Down With Webster
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Down With Webster

Band Hip Hop Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"10 teens taking over"

NOW spotlights 10 young artists and activists who are making waves today and will surely shake up the city's artistic and political future tomorrow.

1. The boy band Down With Webster

DOWN WITH WEBSTER with Samba Squad as part of the Beaches International Jazz Festival Streetfest (2210 Queen East), tonight (Thursday, July 24) to Saturday (July 26), 7 pm. Free. 416-698-2152.

There are seven tousle-haired teenage boy heads in Down with Webster. Some sport backwards baseball caps, some roughneck tuques. Some are crazy with baby dreads and some sport close-cropped cuts. This doesn't seem important till you try to travel with the crew. We're searching for an interview spot along Queen West. The usual (read licensed) hangouts are out of the question since these boys ain't legal and their fake IDs won't cut it.

Popsicles in a nearby park seems like the best plan. But over the course of a two-block march, band members start disappearing.

When we get back on track, MC-slash-guitar-phenom Pat "Rif-Raf" Gillett's suggestion that I make the band cling to a string à la kindergartner ducklings on a field trip doesn't sound so crazy.

In public they might seem like a disoriented street gang, but get Down with Webster in front of an audience and the haphazard posse is one of the tightest funk-hop outfits I've seen onstage.

Gillett and co-MC Bucky barrel through blistering rhymes at lightning speed, wrapping clever lyrics around founder Tyler Armes's funked-up bass lines and Andrew Martino's drum breaks. Toss in Matt Campitelli's killer guitar riffs and wee blower Mitch Wong's Miles Davis sax solos and they blow bands three times their age out of the water. They can stop on a dime, and their technical prowess is frankly awesome.

Not bad for a band that Armes and Gillett threw together for a junior high talent show half a decade ago. The rest of the members fell in through happy coincidence and the force of gravity.

"It was something different than what everyone else our age was playing," explains Martino. "We wanted to come up with something different from rock or heavy metal."

Gillett interrupts. "At the time the band was formed, I was playing a lot of blues, and Matt was playing a lot of blues when he joined. But funk's a nice, steady, danceable beat – not too fast, like rock can get, and not too slow like the blues. Just right in the middle. It's really good to jam over."

They practise as often as most folks go to the grocery store. After they graduate from high school, they plan to shack up together. Music really is their universe. Chilling before a show, they'll break into freestyles, improvised vocal riffs and beatboxing, pulling whole tracks out of thin air.

They're well schooled when it comes to music – and not just trendy hipster shit. During a Sunday-afternoon rehearsal, they debate who are the dopest MCs (Jay-Z versus KRS? Common versus Gift of Gab?), decide Gillett's been swiping a riff from an old Mary J. Blige tune, dish about the Allman Brothers and Steve Vai.

Their faces light up when they talk about syncopation, crescendos and chord progressions.

It's this type of precociousness, combined with their wicked onstage energy, that landed Down with Webster a deal with music-biz management stalwarts Zack Werner (yep, the mean dude from Canadian Idol) and Cam Carpenter.

"We take it a lot more seriously now," offers Gillett. "But it's weird having a famous manager. When we were at the Air Canada Centre with him, everyone who walked by us did a double take."

Bucky chimes in. "Before Zack started all that Canadian Idol stuff, I didn't really think he was anyone important, but now he's, like, on every magazine I own."

The boys don't seem fazed by the buzz around them. They even rationalize an odd corporate deal with Roots (the band played an in-store gig and gets free swag), claiming that the Canadian company's a helluva lot better than hooking up with Nike.

"Well, shit," snorts Bucky. "I don't wanna have to pay for clothes, and if you're gonna give them to me for free, I'd rather wear something nice."
- Sarah Liss - Now Magazine - Jul 24 - 30, 2003


Debut cd out now!



On the road, bustin’ loads, welcome to the circus babe!
Dine and dash, flicking ash, just to scratch the surface.
Label heads get nervous when they see us on the grind.
And they wonder how we never once signed upon a dotted line.
Broken bones, Blow out combs, Rifs ears are fucking blown.
Time to make a record so that Kap can get a bigger home.
Bucky smears, ponys cheer from the front to the rear.
Then we get some Odies cause we all prefer a bigger beer.
Solo raps packin’ chaps. (Groupie love gets double wrapped.)
Find a loop, play it back get the whole band tracked.
Always on the level cause the pop world’s flat.
The boys deserve a medal cause we’ve been there, done that!
Crashed whips, fast chicks. Use your head. That’s it!
Everyone’s a star but we’re exceptions (mind the astrix*)
Started in the nine nine. Waited by the side lines.
Now we’re in the game and yall be seein’ us at prime time.
Hot damn! “Who’s that band?” Get your fucking digi cams.
Wham Bam thank you Cam, FANS HERE WE AMS!!!!!!!