Vol. 21 No. 8 • February 26 - March 4, 2015 In Our 20th Year Serving Greater Hamilton

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Hamilton Music Notes

by Ric Taylor
July 31 - August 6, 2014
Last Scattering’s Eidolon

Dervish Kucukovic (guitar), Omar Badawi (guitar), Jeff Hyde (guitar, vocals), Andy Dmytryshyn (bass), Fahim Safi (drums), and Ryan Summerfield (vocals) came together as Last Scattering just eighteen months ago but the local progressive metal outfit has already completed their debut full–length recording. Professional, musically proficient and powerful, the debut from Last Scattering should prick up prog rock and metal fans alike.

    “I grew up listening to Pantera, Sepultura, Slayer and even hard core punk like the Dead Kennedys and the Circle Jerks but I didn’t really know what progressive metal was until I joined this band,” confides Summerfield who at 33–years–old brings a more veteran edge to what this group of mostly twenty–somethings offers. “They showed me this, I guess, new age metal, it was definitely different and I liked where it was going and I really grabbed onto it. A lot of the bands I did were just for fun but in the last couple of years, I decided to get serious and I really lucked out when I found these guys. They’re just a really talented bunch of musicians.”

    With progressive metal, you can’t just be a fan and start a band; you need to be technically proficient with your musical abilities. With touchstones like Tool, Dream Theatre and more modern progressive metal, Last Scattering’s Eidolon is dynamic and progressive but the Rush type mythical and mystical lyrics might just be a little heavier than the music.

    “I come from more of a rock and roll play from the heart, play for the fun of it and I still bring that to the band, but in the last year and a half I have learned so much about music from these guys and it’s made me a better musician,” notes Summerfield. “Neil Peart has been a huge influence on me growing up. Dervish had an idea of where he saw the lyrics were going and I ran with it. I started writing it as a novel but decided it was better as a short story and the story progressed through the songs. This concept album is based on the sudden realization of power leading to the destruction of the universe and the rebirth in one’s own image, I guess. It’s heavy stuff but definitely fun to write about. More now than ever, this genre of music is coming alive more and more. What we’re providing is something fresh. Even though there are some bands that might sound like us, I really think we’re bringing something new to the table.”

    Recorded at School House Studios with Steve Haines, Eidolon is officially being released on Eric Camilleri’s local label; Ghost Vision Records with distribution on CDN and the CD release party this weekend is hopefully just the beginning for a long journey for Summerfield and Last Scattering. 

    “There is more support within the metal genre as a whole than in any other genre,” says Summerfield. “There is less competition and more bands promote each other. In the metal community, especially in Hamilton that has such a great community as a whole, people really lift each other. That’s what we want to do with every band we play with and we hope they do the same for us.

    “I want to see a lot of laughter and smiles at the CD release party,” adds Summerfield. “I also want to see a lot of headbanging because there are a lot of thrashy parts with a good groove that you can really get into. I just want to see everybody have a really good time. If I could, I’d like to shake the hand of everyone who comes to the show and thank them from the bottom of my heart for support our band because this CD release party really is what’s going to help us continue on our journey, touring and recording our second album. This is what we need the most so any support right now will really get my gratitude. Hopefully, this album is well received so we can do it again because that’s all we want to do.”

Last Scattering play this Monday August 4 at Club Absinthe with Pomegranate Tiger, It Lies In Ruin, the 49th Parallel, and Noise Floor. Doors open at 7pm and $12 gets you in. Click on lastscattering.bandcamp.com

Clem Burke and Split Squad / Gord Lewis Band Debut

This weekend a slew of veteran musicians from the local and international rock, punk and pop worlds come together with the debut of their bands in Hamilton.

    As a founding member of Blondie (with Deborah Harry and Chris Stein), Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame drummer Clem Burke has four decades worth of history with that band that continues to tour and record. But the drummer has always had many different bands to play with and approaching the age of 60, continues joining or forming new bands. This weekend, Clem Burke returns to Hamilton with his latest project, the Split Squad.

    “Keith Moon was a huge early influence on me with the Who Sing My Generation album but little did I know that Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer were influencing me early on because they played on almost every hit record that came out of LA in the sixties,” notes Burke on his drumming influences. “Keith along with Dave Clark brought the drums to the forefront so that was a big inspiration for me.”

    “I’ve been training most of my life in order to keep doing this,” adds Burke on his ability to continue drumming and well for forty years. “I have a foundation called the Clem Burke Drumming Project that studies the physiology and psychology of drumming. I’ve had my heart monitored and my air intake for like fifteen years now in collaboration with a doctor in the UK and I’ve been giving an honorary doctorate because of the experiments. There’s more to it then having a beer and getting up on stage. The other thing I learned from Keith and Jon Bonham was what not to do. I like to have a glass of wine but I’ve been in training most of my life.”

    Blondie fans will come out to watch Burke up close but Burke has always explored new musical avenues with new projects that include playing with the Romantics, Pete Townsend, Bob Dylan, Eurythmics, Fleshtones, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop and even a brief stint in the Ramones as Elvis Ramone. He’s joined bands like Chequered Past with Steve Jones and Michael Des Barres, Slinky Vagabond with Glen Matlock and Magic Christian with former Flamin' Groovies guitarist Cyril Jordan (on guitar) and Plimsouls lead guitarist Eddie Munoz (on bass). When Magic Christian came to Hamilton, they even recorded a split 45 with Teenage Head’s Gord Lewis.

    “We’re really proud of our achievements,” smiles Burke on life in Blondie. “The fact that we were celebrating our fortieth anniversary is kind of a double edged sword because it kind of reminds everyone how old we are. We just finished seven weeks in Europe on tour and we’re going to be going back for another seven in August. Things couldn’t be better in the Blondie camp. Blondie is the foundation of everything else that I do. I can play with other bands like the Split Squad and enjoy myself and not have to worry about the economics of life so it’s great to be free to just play music. Recording with the Teenage Head guys was a great time. The studio we recorded at was great. Canada is great. We were just in Quebec and opened up for Billy Joel to 70,000 people.”

    With guitarist Eddie Muñoz [Plimsouls], guitarist Keith Streng [Fleshtones], singer–bassist Mike Giblin, and keyboardist Josh Kantor, Burke and the Split Squad offer a very intimate performance.

    “We’re all friends but this is really Mike’s project,” says Burke. “He’s the main songwriter and the guy that financed the record and he’s a very talented guy. We’re all journeyman and veteran musicians and with Split Squad, we have some great songs and a real high–energy show. It’s one continuing endeavor. Rock and roll is like jazz music these days, it’s not the most popular form of music anymore but there is an avid following and people want to see live rock and roll and the Split Squad is a high energy rock and roll band so hopefully people will turn out.”

    At press time, the night is already verging on a sell out, in no small part to the star–studded headliner but also for the opening act. The Gord Lewis Band marks the Teenage Head guitarist’s first foray into writing and performing all new music and he’s gathered up some notable musicians to help bring the new songs to life for the band’s debut this weekend. And it gets Lewis and Burke in the same room for the first time since they last recorded together a few years ago.

    “It was thrill and honour and something I never believed would be possible,” recalls Lewis on recording with former Flamin’ Groovies Cyril Jordan and the Magic Christian that featured Clem Burke and Eddie Munoz. “It’s always a pleasure to record with professional musicians. It was a bit nerve racking but a perfect distraction from my grieving from the loss of [former Teenage Head vocalist] Frank [Venom nee Kerr who passed away in 2008]. “Clem is one of the best drummers in the world. It was very gracious of him to do the recording with us.”

    “This new project was an opportunity to work with Gene [Champagne, drums] and Dave [Rave, vocals] and make my new songs come to life and record again,” offers Lewis on the birth of the Gord Lewis Band. “And we were able to bring in so many gifted bass players and certainly people I admire. We have Dennis Dunaway from the Alice Cooper Group, Andy Shernoff from the Dictators, Shelley Woods from the Killjoys and Jack Syperek from the Trews all contributing bass while the core band is Dave Rave on vocals gene champagne on drums and myself on guitar.”

    With a new recording eminent, Lewis and company join Burke and company for what is expected to be one really great rock and roll show.

    “It’s more melancholy lyrically than teenage head but is still high energy rock and roll,” says Lewis. “We’re excited about our live debut and it will be an energetic show featuring my news songs mixed in with some Teenage Head classics with Dave, Gene and my good friend Paul Cameron on bass that played with me in the Gord Lewis Songbook. It’s always an honor to share a stage with a great band and we are really looking forward to playing with the Split Squad.”

The Split Squad and the Gord Lewis Band play this Friday August 1 at This Ain’t Hollywood. Click on thesplitsquad.com

Third Annual Allan Roberts Memorial
While it’s been seven years since Ryan Smith (vocals), Dave Gaudet (bass, vocals), Dave Laitillia (guitar), Kyle Cormier (guitar, vocals) and Allan Roberts (drums) released Shot Dead’s debut CDEP Say Your Prayers, it’s been four years since the punk band broke up. We do learn of the band’s legacy annually now though since the unexpected and tragic passing of drummer Allan Roberts back on July 31, 2012. The remaining members and their more recent musical projects come together to celebrate their old friend this weekend.

    “Shot Dead was a huge part of all of our lives — most of us have a Shot Dead tattoo that’s how big it was for us,” reasons Gaudet. “Allan was one of our closest friends and music was a huge part of his life as well so we feel like throwing a punk show in his name every year is the best way for us to keep his memory alive in the music community and it’s a great way to get old friends all out together again.

    “This event is definitely becoming a tradition,” he adds. “We all love doing it and we want to keep remembering our friend the best way we know how. The first show was the hardest because it was so close to his passing and we used it to raise money to help his family, the second show was more just friends getting together and remembering Allan and having a great time. That’s pretty much the same as this year we just want to have fun and remember Allan and how much he loved playing music.”

    With a host of new musical projects for the original members of Shot Dead, a slew of friends’ musical projects are featured as well as a traditional reunion to celebrate the music they made as Shot Dead.

    “Ryan Smith has joined the band Adelleda on lead vocals and near the beginning of this year Kyle Cormier and Jesse Oats (Shot Dead’s guitarist since 2007 when Dave Laitillia left the band) formed the new band Knife Fight, which I joined in April to do lead vocals for,” explains Gaudet. “The first two guys playing are just doing some acoustic punk sets; Davey Knight we know threw the band Adelleda and James Hand who used to play in Die Standing has been a long time friend of Shot Dead. We've played many shows together back in the day. This will be Knife Fight’s first show since forming earlier this year; it has three members from Shot Dead in it — me on lead vocals, Kyle Cormier on guitar/vocals, Jesse Oats on guitar/vocals, and also Billy Warren on bass and  Brad Harkness on drums. We’re a hardcore punk band and were really excited about getting to play our first show with some good friends and awesome bands to help remember our fallen friend. As for Shot Dead, we will be doing a set at the end of the night just for fun with Adam Harrison on drums. There’s no chance of us ever fully reuniting since we all have new bands but we’re all still close friends and have fun getting together once a year to do a reunion for Allan’s memorial show.

    “If it’s anything like the last two [memorials], we will all be happy with lots of friends having a good time, lots of energy and a crazy mosh pit,” adds Gaudet. “Basically if you like punk this is a show to check out. We have new a punk band coming into the scene and an old punk band that used to be a big part of the punk scene reuniting.” V

The Third Annual Allan Roberts Memorial happens this Sunday August 3 at the Casbah with Shot Dead, Knife Fight, Adelleda, James Hand, Davey Knight and more. Doors open at 8pm and $10 gets you in.
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