Who: The Snitches
Where: Garibaldi Lift Co.
When: Tuesday, March 25
If you've ever pulled an all-nighter in Montreal, you just may have partied with the Snitches. The pop-punk rockers' reputation for throwing illegal parties featuring crazy stage antics cemented them into the city's wild boy hall of fame forever.
But it's their latest and dare I say greatest album, Star Witness, that has really put them on the musical map. The indie undergrounders have since signed with big guns Universal; have garnered serious airplay and their videos for the catchy singles Right Before My Eyes and Willie receive regular rotation on MuchMusic. Loyal fans might say they've sold out but if you ask the band, they put the new direction down to plain old maturity. There's only so many broken bones, sleepless nights and bad debts a band can go through before something has to give.
In The Snitches case, what gave way was a whole new sensibility that has brought an album crammed with hits and hooks reminiscent of the Cars, the Talking Heads, The White Stripes and even a bit of Supergrass. However, the Snitches are iridescently individual with a style unmistakably all their own - savvy garage rock guaranteed to get you cheering and charging.
We caught up with vocalist and guitarist Mike Webber who just like The Snitches latest album of songs, was beguiling, cheeky and bang up for a good time. Here's our top five Q and A's:
Pique: You've been defined as high-energy punk or upbeat rock or even lyrical pop - which one is it?
MW: We started out as a rock band, but now we're a pop band with a punk kind of energy, but who cares about pigeonholing, it's all just good times.
Pique : Your Web site appeals to fans to "snitch on the complacent, the false in the industry." What's this covert mission all about?
MW: It's a fun way of contextualizing our tour. Our shows are very spirited and we try to give out 100 per cent every single night and I think there has been a lack of true energy in this genre. A lot of performers just sit around with hair in their face, staring at their feet. They dribble on about how tough it is to go through puberty and you know what? We're sick and tired of it. Our mission is to shake shit up a little bit.
Pique: You guys are well known for hyperactive stage antics. Is that still the case now that you're taking the game more seriously?
MW: We're trying to contain it a little bit. We all still gesticulate like wild fools but we're trying to channel our energy into keeping the songs clear and promoting musicianship.
Pique : You guys seem to have cult status through playing at your own open illegal parties. What were they like?
MW: We had this huge loft that became the best venue in the whole city if you ask me. It was 5,000 square feet. We'd open up a show every night with bizarre acts like a Hungarian fiddle player or a flamenco dancer or some dirty raunchy punk band and us. The party would start around 1 a.m. and go till dawn. We boarded up the windows and served our own beer. It was a blast.
Pique : How do you compare the success as an unsigned underground act to nowadays as major label artists on tour?
MW: I think the difference ultimately comes down to the decisions you make. Somewhere at the beginning of making Star Witness we decided it was time to take this whole thing seriously. We could see that the songs were more clear, more mega than the last lot and we wanted to make the transition from party band to recording artist, which meant cleaning up our act. Now we are promoting an album that's getting international recognition. The crazy all-night party days are a great place to start but after a while you just can't take it anymore. I remember waking up one morning and there were beer bottles everywhere, my room was covered in crap, someone stole all my CDs and I was like, "You know what? This is what I do. I'm out. I've had it." After all those years we still weren't going where we wanted to go so that's when we decided to get our shit together and it's really paid off.
See the GLC for advance tickets or make your way up the alpine lounge staircase next Wednesday night to support The Snitches' first ever Whistler gig.