The band name comes from a pipe tune written by the Eastern Townships Pipe Band, in which both our bagpiper and our first drummer played. It was one of those names that was fun at first, and fit with the whole Pub-Rock or Celtic-Punk genre, but as we grew further and further away from that style the name lost all of its charm. Not a night goes by that we don’t dream of a better world, one in which we were called The Lumberjerks and ideas for merch designs were endless.
2. How did this band get started?
We started off as just a bunch of friends playing music and drinking cheap whiskey in a smoky basement. We didn’t do many shows... myspace or facebook weren’t around yet and the internet in general was pretty much as useless as it is today. The only way we knew how to get shows was to ask around, and living in rural Quebec didn’t provide us with many options. Once things picked up a bit and we focused more on getting out of our hometown it all became a lot easier.
3. What bands are you influenced by?
Having bagpipes in our band we get this question a lot with the expectation that we will list the usual giants of Celtic Punk or pledge allegiance to The Pogues. The truth is we don’t really listen to anything remotely Celtic or “Irish”. We used to, but listening to the same song from fifteen different bands got old fast and we moved on... and I hope that is reflected in our songs. We listen to a lot of Against Me! (old and new), Gaslight Anthem, Crazy Arm, Propagandhi, Bigwig, The Rebel Spell, Cobra Skulls, Frank Turner, Bad Religion, etc...
4. If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
We like touring with friends or making new friends through touring. There’s nothing worse than being stuck with a band that you don’t get along with for 30 or 40 days. It’s because of this that we don’t really have a list of famous bands past or present that we would die to tour with. Most, if not all, of the bands on our list are probably unknown to anyone reading this, and they shouldn’t be because they are all unbelievable bands and stellar people. The Rebel Spell, The Pity Whores, Brutal Youth, Hennessey, The Valveenus, La Gachette.
5. Best food to eat on tour?
Food? What’s that? Oh yeah, that’s the stuff that takes away that burning pain in my stomach and stops me from feeling like I’m constantly going to pass out.
Canada’s big. Really big. And to cross it in a 1986 Ford E-350 van costs about $3,100... which, thanks to unjustified price increases, is 30% more than our 2010 stats and continues to rise. That being said, food is unfortunately the first thing that gets cut from our budget, as we’re not exactly raking in piles of cash on huge merch sales or guarantees. We scrape by on the bare minimum... Raymen noodles and Kraft dinner that we make in parking lots with our tour kettle. Cans of tuna and spoonfuls of peanut butter are a good source of protein. Sometimes we spoil ourselves with the occasional sandwich or we buy a pack of hot dogs and raw-dog it in the van while driving to the next show.
I’ve seen tour videos of bands eating off the ground or from dumpsters and laughing about how poor they are and how cool it is, and then in the next scene they’re at some pub getting drunk on $8 pints or filling their van with cases upon cases of overpriced beer. This bothers me. It’s OK to have money, it doesn’t make you any less punk... and pretending you don’t have any money doesn’t make you any more punk. Shit, if we had money on tour we’d definitely be getting drunk every night, but one thing I guarantee we wouldn’t be doing is eating from dumpsters and playing the role of “poor band”. Food is good.
If we had the means to enjoy the occasional stir fry or veggie noodle bowl while on tour I would probably be reduced to tears at the mere thought of eating something warm with actual nutritional value.
6. Why should people listen to your band?
I’m still trying to figure that out... but they do.
7. If you could be any athlete, which athlete would you switch places with?
8. If you won a Grammy, who would you thank?
I’d thank my record label for flipping the $50K or so that it cost them to have one of their artists considered for Grammy nomination.
9. If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Not a damn thing, she’s a beautiful little loop-hole that provides us with an alternative to what most people call “the real world”. The industry is going through a major change right now and as with any change there is a certain level of resistance caused by insecurity. It can definitely be scary for some people because a large part of the current infrastructure will become redundant very soon. Record stores, radio stations, major record labels, and traditional distribution companies are facing extinction due to the change of medium from CD to digital, and so it seems as if everyone is desperately grabbing for the few remaining scraps in order to stave off bankruptcy for a few more years.
The fact of the matter is that right now is a very exciting time to be an artist or independent label. More and more bands are releasing albums themselves and booking their own tours. Bands are either drastically lowering the price of their music or flat out giving it away, and a lot of labels are adopting a donation based platform as a business model. Once you realize that money is nothing more than a form of oppression and that as an artist you are entitled to nothing, everything becomes a lot easier. You no longer need a big record deal to continue writing songs, and you realize that the only thing you need in order to tour is a van and an email address.
I think at the end of the current industry shift the only people left will be the ones that are doing it for the right reasons, and as a result the honesty and quality of the music to come will increase dramatically. Or at least I hope so.
10. Memorable tour experience?
We have a lot of these as we’ve been touring for years. I think the first time we saw the Rocky Mountains towering over Alberta will stay in all of our minds for a very long time. Also, the first time we got on a plane for music was something that was hard to fully understand at the time.
It’s amazing at just how many things we’ve had the opportunity to do and how many places we’ve gone because of this band and so even in the absolute worst of times there isn’t one of us that would trade places with anyone else in the world.
11. What does AP.net mean to you?
I know it exists... but beyond that not much, sorry.
12. What is your favorite song to play?
Not really sure... I think we all enjoy playing “A Call to Arms”. It’s got a certain je ne sais quoi.
13. What is your vacation spot of choice?
My living room floor is heaven. Other than that we enjoy getting some R&R at our guitarist’s father-in-law’s cabin in Northern Quebec. Constant threat of fishing accidents and no help for miles, what more could you ask for?
14. What music reminds you of your childhood?
L’arbre est dans ses feuilles.
15. If you could have any super power, what would it be? Why?
Probably invisibility. I could see myself having a lot of fun standing beside people in the bathroom and making fart noises as they shit. Happy now? That’s what you get for giving someone a real chance to do some good in this world.
16. Any pre-show superstitions or rituals?
17. What is something that most fans don't know about you?
We would do this for free.
18. What is your assessment of the current state of radio? Do you think it's a place where your band could flourish?
Radio will soon kill the playlist star, hopefully. There are a lot of good stations and shows out there from around the world that you can listen to online... it just takes a little research. But there’s also a lot of crap out there on the mainstream stations, although there’s a lot of crap out there on mainstream anything. So if you can ignore the major in-your-face stations there is a lot to be discovered. I listen to independent radio weekly and I find that the people hosting those shows really do their research and play artists they’ve discovered from every corner of the world. I’ve been introduced to countless bands I’ve never heard of before by listening to shows like Rebel Time Radio and Rendez-Vous Waterloo.
19. What do you like to do in your spare time?
Nothing keeps us warmer during the long winter months than snuggling down with a four month long post-tour depression and a general sense of worthlessness.
20. What kind of hidden talents do you have?
Our bagpiper can build just about anything with enough tape and bed sheets. It can be both extremely useful and extremely frustrating at times, but the pros of having someone with this talent in your band far outweigh the cons.