Inquisition (Canada)
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Inquisition (Canada)

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Punk

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"Reconcilable differences"

In 1991, the Calgary punk scene gave birth to one of the strangest, most unique bands it had ever seen: Inquisition. Self-described as a “garage punk-metal outfit,” the group went on to release four albums and two EPs, many of them with smartass names like Parcheesi with the Antichrist or Four Inches of Inquisition before calling it quits on their band, and friendship, after an ill-fated North American tour in the summer of 1996.

For a while, that was that, with members moving on to play in Martyr Index, The Evidence, The Drive and Brittle Siren. Last year, they broke a 14-year silence when asked to play a house show with local punk institution Knucklehead. It didn’t pan out, but it got them warmed up to the idea of a reunion. Then, for the CJSW funding drive, they promised to reunite if they could raise $2,000 for the station, a goal that was achieved in under an hour.

Requesting to be known under their stage names, Inquisition members Evelyn Wreckage, Mark Vermin, Methane Phedamine and Bob Ghengis Khan rekindled their once tumultuous friendship and started preparing for a series of 20th anniversary celebrations this year. With such a long history behind them, the group can’t help but reminisce.

“Before I joined Inquisition I thought that punk rock was all hard-edged and serious and declarative, but then I saw these guys,” recalls vocalist Wreckage of his recruitment to the band. “I didn’t realize that you could sing ‘I hate broccoli’ and get away with it. I thought only Weird Al could do that stuff. But it was a liberating M.O., and made me wanna join in their fun.”

For many, the Inquisition brings back a time in Calgary where the all-ages scene was at it’s peak as venues like Carpenter’s Union Hall would be packed to the brim with hundreds of ravenous kids hoping to catch the band — or one of their many peers — on a weekly basis. Wreckage says the band preferred the all-ages shows because of that youthful energy. “We barely played bar shows because nobody ever moshed or got excited about anything there. They just sat like lumps, drinking their drinks. At least that’s how it looked from the stage in comparison to the frenzy of all-ages shows,” he recalls.

Along with playing these shows, the members of Inquisition were also central to the city’s all-ages infrastructure, as guitarist Mark Vermin was a central force behind the Justabunchokids collective, which was responsible for a full decade of Calgary’s under-18 punk shows. “There was typically one show a week with the same 300 to 400 kids in attendance,” he recalls. “JBK lasted a good, long time, but when it started to fizzle, the-all ages scene did exactly what it had done in cities like Vancouver, Toronto, etc., and splintered into numerous, small (mostly) elitist scenes.

“I don’t necessarily think that Calgary’s all-ages scenes are destroyed or anything, though,” he is quick to add. “They are here what they are in other cities, small and more homogenous. We were really just lucky to have been able to be at the right place and the right time to be able to hold together such a heterogenous and strong scene for so long.”

With this rich Calgary history behind them, the Inquisition’s return to the stage comes with a buzzing anticipation. The members of the Inquisition are keeping things low-key however. “I think we’re hoping 10 people show up and are only mildly offended by our pathetic display of geriatric, washed-up poseur-dom,” Vermin says. - By Josiah Hughes for Ffwd Weekly


"Inquisition: Just a fun thing"

For a second, it's as if Beavis and Butthead have taken over the personalities of Sharky and Kid Uranus, the lead singer and guitarist of the Calgary punk-rock band Inquisition.
"To sum it all up, we just suck," says the Kid.
"Oh, we don't suck! Gimme a break!" Sharky snaps back.
"No. We suck," says Uranus.
In a universe ruled by Einstein's theory concerning the relativity of what sucks and does not suck, Inquisition sucks.
Cool.
The Calgary band's first CD, Four Inches Of, is full of snappy punk riffs and melodies, plenty of youthful humour (where would we be without bowel movements?) and songs with titles like Parcheesi With the Antichrist.
"We like to keep things fun," says Kid Uranus. "Fun and punk and simple. But I think we've advanced beyond this (CD). This is just a mish-mash of all our influences. I think we have more of a direction now. I'm starting to take our lyrics more seriously."
Sharky snaps back once again.
"He wants everything to have meaning these days."
Which isn't to say that Inquisition is going to turn into Pink Floyd. Not even Green Day. The band - which also includes Methane on bass and Ogre on drums and whose total age is under 80 (quick! math quiz!) - will continue to capture the energy and youthful enthusiasm of the all-ages gigs it plays, like the one at the Repulik today at 4:30 p.m.
In fact, Inquisition has never played a bar gig. It prefers all-ages shows (i.e.: no age limtations, no booze).
"It's the kids running around. They get into it more," says Uranus.
"Besides, we still look like kids," adds Sharky.
"And people still treat us like kids, so what the hell," says Uranus. "These were the kinds of gigs we were going to five years ago."
Though, as Sharky says, the all-ages scene is changing.
"Yeah. The kids keep getting younger and I keep getting older."
As for Inquisition, it will continue to probe the plight of life, the universe and everything with it's punk-rock songs.
"You can almost register the way the human condition is right now by the way the music is going. Which is, there's nothing there," says Sharky.
"It's just a fun thing."
- By James Muretich for the Calgary Herald


Discography

1996 - "E-I-E-I-Oi!" 7" single - produced by Dave Alcock - Label: Melodiya Records

1995 - "Red" LP - produced by Jeff Burns - Label: Melodiya Records

1995 - "Rise and Shine" EP - produced by Jeff Burns - independent release

1994 - "Four Inches of Inquisition" LP - produced by Jeff Burns - independent release

1993 - "Parcheesi With the Antichrist" LP - produced by Krisjan Leslie - independent release

1992 - "Outhouse Air-Freshener" LP - produced at Metanoia Studios - independent release

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Bio

Inquisition began in 1991 as a garage punk-metal outfit called Destroyer. After a year's worth of gigs, a string of singers, and a name change, Inquisition recorded their debut album, an 18 song full-length called "Outhouse Air-Freshener" - which has since vanished into legend.
Captivating audiences with their playful self-deprecating style and a carte blanche attitude, the band grew to become a mainstay in Calgary's all-ages scene and began opening for highly-acclaimed acts such as The Smalls, Gob, SNFU, the Cadillac Tramps, AFI, and Rancid. They also recorded three more full-lengths in as many years, sharpening their sound with each release, and developing a maturity to their lyrics as well.
Then in the summer of '96, after an arduous North American tour, Inquisition broke up due to internal strife.

Only having recently reconnected online, the members of Inquisition decided to reunite the band after a 13-year hiatus, currently booking gigs alongside plans for a new album to be released later this year.