Volume 94, Issue 74

Friday, February 2, 2001


A good looking rock band
Handsome Devils roll into town

A great debut from Manson's proteges

Art boasts millennial visions

A good looking rock band
Handsome Devils roll into town

By Rebecca Morier
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
OK, LET'S PRETEND THAT WE'RE ACTUALLY ON STAGE. The Handsome Devils strike a dramatic pose. Check them out at the Wick tonight.

After casual conversation with nice guy Adrian Cavan, one thing is certain: devils can not only be handsome, but also dedicated, talented and unassuming.

As the drummer for the Toronto-based band The Handsome Devils, Cavan is joined by teammates Dave Durocher (vocals and guitar) and Hal Greer (upright bass). Each member has his own distinct musical roots, which comes out in their music and, therefore, can be easily detected in their self-titled EP.

"It's hard to describe it," Cavan says, of the band's sound, but he then quickly comes to the conclusion: "It's just rock and roll." With an overall rock sound, their music features essences of metal and, oddly enough, blues, for which Cavan proudly credits his parents as the musical source. "I remember listening to my parents' music – a lot of 1950s blues. Our music does have a blues-ish feel," he says.

While much of the band's blues factor stems from the unconventional addition of Greer's upright bass, Their sound is hard-hitting yet refreshingly nuanced rock. While the band still maintains their harder rock sounds, such as the driving punk elements in the track "Javeleen," they are careful not to merely sound angry.

As Cavan recounts, "Dave [Durocher] and I were doing metal, which you can hear on some of the aggressive tracks, but it got boring." Cavan and Durocher, who have been friends for almost 20 years, found the incessant aggression in thrash music dull, not only as musicians, but also as part of an audience. "We'd go to see a show and it's like, 'Stop yelling at me!'"

As a Canadian indie band, Cavan expresses mixed feelings about not being signed with a major record label. "When it comes to bigger labels, you do what you like or you do what you're told," he states knowingly. "It's the problem in Canada – there's just not enough listeners and not enough of a fan base demanding what they want and creating commercial influence."

While Cavan acknowledges that there is more freedom with the band's independent status, he notes that there is also more difficulty in scoring gigs in Canada and earning a steady income. At the same time, this is just fine by Cavan. "There's no money, but that's OK," he states frankly.

In fact, for Cavan, who recently quit his day job and is focusing on the band, making music has been something of a lifelong ambition, in which monetary reward is secondary to the personal gratification in being part of the band. "It's all I want to do," he insists. "It's hard, but I wouldn't give it up for anything."

One thing that does make the process of getting their music "out there" easier is the Internet. "I love computers," Cavan enthuses. From having the band's songs available for download from their own homepage to their performances available to view on the Virtucast web site, it is apparent that they have embraced the accessibility aspect of the Web. "Any chance I get, I get people to download our stuff," Cavan remarks. He adds, laughing, "At this point, I'd love people to beg, rob and steal our stuff."

But for Londoners, those measures are hardly necessary since The Handsome Devils are playing tonight at The Brunswick. When it comes to their live performance, Cavan takes the entertainment value seriously and cannot help but boast. "It's awesome," he declares. "Actually, it's something I stole from '50s entertainers. Besides putting out good music, it's entertainment that's first and foremost important, and we give the audience something they're not used to."

Cavan recalls playing with bands that have appeared scared onstage and stresses that with their band, performing live is not as serious as, say, signing your soul to the devil. "There's no angst or anger – it's all fun."

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