Friday, February 22, 2008

Cancer Bats grow beards, fan base

Cancer Bats can do more than just grow facial hair. The group are currently on tour promoting their latest hardcore record, Hail Destroyer, and will be hitting Mavericks on Feb. 16. (Photo provided)

Whether it’s their loud, aggressive sounds or the fact they say they simply love to play music, the Cancer Bats have erupted onto the hardcore music scene this past year.

Singer Liam Cormier described the band’s sound as “dirty, rock ‘n’ roll and hardcore.”

Their new album, Hail Destroyer, will be released April 22 but Ottawa fans will be able to get their Cancer Bats fill early when they play a show at Maverick’s Feb. 16.

“Ottawa’s always been one of the best cities for us, like where we’ve done in Ontario, or Canada, or even in general,” said Cormier.

“Every time we go back, it’s always the best.”

This Toronto-based quartet has only been around since May 2004 but it quickly found success touring with bands such as Alexisonfire, Rise Against and Billy Talent.

The group has played shows in venues with capacities in the thousands, such as when it opened for Billy Talent at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre in front of 17,000 people.

“We’ve also got this whole tour with [the Bronx] and Rise Against in Europe,” said Cormier.

“One of my favourite [bands to play with] is probably the Bronx [...] so getting a chance to tour with them was awesome.”

The Cancer Bats have been on many tours around the world since the release of their debut studio album, Birthing the Giant. Recently, their unique sound has been getting them recognized by fans in countries far from Canada.

“When we were going to Australia to play some shows there, we had a layover in Singapore,” said Cormier.

“We were just in the middle of the airport and this kid in a coffee shop actually recognized us in a band and knew who our band was.”

Cormier said the band’s unique name originated from drummer Mike Peters’ childhood.

“When he grew up, his family lived out in the woods, and they built a cabin,” explained Cormier.

“There were bats that lived in the ceiling and so when Mike was a kid, he used to tell his mom that he was scared of these bats because he thought that they would give him cancer.”

The band has gone through multiple lineup changes, and is now made up of Cormier and Peters, as well as guitarist Scott Middleton, with whom Cormier started the band.

The newest addition is bassist Jaye Schwartzer.

Though Cormier said Schwartzer did not contribute to the upcoming album, he has been touring with them for many months.

“Official, full-time headbanger, we could say that,” said Cormier, adding that Schwartzer did contribute to teaching the rest of the band how to grow beards.

“We like having a lot of fun with what we do,” Cormier said.


Originally published in the Charlatan, Carleton University's independent student newspaper