The Vapids' Twenty-Fifth Anniversary

Maybe it’s not exactly punk to celebrate a silver jubilee unless your lampooning the Queen of England

Maybe it’s not exactly punk to celebrate a silver jubilee unless your lampooning the Queen of England. The last time we spoke with Jimmy Vapid, the Burlington punk that played some five hundred shows over the span of a couple of decades was happy to talk of the bands legacy but content to consider new musical options. Since getting married and moving away from the Hamilton/Burlington area, the Vapids haven’t really been that active although they’ve never official ended either. Last May marked the first gig for the band in three years and at the time Jimmy Vapid suggested it could be the last although he did tease that something might happen for what would be the band’s twenty–fifth anniversary. This weekend marks the special date with a live performance that could or could not be the band’s last.

“We’re not itching to rehearse or play too much, we just do the Vapids for fun and we’re not ready for some big comeback,” explained Jimmy Vapid back in May of this year. “We thought our last gig was going to be our last gig but you never know. If Scotty {Vapid, drummer] says he wants to play, we’ll play. The other guys are always in. Eric [Felgner] joined in 2007 and Matt [Ellis] joined in 2008 so those guys have been in the band longer than anyone else has been in the Vapids. They both have tenure already even if we don’t play that often.”

 Vapid has released several solo albums over the years and the Vapids did release a full length last year. There are rumours of some re–release material from the band’s catalog for fans that may have missed out — but as for an official celebration, well, the Vapids are actually playing in Hamilton and that’s kind of reason enough to celebrate.

“I’ll have to take it up at the next Vapids board meeting,” laughs Matt Ellis [also of Flesh Rag and Plasticheads] who Jimmy Vapid defers to as spokesperson for the band. “After twelve years of sporadic service, I guess I’ve been sworn in for life. I never know the official word usually until it’s happening. Things with this band happen sporadically and at this point, there are no plans to play another show after this weekend. I am not saying it’s our last show but I can’t see us playing again anytime soon. 

“I think Jim and Scott are very happy with I guess the legacy, if you will, of the band,” adds Ellis. “Twenty–five years is a very long time for a punk band and I’m surprised that I’m even in the band and we’re still playing shows. They don’t have anything to prove and will only do shows if the mood strikes them. I was in a trio with Jim and Scott called the Harbour Rats and I thought we were going to do a rehearsal for that but then Jim asked if I wanted to be on the new Vapids 7–inch record. It had already been written and suddenly I was playing on it. Suddenly, I was in the Vapids. I never expected to be a Vapid but after being a fan of theirs when I first came to Hamilton, I was excited to be asked. It’s always interesting because it’s always a mystery, even to myself. But I’m always excited to be a part of it.”

With dozens of albums and an international following, Hamilton gets to see one of the bands that helped make Hamilton renown for it’s penchant for punk.

“I never say never to anything but after twenty–five years this could be it — I’m not saying that to get people to come but it’s just a reality,” says Ellis. “If Jim and Scott want to do it again later on then I’ll be in but if we do this show and pack it in, I’ll be okay with that, too. We’ve got some records that will be re–released that never were released on vinyl, maybe even the Teenage Head album from the Vapids. There are some talks going on for that kind of thing so if people are looking for new stuff, that’d be it.

“We’ve got lots of friends playing the show from London, Toronto as well as Hamilton and a Vapids show is always a great time for me,” adds Ellis. “I’ve been in the band about twelve years but we recorded two 7–inches and an album but the live shows haven’t been as much. I had to tell Jimmy that I wouldn’t feel like a real Vapid until we played a couple of shows and I think Jimmy took pity on me so we’ve played maybe only eight or nine shows since I’ve been in the band. But we just have fun getting up there and playing. We have some beer with no pressure and have some fun. I know a lot of people like the band so when we do it, we want to make sure that people have a good time and we’ll play really well. We’ve got a lot of friends playing on the stage, we hope a lot of friends and fans come out to this show. We’re definitely pulling out some older songs that people may not have heard in years, which is exciting but don’t expect a cake or anything. The way to a Vapids’ heart is by buying them beer or pizza and we’d be grateful for that — it’ll definitely help the performance. Anyone who comes out to this show will have a great time. We’re happy to get out one more time and if it’s the last ride that’s cool.” V

The Vapids play this Saturday November 2 at This Ain't Hollywood with Johnny Terrien and the Bad Lieutenants, School Damage, the Merinuks. Doors at 9pm and $10 gets you in. Click on 

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