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"Friday Night Roundup"

Wax Poets-Wax Poets. This Calgary band has come out of left field to become of the more pleasant surprises I've run across lately. They rock - and pop - with a swagger that reminds me of big-name bands like Oasis and Jet. They start auspiciously with opener "Junkstar", complete with fake crowd noise (a la countrymen Sloan) and the rocker "Can't Slow Down", and pull off a couple of fine Beatlesque numbers in "Sgt. Strange" and "Sometimes". Other standouts include the driving (and clever) "Making Conversation" and the melodic midtempo "Vicki". These guys come as a breath of fresh air through your speakers, so make sure to check them out.
- absolutepowerpop.blogspot.com

"2008 another rich year for Calgary music"

Wax Poets

With so many generic, cookie-cutter bands dominating the airwaves these days we sometimes forget how great radio-friendly pop-rock can actually be when it's fresh and inspired. With three fine songwriters aboard the ship in Conrad Walz, Randy Hutchings and Cameron Purvis, Wax Poets remind us on their likable debut.

--Heath McCoy - Calgary Herald

"Local roots rockers are poetry in motion"

On the phone from a bar in Moncton, N. B., where his band Wax Poets are in the middle of an afternoon sound check, Conrad Walz seems rather bagged.

The hard-working Calgary rockers haven't even released their self-titled debut CD yet -- that order of business will be taken care of Saturday night at the band's Marquee Room gig -- but the Wax Poets have already been on the road for three weeks. They travelled to St. John's, N. L., and now they're making their way back, playing every rock bar that would have them along the way.

"It's gruelling, for sure," says a sleepy sounding Walz as his fellow Wax Poets loudly tune up in the background. "We don't have those rock star luxuries as of yet."

One gets the impression that this group doesn't exactly behave like choir boys on the road either, which might be contributing to Walz's glaze.

In the liner notes for their debut self-titled CD they dedicate the disc to, among others, a "psycho stripper at The Roadhouse in Golden, B. C." and "the (expletive) in Canmore who stole and burned Conrad's truck."

The Canmore incident went down following a post-gig bash at which Walz's vehicle disappeared, the singer's truck found down the road the following morning, torched. Walz firmly believes the culprit was at the party that evening, which leads us to believe the Wax Poets may have partying with a solid lot.

As for the misadventure in Golden, the band had been sharing a stage with a stripper that night who later joined them back at the hotel only to lose her mind when she got there. "I don't remember what was said or done, but it ended with her pelting us with various food items and spraying our hotel room down with a fire extinguisher," Walz says. "The night didn't end well. . . . The RCMP were called and the festivities came to an end."

But for whatever shenanigans the Wax Poets get up to, this is a band that's seriously dedicated to its music.

The Wax Poets' debut disc is an energetic, infectious collection of roots rock and power pop tunes which perfectly reflect the band's shared influences.

"It all comes back to The Beatles and the Stones and then branches out from there," says Walz. "Cheap Trick and Kiss. XTC. We're like The Cars meets AC/DC."

A big part of Wax Poets' pop-rock precision comes from the fact all four members of the band are singers and songwriters, adds singer-guitarist Randy Hutchings, who get on the phone after Walz.

"The unifying thing is, we're all admirers of a great pop song," Hutchings says. "It doesn't matter who records it. . . . Conrad's more of a Stonesy rootsy player, but he shocked me on the road when he said that as a kid his favourite band was ABBA. . . . I'm into a sort of Jayhawks meets Elliott Smith thing. . . . And Cam (Purvis, guitarist, bassist and pianist), his favourite group of all time is the Bee Gees. He really likes The Cars as well, and Pink Floyd. Our drummer (Paul Bennett), he's a writer, too."

When the Wax Poets aren't working together, all four members of the band are dedicated to various side projects, most notably Hutchings' solo gig and Walz with his other band, Conrad Walz and The Wrecking Ball. - Calgary Herald

"Rising Rockstars"

Randy Hutchings and Conrad Walz, two members of the band the Wax Poets, sit around Walz’s living room waiting for drummer Paul Bennett to show up. The fourth member, Cameron Purvis, phones from Winnipeg and waits patiently on speakerphone. Bennett, they say, is usually late. “What do you know, our drummer can’t keep time,” says Hutchings, as he and Walz share a laugh.

To break the silence, Walz looks over to Hutchings and says that he heard their song, “Can’t Slow Down,” on the radio this morning. Hutchings doesn’t seem all that surprised. “Every time I turn on the radio, I hear one of my songs,” says Hutchings, the band’s guitarist, as he turns back to his laptop resting on the side table.

“I still turn it up when I hear it, though,” Walz says, laughing. Purvis, the bass player, on speaker phone, jokes that every time he hears their songs on the radio, “it’s like a gentle massage.”

Since forming in January of 2007, the indie rock band from Calgary has been getting an increasing amount of radio play on college stations and the CBC. They just recently finished up their Canadian tour and released their self-titled debut album. The band has played consistently in bars and clubs across the city and even opened for the Violent Femmes at Flames Central.

The album has been generating positive reviews from both mainstream and underground sources. It was hailed by the Calgary Herald’s music critic, Heath McCoy, as, “an energetic, infectious collection of roots rock and power pop tunes,” and FFWD Weekly proclaimed their harmonies as “Beatles-esque.”

“We’re proud that we’d be compared to anyone like that,” says Purvis. “I don’t know if we live up to it, but it’s a compliment.” The quartet combines infectious melodies and four-part harmonies over energetic guitars and pulsing drums. “We have a distinct pop sound, which we like,” Walz says.
Image © Courtesy Wax Poets

This past November and December they set out on their first cross-Canada tour and drove from Calgary to Newfoundland in 30 days. It’s something they are proud of. “This was the first serious tour for all of us,” Bennett says. “Next time we’ll know a little more and it’ll be even better and smoother the second time around.” Purvis adds, “Touring was a lot of work.”

The hard work is paying off. The constant touring has resulted in more interviews, more radio play and more fans at their gigs. “We got more hits on our MySpace page after we came back from touring than Sloan had,” Hutchings said, with just a touch of pride at beating the long-established Canadian rock group.

Currently, the band is not signed to any record label. They produced and financed their debut album independently and have already sold out their first batch of pressed CDs. When asked how many CDs they’ve sold, Hutchings replies with a smirk: “Well under a million.” They don’t see that as a bad thing, though. In fact, Walz sees it as an opportunity to keep getting better.

Purvis agrees: “Bands who are signed to a record deal don’t magically spring out of nowhere. They work hard to get noticed and that’s what we’re hoping to do.”

Being an unsigned rock band in Calgary has its benefits, the band says. Purvis explains that the Wax Poets had the good fortune of starting up during a time when the city was willing to embrace independent music. “It’s a great advantage to play here because there’s a good mixture of music fans that like to take risks and come out to see bands they’ve never heard before,” Purvis says. “With less diverse cities, it’s usually the opposite.”

This diversity is best illustrated with the band’s two favourite venues: Flames Central and The Gateway. Walz says that while the crowd at Flames Central is more diverse, with young and old music fans alike, The Gateway at SAIT is smaller and attracts more of a college contingent. For the next couple of weeks, the band will try and find quiet time to write songs for their second album. They plan on touring again this year—in the summer. - where calgary

"Violent Strippers and Angry Grannies"

A band photo shoot last year ended with one member of The Wax Poets fracturing his ribs, one puking over a balcony and another spraining his ankle chasing rabbits. Alcohol was obviously not involved. Reclining on a futon in a Calgary apartment, the gang of four power-poppers is drinking tea and chomping Halloween candy.

“What kind of band is this?” asks guitarist and bassist Conrad Walz, when he notices how mild-mannered his fellow musicians are acting. “I must have the wrong band here.”

The Wax Poets are a meat-and-potatoes rock ’n’ roll band. At their tour kickoff show on Thursday, November 13 at Broken City, expect asses on the dance floor. Despite housing four songwriters, there are no mopey, sharing-too-many-feelings moments in their music — The Wax Poets are about crunchy, three-minute songs that make you shake it.

“We put buzzers on the seats,” says band multi-instrumentalist Cam Purvis. “We got songs that people remember…. A lot of our songs sound like songs you’ve heard before. Probably because we ripped them off. People are desperately trying to remember the words to the song that they know they’ve never heard before.”

While their self-titled debut, due out December 13, features Beatles-esque harmonies and guitars, it isn’t stuck in one era or sound. These melody makers also switch up vocals between three members, making the record a mix of styles and personalities.

“Everybody wants a front man,” says Walz.

“These are the days of the American Idol,” echoes Purvis. “People want a ‘singer,’ but I always found that a bit boring. I like bands that have shades of other people.”

A fall 2006 gig at the now-defunct Tio’s on 14th St. launched the band on the path to madness. A few drinks inspired the band to go outside, playing to passersby. Cue a complaining old lady, and you end up with Purvis barricading a phone booth to avoid a call to the police.

“These guys had a plan that the way to get noticed in Calgary is to get arrested,” Walz says of his bandmates. “It’s kind of an old theory, but it’s worked in the past. I didn’t know it was gonna start that night.”

Sadly, the band avoided having their mug shots taken that night.

“It’s hard getting arrested on [14th St.] as a band, when that whole area is covered in crack whores,” says Hutchings.

Competition aside, it was only a few months later (and after a trip to rehab for one member) that the group found itself onstage at Flames Central. There, The Wax Poets opened for The Violent Femmes and The Old 97’s. These were the band’s third and fourth shows.

“It made us feel real good for two shows,” laughs Purvis. “It gave us some credibility, and we’ve tried to destroy that ever since.”

“I think it gives you the gumption to keep moving forward,” says Hutchings. “If you keep playing shitty bar gigs all the time and nobody shows up, you probably might go ‘Fuck it, I don’t wanna do this anymore.’ But when you do something like this, it makes you think, maybe we got something here.”

They’ll find out if they have what it takes when they hit the road. A rental van full of gear, CDs and little sleep between gigs awaits them. Having escaped other cities without their truck (it was torched) while being pelted by bananas, hot dogs and a jar of salsa, the band is always ready for mayhem.

“It’s because we’re always drunk,” Hutchings says. “What’s a rock ’n’ roll band without a bit of mayhem here and there? Once it’s full-time tea, I think I’m out.”

- ffwd weekly


Waxpoets (self titled LP - released december 2008)



There’s a buzz of anticipation surging through the 2000 plus crowd at Flames Central in downtown Calgary. The stage lights go up and WaxPoets rip into Can’t Slow Down – a fitting metaphor for the band’s trajectory toward success. The song is a spring-loaded rocker depicting a frantic search for meaning and it kicks off a night of hook laden power pop that electrifies audience and band members alike!

twisted means to scattered ends
I burn the candle at both ends
but hear me wax poetic friends
I think I mean it, I think I really mean it

They definitely mean it!

The four members of WaxPoets are powerful musical forces in their own right. Combined, the talents of Paul Bennett, Randy Hutchings, Cameron Purvis and Conrad Walz are impossible to ignore. Originally hailing from four different parts of the country, the band members have joined forces in the common cause of making great music. This is a group of songwriters first and foremost, so the bar is set high and mediocre songs don’t make the cut. Enthusiastic audiences across Canada have embraced the band and would loudly agree that WaxPoets are ready for the big time! Infectious melodies soar above gritty guitars. Lush harmonies decorate psychedelic soundscapes. This is rock and roll WaxPoets-style and is the sound that is earning the band accolades from fans and critics alike. Having chosen Can’t Slow Down as Track of the Day on CBC Radio 3, Craig Norris described the band as “hooky, with a beatlesque vibe … but there is something very contemporary and unique about their sound too.” Including the WaxPoets in The Calgary Herald's best of 2008 review, Heath McCoy wrote - "with so many generic cookie cutter bands dominating the airwaves these days we sometimes forget how great radio-friendly pop rock can actually be when it's fresh and inspired." Sharing stages with - and making fans of - bands like the Old 97s, Violent Femmes and Spirit of the West, the WaxPoets continue to spread the word and audiences are lining up to hear it!

So with a firecracker of a debut album and a Canadian tour under their belt, WaxPoets are poised to take it to the next level. Their sound is classic, yet fresh and their attitude is pure rock n roll. The band's members bring their individual talents and ideas to a common meeting place - an underground club where the Beatles drink with the Stones, The Who raise hell with The Ramones, and where all good riffs go to meet their melodies. Drenched in sweat and somewhat intoxicated, WaxPoets emerge from this smoky den with a sense of purpose.