Punk/thrash metal outfit spreads love
They have a name that would strike fear into the hearts of smokers and chiropteraphobes, but don’t worry, the Cancer Bats are just here to have fun.
They’re also here to unleash their screeching mélange of punk and thrash metal, which audiences have received as ferociously as the four-piece outfit doles it out. Their 2006 release Birthing The Giant — particularly singles On Hundred Grand Canyon and French Immersion, currently top rotation videos on MuchMusic — has catapulted them from Toronto hardcore urchin status to “It-dom” in the world of hard rock.
The band started in 2004, when front man Liam Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton decided to fuse sounds from Black Flag, Turbonegro and Nashville Pussy, among others. Alexisonfire pulled the band out of obscurity, Cormier claims, by referring the band to Rise Against, who in turn took them on a European tour.
“We’ve definitely gotten a big help from Alexisonfire, to help us speed up this process,” he says. “To think two years ago that down the line we would be touring Europe for like a second time, it’s pretty crazy, especially with a band as big as Rise Against.”
From big stadium rock — they have a gig at the Molson Amphitheatre with the aforementioned bands and Billy Talent tonight — to kitchen parties of 30 people, Cancer Bats’ successful gigs have yielded a fanatical following, sometimes a little too fervent for the band.
“We were in Coldbrook, N.S.,” Cormier recalls. “And this kid was totally gothed out like Marilyn Manson. Wicked kid and he was like, ‘I would be honoured if you would kick me in the chest.’ I was like, ‘Whoa, dude, you don’t want me to kick you in the chest.’ So metal. I ended up drawing a huge Cancer Bats symbol. Kicking that kid in the chest is like the same thing as signing a girl’s boobs. I look at that as pretty disrespectful. I’m never going to do it. We’re all on the same level.”
Politesse is a big issue for the metalheads, which is the credo of their pseudo-gang within the band Be Sweet Or Die. United by their BSOD tattoos, the Cancer Bats want to spread love despite their raging tunage. You better be nice … or else.
“It’s definitely spread to everyone in the band and we all have BSOD tattoos. If somebody’s not getting sweet though, they’re gonna get knocked the fuck out. They gotta step up. If someone’s being sour, you gotta stomp that,” Cormier warns. “Who am I kidding? I’ve never been in a fight in my entire life.”
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