Little punks on the prairie: the Extroverts interview
author: jael bartnik | multimedia editor
The Extroverts return to the Sask. punk scene
The Extroverts are a local Regina punk band with a history. They have toured with the likes of D.O.A. and The Subhumans. They returned in 2009 and have now released their new album, SUPPLE. I got a chance to sit down with members Brent Caron (vocalist) and Les Holmund (guitarist).
So what was it like jumping back into a recording a new album?
We didn’t exactly jump into it. We reformed in 2009. The idea was to have a one-off open for D.O.A. just like in the olden days. As part of the process of dusting off the old songs, we found a bunch of Brent’s unused lyrics from the first time around. We had written fifty [original] songs in our first stint. Brent had written many more lyrics that we had never put to music. So we did that for one song on that D.O.A. show, and we enjoyed the process so much. We liked playing, kept playing and practicing the odd gig, making more and more songs with new music with all these old lyrics and that led to last summer. We recorded two songs that way: “Government Girls” and “Hysteria Night,” and put out a 7-inch single. Both of those songs and ten others written all in the same sort of manner make up SUPPLE. It was a bit of a process; we began recording it in May in Saskatoon and finished up in July and released it on Sept. 9 and head off on tour tomorrow morning! (Sept. 16)
Are there any particular spaces or venues you really enjoy playing in Regina?
LH: I can’t really pick one over another in terms of preference; there’s a few we still have to hit in Regina that’s for sure. Durty Nelly’s, we played there as Mc’Nally’s there for a bit. We’ve played quite a lot at the Exchange and O’Hanlon’s and they’re great. No preference, really.
BC: Our favourite place to play, I would say, would have been the Distrikt, which doesn’t exist anymore. We were lucky enough that when Mike Ash closed the Distrikt down, he asked us to play. We were the last band to play there, because once upon a time in 1979 when it was the Schnitzel House, we were more or less the first band to play there. Certainly the first band to play there on a regular basis.
LH: Another place we used to play back in the day was the old student union building.
I remember hearing that you guys opened for a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show?
LH: It was basically our first gig.
BC: That was in the education auditorium, believe it or not. They used to have movie night there.
LH: We were not ready for that kind of prime time (laughs), but we did it.
BC: It was a super-fun gig to do, and somebody had the bright idea to put lights on the floor, so they projected these huge shadows of us up on the screen, so it looked really cool. One thing I remember about that show is that almost every musician from every other rock band was in the audience there, and after about three or four songs, they all got up and left and went to the lobby.
LH: We were just learning how to play then (laughs). The manager of pub night was there and he vowed he’d never book us into pub night again.
BC: Fortunately, he got fired and then our manager became the pub manager.
What’s the first place you’re going to be hitting up on tour?
LH: We’re going to be playing at the self-described “Vancouver’s number one dive bar,” Funky Winker Beans, or “the Winker,” as Joey from D.O.A. calls it.
Do you find that you’re drawing a newer crowd or folks who remember seeing back in the day? Or is there a mixture of both?
BC: I would say, especially the very first show, I think we drew a big crowd that time because I think that people were actually thinking that this was going to be a one-off, and it was their only chance to see The Extroverts.
LH: And that was a combination of old fans and some new and some younger people who had heard of us in books or stories or whatever.
BC: Some of the band’s kids and their friends. But actually starting back in 2009, it was really almost like being a brand new band. The first year we played two shows. The second year we played two shows or maybe three. So it’s been a process and it’s been by getting out and playing shows that, yeah, we have finally broken through a little bit. Last year was our best year ever. We played six shows in Regina and one show at The Gateway Festival. We played Moso Fest. We played Rebellion Festival. So, we’ve learned how to play at festivals. It’s been like being a new band, but being a new band with a bit of a legacy I guess.
LH: The biggest surprise for me has been, to answer your question about audience, there’s a lot of people who never had any context of us at all who really like us. I think they’re pretty surprised by the intensity and that 57-year-old guys have intensity. The songs themselves are a lot more melodic and different styles than rock bands that are coming up today actually.
The Extroverts will be playing their album-release party on Sept. 30 at the Exchange.