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:


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


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

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 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.

(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)
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.

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.