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Jason Gardner 04/10/12 10:33 AM

Comeback Kid - 04.01.12
 
Headlining the Symptoms + Cures Tour, appropriately named after the band's latest album, Comeback Kid has been a staple of the hardcore scene since the band's creation in 2002. I caught up with CBK guitarist Jeremy Hiebert at the Detroit stop of the tour to talk about Symptoms + Cures, the band's impact on the hardcore scene and what the future holds for Comeback Kid.

You guys have done a lot of support since Symptoms + Cures. How has it been being able to headline and getting to play to a little more of your guys’ crowd?

We love both. It’s cool to play to people that aren’t familiar with our band. Some of our fans will come out, but you’re definitely playing to a lot of new faces when you’re supporting. That’s cool, but at the same time it’s always good to come through on your own with some bands that you’re into as well that hopefully you can do the same for what’s been done for us. But yeah, it’s been a good run. Reactions have been great. As the band gets older, you always wonder are people going to get into the new stuff. But the reaction to the new record is still positive and good.

You’ve had Stu from Living with Lions playing rhythm guitar this time around. How does having him filling in bolster the bonds between bands on this tour with having his band coming along as well?

They were in the mix before there was any talk of him jumping in on guitar. We toured with Living with Lions several times in the past. We did a full cross-Canada tour with them and a European tour with them last summer. So we’re good friends with them and all those guys are great. They crashed at my house a couple months before this tour. I don’t know if I can quite say we’re old friends [laughs], but we’ve been friends for awhile. It’s just one of those things to be on tour with [those people]. There’s great new people too, but there’s also those old-er friends.

You guys released Symptoms + Cures about a year and a half ago. Now that you’ve had a chance to do a good amount of touring and play a good portion of those songs, how is the reception impacting you as a band this being your second full-length since Andrew took over on vocals?

Like I said, as the band gets older you wonder if people are going to pay attention to the new stuff or just want to hear the old stuff. We still get told by a lot of people, not all people, but most that [Symptoms + Cures] is the best record we’ve put out. It captured us where we were at. We always try to build on what we’ve done in the past. I know the role nostalgia can play for people when they got into the band when Turn It Around came out and when Wake the Dead came out. But most people are usually willing to allow the band to change and adapt when they have to, for example when your lead singer leaves. That being said, everything in general context, the reactions have been very positive.

How much do you guys still deal with people who say they liked the band more when Scott was the singer? You guys have the song “Do Yourself a Favour” on Symptoms + Cures, which almost seems like a callout to that in the chorus.

Oh for sure. Like I said, its understandable. I’m 36 years old and I’ve been into bands that have had some changes along the way. There’s moments in time where a certain record will mean a lot to you. But at the same time I think the average, open-minded music connoisseur also will be able to relate to the new stuff. Maybe not as much as the old stuff because that first record that got you into the band regardless of the records that come out after that are... that’ll always be the one. I think Wake the Dead for a lot of people that have been listening to our band for the last five, eight, ten years, that might be the record for them. I think our fans are very open minded for the most part and kind of get the broad spectrum of what we’ve done with the band. We’ve had to make an obvious change because we were in that position, and I honestly feel that last record we put out is our strongest. It’s got the heavy stuff we’ve always had in our music, but it’s got that melodic element that we’ve always had as well.

You recorded the record prior to this Broadcasting with Bill Stevenson, with Symptoms + Cures you decided to stay a little closer to home and work with Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong. How would you say working with them helped capture the sound and energy of the Comeback Kid live show that you guys have been known for?

It was kind of fun to record with them. Bill and Jason also did Wake the Dead, so we did two records with them. It’s really hard to get money for recording these days, so we had to take a bit of a smaller budget, but at the same time because we’re Canadian we have access to some recording grants that we can get up in Canada. So to do that at home, it kind of opened some new doors for us. Sure, its always a risk going with someone different, but they were able to capture a side of us that I think might be a hair grittier almost, especially vocal wise. They got a bit more grit out of Andrew. Granted, he also had a few more years to find his own sound in Comeback Kid. It was great working with those guys. It was a new set of ideas to work with and we worked together well.

You touched on it a bit, but how does Symptoms + Cures showcase your progression as musicians in addition to Andrew’s progression as a vocalist?

When we set out to write a record, we never say we want this type of record or that kind of record, Wake the Dead part two or whatever. It’s all song by song. Maybe I’ve giving us too much credit, but I think you kind of mature as songwriters and what not as you keep doing records. You see mistakes that you’ve made in previous songs or whatever and know what not to repeat but you also might take a few more risks. We understand the perimeters of our band. We’re not going to be able to get away with certain singy part or weird stuff that doesn’t make sense for us. We know what kind of band we are and we’re not going to put out a weird record. But at the same time we never want to put out a record that sounded like the last ones. There’s always gotta be something new and fresh but still under the umbrella of Comeback Kid. Andrew had three years to work on his style live and he really found himself on this record.

With the lineup changes and what not, Comeback Kid is still revered as one of the more prominent hardcore bands for as long as you’ve been around. How do you feel this record personifies that idea and how do you think you’ve been able to carry that idea this long since you formed the band?

I feel like we came around at a good time for a band like us. We’ve had some sort of longevity now. We’ve put out four records which I guess is a lot for the average hardcore band. We’ve just found a good mix within the band. Kyle and I were the ones that started the band and are still doing it, and we’re very weird individuals on our own. To see the three of us sitting at a bar having a conversation is very rare. But put us in a basement making music and we have this way that really works well together writing music. We’ve been lucky enough that it always feels fresh when we’re making new music. Like it doesn’t sound like something we did already or maybe we should quit because whatever. It hasn’t come to that point. We feel like we have that creative drive to put out something that we’re excited about because that’s basically what it comes down to for us. For this band, we just want to write a hardcore record that sounds good when we’re out at the gym or going for a run or flying across the ocean or something [laughs].

Comeback Kid has also always been known as a band that has songs that connect with people on a personal level. There are bands that are getting a bit more popular now like Stray From the Path, Stick to Your Guns and such that have something to say or have a message for people. How would you say, as someone in a hardcore band that in a way has that quality, how you feel what you’ve done over the years has impacted those bands?

We’re a bunch of random weirdos, but we don’t have a strong political stance or anything. All of us are very different. I would consider myself fairly political to some degree. But we’re not like a Propagandhi or an Anti-Flag. And you never want to force that. You have to find a common denominator that makes sense. We just want to be more of a positive offering. We relate to people on certain levels with our lyrics, and that’s the sort of collective feeling behind the band. We just want to have this positive influence. There’s a lot of negativity and we know how music can really help you get through the day or the week or a really hard time. We’ve all been there before. If we can be that for someone in any kind of way, we feel we’ve done our part as musicians. There’s some sense of responsibility when it comes to delivering music. Just be a positive role model. Everybody’s got their own definition of that, you just have to go by what you believe.

There was a bit of a gap between the last two records, and we’re about a year and a half post-release of Symptoms + Cures. Have you guys thought about doing any sort of writing?

As far as like setting aside time where we get in the basement and start hashing out ideas, we haven’t come to that time yet. I think where we’re at... I don’t want to come across as band, but there’s a lot of bands that shit out records just to support their touring. For us, we just want to put out a record when we’re ready. I think we’re getting close to doing that. But I think there’s a lot of bands whether its record label or management that say, ‘Okay, every 18 to 20 months you need to have a new record out, let’s get this going.’ That’s not us. We don’t want to have ten records in ten years. We want to not feel like we’re pressured to do something. Sure, you need some pressure at certain times, but we want to put it out when we feel ready. These segments come a little longer when you get older, but it’s alright to do it when you feel right about it.

What do you guys have planned for the summer since Stu will be touring with Living with Lions for a bit on Warped?

Actually, this is his last tour with the Lions. With him it’s just kind of tour by tour, and if all things work out he’ll probably join the band full time. But for the summer, we’re going to be playing Israel in June and then we’ll be going to Europe for summer festivals and a few club dates. Fall, we’re working on stuff.

Deborah Remus 04/10/12 11:09 AM

This is Stu's last tour singing for Living With Lions? There's a chance he's going to join Comeback Kid? Interesting.

Zack Zarrillo 04/10/12 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deborah Remus (Post 106115442)
This is Stu's last tour singing for Living With Lions? There's a chance he's going to join Comeback Kid? Interesting.

Really confused by it. Especially considering LWL is on Warped

Deborah Remus 04/10/12 12:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack-182 (Post 106117192)
Really confused by it. Especially considering LWL is on Warped

Yeah, I wonder what's going on there. If Stu really is going to quit Living With Lions and join Comeback Kid, I'm assuming Matt Postal might make a comeback, especially since he played some shows with them in BC earlier this year.

Zack Zarrillo 04/10/12 12:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deborah Remus (Post 106118552)
Yeah, I wonder what's going on there. If Stu really is going to quit Living With Lions and join Comeback Kid, I'm assuming Matt Postal might make a comeback, especially since he played some shows with them in BC earlier this year.

Oh I wasn't aware of the Matt thing. It'd be good timing with Warped, I guess. I've never actually listened to material pre-Holy Shit

Deborah Remus 04/10/12 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zack-182 (Post 106118702)
Oh I wasn't aware of the Matt thing. It'd be good timing with Warped, I guess. I've never actually listened to material pre-Holy Shit

If you like Holy Shit, you definitely should! Make Your Mark is a great record.

Jason Gardner 04/10/12 12:16 PM

I was surprised by this information as well. Also, definitely agree that Make Your Mark is solid.

makeasound 04/10/12 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jason Gardner (Post 106113682)
Headlining the Symptoms + Cures Tour, appropriately named after the band's latest album, Comeback Kid has been a staple of the hardcore scene since the band's creation in 2012.

...2012?

Jason Gardner 04/10/12 12:29 PM

Whoops

Cøltøn 04/10/12 04:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deborah Remus (Post 106118552)
Yeah, I wonder what's going on there. If Stu really is going to quit Living With Lions and join Comeback Kid, I'm assuming Matt Postal might make a comeback, especially since he played some shows with them in BC earlier this year.

This was my bet, exactly.

Definitely interesting news.