Volume 93, Issue 53

Friday, December 3, 1999


Weekend Pass

Miller turns Fifty with flair

Undercovers lose ska disguise


Hellcat shouldn't get the boot

Canadians ride into the sunset across the border


Undercovers lose ska disguise

By Dale Wyatt
Gazette Staff

"This is the last tour that we will be selling our first record on. After this, things are going to change," suggests Dave, drummer for the Undercovers, as the band offers London audiences one last listen to their old style.

The Montreal-based collective has started what is to be the last of their Stomp Records tours, as they get ready to make the move to Union Press Records. The change was a conscious decision prompted by their growing aggravation with being wrongfully labelled a typical Canadian ska band.

Besides being plagued with this stereotype, the group's exit from the Stomp world is also a result of a change of musical ideologies. "Our next album won't have any ska on it, it will be a complete departure from our first album. As what we listen to changed – we as a band changed. Our new music is like Elvis Costello having sex with the Cure and the Clash – so it's a lot more alternative."

So what brought on this transition? The group is sure to make the issue very clear, as any attempt to change styles often brings accusations of selling out. "Our choice not to play ska was not because we thought we could get more radio play or more money, it's just that we lost interest in what we were previously doing."

They now have a mission to produce an album more suited to their current beliefs. "We were impressed with the last album when it came out two years ago, but there is a certain depth you can lack sometimes when you are only 15 and recording an album," he explains. "We were all still living at home, going to school and everything was still pretty positive. Now things are still positive, but there is a lot more cynicism and criticism amongst us. Songs like "Sipping Sunshine" have lost their meaning."

This change in taste should be expected, as The Undercovers' musical careers began at the early age of 14. At that time, the guys got together and decided it would be fun to play in a band, so that's exactly what they did. Now, three years later, they are surprised and pleased with their success.

As things begin to look up for the six members, they have no intention of quiting anytime soon. As Dave attests, "This is something that we want to do as long as we can." And although the time they spend together on the road can spark some tension, as friends, they always still reflect on the many memories they have gone through while on tour.

Dave recalls one of their more infamous incidents. "The worst experience we ever had on a tour took place in Victoria when one of the other members in another band that we were playing with was jumping on a Mercedes Benz, drunk. Then when the owner came out with a knife, he started trying to stab our guitar player, who he thought was the one jumping on the hood. Luckily the cops came and we booted off along the coast."

It appears as though The Undercovers will have plenty of chances to accumulate many more amusing anecdotes, as they expect their next record to hit the market by the middle of next April.

So, as the old tour van pulls into London to play Call the Office with The Kingpins and The Planet Smashers this Friday, audiences can expect a new and more mature band to emerge.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999