author: mason sliva | a&c editor
Comeback Kid are set to rock the Exchange/Comeback Kid
Speaking with Comeback Kid ahead of their Regina show
Recently, I had the opportunity to correspond with Stu Ross, rhythm guitarist and vocalist of punk legends Comeback Kid. The group originally formed in Winnipeg, and are currently promoting their sixth release, Outsider. Comeback Kid is swinging by Regina on September 27, so be sure to check them out!
- How has the group kept itself fresh after all these years?
Creatively speaking, the band’s members have many diverse influences. When we all come together to write music there is quite a range of ideas brought forth. Not to mention the band has already carved out a sonic niche for ourselves with the release of our sixth LP. A variety of musical tastes and influences keep up fresh.
- How has Winnipeg helped to shape the group?
I didn’t grow up in Winnipeg, but the band is still technically based in Winnipeg and that’s where the band was born. From what I know, the Winnipeg scene has always embraced CBK. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on this topic too in depth. But I think Winnipeg is an interesting city with a lot of culture and diversity. It is represented by the arts community quite well, especially through punk and hardcore music (Propagandhi, The Weakerthans, Ken Mode).
- The group has seen many lineup changes. How has this affected the group’s song writing?
The band has had a lot of member changes over the years. The first four albums were written by Andrew, Jeremy and the original drummer, Kyle. Die Knowing was the first album that I put forth any creative input. Outsider was written collectively with all five current members of the band and I think that shows when listening to the album.
- How does the song-writing process work?
Jeremy, Andrew or myself will bring a song idea, a riff, or even simply just a vibe we’d like to manifest sonically and we go from there. Working on Outsider was a lot of fun because all three of us had a lot of content and ideas to work with. Loren and Ron contributed a lot as well with the details and structure of the songs. We spent a few weeks in Winnipeg, a week in Vancouver, and a lot of time individually writing before putting everything together in the studio.
- What are some recurring themes represented in the music?
Hope, change, self evaluation, self realization. Overall, I think CBK is a band that addresses the sour things in life, but we are the kind of people that always see the flip side and want to find the positive in it all.
- What advice does the group have for younger musicians looking to break into their local scene?
Play out as much as you can, anywhere you can. When you’re trying to build your band, no show is too small or not worth the effort. Buy a van, book shows out of town, record your songs, and get them to everyone you can. These days the internet has made bands lazy. It’s cool to have the ability to push your band online, but nothing beats good old fashioned hard work. Get out there and get moving.
- With “Nazi punks” causing issues in the United States, does the group have any words on how these individuals do not represent the scene as a whole?
Oh, man. What can I even say? I would hope that people don’t think that “Nazi punk” bozos represent the scene in any way shape or form. Among the many problems plaguing this planet, it’s hard to believe that in 2017, issues like white supremacy still exist within the punk scene and even more so on the global scale. Racism is terrible and saddening. CBK as a band does not condone those beliefs and definitely does not want the support of anyone associated with those beliefs.
- What is the group’s proudest achievement?
I think we’re all very proud of our new album, Outsider. We are collectively proud of how many countries we’ve managed to perform in. The last time I made a list I think it was around 54. We love to play new places and we’re always looking to go somewhere that we’ve never been.
- What musicians have helped to influence Comeback Kid’s style?
There are so many artists that have influenced us. Collectively, we’d probably all agree on Madball, Metallica, NoFX, Gorilla Biscuits, Hatebreed, and Good Riddance to name a few. We all come from similar but different schools: Jeremy and Ron love thrash; Andrew loves hip hop, old-school hardcore and new hardcore bands; I came up on ‘90s Fat/Epitaph bands; and Loren loves pop punk. We all listen to a vast array of music from pop to death metal.
- Any crazy tour stories?
So many…too many. We’ve toured in a lot of interesting places. We’ve had sketchy situations with immigration officers, promoters, venue staff, fans, airlines, and even other bands. It’s hard to narrow down THE craziest story. One time, we were supposed to play a festival in Tel Aviv, Israel. Last minute, day of, the festival was cancelled due to permit issues. Luckily some local guys in a band called Kids Insane were able to set us up with a show at a small DIY punk venue. The show was awesome, 200+ crazy punks in a room that could fit 75. We were the only band billed on that festival that actually got to perform in Tel Aviv that night.
- Where is the coolest place that you have toured?
I love touring Europe in general. So many amazing countries with amazing cities. We toured in South Africa once, that was pretty cool!
- How many times has the group played in Regina? Any comments on the city?
I have NO IDEA how many times we’ve played Regina, definitely in the double digits. I love playing Regina, I love the Exchange. We always have a good time when we roll through.
- When did it really sink in that the group had made it big?
Define “making it big.” I think we’re so lucky to be able to continue to do what we do. Without people coming out to shows and listening to our records, we wouldn’t be able to do this. So, I guess just knowing that we have a committed fan base and we’re still making music that people enjoy feels like we’ve made it big.
- How does it feel to be considered one of the leaders in your respective genre, even after all these years?
None of us perceive ourselves as leaders by any means. We’re just five guys playing punk songs. We’re lucky to be surrounded and constantly inspired by our peer musicians and bands we may not know personally.
- Any last comments?
Our new album Outsider came out on Friday, September 8! Please check it out. We’ll be in Regina September 27, come on out and rock with us!