By Trenton Shaw
The members of Blue Skies at War had been pouring their hearts into failed musical projects for years, but when they finally found each other they knew it would last. Chad, the lead singer, is so dedicated to the group he had their band name tattooed across the back of his neck. Such extreme devotion and commitment is akin to the kind the A-Team had, especially when Blue Skies at War pile in their van to take care of business. The Gauntlet spoke with Jake, the band’s bass player, to find out why nothing short of the apocalypse will tear them apart.
Gauntlet: The band seems to be very committed to each other and working together. Even the title of your album, You Pour the Gasoline, I’ll Light the Match, seems to suggest teamwork. Do you feel the members of the band share a special bond?
Chad: Yeah, I think we all know we’re in this for good and there’s basically no way out. The title of the album is an old phrase. It’s kind of like if two business partners were in a failing business, one would pour the gasoline and the other would light the match. We’ve accepted were on the same sinking ship, so we’re going to make the best of it.
G: On your website, you seem very adamant of Blue Skies at War as a band that will last forever. What makes you believe this band will not crumble like the others?
C: I think we’ve gotten really lucky, and managed to filter it down. We have the people that are really dedicated. We’ve given up a lot and sacrificed a lot, to the point where there’s just this.
G: How did you come up with the band name? What significance does it have?
C: It’s just a collection of words that sound good together, left up to your own interpretation.
G: How did the band meet?
C: After a few bands in London broke up, the remaining kids hooked up. We all came from really different backgrounds.
G: What are your biggest influences?
C: I have the hardcore kid background, like the early 90’s Florida scene, and bands like Hot Water Music, Seaweed, and Small Brown Bike.
G: What’s the best thing about being in this band?
C: Playing shows, getting our music out there, and hearing kids sing along.
G: Does everyone have a hand in writing lyrics, or is that done mostly by Chad?
C: Yeah, but when it comes to music it’s a very group collaboration. We sit down and work at the songs, and Chad will lay things over top after that.
G: The lyrics seem to focus heavily on youth and growing old, do you have very fond memories of youth?
C: I think we’re getting older now; we’re past the 23 and higher mark. Things are starting to get a little scary and we’re starting to get closer to real life. We’re trying to hold on to the whole teenage, no responsibility thing.
G: You guys have quite a few tattoos, have you gotten any that represent the band? (i.e. Blue Skies at War forever)
C: Our singer Chad has Blue Skies at War tattooed across the back of his neck. Other than that I’ve been getting tattooed for years before this band. I have no band tattoos yet, but I imagine it will show up eventually.
G: What’s the craziest thing that ever happened to you on tour?
C: We recently did the Alexis on fire tour. We hit some black ice coming across Northern Ontario, smashed our Van and trailer, and lost some gear. We picked up what we had left, and threw it in a mini-van. The last show of that tour, in Victoria, was just a massacre of a show; just complete insanity, kids flying everywhere, guitars flying everywhere. It was absolutely just an insane show.
G: If you could play on the bill with any band, which one would it be?
C: Right now there’s a band that’s a collection of a bunch of really really great bands called Hazen Street. I’d really like to check them out live. As far as the other bands, all the ones that we are really into and really enjoy we’ve had a chance to share the stage with at one time or another.
G: If you were a superhero who would you be and why?
C: I’m a huge comic book nerd, so I’m going to have to say the incredible Hulk. It’s just an excuse to get some anger out.
G: Can you say, according to you, what superheroes your band mates would be?
C: I suppose we’d eventually make up all the members of the A-Team.
G: If you weren’t in a band what do you think you would be doing?
C: I don’t know. I’ve been to university a few times, and both times it’s been music that brought me back out of it. If I wasn’t in this band I’d probably be doing something else with music.
The important lesson here is if you heart is burning for rock and roll, you shouldn’t waste your time taking too many university courses. Grab a 40 and start practicing your Van Halen licks in the basement, but make sure you don’t drop out completely. Not unless you can find a group that’s as committed as the A-Team.
You can check out Blue Skies at War on September 30 at the Alexandra Centre. For more info on the band, check out their homepage at www.blueskiesatwar.com