The Spitfires Q&A
Hailing from Vancouver in the late 90s, The Spitfires released four albums of loud, energetic garage / punk 'n' roll before going off to other ventures. They are 'back with a bang' with a riotous live album recorded in 2003 and a live show this month with D.O.A. in their hometown. Bassist CC Voltage answered some questions for BBMATB about the new album, the scene 'back in the day' and advice for younger bands getting started.
The Spitfires current line-up is Jason Solyom (Vocals), Shockk (Guitar), Graham Tuson (Guitar), CC Voltage (Bass) and Marty Peters (Drums)
On the 'Live At The Pic' album the line-up consisted of Jason Solyom (Vocals), Jay Millette (Guitar), Mr Dean-o (Guitar), CC Voltage (Bass) and Marty Peters (Drums)
'Live At The Pic' is available on all the major digital sites and as a limited red vinyl edition from Yeah Right Records at www.yeahrightrecords.bandcamp.com. You can also pick up the four studio albums - 'The Spitfires' (1998), 'In Too Deep Again' (1999), 'Three' (2004) and 'Aim Low' (2009) - from the digital stores or physical versions from sites such as Discogs.
The Spitfires support D.O.A. at The Rickshaw Theatre, Vancouver on November 20th.
Hi Guys, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those people who might not be aware of The Spitfires, could you give a short history of the band?
We started in 1996 in a small town about an hour outside of Vancouver, Canada. Right on the border with the US. We cut our teeth in the bars in Washington State like the 3B Tavern in Bellingham. We put out records on notorious garage rock labels from the time like Estrus and Junk and toured the US and UK.
And who were the bands and artists who got you into music and influences The Spitfires' music?
We were influenced by the Garage rock scene of the time, mostly stuff like the New Bomb Turks, Makers, Devil Dogs and then later on by more rock oriented stuff like the Hellacopters. Everyone in the band loves Kiss and Alice Cooper of course.
You've recently released a live album recorded at Vancouver's 'Piccadilly Pub' back in 2003 - 'Live At The Pic'; any particular memories of that show that spring to mind?
Every show at 'The Pic' was epic. There was a very special moment in time when Vancouver had an incredible music scene. There was a good combination of young people (when the city was affordable), promoters, and clubs that served as a breeding ground. This record captures a little bit of that magic that the city had at the time.
The album has been released on Yeah Right! Records - how did you come to be involved with them?
Yeah Right! is owned by Tony Lima, quite possibly the best rock n roll promoter in North America at the time. Every touring band across the continent knew him and his venue "Call the Office". He was a supporter of the band back then and now he runs this label.
I believe Jason found the tapes of the show while spring cleaning last year - were there any other tapes of shows or unreleased studio recordings that may see the light of the day?
There was also the live video that went along with the album, but it's in a really bad state. Our new guitar player Graham Tuson was able to splice a couple of songs together and they are on Youtube if you'd like to see some of the actual performance that night.
Any particular favourite songs from the show on the album?
I think "Believe" is my favorite, just because it was a newer song at the time, and this show might have been the first time we played it live. It wasn't released until 7 years later after we did a quick reunion album.
What was the music scene in Vancouver like back in the late 90s // early 00s? Any particular bands who could have gone on to bigger things?
It was a really special time in Vancouver, and I think mostly because it was an affordable city for young people at that time. There was no shortage of bands, venues and live shows. Some of the bands from that time that went on to bigger things were Black Mountain, The Black Halos, Hot Hot Heat and Pride Tiger.
And from your career at that time, what highlights stand out for you?
I think our shows in LA were always the best. We went there often, as that's where our label was based and where we really made a lot of friends. Those nights were insane and most of those stories I can't tell! Haha. But places like Al's Bar in DTLA and the Garage in Silverlake were always a riot. I guess our biggest and best show ever was at the Astoria (RIP) in Soho in London. We opened for a packed audience with the Rezillos.
You all went on to join different bands / projects as well as The Spitfires. Did you follow each other's activities in these new ventures?
Sure, but we all ended up in different cities. I joined Dysnea Boys in Berlin and Loyalties in London. Jay Millette moved to Toronto and joined Midnight Towers and Darlings of Chelsea, and Solyom plays in stoner rock legends La Chinga. Our new axe slinger Shock plays in the Slip Ons and Graham Tuson plays in countless bands and tours and does sound professionally for arena size artists.
You've got a sold out show at The Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver with local hardcore legends D.O.A. on November 20th. Were they friends 'back in the day' and how did the show in November come about?
Jason, our singer tried out once on drums, but didn't make the cut! I think we've all run into Joey now and again over the years here in Vancouver. Their new bass player, Mike Hodsal, is a highschool friend of mine too.
How do you view the Vancouver music scene now? Any bands from the city you'd recommend to readers?
I don't get out as much as I used to, but my favorite local bands are Chain Whip and Sore Points.
You've all been in the music biz for 25+ years now - how has it changed for you over that time? And what advice would you give to up-and-comers today?
Don't take anything personally. Don't take any of it too seriously. Do it because you like people and relationships, rather than for personal gain. You'll last much longer and have better experiences.
Any plans for more The Spitfires activity in 2022?
Our rehearsals are basically just 2 hours of shotgunning beers. There's not a lot of work getting done these days!
And finally, having released a live album yourselves recently, what are your favourite go-to live albums ever?
AC/DC "If You Want Blood" and Thin Lizzy "Live and Dangerous".