Okay, let’s get 1 thing straight: this IS a column about Live Music!! And what does that suggest? You’d like to know where to see these people before they’ve left town, right?
Definitely!! Not only is Napalmpom touring their newest release, a double-sided, 45 rpm, 12” piece of vinyl which has Public Animal as co-creators/co-performers/co-tourists, but when they stop in Calgary to wake up The Palamino, they’ll be joined by the Queen of Calgary Crunch herself, Miesha (& the Spanks), and several other bands: check the venue links below. In fact, they’ve got a smorgasbord of bands not for the faint-of-heart mixing it up at most of the stops in this, their 1st tour: Beat Cops, Black Hell Oil, Black Thunder, Miesha & The Spanks, Moths/Locusts, Sequicons, Slow Learners, Supervoid and / ‘guests’, depending on the location.
“We did a show in 2011, but it was before we were a band. Basically, a friend of ours was putting together a benefit show (where the performers covered a favourite band’s music), and I said I’d do it if we could cover this band Tricky Woo, from Montreal, who I am totally in love with. Inspired by MC5 and The Stooges and AC-DC, They were my entry into independent music in a lot of ways.
“I went and kind of cherry-picked friends of mine who were fans of this band, and had the chops to learn 6 songs in a couple of weeks.. . . . Played the show, had a blast, and after the show a whole bunch of our friends said ‘Don’t wanna push, but you guys are really good: can you be a real band?’”
And that’s 4 of the 5 current members of Napalmpom today, and yes, they ARE really good. As Shawn, the guitarist and historian of the band notes, they’re all “music nerds”, and describes the mission statement of the band : “to celebrate classic rock, but also to tear down the parts that are a little iffy. . . . We’ll go punk rock sometimes, and have some really emasculating lyrics (!); it’s the way we reconcile with playing ‘classic’ rock,” by tearing down that macho template with self-conscious breaks to other genres.
“Bands like Black Flag, Thin Lizzy, and even (AC-DC’s) Angus Young: you read about them growing up and they’re basically these music nerds; they’re not these cool, flashy dudes.”
Shawn throws around other band names like The Stooges, Sloane, MC5, Thrush, and an “early 90’s canned rock influence, just because of our ages:. . . . you’d maybe see it on MuchMusic, and feel like you were close enough to (them) in spirit or age; they felt relatable.” Your well-meaning Examiner goes on at length about how cultural stereotypes exist, but individuals will always demonstrate personal agency within those stereotypes: is that like what Napalmpom is doing musically with ‘classic rock’?
“Yeah. The broad strokes of the history of rock and roll are things that we grew up loving, (but) the genre gets dismissed as dumb and loud. Especially if you play in a rock band, everyone’s first reaction is ‘It must be ironic or a joke band.’ But no, this is one of the most meaningful things I’ve ever done.
“The devil’s in the details in rock and roll for me.. . . . It’s all about trying to present my ideal form of rock and roll: these are the parts . . . that I love. And I’d say that’s the case for everyone in the band.
“We get out to BC or Saskatchewan, but we haven’t done the big tour until now. So we’re super-happy with people buying (The Unconditional Love of Napalmpom, their 1st album), but WAY more important is that it IS the record we wanted to make. It sounds the way we wanted it to sound; we’re super proud of it.”
After a discussion of Napalmpom’s beef jerky fixation, Shawn makes a request, regarding how much they benefit by talking to ANYONE who wants to talk about music:
“At the start of every show, we say ‘We’re Napalmpom, and we love to make new friends,’ and it’s totally true. One of the best things about playing shows in towns you’re not from is meeting new people, having weird conversations, and drinking beers.” So if you’re in any of these places, Say Hi, Really!
08/20 Vancouver BC, The Emerald; 08/21 Calgary AB, (Two-floor Denim Tuxedo Party)The Palomino Smokehouse; 08/22 Edmonton AB, Brixx; 08/23 Lethbridge AB, The Slice; 08/26 Winnipeg, MB, Windsor Hotel; 08/27 Thunder Bay, ON, The Foundry;
08/28 Sudbury, ON, The Townehouse; 08/29 Montreal QC, Turbohaus; 08/30 Toronto ON, Silver Dol