Volume 92, Issue 11
Monday, September 22, 1998
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
These Guys are fit to Smile
Gazette file photo
HEY... THESE GUYS DON'T LOOK THAT SMILEY. Guy Smiley will be supporting punk heroes The Misfits at Call the Office on Wednesday night.
By Tania Madigan
Been bored lately with "cookie-cutter" Top 40? Looking for something a little more real and a lot more fun? Guy Smiley, a ska/punk band from Winnipeg who have been together since 1992, is a foursome with a distinct flavour difficult to describe.
Claming influences ranging from California punk to New York hard core, Smiley is reminiscent of both, but completely unique. "You can't pigeon-hole us and we like that," says frontman Derek Kan.
When the original band members of Guy Smiley split in the early '90s, bassist Jamie Fyles and drummer Ryan Francis were left without a singer or lead guitar. The two were introduced to guitarist Paul Stewart and vocalist Derek Kan and an instant connection was formed. The new Guy Smiley was born through the combination of Stewart's powerhouse guitar and Kan's intense lyrics. This, mixed with Francis' and Fyles own style created more passion and polish than ever before.
Guy Smiley is a very inviting band, both respectful and opinionated. They refuse to work with a label that does not allow them full creative independence and Kan says the band is very independent, wanting no interference from record executives.
Kan describes the band's image as upbeat in nature. "We are a positive group [and] we want our fans to go home feeling [happy], not angry. Lately, a lot of bands have had really negative music and we don't want to be a part of that."
In the past three years, Guy Smiley has realized its take on music is well appreciated, playing several shows across Canada and the United States. It was this busy schedule which streamlined its music and brought the band to new levels of friendship and participation. There is no lead man in this group but everyone is important and they intend to remain that way.
"The whole band contributes. I may write the songs, but the ideas are everyone's. It's 25 per cent each," says Kan.
While the recent past has been hectic for the band, it's been well worth it. What may seem like a quick rise in fortune for the band, Kan insists is otherwise. "We did it the hard way and I think that worked for us. We stayed down-to-earth and focused."
The band's most recent album Can't Turn Back is a definite change from its earlier efforts. With tunes that are smoothed out and more intense, older listeners will certainly appreciate the growth from the first album, Permagrin. "We have all matured and it really reflects in the music," Kan concludes.
For Guy Smiley's upcoming album, hopefully out in February, the same positive theme will be continued with a bit of a twist. Members from Pennywise and Ignite will be involved in production and vocals.
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