Saturday, March 25, 2017

Doing it Right

What happens when you take a six-year hiatus and stay away from places you used to play all the time?  Places like Calgary, Edmonton and Kamloops, BC?  Well, a string of sold-out shows, that's what.  Holy crap.  Thanks so, so much to everyone who came out to see us again, we don't deserve your loyalty after all this time and we're honoured to have it anyway.



We're glad you liked the new lineup... Wormley Wangersnitch continues to slay on the violin, and the new accordion player, Leroy, "Slow Ride" McBride is truly a wizard on what the French call La boîte de écraser.  Also, uh... not a single one of you noticed this, but, uh, you've all seen Leroy play in this band before.  Same guy.  New stage name.  Ya friggin' mooks.

Leroy


Wormley

The new album is COMING ALONG NICELY.  We spent 4 days in a cabin in D'Arcy, British Columbia, writing polkas, waltzes, folk songs and punk songs.  This is how it went:


Drucilia
The Fang



And we go into the studio on April 25th to start laying it all down.  Watch the Facebook page for updates, eh!  AND THANK YOU AGAIN!!!!!!11111111111






Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Six Years Later... A New Album!






...well, hello me lovelies!  Goodness, it's been a while, hasn't it?  So much has changed in the past six years, why, it's hard to summarize it all.  The global economic collapse, the tragic war in Lithuania, David Bowie's untimely election to the presidency, and the departure of so many beloved heroes, such as Phife Dawg, Phife Dawg, and Phife Dawg.  Too much to talk about!

So let's just stick to the business at hand.  As for the Dreadnoughts, aye, well, there's the rub.  (What does "there's the rub" mean? Is it some vague Shakespearean reference to what Squid Vicious rather confusingly calls a "hand shandy"?  No-one knows!  Stay tuned!) 

So, the Dreadnoughts.  Oh, wait, sorry.  We didn't do that right.  Since this is 2017, every time you type out your band name you must do so with a hyperlink to your Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, SnapChat, and Hypertron pages to increase "global digital branding exposure".

So, THE DREADNOUGHTS.  What's new with us?  Well, we're making a new album. Releasing the album in late summer 2017.  It's both new and it's an album.  In addition, we've just discovered that "album" is definitely one of those words that looks super weird when you read it a few times.

And this new album... it's a concept album.  To our knowledge there has not yet been a folk-punk concept album.  We've not going to tell you what the concept is, but in a genre that is mostly "fiddly-diddly-drink [repeat]", we thought we'd add something new to the pile.  Something a little more meaningful.  We hope you buy like it.

Oh, and please say hello to two new members of the band, Wormley Wangersnitch (violin) and [TBD] (Accordion):


CLICK TO ENLARGE


You can catch this phenomenal new lineup at our 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY shows Calgary (Mar 10), Edmonton (Mar 11), and Vancouver (Mar 17-18), and at a few more locations in the summer.

(CHECK OUT THAT HYPERLINKING!  BRING IT ON, 2017!  JUST BRING IT THE FUCK ON!)




Monday, December 14, 2015

EP Cover Design Contest

A few weeks ago, we announced an "EP cover design-contest".  As you might guess, this could also have been called "please design our album for us for free".  In a way, this is exploitative and wrong, but fortunately for us we do not care.

We didn't quite know what to expect, but we were blown away, and even a little touched, by what we recieved.  There are a lot of awesome people around who really understand what we're all about, and that's very gratifying.  We have picked a winner, but we will wait until that design is finalized before showing it to you.  Until then, here are the runners-up, each tied for second place:





1.  "Eric Wants to Polka"


The designer, oh, let's call him "Eric", has put together what can only be described as a masterpiece.  It has everything: energy, focus, balance and charm.  The only reason we didn't pick this one is that it is a little too "polished", and we were going for something that looked a little less professional.  Keep it up, Eric, you've clearly got a huge future in graphic design.



2. "Bite Me"


This one is simple, direct, and perhaps a little bit mentally deranged.  Bonus points for the phallic imagery, and I'm not quite sure what the two figures on the left are doing, but all in all a solid effort.




3. "Keepin 'er Outta The Cabbage" (Kells Version)



Sent by Tom McSod of The Staggerers, this one has Cider, apples, giants, and all kinds of medieval imagery.  We wish we were smart enough to "get" all the references in this one: there is some kind of vine growing around a stump, and artsy types could probably tell us which norse god or phronecian fable it referrs to.  Still, A+!



4. "rediC"



It took us a long time to figure this one out: it looks like a pirate-explorer on a terrifying island cut through with a river of sludge, with a blobby, sphincter-like thing poking out from a horrible sea of miniature green alien eggs.  We were going to pass the guy's email on to the psychiatric authorities.  Closer inspection reveals that it is just poutine and cider imagery, and that we are just extremely disturbed for thinking otherwise.  Phew!


5.  "Murder Pig"


 Um... oh, dear.  The pig means business.  The pig is chopping someone up and there is blood.  Awesome!  The only reason we didn't pick this one is that we didn't think we could get a grant from the government with an album called "Murder Pig".  I MEAN, WAIT, WE DON'T GET GRANTS FROM THE GOVERNMENT.  HA HA.  THAT WAS A JOKE.  STEPHEN HARPER, IF YOU'RE READING THIS, THAT WAS A JOKE.  PLEASE DON'T LOOK INTO THIS.




6. "Keepin 'er Outta the Cabbage" (Witch Version)



Wow.  Dark, brooding woman holding a bleeding cabbage.  This clearly portrays a goth lady who is married to a husband that she has come to despise.  She is seeking revenge on him by deliberately cutting herself while she makes his cole slaw. 




7.  "Togetherness" 



It simply doesn't get any better than this.  As everyone knows, the squid and the octopus are enemies in real life, which is what makes this submission so heartwarming.  It's about the power of alcohol to bring even the most antagonistic people together in joyous celebration and friendship.  The octopus is hammered (hence the X's in his eyes) and the squid seems to have mixed his rum with some antihistamines or perhaps a few tabs of acid.  The message is clear: substance abuse solves all of our problems.

So, thanks to everyone who submitted.  We could have used any of these, and it is clear that there are a lot of wonderful, talented, batshit insane people out there. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dreadnought Hiatus

Dearest friends, fans, and assorted dirty rotten little bastards all over the world,

Since forming in 2007, this band has made 5 recordings, played close to 400 shows, toured to 22 wonderful countries and Belgium, and even got on the radio once.  It has been, all things considered, one hell of a ride.  But we're here to announce that as of right now we're going to seriously scale back our show schedule (from 140 shows per year to like, maybe twelve). Also, Uncle Touchy Goes To College will probably be our last recording.

There is, unfortunately for you gossip queens, nothing very dramatic about it. With all due respect to the "old guys" in the rock/punk world, we'd rather not end up like them. 

Let us explain: we've seen older, more famous punk bands fill 2,000-person halls all over Europe then paint houses 6 months of the year just to make ends meet. We've seen A-list Epitaph-signed bands who are so sick and tired of touring that their live shows are almost a joke.  But they gotta tour, or they (and their kids) don't eat. We've seen countless older guys in the industry--managers, musicians, promoters or what have you--who no longer give a shit about music and who would literally not be able to make it through each year without cocaine. "Living the dream", they call it.

So we're each off to get educations or start jobs or explore the world on our own, and trust us, there is absolutely nothing sad about that. 

First, we're extremely proud of the music we've made and we think that it stands as something that is both (1) true to its roots, and (2) hopefully somewhat unique.  If one band out there has been inspired to do things just a little bit differently because of us, we're fairly happy with that.

Second, music has given us a chance to see places we would never have dreamed of seeing.  Eastern Poland, Western England and Chicoutimi, Quebec have become new homes for us all.  We've seen the Kremlin and the Ukraine and Barcelona and Porto, been stuck in crazy latino-only American polka bars and slept at the top of colossal mountains in the Swiss alps.  Not too shabby, eh.

Third, we have met the most incredible people and made lifelong friends on our various adventures.  If we tried to name you all we would never be finished.

Anyway, we do have one major regret we'd like to mention.  As of 2009, we started trying to do the "building" thing. We toured internationally, built our reputation and got to play for lots more people, but in order to try to get some stupid contract with some Canadian booking agent, we basically stopped playing Vancouver. The idea is that if you play one big show in your home city per year, you can fill a huge hall and the fucking big-fish booking agents get impressed.

We've had a few people complain about this to us, and they were right to.  Vancouver wasn't just our home city, the place we cut our musical teeth, it was where we got that first "push" to get bigger in the first place.  Our friends and fans at home supported us like crazy but we basically abandoned them in order to try to get a booking contract that never materialized, probably because we didn't pretend to be Irish. (Trust me, really, if we'd pretended to be Irish I fucking guarantee you that this particular agency would have signed us.) That sucked, and we're sorry, Vancouver.  Um... it won't happen again?

Anyway: One reason folk and punk go so well together is that each of them is about community.  A "scene" is just a community of friends, and the whole idea of folk music (and punk music) is that performances should be friends playing for friends.  There are no rock stars, no egos, no fucking "images" and no-one is better than anyone else.  Even if we joked around and occasionally pretended to be rock stars, we hope all of you knew that we're just your friends who happen to know how to play polkas very fast.  That's it.

We'll probably play a few more shows here and there, and no-one knows for sure what the future will hold, but this Polka-punk train is gonna sit in the station for a while.   We have a few more things to say about our time in "the biz", and we'll post them in the next couple of days.  But for now, we'll leave you with one last recording we made during the "Uncle Touchy" sessions, a song that means so much to us and that is dedicated to every last one of you.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fan Mail

This is a recent email from K***, a high-school teacher in Jasper, Alberta.  She enjoyed some of our show but seems to have had some problems with some of our stage presentation.  Here is the e-mail she sent in full, unedited:

Hi,

I watch you guys play in Jasper, AB at the Downstream bar the other night.  Lots of talent!  However, you drank way to much during the two sets.  Your second set was awful.  Taking off all your clothes was disgusting.  Usually I like guys in speedos but I was disturbed.  Plus there was 90% males in the bar.  It was a bad decision.  You shouldn't do that at your next show.  At least some of you covered you genitals with your musical instruments but the larger guy was too much to handle.   Thought you might want to know from a girls perspective.  If the second set never happened or you can promise it won't happen again I will spread the word you are worth seeing.


And here is our response, unedited:

Dear K****:

We are thrilled, capital-t Thrilled at your offer to "spread the word" about our fledgling group in the huge, bustling metropolis of Jasper, Alberta.  As everyone knows, Jasper, Alberta is where Nickelback got their start and we cannot wait to follow in their mighty footsteps.  We will of course make any and all changes to our show that you request.  However, you should know that if we had a nickel for every time a woman thought our bass player was "too much to handle", we would have more money than Nickelback!

Your Friends,

The Dreadnoughts

Sunday, February 13, 2011

ShartAttack

So, Chartattack.com is hosting three special tour blogs of ours!  Here's the first:

http://www.chartattack.com/features/2011/feb/10/dreadnoughts-european-tour-diary-first-we-take-moscow


And, last night, a momentous occasion in the history of the Dreadnoughts:

Our merch guy drank a liter of vodka... and pissed himself.

I'm pretty sure that's a punk rock "level up".

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Talco

Talco are one of the best folk-punk bands in the world right now, and it was a great honour to tour, drink and play with them. Here's a video of the instrumental tune we all put together, played in Berlin.  It's called "Balkan Heroes".  Enjoy!



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"Living The Dream"

As I sat last night on a plush leather couch in our green room, drinking free prosecco, munching on kalamata olives, stuffed red peppers and pickled white asparagus, one thought kept going through my head:

This isn’t very punk rock.

The punk rocker in me felt as though he ought to be out in the street, swilling cheap vodka with some local brain-damaged Neanderthals, urinating on public monuments and frightening the pigeons.  If I were a Real Punk Rocker, I would see this plush, amenity-laden green room for what it was: a symbol of bourgeois luxury and oppression, a symbol of class warfare, of the pervasive inequality of modern capitalism. I would stand up, scream: “fuck the rich!” throw my freshly baked brochette across the room, and go out to raise hell with other members of the working class.

Luckily for me, I am not a Real Punk Rocker, I am a weedy twat from Edmonton who likes freshly whipped pesto. Class struggle gives me a rash. “Squidney!  Why yes, another espresso for me, thanks very much old bean!  Have you seen this youtube video of the riots in Egypt?  Ghastly affair.  Yes, two sugar cubes, please.  But no biscuit on the side, my tummy has gone a little squiffy.”

In the van, Real Punk Rock bands sleep off hangovers and heroin crashes, pausing only to vomit on the side of the highway, their Mohawks waving gently in the breeze.  The Dreadnoughts, on the other hand, pull out their laptops and watch The Inbetweeners, play NBA 2010 or Super Mario Land, and listen to Glenn Gould whenever possible.  I’ve even developed a little tradition of opening one of our many free bottles of red wine and pouring myself a little glass while I watch season 1 of “All in The Family” or season 2 of “Rome”.  Cockface and I are going to have a Super Mario Tennis tournament today.  It’s awesome.

Now, before you think that we’ve gone soft on you, rest assured, this is all quite new to us. Certainly, the previous 250 European shows were not played in such circumstances.  In 2009, we spent two months sleeping in the van, destroying our livers every day and eating nothing but Polish “Chakalaka”-flavoured chips for weeks on end.  While you were sipping coffee at work, I was sleeping on a muddy hill in god damned France, shivering, cradling the bottle of whiskey that kept me warm, and trying to ignore the ever-increasing sound of wolves howling.  You think I’m not going to put my feet up and eat my pickled white asparagus?  You think I’m not going to sip fine rotwein from the banks of the Rhine and watch Archie Bunker yell at his wife?  Fucking god damned fucking right I am.

“Living the Dream”, a phrase that has officially lost all traces of irony for us.  We are truly living it.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, this free hotel breakfast ‘aint just going to eat itself.  One poached egg, or two?  Hmmm.  Such difficult choices we face in this life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quick Video Update: Day 1.

It's amazing what a bottle of gin can do for your morale!


Video 1: The German Roadie Doesn't Know Where He Is.









Video 2: A Quick Kiss!





Video 3: Creative Percussion:



Stay tuned!

Monday, January 10, 2011

The History of Gin

Today's blog entry features a "guest" blogger. Ladies and gintlemen, we have with us today Mr. Squid Vicious, who will enlighten us on a historical topic that is near and dear to his heart. Take it away, Squid:


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Portland Pirate Festival, or, Pirates Definitely Don't Wear Blue Jeans

I'll get this out of the way right up front: The Dreadnoughts have been banned from a Pirate festival for (1) Drinking, (2), Swearing, and (3) wearing blue jeans. Stop reading now and let that all sink in.

Got it? Good. Now sit down, me hearties, and let me spin ye a grand old tale.

We were booked to play the Portland Pirate Festival. The festival boasts the Guinness World Record for "Most Pirates In One Place".
I'm no expert, but I'm fairly certain that Somalia actually holds that record. Presumably, however, there is no category for "Most Bored, Upper-Middle Class White People with Nothing Better To Do Than Dress Up Like Johnny Depp".

Fig 1. Douchebags.

We recieved notice, in advance, that because this was a "family event", we were not allowed to swear on stage. Oookay. It was comically obvious that no matter what we did, our stage show was not going to go over very well with these people. For some reason, this never deters these types, who somehow manage to ignore all the Youtube videos of Seamus barfing on puppies and book us for their shows anyway. We happily take their money, but it never ends well.

Case in point: The Portland Pirate Festival. When the magical day arrived, we awoke to discover that it was the SSB's birthday. We realized that two options lay open to us. We could forget that it was his birthday, drive five hours to the festival, and just get the gig over with. Or, we could do what we actually did.

OK, so let's get these things out of the way: by the time we hit the stage, the SSB could barely stand. While other musicians may do stretches or vocal warm-ups, he warmed up for the show by vomiting on himself for about ten minutes. Druzil and I had been enjoying the "grog" in the "Pirate Bar", but our moderate tipsyness was utterly eclipsed by the titanic inebriation of the Swede. Here is a venn diagram for illustrative purposes:

Fig 2. Happy SSBirthday!

The resulting show was, by our standards, a little rough. Furthermore, I displayed a profound lack of judgment by allowing the SSB to sing one of the songs, and he toook this opportunity to belt out a very bad word, forcing the song to come to a lurching halt. For these two sins, we apologize. In fact, the SSB sent a personal email to the festival organizers right after the show apologizing for that particular mess.

That didn't stop the organizers from emailing us. It would be pretty crass and classless of us to reprint the e-mail in its entirety here. So, we'll only show you about 80% of it.
I feel I should let you know how the whole experience went for us, as far as The Dreadnoughts were concerned.Frankly, I was surprised to hear that they even remembered anything.
Ooooooo.... that's not a very nice thing to say! Never mind that two of us were stone sober the entire day.
Here is our list of complaints that you should be aware of:

1) The Dreadnoughts were obviously already drinking when they drove in and still asking where their alcohol provisions from us were, on top of that.
GOOD CHRIST, A PUNK ROCK BAND WAS DRINKING. WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?

(2) is boring.Oh, here comes a really important one:
3) The boys proceeded to drink for hours leading up to their showtime, and were wasted before their performance. They drank through their allotted sound check time, instead, tryng to sound check during their opening act fire show performance, all while making disrespectful comments to the Fire Performers who were in front of the stage on the grass.
I repeat: given that Druzil and I only occasionally partook, basically half of us weren't drinking. But that's not what really grinds my gears on this one, 'cause here is where it gets interesting. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to welcome you to Having A Real Band At A Festival 101. Take your seats, please. Ahem.

A real band needs something called a "sound check". During this sound check, their instruments (guitar, drums, bass, Hungarian Nose Harp) will be played. While this point seemed to be utterly lost on the clueless troglodytes organizing the "festival", these instruments must be played at full volume. Makes sense, huh? How else would it be a "sound check"?

We were told to get on stage and sound check. As we started to do this, the festival had four attention-starved weirdos swing firey chains around to some Samba music. Some stupid woman didn't like that our guitars/drums/violins were making noise during this "act", and demanded that we stop. We refused to stop. The stage crew turned our channels off. We got no sound check. More on this shortly.
4) Drummer was polite to my stage and sound crew, but was so tossed he was puking.
FALSE. The technical term is "projectile puking".
5) Some band members were beligerent, and completely disrespectful to my AWESOME stage and sound crew.One band member even cussed at the sound crew.
It's spelled "belligerent". And you know what? You're damned right I'm going to be belligerent when we drive nearly a thousand kilometers only to be told, at the last minute, that we can't have a sound check before a show. I do not apologize for this in the slightest. If you booked any large touring rock band in the world and pulled their sound-check out from under them at the last minute, they'd laugh, leave the stage, drive away, and their lawyer would collect their check later. You're damned right I'm going to yell at someone who is demanding, suddenly and without warning, that we somehow suspend the laws of logic and do a soundless sound-check. Idiots. I'll apologize for this when one of them mails me a square circle.
6) During the show, one band member drunkenly jumped/fell? off stage, and broke his drum.
Amazing: you can find videos of the SSB pulling this stunt all over Youtube. We've done this at about 200 shows. The Swede was trying to get the 8 people in the audience to move around a little more, so he jumped into the pouring rain and ran around with the drum, which broke. It's astounding that an attempt to put on an exciting show provokes a "complaint".
7) After their set, they returned to our Tavern, but I believe the place refused to serve them any more.
FALSE. I was personally served until around 1:30 AM. You want another interesting fact? Feeling slightly bad about the rough performance, the band sat in the pub with an acoustic guitar and sang real, actual sea shanties for about 45 minutes. And we sang them well, for an audience that was about 8 times larger (the pub was sheltered from the rain). Does this free acoustic show matter, does it make it into the organizer's account? No. What matters, what is last on the list of notes, apparently, is...
8) Lastly, they did NOT dress at all like pirates, sailors, or anything even close to what was promised in our contract.
FALSE. Contract does not say this. Also: HAHAHAHAHAlol.
Instead, they wore jeans (some jeans about falling off)
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHlol!
with clear plastic bags over bare skin for shirts.
Gee, why would we do that? Why would an electric rock band do that in the middle of a monsoon? Any ideas, anyone?
Not the nicest thing to see skin (some of it bouncing up and down) on stage, under wet plastic bags.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHlol.

This calls for another diagram!

Fig 3. The 2010 Portland Pirate Festival

Here's the thing, kids: when you play an electric instrument, you have to stay dry. Otherwise... and you may not know this, but... you might die. The stage was so inadequately covered that our shirts were soaked and dripping after 5 minutes up there. Not good. So, a couple of us took 'em off and put the plastic covers on, hoping to stop the runoff from dripping into any sensitive electric equipment and sending the sound system's 40,000 volts through our bodies.

Are you noticing a theme? The theme, ladies and gentlemen, is: organizers, not know how to run music festival, decide to put one on anyway.
they should have kept their shirts on, and dressed to fit our festival.
Yeah. 'Cause we, like the bored, upper-middle-class families who attended the festival, have $500 to spare on pirate costumes. We're going to spend most of our festival wage on costumes.

Fig 4. Well-Adjusted People

Luckily, not many were still there in the downpour to see The Dreadnoughts play and did not witness their bad behavior. Just a few hard core PUNK folks that I guess are used to that kind of behavior.
You hear that, Punk kids? The bored, upper-middle-class white people don't like you. The best part about this paragraph is that she appears to be suddenly realizing that she booked a punk band.

Now, to summarize, we stand by what was said in our apology e-mail that went out before any of these complaints were sent. The very bad word was over the line and we shouldn't have said it on stage. We probably could have poured one or two fewer 40s down the Swede's throat before the show. But everything in this e-mail confirms our prior suspicion that no matter what we did, we were going to get an e-mail with complaints in it. It remains a fact that there are people who think that we're obligated to dress in expensive costumes, play without a sound-check, risk death by electrocution and stay sober . How else can I put this? They arrrr wrong.

HOWEVER, we are willing to forgive, forget, and make an honest offer of friendship and reconciliation to these people. We hereby promise to play the 2011 Portland Pirate Festival for free, as a way of making up for our sins. We also promise to wear elaborate pirate costumes, to refrain from drinking, and to conform to any other requirements that the festival may impose on us at any time. We only ask for one small favour in return.

Hold the festival on the coast of Somalia.

Fig 5. Pirate, Definitely Not Wearing Blue Jeans.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Staff Picks

On this lurching, cross-continental trip, we've played with two or three bands per night. Some of them are more famous than us, and so we only mention them so that we can seem famous and important. "Yeah," we say to people, "we played with Band X, we're playing with Band Y, and that means that we are important and interesting, and not just 5 retards who voluntarily spend 5 months a year in locked a steel box together."

However, most of the groups we play with are basically unknown, and one of the coolest things about touring is running into an unknown band that just blows your mind.

When you call yourselves "The Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America", you've got an incredible task in front of you. When you stand up in front of an audience and introduce yourselves as "The Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America", you had better not suck. You had better not even be mediocre. You had better blow people's minds. That is why it is a bad idea to call yourselves "The Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America".


Unless, of course, you are the three geniuses from Montreal who comprise The Bill Cosby Anarchist Society of America.





They are exactly as awesome as their name implies. Imagine Iggy and the Stooges had a baby with NOFX, and the kid had ADD and a severe eye twitch. Songs like "Street Fighter 2 Turbo", "Punch You In The Facebook", and "Q-Dog King Cheese Parking Bitches at Your Mom's Place" do not disappoint in the slightest. We simply can't say enough about how creative and powerful their album ("Fuck It Up Hard", 2010) is. It even includes, in the liner notes, a letter from Bill Cosby's lawyer telling them to change their name. Wow.

Moving along, Liquor Box are a country-punk band from Kingston, Ontario, and they succeed where so many others fail: they actually keep the rebel, outlaw-country spirit alive in the face of the continuing corporatization of their genre. I absolutely guarantee you that Hank Williams watches every single one of their shows from up in heaven, and maybe he even sings along.

Finally, despite all the hype and image surrounding Nirvana, despite the fact that Kurt and Friends made it seem like the whole thing was effortless, it is in fact extremely hard to make music like Nirvana did. Gnosis are a Japanese band whose albums unabashedly scream "GRUNGE IS NOT DEAD".



Again, it takes a lot of balls to try to breathe life into a Nirvana-esque sound, but in an ocean of musicians trying to find the next thing that will electrify the rock world like Nirvana did, a band like Gnosis is incredibly refreshing. Not only do they demolish stages, not only are they louder than loud, their songs actually come very close to achieving what Nirvana did, and that's pretty cool. The fact that they come from Japan makes it all the more impressive. I was under the impression that all music from Japan sounds like the Katamari Damacy soundtrack, but apparently I was wrong.

So remember, the next time you hear someone saying that rock is dead, that there are no good rock bands anymore, you stop them immediately and firmly inform them that this just isn't true. There are three of them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"The Scene"

On this tour, some folks have noticed that we seem a little... on edge. This is true. The Dreadnoughts are angry. Normally, we don't express our anger, but we have discovered that this policy of repressing our wish-fulfillment drives is manifesting itself in a deep and persistent neurosis. Our therapist, Dr. Tholdt, has suggested that a little creative venting might help. In particular, he has instructed us to write a letter addressed to those people who most upset us. So, here it is:

DEAR ANYONE who is involved in the rock/punk music scene in any reasonably sized North American city or town, any musician, booker or promoter who has found themselves saying any of the following things:

  • "Yeah, the scene here sucks. It's way better in [insert other city here]."
  • "I hate the [rock genre] scene in this town: audiences never move around or dance or anything."
  • "Kids just aren't listening to [insert rock genre here] anymore."
  • "This city is no fun"...

SHUT. UP. ABOUT. THE. GOD. DAMNED. "SCENE". AND. DO. YOUR. GOD. DAMNED. JOBS.

Signed,

The Dreadnoughts

-------


In Guelph, Ontario, after being told by another douchebag "promoter" (who failed to make or put up a single poster for our show) that "punk is dying", we snapped. Ladies and gentlemen, we just frigging snapped. We can't take this anymore. We can't handle the way that people blame their own artistic failures on "the scene" or "the city" or "the kids" and their alleged preferences. Shut up. Just god damned shut up. Maybe it's hard, maybe it isn't, but SHUT UP.

A couple of years ago, a local Vancouver band called Mexican Drug Patrol decided that while their shows were going well, they would be happy with a bigger crowd response, more dancing, more movement. So, they went online, watched some old videos of some of the greatest live bands of all time, and began to re-invent their live show. I saw them on New Years' Eve 2009, and it was probably the most mind-blowing show I saw all year. They destroyed that crowd, and they destroyed the crowd because they took some responsibility for their own performance.

CONTRAST TIME: Before the wall fell, punks in East Berlin were routinely arrested, jailed and raided by the Stasi police. The government sent informers into the punk scene who would report any rebellious activities to the authorities. A punk could find herself being sent to jail on testimony from someone she thought was a friend, a comrade. She could find her apartment searched for lyrics sheets that contain anti-communist sentiments. She could even go to jail just for attending a show.

East Berlin, 1982: No Fun City. Look it up, friends. Then try to tell yourselves, again, that your town just can't have a good rock/punk/metal/whatever music scene because of X/Y/Z.

Now, we all know that it's difficult to carve out a space for rock/punk/metal in any city: that's a given. It's also difficult to start a bakery or a hair salon. Restrictions, taxes, evictions, rental hikes and various economic policies make it tough for anyone who decides to do anything other than live in a box and eat worms. Maybe it's even particularly tough for artists, I don't really know. But what I do know is that a whooooole lot of energy is being put into complaining about why we fail, and that seems like energy that could be used more productively. Like, for example, we could use it to stop failing.

If there are more than 10000 people aged 18-25 in your town, there will always be a market for good, powerful live music. You can either bitch endlessly to anyone who'll listen about how there is no scene, or you can help to create a scene. The choice is yours. But don't expect people who actually work their asses off creating a scene to stay quiet while you trash the very thing they're working so hard to nurture. Mmmmkay? Thanks.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

America

America is where God lives.

There, I said it. I know that most of our fans are in Canada and Europe, and are therefore used to making fun of the U S of A. Chances are, you've probably called Americans fat, stupid or politically insane at some point.

But no matter what you say, no matter where you live, and no matter how many Noam Chomsky books you discuss with your friends at the Anarchy Cafe Book Club, you will never be a citizen of a country that has chicken fried chicken.

Yes, America has spent the last 50 years starting wars that have basically ruined the world, but I don't recall driving through B.C. or Nova Scotia and seeing a restaurant called "Neato Burrito".

I don't recall the shots in London being 3 ounces, nor were there 40-oz cans of beer labeled "Big Ass".

I don't recall stopping at a restaurant in Germany or France and eating a grilled cheese sandwich where they grill the cheese before they grill the sandwich.

I don't recall stopping at a random bar in a small Dutch or Welsh city and discovering that it has 348 beers available.

I don't recall ever seeing a restaurant in Canada that sells burgers by the bag.

Every show we've played has been to about eight people: we don't care. We get to wake up the next day and go to some random diner where a nice older lady with a beehive haircut will turn a 100-calorie plate of mashed potatoes into a 1000-calorie plate of mashed potatoes via the river of hollandaise sauce she liberally pours all over the meal without even asking you first.

America is where God lives. And God is fat.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Polka's Not Dead

Oh, Jesus H. Christ in a little red wagon, the album's finally here.

120 days of writing, practicing and arranging, 28 days of studio, mixing, mastering, panicking, drinking, shouting, barfing, waking up not knowing where our pants were, fighting, crying, baking, being chased by the police down an alleyway in New Westminster and enjoying a Margaret Lawrence novel with some mint tea in a hot bubble bath with Sarah McLaughlan's "Surfacing" on later, it is finished.



The CD Release is tomorrow, and it's the culmination of 5 long years of work in Vancouver. The album is diverse, fast, furious and fun. It's easily the best thing any of us has ever put together, and we're proud to begin our next North American tour knowing that it stands proudly next to any folk-punk album ever made, maybe even casts menacing glances at a few of them, maybe even snickers at them a bit, maybe sneaks backstage to snog their girlfriends.

Thanks to everyone who made it possible, and thanks to everyone who's about to see our new, vamped-up live show on the upcoming tours.

Tomorrow, we polka.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Winterview

Two nights ago, playing a Swiss open-air festival, the national radio station is interviewing us live before the show. The following exchange takes place:

Lady: "And what do you think of your home country of Ireland?"
Seamus: "... what?"
Uncle Touchy: "Too many leprechauns."

(pause)

Lady: "And... um... how are you finding Switzerland?"
Squid: "... Google Maps".


It was a short interview.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Polka's Not Dead

Still out on tour, but we put this together recently to give y'all a taste of the new album. Here it is!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pics

Some pictures from our recent adventuring...



Yoda and Rupert


Mighty Sounds!

Clemens and Drazil ramp it up a notch.



Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jesus Christ.

Tour Blog - Mighty Sounds and Onwards


When you find yourself going 130 kph in an extremely shitty old van, and the back tire has exploded, and the van is careening all over the autobahn, and the noise inside the van is like ten thousand members of Satan's Unholy Demon Choir screaming liturgies of death into your ears, one thought invariably goes through your mind:

Shouldn't have left the lucky Punjabi dangling van ornament in the Ukraine.

But, oh, this theme was set long before, on Day 2. A big punk festival, a couple of thousand people waiting for our set, I pull my very expensive guitar out of its case and discover that a tiny piece has come loose and is nowhwere to be seen. The guitar won't work without it. We later discover that, because my very expensive guitar was made in America and we are in Europe, it is actually impossible to find a replacement. The reason? The metric and imperial systems of measurement. Day 2, no guitar. Awesome.

We pulled it out though, crashing through an awesome set and ending the show in a new and interesting way. There was this little kid, a pure German stereotype (chubby, blond, loud) dancing in the front row, and as we started to play "Elizabeth", I motioned for him to get up on stage. His eyes sparkled and he ran up to the security guard minding the stage. The security guard shook his head, firmly indicating that no-one was allowed to approach the stage. All we could see through the noise and smoke was this enraged little ball of fire begin to thump his chest and scream at the guard. The guard shrugged and let the kid through. Wow. Soon, he was up on stage, leaping around, screaming into microphones and generally displaying ten times the stage presence of most lead singers I'm aware of.

After the song, we all laughed and hugged the kid, messed his hair and told him to start a band when he got older. A strange, cooing noise arose from the crowd, and we later learned that it was actually the sound of 2,000 ovaries sighing.

No, really, we looked it up on wikipedia.

WHAT NEXT? Mighty Sounds Festival in the Czech Republic! Pretty much the greatest festival we've ever been a part of. Probably our most powerful set of all time, as well, the climax being when the SSB went crowd-surfng 30 feet from the stage and Seamus--displaying an admirable disregard for endangering others--actually threw a huge tom-drum at him. Here's what happened:



We met and drank with Smokey Bastard, a simply fantastic folkpunk band from Reading, England. The highlight of our meeting was bringing about 39 pints of beer into a quiet, hippie-ish hookah bar on the festival grounds and singing English and Canadian sea shanties to all the hippies. The Smokeys ended the session with a rendition of their fantastic song, "Steve The Twat". In general, it was just nice to speak with people who understand both our language and the concept of comic irony.

By far the best part of the festival was when one of our van keys broke in the lock and the other key was with an unbelievably drunk and completely missing Seamus. We could not get into the van. We sent massive search parties out into the night, scowering the festival for the tent of the saucy young wench he'd certainly gone off with. Two hours later, no luck. We somehow managed to score a ride back to our hotel, and came back the next morning to the festival grounds.

Ten points to the first commenter who can guess where he was.

A few days later, we found ourselves in Kiel, northern Germany. We arrived backstage to find an opening band putting eyeliner on each other backstage. Um. After finishing a set in a basement room which literally rose to an eyeliner-melting 46C during the show, I jumped off stage and immediately began complaining loudly to the locals about how all the buildings were so new, shiny and uninteresting, like the town had no history. One of them quietly informed me that Kiel had been a major centre of U-Boat construction during the war, and had thus been utterly demolished by the Allies.

"Oh," I said. "Um... gotta go!"

The next day, Rupert the Bear found himself back in Hamburg, the place where on year ago he had literally lost his head. After the show, he agreed to come out with us for "a beer". We rambled over to Hamburg's legendary Reeperbahn and entered the official pub of FC St. Pauli, the world-famous soccer/football club. We approached the bar, ordered some beers, and suddenly realized that the bartender was wearing a Dreadnoughts' shirt. He informed us that he was also the owner and that he was going to bring free beers over to our table until we were stinking drunk. "A beer" indeed. We laughed, smiled and sang all into the night, like children, fully unaware of the horrors that the following day would bring us.

Now, I don't know the names of the people who manufactured and installed the rear right tire on our van. All I know is that they had better take particular care to never encounter me.

A few hours after the "incident", we were driving like mad in a newly rented van to a festival in southern germany. We were supposed to arrive at 6 PM, and our ETA was 10:30. The festival organizers were nice enough to move the music plans around to accommodate us, and another band offered to let us use their gear (since most of our gear was lying in several pieces in what was left of a van). We arrived, caught some of the other acts, and heroically pulled out a headlning set at one in the morning in the pouring rain and suffocating mud. We finished, thanked the previous band for their gear, and learned from the organizers shortly thereafter that they had decided to charge us 100 Euro ($130 CDN) to use the gear for 30 minutes. This was deducted from our pay for the night.

If a band, any band--even Nickelback--had been through what we had just gone through and we had something they needed, we would give it to them to use, no questions asked.

We take consolation in the fact that we will never, ever be:

(1) The worst folk-rock band in the entire world, complete with terrible songwriting, computerized fiddle/accordion noises and the worst vocal performances since Bob Dylan accidentally swallowed a frog during his live rendition of "Ave Maria", and
(2) The kind of horrible human beings who can charge a group of people who just narrowly escaped death money for basically no reason.


The following evening we played a festival headlined by some extremely famous german "hip-hop" band. I don't even remember what they were called, but I do know that putting our merchandise table next to theirs was a massive mistake. They were repeatedly swarmed, and I mean swarmed, by huge gangs of 12-to-14 year-old girls, each wanting a poster, shirt or body part signed.

Now, the Dreadnoughts are no enemies of real Hip Hop, in fact, ten points to the first commenter who can name the Dreadnoughts song with A Tribe Called Quest line in it. However, we were forced to watch in disbelief as the group repeatedly passed drinks out to the crowd of teenaged girls, and gasped in horror as many of the same girls made it absolutely clear that they wanted to be taken back to the hotel later that night. One or two of us stuck around for the "set" of "music", and concluded that the majority of 12-to-14 year-old girls should probably be put in manacles every day at 4 PM for their own good.

Despite The Incident, we have currently made and played every show on this tour. This is largely because of Clemens Schlink, our german friend and roadie, a man who is kind, loyal, generous, and willing to take insane trips across the European wasteland in order to secure another van for us. Also, he is the world cup-stacking champion. You think I'm making that up? Nope.

Today, we are finally equipped with a brand new, huge, pimp-ass tour van on the way back to the Czech Republic. We just visited a small Swiss town to deposit some money, and we stopped at a red light outside the bank. We all lurched forward violently as a huge "BANG" echoed from the rear of the vehicle. Someone had rear-ended us. Hard. Three hours with the cops, a million forms, injury reports, and a few nervous phone calls to the rental company later, we are now back on the road. What. The. Fuck.

Rest assured that the next time we see something, anything Punjabi, we are buying it and hanging it from the rear view mirror. Since the old one went missing, things have been slightly... off.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Squid Vicious - Day 1