CHILLIWACK PUNKS THRIVE ON SELF-LOATHING, OBSERVATIONAL SARCASM AND 'SOUNDING LIKE HOW CHILLIWACK SMELLS'
Written by Johnny Papan
“We have no real overall theme lyrically, but we tend to write a lot about personal life issues, world issues, religion, things that get us pissed off. We’re a punk band, we complain about our lives and the state our world is in.”
The Spewers hail from Chilliwack, British Columbia. The trio, consisting of guitar/vocalist, Blake Pinder alongside bass/vocalist, James Elliott and drummer, Tony Fehr, is known in the scene to dive into self-deprecation and sarcastic banter.
Observational sarcasm and social commentary seem to be a staple in the Spewers repertoire. In fact, their first full-length album, Cow Shit, Corn and Crackheads, is an ode to their hometown.
“They are classic Chilliwack stereotypes,” says Pinder. “The aroma of cow shit flows through the air here many days of the year. Tons of corn in the summer and, unfortunately, a lot of cracked-out homeless.”
It wouldn’t come as a shock if the band were to casually mutter things along the lines of “our songs sound like how Chilliwack smells,” or other forms of deprecation. But beneath the tongue-in-cheek surface of self-loathing are ideas that comment on society, bringing attention to what’s often swept under the rug. This is especially expressed on their latest EP, A New Disappointment.
The original album cover was rejected by Spotify. It's a photograph of a corpse, most likely from a third-world country, starved to death.
“The name of our latest EP came from a couple of ideas,” Pinder says. “First off, we made it as a sarcastic phrase that went along with the album, as if poverty and hunger were a new problem. It’s still a massive worldwide issue. The title really works for any issue affecting the Earth, and people, that has yet to be solved. The oil industry, pollution, corporations, etc. It’s real shit that happens every day. It kind of pissed me off that [the album cover] was rejected.”
The original artwork can still be seen on the group’s Bandcamp account. For Spotify, the Spewers opted to replace the graphic image with a shot of pipelines extending into the distance.
“It works just the same as our other cover, except in an environmental sense,” he explains. “More of a Canadian version, I guess, since the pipelines are on most people's radar these days.”
Pinder concludes: “Being a punk band in Chilliwack, sometimes you feel like underdogs considering most shows and events happen in Vancouver. Chilliwack has a strong punk scene, though it's slowed down a little bit the last while. But usually, the punk shows have been great out here. The punk scene is very supportive and welcomes everyone and any sub-genre to play shows together. We can honestly say we have had very little thought or talk about what we want to do in the coming years. For now, write more, play more and drink more. We’ll see where the 20s take us.”