Herald’s Q&A: Cancer Bats

Toronto’s lords of hardcore punk Cancer Bats make their long-awaited return to St. John’s, and are ready to annihilate with reckless abandon on September 22nd


It’s been five long years since Toronto’s Cancer Bats have blitzkrieged St. John’s with their trademarked blend of crushing hardcore punk with sludgy undertones. That all changes this September. The bats are back, bay bay.

As the city has grown since their last visit, so too have the Juno nominated four piece, who have performed under the guise of a bombastic Black Sabbath cover band – lovingly titled Bat Sabbath – toured across just about every inch of the globe and released two fan-preciated albums, Searching For Zero and 2018s surprise The Spark That Moves. 

The always energized frontman Liam Cormier caught up with The Newfoundland Herald to becoming immersed in  punk rock, growing as a band and individuals, and cautioning fans to prepare for a war on September 22nd. 

It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen you guys here in Newfoundland and Labrador. Five years?

In the grand scheme of things, as far as like band business, we have had a lot of time off where a bunch of us have been figuring out other parts of our lives. People have been having babies and getting married and buying houses, kind of doing all those things. It’s been five years but we’ve all been real busy. In a lot of ways I think us and all our fans were really busy, so now it’s the perfect time to come back. People will have two year olds instead of ten month olds and they have more of a schedule where they can actually come to a show. 

You dropped your sixth album The Spark That Moves in April, and it seems to be one of the more cohesive records you guys have ever done. Do you feel that at this stage you guys have really fine tuned your sound?

I think that was a real decided effort for us this time around. We kind of know at this point what we want to be as a band. We know what our fans are expecting in the same way that as a fan of other bands, I want to hear what that band is all about. I don’t need any curve-balls. I can have maybe some different ideas, but when I buy a Rancid record I want it to sound like Rancid. You know what I mean? I don’t say aww man I wish it sounded more like Rush. For us, metal and hardcore, I want to buy a Hatebreed record because I want to get pitted. 

For us it’s like what do we love about our band and why do we even want to keep playing in this band? Lets play those songs that we get really psyched on. And I think that’s the thing, we’re not bored of playing in Cancer Bats and I’m definitely not bored of playing a Cancer Bats show. We’re looking more at just being able to go back and having awesome shows in places that we love and less how do we get to the arena and this point in our careers? We have a career and it’s amazing. I just want to go back and see all of our friends and make sure we put out a record that will ensure people will want to come out. 

Thinking back, what led you to the life of a hardcore punk frontman? Why this form of music? 

I guess it was just back in the day and getting into punk rock. You think about when you’re 11 and 12 years old and are first figuring out about bands and why certain things speak to you and grab ahold of your ear. You think of the classic joke of how punk rock ruined your life. You think about if my brain really grasped pop music would I be into that? Or if I listened to Gordon Lightfoot? For me it was like, once you see a hardcore band it was like nothing else matters, and nothing else feels as real. When you’ve seen this raw aggression, I think you’re just naturally drawn towards it. 

For me it was the realest thing. There was a part of me at 17 or 18 where you’re seeing people living in a van, touring super hard and the whole crust punk side of things where it was such a lifestyle moreso than flipping on the radio and taking what people give to you. It was so interactive where you have to find out about these shows and find these records. It’s part of this different kind of scene outside the norm and I think that’s what I grabbed ahold of and got drawn towards. 

I’ve had the chance to see you guys live several times, and you’re pure madmen on stage. I’d imagine you’ll have quite a bit of energy built up for your NL return?

Oh, for sure. I definitely think that this is the best part too is that we’ll be coming off of playing a ton of shows, so we’re going to be so primed and so ready to annihilate. I’m really pumped that we’re coming after we’ve dialed all the songs off of the new record, after we’re real road ready to play a crusher of a set. I want to lay everyone to waste. We’re definitely going to play for over an hour. People need to come with their game faces and be ready for a war. 

Tickets to Cancer Bats at the Rockhouse on Sept.22 with Deadgaard and Dig Up The Dead are $25 dollars and are available at Fred’s Records and Fogtown Barber Shop (cash only) & online at ticketscene.ca 

One thought on “Herald’s Q&A: Cancer Bats

  1. Chris Evans
    September 18, 2018


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