This Halloween will mark the one-year anniversary of GrimSkunk’s return after a three-year hiatus. One of the key founders of the Quebec “alternative” scene are back, armed with a brand-new bassist (long-time friend Vince Peake, formerly of the Groovy Aardvark). Fires Under The Road, released last year, marked the return of the classic GrimSkunk sound.
Guitarist Peter Edwards claims that producer Garth Richardson, or GGGarth, originally had apprehensions about having a song like “America Sucks” on the record. He eventually gave in, recognizing the importance of the message the band wanted to transmit. “That song is written in the context of thinking about things that both you,” explains Edwards.
“The people who are outside of North America can easily look at North America and say, ‘Oh, this sucks . . . or that sucks about North America,'” Edwards said. “And the thing is, within North America, people are looking around and saying the same thing. [.] In Europe, Canadian travelers are often encouraged to sew the Canadian flag onto their backpacks, because the sentiment there towards America is sometimes negative. And why is that? You have to look around and take responsibility and ask yourself where that is coming from.”
But the guitarist is quick to stress that unlike other politically active punk bands, the members of GrimSkunk are merely trying to express their own opinion via their music, not “swaying a whole movement of people into going along with their idea,” as Edwards puts it. “We use music to make our own commentary,” he said. “I think our belief is that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
Such is the case with “Vive Le Quebec Libre,” another song that stirred controversy upon its release. Again, Edwards is quick to specify that this is not an anti-sovereignty song, but rather a pointed finger at old-fashioned mentalities than one can often come across in this province. “It’s not for or against [an independent Quebec],” he clarified. “It’s just saying, ‘look how caught up people are in their nationalism.'”
The band may not have been trying to cause waves on purpose, but as a publicity campaign it certainly worked – and it hasn’t all been bad. MuchMusic recently showed interest in the band’s video for the title track of the latest album, a year after its release on MusiquePlus. It is now currently on rotation on MuchLoud. This may or may not have contributed to a very successful tour in Western Canada last September, which included multiple sold out dates.
The members of GrimSkunk have been in a band together for nearly two decades. Three are daddies now and get to bring their kids, who range in age from three to eight, along on tour.
“We played with Manu Chao this summer in Quebec City, and all the kids were there,” Edwards reminisces. “After our show was over, all four of them were lined up on the side of the stage watching Manu Chao. They’re becoming very educated, musically.”
“They like heavy music. They also like The Strokes, and they like The Hives a lot. They like GrimSkunk.” In fact, the guitarist joked about being worried that his band has got competition: “I think they’re going to start their own band soon!” he laughs.
GrimSkunk plays Club Soda on Nov. 1. The show will be videotaped, so don’t hide your Halloween costume in the back of your closet just yet – come disguised!