Few bands can survive the departure of a lead singer but the Creepshow has already done that once and come back stronger. For the last seven years, the Burlington based psycho-billy band has released three albums and become an international touring outfit. When younger sister Sarah Blackwood replaced original singer Jen Blackwood in 2007, some fans were upset but the Creepshow marched on and Sarah ‘Sin’ helped lead the band into a new level of fame. But with Sarah Blackwood's other recent musical projects — including a solo alt-country outing and her recent international acclaim via her and Walk Off The Earth's recent YouTube success covering Gotye’s Someone I Used To Know — rumours circulated on the future of the Creepshow. This weekend, the Creepshow is back but with a new lead singer.
“Some people were upset with the change others were happy we weren’t packing it in,” remembers Creepshow founding member and bassist Sean ‘Sickboy’ Mcnab on the switch from Jen to Sarah Blackwood. “We lost some fans but gained some new ones so it all worked out. We got to tour a lot more with Sarah – we toured Europe seven times, Japan Australia and most of the US. It was a blessing for sure. We all became really good friends.
“But we were sitting around getting antsy, wanting to tour and Sarah was really busy with her stuff so we thought it would make more sense to go our separate ways so we can do our thing and she can do her thing,” he adds. “It was totally amicable and we simply started looking for a new singer again.”
Mcnab, keyboardist the Reverend McGinty and latest drummer Sandro Sanchioni from Montreal’s the Hypnophonics (drummer Matt ‘Pomade’ Gee also recently departed to focus on getting married) set upon the search for Canada’s next Creepshow singer.
“I got a message from a friend wondering if I wanted to try out for the Creepshow and I’ve been listening to them since I was 17 so I was like, ‘Yeah, I do’,” smiles long time Hamilton musician Kenda Legaspi of the Xo.Eh.Ohs and Betties and the Gents. “These are people I’ve admired for a very long time. I used to listen to them while I was getting ready for school or work so it was absolutely nerve wracking to be singing their songs in front of them. But it was fun and they made it easy to be around them.”
“There were three different people that we tried out,” offers Mcnab. “[Saint Alvia singer] Ben Rispin had actually suggested we try Kenda out. So we tried out the two other girls, then Kenda walked in, and I think she spit out five words of one of our songs and our jaws hit the floor and we knew she was the one. She came in and she knew half the songs already. Her look definitely didn’t hurt.”
Rather than filling in someone else’s shoes, Legaspi hopes to lead the Creepshow into a new version of the band into a new era of success. With new material already in the works, this weekend the new Creepshow debuts in their old stomping grounds before setting off on a two week tour of Germany and England.
“This is going to be my first time leaving the country,” beams Legaspi. “I’m extremely excited about this. It’s something I’ve been working for a really long time and I’m just going to try to continue on with the Creepshow tradition. Both Jen and Sarah were fantastic musicians and singers but I’m hoping that fans will understand that it’s about the music. I’m hoping to bring something new to the table and I hope they enjoy it. Hopefully the Creepshow fans will stay loyal.”
“So far the response has been a lot more positive than I expected,” notes Mcnab. “You’re always going to get the people that were really attached to the other singer but a lot of people are just happy we’re not packing in and asking, ‘when’s the next show?’”
The Creepshow play this Friday July 27 at the Casbah with Saint Alvia, Fundamentals, and the General. Doors are at 8pm.
Click on thecreepshow.ca
I Heart Hamilton Playlist 1.0
A little over a year ago, local music fans got to see people at shows sporting these differently coloured ‘I Heart Hamilton’ t-shirts. But rather than foreign tourists donning their travel purchased trinkets, they were four Hamilton McMaster University graduates that recently decided to immerse themselves in the city they grew up in but hadn’t really experienced as much as they should have.
Avishka Juta, Carly Ciufo, Jennifer Juliao and Kristin Archer decided to tour Hamilton and document their efforts on their collective I
Heart Hamilton website and a year later, they continue to explore the local music and art scene. This weekend, they celebrate their first anniversary by offering an altruistic concert that features some of their favourite Hamilton area musical acts.
“We all met at McMaster, we were all students and when we graduated, we started to start our blog,” recalls Archer. “In the spring of last year, we were just trying to decide to do with our summer and we realized that we didn’t get out into the city as much as we would have liked to, being stuck in that school mode. So with school finished, we wanted to get to know our hometown better and dedicated our summer to actually getting out there and doing everything that we always wanted to do. We had the idea of being a tourist in our own city and we kind of wanted to see our city through those eyes and discover in a way that we never had before. We wanted to get out into the city but also to challenge ourselves and get us out of our comfort zone.
“We had a huge positive reaction right away,” she adds. “We didn’t realize the online community in Hamilton was so big so it was neat to become a part of that without realizing. The sense of community in Hamilton, the people were so supportive; it was great to see so many people being so proud of Hamilton and we got to discover a new pride in our city.”
Creating a checklist of different activities and events to participate in, Archer and company developed a wide range of reports on different aspects of the city many natives still aren’t aware of. The website captured the imagination of a growing online community and so the more superficial world of the Internet began augmenting these four women’s real life experiences. While you can read about their forays into the James Street North Art Crawl, singing karaoke with a live band or the myriad of bands they’ve now enjoyed on the website, the I Heart Hamilton Tour now puts on their own concert in celebration of a year of celebrating their community.
“We’ve met so many people through twitter and then ended up meeting them in real life,” notes Archer. “Our followers have grown in a big way over the past year and we’ve expanded into other social media – we’ve got some video blogs on YouTube and Facebook. But to mark the first anniversary of our tour, we wanted to use our platform to give back to the community and it made sense to host a fundraising show because the blog has had a stronger focus on music and we’ve met so many musicians and we wanted to work with a not-for-profit organization that does great work in the community that we wanted to support.”
Choosing a smattering of their favourite locals from alt-country, hip hop and rock, the I Heart Hamilton Tour Playlist will donate the proceeds to the Brian Melo Scholarship that covers music lessons and is granted to Boys and Girls Club members who are otherwise unable to afford lessons.
“We were thrilled that all of these bands decided to be a part of it,” smiles Archer. “Some of the musicians we later found actually went to the Boys and Girls Club growing up so that was a perfect coincidence.
“We’d love anyone that’s read the blog to come and check out the show,” adds Archer. “There is so much talent in this city and music is something that we’ve really focused on, more than ever lately. Any show is bound to be a good one.”
I Heart Hamilton Tour Presents: The Playlist 1.0 - A Fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton this Saturday July 28 at This Ain't Hollywood with the Dinner Belles, Canadian Winter, New Hands and the Ascot Royals. Doors are at 8pm and $12 gets you in.
Click on ihearthamilton.tumblr.com or kboysandgirlsclub.com
Thought Beneath Film's Detours
Brothers Brent Wirth (vocals, guitar), and Brian Wirth (guitar) have long since making music in the Hamilton area in bands like the Kosmonaut, the Sitcom and otherwise but more recently the two have ramped up their own recording studio. Producing other bands offered the opportunity to meet more local musicians and better find musicians for their own projects. With the addition of David Lindsay (guitar,
vocals), CJ Ricottone (bass, Vocals), and Matt Foster (drums), Thought Beneath Film offers their newest line up and their debut CDEP, Detours.
“Matt played in Gin Rummy, CJ played in Slides and David played in Honour One – as devious as it might sound, they all came from bands that Brian and I recorded at our home studio,” explains Brian Wirth. “Seeing how someone carries themselves and reacts to various situations throughout the recording process tells you a lot about their musicianship, attitude and level of seriousness. The personal relationships and camaraderie between band members is equally as important as their musical chemistry. We’re all at the point in our lives where playing in a band is a lot more than just having fun playing your hometown once a month and looking cool to your friends.”
With the right band members in place, TBF then began fashioning five
songs best to introduce the band on disc. Musically slick, lyrically thought provoking, TBF offer thoughtful guitar pop and after recording their debut CDEP twice themselves, they decided to leave the mixing and mastering to some pretty big names. Tom Lord-Alge (Weezer, Coldplay, Blink 182) and Bob Ludwig (Green Day, Nirvana, Foo Fighters) offer a punch and a sheen to the recordings that spotlights TBF’s talents. It’s pop with some hard guitar edge but catchy and maybe even easy to dance to.
“At the end of the day, the music you create is always a reflection of the music that you want to hear,” offers Wirth. “Our musical tastes are pretty diverse. We’ve always loved good, solid pop records — Katy Perry being one guilty pleasure — so we tend to be very melody and hook oriented, but then there’s the influence of bands like Weezer and the Smashing Pumpkins: massive guitar tone. We’re also into more eclectic and experimental bands as well.
“The common lyrical theme throughout the EP is the struggle of trying to be an artist in today’s society: having to deal with the apparent impossibility of being able to sustain your passion financially and emotionally and staying motivated and optimistic throughout it,” adds Wirth. “It just seems like people are selling themselves short these days. So many of my creative friends have given up on their art to pursue something more pragmatic. It’s depressing. Sure, money and stability can be important at times, but isn’t there a lot more to life? That’s the question that I’ve tried to pose throughout the EP. We’re at the age where most musicians have to decide if they’re in it for the long haul or not. I think we all share the same sentiment — it’s not that we don’t want to do anything other than playing music; we just can’t without being horribly depressed.”
With their local CD release party this weekend, TBF are hitting the road to introduce the new music to as many people as they can. With a follow up 7-inch already recorded for follow up potentially later this year, expect to hear a lot more from Though Beneath Film.
“The CD release show is more about acknowledging our friends and family for all their support,” adds Wirth. “Despite the fact that it’s only 15 minutes long, given the manner in which it was created, this EP was a pretty big undertaking for us and the show is a celebration of the fact that it’s finally complete. The fun part begins — getting to play the songs live to new audiences and in different cities each night.”
Thought Beneath Film plays this Saturday July 28 at the Casbah with the Boys, Black Rhino Riot and more. Doors open at 8pm and $10 gets you in.
Click on thoughtbeneathfilm.ca