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The Golers - Photo by Cat Ashbee

Written by Slone Fox

Wildly provocative and gruesomely gritty, the Golers have filled a previously vacant niche in the Vancouver scene, as bands that openly draw inspiration from incest are few and far between. Sometimes referring to themselves as the "Inbred Militia," the Golers have been spreading black humour and thrash metal across the lower mainland much like a kid wipes dog shit off the bottom of his shoe.

While the Golers are somewhat considered local royalty among the Vancouver thrash scene, the band takes their name from a much more sinister group, the Goler Family. Festering in the secluded woods of Nova Scotia, the Goler Family created a multi-generational petri-dish of incest and inbreeding at the hands of their brothers and sisters, cousins and parents, uncles and aunts over the course of decades. Understandably, this resulted in a large portion of the family having intellectual disabilities and various other birth defects.

The Goler Family was found out in 1984 when one daughter broke down crying in class, confessing to her teacher about sexual deviancies she experienced at home. It was far from the first time one of the Goler children had tried to get help. In the years previous, several of the children had tried to tell outsiders about the assault they were being subjected to, but these allegations were brushed aside and never taken seriously until this point.

When questioned by authorities, many of the Goler adults admit they saw nothing wrong with what they were doing. They romanticized it, at times insisting that the children were the initiators. Some people argued that, because of their mental defects caused by inbreeding, and living this lifestyle in seclusion for decades, the Goler Family just simply did not know any better, causing a mostly lopsided debate. In the end, 13 of the adult Golers were charged with over 100 counts of assault and incest.

While taboo, the dark history of the Goler Family is something that the Golers (the band) find an alternative meaning in, rather than just shock value. According to the band’s frontman, who performs as “Charlie Goler,” the name actually embodies more than just the physical deformities and a lengthy list of traumas.

“We see a different meaning to it,” Goler explains. “What we like to play is a mix of punk and metal and thrash and sometimes black metal and death metal and all these different forms. We don’t go off into just one of them because we like a mix of them. We took the name because we like different types of closely related music, you know?”

The band has been going strong and dirty since 1998. Old enough to vote, but young enough to keep the music from being repetitive and stale, the Golers have cultivated a solid balance of seriousness and black humor that are expertly played against each other. However, not everyone appreciates the bold and brutal essence that comes along with the quartet, nor do they agree with their moniker:

“In Nova Scotia, a lot of people from the underground were right into it,” Goler says. “There was one person who phoned the bar and tried to get us not to play, but the bar kind of just told them about freedom of speech and the show went on.”

While the Golers have seen a lot and done even more in their decades as a band, they're far from jaded and nowhere near stopping. No matter who goes where or what unfolds, it's the fundamentals that will fuel them further into their future full of head banging and offending old ladies.

"Music is the best thing about this reality in every way," says Goler. "Just enjoy playing music everyday 'cause you never know how many days you have left."


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