Searching for the true meaning of rock ‘n’ roll, this local band found love and rebellion
The Frisky Kids were born rebelling. On the far West side of Montreal, in a Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue basement, Calum Dowbiggin Glew and Matisse Gill were busy paying off noise complaint tickets—the result of plugging in to write their cool cocktail of catchy tunes. They drew from the clean pop sound of ‘60s Beatles and Kinks, but their sound also reflects the dirtier energy of garage rockers like Ty Segall, Tame Impala, and The Strokes. Appropriately, their songs are quite frisky.
Neighbours might not have appreciated the lively tunes rattling the homes of the above dwellers, but The Frisky Kids have garnered much attention lately and landed the seventh spot on the CBC Rock Your Campus competition.They ascended the ranks with their bubbly songs, but may have gotten extra attention because bassist “[Gill] is a sex symbol in New Zealand. He’s on every magazine,” Glew joked.
Staying true to the nature of rock n’ roll, the trio isn’t as clean cut as they appear on stage; with dress shirts and the occasional tie.
“In one of our videos, me and [Gill] and our old drummer [are] showering together. We got a lot of negative reaction to that,” said Glew. “Whenever people tell us to do something, we’re kind of like kids, and we don’t do it or we do it the opposite way. It’s kind of childish—it’s to piss them off. I don’t know why that would make anybody strictly uncomfortable—and Matisse, he’s definitely arm candy, so we’ve gotta advertise what we got. Like The Black Lips, you know, how they kiss on stage.”
“It’s an essential part of rock ‘n’ roll. People forget that—it’s not about controversy anymore,” he continued. “It’s all about going on and doing a good set [now]. Rock and roll … it’s supposed to be a bit rebellious … If you can’t even have a shower scene together, [that] feels really bizarre.”
In addition to an intimate brotherly love for each other (as well as promoting water conservation), Glew and Gill, and new drummer Alex Paul, were attracted to the feeling of camaraderie and love bubbling from the music scene—especially at the shows of Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, The Black Lips, and King Khan.
“We were going to a lot of these garage rock shows where people were just going nuts, like, dancing but not really moshing, because it’s not absolutely violent,” Glew said. “Kind of just dancing really close together—getting up on stage, jumping off stage, getting back on stage—it felt like that’s what rock ‘n’ roll used to be, and now it’s just not. So we really wanted to go in that vein of thinking: really fun live shows.”
The frontmen bound around during their show and try to cook up a feeling full of zest and love. Tightly packed in a happy bouncing crowd at a concert, Glew feels closer to what rock was meant to be—rebellious. The band sometimes rocks too hard, though:
“One night we were going to our hometown of Hudson to play this music festival. We kind of got drunk the night before [the show] and we were climbing our old primary school. We did a jump—it was a little reckless because our drummer broke his leg that night. The day after, we had to play, and it was just me and [Gill]. It was a pretty crazy night!”
Glew has given-up on pursuing acrobatic endeavors since then, but when it comes to pursuing girls and playing the field, the band admits that they fall short. The Frisky Kids, Glew explained, aren’t very frisky at all.
“It’s kind of an ironic name, too, because we’re not frisky. When we thought of ‘frisky’, it meant ‘really forthcoming with girls’, which our circle [of friends] knows we’re not like that. It was a kind of joke,” Glew said.
Glew and Gill felt at odds with the club scene that swept-up their friends throughout teenagehood. The top 40 songs with their repetitive rhythms didn’t do it for these musicians.Their song, “All the Girls,” isn’t about scoring big under the revolving disco ball, it’s “actually about the guys who do get all the girls, and all the girls who go to all the guys—that’s not us. It’s kind of a disassociation with the club scene,” Glew said.
Luckily the band chose the name that they did. They had started off by calling themselves ‘The Herpes’: “we were like ‘well, this is just stupid and it’s going to creep people out,’” the guitarist said. Who knows, maybe if they’d stuck with ‘The Herpes’ they would have scared away those people making noise complaints.
On a final note, Glew adds: “Vote Liberal. Eat local. And god bless the Queen.”
The Frisky Kids play Divan Orange Dec. 4 with The Beaches. For more information on The Frisky Kids, check out Facebook.com/TheFriskyKids