March 17, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 87  

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Choking the Music Industry

By Anna Coutts
Gazette Staff

Critics’ favourites Choke, a punk-rock band from Edmonton, are known for their unique, eclectic sound. The Gazette caught up with bassist Clay Shea during a break from their hectic tour schedule to discuss punk-rock and touring.

How does it feel to be one of the most critically acclaimed punk rock bands in Canada?

I don’t really know. I mean, we have never really thought of ourselves as being critically acclaimed. I think we’ve been successful doing what we want. We’re just happy that we get to make music, the one thing we truly enjoy doing. It’s not really about financial or commercial success for us.

If there was one person or thing Choke could choke, who or what would it be?

I think we would choke the music industry. I don’t know, I just think pop music is such a sad state of affairs, and I harp on it a lot. [Pop musicians] are manufactured to sell, and I find that very frustrating, because when you’re touring you meet so many talented people who are doing this because it’s what they love. It’s sad to think so many of these talented musicians are likely to end up living below the poverty line.

You guys are said to love touring. What about touring makes you love it so much?

Touring is just so satisfying. It’s getting to do what you absolutely love to do and it lets you feel that you are actually successful at what you do. But we’ve slowed down lately because we have become more domesticated. We have a bit of homesickness lately, which we never used to have. But touring is still really relaxing for us, because for us, our art has become our work. It’s very cool.

It’s amazing that in 10 years you have managed not to lose a single original member. What’s your trick to getting along and sticking it out together?

I think it is because as we grew as a band, we grew as friends. Over time we have really gotten to know what strong points and weak points each of us has. We know where to go and where not to go. I guess it’s just easier to deal with each other because we know each other so well. I mean, I remember on our first tour together we were a little sick of each other by the end. After that, it just took a little subconscious work for us to sort out our differences and get along. Now, it’s all good.



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