Although the Montreal ska scene has slowed down in recent years, it has not stopped local bands, such as General Rudie, from playing the music they love and achieving more success.
“The ska scene everywhere has definitely decreased, there is no doubt about that,” says General Rudie’s lead singer Phil Dixon during a phone interview. “Maybe it’s a bad thing, but at the same time we are reaching different audiences now,” he says.
The band came together back in 1997. At the time, Dixon and one of his friends, who was a trumpet player, were on the lookout for like-minded musicians. “We had no idea where it would take us,” says Dixon, “and we still have no idea.”
The six-piece band signed with STOMP records, which. according to Dixon, is a label that has been behind all the ska in Montreal.
Their first CD, entitled Cooling the Mark, which came out in 2001, and was, according to Dixon, a mellow record based on traditional Jamaican ska. Their debut record obtained a lot of success on Canadian college charts.
For their latest record entitled Take Your Place, which was released last summer, General Rudie wanted to capture more of their live energy and sound.
With the help of producer Rod Shearer who has worked with such bands as The Planet Smashers and Bran Van 3000, the sextet created a more upbeat record which mixes ska sounds with pop and even hip-hop.
According to Dixon, the most notable difference between the two records is that the band had not used a guitar on the first record. “We are very happy about it,” says Dixon, referring to the new record, “it turned out exactly like we wanted.”
The band recently released a video for their single Shelter. Dixon explains it is a gritty video and that “it was surprisingly easy to make.”
Over the years, the Montreal-based band has been able to tour with renowned acts such as The Skatalites, Reel Big Fish, The Slackers, Mustard Plug and so on. They have also played in some of Montreal’s best venues, such as Le Cabaret, Le Swimming, Club Soda, The Spectrum and The Medley.
According to General Rudie frontman, touring from Montreal to L.A. and playing the Canadian dates of the Vans Warped Tour are definitely some of the feats they are most proud of.
Dixon says that, although the ska scene isn’t that big right now, they are amazed by how great their fans are. “We’ll go to small towns where we think that no one knows us, and we’ll get these die-hards who will ask us to play songs that aren’t even on our albums,” explains Dixon.
Fans can expect to see a very energetic show in a more intimate atmosphere at the Petit Caf