Canteen Knockout
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Canteen Knockout

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Country Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music



Have you ever wondered what the dark side of alt-country would be? Throw away the image of a grungy disciple of Neil Young perfectly combining dirty riffs with a soulful twang stomp, and allow yourself to focus on the horror that would occur if there were ever a band to combine Bush X with GG Allin's country work. You can stop fretting about it, because Canteen Knockout, the year-and-a-half-old brainchild of local musician Andre Skinner, have fought against the dark side of alt-country and won. The evidence lies in their self-titled EP, which contains a series of well-crafted and aurally pleasing rootsy rockers.

"When we started, I tried to do alternative-type stuff, with the big choruses, and it wasn't really working with the rest of our sound," says Skinner during an Annex tête-à-tête. "This year we got into North By NorthEast because we didn't have an alternative sound. It's working for us."
The lineup has changed several times; a guitarist whom Skinner describes as "talented but high-maintenance" has left, as have a bassist and a drummer. Skinner's written all the songs, which might explain why the lineup can change without hassle. "These guys are a lot more subdued and easy-going. They just show up for rehearsal and play. They say to me, 'Oh, we've got a gig? Cool.' "

Skinner, the former drummer of jam-rap band Slit Slot, learned a lot from time spent with the dramatically different, often drunk miscreants. "I learned that you can't really give a fuck when you're onstage. You've just gotta play. Don't be concerned about the crowd or every little detail – you've just gotta have a good time. The more relaxed you are onstage, the better you are."

When I ask if he wants CK to be a hip band, he gets offended, thinking I'm referring to the Tragically Hip. "No, we don't. You can put that on the record, too. I don't care." When told that the question was whether Canteen Knockout want to become the kind of band that plays to the types who wear po' boy hats and listen to crunk/Frente! mash-ups, his answer changes to "Yes. Certainly we do."

And as long as they stay on the right side of alt-country, they'll be fine.


"Canteen Knockout at the Silver Dollar"

You'd be hard-pressed to find a band more fittingly matched to the Silver Dollar Room's "anything goes" booking policy than Toronto's Canteen Knockout. By mixing country, rock, blues and other trace elements, CKO are the bastard child of Hogtown, just looking for a supple teat to nuzzle… or at least a shot of Piss Dru. Leadman Andre Skinner decided to pull back the reigns on this night, which meant that the band's set was awash in a more country-tinged approach than their recorded output would lead you to believe. Working backwards, lead guitarist Manrico Erasmi earned his keep by flashing some very impressive chops-the kind that make record execs and 14-year old girls from the suburbs buckle at the knees. Erasmi's twangy twiddling of his six-string was a definite standout yet it didn't overwhelm his bandmates efforts by a long shot. CKO were tight, taut and tested, allowing them to burn through such staples as "Bent Out of Shape" and "Sinner" with relative ease. Even the normally explosive clunker "Chords Ring" was castrated down to a mid-tempo groover. A cover of the Black Crowes' "Remedy" was probably the most obtrusive the boys got and it gave Skinner an opportunity to extend his vocals beyond his characteristic coo-something we hope to see a lot more of in the future.

- Cameron Gordon
- The Spill Magazine

"Some of Canada's finest turn up Heat Musically"

In spite of Toronto's heat wave and smog, as well as a case of heat stroke, yours truly took a trip out east to check out the North By North East (NXNE) music festival last month.

The June 9 to 11 blitz featured independent musicians of various genres from Canada, the U.S. and as far away as the Netherlands. Nearly every venue had a decent sized crowd and more than 60,000 music and film fans took in the festivities to catch some of Canada's best new bands.

Obviously, there wasn't enough time to check out everything (400 plus shows were scheduled for three nights); some weren't great and others were fantastic. Here's a rundown:

Canteen Knockout at The Black Bull

I was en route to C'mon but was drawn into the Black Bull upon hearing Blue Rodeo/Wilco-type songs drifting out of the venue.

The venue wasn't the greatest but the Toronto Canteen Knockout made the best of what they had. The band did a commendable job tugging emotional heartstrings with their songs; there's something remarkably candid and sincere about frontman Andre Skinner - no doubt he believes in and feels the lyrics. Overall, a confident, polished sound.
- North Shore News - Vancouver


Canteen Knockout - Self Titled E.P.
(2003 Hyperintelligence/Gensub)
Canteen Knockout - Navajo Steel - Album
(2006 Hyperintelligence)
Canteen Knockout - Navajo Steel - New Label Re-Release
(2008 WEEWERK)
Canteen Knockout - Broken Down Town - Album
(2010 WEEWERK)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Canteen Knockout

Founded in 2004 by multi-instrumentalist Andre Skinner, Canteen Knockout is Toronto's most original alt-country rock band. The title of their first full-length CD, "Navajo Steel", is a glimpse into the vibe of Canteen Knockout: beautifully-crafted yet high-energy music inspired by long journeys along the road less traveled through hot, dry places; and a thirst that can never be fully quenched.

After a great run with their debut full length album Navajo Steel (2008), Canteen Knockout returned with their best effort yet (Broken Down Town). This album is rich with melodic textures, and impeccable production that run heavy with emotional songs. The band takes a (live off the floor) ap- proach in the studio, conciously avoiding overproduction. With this grass roots approach you really feel like you’re in the room with the band.??Their passionate and rapidly growing fan base regularly packs Toronto rock clubs such as Silver Dollar, Horseshoe Tavern, and Cadillac Lounge.

Now, as one might expect from a band like Canteen Knockout, they are poised to hit the road and make the world their own "alt country". Well-received performances in Nashville Tennessee, Chicago Illinois, Berlin Germany and throughout Canada's east coast is evidence that the world on a much larger scale is ready to embrace the Canteen Knockout sound. ??

Would sound great on a mix tape or your ipod with: Wilco, Blue Rodeo, Tom Petty George Thorogood & The Destroyers, United Steel Workers Of Montreal, The Sadies, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings ??

Canteen Knockout is:??
Andre Skinner: lead vocals & rhythm guitar ?
Alex Maxymiw: pedal steel, lead guitar, backup vocals ?
Brent Janisse: electric bass ?
Jon McCaan: drums
Robyn Cunningham: harmony/backup vocals