Volume 93, Issue x

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


Blinker signals upward turn

Serial Joe embarks on random thrilling spree

Animals do fair share of star grazing

Western alumnus pens adventure around the world

Serial Joe embarks on random thrilling spree

Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
NEW GAP COMMERCIAL? EVERYBODY IN PUBERTY. Canadian youngins Serial Joe enjoy their new found success. You can find them at the Embassy on Sunday 26, if their mothers allow it.

By Luke Rundle
Gazette Staff

There aren't many Canadian bands that have won a Best Video award from MuchMusic, performed with the likes of Hole and Silverchair and rocked the house at Woodstock '99.

Add the distinction of doing all of the above before the legal driving age of 16 and one has to give the members of Toronto's own Serial Joe credit. Staying afloat amidst the tidal wave of bubblegum pop groups who are sweeping the world stage is truly an accomplishment, but the ability to thrash around with wailing guitars and edgy rap lyrics certainly aids in the effort.

"I think we give a different sound to the other young bands out there right now, like Hanson, the Moffatts, or the Backstreet Boys," drummer Dan Stadnicki says. "They're doing their own thing, making the stuff they want to make and we're doing the same."

Founded in 1997, the union of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Dennis, guitarist Ryan Stever, bassist Jon Davidson and Stadnicki began as nothing more than an after school garage gig. "It originally started with Ryan and I when we were in grade seven in Newmarket at the beginning of the school year," Stadnicki recalls. "He already knew how to play the guitar and I was okay on the drums. Then we hooked up with John and Stever and kinda went on from there."

All the messing around finally paid off when the 12 year-old members of Serial Joe released a six track indie EP, Kicked, which garnered them attention from industry bigwigs at Canadian Music Week in 1998. A Best Independent Video award from MuchMusic for the song "Skidrow" soon followed and the youths were being courted by numerous concert organizers, including the organizers of the now notorious Woodstock.

Of the Rome, New York experience, Stadnicki claims, "It was great. I mean, we really weren't around for any of the bad stuff, but we had a good time. It was really hot, though." Apparently, the music wasn't the only draw for Stadnicki and his pals.

"I was schmoozing with the Yamaha people the whole time 'cause they had this big trailer filled with all these electronic drum kits and I was in there fooling around," Stadnicki says.

With the release of their first full-length album, Facedown, Serial Joe has matured a lot since their garage days. Recorded over this year's March break, the record features all the wailing guitars, thunderous percussion and head-bobbing lyrics a listener can handle.

"We recorded on our March break from about eight in the morning to one o'clock the next morning pretty much every day. When Ryan was recording vocals, Stever, John and I would fool around with this guitar they had hooked up to this amp that had all these special effects on it. They also had all these arcade games, pinball, TV, so it wasn't really like work."

Future plans for the group include upcoming concert dates promoting the new album, as well as getting back home to catch up on their homework. In the meantime, the boys of Serial Joe will just have to settle for performing with famous musicians in front of throngs of adoring fans and reaping the financial rewards.

Just think of what they'll accomplish when they're old enough to drive.

Serial Joe perform Sept. 26 at the Embassy with guests Sum 41 and Shovelface.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999