Ambitious, brave, and fiercely determined, Cancer Bats tell Grace Duffy about why hard work is winning them the hearts of rock and metal lovers all over the world
Cancer Bats are a band that epitomise the rock ‘n’ roll ethos. Touring everywhere in their lovably battered red van, they set up their own equipment and tune their own instruments, merrily hang around with fans after shows, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Their industrious attitude is a characteristic many have come to love and appreciate about the Toronto quartet, reflecting as it does their dedication to what they do.
“For this band, that was the main theme, being able to do it full time,” explains vocalist Liam Cormier. “The band started at the end of 2004 when we were all about 25, when you have to get on with your life. The people that you love aren’t going to say, ‘Oh yeah, we support the fact that you don’t wanna do anything,’ so by 2005 it was like, ‘I’ve got nothing in my life but this band, let’s just put everything we have into it,’ and it ended up working out.”
The band’s particular brand of ballsy punk metal has struck a chord with listeners, searching for something genuine amidst the increasingly trend-conscious rock music market. The straight-edged lifestyles of guitarist Scott Middleton and Liam himself has influenced their lyrical direction, while the addition some time ago of bassist Jaye Schwarzer has streamlined their music.
“We’d never have a song that was about getting wasted, ‘cos that’s not something all four of us do. With the lyrics, I don’t want to have a song that leaves anyone else out. I want to make sure that everyone can at least partially identify with the lyrics, so I’d never write a song about being straight edge either. A lot of songs are about doing whatever you need to do to make you happy.”
Of their forthcoming third album, entitled Bears, Mayors, Scraps, and Bones, Liam says, “the big thing is, now that Jaye is holding down the low end as much as he is, it’s allowing Scott to have more freedom with guitar, and Jaye backs me up a lot, so we’ve been able to do a lot more overlapping vocals.”
With a hugely successful tour backing Billy Talent just complete, many more booked, and the new album due in March 2010, it’s all systems go for the fun-loving Canadians. Reflecting on their achievements, Liam is humble and proud, asserting, “I feel this is where we all wanted the band to be from the beginning, so this is like the culmination of what we’ve being working for. I’m psyched to be here!”