick to beers

Sippin’ light beer gives you a better chance at making it to the gig and remembering your parts. It also keeps you light on your feet. Slammin’ a 12er of Dry Ice in the middle of the day and then expecting to wake up from that 7 p.m. nap? Ain’t gonna happen, kid. “I stick to beer and water before a show,” explains Troy Arseneault, Alert The Medic’s lead guitarist. “Everything else makes me reckless.” Beers are like a repeat of Seinfeld, you always know what you’re gonna get. Good, happy memories. Just don’t overdo it. Rippin’ a 6er might be ok, but 14 Guff Magazine

having three or four before you play and then taking a couple on-stage might be a better game plan. If you don’t know how to pace yourself and maintain a buzz over a long period of time then hard liquor is an automatic night-ender. You may not see it coming, but rum, vodka and gin all have great blackout-enabling ingredients. Whiskey and tequila... What, are you kiddin’ me?!

Liquor is quicker

If you have only little time to rip a few drinks before you head to the gig and need to stifle your insecurities quickly, hammer some

DAVE LIDSTONE/JESS SPOTO

As a musician you probably already have the natural tendency to drink before a gig. Beer helps calm your nerves, increase your confidence and it tastes faaaantastic. If you find yourself pacing around your apartment, chain-smoking while waiting for load-in and sound check, reach for a beer. Coors Light, Miller Genuine Draft, or, if you’re really feeling saucy, Wildcat.


FRONTSTAGE hard stuff. Though known for inducing fights, breaking hearts and causing awkward apologies the next day, whiskey is great for giving you a breath of fresh air in a couple of tasty shots. Feel free to substitute vodka or rum, but as straight shots go, whiskey is much easier to drink straight and gives you a nice boost of energy. Mixing takes time. A half-pint bottle of whiskey fits nicely in an inside coat pocket and can be consumed on the walk, bus ride, or however you get to the gig. “Whiskey is best for singing. Beer next. Then water,” says Bert Anderson, lead singer and guitarist of E.B. Anderson and The Resolutes. Vokda’s buzz is great before a show. It’s light, it kicks in promptly and doesn’t leave you with liquor breath. If you’re really brave, a couple shots of Jager or tequila right before hitting the stage will jumpstart the night. Like whiskey, Jager and tequila offer a warm boost of energy. Toss back a couple Budweisers while you play and you’ll be on your way, but you gotta know your limits. Drinking responsibly by understanding which liquors work and which ones don’t doesn’t mean you’re a pansy. It shows maturity and usually puts you ahead of the pack. If you’re getting flashbacks of huggin’ your girlfriend’s toilet before you slam a shot of tequila, maybe sit that one out. Mike MacDougall, bass player for The Jimmy Swift Band, says he doesn’t drink or do drugs before a show. A red bull is the closest he gets. “Usually by the end of the set someone has brought a bunch of Jager shots to the stage, so I have a few of those during the set,” he says. “If it’s a small sweaty bar where everyone is loaded and givin’er, I’ll

Eat!!:

get drunk and stoned by the end of the set with them.”

“No one appreciates a lunatic at their gig.” He says the size and importance of the gig affects his pre-game attack before a show. “At bigger gigs, you’re under a microscope and should probably consider trying to play your best,” he says. “Unless, of course, being loaded is part of your schtick, in which case you should just be drunk and stoned all the time, 24/7. It’s your job.”

For the fans

Know your music and your limits. Drink according to the type of show you’re going to see. If you’re heading out to see The Stanfields, by all means, put the pedal to the floor and pound a case of beer and a half-pint before you land. Same if you’re going to the Paragon to dance your face off to some house music – get ‘er done. But if you’re heading to The Company House for an intimate singer/ songwriter show, you might wanna keep things to a dull roar. No one appreciates a lunatic at their gig. Maybe make it a wine night. “The genre of the band impacts what I do in a huge way. When I go see you guys (The Stogies), or The Stanfields, or anyone else who plays fast, I dummy three or four pitchers during the duration of the night,” says Kyle Findlay, bassist for The Regal Beagle Band. “If it’s a band such as Paper

Lions or Plaskett, I will hold off a bit and only buy bottles.”

If ya party with the boys, ya gotta get up with the men

The consequences of a night of boozing differ from person to person. Generally, a sloppy night begins with beers. Then it graduates to shots of Jager or whiskey. Then back to beers. Then rum and coke and on and on. Mixing your booze may or may not affect your hangover. Drinking a shitload of any liquor, one or several, is an almost guaranteed next day write-off. Rob Anderson, guitarist for The Resolutes, enjoys the feeling beer produces when watching a band play. “I drink Keith’s because I like it a lot. I just like to catch a buzz.” he says. “I drink rum on days when my belly is too full to drink beer.” Beers and only beers typically ensure a great night out. Simple, tasty, and effectve drunk. And remember: Blackouts are synonymous with hard liquor. Tequila has a nasty habit of showing up late in the night. You’ve probably heard more than one person say “I remember everything up until we did those three shots of tequila.” This can make last call dangerous. Loading up on shots and a couple road beers seems like a wise choice during or before a good blackout. Just know you might end up somewhere you never thought possible in the morning. Just be prepared to make a stealthy getaway when you have that head-in-a-vice feeling after you wake up.

-Dave Lidstone

Smoke Break

The human body is an amazing thing. Turns out, if you drink on an empty stomach the chances of you being a drunken mess increase ten-fold. Do everyone in the city a favour and fuckin’ eat something before or while you’re preparing to hit the town.

H2O: Water, nature’s blood. Especially if you haven’t eaten, make sure you add water to your drink rotation every so often. Call me crazy, but it actually works. I know right? So simple.

Guff Magazine 15


FRONTSTAGE

Gettin’ guffed for $20 you’ve only got twenty bucks to burn on a night out. Here are some options.

I

t’s the weekend before pay day. All the bills have been paid, groceries bought and your partner is satisfied with the gift you bought for them. What’s left to do? Oh yeah! There’s a show tonight and you need to get fucked up! There’s just one problem – you only have $20 to spend on alcohol. Sure you might decide to prime before leaving the house, but you wanna to get surly tonight. What can you do?

Also on Wednesday: • Get Lifted @ Seahorse Tavern • Student Power Night @ The Dome • Electric Night @ Reflections Thursday is the night when The Dome has

• Electric Palace @ The New Palace Saturday calls for an afternoon drunk and Split Crow is your destination. Their Power Hour is 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., offering $2.50 draught.

On Monday night Boston Pizza offers a two-for-one pint special. While pints of your favourite local brew can be pricey at $5.25 each, you get two of them here. Three beers become six. This plus the brews you drank beforehand means you’re currently bordering on surly. Now you’re ready to rock the world with your favourite hair metal song at Cheers for karaoke. Also on Monday: • Manic Mondays @ Seahorse Tavern • Rock Star Karaoake @ The Dome • Open Mic @ The Marquee Should Tuesday be your night of choice, The Resolutes Club should be your bar of choice. There’s happy hour all night. The Alehouse offers $4.50 Corona beers. Not the manliest of choices but it’ll get the job done kid.

$2.50 local beers and well shots, making it the home of cheap drinks. Your $20 will take you a long way on Thursdays.

Also on Tuesday: • $2.50 Well Shots @ Bearley’s • $2.00 off Rickards Red & White @ The Foggy Goggle

Also on Thursday: • $3.50 Horse Power beer @ Seahorse Tavern • Relaxed Thursdays @ The Dome • Five Minutes of Fame @ Reflections

You have two options on Wednesdays. At Bearly’s there’s $3.75 rye and coke plus karaoke and no cover. This makes an excellent option for those aiming to get surly. Should that not tickle your fancy and you want to see a cover band live, the Pogue Fado should be your destination. It has $3 beers all night and again there’s no cover. You can get six beers at the Pogue for $20, or five rye and coke. You’ll be fuckin’ zooming in no time.

Gatsby’s should be your choice on Fridays. There are good tunes and a giant stein of Sleeman’s for $7.50. Sure that doesn’t scream deal but the stein is a monster. It holds three beers in it and for $15 it’s a good way to go. Plus, you’re left with $5 for a couple of double cheeseburgers at the McDonalds next door.

16 Guff Magazine

Wednesday night at Bearly’s boasts no cover and cheap booze.

Also on Sunday: • $3.75 Bloody Mary’s and Ceasers @ The Argyle • $3.00 Well Shots and Domestic Beer @ Cheers • $2.50 Canadian and Coors @ The Toothy Moose -Nick Mercer

GEMMA BRADLEY

Also on Fridays: • Fahrenheit Fridays @ The Dome

Also on Saturday: • Dance Party @ Reflections • Retro Night @ The Marquee • Paparazzi @ The New Palace Sunday you can get smorgasbord of alcohol at The Bitter End on Argyle. It offers $5.50 doubles and $4.00 bottles of Canadian and Coors Light. Its pretty awesome.


FRONTSTAGE

Find your scene Rock ‘N’ Roll

Indie

Blues

The Seahorse

DJ/ HipHop/ House

Metal

Tribeca The Paragon Club 1668 Monte’s The Carleton The Company House Winston’s Pub Bearly’s House of Blues Gus’ Pub & Grill The Marquee The Palace The Dome Reflections

“PULMONARY ARCHERY, ALEXISONFIRE.” SHANNNON SPINDLE, 23

“DEFTONES, BE QUIET AND DRIVE.” MIKE VANSTONE, 21

18 Guff Magazine

“EVERYTHING IN IT’S RIGHT PLACE, RADIOHEAD.” ADAM FINDLAY, 22

“NINE INCH NAILS, CLOSER TO GOD.”

DUDE ASKING FOR CHANGE OUTSIDE SUBWAY, 20-25

SAM RICHES

What’s Your Favourite Song to Bang to?


FRONTSTAGE

REVIEWS: keepin’ it local

KUATO- WINTER EP

Kuato’s Winter EP is a dusky gem lurking in Halifax’s dark musical corners. The band writes lengthy, richly orchestrated and almost completely instrumental songs that evoke comparisons to Mogwai. Kuato share Mogwai’s impish taste for “clever” song titles, with names like “Schindler’s Lisp” and “Nazi Synthesizers” rounding out their catalogue. The three songs on Winter come off as elaborately layered projects that are as wildly successful as they are fussed-over. Translation: They rock. For more than 10 minutes at a time. One listen to “Pet Seminary,” the record’s 11-minute opener, might make you shit your pants while you wonder how a band so young can have such a clearly defined, mature sound as you struggle to clean up the mess. The track opens softly with a hypnotic, chiming guitar line that’s propelled towards a sharply constructed soft-then-loud climax by two heavier guitar parts. The guitars fade into an ominous pause before pounding back alongside a torrential storm of lightning-fast drum hits that conclude the song on a swiftly satisfying, brutal note. “Schindler’s Lisp” thrills and captivates by adding layer upon layer of crunchy melody to the same guitar riff with each measure. By the time the eight-minute track nears its conclusion, it has metamorphosed into a relentless, abominable monster of sound. “Anarchy in the Ukraine” follows a similar formula, building up to a vicious climax from humble sonic beginnings. It’s already clear that Kuato are destined for greater things than the average unsigned indie rock band. Anyone who likes

their music dark, forceful and intricately textured should check this band out. -Peter de Vries

JIMMY SWIFT BAND- When all is Said and Done, there’ll be a lot more Said than Done A mouthful to say but an earful to listen to. The Jimmy Swift Band’s fourth fulllength record is fairly well balanced. When all is Said and Done is a combination of eight originals and five remixes of older

20 Guff Magazine

songs. The four-to-the-floor grooves and melodic, but often muddy, guitars are done right. But the synthesizer and vocal effects get in the way. “The Bend” is one example where less is more would’ve worked. The overall feel of the vocals is a mix of Trent Reznor and Bono with a hint of Liam Gallagher. On track three, “Daisy,” the lyrics become repetitive and boring. A good dance party song, though. On the next track, “Medicine Chest,” the vocals are clear, raw and full of Bowie flare. This song in particular is attentiongrabbing. The rockin’ intro and the band’s mature musical decision to leave the skank (reggae) guitar parts until the second verse make for a fantastic dynamic. The synth effects are less prominent in this

tune and the guitar solo is fuckin’ rippin’. “Turning the Tide” is also a highlight on the album. The intro has a great drum stick pattern that dives right into the song. Similar to the sound of the Foo Fighters, heavy, chunky guitar tones smouldering in dirt are accompanied by great bass and tom work on the drums. The back-up vocals at the end of the choruses are also note worthy. “Road Rage” is also very rock ‘n’ roll oriented. Great vocal range, perfect melody for the song. The tempo changes are another dynamic element JSB shows off well with flawless rhythm section parts. The record is a fine example of how to be dynamic. Overall this is definitely a great sounding album. It’s hard not to move, smoke, or daydream to while listening to it. If you’re a fan of dancey pop rock, you’ll enjoy this record. Listening to the band live may serve them more justice – this record is good, but it’s trumped by JSB’s live show. -Dave Lidstone


jon mckiel

QUIVERS

OCEAN TOWERS

In late 2009, Jon McKiel got married and moved from an apartment in North End Halifax to a spacious townhouse in Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. The home, known as the “Confidence Lodge,” belongs to producer Diego Medina – a friend of McKiel’s who agreed to let the newlyweds stay there for the winter. McKiel would record the Confidence Lodge EP in the house’s giant recording studio. The five-song EP maintains a fairly mellow, laid-back tone from beginning to end. Each track on the EP has a slightly different feel because of the variety of instruments used. Together, they do a good job of standing up against each other. Despite the sadness of the music, McKiel’s vocals give a feeling of warmth that lasts through the album. Confidence Lodge starts off with “Motion Pictures,” which is fast-paced compared to the rest of the tracks but maintains a darkness that’s consistent with the rest of the album. McKiel slows things with “Monster of the Mirimichi” and the tempo doesn’t really pick up from there. The album ends with “Rupert,” the darkest song on the album. If McKiel’s intention was to leave you with an eerie feeling, he succeeds here. Confidence Lodge is captivating, and the soothing vocals are nicely layered in. The production work by Medina – who has since taken back the house – is the highlight of the album. This is illustrated by his layering of McKiel’s vocals on “Monster of the Mirimichi” and “Snow Owls.” McKiel and Medina work well together: This EP is proof. There’s nothing especially thrilling about Confidence Lodge, but it’s not supposed to be thrilling. This is the kind of record you put on when it’s raining outside and you’re in the mood to just chill out. -Dave Lalonde

<O> is Quivers’ second release since their 2010 debut single, “I’ve Got Nothing.” The album comes to life with the opening riffs in “Instant Life,” the first track, which pull the listener into the song before exploding into a full-band melee. The beat: Infectious. Singer Josh Salter’s vocals are crisply polished, fitting the dynamics of the song. “Lighthouse” is a let-down compared to the first track. The song’s distortion doesn’t fit its overall tone and it gets in the way of the rest of the music. The record comes back with “Sou’Wester,” a track that opens with an acoustic riff that makes you want to be sitting on a dock in shorts, drinking beer. But the vocals begin to sound the same, blurring the tracks together. It’s a good thing the music makes up for the vocals – you can easily lose yourself in the beat. “Graveyard” is the best tune on <O>. It has different vocals, a good rock beat and offsetting guitar solos. There are back-toback solos halfway through the track – an eruption of riffy goodness. “Kick you in the Stomach” is titled perfectly. It unapologetically stomps on your gut and just keeps rockin’. Drummer Matt Peters does an excellent job of dropping a killer beat with help from rhythm partner, bassist Ryan Allen. Layered over the beat are some great riffs by Salter and guitarist Lyle Peterson. While the vocals leave something to be desired on most of the tracks, there is one constant that puts Quivers at a different level from their indie punk peers – the twin guitar attack of frontman Salter and Peterson. With each track comes a different style and feel culminating in the solos you hear in tracks like “Graveyard”. -Nick Mercer

Opening with a track titled “New Eyes,” Halifax’s Ocean Towers – NOT the apartment towers in the North End – sound like the lovechild of Queens of the Stone Age and Clutch. Singer Jon Dacey provides raspy vocals to a fuzzy guitar, a deep, hollow snare and a low bass overtone – all elements of the stoner psychedelic rock sound. The entire album is written in the same keys, low C or B. Although a lot of metal bands use this tuning, it’s usually more melodic than what the band puts out on Chapter 1, which is why Ocean Towers fit the doom/stoner metal category. Accompanying Ozzy Osbourne-like vocals, the same droning notes resonate throughout the entire album. Similarly, the tempo remains pretty much the same. Despite the lack of musical variation, all tracks on the EP are well produced. The consistent sound on the album isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, it draws in the listener’s ear. “Honey Slides” has a good melody. It sounds like High on Fire frontman Matt Pike’s work with Sleep. “Echo” is more laid back. It has a super spacey sound – you could get really stoned to it. “The Stand” recalls Black Sabbath’s guitar tones on Master of Reality. It’s heavy! The trippy song on the EP is “Lucid Journey.” It sounds like a sped-up Electric Wizard – it’s a real trip. The main problem with Chapter 1 is that all the tracks sound so similar it’s hard to pick one you really dig. Nothing really stands out. It would almost be better with four really shitty tracks and one awesome one. Ocean Towers is for fans of Nebula, Teeth of the Lion Rule The Divine, Graveyard and the almighty Black Sabbath! -Jess Spoto

Confidence lodge ep

<O>

CHAPTER 1

Guff Magazine 21


FRONTSTAGE

reviews: worldwide RADIOHEAD- THE KING OF LIMBS The new Radiohead album isn’t the earth-shattering masterpiece you were hoping for, just to get that out of the way. Like always, you’ve got to hand it to Thom Yorke and company for making such an original and painstakingly crafted record. But in spite of a handful of strong tracks, The King of Limbs is a sobering reminder that the guys in Radiohead might actually be mortals after all. Right from the beginning, the awkwardly sequenced rhythms in “Bloom” make it clear that you’re in for Radiohead’s most challenging album since 2001’s Amnesiac. What’s frustrating is this time the challenge doesn’t always pay off. Five listens later, “Bloom” and several other songs like the densely textured “Feral” still sound strangely unfinished, as if they’ve been fussed-over for months but never quite

perfected. Later on, the piano chords and Yorke vocals that drive the languid “Codex” drift pleasantly along but fail to build up to anything memorable. Although The King of Limbs is oddly unsatisfying by comparison to most of Radiohead’s other albums, it’s not an outright failure. “Lotus Flower” blends Phil Selway’s tight drumming, a humming bass line and some creepier-than-average Yorke lyrics expertly into a track that’s somehow danceable despite its lingering melancholy. The modestly brilliant “Give Up the Ghost” puts Yorke’s mufflied cries of “Don’t hurt me” alongside a gentle acoustic guitar to poignant effect. “Separator” brings a scattered album to a logical conclusion. -Peter de Vries

DROPKICK MURPHYS- GOING OUT IN STYLE

The Dropkick Murphys have been rockin’ bars and raisin’ fists since 1996. Now, 15 years and an assortment of band members later, the Murphys are back with their seventh studio album – Going Out In Style. The album is classic Dropkicks filled with catchy riffs, tin flute, accordion and Celtic bagpipe rock. Going Out In Style is the band’s first attempt at a concept album. The record follows the story of Cornelius Larkin, an 22 Guff Magazine

Irish immigrant and Korean War veteran. The album acts as a eulogy for Larkin, detailing his time at war and experience with finding true love. Going Out In Style charges the gates with three fast-paced fist pumpers. The album then slows down with “Cruel” and “1953.” Nevertheless, the Dropkicks relentlessly trail these slower songs with their notorious sing-along sound. Several guest vocalists make an appearance on the album, including the great Fat Mike of NOFX on “Going Out In Style,” the title track. Bruce Springsteen chimes in on “Peg O’ My Heart.” Didn’t see that coming. The Dropkick Murphys aren’t slowing down! The lyrics are interesting and the music is what you’d exprect from these guys. If you like the band, you’ll like this album. -Dave Lalonde

R.E.M.- COLLAPSE INTO NOW R.E.M.’s latest release, Collapse Into Now, is the band’s 15th studio effort and their first since 2008’s Accelerate. Collapse is an ambitious album with typical R.E.M. qualities. Lilting, dramatic songs with singer Michael Stipe’s personality and poetic lyrics stitched throughout. The album opens with a nonabrasive track called “Discoverer.” The song sets a dramatic tone for the rest of the album – ‘90s R.E.M. The second track follows suit with classic R.E.M. flavour and that “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” sound. “Uberlin” is one of the strongest songs on the record. It boasts a fantastic acoustic guitar section, great drum dynamics – leaving the snares off the snare drum for the verses – and tightfitting, double-layered vocals. An acoustic guitar solo may

have been a better option than the effect driven electric one they went with, but it still suits the track’s feel. The album’s lyrics are classic Michael Stipe: Dramatic, poetic and thought provoking in most cases. A good example of this comes on track five, “It Happened Today.” Collapse is a solid effort for a band that has been around since the ‘80s. The songs aren’t all great, but most are. “Me, Marlin Brando, Marlin Brando and I” is a slow, dreamy ballad with a great mix of mandolin, piano and guitar. “Blue,” is an ambient, poetic end-of-album song. The refrain into the opening track adds a full-circle element to the wholeness of the record. A very thoughtful release from a band that desperately needed one. -Dave Lidstone


FRONTSTAGE

the guff guide: march 2011 SUNDAY FUNDAY

MANIC MONDAY

TURBO TUESDAY

WASTED WEDNESDAY

THIRSTY THURSDAY

FREAKY FRIDAY

SAUCY SATURDAY

1

2

3

4

5

THE BAD KOASTAL KARAOKE @ BAD BAD @ GUS’ PUB GATSBY’S

BEDOUDIN SOUNDCLASH @ PARAGON

QUAKER PARENTS & QUIVERS @ GUS’ IN-FLIGHT SAFETY @ PARAGON

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

SMALL SINS @ PARAGON

SIGNAL HILL SCOTT N’ THE ROCKS @ @ LOWER STAYNER’S DECK SNUG AND DARTMOUTHIAN @ GATSBY’S

WE ARE THE CITY @ PARAGON SARAH MCLACHLAN @ METRO CENTRE

RON SEXSMITH @ THE CARLETON

THE MOTORLEAGUE @ GUS’ JAY SMITH @ PARAGON

THE REAL MCKENZIES @ SEAHORSE

MATT MAYS @ CASINO NS FIVE ALARM FUNK @ PARAGON

GLOBAL DEEJAYS @ CLUB SODA

JON MCKIEL CD RELEASE SHOW@ PARAGON

COVER BAND SHOW @ GUS’

WHISKEY BENT & HELL BOUND @ GUS’ CREEPSHOW @ COCONUT GROVE

MYLES DECK AND THE FUZZ @ GUS’ THE SADIES @ PARAGON

MUSKOX @ 1313 HOLLIS

SAM RICHES

w o h s t s r o w your ries: inju “Alcohol poisoning... It was the first show I went “I broke my ribs moshing at a to and I partied a little too Nine Imch Nails concert.” hard. It was Josh Martin, 22 embarrassing.” Jared Humphries, 27 “Heat stroke at Bonnaroo... Gotta stay hydrated, man.” Andy Jackson, 29

“I’ve gotten some pretty mangled toes before from people stomping on my feet.” Jackie O’Connell, 21

Guff Magazine 23


FRONTSTAGE

Movin’ On

you get the boot, you’re at rock bottom but chin up, you will play again. ou promised you’d never let either one get in the way of the other. You tell yourself you can handle the juggling act. “I got this,” You say. Then, before you know it, someone tells you that you aren’t committed enough and that’s that. Pink slipped. Not knowing many musicians can be a big hindrance. You search through Kijiji and jam with a band or two, but don’t really take to anything. You wallow and bitch about not being in a band anymore but do little to get back into the game.

Don’t get mad, get even:

Rock it like a hurricane:

Take the highroad easy:

Get on your bikes and ride:

Getting upset with your band mates after the split can feel good at the time, but as time goes on, you might see ‘em again and wanna start something new up. Don’t burn bridges. If you hate ‘em, fine. Go out and get another band and make it a point to be so badass you won’t have to worry about your former band. If you play, the music will come. You just have to know where to go to find it and the music will take it from there. Holding grudges is the worst thing you can do. Unless someone really deserves your hate, do yourself a solid and stay buds. It might be hard to watch them playing a gig at the Seahorse but being the bigger person and going to support them will show character and attitude. So what, big deal, have you seen some of the stinkers that play the Seahorse? Forgettaboutit! Having a sense of humility and humour about the situation is also helpful in getting over a break-up. “I usually feel bad for them because they just lost the most talented front-man around. I don’t know if they ever get over loosing me,” Rob Anderson of E.B. and The Resolutes jokes. “No sweat when I see them because I’m Rob Anderson- you may recognise the name: I’ve sold 12 copies of my CD on iTunes over the last three years. I’m pretty famous. I was on Breakfast Television when Scott Boyd was a host.” 26 Guff Magazine

Get out and be seen... Playing. If you want a band and can’t find one, start jamming with randoms at parties or open mics. You never know what’ll happen in a jam, it might be something great. Nothing connects people like music. Especially playing together. Chemistry is an obvious event among players. If you find it, ride that shit out. Halifax has lots of open mics, some even have drum kits set up. Take advantage of these opportunities. Dave Driscoll of the Stogies puts it nicely, a break-up in a band is “much like relationships... Drink lots and play with a lot of other bands for one night only... Rip down all their pictures and accost them in the street the next time you see them!!” In other words, chin up, chest out, dick hard. Who fucking cares, odds are your old band wasn’t going anywhere any way. Suck it up, buttercup. Move on. As Mike MacDougall of the Jimmy Swift Band says, “Band break ups are like relationships... Pretty much exactly like that. If you make the effort to make it a good break-up it’s better in the long run, even if it’s not your fault. Eventually it means less and less and you realise that bands come and go and players either stick it out or disappear. None of it’s forever.” -Dave Lidstone

NICK MERCER

Y

Smarten up, get your shit together and do what you can to make the best of it. Get a job, finish your degree and hell, play that shitty house party that you really don’t even want to be seen at. It’ll help to get out there, and who knows what talented musicians will see your skills. Jamming with different musicians every few tunes makes it challenging but exciting. Find your fit. People change and so do musical tastes. Don’t stick with the same sonic palette because that’s what youw’re used to playing. Switch it up, find your scene. Start over. Fail. Start again. There’s no time for quitters in the band biz.


JESS SPOTO

40 ANSWERS FROM JAY SMITH about the Halifax music scene, being on the road, working with gordie sampson and being a family man also a sneak peak at a few of his personal picks. dave lidstone


J

ay Smith of Cape Breton has been at it for a while now. Early in his career he fronted a rock band from his hometown called Rock Ranger. Since disbanding, Smith has been busy recording and touring with Matt Mays and El Torpedo. In December 2010 he released his first self-titled solo album, with the first single “Romantic Fool.” When did you pick-up a guitar and start playing? Why? Well my Dad plays classical guitar so there was always music around. I have an uncle who plays drums. We were a real introverted musical bunch. My mom’s side, they all played but they played three chord songs and stayed up late drinkin’ beer. So I got a bit of the people that like to study and the people that like the partying side. I don’t ever remember not having a guitar. Where did you go to high school? I went to high school at Sydney Academy in Sydney Nova Scotia. I grew up in this place called Whitney Pier It’s sorta the Dartmouth of Sydney, if ya can imagine that. It was a pretty tough place. A lot of low income housing, but great people. There wasn’t a whole lot to do, there wasn’t a whole lot of money, so all we did was play music. What were your early influences? I remember the other night bein’ at the Seahorse and Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas Flood” came on and I remember bein’ like, ‘man, I went to bed for like two years listening to this record’. My focus used to be all things guitar, how many crazy riffs can I fit into one song. I’d always have a three chord song that I didn’t want anyone to hear. What brought you to Halifax? I lived here pronably seven years ago while my wife was goin’ to school. When she finished we moved back home cause somebody in her family had a house they were gonna rent to us. So we rented that place for a while and then ended up buyin’ it and totally renovating it. I honestly thought we were gonna be there forever. It’s a nice lot, it’s home, but since I was 25 I was like ‘I have to make a record- I’ve gotta make a record. I can’t start a band in Sydney.’ Are you a fan of the local scene here? Oh yeah man, hell yeah.

GUFF editor, Jess Spoto and I sit down with Jay at the Economy Shoe Shop. Before we start prying, he talks about reluctantly selling a Gibson he has little use for. Tempted to trade for a Jumbo Gibson acoustic he has always wanted, he did the responsible thing and took the money. The pictures we shot were done with his wife’s guitar. We order a draught and start as close to the beginning as possible. Where did you meet Matt Mays, how did he find ya? ECMA’s and all that kinda shit. He used to play in this band called The Guthries and Rock Ranger would always get lumped in with The Guthries. I always knew who he was, we always had a good hang. There were a couple times when Torpedo was playing in Sydney so I’d try to get a hold of him. I got a note from his manager asking if we’d open for them. We played to a big crowd, it was great. That was that. Next thing I know he’s callin’ me from Hawaii and wants me to be in the band. He said it came to him in a dream. His father will attest to him waking up yellin’ ‘Jay Smith!!’ What was it like working on Matt’s album Terminal Romance? I joined the band in April of ’07 and the record came out the next year. We started recording in England in October in Kingsdown, just near Dover. I could see France every day- it was crazy man. We worked with producer Chris Tsangarides. He did Billy Ocean, Yngwie Malmsteen, Thin Lizzy, The Hip. He’s an awesome guy and an amazing story teller but not in a boasting way or anything. We went over there with nothing. I have probably another seven songs that didn’t make the record. We took a song every day, live off the floor. I was there for five or six weeks, Matt stayed for a month after I left. He got sick and came back to Halifax and we did another two weeks here and then they took it to Vancouver with Mike Fraser for another week of tracking. It took a long time. Did he give you full range to let ‘er go? We were both rhythm tracking the BEDs but for leads we’d pass it back and forth. I had two weeks to do harmonies and guitar parts. Oh what a time. Track 4, “Rock Ranger Record,” what’s that about? Before the song was finished, I always said it’s cause of the alliteration, but I can remember Matt saying the Monoxide record


(a band from Moncton). But then he changed it and started puttin’ in all these things about me. Like my name’s James Joseph, and when I was livin’ with my grandfather he’d always call me Jimmy-Joe. So he (Matt Mays) wrote ‘let’s go to Jimmy-Joe’s record store’. I’m flattered by it, I love the song. I’ll take it, thanks Matt. What’s it like being on the radio? Ya know what, I’ve been lucky. Any station that has an East Coast show they’ve been really supportive. My song “Romantic Fool” has been number one for a couple weeks on the East Coast Countdown. I think that’s fuckin’ awesome, but as far as radio adding it and being in rotation, it hasn’t really happened. Are drugs something that come up on the road? Naw, we’re not a drug band. We just like to drink beer and eat pizza. We like playin’ with a buzz on. I know what I’m up for. I don’t do drugs. What was your favorite tour? The Terminal Romance tour was fun although it was way too long. But we had a bus and all that, every night was a sold out show. Is it hard coming off the road from that? Yeah, you walk in circles for a week or so. What’s your favorite Halifax stage? I like The Carleton for different reasons, like for quieter shows, but I like the gallery stage at the Paragon a lot too. The old Marquee stage though, nothin’ holds a candle to that, man. Would you rather be on the road right now? Well, I love playin’ shows. I wish I had a gig every night. Havin’ a family and stuff, I’m always gonna miss somethin’. I’m either gonna miss playin’ or miss home. I’m never not missin’ something. What’s it like being a father? I have two kids. My son (Noah) will be five in September and my daughter (Amy) two. It makes me perform better I think. There’s a lot on my shoulders, since we moved and sold the house. Hopefully it’s an investment. How did starting a family affect your music? It definitely made me take what I do a lot more seriously. If anyone met me 10 years ago and saw me now, I’m a different dude. At five o’clock in the morning that same guy comes out, but ya know, he doesn’t come out at ten o’clock anymore... sometimes he does. (laughs)

JESS SPOTO

Do your kids like your new record? Noah likes a song off the new one that I can’t even play live called “Long Way Home.” How’d you meet Gordie Sampson? As long as I’ve been out playin’, I guess it’s 15 years, I’ve always known him. Haven’t really been that tight until probably 2004. There’s a few folks man, that I’m indebted to and he’s definitely one of ‘em. Like my record that I just made, he invited me to come down to Nashville and use his shit. The first day I’m down there I got two acoustic guitar tracks done and the door crashes open- It’s Gordie and two of his writer friends. They just got this cut from this band called Little Big Town, so they let their hair down when that happens. This is two

in the afternoon and they start havin’ drinks. One of the guys that was there, Steve McEwen, said he had to go meet a friend at a bar. ‘If anything’s happening I’ll let yas know.’ And we’ve been there a long time, no shape to go anywhere. He calls back and he’s like, ‘it’s just me, Holly Williams (Hank Williams’ granddaughter), Jennifer Huff (daughter of a big producer) and the Kings of Leon. If you guys wanna come down and have drinks.’ I went to Nashville with a credit card and I’m buyin’ those millionaires shots of Jagermeisters. How did you approach writing the new album? I sold my house and started recording demos at my parents house in my sister`s old bedroom. I did drums and bass at the (Sonic) Temple and then I went to Nashville for a week and a half do do all my guitars and vocals. I had the liberty to do what I wanted. There`s a lot of traveling songs. There’s a couple I wrote for the record that didn`t make the record. There`s one I co-wrote with my sister called “Partner in Crime,” it’s an old song. There’s probably two or three songs on the album that are a couple of the first ones I started with. Are you a “Romantic Fool”? Everybody always asks me about that song. The story for me is, it’s the first time that I let go. I didn’t question anything I wrote. My wife came home and I was like ‘you gotta take Noah and spend the night at your mom’s place, I gotta demo this song tonight.’ I didn’t question a line in the song, I just wrote it. I stayed up ‘til eight in the morning and recorded it drinking coffee all night. That’s the single. It’s the one people react to the most.

What’s your favourite...

Halifax Restaurant? Shoe Shop Gibson or Fender? Gibson Tits or ass? Tits Pot or mushroomss? Can I say beer Belmonts or Canadians? Belmonts Keith’s or Olands? Olands Boots or shoes? Boots Searhorse or your basement? Same thing isn’t it?

Bar or house party? House party Leather or demin? Demin Dr. Suess or Dr. John? Dr. Suess Zeppelin I or Zeppelin II? Zep I McCartnet or Lennon? McCartney Peanut butter or jam? Both Whisky or rum? Rum, I’m not allowed to drink Jameson’s anymore

Guff Magazine 29


rockin’ in the shadows Mike d’eon’s trip through the halifax indie rock music scene WHILE DEALING WITH SCHOOL AND FACING HIS BROTHER’S SUCCESS. dave lalonde

Mike D’Eon and Bike Rodeo entertains a packed house at the Seahorse on March 4.

DAVE LALONDE

I

t looks as if Mike D’Eon just moved into his Halifax apartment. Slightly more spacious than most, the apartment is mostly empty. The living room has two small couches, a large plastic storage container that acts as a coffee table and a small television that’s tucked away in the corner. There are no shelves or books or paintings, but there are guitars. Five of them lean up against a bare white wall. It’s hard not to look surprised when D’Eon says he’s been living there for two years. D’Eon has short, curly brown hair, and he’s usually bearded – Not because he wants a beard, but because he’s too lazy to shave. He’s a friendly guy and his goofy personality causes infectious laughter. Mike D’Eon moved to Halifax from Yarmouth in 2001, and he has been a steady part of the local music scene ever since. Over the past decade he has played in several bands, most notably The Establishment and Bike Rodeo. Now age 29, D’Eon started playing music when he was 12 years old. His parents bought him a drum kit and set it up in the basement, where his older brother practiced guitar. D’Eon would start his music career in that basement while his older brother brought in friends to play covers of Nirvana songs. It wasn’t until he was 16 that D’Eon

decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and pick up a guitar. It has been his greatest love ever since. You may have heard of the older D’Eon brother, and you’ve probably heard of his band. Tim D’Eon, 32, has been playing guitar for Wintersleep since they formed in Halifax in 2001. Now based in Montreal, Wintersleep is one of the most commercially successful bands to ever come out of Nova Scotia. They’ve played sold-out shows across the country, won a Juno award and in January, 2011 they performed on The Late Show with David Letterman. Mike doesn’t want to say how much money Tim is making with Wintersleep, but he admits- with a smile- that Tim is “doing all right.” The guys in Wintersleep don’t have to hold down day jobs anymore, unlike most Halifax musicians. When asked if he’s tired of hearing about Wintersleep, Mike responds with a quick and enthusiastic “Yup!” Then he starts laughing to show he’s only half-serious. Mike says he gets along well with Tim and considers him a good friend, despite the typical younger brother tortures he was forced to endure when they were growing up. Althought he’s happy for the success of Wintersleep, Mike still isn’t banking on being able to make a living off music like his brother. “I would love for that to happen, but I don’t think it ever will,” Guff Magazine 31


admits Mike. “I just want to play music, have fun and hopefully make some money.” At age 17, Mike put together his first band, Capsized. Playing slow-paced indie rock with metal influences, the band stuck together for about four years. Mike says he feels he has come a long way musically since Capsized. “It’s something I’ve stuck in the vault. Something I don’t like to bring up,” he says, laughing. He leans back into the couch and placing his hands behind his head. “I was young and it was different songwriting. (Capsized) was good at the time, but it’s not something I’d listen to now.” In 2001, he enrolled in Saint Mary’s University, where he spent the next five years majoring in sociology. He remembers his first few years of school as good ones. He partied a lot and made plenty of good friends, but eventually he and his friends moved out of residence and stopped partying all the time. He was more interested in music than in school, but he knew that it’s tough to make real money in the music business. He stuck with it and graduated in 2006. Mike says his first degree may have been a waste of time and money. Now he’s thinking about going back to school – this time with a goal in mind. He says he wants to study therapeutic recreation at Nova Scotia Community College. While at Saint Mary’s, he worked a summer job in a seniors’ home, playing music. He says it’s the only job he has ever enjoyed and he’d love to work with seniors again. His next band, The Establishment, formed in 2004. It was his longest run with one band, and it would overlap with other bands to come. He says this three-piece was a little more aggressive than Capsized, and their songs featured more “complex and mathy riffs.” The Establishment’s sound was a fusion between indie rock and hardcore punk. Though he has never considered himself a front man, he did all the songwriting and lead vocals for The Establishment. His first experience touring outside the Maritimes came in 2009 when he joined Jon McKiel’s band as a backup guitarist. Their cross-Canada tour lasted almost a month but was cut short when their haggardly band van, “The Bruce,” ran into trouble after passing through the Rocky Mountains on the way home. Once they hit Calgary on the drive back from Vancouver, it became clear that one of the wheels wasn’t going to make it. It was going to cost $1,500 to fix ‘The Bruce’ and the mechanic said they may not make it home even with a new wheel. They sold the van for parts and used the cash to buy plane tickets. It was an abrupt end to the tour, but Mike says it was overall a great experience. He says he’d love to do it again. “Touring is really fun. It can be draining, but it’s fun. You get to see a lot of places and eat at a lot of places,” he laughs, patting his belly. “I like food.” The Establishment lasted until late 2010, when the band finally decided to split permanently. Though they played together for six years, much of that time was spent on hiatus. Sometimes they went more than six straight months without playing any shows or even jamming together. On the day of their breakup in December 2010, they released The Consumer, their final album. They had recorded the album two years earlier. It was around the end of the Jon McKiel tour that Mike joined forces with Nigel Tinker (guitar, vocals), Matt Nichols (drums) and Niall Skinner (bass) – who was soon replaced by bassist Alan Hoskins – to form Bike Rodeo.

“Bike Rodeo is really the style of music I’m into right now,” he says, enthusiastically. “It’s garage rocky with elements of punk rock in there. Country, even. It’s all-encompassing.” Tinker writes Bike Rodeo’s riffs and then the rest of the band works out their own parts. The band does a lot of vocal harmonies, so Mike is busy even though Tinker is always on lead vocals. Mike says Bike Rodeo is the most successful project he has been a part of. They try to play Halifax about once a month and occasionally play in other parts of the Maritimes. Their crowds have been steadily growing to the point where they now completely pack the Seahorse or Gus’ Pub every time they hit the stage. The biggest crowd they’ve played to was when they opened for The Hold Steady at the Paragon in October 2010. Though Bike Rodeo was the first band in the line-up, the place was already packed by the time they started their set. Bike Rodeo plan to release their second full-length album, Oh Blah Duh, by the end of March. They’re also hoping to put together a tour for the summer. Mike admits their biggest fault as a band is that they’re completely disorganized, so putting a tour together is challenging. Bike Rodeo will be applying to play in festivals all over Canada this summer. If they get into one, they’ll plan a tour around the festival. Hopefully. Mike says Bike Rodeo doesn’t have any plans to leave Halifax for a bigger city like Montreal “where everybody goes.” Tinker and Nichols hold full-time teaching positions and Mike is comfortable with his work at a local call centre. He doesn’t love his job, but calls it “The easiest job in the world.” Plus, he feels the scene in Halifax is very supportive, and it’s better now than it has been in years. “Everyone used to try and sound unique or different, but now there are more similarities between bands, which kind of lumps them together and gives the scene an identity.” Though he admits the music scene in Halifax can feel competitive at times, D’Eon says he stays away from that kind of thing. He’s not threatened by other bands competing for playing time, he just wants to play his songs and have fun. He says that’s what Bike Rodeo is all about.

DAVE LALONDE

"I just want to play music, have fun and hopefully make some money”

Guff Magazine 32


Find the Northwest Arm S

tepping into Northwest Arm’s jam room is like stepping into a small jungle, but with notable exceptions. Instead of vines, there are pedals and cords lying around everywhere. The bachelor-sized room’s other flora and fauna consists of eight guitars, a drum kit, a Hammond organ, two keyboards, two saxophones and four amplifiers. The sound in the room is deafening as the six of them begin one of their open-ended jams. Keyboardist Nick Dourado stands on his tiptoes, using his whole body’s weight to beat the crap out of his keys. He’s absorbed in his private chaos with a smile of pure satisfaction. Ghostly, high-pitched sounds emerge from Dourado’s keyboard while Andrei Mihailiuk plays along on his guitar. The others add drums, saxophone and bass to the unpredictable storm of noise in search of some musical stroke of genius. “I can’t see anything! Get the fuck out of the way!” shouts drummer John Biro at Micah O’Connell. Or maybe they’re just dickin’ around. O’Connell stops playing in his cramped little part of the room for a second. Biro and O’Connell typically threaten to kill each other at least once per practice. The band practices twice a week. “I’m moving! Shut your face-hole!” No death threats yet. The band plays a couple more minutes before ending their first jam of the evening. “I need a bow!” shouts guitarist Ben Levitan as he grabs one of Biro’s drumsticks. Levitan impishly tries to play his guitar like a harp with the drumstick before Biro snatches it back. “Your drumming privileges are revoked for one song!” shouts Biro with mock indignation while Levitan pounds one of Biro’s cymbals with his fist. Northwest Arm’s death threats, carefully chaotic playing and adventurous spirit have produced some of the most lively and intricately orchestrated music that almost nobody in Halifax has heard. Yet. 34 Guff Magazine

About 90 people came to Gus’ Pub on Sunday, Feb. 13, Northwest Arm’s most recent gig. The stage could barely accommodate them and all of their gear, but they rocked their way through a finely crafted 30-minute set nonetheless. They played through lively renditions of songs like “Vacation Jeans” – a six-minute instrumental romp with varied time structures – and “Danish Bogman,” a languid number driven by singer and bassist Jeremy Costello’s vocals that builds slowly to a thrilling climax. Costello says the lyrics to “Danish Bogman” are improvised every time, but they’re always focused around a person’s death. “I just imagine a different person dying and then encapsulate the course of their death. Sometimes it’s happy, sometimes they’re freaked out,” he says. “All deaths are different.” The band’s multi-layered creative process and orchestrated approach to music evokes inevitable comparisons to bands like Do Make Say Think, Mogwai and Tortoise. Levitan and Mihailiuk are huge Do Make fans, but Levitan says the band members’ varied taste helps prevent Northwest Arm’s sound from being too similar to their influences. “Only a handful of us really listen to any particular region of post-rock. At the end of it, we’re not really going to sound like any one of them and if we do, what the hell,” says an easygoing Levitan. The guys in Northwest Arm aren’t completely comfortable with the label of post-rock, but Mihailiuk accepts it as an inevitability. “We’re a rock band, but we don’t exactly play rock music. So it’s kind of the best thing for our convenience.” Dourado says the band doesn’t aspire to a genre. “We don’t try to make our songs sound like post-rock.” O’Connell says he’d love the band to be compared to Sigur Ros, Do Make or Tortoise, but he’s not comfortable with just any comparison. “If anyone fucking tells me I sound like Kenny G, I’m gonna let them know what it feels like to have a saxophone inserted the wrong way.”

PETER DE VRIES

THE SIX MEMBERS OF NORTHWEST ARM COULD BE IN YOUR CLASSES ONE MINUTE AND RECORDING THEIR DEBUT ALBUM THE NEXT. peter de vries


A group of three pairs A combination of seriousness, intensity and playful abandon emanates from Costello and Dourado’s living room as the guys sit down for a break from practice. Biro quickly assumes the role of manager, shouting for the others’ attention. He tries to direct a discussion about the band’s goal of recording a full-length album while they talk light-heartedly amongst themselves. Northwest Arm was originally much bigger, at least in its number of players. The original 12-man line-up, formed through mutual friends at the University of King’s College in 2009, eventually whittled down to six. The other members gradually left of their own accord. The six remaining musicians played in pairs long before forming the band. Levitan and Mihailiuk have been jamming together ever since they met as roommates in their first year at King’s. Biro and O’Connell’s other band, a folk-rock outfit called Micah O’Connell and the Bruce Street Bandits, just recorded a new album. Dourado, an engineering student at Dalhousie University; and Costello, a part-time Italian language student at Dal - also jam together. “John and I have been playing together forever, so even my sax lines are reflective of his drumming,” says O’Connell. Each member of the band feeds off the ideas of the others. “There’s a lot of cool crossover where we find each other’s middle ground. When we do sax and keys together it’s like a shoe that just fits.” But O’Connell says some people in the audience at Northwest Arm’s gigs have had different interpretations. “At the last gig we did, a friend of mine told me that watching us on stage was like watching us all have sex with each other while looking at each other longingly in the eyes.”

Life and jamming together Northwest Arm has been a balancing act for all six players since the beginning. Two weekly practices, class schedules, other musical projects and girlfriends don’t leave time for much else. “My social life is severely non-existent right now,” says Mihailiuk. “But it’s just a matter of time management and getting shit done. Going to practice is a social outing in a lot of ways.” Biro says he had been living an unbalanced life until he recently re-affirmed his commitment to school. “There was a period when I really did invest emotional stability in being able to play because it was the only seriously gratifying thing,” he says. “Committing to something else has been really good for me being in this band because I can come ready to have fun.” The band has almost broken up several times throughout its two-year existence, but something keeps pulling them back together. “None of us have been able to give it up. There’s a certain fulfillment you just don’t get anywhere else,” says O’Connell. They talk about a childlike state of musical expression that comes from playing together. “It’s those fleeting moments while we’re playing that just feel like total clarity. Like ‘this completely validates everything,’” says Biro. O’Connell says he feels similarly. “It’s when I stop thinking about what I’m playing and everything just melts away. I’m not thinking about the next part that comes up. It just comes.” Levitan says this elusive sensation isn’t easily earned. “You need to know each other really well musically, but there’s also times when it just happens in certain groups of people who are working really hard at something.” Northwest Arm are well aware of the dangers of taking themselves too seriously. “We won’t profess to not dicking around. We dick around so much,” says Biro. The band has been working towards recording a full-length album for about a year, but school and life have left the band with little time to approach the project on their own terms. Biro says finishing recording each of the songs by the end of the summer would be a reasonable achievement, but a finished product probably won’t arrive until next year. “It’s not worth doing unless we’re going to do it well.” he says. “Our songs have a lot of layers to them and it takes time to get that down.” Some songs, like “Under a Whitening Sky,” have been sitting around for so long the band is getting tired of playing them at shows. “We’re at a point now where we’re trying to record and move on so we can record other songs,” says Biro. Touring, or even playing local shows, has always been a difficult proposition for Northwest Arm with their limited finances and massive equipment. “The logistics of going on the road with this band make me shit my pants,” says O’Connell. Right now the band is taking a break from playing gigs around Halifax to focus on school and their upcoming album. “The idea is to keep things fun. You can work hard, but keep everything in perspective,” says Biro.

PETER DE VRIES

“”If anyone fucking tells me I sound like Kenny G, I’m gonna let them know what it feels like to have a saxophone inserted the wrong way”

The band’s natural habitat.

Guff Magazine

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38 Guff Magazine

PHOTO SUPPLIED

Hellacaust (left to right): Troy “Hell Bastard” Kirker, John “Mighty Beard” MacDougall, Evan Wamboldt and Graham Ferguson.


metal maniacs melt faces hellacaust has been bringing a shitload of energy, mayhem and beards to halifax’s metal scene since 2001. with a new album on the way, dementia is inevitable. nick mercer

H

ave the marshmallow soaked in lighter fluid. Then it goes through the flame and catches on fire.” These are the first words John MacDougall, better known as Johnny Mighty Beard – frontman of Hellacaust, Halifax-based metal demi-gods – says to me as I sit down with him and guitarist Troy “Hell Bastard” Kirker. They are discussing the merits of a marshmallow gun – a blue and white pump-action plastic shotgun-like device that is capable of blasting marshmallows 30 feet away. Just before they decide they want to light a marshmallow on fire, they tell me the story of the gun being used to wound one of the cats that populate their Chebucto Road neighbourhood. When I walk into Mighty Beard’s house, he’s finishing up a game of Batman: Brave and the Bold for Nintendo Wii. I can see Hellacaust’s dark-coloured tour bus through the window. Inside the bus, the roof is covered with the autographs of bands they have toured with – notably, international death metal heroes Suffocation and Krisiun. Hellacaust are currently writing new material for their next record. They have seven songs written already and they hope to have another three or four written before they go into the studio to record them. “The new stuff is pretty crazy. It’s new but the same,” says Kirker. Expect Hellacaust to release new material in the next year and start melting some faces with their unique blend of black-thrash metal. Starting out in their teenage years, Mighty Beard, Kirker,

Graham Ferguson (guitar) and their original drummer, Myles, formed a band called Agortion in 1999. “We just played noise and didn’t write any songs that were for real,” says Mighty Beard. “We decided to write some real songs and learn some covers for a Halloween show. We had so much fun doing it that it just went from there.” The four of them started writing songs, still under the name Agortion. When they started, they were going for a black metal sound, opting not to incorporate keyboards – a traditional element of black metal – because they “Didn’t want to be too black metal,” as Kirker puts it. “We were playing more thrash and that kind of thing,” says Kirker. “We continued with the crazy dirty thrash metal, but still kept some of the death metal and black metal.” Mighty Beard said the band had a wide upbringing in metal. “From Black Sabbath to Deicide to Sodom and Motorhead, it just all came together at the very start.” Metal bands were not their only influences. Punk and rock ‘n’ roll also influenced their sound. Kirker is wearing a Venom toque and a Ramones hoodie today. Worn over the hoodie is a camo vest with a can of Oland - their beverage of choice - in its pocket. Underneath the hoodie is a Death t-shirt – a personal amalgamation of their musical upbringing. Venom, forefathers of the thrash/ black crossover, came up with the term “black metal.” The Ramones were the fathers of punk and Death heralded a new sound with their debut album Scream Bloody Gore. Mighty Beard sits across from Kirker, who is sitting in an easy chair. He lives up to his moniker, sporting a beard worthy of ZZ Guff Magazine 39


Top, one of rock‘s more bearded bands. His hair is tied back, his t-shirt is plain black. Between them a coffee table is covered in empty cans of Oland and an empty Garrison Brewery Growler – a massive glass beer container. “I’ll go home and throw on a Nazareth record and be pumped,” says Kirker, “Then I’ll throw on a Sodom record and be super pumped.” They draw influences from local bands that were playing when they got together. “Terrortomb, Burning Moon and Dichotic were influences on us,” says Mighty Beard. “Terrortomb are still around actually.” The metalhead mindset Before they started recording, the members of Agortion felt the need to change their name. “We were going to call ourselves Rectal Ectomy at first,” says Kirker. “I was making up a poster for a show and it said ‘It’s going to be a total metal hellacaust.’ I thought that was a way cooler name. So we just took that name instead.” Armed with a new name, Hellacaust recorded a demo, Implements of Mass Destruction, in January 2001. A few months later they released another demo titled Premonitions of War. These led to the recording of their first full-length album, Dark Age Descending. Released in November 2002, Dark Age Descending consists of music that is the unholy love child of In the Nightside Eclipse-era Emperor and Reign in Blood-era Slayer. It combines shrieking vocals with break-neck speed guitars and blast beats. Lyrically, Dark Age Descending deals with some intense subject matter like impending war and the ascension of evil. The songs “Hellacaust,” “Heaven in Ashes,” and “Apocalyptic Chaos” show the band‘s mindset. Selfproducing the album, the members of Hellacaust also adopted names fitting of their musical influences. “In the beginning we went with the whole black metal sorta thing with the names of war gods or some sort of thing,” says Kirker. They drew from Mayhem, their black metal forefathers, as inspiration. “They got the guy Maniac and Hellhammer, stuff like that. They’re all based off old songs,” says Kirker. “We just made up our own fun, cheesy names to use.” That’s when members MacDougall, Kirker, Ferguson and Myles adopted their stage names: Necromancer, Hell Bastard, Crucifuck and The Defileator. Shortly after recording Dark Age Descending, Myles quit the band, leaving them to find a drummer who could play their extreme style of music in Halifax. That’s when they added Evan Wamboldt, christening him Hellspawn. “It took a few months for Hellspawn to get used to the intensity,” says Ferguson. “But once he did we immediately started playing shows and recording Inevitable Dementia.” Before starting the recording process on that record, Hellacaust decided to do away with their “black metal” names in favour of their real ones. “After a while people got sick of it, so it was just HellaJohn, HellaTroy, HellaGraham and Evan,” says Mighty Beard. Wamboldt doesn’t get a “hella” name. “HellaEvan just sounds weird,” says Mighty Beard, lighting a cigarette. “I go with Troy Bastard, it works for me,” Kirker chimes in.

Inevitable Dementia was recorded in 2006 and again selfproduced. It featured much of the same extreme speed metal they have become known for. In 2008 they signed with Bloodbucket Records for the release of their third album, Disgust. Friends, tours and fire extinguishers On Feb. 26, 2011 at CD Heaven in Dartmouth, Hellacaust shared the stage with Canadian metal band Cauldron. “It was a great show,” says Mighty Beard. Hellacaust have played many shows with Cauldron and also Goathorn – a metal band that shares Jason Decay, their bassist and vocalist, with Cauldron. “We’ve known those guys for a few years,” says Mighty Beard. “We’ve even partied with them up in Toronto,” Kirker adds. Hellacaust and Cauldron have had a fun rivalry. Cauldron once broke Hellacaust’s gear. Hellacaust countered by stealing from Cauldron’s merchandise table. The two bands have become good friends since. Touring is one of the many avenues they have explored to get their music into people’s hands. Their shows weren’t always the biggest shows, but Hellacaust brought it every night despite drawing small numbers. “Everyone who was there seemed to enjoy it,” says Mighty Beard. “We had a blast and we can’t wait to get out on tour again. It’s one of the best things you can do as a band.” Hellacaust have a number of tour stories worthy of sharing.. “Someone stole the fire extinguisher off our bus,” says Mighty Beard. “Oddly enough, we walked right past them as they were firing it off but we didn’t know it was them until later.” When the band comes home there is only one place they want to play – Gus’ Pub on Agricola Street in Halifax. Gus’ has been the home of metal in Halifax for the past five years. Before Hellacaust crossed the MacDonald bridge to CD Heaven with Cauldron they played a show at Gus’. The boys have only good things to say about their metal haven. “It’s dingy, friendly to us metal heads. You can mosh there without security douche bags kicking you out or thinking you are beating somebody up,” says Kirker. “They never run out of Olands,” adds Mighty Beard. The Halifax metal scene has grown in the past five years. Now it’s possible to be able to head-bang with your metal brethren as often as 10 times a month. The members of Hellacaust say Halifax’s metal scene is a close-knit group. “Every other city seems to have cliques because they’re big enough to support a scene for ‘80s metal, hair metal, thrash or black metal,” says Mighty Beard. “We go to some cities and they put us with black metal guys and they say we aren’t black enough. Or we get put with thrash guys and we’re not thrash enough.” But in Halifax everyone comes together differently. Whether they’re punks, hippies or metalheads they all “Get together, drink lots of beer and rock out,” says Kirker.

“”After a while people got sick of it, so it was just HellaJohn, HellaTroy, HellaGraham and Evan. HellaEvan just sounds weird” - Mighty Beard

40 Guff Magazine


The acadian Way

T

he house was the first to gain the “Acadian Embassy” title when lifelong friends and fellow Acadians Trevor Murphy and Josh “Pinky” Pothier decided to move in together. Murphy’s girlfriend and Jeff Pineau, band mate in Sleepless Nights, joined them. If the big white band van parked in the driveway doesn’t make the house stand out enough on the quiet residential street, the Acadian flag that hangs from the front porch does. Band mates since 2004 in former Halifax math rock band The Establishment, Murphy and Pothier played their last show as The Establishment and released their album in December. Murphy explains how the math rock scene died in Halifax and how their individual bands’ progressions made it hard to keep The Establishment going. Their third member, Mike D’Eon, is a member of the Halifax rock band Bike Rodeo. Murphy and Pothier still play together in Sleepless Nights with Pineau, Aaron Wallace and Philip Clark. Murphy also plays guitar and fronts vocals in folk rock band Quiet Parade, while Pothier rocks the drums in doom metal band Kuato. With an entire house in theirpossession, it only made sense to jam in the laundry room, let touring bands use their spot to crash and – in Murphy’s case – create a Jesus shrine. Needless to say, they’d rather live in a house than an apartment. “You can be loud, you can do whatever you want,” says Pothier. “You don’t wake up at quarter to seven in the morning to see loud drunk students taking a piss out your window.” The guys consider themselves “pretty simple folks” and the birth of the Acadian Embassy label developed in the same simplistic manner. The idea was thought up on their back deck one 42 Guff Magazine

afternoon in late summer. “We had a bunch of records that we had made and just hadn’t put out yet,” says Murphy. “Quiet Parade had a record coming out, Kuato had some recordings, we had The Establishment record and we’re like ‘holy fuck!’” With both of their bands and their friends’ bands having albums to put out, it seemed logical to just do it themselves. “The idea came first and the philosophy followed,” says Murphy. The philosophy tied to Acadian Embassy is a sense of community. It’s a way to make musicians’ and artists’ work available for free and as easily as possible whether it’s music, artwork or videos. There is a donate section on the Acadian Embassy website. This connects fans with the artists directly. “It’s about supporting your community and the people you enjoy. There’s no middle man, you can support (artists) instantly and you don’t have to wait until the show,” says Murphy. “It’s a modern approach to Acadian culture. As twenty-somethings, where do we stand in the Acadian culture in 2011? This is what we’re doing, this is who we are.” Pothier says all Acadian music is kind of Celtic but French and that’s not Acadian Embassy’s style. “We don’t have to do that to be proud of our culture,” says Pothier. “Just because we’re far removed from that doesn’t make us any less of that culture.” Acadian Embassy is more of a collective than a label. The shared talents work together to make things happen “There’s always something for someone to do,” says Pothier. “For example, my friend Rob did the artwork for Kuato.” While a traditional label would pay for their bands to press

JESS SPOTO

ACADIAN EMBASSY IS A HOUSE, A HOTEL, A RECORDING SPACE, A JAM SPOT AND A LABEL. BUT MOST OF ALL, IT’S A COMMUNITY. Jess spoto


their records, Acadian Embassy does not have the funds to do so. “We make up for that in things like helping them book shows ‘cause we have those connections, or doing promotions, or just having them up on the website hosting their album to download for free,” says Murphy. “It’s about getting everyone involved at the same level. Nobody’s more important than the other. The project is more important than anything else.” Acadian Embassy is planning to host fundraisers, the first being an official launch party where all of their bands will play to raise money, which will then be invested into the label. “We know this model works, we just have to implement it,” says Pothier. With experience in the record label business from No Scene Records, which started when Pothier and Murphy moved to Halifax, the guys now have new connections and wisdom from their past mistakes. “With No Scene we took everyone who wanted to come in, then all of a sudden it’s like you can’t do anything for anybody ‘cause you can’t focus,” says Pothier. “With the three bands (Kuato, Quiet Parade and Rain over St. Ambrose), we have a solid base then we can branch out. It’s about the quality of the music.” Although they haven’t done anything big publicly yet, they have received emails from artists inquiring about joining the label.“People pick up on the honesty of work. If it’s not good work, their opinion of you goes down,” says Pothier. “I’d rather put out less records that are awesome than a ton of records that are mediocre.” Acadian Embassy is still in its infancy. The goal of the label is to spend the next year focusing hard on making people aware of what they are doing. “We want to put out pamphlets to ge t people educated about who we are and what we do,” says Murphy. Acadian Embassy isn’t just about music either. Plans to start a film series of bands performing live at The Acadian Embassy is on

the agenda, as well as an outdoor acoustic series that will be held in their backyard. “It’s cool for us to document this era of our own lives but also the Halifax music scene,” says Murphy. Rappie pie dinners and crib nights, both of which are traditional Acadian activities, will also be documented and put on the label’s website. Murphy says Acadian Embassy is more than a label. It’s a big package. “Bands are associated, but also things that are happening at the house on a daily basis,” says Murphy. “It makes it interesting on different levels and the name is reflective of the communities we grew up in.” He says the cool thing about culture is ideals are instilled in you without realizing it. “We started doing this and we’re like, holy shit! We’re doing this!” In April, Acadian Embassy will have their first big release: Quiet Parade’s new album. Along with the free online release, Murphy is having 12-inch vinyl pressed.

“”It’s about getting everyone involved at the same level. Nobody’s more important than the other. the project is more important than anything else.”

TREVOR AND JOSH’S LOCAL FAVES Stages: Stage 9 (past) Paragon, Gus’ (present)

Bands: Myles Deck and the Fuzz Long Weekends Bike Rodeo Rich Aucoin Cousins Dog Day

The future? “Complete American takeover,” jokes Pothier. Having traveled the better part of a decade, the guys do have a lot of connections and would like to see Acadian Embassy expand. As for the Halifax music scene, “there’s a lot of fucking back talk” says Pothier. “A lot of people will be like, ‘Yeah, they’re good but I don’t think they really deserve to go to South by Southwest.’” He says he thinks the Halifax music scene is doing better now than it has been for the past five or six years. “But now the problem is there are too many good bands and you can’t go see everyone you want.” Murphy says events like Rockin 4 Dollars contributed to being conducive to having more bands in the city, but now a lot of these good bands don’t have the total package. That’s where Acadian Embassy steps in. “We want to do the total package, the press forms, the mail-outs, all the stuff. And do it properly,” says Pothier. “Having the house lends that name to the stuff we’re doing. If our friends are coming over on Friday, they’re coming to the Acadian embassy. But if they’re going out Saturday to see our bands play, it’s still related to Acadian Embassy,” says Murphy. “It’s that word association. It’s a big part of branding and marketing. Things happening under that name stand for something.” “We’re not inventing the wheel or anything. It has been done before. We just want to do quality things, attach it to our culture a little bit and have some fun,” says Murphy. “We’re still young, we still got a lot more up our sleeves. We got a lot of ideas.”

Guff Magazine 43


the

Sonic Temple


H a l i f a x’s m o s t s o u g h t - a f t e r r e c o r d i n g s p a c e , t h e S o n i c Te m p l e , s i t s i n s i d e a n a l m o s t 2 0 0 y e a r- ol d h i s t o r i c h e r i t a g e b u i l d i n g o n H ol l i s S t r e e t . I t ’s m o s t n o t e -wo r t h y f e a t u r e s a r e f o u n d o n t h e 1, 0 0 0 s q . f e e t t h i r d f l o o r. T h e r u s t i c b a r e b r i c k w a l l s , h e a v y wo o d e n b e a m s a n d 18’ sk yl ig ht boa st i ng ceil i ng help a dd t o t he a l r e a d y- t h e r e a m b i a n t , c r e a t i ve at mosphere. Fo u n d e r s L i l a n d L o u i s T h o m a s a l o n g w i t h e n g i n e e r s D a r r e n v a n N i e k e r k a n d To n y D o o g a n r u n t h e s h ow. A m o n g t h e b a n d s t o l ig ht up t he boa rd s, t he St a n f ield s, Wi nt e r sle e p, Hey Roset t a a nd Mat t Mays a nd E l To r p e d o. “ Pe o p l e a r e of t e n s u r p r i s e d a t o u r p r i c i n g ... t h e p r i c e - t o - q u a l i t y r a t i o i s h i g h o n t h e q u a l i t y s i d e . I ’m s p e a k i n g b o t h a s a s t u d i o o w n e r a n d m u s i c i a n ,” s a y s L i l T h o m a s .

JESS SPOTO/ DAVE LIDSTONE

-Dave Lidstone


on the road again

how to keep your cool, cash and cleanliness while on tour with your band. nick mercer

T

ouring. It’s an essential element of any band’s way to sell their music and merchandise. Any new fan that can be brought into the fold through a band’s live show can be counted on to buy additional records and t-shirts. The monetary gain justifies the strain that touring may put on band members’ relationships with girlfriends, wives, family and friends. But what does it take to survive on the road? How do band members maintain their sanity when trapped in a cramped space with the same few people for hours on end? Here’s a guide for those bands just starting out and those maybe looking to learn a few tricks to make their life on the road a bit easier.

JESS SPOTO

Plan ahead Get on the GPS or the old-fashioned folded map and plan your route. Factor in possible pit stops for going number two. Everyone knows you can just pull over to piss, but that gets difficult if you’re on a tight deadline. It also helps to plan out your money. Know how much you want to spend on snacks, meals and lodging. Rent a Van After you rent the vehicle, or if you already have your own, make sure to take it to a mechanic to have it checked. Making sure it’ll survive the extra kilometres you’re putting on it while you’re fulfilling your rock n’ roll fantasy is key. Get the oil changed and a new filter installed. It may cost a little extra but it’ll be worth it when you make it to all of your tour dates. Always have a spare tire (make sure it’s not a flat) just in case you need to change one and make sure one of your band mates knows how to change it. It may save you from having to call a tow truck to an area you’re not familiar with.

Avoid customs If you’ve got good on ya and you’re not playing outside the country, avoid the crossing the border. It’s not worth the trouble and chances are, you’re gonna get busted. Eat cheap Johnny Mighty Beard, bassist and vocalist for Hellacaust, recommends bringing a big pot for cooking large quantities of pasta. It’s something everyone will eat and more importantly, it’s cheap. It’s also helpful when you want to cook one of the 100 boxes of Kraft Dinner you also brought with you. Stock up on air fresheners Travelling in a hot van with three other dudes will create inevitably start to fuckin’ stink. Especially if you’re touring in the summer months and the van doesn‘t have air conditioning. Stock up on air fresheners. If you can’t get to a shower, bring wet naps Just because you can’t get to a shower doesn’t mean you can’t ‘bathe’ yourself. Unwrap those sterile smelling papers and start rubbing yourself down. Sure you’re going to end up smelling like lemons but that’s better than smelling like B.O., puke and beer. Deorderant too, can be you’re best friend. If you’re going to drink, make sure you can play the show If you’re going to drink every night be prepared to feel like shit the next morning. Some days you’re going to have to drive with a vicious hangover worthy of the amount you drank the night before and the night before that. You get the picture. No matter how much alcohol you consume the night before or even the day of the show, just make sure you can play the show. These people are paying to see you at your best. You being hungover as shit or so drunk you can’t formulate a simple sentence is not your best. Guff Magazine 49


doomed by download Y

ou wouldn’t think Random Play is on the brink of shutting its doors for good. The store is filled by four or five customers at a time – most of them buy a couple of CDs or DVDs before they exit. But they have come to plunder Random Play’s remaining stock before the store closes at the end of March. Glenn MacCulloch, manager of Random Play, says the store’s sales have become “grotesquely bad” over the past year and a half, down to about a third of what they were seven years ago. Now the store is selling what’s left of its stock at 50 per cent off with the exception of consignment items. MacCulloch says downloading is the biggest reason why the independent record is closing. “We’ve reached a point where people would rather steal than buy things they want.” He says he doesn’t understand how people can just download music and feel no remorse. “There are thousands of people downloading who don’t seem to care that they’re killing the industry. That makes me very angry.” Random Play has been the last music store on Barrington Street ever since CD Plus closed on March 30, 2010. “For us real music fans who buy music we like, where are we going to get it?” The trend of records stores closing isn’t limited to Halifax. HMV is closing 60 of its stores in the U.K. over the next 12 months because of bad sales. Sky News reported in late January that HMV Group is considering closing “a significant chunk” of its 125 stores in Canada. HMV declined to comment. Vinyl LPs have been making a comeback in the U.S. According to Nielsen Soundscan’s 2010 American year-end report, vinyl record sales shot up 14 per cent in 2010 from 2009 despite total combined album sales in digital, CD and vinyl dropping 48 Guff Magazine

about 13 per cent. Soundscan, a company that tracks music sales in all formats in several countries, hasn’t yet completed its Canadian 2010 year-end report.“(Random Play) waited too long to get into vinyl. We should’ve done it two or three years sooner,” says MacCulloch. But he says he’s sceptical of vinyl’s upswing in record sales being just a passing fad. “There are a lot of hipster kids in Halifax who see CDs and say ‘Sorry, I only buy vinyl,’” says MacCulloch, rolling his eyes in disgust. “They need to get over themselves.” Matt Stevens, a customer at Random Play, says he downloads music but also spends about $20 a month on either CDs or records on average. “I’ll still buy an album if I go through a serious phase with that band and get addicted for a month.” Stevens says he’s a little bothered that another record store is closing in Halifax. “Ever since I was a kid I liked going to record stores and shooting the shit with the guy behind the counter.” The slow demise of Barrington Street is another big reason for Random Play’s closure, says MacCulloch. He blames Mayor Peter Kelly and Halifax city council. “The city doesn’t give a shit about downtown. If you wanted to buy a hammer, the closest place would be the Canadian Tire on Quinpool,” he says. “Sooner or later, we’re going to have to start developing Barrington Street again. There’s no reason to come downtown anymore and it’s killing small businesses.” MacCulloch says he’s planning to “get the fuck out of Halifax” in four or five months. “I’m proud to be from Halifax. I think it’s a great place, but it’s just not so hot right now.”

Peter de Vries

random play is the latest record store to bite the dust. peter de vries


BACKSTAGE

Sounds of the City Best place for instruments: Longe & McQuade 6065 Cunard St.

The best place for custom guitars: Halifax Folklore Centre 1528 Brunswick St.

The best place for vinyl : Taz Records 1593 Market St.

The best place for used CDs: CD Heaven 118 Wyse Rd., Dartmouth

The best online directory:

Obsolete Records 2454 Agricola St.

The best place for used and vintage instruments: The best for popular new music:

HMV 1) Spring Garden 2) Halifax Shopping Centre 52 Guff Magazine

JESS SPOTO

Gig Street Music 6029 Cunard St.


BACKSTAGE

Makin’ the best of it We’ve all been there. Wetting your pants in anticipation of a concert, only to discover that the ‘next big thing’ sounds like a cat in heat and a moist fart. Here’s your guide to survival.

Attitude This can be your best friend or your

worst enemy. If you can manage to suck up the disappointment and be thankful for your first-world problems you might just be able to salvage the experience. But if you make the call for the wahhh-mbulance, it’s going to be a long night. Play drinking games, make fun of people, do whatever you want to distract yourself from the show. Just remember, some of the people will be enjoying themselves, so don’t be the person that ruins their night.

Friends If you’re heading to a show with a group of close friends, chances are it will be a good time regardless of what the band sounds like. On the other hand, if you go with someone you barely know to see a band you’ve never heard of, it could be a recipe for disaster. Play it safe and check out the undiscovered bands with your buddies. At least you know you’ll have a solid drinking team if the on-stage entertainment isn’t enough to wet your whistle.

SAM RICHES

s m u b l a e t i r u o v a f : o r t e you n o n r u b to “Merriweather Post Pavillion – Animal Collective, one of the best albums of the last few years.” Jackie Payne, 21

“Dark Side of the Moon... An absolute classic. Timeless.” Nate Phillips, 34

Atmosphere A few minutes of research before

a show could pay huge dividends. Know what you’re getting yourself into – If it’s a shitty show at a hole in the wall, your escape route is limited. But if you’re at a larger venue with an atmosphere that puts a jingle in your step, you might just be able to jive the night away. You may not be able to tell what the band will sound like, but you can ask around about the venue and prepare yourself. Even better if it’s an outdoor show. There’s tons of cool shit to distract you when you’re outside. Climb a tree, eat some dirt, piss on something. Enjoy nature!

Booze and Drugs If all else fails, escapism

usually does the trick. Sniff out the hippies and fly to the moon. Or pull up a seat beside the bar and do your best Charlie Sheen impression. Sure, it’s unhealthy, but at least when you wake up you won’t remember how shitty the band was and how much money you wasted. -Sam Riches

“Anything dubstep, it’s made for smokin’ weed.” Maddy Leonard, 25 “Kid A… My favorite Radiohead album.” Jared Lynch, 23

“After the Gold Rush – Neil Young. A Canadian legend.” Matt George, 27

Guff Magazine 53


BACKSTAGE

The hungry drunk What to eat when your cupboards are bare and your stomach is pounding like a kick drum.

Istaggered t’s four in the morning and you’ve just into your kitchen. Standing

in the middle of the room, you bask in the food godliness awaiting you. As you fling open the cupboards, a radiant light shines down upon your… Dusty can of soup and stale bag of potato chips. Fuck. This avoidable scenario can put a damper on even the best nights and enable your hangover to reach menacing heights. Stocking your cupboards with a few essential ingredients will keep your belly full and your headache bearable.

Bread Whether it’s a gourmet

Cereal

A mainstay in the university diet, cereal can be surprisingly healthy. Boxes packed with minerals and vitamins are the best choice, but sometimes pouring yourself a bowl of Cocoa Krispies is the rock star thing to do. Plus, the sugary cereals usually have mazes and quizzes on their packaging that will provide your drunken brain with seconds, if not minutes, of exercise.

Pickles

When one of the sloppiest women in the world endorses the power of the pickle, you have to listen. Yes, I’m referring to America’s sweetheart, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi. And that saucy little she-devil is onto something. While they may not be very filling, pickles are loaded with minerals and sour pickle juice is widely regarded as a hangover cure in Poland. Crunch away, Batman!

If your quest for food supremacy comes up empty, there’s only one choice; chug down some water and try to convince yourself it tastes like a meal fit for a king. Or steal your roommate’s food. We won’t tell anyone.

-Sam Riches

NICK MERCER

loaf or a rock-hard slab from your local convenience store, this is a critical ingredient to mop up the alcohol floating through your body. Put that bad boy in the toaster, lather it in peanut butter or whatever else you can find lying around and munch away. For an extra-strength kick, eat the bread with honey. The high level of fructose helps your body flush the booze from your system.

Pasta

It’s cheap, filling and easy to make. On the downside, it’s loaded with carbs and making a habit of pre-bed spaghetti will lead to a super-sized beer belly. Throw the noodles in a boiling pot of water and once they’re cooked, toss on the sauce. If you don’t have any cans of tomato sauce, something as simple as butter or salad dressing will do the trick. Your drunken ass won’t even be able to tell how shitty it actually is.

54 Guff Magazine


Hipster horoscopes ARIES (MAR. 21 - APR. 19)

TAURUS (APR. 20- MAY 20)

GEMINI (MAY 21 - JUNE 20)

CANCER (JUNE 21 - JULY 22)

LEO (JULY 23 - AUG. 22)

VIRGO (AUG. 23 - SEPT. 22)

LIBRA (SEPT. 23 - OCT.22)

SCORPIO (OCT. 23 - NOV. 21)

SAGGITARIUS (NOV. 22 - DEC. 21)

AQUARIUS (JAN. 20 - FEB. 18)

PISCES (FEB. 19 - MAR. 20)

The stench coming from your bare, unmade mattress and those puke stains that protrude like proud little flags from the hairy floor of your crumbling apartment mean things have gone too far. It’s time to get off the Stooges’ rigid regimen of narcotics and detox with some Wilco.

You’ve got pills for those jackhammer beats at the NSCAD house parties, fine grades of bud for those elitist literary posers at King’s and Smirnoff Ice for those impressionable little freshmen at the Mount. You’ve always got the right goods for the right hoedown. Good on you, Taurus.

You never should’ve started pretending to like The Flaming Lips. Now you aspire to unearth two obscure bands every day, hunt down ironic t-shirts and drink only fair trade coffee. Do you realize??

When you’re trying to pick up a vegan, it’s unwise to talk about your meat. Even less so when you’re wearing spandex. And no, your anklet, beads and circle-scarf don’t make you look ‘60s, yet sophisticated. They make you look as pretentious, yet easy.

Three pitchers a day + slots at Gus’ = Addiction to alcohol and gambling. Now you only need to become a vegetarian, start smoking, find a cause, start shopping at American Apparel and drink at least one soymilk decaf latte per day to complete the hipster royal flush!

How did you manage to hammer those nails into the cement when you pitched that tent in front of the American Apparel on Spring Garden? It must’ve taken something beyond determination and the laws of physics. Was the five per cent discount on those spandex tights worth it?

CAPRICORN (DEC. 22 - JAN. 19)

You dropped the ball at Bearly’s last Wednesday, Aquarius. You never should’ve tried to convince your potential dreamboat you’re from Spryfield when that “Ford ftw” button on your hoodie screams “Toronto!”

Just because someone you’d like to hump told you they like their bedmates skinny, it doesn’t mean you have to smoke two packs of cigarettes a day and eat only lettuce leaves. Grow a pair, smoke a cigar and eat some fucking spinach!

You may go to the market every Saturday morning but those dollar-store aviators, that unnecessary headband and those coffee stains on your keffiyeh really lower your market value.

It’s a shame the way you stumble in your steps on the way to NSCAD’s waterfront campus, Pisces. The next time your friends offer you the choice of mescalin or Monotonix, pick the right one for fuck sake.

JESS SPOTO

Your band sucks, Capricorn. Why do you all wear matching fur coats and t-shirts that say “I heart NY” when the furthest outside Halifax you’ve traveled was to Dorchester? p.s. It doesn’t help that your lead singer sounds like James Blunt, acts like Robbie Williams and cries like Justin Bieber.

You really ought to stop filming yourself while you smoke alone in your room listening to Unknown Pleasures. And it wasn’t funny when your friend knocked on your door and you slipped ‘em that note that read “Love Will Tear us Apart.”

56 Guff Magazine


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What the fuck What pisses you off about the Halifax music scene? Matt Read: “Getting paid shit to play! It’s impossible to make a good living in this city.”

James Gittins: “Lack of out-of-town bands, and lack of all-age venues for underage people that want to see shows.”

Michael Christie: “The fact that I always have trouble finding out what’s going on, and never know until it’s too late.”

Nick Maheu: “We don’t get enough big name shows on a constant basis. We have to go to Toronto instead.”

Jillian Holmes: “Waiting forever to get a drink. I’ve missed out on some bands ‘cause of it.”

Trever Oaks: “Paying more than five or six dollar cover makes it hard for people to go see more than one band in a night.”

Dorian Blacquiere: “We don’t want to hear ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ or ‘Wonderwall’ every damn time someone picks up a guitar.”

Derek Leblanc: “Hipsters.”

Gary MacDonald: “Trying to find drummers!”

David Driscoll: “Dave Lidstone.”

Sammie Hunter: “Last call at 2:15 a.m. for sure. The bars should stay open longer.”

Chelsea Roberts: “Hearing about the same fucking bands all the time. There’s tons of great music people never get the chance to hear.”

GUFF Gettin’RUFF As a musician gigging around the city fairly regularly, I hate the fact that most bars only give the bands playing on their stage one or two drink tickets each. The fuck?! They pay shitty flat rates or offer a percentage of the door and then have the balls to give out two drinks each? Fuck you. If a band is bringing in paying customers there should be no problem in asking for five or six free drinks. Each. May not need ‘em, hell I might probably give a ticket or two away, but the fact that bands make no money and rarely see more than a drink is a fucking joke. If music meant nothing to musicians in Halifax, no-one would be playing in this city – Why bother? Other than the love of music, there’s no pay-off until you reach Matt Mays or Trews status. It shouldn’t be about money or booze, but isn’t that part of being a working musician? Sure we do it for the love of performing, creating and celebrating music and good times, but Jesus Christ himself would expect a few glasses of wine! Keep your precious drink tickets, I’ll bring my own bottle, baby! -Dave Lidstone Guff Magazine 57


BACKSTAGE

follow your drunk

DAVE LALONDE

kicked outta the watering hole? fuel up at one of these troughs

STAFF PICKS: BURRITO JAX, XTREME PIZZA, SHOPPER’S DRUG MART, SUBWAY

Guff Magazine

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Classifieds

BACKSTAGE

Buy, sell and trade your shit!

Guitars‘n Gear

15’ guitar patch cables: $10 I have 4 available at the moment, $10 each or 4 for $35. 2 of 14’, 2 of 15’. 802- 5629 Gibson Custom Shop ES359: Swap/trade. Would like to trade for a Gibson ES-165 (Custome Shop Herb Ellis) with flowating pick-up. Would consider other high-end full hollow body electrics such as Hofner or $26000.00 cash. Gibson ES-175: Please contact. I am selling a Gibson ES-175. I bought it from the factory in Memphis two years agao. It plays great and is in near mint contition. I don’t want to part with it, but ned money. 409-3322

DAVE LIDSTONE

Made in USA 1991 Fender Strat, Standard All Original: $800.00. Beautiful still like new vintage strat, sounds great, plays great. Also, hardshell fender case and whammy bar. Gimme a shout 902-431-5691. 12 String Yamaha Guitar: $390.I am selling a Yamaha sunburst 12 sting guitar, a hard shell case plus, two sets of new stings. Asking 390.00. This guitar is in very good condition and has been looked after. 431-9245

Drum ‘n bass

Vintage Darious D23 Bass Amp: $125.00. 70s model made by Ahed Amps of Toronto. 16 inch speaker has volume presence and bass controls. Peter: 789-3781. Yorkville BassMaster XM200 1x15 200 Watt Bass Combo: $300 Great shape, 200 watts, 15” driver with piezo tweeter, 4-way active tone controls, and a scoop control that lets you boost the lows and the highs and notch the mids to a desired degree. Sean: 499-2790 Tama Swingstar Drums w/ Cymbals: $250. 14” snare, 12”,13”, 16” toms. All B8 cymbals: No stands or pedals included. Please contact Steve at 802-4099. SABIAN - 20” AA Medium Ride cymbal NEW: $140 New Sabian 20” Medium Ride cymbal I picked this up at a liquidation sale but I never use it.499-0540 Bass Amp Head. $550. SWR Headlite. 400 watts, 4 ohms. 3-band semiparametric EQ, aural enhancer, mute switch with LED defeat switch. Brand new. 402-3948 Taye Tour-Pro 5-Piece Drum kit. $825. Includes cymbals, stool, stick holder, extra skins, tambourine, music stand and other accessories. Located in Lower Sackville. 409-4412.

Everything else

Stone Guitar Picks: $10.00. Beautifully handcrafted natural stone guitar picks. Many different stone types to choose from. The stone we use is chosen for the hardness so the picks are very durable and have the potential to last. Allen and Heath GL 2000-24 FOH/Monitor Concolse. $1000. 24 channels, Road case, 22 full function mic inputs with XLR or TRS. Phantom power, pad, phase, insert and HPF. 2 combo mic/stereo line inputs. @ stereo line inputs with 2-band EQ. Old record player and 8 track: Have an old record player and 8 track needing a new home record player still works and comes with new needle has a radio on it and a mic if you would like to sing along running out of room and not able to keep. 431-2070 Line 6 floor pod: $130. Inputs: guitar (1/4 inch), mp3/mic (1/8 inch). Outputs: Left and right output Chorus, Phaser, Tremolo, Delay, Sweep Echo, Reverb. Other FX: Noise Gate, Compressor, Distortion Boost, Wah, Volume. 820-4365

Guff Magazine 61


BACKSTAGE

get the goods Black Moor

Joel Plaskett

The Stogies

Black Moor silver foil hoodie plus band logo... $44.99.

Guys Navy In Your Arms T-shirt Online Exclusive... $25.00

Guys The Stogies T-Shirt... $15.00

http://www.black-moor.com

https://www.joelplaskett.com

https://www.thestogies.com

The Stanfields

Matt Mays

Alert The Medic

Stanfields official foam middle finger ...$10.00

Ladies Matt Mays T-Shirt... $20.00

CD: We, the Weapon (2009)

https://www.thestanfields.ca/store

https://www.rockworldeast.com

www.alertthemedic.com/store

Guff Magazine 63


After hours

JESS SPOTO

Halifax march 13, 2011 3:30 a.m...

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GUFF find your scene! acadian embassy

radiohead

the rockstar pre-drink

40 jaysmith

Answers from matt maysâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; guitarist march 2011

Free


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