High Five Drive
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High Five Drive

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September, two years ago: Dallas Reimer gets together with his friend and roommate Greg Rekus in the basement of their Osborne Village home. Rekus’ band, Lacking Intelligence, is splitting up, and rock stardom has never seemed so far away. In the mood for a good jam, both pick up their guitars, start to play, and High Five Drive is born.

Fast forward to present day: the band is sitting in the same basement, with four Canadian tours, two EPs, and demo the band describes as “a powerhouse of fury” under their belt.

High Five Drive are singer/guitarist Reimer, 23, singer/guitarist Rekus, 22, drummer Steve Jowsey, 23, and bassist Brent “Grampa” Smith 27. The boys already have a devout fanbase, and are set to record their first full-length album over the winter, due for tentative release next spring. But forget albums, this band lives for their live shows.

“We could play in a closed-up basement until our ears bleed,” says Jowsey. “But it just isn’t the same as playing live. The Winnipeg music scene is picking up a bit, and there are definitely more people coming out to the shows. It’s pretty cool when there are people who come out and know all the words and sing along.”

After four tours, the High Five Drive fanbase in Western Canada is already established, but it’s been harder to break into the eastern scene.

“It’s a lot tougher out there,” says Rekus. “A lot of bands already go there to play, and we’re a small fish in a big pond. But hey, St. Catherines loves us.”

Critics have had a hard time categorizing the music High Five Drive plays, often passing it off as punk or emo. The band calls it speedrock, or skaterock, or even, in the words of Reimer, “super-ultra-mega-core.” Their influences range from jazz to metal. They list bands like NOFX, Moneen, Iron Maiden, and Rocket From the Crypt as some of their favourites. The band members are also all big fans of Rufio, a California band they shared a stage with on Oct. 21.

“I almost shit my pants when I found out we were playing with them,” Rekus says.

Playing alongside one of their top 10 favourite groups is just one of the perks of success. It looks like High Five Drive has come a long way from being a couple of guys hanging out in a basement. Their fanbase continues to grow, and the music keeps getting better and better.

“Feel free to exchange old CDs for the new ones,” says Smith jokingly.

The band’s next Winnipeg show is Nov. 9 at the West End Cultural Centre (586 Ellice). They are playing Bailey’s Car, Kiros, and Threadline. With their growing success, they don’t plan to stop anytime soon to take up what most parents would call a “real job”.

“We plan to do this until we can’t walk anymore,” says Jowsey. “I wanted to be in a band ever since I was four. I saw Tommy Lee playing with Motley Crue and I knew right then I had to be a rock star.”

“This is just what I want to do,” says Rekus. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
- the Projector


No wonder their engine needs servicing - hell, it's a wonder High Five Drive haven't already burned themselves out with their redlining ways. These finely tuned punks are definately firing on all cylinders on this turbo-charged full-length. Laying the rubber right off the line, they put the pedal to the metal and burn through 11 pop-punk tracks in less than 28 minutes. Despite their brevity, though, these cuts are fully formed entities, with intelligently introspective lyrics and yearning vocals that soar above chugging buzzsaw guitars, propulsive rhythms and precision-engineered arrangements. Sure, it wouldn't kill them to take it down a gear now and then--but in this indie race, these boys take the checkered flag. - Winnipeg Sun


Local quartet High Five Drive certainly had it's ducks in a row and swimming steady on to commercial success. The band recently won a slot on Power 97's latest compilation, Class of 2004, and followed it up with a highly publicized release party for it's debut full length album. Service Engine Soon was recorded over 11 days in BC with Travis Saunders (Drive By Punch, Stutterfly), who smoothed the jagged edges but left a necessary roughness in the band's self-described "speed rock" style. Service Engine Soon is polished and complete, but pays high dues to the band's punk roots. While the melodic, somewhat post-punk feel of "Fallen" is perhaps easiest to imagine making it to modern rock radio, it's hard to ignore the musicianship of "Colic" and rippng control and harmonies on "As This Body Betrays Me". These four young men are dead set on tearing ear drums and changing minds. The difference with them is, they just might do it. - Stylus Magazine


Pop-punk is a musical genre that’s so over-saturated, bloated, watered down and glossed over, it’s becoming nothing if not a disturbing parody of punk rock. It’s so sickeningly safe and radio-friendly, and so generally exploited and left for dead that… well, you get the idea. So it was more than a little refreshing to put on the latest disc from Winnipeg’s High Five Drive, Service Engine Soon, and actually feel something.

The secret to the band’s successful sound? Energy, tons of it – an almost embarrassing amount of it. Are these guys all puberty-ravaged 14-year-olds or something? “No, we’re 23, 24, 25 and 29,” chuckles vocalist-guitarist Greg Rekus. “We’re covering all the twenties. When we recorded the album we were in the middle of a tour – playing every night, we just get faster and faster. It builds up every night, the excitement.”

Even though it has its moments of ennui-laden mall-punk, Service Engine Soon has even more instances of technically impressive playing… and again, that energy. The band, who have been around for three years now, have spent time honing their sound on several cross-Canada tours (this current trek out to the left coast will be their sixth).

And yeah, I didn’t like the band name either, but I’ll admit I was won over upon hearing the innocently simple explanation Rekus gave. “I always wanted to live on a street called High Five Drive,” he says. Does that street exist? “No. One day it will, if I have something to do with it. It’s on the list of things to do.”

If he puts half the energy into it that as he puts into his music, it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Monday Magazine


The latest New Revolt show helped me put certain things into perspective. Although I frequently complain about our lack of live music, (and concert goers’ spirit), in Lethbridge, the punk scene we have around here is not so bad. We often have punk, emo, and hardcore bands – often several at a time – playing all ages shows to half decent turnouts, with the best mosh pits in town, and loyal fans of the local bands coming out to show their support.

While most New Revolt shows feature one local band two from out of town, the last production that happened on March 11th only featured Winnipeg rockers HIGH FIVE DRIVE in addition to the two local bands who graced the stage.

First on the bill was Atrophy Manuscript, who played heavy punk (very hardcore-esque) contrasted against rather melodic, well-done lyrical lines. Unfortunately, the vocals were a little lost in the heavy guitar distortion, which was a little too much in the first place – not that it was intentional, but something wasn’t planned out properly during sound check.

Atrophy Manuscript gave the most reserved performance of the night, most likely because they were first and it’s always harder to be the band who warms up the crowd, but it seemed odd for a heavy band to be so laidback while playing.

Next was hardcore band Until It Ends, (formerly known as the Orwhen), who knew how to give a more energetic performance. This night, they were left without a lead vocalist, leaving the guitar player to fill in some of the vocals while mostly only singing/screaming his own parts.

When you heard them play, it wasn’t very apparent that a vocalist was missing, After, all, there are a good number of hardcore bands who are mostly instrumental aside from a few vocal interjections, and Until It Ends still sounded great with only the occasional lyrics.

Their situation provided them with a nice focus on instrumentation as the guitatist and bassist typically played at the drummer, making them fell like a stronger collective. Musically they were tight, offering rather melodic music while still sounding heavy and intense.

HIGH FIVE DRIVE was definitely the high point of the evening. This was my second time seeing them, and since I loved them the first time, I had some strong expectations this time around, which the band met and then some.

This is definitely a better performance than the last time they were in Lethbridge. In those six months their talent has just skyrocketed. Their melodies are tighter, the percussion more intense and rhythmic, the bass heavier, and the guitars more intelligent. I once thought the two guitarists were excellent when they came together, but back then they were still separate beings – now it almost feels like they’ve formed one powerful guitar-playing being (how much more tight can a performance be?).

The performance was even more energetic than the last time as well, as hard as it was to believe. Last time I was impressed by all the jumps, swinging of heads, and sweat flying in all directions while the music remained flawless, and although they did all the same things, they did more of it. I was tempted to count exactly how many times the one guitarist completely left the ground. I doubt these guys have ever played a boring show if they can have that much energy from the opening chords. What’s more, after they thrash around like that, they can sing without sounding out of breath – very impressive. As a final note, for anyone who was at the show and wondering: the drummer, who looks 15, is actually 23. I hope I don’t disappoint too many of the teenage girls with the news.
- The Meliorist


With the Mad Caddies playing Winnipeg for the second time this year, it seems like they're the only Fat band that seems to come up here anymore.

It is actually a cool story as to why they played. This was not part of a tour, or anything, in fact the Pyramid paid an airline to fly a band out to play a one-off show, and chose the Mad Caddies.

The show started around 9. The opening band, High Five Drive, a local group that have been around for a while, played a really good set. Their style was mostly fast and melodic. However, they mixed it up and played a few slow songs. A couple of their tunes sounded like new Belvedere; definitely worth checking out. In addition, they had two singers, both with really different, really good, clear voices. I really enjoyed this set.

Next up was the band Ten Too Many. It was pretty comical watching ten of them squeeze out onto the Pyramid's stage. The horn section being careful not to poke someone's eye out, the guitarist stuck in the back corner almost out of sight. The singer for this band, also local, was a pretty cute girl. She had the 'Gwen Stefani' early No Doubt thing going on. She sang well, however, they're heavy on the ska, and light on the punk, and it did not do much for me. The highlight of their set was a cover of "Our House" by Madness.

After this there was a long pause, and the new Snoop Dogg album penetrated the venue's PA system and some dude came on encouraging people to buy drinks.

The Caddies came on around 11:15 to a warm reception. Most of the crowd was pretty wasted, and so was the band.

They kicked off with "Macho Nachos" and played almost everything until close to 1. Their set was really good at the start, however, as they got drunker the set deteriorated. By the end they were pausing for long periods between songs, making dumb comments, and playing "Cowboys and Indians", a song they made up improv style.

Overall, they put on a good show, but they just lost it at the end. Maybe they should have finished a few songs earlier, or drank a few beers less. Anyway, it was still good.

The set was wide, they played songs off all the albums, including "Drinking for Eleven," "Contraband," Road Rash," "Days Away," "Goleta," "Econoline," "Wet Dog," "Pirate Song," "The Gentleman," and "10 West." It was a good time.

Definitely check out the Mad Caddies if you have the chance; hopefully you catch them a little more sober.

Overall: 8/10
High Five Drive: 9/10
Ten Too Many 6.5/10
Mad Caddies 8/10
- Punk News.org


Winnipeg-based band High Five Drive may be moving out and up in the world, but their music still has the effect of a time-warp back to high school.

The group’s sound has been categorized by websites and critics as ranging from punk, emo and rock, to various combinations of the three; unsurprising, when according to an interview posted on manitobamusic.com, the band credits all these genres as influences.

Since forming officially in 2001, the group has produced a three song demo and a five song EP entitled Something Better, and has been featured on several punk compilation CDs such as Class of 2004 and Night of the Living Punks.

Vocalist Greg Rekus has also released a compilation CD called Mark Yer Territory, featuring his own band and other punk bands from Winnipeg. The CD is released under his newly formed label Guy Named Greg Records.

Although the band is already working on their sixth cross-Canada tour, they have also been promoting their first full-length CD, Service Engine Soon.

The album’s 11 short but intense tracks live up to the band’s website description as “dual-vocalist fueled, supercharged punk rock,” and possess an energy that you might ordinarily find only at a live show.

Songs like Fallen and September, with their stream-of-consciousness style lyrics, put the listener right back in the days of high school garage groups, where music was life and a “big deal” was not a signing bonus but a victory in Battle of the Bands.

High Five Drive is the band you would have wanted to cheer for because their music has a sincerity and enthusiasm that makes you hope they will hit it big.

Although a little rough around the edges on first listen, the CD has enough raw energy that you don’t stop to sweat the small stuff. Imperfections may be there but they are outweighed by the integrity that comes through in each of the songs.

The sound on Service Engine Soon may not be entirely unique, but it shouldn’t be written off as fabricated or false in its presentation. A completely original sound is hard to come by these days and we all have to get inspiration and influence from somewhere.

Just check out the band’s website, highfivedrive.com, to get an idea of who they are, and you’ll likely find their music to be an honest reflection.

Bands sounding similar to High Five Drive may be all over the airwaves, but is this band specifically worth checking out? Absolutely.

If you turned a CD off simply because one band sounded similar to another, you could be missing out on a lot of great stuff. That’s the case here: if you give the CD a chance and don’t get hung up on the labels, you might find the band is really growing on you.

It began that way for me, and how I’m not sure I can make it through the day without hearing As This Body Betrays Me.

Overall, the impression of this CD seems to have a lot to do with potential. It may not be the best thing the band ever produces but it’s a sign that you might want to keep an eye on them. As a debut, it serves as a good foundation for a promising future, and it never hurts to get on board early and grow with the band.

Besides, if you want to recapture a little of the glory days of high school, Service Engine Soon might just be the trick. It definitely wins Battle of the Bands in my book.
- The Cambrian Shield


Discography

"Service Engine Soon", 2004, Full Length - receiving college radio play across Canada, as well as commercial radio play for the single Fallen in Winnipeg.

"...something better", 2002, EP - recieved college radio play across Canada

Photos

Bio

High Five Drive has taken their brand of supercharged “speed rock” to more people and places in the 3½ years since it’s inception than most bands will in their lifetimes. Plans for yet another cross Canadian tour, as well as five week stint in Europe, are already in the works.

Once they hit the stage, all regard for their own safety is promptly tossed out the window. Neither broken instruments, personal injury, nor mid-show vomiting will stop the onslaught of sound and energy they radiate through each and every song. This intense live show coupled with attention-grabbing riffs and meaningful lyrics, has helped build High Five Drive a strong following all across Canada.

Their most recent accomplishments include being chosen as one of the bands for Winnipeg radio station Power 97's "Class of 2004", which includes regular rotation on the most listened to rock station in Winnipeg. Since then, requests have been pouring in, landing High Five Drive in the coveted "Top 7 @ 7" several times, which features the most requested bands of the day.

With all 1000 copies of their EP “…something better” being sold, High Five Drive contracted Producer Travis Saunders to record their first full-length album, “Service Engine Soon.” The new album quickly cemented the relationship the band had built with Langley, B.C. based punk label, Spawner Records. Spawner proposed to release the album, and the marriage between the two has been strong ever since. The band is still enjoying much success with “Service Engine Soon”. The first 1000 copies sold out in 9 months, thanks in part to distribution deals in Canada and Japan.

What's next for High Five Drive? More touring? Definitely. World domination? Probably. They know where you live, so don’t bother to hide. As long as there are people and places to rock, High Five Drive will be rocking them like none before.