GrimSkunk
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GrimSkunk

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"Vive la mouffette"

I'm stretched out in the Indica Records offices on St-Laurent Blvd. with GrimSkunk lead guitarist Peter Edwards and vocalist/keyboardist Joe Evil. Edwards has a Les Paul slung over his lap that he's absently strumming as he speaks, and Evil's slumped back against a wall covered in concert posters spanning the last decade of Indica. There are surfboards (a great story for another time) piled in the corner. It would be hard not to feel comfortable here.

Indica - the independent label GrimSkunk started in 1997 after the infamous implosion of their previous label, Cargo, now the stuff of Montreal music folklore (though more Headless Horseman than Paul Bunyan) - has evolved into something of a powerhouse, releasing the work of over two dozen Quebec and international artists, such as Priestess, Vulgaires Machins, The Cat Empire, Tryo, the now multi-platinum Les Trois Accords and, of course, GrimSkunk.

For most of GrimSkunk - rounded out by singer/guitarist Franz Schuller, drummer Alain Vadboncoeur and newest member, former Groovy Aardvark frontman and bassist Vince Peake - it's been a 17-year, eight full-length album adventure for friends who both work and play together. "The challenge of running a successful record label and being a successful band is making the five-person relationship work over a long period of time," posits Edwards.

The proof of this relationship is Fires Under the Road, which follows the critically mixed Seventh Wave in 2002 (which I loved, incidentally) and a
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live CD/DVD in 2003. "With this album we had to do a really, really good job and we knew it," says Edwards of the pressure to stay viable.

"For the continuation of the band, we knew we had to put out something better," concurs Evil. "And then Gggarth [Richardson - Melvins, Rage Against The Machine, Rise Against] came along. He's a great producer, he understood the band and he has a great sound."

The powerful Fires Under the Road has a real, direct rock feel to it that incorporates many of the things that have worked for GrimSkunk in previous lives, like the psychedelic and prog flourishes as well as hardcore and punk instincts and sensibilities. But of all the things that Richardson did, it was the thing he didn't do that matters most: He didn't make them sound like someone or something else. And for a band like GrimSkunk, which has an undeniably Quebec, undeniably organic, undeniably, let's say, homegrown feel, that's quite a feat.

Apart from the first single, the title track Fires Under the Road, there are two songs that are already garnering attention: the deductive America Sucks and the broadly damning Vive le Québec libre. A sample lyric: "Un autre mangeux de marde, un mangeux de bines/ avec son drapeau comme un has-been/ y'aime pas les nègres, y'aime pas les blokes/ pis ben misogine... Vive le Québec libre/ les cerveaux vides/ les mains en sang/ Vives les imbéciles/ qui fuck le monde pour nos enfants."

That's some serious cojones, especially in these parts.

GrimSkunk don't necessarily agree. "I find that Vive le Québec libre kind of counterbalances America Sucks and vice versa," says Edwards.

"It's directed at the old, typical attitude," he continues. "What it comes down to is that we're against government running people's lives in terms of what they should think. For example, post 9/11 in the U.S., you're not allowed to say anything against the U.S. - it's unpatriotic. It seems that in Quebec you've got the same problematic mentality where, because of the language issue, you have to have a certain outlook."

Which recalls novelist and playwright Michel Tremblay, who in April of this year was publicly eviscerated by his nationalist peers and nearly had his sovereigntist colours revoked by the rest of the club after saying he no longer supported the arguments for Quebec independence. (He later equivocated, saying it was the poor state of the debate he found discouraging, and not the movement itself.)

"That is a perfect example, a perfect example of the mindset," states Edwards. "That's what Vive le Québec libre is attacking: the old mindset, not thinking outside of the box or for yourself."

There's an element that's going to look at Vive le Québec libre in a very surface, uncritical way and say that it's an anti-sovereigntist, anti-Quebec song. And they're not going to be happy.

"It's going to piss some people off for sure," says Evil philosophically.

You can forget about sharing a stage with Loco Locass.

"Well, we've shared stages with them before," laughs Edwards, "and it may happen again. It's freedom of speech. We've written songs exactly like these in the past, slightly more gentle versions, and this is just..."

"This is just trying to get people to think, trying to get them to have a reaction," interjects Evil. "It's just to say that things in our society aren't that great and we can improve them... It goes back to our old '80s hardcore roots, and a tradition - Jamie O'Meara (HOUR)


Discography

Fires Under The Road, 2006
Live + DVD Unplugged, 2003
Seventh Wave, 2002
Grim Skunk plays... Fatal illness, 2001
Fieldtrip, 1998
Meltdown, 1996
GrimSkunk, 1994
Exotic Blend, 1992
Autumn Flowers, 1991

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Bio

GrimSkunk
“Fires under the road”

Three years since their last release GrimSkunk has teamed up with producer Gggarth Richardson to bring us their latest album titled “Fires Under the road”. Once again Grimskunk comes back with a creative force that knows no limits.. For this new album the band went to The Farm studio in Gibsons BC, and produced a heavy rock album with punk, strong melodies and psychedelic tendencies, the unique sound that has made GrimSkunk stand out on the musical landscape. Elaborate gleefully grim keyboards, crunching raw guitars, powerful drumming and melodic vocals, their unique and eclectic sound prevails throughout the entire album with songs like the title track “Fires under the road”, “Psychedelic wonder drug”, “America sucks” and “Divide and Conquer”. Fires under the road was mixed by Mike Fraser and will be released on October 31st 2006.

History:
Planting trees up north one summer, the seed was planted, GrimSkunk sprouted (also proving a dominant force on the latter of the name). The creative team started by founding members Joe “Evil”, Franz Schuller & Peter Edwards stuck and properly gelled into GrimSkunk upon their return to Montreal in the autumn. Determined to offset the more organic, hippy side of their ideology, the band added Grim to their name in order to represent the ying and yang. Grim defined the darker side, more brooding and less appealing commentary on society that crept into the majority of their songs.

For over fifteen years now GrimSkunk has proven themselves to be unstoppable, exerting a ferocious blend of what is best described as “hybrid rock” to all ears that cross their path. Always maintaining the highest regards for musical integrity, GrimSkunk has become one of Canada’s most successful and influential rock groups to date. After a run of indie CDs and a relationship with Montreal’s infamous Cargo, the band found itself without a distributor and a support system for their touring. Instead of giving up and going 9-5 like many indie bands in Canada during the late 1990s, GrimSkunk created it’s own label, Indica Records, in 1997. Not only did fill a noticeable void in the Canadian music landscape, it gave them the ability to sign other domestic indie artists as well European and American bands with whom they’d established touring relationships.

Over the course of time, GrimSkunk has self-financed over 30 tours of both Europe and America. They rattle off an impressive list of festivals and noteworthy bands that they’ve shared the stage. Known best for their live performances, GrimSkunk’s raw energy and live intensity has been the catalyst of their fame. On the road, networking with other bands and appreciation for perseverance has resulted in respect from both the industry and their fans.

GrimSkunk are
Joe Evil: vocals and keyboards
Franz Schuller: vocals and guitar
Peter Edwards: guitar
Alain Vadboncoeur: drums
Vince Peake: bass & vocals

GrimSkunk
“Fires under the Road”

Trois ans après la sortie de leur dernier album, GrimSkunk revient en force avec leur nouvel album "Fires under the road". Réalisé par Gggarth Richardson (RATM), au studio The Farm a Gibsons, BC., C'est un album de pur rock lourd qui réunit les influences (punk, melodique, psychedelique) qui ont crée le son unique de GrimSkunk. Claviers rococo et débiles, guitares décapantes, rythmes percussifs et voix melodiques sur textes fantaisistes et engagés, cet album met en vedette pour la 1ere fois Vince Peake a la basse et aux choeurs. Le son lourd, revendicateur et original du groupe est en evidence tout au long de l'album sur des chansons telles "Fires under the road", Psychedelic wonderdrug", "America sucks" ou "Divide and conquer". “Fires under the Road" a été mixé par Mike Fraser (AC/DC) et sort le 31octobre 2006.

Histoire:
Sur une période supérieure à quinze ans maintenant, le groupe Grimskunk a prouvé à tous qu’on ne pouvait l’arrêter, offrant un mélange de « rock hybride » à tout les oreilles croisant son chemin. Restant toujours intègre envers leur musique, Grimskunk est devenu l’un des groupe rock les plus influents au Canada. Après plusieurs disques indépendants et la faillite du distributeur Cargo, le groupe s’est finalement retrouvé sans distributeur et sans système de support pour sa tournée. À la place de déclarer forfait et de travailler de neuf à cinq comme beaucoup de groupes canadiens indépendants de la fin des années 1990, Grimskunk a créé sa propre maison de disque, les Disques Indica, en 1997. En plus de remplir un vide dans l’espace musicale Canadien, cela a permit au groupe de signer d’autres artistes locaux, européens et américains rencontrés en tournées.

Au cours des années, Grimskunk s’est autofinancé pour plus de 30 tournées en Europe et en Amérique. Le groupe a accumulé une impressionnante liste de contacts au cours de rencontres avec d’autres groupes et organisateurs de festivals. Mieux co