Volume 96, Issue 76
Thursday, February 13, 2003

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Sector still rock despite hunger

By Christopher Hodge
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
STANDING BY THE FENCE. Sector Seven strike a pose in between sessions of rockin' out.

Packed in a van like rats, with half a tank of gas and empty bellies, Sector Seven have been living the rock 'n' roll dream, one grungy gig at a time.

"If you want to be a rock star for the money, that's going to be your first mistake," drummer Mike Burke advises would-be musicians. "The music business is a shabby business to be in. You have to watch out for all the sleazy management and agents out there. Anyone thinking it's a glamourous job is mistaken."

Burke, and fellow bandmates Brad Parent, Lee Williamson and Jon Gauthier, have been down in the trenches of the Canadian music scene for the past 10 years, and have often had to fight the good fight just to make ends meet.

"It's all part of the adventure," says Burke, who recently had to move out of his apartment and back into his parents' house because of a mountain of bills that had accumulated while he was away on tour. "As soon as you get back, there's this awkward period of adjustment [in which] you have to get used to dealing with normal people again. It wasn't that bad this year, but I didn't speak to my girlfriend for two days when I got back."

Despite the overnight success of many of today's manufactured TV divas and boy-bands, Burke still firmly believes that the only way a band can really maintain any lasting success is by slowly building a fanbase, one drunken fan at a time.

"It's better to build a slow and steady fanbase and take it from there. If money was an important driving force, we would have all packed it in years ago. [Playing live] is something that we all really enjoy doing. We all like hanging out together, and each tour is a blast, so why stop now?"

Having recently recuperated from the departure of bassist Ryan Allan, the band has had to re-evaluate their approach to song writing.

"Ryan used to write half the songs, and Jon would write the other half. Now that Ryan has left, Jon has really had to bear the brunt of the responsibilities."

Back from a recent six-week tour across Canada, the band has also been able to enjoy a small, yet promising, flood of response from both local fans and those from beyond the Canadian borders.

"It's difficult to take it as an indicator of how much of a demand there is for the band, and I don't really read much into it, but we did get some radio play in Poland, and an article appeared in an Italian paper."

For now, Burke and company will be rolling their gritty punk show into London for a gig at the Embassy on Saturday night. Burke says he prefers the smaller venues in comparison to playing the larger festivals.

"We did a few Warped tours. They're really big shows with tons of people, but I think that the people are there for reasons other than the band. It's a lot of fun, but we like the smaller tours so that we can get out to the dedicated fans who want to see the band," Burke says.

Sector Seven rock the Embassy this Saturday. Tickets are $8.


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