Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Certain bands become legends, others become ghosts. Either way people tend to remember them. I still get people saying "oh ya, that band" when I mention the name Hezzakya. I had a quick chat with Nat Green, drummer for Hezzakya, about the band and how Vancouver treated them.

James: Where did your band start?
Nat: Hezzakya jammed in the Renegade Studios down on Hastings street for years before they got shut down by the man a few years back. It was super convenient for playing at Pub 340. We could roll our cabinets and gear down a block and a half and be there in minutes.

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?Nat: It's been a great city to play in with a tonne of awesome bands.

James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver and why?Nat: My favourite local venue to play was the Rickshaw since it held a lot of people and it had a big stage. We had a couple awesome shows there.

James: Where do you plan on going? Staying? Moving? Nat: All the original members still live here in Vancouver but we're no longer playing together. Mike and Brad are playing together in a new band called Destroy the Destroyer

James: Favourite Vancouver story?Nat: So many to choose from but if we're talking music related it would be when we saw Clutch, Down and Heaven and Hell all a few days apart. That was a pretty wicked stretch of 3 killer shows.

Another would have been playing at the Waldorf on my birthday with our friends from The Next Hundred Years, Black Betty and Hypnopilot (from Calgary). I was drunk as shit by the time we played but it was super fun.

James: What's in the works with the band?Nat: I'm not playing music right now as I'm busy with my internet marketing business but Mike and Brad's new band Destroy the Destroyer can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ForgingSteel

Born From The Mighty Wolf

Wolfborne is gearing up for  a huge US tour with the  release of  their upcoming album. I had a quick chat with Lanning Kann, guitarist for Wolfborne, about what Vancouver provided for the band's launch. Check out their Facebook page HERE to see all their tour dates.

James: Where did your band start?
Lanning: The band started in Vancouver

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?
Lanning: We have made some great industry contacts in Vancouver and there are some awesome studios to record in here.

James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver?
Lanning:  My favourite venue to play is The Biltmore Cabaret. It's a cozy atmosphere and the sound is really good there. You don't need to have 500 people to make it feel packed. It's a great, small intimate, yet professional club to play in.

James: What is in works with the band?
Lanning: As far as what's going on with the band? We're leaving for tour in Europe with SOiL, American Head Charge and Hed (PE) from October 6th to November 2nd and then we are on tour with Wayne Static, Powerman 5000 and American Head Charge from November 4th to November 30th. Then taking a few weeks off for holiday and then back out on the road! Our album is released worldwide via Caroline/Universal. The release dates are staggered at the moment. Europe/UK released this past week and North America releases October 14th.

Warning: May Cause Happiness

Another band I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with back in the day was, The May Cause. I had a talk with Curtis Vee about the bands thoughts on Vancouver. Check out  their Facebook page HERE.

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?
Curtis: Our band started in Calgary, after a few years of gigging locally in Calgary we decided to make the move out to Vancouver to further our career... At first( 2004-2007) Vancouver provided us with a lot of fun and interesting venues to play and the scene there definitely seemed to be happening.

James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver and why?
Curtis: My personal favorite established venues in Vancouver are The Railway Club, The Media Club and The biltmore. However, the best gigs we ever played there were at strange / illegal venues, we played at The Morrissey once for a Music West showcase which was brilliant, also we once played in a big hall in Emily Carr Art School for the graduation party that was amazing, there also used to exist a small secret venue called The Black Door that was the coolest. Any place that actually respects live,original music is my personal preference.

James: Where do you plan on going? Staying? Moving?
Curtis: Sadly, after our drummer Eric was killed in a car crash, we stopped playing for awhile and I found it very difficult to become motivated to start over again in Vancouver, I felt like the city and the scene had changed quite a bit since we moved there, and I didn't feel like there was much support overall for the indie scene, ( bars making bands go on at ridiculous 6pm, 7pm timeslots so that they could have dance club nights afterwards just truly upset me at the lack of respect given to hard working musicians in favor of DJ's spinning the latest J Lo tracks. It is for this very reason that I decided to uproot and move out East to Montreal, a city which I feel has a MUCH greater appreciation for arts of all types and in fact strives to support its artistic community. Now, that I am here, I have been meeting with local musicians and am putting together my next project.

James: What's do you think is in Vancouver's future?
Curtis: I am not sure what the future will hold but I am very excited at the possibilities! It was sad to see a lot of cool venues in Vancouver just pull the plug on local music, it upset me in a very real way, so I had to leave! It simply was not the same city we had moved to 10 years ago. That being said, we had a glorious run out there and Vancouver is a beautiful place, I hope that someday soon the talented artists of Vancouver will get the respect that they deserve.

God Save The Queen

Hammer Records has always enjoyed seeing bands work hard, be creative and slowly but surely gain fans and success. Queen Cobra is one of those bands. I had a chat with Brianne, lead singer from Queen Cobra, about their thoughts on Vancouver and what they have been up to. Check out their new website HERE.

James: Where did your band start?

Brianne: Queen Cobra is a home grown, Vancouver band. It all started when I was hosting a little open mic at a bar on Robson Street and this long haired guy walks in wanting to cover Paradise City acoustically with me. I knew from THAT moment, that he walked into THAT bar for a reason! Come on, a rockin G'n'R song done acousically?! After he jumped around for a bit on stage knocking over my mic stand, I invited him to come out for a jam with my band at the time. After Brandon guest starred at a couple of my shows, I decided that we just HAD to start something up. We jammed a few times and wrote some tunes, then we found Colin on craigslist and Drew joined from my previous band, and that’s how Queen Cobra formed.

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?
Brianne: Vancouver is a tricky mistress! She’s crazy, and just when you think you’ve reached the height of her madness and you’ve figured out how to get to the top, there’s a whole other attic up there just waiting to be discovered. Vancouver has helped our band grow, promote and play better shows. She is filled with terrific bands and the scene keeps getting bigger! We are proud members under the wing of Rednyne Productions. The wisdom and knowledge that they have taught us, has upped our game and we are striving to reach the levels that some of our fellow Vancouver bands already have. We wouldn’t be where we are without Rednyne and we wouldn’t have met the men of Rednyne without the help of our fair city.
James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver and why?
Brianne: We have played all around Vancouver. The Cellar, Joes Apt, The Media Club but I have to say one of my absolute favourite bars to play at is The Roxy! I love the stage, the staff, the sound and the people that come out to The Roxy tend to be rock'n'roll lovers!

James: Where do you plan on going? Staying? Moving?
Brianne: We are staying right here! We feel that the scene is becoming bigger and better and we want to be a part of the movement. Rock'n'roll is making a comeback in Vancouver and we're gonna help push it to the limit.

James: Favourite Vancouver story?
Brianne: There are too many GREAT Vancouver stories to list, but rest assured, they ALL involve the members of Queen Cobra and our good friend, Mr. Jack Daniels!

James: What's in the works with the band?
Brianne: Right now Queen Cobra is under a show contract with Rednyne Productions. We are always playing bigger and better shows. We are in the process of getting our merchandise in order including t-shirts made for all of our favorite cobras and cobros out there AND we will also be going in to the studio very soon to record our very first single! The BIG NEWS that we haven't told anyone yet and hammer records is the first to know, is that we will be going under management starting November 1st! We feel like this will help us become one of the "break out bands" this coming year and we are looking forward to what's in store for us in the future!


Friday, September 26, 2014


I had a quick chat with Arik, Guitarist of Pistolfish, about their thoughts of Vancouver and what they have been up to!

James: Where did your band start?Arik: We started out in port moody, all of us coming up through the Port Moody Secondary music program

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?Arik:  It's been home and shaped who we are as people. But more specifically, we've played several events hosted by the city, as well as learning so much about music through our education.

James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver and why?
Arik: Our favourite venue we've played so far was Fortune Sound Club, it has a great vibe and a great crowd. We enjoyed playing there a lot.

James: Where do you plan on going? Staying? Moving? Arik: We plan on playing everywhere we can in this city, and hope to build a solid following. After that, skys the limit, we'd love to tour at some point.

James: Favourite Vancouver story?Arik: Favourite Van story has to be being downtown during the olympics, and seeing a street hockey game between 5 Canadian girls and 5 Russian girls, with hundreds of onlookers cheering and going wild. Our ladies came out on top too, as if there was any doubt 

James: What's in the works with the band?Arik: Currently we're in the final stages of mixing a couple new singles, we want to get those released and start playing 'em live!

Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Your Call Is Being Connected

I managed to have a chat with TJ, lead singer from No Operator, about their experiences on the mainland!

JamesWhere did your band start?

TJNo Operator started in Nanaimo. Oliver was in a band called Johnny Good until the band broke up. I was living with Oliver at the time and we started jamming in 2008 and decided we wanted to get a band together. With a few member changes and a lot of time being underdogs we are finally starting to make some of the successes we had hoped for.

JamesHow has Vancouver helped your bands career?

TJPlaying in Vancouver has helped us in a number of ways. We have met many people in the industry who have helped us realize who we do, and do not want to be. It has helped us gain perspective on what is required to be remembered by fans and promoters. Rednyne has been amazing to work with and is giving us so many opportunities we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. Hammer Records has believed in us since the second we stepped onto the mainland and bands like Ugly Men , Fey, Grizzly Bones and Kiss Of The King (to name a few) have been amazing to share the stage with and help us feel right at home. Most of all the Vancouver has matured us in a way that allows us to breathe in our own skin and show our true colours.

JamesWhat is your favorite venue to play in Vancouver and why?

TJI don’t know that everyone in the band could agree on one over another. To be honest I don’t know that I can either. The Cellar was great because of the great sound, great parking and people who show up seem to be really passionate about local music. Joes Apartment also has great sound but it also has a little catwalk in front of the monitors that I love to hang out in and get interactive. The best turnout/show we have had so far was at Joe’s. We actually have a picture you took that is from behind the stage that shows the place packed right to the back and I remember every single person rocking out. It was an amazing feeling.

The Roxy is definitely the strongest venue though. We have only played there once but it was an unreal experience. The big difference between everywhere else and Vancouver is unfortunately in Vancouver, if your headlining, the second you are done you have to RUSH everything off the stage to make way for DJ’s. This isn’t the most difficult task in the world until the DJ and the Bouncers are literally on the stage, with their equipment, standing in your way yelling to get off the stage. A 10-15 minutes procedure turns into almost a half hour of intense frustration. I wish there was a venue that allowed for live music until close. I don’t know if that’s because the venues will not allow for this or because the scene will not allow for this. Either way, playing at 7 sucks and having your set cut short only to be rushed off the stage sucks.  Hopefully a venue a scene can be created that will allow for live music right until 2am packed with people who love local live music.

JamesWhere do you plan on going? Staying? Moving?

TJAs far as location I think we are going to stay based out of Nanaimo. Steve Holtby our bass player lives in Vancouver and that helps a lot with promoting and networking but the rest of us all have really good jobs that allow us to fund the band as well as girlfriends and wives who have lives rooted here in Nanaimo. I think it also helps us stay sane. None of us are city people and I think we would go crazy very quickly, break up and end up living in a tiny apartment 20 stories up wondering why the fuck we moved.

Vancouver Island has a unique scene and sound that I think gives us an edge in Vancouver. Overall living on the island helps keep us grounded and collected in such an intense and chaotic environment. Musically we will be moving in many directions, while staying right where we are. With member changes and maturity both as a band and individuals, we are definitely highlighting the depth our band now has. Dave our drummer grew up on punk rock and played in The Day He Quit before us. He showcases a shit load of dynamics and talent while making it all sound comfortable and effortless. Ben our new guitarist is an unreal musician and comes from the metal side of things. For old songs he has given the parts I used to play life and body (ok fine he’s 100 times better at guitar than I was, get over it..) and for new songs he is adding a completely new element that wasn’t in our scope before. Being freed from guitar I am having way more fun playing with melodies and ranges that I never thought possible while Oliver and Steve are harnessing all this new energy into something we never thought possible. We have fire in our eyes and are hell-bent on success.

JamesFavorite Vancouver story?

TJMy favorite Vancouver story starts in Vancouver but ends in Nanaimo. It was our first trip over on our new to us Handy-Dart bus. After a show we went straight to the ferry terminal and slept in the parking lot waiting for the first sailing the next morning. We had some starter issues but nothing a smack of the hammer wouldn’t fix. At about 5am a lady woke us up to get moving down the line we were holding up. We tried to start the bus but surprise surprise she wouldn’t engage. Ben went under the bus and started smacking the starter with the hammer like we had done before but she still wouldn’t turn. After 10 tries or so with the clanking of the hammer, grinding of the starter trying to start and the terrible noise an engine that won’t fully start makes, it turned over. Once turned over it usually needs time to warm up before moving or it will stall, but we didn’t have that luxury so we started lurching and sputtering forward.

The lady who woke us up looked at us all pissed off like and asks “Is that thing even going to make it off the ferry?” “Oh yea, she’ll go. Just needs a few smacks is all” I replied. She looked even angrier of course. So we got onto the ferry and pretty much slept the whole time. When we docked in Nanaimo we had to start the whole ordeal over again. After clanking and smacking and revving it she starts. This time when she turned over, the starter got stuck in engaged. You know that loud electric/mechanical rev sound an older vehicle makes just before it start? Well that’s the sound this bus made, but it wouldn’t stop. With Ben underneath the engine (he was smacking it with a hammer again) the engine just made this awful “WUAWUAWUA” sound. I turn the ignition back and it kept going, so I pulled the key out and it kept going. I ran out to the front of the bus and fumbled to open the hood, with an engine that sounded like it was going to explode in may face, and finally opened it up and thought… now what?  

Ben and I just stared at the convulsing engine while Dave came bursting out of the bus (he was sleeping when this all started) pulling a hoodie over his head wondering what the fuck was happening. Finally a ferry worker came around the corner with pliers and pulled the battery terminals off. After he did that he just walked away. I kind of yelled after him, “were gunna need a push off” but he didn’t respond. They made cars go around us and then finally the ferry was empty and the workers we still just staring at us. One lady actually helped finally by saying “Looks like you’re going back to Vancouver... You can set up a tow truck to pick you up on that end”. That was not an option so we finally convinced a guy operating the luggage cart vehicles to push us off. So here we are in the belly of a completely empty ferry, vehicles and below deck passengers waiting for No Operator to get off the ferry. The luggage cart is balls to the wall, barely able to push our bus. I’m steering the bus, the other guys are beside it walking what should be the ultimate walk of shame, tired eyed with back backs, beards and tattoos but instead they are just laughing their asses off as all the ferry workers and awaiting passengers just glared at us with hate in their eyes. We ended up getting a tow from there, but 3 starters, some new wiring and thousands of dollars  later we can finally be confident that she’ll start every time. In bus we trust.

JamesWhat's in the works with the band?

TJI don’t want to give too much away but I will give some information out for people to draw their own conclusions. We have at least 3 new songs and many more being worked on. We haven’t recorded anything new in a while. Most of us have never been to Montreal but would really like to visit sometime soon. We love playing with the band Ugly Men. And last but not least, Bus is getting restless   

If you have a second, check them out on Facebook HERE.