Cheap Suits
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Cheap Suits

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"LIVE: Suicide Machines with Belvedere and Cheap Suits"

Despite many appeals to be given a horrid review, local openers the Cheap Suits were quite entertaining with their exuberant set. A soulful kinda ska band, they take more influence from James Brown or Wilson Pickett than Op Ivy — but don't tell them that — when they're a bit older they'll understand the comparison.

During their rather short set, the boys were wide-eyed, full of energy and made a strong connection with the audience via their love for the Suicide Machines. If they were nervous, it was pretty tough to tell, they had such a friendly, jovial way about them.

"Cheap Suits @ 360 - CMW 2003 Report Card"

Band: Cheap Suits
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Venue: The 360
Date: March 1, 2003
Reporter: Jon Bruhm
Background/Composition: Hometown heroes, Cheap Suits are a five-piece light ska band.

Grade: 91

World Domination Status:
Progressing well towards world domination

These guys should have won the contest. Not only did they have a sound which differed from the contest's norm, they were fun, entertaining, highly danceable and refreshing.

Oral And Visual Communication:
The most important factor was that the band seemed to have a blast which, in turn, made most of the crowd have a good time, too. They could probably put on a good show no matter where they played — from on top of cardboard boxes for prison inmates to the EDGEfest main stage.

Musical Analysis:
Cheap Suits are a party band who seemed to be just goofing around and having a good time with a crowd filled with their friends — which is possible, since they were the hometown act. A ska band of the non-obnoxious variety, they were easy on the ears with clear lyrics, which was key, because they sang a song about falling in love with Taylor Hanson which almost made me piss my pants.

Other Skills And Areas Of Interest:
The band's only downfall is that they were dressed kinda dorky, but that was good in that they weren't trying to be something that they're not. One of the guitarists had a great mohawk, too, which looked kinda funny with the rest of his getup.


"Cheap suits for sale - a concert review"

"I wanna be a rock star!" he cries.

His eyes light up and a devilish grin spreads across his face as he continues; "Drop out, pack up and go to L.A."

He sits slouched in his seat, watching the suburban landscape slide by the bus window.

Dave Iogna is one-fourth of the Cheap Suits, a ska/punk band from Scarborough.

Iogna, speaking on behalf of the band, had agreed to do the balance of the interview via e-mail as he is the only member still living in Toronto's east end.

The others live and go to school in Peterborough, Ont.

Erik Olaveson, Chris Collins and Iogna founded the band when they were in grade 12 at Cardinal Newman High School.

The band was born "out of the desire to be in the talent show."

Olaveson, 22, plays bass, shying away from singing responsibilities after, as described on the band's Web site, their "first 'real' show, [when] he was given another shot at proving he still had his vocal prowess with his personal rendition of Blink's 'Dammit', but alas was laughed off stage and vowed never to sing in public again."

Iogna, also 22, plays guitar and sings. Collins, 22, is the band's drummer and lead singer.

Collins' dual role as drummer and singer is an unusual occurrence.

The drummer tends to be the only band member who does not sing as drumming requires such physical energy.

Iogna explained how Collins' position came to be.

"It all came about after we realized he was the only one who could sing. He drummed well, sang well, he couldn't decide which one he liked more so we let him do both."

However, the band recently decided to bring Collins out from behind the drum kit.

"We think that having our lead singer up closer to the audience will add a great deal to our live show," said Iogna.

They are currently looking for a new drummer so that Collins will then be the lead vocalist only.

Last November, the Cheap Suits grew from a trio to a quartet with the addition of a second guitarist.

Jean-Marc Pineau, 21, "bombarded us with demos and hassled us until we let him into the band|we only felt sorry for him."

With a name like the Cheap Suits, it is hard to know whether the boys simply enjoy a good bargain or if some deeper significance lies behind the name.

As it turns out, neither of these hypotheses is correct.

"Actually our name came from us sitting around in the basement," explained Iogna. "We knew we needed a new name. The old name [which he neglected to mention] was already taken and we were brainstorming and Cheap Suits just popped out."

Like their name, some of the Cheap Suits' music also came out of the basement.

The album Freshly Pressed Suit was recorded in a friend's basement, with surprising results.

In a review, Shane Macaulay of said of the band: "With rhythm like this and basslines that just won't quit, Cheap Suits will have you skankin' it up all night."

While their album will have you "skankin' it up", the Cheap Suits do not consider themselves to be a strictly ska band. The members have a hard time defining their sound.

"We find it hard to describe our sound," said Iogna. "It's sort of a mix of ska/pop punk. We were told at that we sound more like Wilson Picket than Operation Ivy, so we like to think of ourselves as not another ska band."

Just as writers write what they know, musicians play what they know.

The Cheap Suits' eclectic influences range from singer/songwriter Elvis Costello to influential California punk and ska bands Green Day and Sublime to reggae legends The Wailers.

According to Iogna, "we chose this style because that's what we listen to.

Erik and I have been listening to punk since elementary school. Chris needed a bit more convincing, he was into the Tragically Hip but he was converted. Jean-Marc loves Bob [Marley]|anything ska sounding."

Each member has brought his musical influences to the band and contributes to the song writing process. Although Collins writes most of the lyrics, the ideas stem from a collaborative effort.

The band's repertoire used to include covers such as "Blue Moon", "Ska Sucks", "Dammit" and "Let's get it on" but Collins said "we got bored of playing other people's songs and started appreciating our own songs."

The band is now working with Toronto ska producer King Kong Girio. Girio has worked with several notable Canadian ska bands including the Kingpins and King Apparatus.

The Cheap Suits came to work with Girio after he had worked with one of their favorite bands, Flashlight Brown.

Dave explained how he "got [Girio's] phone number from Matt of Flashlight and asked to meet up. After exchanging addresses we found out that we actually live on the same street| a two minute walk away!"

The Cheap Suits' sound fits in nicely with the recent explosion of pop-punk bands like Blink 182, Sum 41, Not by Choice and MXPX.

For the last few years, there has been a deluge of young ba -

"Cheap Suits - Canadian Idles"

Though they sing proudly of unity and fly the ska flag proudly, this Toronto-area quintet has gained their reputation based around their solid, memorable pop songs. While the strength of their songwriting means that they would sound great played in any style, the ska flavour and energy displayed on this collection makes for an even more engaging listen. From the musically loving refrain of “Ska Saves” to the tongue-in-cheek “Lead Singer” (a song about pining for Taylor Hanson), to the album standout “My Ever Lasting,” the melodies remain catchy and sunny-sounding and the playing upstroke-heavy. Currently local ska favourites, songs like these can only keep a band “local” for so long. - Exclaim

"Cheap Suits wear down crowd"

It's been said that music soothes even the savage beast. If this is true, let's hope our beasts fancy vegetables, and salads, for that matter.

Halloween in the Observatory Lounge was an event for musical lovers. With the Salads scheduled to play, along with opening band Cheap Suits, the night was loud, energized, and exciting.

Though the turn out was small, the group that showed up was noticeably engulfed in the music of the opening act.

Cheap Suits, a Toronto-based band of infectious ska musicians, took the stage earlier than scheduled to make room for more songs in their set, proving not only their abundance of energy, but their dedication to the audience.

Even as someone who generally doesn't listen to ska music, it was impossible not to be drawn into the raw energy of Cheap Suits. With catchy music and quirky lyrics all round, one catches themselves smiling often at the messages sent out to the crowd.

"It's all about having a lot of fun," said Mark Anderson, a thrid-year electronics engineer student. "You come to a show and everyone is in a good mood. It's definitely a motivator." - Algonquin Times


Sorry, No Refunds (LP – 1999)
Lookin' For a Deal (EP - 2000)
Canadian Idles (LP - 2003)
One Giant Leap (LP- 2006)



The Cheap Suits were born in a basement in Scarborough, Ontario. What started as a one-off performance for their high school talent night has turned into a promising career for these young upstarts. Now years into their career, the band has found its footing and sound and is ready to roll with their catchy blend of pop, punk, ska and soul.

Over the last few months, the Cheap Suits have been working with producer King Kong Girio (The Kingpins, King Apparatus) and engineer Richard Benoit (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sum 41, David Usher) to record their strongest record yet. Titled “One Giant Leap,” the record will hit stores this January and is distributed by Maple Music/Universal. This album is jam-packed with timeless rock anthems that are sure to catch the attention of music-lovers worldwide. With an extensive advertising campaign and tour support, this album is one that shouldn’t be missed.

What sets Cheap Suits apart from other bands is their energetic live sets. They have enjoyed memorable shows playing with such heavy hitters as ska legends The Slackers,Reel Big Fish, and Catch 22, hip hop superstar KOS, punk rock stars Gob, The Suicide Machines, and The Living End, and icons I Mother Earth, Big Sugar and Teenage Head. Their energy and hard work has been winning new fans at every show.

Through consistent touring, an entertaining website at, CD sales at, airplay on campus radio and Toronto’s alternative radio mainstay Edge102 and good old word of mouth, the Suits have seen their fan-base increase steadily over the past two years. The word is out: Cheap Suits are here to stay.