Home Features SPILL FEATURE: ’77 MONTRÉAL Q&A: CELEBRATING 40+ YEARS OF PUNK ROCK

SPILL FEATURE: ’77 MONTRÉAL Q&A: CELEBRATING 40+ YEARS OF PUNK ROCK

by Michelle Cooney
'77 Montréal

'77 Montreal

July 26, 2019 @ Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montréal

In its third year, ’77 Montreal is a festival that celebrates the varied history of punk music… way back to the “big bang” of punk (arguably in 1977) to some fresh(er) faces. Some of the badass bands on the bill were gracious enough to grant us interviews… check ‘em out!


AVENGERS

Established in San Francisco in 1977, Avengers features Penelope Houston, one of American punk’s founding females.

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

We played Montreal in 2010 at Katacombes and had a great time. People were super nice and they made a mean vegan Thai curry for us.

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

It’s perfect for us because the Avengers formed in 1977 and were one of the first West Coast punk bands. In fact, we’re the only band at the festival that existed in 1977.

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

Patience – there’s a lot of waiting around.

Energy – you just have that one time slot and you need to make the most of it.

Curiosity – there are always old and new bands to check out

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

Gigantic crowds and people who have never had a chance to see you play before.

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

Jumping Jacks! 

MUTE

Since their first release in 2001, Quebec City’s MUTE have been bringing their unique blend of technical and melodic punk to the masses. 

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

Matt: In the past I’ve played several shows in Montreal, some big, some small – with a bunch of different bands. I guess you could say that the shows varied a lot, but that’s what cool about Montreal, there’s a lot of everything! In the province of Québec, there are a lot of festivals that are thrown by smaller groups and organizations, and most of the time everything is super well-organized and a ton of fun. We don’t have too many of those types of festivals near the Toronto area where I’m from, and if we do, they rarely, if ever, focus on punk rock.

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

I am really excited to share a bill with some of those bands! Even though I’m not an original member of Mute, the band recently celebrated our 20th year as a band. I think that we represent a mainstay of the French-Canadian punk scene, and we can celebrate the scene as it was 20 years ago, and as it is today. Speaking for myself though, I feel very excited about being on the bill with bands like Bigwig and Pennywise – bands that I was listening to since even before I bought my first guitar! I’m really looking forward to it.

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

  1. Earplugs.I’m not that young anymore, so I want to save what’s left of my hearing as much as possible!  Festival stages get loud, man.
  2. Extra van keys. You never know when the bandmate with the keys goes on a journey and your instrument is in the van.
  3. A spare guitar. Festival sets are usually a bit shorter, so if something goes wrong you don’t want to be wasting even a minute scrambling to change a string or something. Yep, I found that out the hard way last year. Yep, I’m still reminded about it. Daily, almost. Haha!

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

Yes, definitely!  It helps a lot of not-so-well-known bands have an opportunity to turn the heads of the fans of the bigger bands. Also, it gathers a lot of people in the punk rock community to the same spot at the same time.Not only is that great for networking, but it’s even better to have an awesome time! And it’s even better if you like the other bands you’re playing with. Free concert! Bonus!

OFF!

Featuring legendary vocalist Keith Morris (Circle Jerks/Black Flag) amidst other well-seasoned members of the scene, OFF!’s old-school style will blow your ears… off.

 Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

I’ve been to Montreal on at least two or threedozen occasions, including a crazy night with the Circle Jerks and The Asexuals that resulted in us all playing a sold-out show in front of about 400 people… then heading over to witness Motörhead and me drunkenly trying to impress the bouncer to allow me backstage entry. I told him I was Lemmy’s son. This didn’t work out so well and it almost got me tossed from the venue. The CJs also played a gig with Pennywise when some motherfuckin’ shitbird walked out the backdoor with Greg Hetson’s prized Mary Ford SG guitar, which was basically a Les Paul without the weight and heft.

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

First off (no pun intended) I’m a fan of music festivals of all levels and sizes.Yes, there’s always the fest that everybody hates because of the lineup but that’s okay as there’s an incredibly easy answer for this… STAY HOME! I am a lover of the Riot Fest, Punk Rock Bowling, Rebellion in Blackpool in the UK, and any others that want to mix it up.

OFF! have played Coachella (which seems to be the one fest that really irritates PRs), Leeds, Reading, Primavera, SXSW, NXNE, Mess With Texas and probably 60 others scattered around the globe. We’ve played on bills that have included Duran Duran, Odd Future, The Jim Jones Revue, Guided By Voices, Deerhunter, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, TV On The Radio, The Cure, Wilco, Yo La Tengo, Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark, and many more who make great music and keep things interesting! Montreal ’77 provides us the opportunity to play and witness some really great bands who participate in the genre that OFF! is part of. I’m particularly psyched about The Avengers, Bad Religion, Cro-Mags and The Dirty Nil… and this fest is going to be great!

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

A toothbrush, clean underwear, and a mental state that allows you to have fun and enjoy yourself and not worry about all the other shit that’s out there.

 Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

Well yeah… we get to hang out with friends and peers we’ve not seen for awhile and find out what they’re up to in an outdoor setting. As for a “stacked bill” it makes things easier as it’s a HAPPENING whereas a “One-OFF!” could be hit or miss!

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

Our spiritual Guru is going to accompany us and we’ll get into some serious meditation and eat food with our fingers. Now for this to go down the way it’s supposed to means that security’s going to have to clear the entire backstage area of all the artists and all of the people who are involved in making the fest take place and telling them to run along.

PENNYWISE

Gaining momentum and never slowing down since 1988, Californians Pennywise have become a staple of pop-punkers’ music collections. 

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

We’ve been playing Montreal for almost 25 years. Some of our shows there have been the best we’ve ever done. We consider Montreal to be one of our top places to play in the whole world. Our fans there are amazing and they keep coming back year after year. We’re hoping to do a string of album shows there soon.

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

It’s an honour to be on the bill with so many great bands. Bad Religion have obviously been a huge influence on us, and Brett and Epitaph pretty much made our careers so any chance we get to play with them is much appreciated. I’m happy the Montreal ’77 fest pays homage to punk bands of all eras. It shows that there is still a great demand for this kind of music everywhere in the world so we’re excited to play the show.

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

Sunblock, sunglasses, and beverages of your choice.

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

Playing with a stacked bill usually means more people at the show, and it gives us an opportunity to watch some of our favorite bands play… and hang out with fellow musicians and complain about travel issues. I assume we’ll get stuck at the border for several hours like most of the punk bands, so we’ll complain about that a lot I’m sure.

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

I plan on going over the setlist, having a cold beverage or two, talking with friends, and then get up on stage and sonically rip people’s faces off.

THE ANTI-QUEENS

Toronto’s The Anti-Queens are on the rise to royalty with their fierce blend of rock’n’roll, punk, and grunge. 

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

We have played Montreal a few times including two Pouzza festivals. The crowds are always super receptive and welcoming, and staff/volunteers are very kind and helpful. We have a great time in Montreal, always!

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

It’s obviously a huge honour for us to be on a bill with bands like Bad Religion and Pennywise. We are just super stoked to get the opportunity to be apart of it all. Means we must be doing something right!

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

Rain boots, spare undies, and something to puke in. Don’t wanna ruin the grass.

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

Perks usually consist of lots of free beer and snacks, built-in crowds with the opportunity to meet tons of people with similar music tastes, getting to hang out with bands you’ve loved and grew up listening to… Did we mention snacks?

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

We like to croon a lot while stretching. We also drink copious amount of free beer and Monster energy drinks (#sponsorus). Putting on our war paint, and farting. You have to get them all out before you hit the stage or else you run the risk of it being a shart. Real life struggles.

THE EXPLOITED

Formed in Scotland in 1979, The Exploited reached cult status decades ago for their “real punk rock”mentality and music stylings: from thrash to punk, and everything barmy in between. 

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

We have played quite a few times in Montreal years ago.The last time we got banned for two years as we got refused entry into Canada… because we didn’t pick up our visas and ended up with a million-dollar riot happening because we never got to play.

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

Looking forward to playing – it’s going to be mental hopefully.

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

Ourselves, our attitude, and fuck all else.

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

You get a chance to hopefully see some good bands.

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

Just getting in the country will be a start.

THE LOOKOUT

Montrealers The Lookout’s mix of rock’n’roll and punk features heavy riffs and formidable vocals that create an undeniably badass sound.

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

Yeah, I’ve been in the Montreal punk scene since the early 2000s. The underground punk scene was booming back then. I remember going out every night to watch and support buddies’ bands. It was a great time for my young self to grow as a performer and feel a sense of community among like-minded peers.

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

I’m stoked! It’s really nice to see all the aging punk rockers with their kids. I’m glad the next generation is getting a taste of the old school as well as a fresh take on the genre.

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

Umm I don’t know… Earplugs, sunglasses, a mickey of whiskey. Haha.

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

The experience of hanging with newly acquired buds backstage is definitely a big advantage. There’s a certain excitement in the festival ambiance that makes for a great day.

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

We’ve been playing live for so long, it comes naturally to us. However, we’ve had the opportunity to play a few good shows in the past month so that definitely helps. Also, practice is key.

YOUNG PARTY

Montreal locals Young Party might be a new band, but their classic pop punk anthems will get you hooked. 

Do you have any previous experience with Montreal’s punk scene? If so, when, and how was your experience? If not, what do you expect?

We all used to play in metalcore/post hardcore bands before, so this is the first time we share the stage with punk bands. We’re pretty excited to see how everything will turn out since we’re very pop punk! But this scene is so open-minded it should be a blast!

’77 is a festival that celebrates punk music from its inception until today. How do you feel about being on the bill?

It’s an honour of course! Especially that this is our very first live performance as Young Party!

What are three important things to bring when playing a festival besides instruments?

Extra underwear, loads of water, and a credit card to buy merch from all the other bands

Are there benefits to playing a festival with a stacked bill as opposed to a one-off show?

Outdoor stages!Nothing better than playing a big outdoor stage.

How do you plan on preparing for your set?

Stretching is key. The older you get the more you gotta get physically ready before going on stage!

 

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