A&E » Music

A Wilhelm Scream headlines Whistler Punk Series

Direct Hit! and Slush open at Merlin's on June 8



If you like your hardcore with a side order of melodic guitar then you'll know all about A Wilhelm Scream.

The New Bedford, Mass., punk band has been together through various incarnations and six albums. Now they are coming to Whistler as part of the Whistler Punk Series.

They perform with Milwaukee/Chicago concoction Direct Hit! (the two bands are touring together), with Whistler punk band Slush completing the heavy-revving triumvirate at Merlin's on Sunday, June 8.

Jamie Weatherbee, the drummer for Slush and organizer of The Whistler Punk Series, says the series has been going on for "close to eight years." Slush has been going since 1998, and has recorded 10 albums.

The series was a regular Sunday night feature at the late, lamented nightspot The Boot, but when the bar closed down it moved to Garfinkel's, and eventually became more intermittent.

"To keep a punk or heavier rock scene in Whistler... The Boot was a tradition for many years, and Slush played it a lot," says Weatherbee. "Now we're not doing shows every Sunday, I have a pretty busy job and family so it's not feasible."

Taking a financial risk in bringing in out-of-town bands can also be prohibitive for promoters without that kind of support to draw on, he adds.

So now the punk series is more of an occasional thing, with the last four years having the Whistler Punk Festival in the summer and the Whistler Snow Slam in the winter. For the last year, however, Weatherbee hasn't put this together. The June 8 concert is their first gig of 2014.

"Ideally, in a perfect world, we try to do two to four gigs a year, but it depends on the opportunity," he says.

Weatherbee says A Wilhelm Scream last performed in the resort in 2007.

"It was an awesome show at the GLC. Probably the best live band I've ever seen in my life," he says. "Having them come back, the booking agent for the show asked me if I wanted to have them and I was like, 'Without a doubt!' We're pumped.

"A lot of the time when we do these shows, it's because we like the out-of-town bands and it's also to support the local groups."

When contacted, A Wilhelm Scream vocalist Nuno Pereira was able to answer a few emailed questions at the start of their North American tour — sometimes seriously, sometimes not, but always in character as a punk-type guy. The band's latest album, Party Crasher, is their first since Career Suicide in 2007.

Pique: Congrats on passing your 20th year playing together. I realize the band has been in quite a few incarnations, at first, but did you celebrate?

Nuno Pereira: We are really happy to have been afforded the luxury of medium-sized recognition and popularity, and we celebrate that every day by locking ourselves in a room together, getting naked, and spitting on each other.

Honestly, though, I'm amazed that we have been at it so long. It goes to show, if you make music that comes from the heart and you surround yourself with positive people, anything is possible. 

Pique: It's pretty impossible to imagine hardcore in a kind of "comfortable middle age." How do you guys keep things "uncomfortable"?

NP: It's called "dad-core." I'm totally fine with being a middle-aged, underpaid rock 'n' roller. We see this as probably the greatest opportunity any of us have been offered. It's an open-ended story. No expectation, no expiration, no problem. We approach every tour and every album with the same energy and enthusiasm as we did when we were 20! It's exhausting.

Pique: You're just about to start your U.S./Canada tour? What do you guys do to get ready?

NP: Step one: wash your clothes and put them in your bag; Step two: call your dealer; Step three: kiss your family, Step four: get in the van; Step five: make sure Nick (Pasquale Angelini, their drummer) remembered to bring his passport.

Pique: What were you doing before this, last winter?

NP: I was busy teaching my kid to walk and hold a hockey stick with two hands. Shoveling snow and stockpiling cash so I can pay bills whilst on the road. That about sums it up.

Pique: What can you tell me about Party Crasher? It got some great reviews and I saw a comment that it wasn't as thrashy as Career Suicide. Were you trying to do something different with it?

NP: It is less thrashy. We never set out to meet certain criteria on each record. We write a bunch of songs and pick out the best ones (in our opinion) and set upon them with furious anger until they're done. The reviews, good and bad, will always come. That's why we write for our ears first, fuck the critics. Having said that, thanks to all the critics for the great reviews.

Pique: I saw that you guys are going to Europe after the U.S./Canada tour. Playing at XtremeFest, Reading, etc. What do you enjoy about the scene?

NP: We've always enjoyed our travels and fans abroad. It's a lot harder on me now because I've got a son at home.

The folks over in Europe are a lot like Canadians, in a way. They're very polite, quite often drunk, and they love to rock!

Pique: What can your fans in Whistler expect?

NP: Expect us to use up all your toilet paper, rock your faces off and possibly insult your favourite sports teams. 

We'd like to thank you all for your support and frenzied moshing. Whooo!

Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at Clubzone or Merlin's.