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GLOBAL SUBCULTURE JOURNEY- THE ORIGINAL PUNK SCENE IN MONTREAL.

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THE ORIGINAL PUNK SCENE IN MONTREAL

In a new series of posts, we take to the road to explore and report on the thriving subculture scenes around the world. Keeping it authentic we link up with a champion, supporter or acitivist in the scene so that we get a down on the ground underground report.

We visit Montreal for a look at the Punk scene that is alive and kicking.

“PA “is a true punk and advocate for the scene in the city and gives us an insight into the bands, the venues, and the community in Montreal.

Tell us a bit about yourself, when you got into the scene, and the first gig you attended.

Well, even though I’m 44, I’m not that ancient on the Montreal scene… There’s still a few guys that seem to attend every single show that have been around since the 80s !

The first show I ever attended is open to debate as it was in 1993. Even though Ripcordz (Montreal punk legends, look it up) wrote the song 1993 : The Year Punk Died, the Montreal punk scene was very much alive with all ages shows (I was 14…) happening every weekend it seemed ! The second wave of hardcore punk was beating around the world and punk, once again for a 14 year old kid, almost seemed mainstream. As a matter of fact, that’s what got me interested in the more underground part of things, wanting to keep the DIY well… DIY ! So to answer the question, it might have been Banlieue Rouge, or B.A.R.F., or Ripcordz, your guess is as good as mine !

                                                                                                                                Ripcordz

 

Montreal has a rich vein of punk talent, who are the bands about which we should know?

It’s rich indeed and I can’t even pretend to know all and everything about it but it seems these days we see more and more demos and release partys ! Way too much to list without dying in sorrow for omitting one ! But OK, if a few need to be named…

 

Ripcordz. The epitomy of Montreal punk. You could actually remove « punk » from that sentence and it would hold true ! Their songs tell the tale of our city, it’s people, oddities (Like for example the fact that girls « made in Montreal » slam dance. And they are sometimes in majority in a given pit…). Mastering the lyrics of their gazillion song discography (1980-present) should be considered a degree in Montreal history !

 

Self Control. The tenants of the first wave hardcore sound in Montreal since 1989. Classic hardcore here. Two step, two speeds (fast and faster), one unmistakeable voice. And as a bonus, Luc (vocals) and I actually look a bit alike…

 

Out Of Order. Smartly aggressive outrage since 2001. Their music is classic rocknpunkoïmetalcore… yeah, that’s punk as hell. And catchy all around that restrictive niche I just created.

 

Shit Tax. They’ve been around for about ten years and seem to hold the flame of DIY culture up high. They’re one of Traxide’s artists in residence when they’re not touring Central Europe squats…

 

Offside. My up and coming pick for hardcore. Again, old school, no frills, in your face, hits the spot.

 

Conditions apply. Self styled as Angry-punk. They’re my punk discovery of the year. They’re definitely a live act. Recordings and video don’t do them justice.

 

C.I.D.B. Catapulting Infected Dead Bodies. ‘Nuff said. OK, seriously, these guys take partying to the next level. And they’re excellent musicians as a bonus. No attitudes here, everyone’s a friend in the Rock-o-dile Death Pit !

                                                                                                    C.I.D.B. Catapulting Infected Dead Bodies

 

 

 

How is the scene for new emergent punk bands?

Vast. That could come across as a criticism but it’s really not. We just have to get more people aware that all that’s going on. I think Montreal has the most punk bands per capita in the world ! It’s incredible but at the same time makes it tough for emerging bands to make ends meet since the attendance is diluted, split between two or three show options on a given Saturday…

But. The crowd is hard core and supports emerging bands as much as they can. We love our bands and if you play like you mean it, we’ll be right there, front row, screaming your lyrics back at you.

Which venues promote the punk scene in the city?

Traxide*, Foufs Main/Cabaret (established bands but always newcomers on the bill), Beanfield Theater (called Corona until very recently), Club Soda, La Sotterenea/Salla Rossa, Casa del Popolo, Barfly, Hémisphère Gauche, Brasserie Beaubien, Turbo Haus, Piranha Bar Heaven/Hell, L’Achoppe*, Under the Bridge*… Arghh ! Again, sorry I’m forgetting many !

*Ask a Punk

Traxide is very underground.

Everyone’s a regular there, even newcomers because friends’ friends are friends, right ? As « The Punkest Place On Earth », values of inclusion, non-violence, non-discrimination, human and animal rights… are held high. You have to be a seriously pathologic sociopath to get kicked out and/or banned from Traxide… Humans are human but most people will be eager to learn about your point of view on all things life between sets, some amount of booze helping sometimes…

It’s also open on some nights without shows. You can go hang out from 10PM until… well until there’s no one left !

Shows are kept as close as possible to $10 for entry, always PWYC/NOTAFLOF to make sure nobody misses a chance to feel happiness for lack of funds.

Traxide is THE door for underground/emerging/DIY bands to gain the scene’s interest. I guess it’s the place’s mission to give anyone a chance and without that venue, I don’t think the Montreal punk scene would be so thriving.

                                                                                                                             Conditions Apply

Montreal is host to the Pouzza Punk festival- tell us about that.

Pouzza Fest-type festivals are a must for any scene to thrive in my opinion. The mainstream attention Pouzza gets, and the « main streamers » it attracts introduces fresh meat in the punk grinder ! It’s kind of a link… or a soft introduction for curious party-goers. Montreal is the ideal setting for such an opportunity because Montrealers loooove their festivals and attend in masses.

After that, once you’re addicted to punk and want punk-er, it’s A Varning From Montreal you don’t want to miss. This year was the 15th edition of DIY celebration. 3 days, 3 mains shows/evenings, 2 matinees, 1 crazy after show…

 

.

                                                                                                                                   Pouzza Fest

                                                                                                                    A varning from Montreal

 

 

What other resources are there for Punks in Montreal by the way of Radio shows, podcasts, and community social media.

There’s quite a few ressources on the Montreal punk scene on the net and on FB. First off, the venues I mention earlier all have pages and, obviously promote the evenings where they have shows. But more efficiently, a few incredible people gather the info for anyone interested and list it comprehensively, by week (Sewer Spewer on FB) or by month (Montreal Punk Shows on FB). There’s also punkrockradio.ca you can tune in to for a dive in local and international punk and Sewer Spewer also has a weekly podcast (Tuesdays) where pretty much every harder band playing in the coming week in Montreal is mentioned, by venue along with loads of music !

                                                                                                                                  Shit Tax

 

 

Give us a rundown of your top ten punk tracks of all time.

Oh man that’s tough ! I’m all over the place but here’s an attempt with what’s in my head today. Ask me tomorrow and it’ll be different… I think…

 

10- Broken Home, Broken Heart – Hüsker Dü It’s just me. Had to put it there. I didn’t go through that myself but any mention of a kid crying themself to sleep just destroys me inside.

 

9- Officer – Operation Ivy Ok, it’s Ska but that’s punk, right ? And the chorus is rather hardcorey. But mostly, no Ivy, no Rancid…

 

8- Journey to the End of East Bay – Rancid Yet another tune about what it’s like to be a punk lifer !

 

7- Minor Threat – Minor Threat Stay a kid as long as you can ‘cause kids couldn’t care less about the adult mold, could they ?

 

6- United Blood – Agnostic Front I’m not an idealist so I’ll say it this way : Punk SHOULD be all about unity and inclusion. Fortunately enough, I still notice it’s what most of us strive for.

 

5- Holiday in Cambodia – Dead Kennedys For the merge of music and politics and Jello Biafra’s (mis)demeanor…

 

4- We’re Only Gonna Die – Bad Religion Graffin wrote these lyrics when he was 15 ! Talk about an « old soul » … And then he went on to become a world renowned specialist in evolution theories. Pure fuckin genius with credentials to boot.

 

3- Rise Above – Black Flag Rise above the criticism, the hate, the derision. You know better. Live it your way, punk !

 

2- Anarchy in the UK – The Sex Pistols Even though they were short lived in history, there’s a reason everyone is under the impression their « career » spanned decades. THE most influencial band in punk, period.

 

1- Blitzkrieg Bop – The Ramones Yeah… No contest here. It will be no 1 on all my potential lists.

 

                                                                                                                                      Offside

 

Anything else you want to tell us about the scene or Punk in general

 

Well, I could definitely go on a rant about the lack of all ages shows on the scene but it’s not the bands’ fault nor the promoters or venues’ most of the time. Everyone’s gotta make a living (well except for the bands !) and booze is the name of the game, which is unfortunate. In the States for example, fully licensed venues will accept minors but still, like in the 80s X out the back of their hands AND charge an extra for entry since they’re not drinking… But that couldn’t happen here, I think. Oh ! Legislator…

On an interesting note, as is true for most punk scenes, entry fees for shows tend to be kept to a minimum. In Montreal that’s also true for larger venues when international bands come to play. 30 CAD for a single entry is pretty much the top of the range and most shows are 10-15 CAD. Plenty of these shows are PWYC and most if not all shows at Traxide are NOTAFLOF.

 

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