illScarlett still causing riots

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Alex Norman, Will Marr, Swav Pior, Johnny Dee

Only a few hours after illScarlett heard about its Juno nomination for New Group of the Year, lead singer/guitarist Alex Norman was kicking back in a Thunder Bay hotel, still glowing from the news. The other guys " guitarist Will Marr, drummer Swav Pior and bassist Johnny Dee " however, wouldn’t be joining Norman. At least, not for the moment.

“Our van got broken into last night so they were delayed. They had to get their windows re-put in because the driver’s side window was smashed. And in Winnipeg, too; who would’ve thought?”

For illScarlett, the break-in was nothing but a minor setback. Since forming the band in high school, the Mississauga natives have had their fair share of creepy fans, getting thrown out of bars and causing riots at their own shows. Norman recalls one show in Mississauga when a bartender refused to give him water before his set. When he went to grab some in his car, the bouncers wouldn’t let him back in, causing the band to miss its set.

“The bouncer was a huge dude, he was probably like 6’3”, 350 [lbs.] and he just lost it, he started coming at me and taking off his shirt. I’m a small guy, I’m like 140 lbs. … so I just locked the door and then Swav went back inside and he told the band that they wouldn’t let me in.

“So Will gets on the mic and says, ‘Yo, they won’t let Alex in to play the show. Let’s fuck this place up.’ So all our friends are there " and they’re all boneheads " everyone just starts smashing bottles and flipping tables.

“It was a riot … It was the greatest show we never played.”

illScarlett’s growing fanbase is enough to cause riots itself. Since 2001, it has been reeling in college and university students, nostalgic Sublime fans and stoners alike with its reggae rock jams. Faithful fans watched the band progress from a couple of kids playing at a high school coffeehouse to playing in front of thousands at the Vans Warped Tour and Edgefest.

illScarlett’s hard, do-it-yourself work ethic and independent promos have paid off. After its buzzed ska punk/reggae EP, EPdemic, the boys finally released their more alternative rock-sounding major label debut, All Day with It, last summer.

Despite the band’s whirlwind of success and relentless tour schedule, illScarlett can’t resist playing at house parties as it has in the past. Norman agrees that Western lives up to its party school reputation and has even played at some keggers.

“They’re just so much fun to play because people are right up against you and knocking over mics and spilling beer all over your shit, but it’s real. It kind of brings you back.”

illScarlett played with Protest the Hero and Silverstein at Cowboy’s Ranch last night.

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